There are not many people who live in Tokyo for the purpose of relaxation, and therefore staying at the top of our game in our busy lives, whether at work or play, is very important. By staying healthy you can get a lot more done and therefore, quite literally outpace the competition. Put another way, staying healthy gives you measurable financial benefits, because while your counterparts are off sick, you’re busy forging ahead in peak shape.
For the average person trying to stay healthy, this means sticking to the food pyramid, ensuring a good intake of fruit, vegetables, grains, fish protein, etc., and maybe adding a one-a-day multivitamin with your fruit juice in the mornings. While doing this will no doubt contribute to general health, I believe that if you really want to maintain an edge, you need something more – you need supplements.
There are a million different vitamins, minerals, and herbs out there that have been manufactured into pills and potions. While many people prefer a single multivitamin “horse pill” and let the manufacturer figure out whether they got the mix right or not, I believe that since everyone’s physique is different, we need to take charge of getting the fine tuning right on which supplements are necessary. Today, I’m going to focus on supplements that help me reduce the likelihood of catching a cold – especially since having one is a huge, performance-sapping inconvenience.
Working in Tokyo is a perfect recipe for catching colds, and you’ll notice that while in the old days everyone used to wear face masks in public to prevent the transfer of germs, young people are embarrassed to wear them nowadays and thus spread their germs for all to catch. Riding to work on the train is probably THE best environment for cold germs to multiply in, followed by airplane trips, working in crammed offices with bad air conditioning, having to visit with sick clients (as a salesperson), and then getting out and doing public presentations and public speaking.
It was after I started catching colds on an irritatingly frequent basis that I began my love affair with supplements (I personally take a handful a day). I started off by trying to find out how to improve my immune system. I read up about antioxidants and going beyond vitamin C, and experimented with a number of supplements. Now, I say “experimented” but it’s worth remembering that very few supplements result in overdosing, because in most cases they’re just food – and like any food, you try to ingest them in moderation and should follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. The caveat here is that if you’re pregnant or dealing with children, then be much more careful about trying something new. Further, too much Vitamin A or D are considered to be harmful if taken in large doses for sustained periods.
The supplements that turned out to work best for me, for reducing the likelihood of catching colds and other viruses have turned out to be:
• Ester-C – this is a more easily tolerated form of vitamin C than straight ascorbic acid, that by virtue of its complex of calcium ascorbate plus vitamin C metabolites allows more vitamin C to penetrate your body cells for longer. This is why you can take less Ester-C than regular vitamin C and yet still feel the benefit. I take 500mg twice a day.
• Quercetin – this is a bioflavanoid, a compound that improves the body's response to viruses, inflammation, infection, allergies, and even some forms of cancer. It is also a powerful antioxidant. I take it to reduce the impact of viruses in my body and I have to say that it is amazing, albeit expensive stuff. I’ve not seen Quercetin for sale here in Japan, but last week a reader let me know that you can easily order online direct from Puritan’s Pride in the USA – so try them as a source.
• Zinc – this is a mineral that is widely used in the body for signaling between cells in various organs and is particularly useful for stimulating your immune system and thereby staving off a cold.
• Garlic – this is another cold beater as well as being good for blood pressure and your health overall. Of course, since I’m doing a lot of sales work, I don’t eat the stuff in its natural form but instead look for the aged, deodorized capsule version.
• Olive Leaf – recent studies have shown that olive leaf extract is a potent antibacterial and antiviral agent. Some people recommend taking this supplement every day, but personally I hold it back to when I’ve been burning the midnight oil and I just know, despite all best efforts, that I’m about to come down with a cold, flu, or something worse. Then I bring out the heavy guns – which for me are high potency olive leaf capsules containing at least 30mg of Oleuropein each. I take two at least twice to three times daily. Do this just as your throat starts to hurt, and you’ll keep the cold at bay, then ease back the dosage once you start feeling better again.