With the onset of cold weather, big temperature changes and weather fluctuations, various colds and respiratory diseases are on the rise. Each of us should strengthen our immune system more. Increase the amount of vitamins we take, whether in the form of fruit or vegetables, or strengthen our body with commonly sold vitamins or dietary supplements. „It is worth it,“ advises the leading Czech expert on the immune system, the head of the Department of Immunology of the 2nd Faculty of Medicine of Charles University and Motol University Hospital, Prof. Jiřina Bartůňková.
According to the doctor, our way of life is the main factor contributing to the lowered immunity of the organism. We spend most of the day in closed rooms and do not have much time for a good and healthy diet. “In addition, many microbes relish the colder weather, people congregate more, whether in schools or at work, where they return after holidays, in theatres, cinemas or means of transport. Fluctuating temperatures also have an impact on their multiplication. It is so easy to get cold, which increases the susceptibility of mucous membranes to the attachment and multiplication of microbes,“ explains MUDr. Jiřina Bartůňková. That’s why it makes sense to supplement with vitamins or supplements, especially those containing vitamins C and D, over and above your normal diet over the winter.
It is also advisable to strengthen the immune system all year round. For example, by getting vaccinated, being exposed to a reasonable amount of infections from childhood, engaging in physical activity, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, etc.
Having 2-3 respiratory infections a year is normal. If you are experiencing them more frequently and they are more serious in nature, you should look for the cause and consult a doctor. There may be several reasons for frequent respiratory illnesses. Be it a weakened immune system, allergies, etc.
Give yourself an apple
Supplementing vitamins in their natural form is ideal. „They are usually in better chemical bond with other complex substances than synthetic preparations. So giving yourself raw fruits or vegetables every day will benefit you,“ the doctor recommends. But she also warns that this has its limits. There are very few vitamins in natural products. So in order to get a daily dose of vitamin C into your body, you would have to eat several apples. Plus, you never know where that apple grew, how it was stored or transported, or how much pesticides or other toxic substances it contains. So it is often better to take a 100 mg tablet of ascorbic acid, a synthetic vitamin C.
„It is difficult to advise on the right vitamins or supplements. I myself take Eligin, which is an extract from organically grown ginger in Java, because I was involved in its development. So I know that in that capsule is really what we wanted to have there,“   explains MUDr. Jiřina Bartůňková and adds: „Ginger is also a product proven by folk medicine for thousands of years.“
However, he notes that there has never been a study done comparing whether daily use of a defined and standardized product is better than, say, a shot of slivovitz or regular sauna sessions.„Most of my friends who I have recommended Eligin to report that they are indeed less likely to get colds when taking it regularly than they were before, and that includes me. But it’s all on the level of ‚one lady said‘. We doctors are only used to saying something when we have ‚evidence based‘ data to back it up. And we don’t have that for any regimens or dietary supplements,“ the doctor adds.