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Boost your immune system to fight the flu, colds and COVID-19

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Health food stores report seeing many first time customers who are looking for supplements to fight viruses.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBMA) - As we head into the cold and flu season on top of COVID, more people are working to boost their immune systems with vitamin supplements and healthier diets.

At Golden Temple Health Foods on Birmingham's Southside, it's tough to keep up with the demand for herbs, vitamins, and natural virus fighters. Some items were out of stock.

Popular sellers are edlerberry, Vitamins C, E, and D3, quercetin, and zinc. Manager Sarah Latham explains many are turning back to ancient herbal medicines classified as alternative.

"Everyday someone says it's their first time in here," remarks Latham.

Grandview's Dr. Michael Luther says he's also getting more questions about immune boosters.

"It needs to first come from your own diet," advises Dr. Luther.

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That means a big variety of colorful foods on your dinner plate! Berries, honey, garlic and certain mushrooms are also a plus.

As for supplements, Dr. Luther says the FDA has not approved them for any conditions including the coronavirus.

"None of these have strong evidence about what they do for immunity, but there is some suggestion they do help," remarks Dr. Luther.

He says recent studies have found COVID patients had a higher rate of low Vitamin D than healthy people. So spend time outdoors to get a good natural dose.

Stay hydrated, active, lower the stress and don't forget grandma's advice.

"She was right when she said have some chicken soup and get some sleep. We've know forever those are good ideas," says Dr. Luther.

Supplements are not dosed for children. Kids should only take them under the direction of a doctor.