SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Congestion, runny nose, an all-around achy feeling… sound familiar?

Colds, COVID-19, the flu, you name it, they’re running rampant through just about every office right now. It may be hard to beat, but there are ways you can boost your immune system.

Let’s start with the beneficial building blocks.

  • Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night
  • Drinking water
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising three to four times a week.

Dr. Greg Faughnan with St. Joseph’s Health says all of that can help boost your immune system, but what about when you’re actually sick?

Dr. Faughnan says two vitamins may help cut your cold short: vitamin C and zinc.

“Both kind of play an important role in cell signaling and are co-factors for enzymes to function properly. Particularly for the common cold, supplementation when you’re sick with vitamin C and zinc has been shown to actually decrease the amount of time it takes for you to feel better by about a day or so, and symptomatically cut down on things like runny nose, kinda that generally achy feeling.”

Dr. Greg Faughnan

While that certainly sounds great, Dr. Faughnan says there’s no perfect pill to put off a virus.

In fact, he says there’s not a ton of data directly looking at whether these vitamins can prevent the flu altogether, but in most cases, taking them this time of year can’t hurt.

“Vitamin C, it’s a water-soluble supplement, meaning if you take extra it doesn’t really do anything bad. Realistically, you’re gonna just pee out anything extra that you’re taking,” he said.

Remember, supplements are designed to be add-ons to the nutrients you’re already getting from food. So, stick to those building blocks.

As always, ask your doctor if you have any questions or concerns before adding supplements to your diet.