By now, you have probably heard of Omicron, the latest Covid variant strain. Omicron is thought to be less deadly but more contagious than the previous Delta strain, and it is now the most common. As of late August 2022, the BA.5 Omicron subvariant accounted for approximately 88% of Covid cases. (The less common BA.4 subvariant accounted for about 8% of cases.)
The new Covid variant symptoms are slightly different now, as patients experience severe fatigue without the loss of sense of taste or smell that accompanied previous variants. Patients may also experience fever, runny nose, muscle pain, coughing, and sore throat. The severity of new Covid variant symptoms depends on several factors, including age, health conditions, history of infection, and vaccination status. The FDA has authorized bivalent booster shots designed to protect against the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and the Omicron variant.
While booster shots are the most reliable way to protect against severe disease, hospitalization, and death, claims emerged early in the pandemic that nutritional status could significantly affect Covid outcomes. Sales of dietary supplements surged as consumers looked for ways to strengthen their immune systems and avoid the most severe new Covid variant symptoms. While scientists maintain that no dietary supplement can prevent or cure COVID-19, many natural supplements have been shown to have positive effects on immunity.
If you are unlucky enough to be infected with the latest Covid variant strain, you may wish to be prepared with a healthy immune system. Keep reading to discover eight immune-boosting supplements that may help to stave off the new Covid variant symptoms.
Strengthen your immune system with zinc
Zinc is well-known as an immunity booster, and often zinc lozenges are used to treat the common cold, shortening sick time by as much as a day. If you are hoping to boost your immunity in the face of the new Covid variant symptoms, then short-term zinc supplementation may be an option. Zinc strengthens the immune system by supporting the functioning of the thymus and bone marrow, where immune cells are produced. This vital nutrient also strengthens the physical barriers that protect tissues and organs from pathogens.
Adequate zinc intake is important for wound healing and a healthy sense of smell. This trace mineral also functions as an antioxidant, helping to fight tissue-damaging free radicals. Zinc supplements are widely available, and 40 mg per day is generally considered a safe dose for adults. Side effects of oral zinc may include headache, indigestion, or nausea.
Strengthen your immune system with quercetin
Quercetin is a flavonoid found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, and it has been investigated for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. Foods containing quercetin include apples, berries, capers, grapes, and tomatoes. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables probably contains only 100 to 300 mg of quercetin per day. To obtain the health benefits of this natural ingredient at doses of 500 to 1,000 mg per day, it may be necessary to try a supplement.
While it has antiviral properties of its own, quercetin also boosts the antiviral action of zinc by serving as an ionophore. This means that quercetin transports zinc into the center of cells, where it can have the greatest immune-boosting effect. Once in the center of a cell, zinc may stop viruses from reproducing. If you are hoping to minimize the impact of the new Covid variant symptoms, then you may consider zinc and quercetin together on your list of immune-boosting supplements.
Strengthen your immune system with berberine
Berberine is found naturally in certain plants, including tree turmeric, goldenseal, Oregon grape, and European barberry. This helpful compound is commonly used to help treat diabetes and high cholesterol, but it is also known for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Berberine has been shown to reduce virus replication, and it is widely used as a dietary supplement with few side effects. This 2011 study found that berberine has an antiviral effect on influenza, and its infection-fighting properties continue to be investigated. Berberine certainly merits a place in your arsenal of supplements to boost immunity.
Strengthen your immune system with elderberry
The most common type of elderberry grows on the Sambucus nigra tree, native to Europe. Today elderberry is a popular supplement for the treatment of cold and flu symptoms, but the dried berries of this plant have been used in folk medicine for centuries to alleviate headaches, infections, influenza, and pain.
This 2017 review noted the antiviral properties of elderberry extracts, particularly for the treatment of influenza. In addition, animal studies have shown that polyphenols in elderberry support immune function by increasing white blood cells. While elderberry supplements are relatively safe, consuming the raw fruit may lead to nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. If you hope to strengthen your immune system, then an elderberry supplement may be a sensible choice.
Strengthen your immune system with cordyceps
Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus native to Tibet and China. It thrives in the wild at altitudes of 10,000 feet above sea level, and grows on insect pupae. Cordyceps has long been used as a folk remedy for diarrhea, headache, and cough, and it is known for its positive effects on immunity. Perhaps the most expensive parasite in the world, this fungus sells for up to $63,000 per pound in its wild form.
Fortunately, synthetically grown varieties are relatively inexpensive and widely available in supplement form. Cordyceps acts as an immunomodulator and is known to boost white blood cells in the body. Also known for its antitumor effects, cordyceps has been shown to kill cancer cells. With few mild side effects, including diarrhea, constipation, and stomach upset, this potent mushroom supplement belongs in your immune-strengthening arsenal.
Strengthen your immune system with prunella vulgaris
Prunella vulgaris is called ‘self-heal’ in Western herbal medicine, and it belongs to the mint family. It has been investigated for its antimicrobial and antiviral properties, and is thought to inhibit virus replication. Prunella vulgaris may also stimulate the activity of immune cells like macrophages, helping to fight infection. Traditionally used to treat wounds and throat infections, this helpful plant contains flavonoids, tannins, and other substances with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Prunella vulgaris is another reliable immune-boosting supplement, and it is available in pill form, liquid extracts, and topical ointments.
Strengthen your immune system with echinacea
Echinacea is a medicinal plant Native Americans have used for over 400 years to treat infections and wounds. Today, it is a popular treatment for cold and flu symptoms, such as sore throat, cough, and fever. Herbalists often recommend echinacea as an immune system strengthener, and some research has shown that it increases the number of white blood cells in the body.
Clinical trials have shown that echinacea supplementation may reduce the odds of developing cold symptoms by 58% or reduce cold duration by 1 to 4 days. Polysaccharides, flavonoids, glycoproteins, volatile oils, and alkamides are thought to contribute to the therapeutic effects of this popular plant medicine. Echinacea is available in supplements, teas, and liquid extracts.
Strengthen your immune system with vitamin C
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is perhaps the most popular immune-boosting supplement. This water-soluble essential nutrient is not made in the human body and must be consumed in food or supplements. Vitamin C deficiency increases your susceptibility to infection, and high doses may shorten your sick time when you do have a cold.
This immune-boosting nutrient strengthens the body’s barriers against pathogens and supports the production of white blood cells. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant, and fights tissue-damaging free radicals. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes are all excellent food sources of vitamin C. If you hope to strengthen your immune system and minimize the impact of new Covid variant symptoms, then vitamin C should be at the top of your list.
Protect your immune system with good habits
If you are concerned about the current Covid variant strain and the latest list of new Covid variant symptoms, then you should look for ways to optimize your immune function. Lifestyle modifications offer the best natural methods to support immunity, and you can improve your resistance to infection with stress management, regular exercise, quality sleep, and a healthy diet low in processed foods.
Certain supplements may give your immune system an extra boost, such as Medicine Man Plant Co.’s product aptly named ‘The Immune Pill.’ The Immune Pill is formulated with a potent mix of immune-boosting natural ingredients, including elderberry, cordyceps, echinacea, vitamin C, and prunella vulgaris. Medicine Man Plant Co. products are designed by Dr. Mark \\\”Merriwether\\\” Vorderbruggen, a nationally recognized expert on wild edible and medicinal plants. These ethically sourced products are third-party tested, non-GMO, and produced according to good manufacturing practices.
As we face yet another Covid variant strain, many people are embracing both holistic and plant-based medicine to maximize their health. While no supplement has been proven to treat or prevent COVID-19, nature offers us a range of time-tested ingredients that strengthen immunity and promote good health. The focus is gradually shifting from merely treating disease symptoms to overall well-being on physical, social, emotional, and spiritual levels. When you shift your health mindset to a more holistic approach, you may have a healthier body and fewer sick days. During stressful times, we would all benefit from more time to be productive and enjoy life.
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Disclaimer: New Covid Variant Symptoms:
Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.