With fall in the air and cold and flu season not far behind, "America's Most Trusted Pharmacist", Suzy Cohen, who has been a pharmacist for over 22 years and has authored countless books, columns and articles on the subject; was kind enough to join me to share her tips on preventing colds and flus this winter with vitamins and supplements, and even shared information on how magnesium plays a role in migraine prevention.
Candace: With fall upon us, how important are vitamins and supplements during cold and flu season?
Suzy Cohen: They're hugely important. Most people aren't eating the way that they should, so vitamins fill a nutritional gap for Americans who aren't getting all the fresh fruits and vegetables that they should and that's why I brought some healthy foods to show you; almonds are wonderful, kiwi, we have blueberries and raspberries- these are all superfoods because they contain super wonderful compounds called antioxidants that sweep the body clean of harmful free radicals which could then lead to disease. So eating right is wonderful and drinking healthy beverages as well like green tea- it's absolutely wonderful because it contains antioxidants and the body is hungry for that. The problem is people aren't eating this way and that's where vitamins and minerals can come in."
Candace: Do you feel that everyone should take a multivitamin?
SC: "I actually do. I think a multivitamin is very basic, it's fundamental to good health. It's kind of like the fuel for your car and beyond that. As we head into October and November and the winter season we want to stay as well as possible, so supplements like vitamin C and vitamin D are wonderful antioxidants. I brought the Nature Made brand; I've partnered with Nature Made because I love their product line. They put them through rigorous testing, that's why you'll see the USP symbol on their bottles- it stands for United States Pharmacopeia but what it means to the consumer is that that product has been tested for purity and potency; so what it says is on the label is actually in those pills, so again C and D- wonderful antioxidants and in particular vitamin C is good for the skin and vitamin D is wonderful for bones."
According to pharmacist, Suzy Cohen, "Vitamin C is good for the skin." – NatureMade.com
Candace: I recently heard how important magnesium is; I suffer from migraines and I've read in various publications how important magnesium supplements are. What are your thoughts on that?
SC: "I totally agree. Magnesium is a powerful mineral; I've written about it many times. It can support a healthy mood and healthy muscle function. Magnesium is wonderful, it participates in like 300 chemical reactions in the body, and at this time of year as we head into the fall and winter season another mineral (zinc) is wonderful. I can't overestimate the power of minerals for the body and healthy antioxidants, they just go a long way in filling nutritional gaps and helping people to get the best health. You know we all know vitamins are good for us but we're not always sure which vitamins are best and that's one of the reasons I've recommended Nature Made, they are the number one pharmacist recommended brand of letter vitamins."
Candace: What are some important questions we should be asking our pharmacist?
SC: "Well, ask your pharmacist about what medications are right for you. If your doctor gives you a prescription you want to double check that because if you're already taking something, the pharmacist can check your profile. You can also ask your pharmacist about the proper dosage of your medications and your vitamins and minerals. You can ask them about drug-food interactions. We're here to help you and I've been a pharmacist for 22 years, I can tell you even though we look very busy, we are here to help you make you. Make your pharmacist your best friend; don't be afraid to approach them. You may have to wait a few minutes but it's worth the wait. They know so much and they're around every corner in every pharmacy, so make use of that."
Candace: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
SC: "Oh well, the basics- washing your hands with soap and water is wonderful to help prevent the spread of infection, and sneezing into the crook of your elbow would be a nice thing and considerate for other other people. And carry tissues with you. It's so basic and so simple, you can get the little purse sized ones, you've always got them on you and I think that goes a long way in helping to prevent infection."
Candace: Where can we go for more information?
SC: "For more information go to NatureMade.com."