Food for Thought: Elderberries and your immune system

Health

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many people are seeking to support their immune systems and stay healthy. One popular supplement is elderberry.

Elderberries are common in naturopathic remedies to reduce cold and flu symptoms. The dark red and purple compounds in elderberry get the credit for its benefits.

Preliminary studies show that elderberry extract shortened the duration of influenza by 4 days, pretty impressive. However, a 2020 study from the Cleveland Clinic found no benefit when elderberry extract was given to 87 patients.

The FDA recently took action against claims of elderberry’s effectiveness against various diseases, including COVID-19. They say larger studies are needed before elderberry can make claims about reducing cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms.

If you take elderberry, be aware that there are some interactions with medication. Elderberry may reduce blood sugar. So avoid it if you are on medication for diabetes.

It can also interact with diuretics, laxatives, chemotherapy, and other immune suppressing medication. As always, consult your doctor before taking any supplement.

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