It’s that time again. October is the official onset of cold and flu season, with all the runny noses, coughs, fevers and sick days the name implies. Don’t stress (stress lowers immunity, and you know where THAT will get you!)….we’ve got 3 essential items for your natural medicine cabinet (plus a fourth, bonus item) that should keep the fall/winter bugs at bay, or at least the most virulent ones.

1. The magic of mushrooms. The combo of 17 potent mushrooms in Host Defense’s MyCommunity can give your immune system a nice, natural boost. Phytochemicals such as beta-glucan found in these fantastic fungi have been shown to enhance the activity of several different types of immune cells.

2. Vitamin C: Don’t leave home without it. Truly Natural Vitamin C from HealthForce is a 100% food-based vitamin C complex made from the acerola cherry, and contains all the bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals that are the cofactors for optimum vitamin C activity. Plus, it comes in powder form, making it easy to mix into a smoothie or in the water bottle you take to school, work, or to work out.

3. Vitamin D: The Power of sunshine. A recent study out of London indicated that supplementing with vitamin D can reduce the risk of respiratory infections—especially cold and flu—by about 10 percent. Take in capsules, drops, gummies…whatever form you’re most comfortable with to boost the amount of vitamin D in your bloodstream this time of year. How much should you take? Steve recommends 1,000 IU’s daily for kids under 11 and 2,000 IU’s for kids over 11 and adults. Bluebonnet makes a great chewable kids product, along with the soft gels for pill-swallowing pre-teens/teens and adults.

**BONUS**: The number one tool in your winter immunity arsenal might just be found in a cute little berry with extraordinary strength. Elderberries possess natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties that have been shown to shorten duration of cold and flu; in fact, they have been compared to drugs like Tamiflu for the treatment of flu (with none of the harsh side effects). We like the Gaia brand Elderberry, available in syrup or capsules.