*depending on how you feel about cold showers

1. Mind your breathing

Mindfulness isn’t just for hippies anymore. Apart from being one of the hottest trends of recent years, it’s also been shown to help the immune system – a review of randomised controlled trials found evidence that meditation is associated with changes in select biomarkers of immune system activity. (Translation: it’s good for you.) Our quick hack? Close your eyes and try six deep inhalations and exhalations whenever you think of it. You’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel.

2. Take cold showers

Scientific studies have found that taking a cold shower increases the amount of white blood cells, a key part of the immune system that helps fight off unwanted viruses and germs. One randomised controlled trial reported showing a 29% reduction in sickness absence after taking a cold shower for 30 days. So, lucky you, it’s definitely worth trying. Ease yourself in by taking your normal shower, then turning it to cold for the last 30-60 seconds.

3. Stay hydrated

The immune system relies on your bloodstream (which is around 90% water) to transport fluids, nutrients, and communication signals to organs. Without proper hydration, blood volume goes down, and reduced blood volume means that this transportation system doesn’t work as well as it could. So stay hydrated, and don’t be shy about trying flavoured water (no added sugars) to make it exciting enough to drink regularly. Remember: by the time thirst hits, you’re often already dehydrated.

4. Consume your collagen

Edible collagen is big in Los Angeles, but don’t let that put you off. Adding extra collagen to your diet can be a smart move for the immune system as it’s responsible for the strength and elasticity of your skin, which is the first line of immune defence. Many of the individual amino acids found in collagen have also been shown to play a role in the immune system, such as glycine, arginine and BCAAs.

5. Cut the sugar

Studies have found a variety of connections between sugar and suppressed immune function. But there’s one that stands out: it’s been shown to block the absorption of vitamin C. Sugar and vit C have a very similar molecular structure and your body absorbs them in the same way, which means sugar can actually inhibit the uptake of vitamin C. This matters, especially when you consider that our bodies don’t make vitamin C and we can only get it from food. (FYI, this is why Tonic has no added sugar.)

6. Get regular rest

Sleep is essential for good immune health – specifically, consistent sleep. Getting just one night’s sleep of less than 6 hours can reduce the function of your immune system’s natural killer cells by up to 70%. To help your routine, our number 1 tip is to keep screens out of your bedroom. Their blue light has been shown to reduce the body’s natural production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Those tweets will still be there in the morning.

7. Take your vitamins

There are many, many studies that have shown how important certain nutrients are to the immune system. So why does Tonic focus on vitamins C, D and zinc? First, because they have the largest body of scientific evidence behind them, and effectiveness is our top priority. Second, because they’re just not that easy to get otherwise. One large orange has maybe 100 mg of vitamin C – one Tonic has 1,500 mg. We get vitamin D from British, ahem, ‘sunshine’. And you’d have to eat half a kilo of sunflower seeds to get the same amount of zinc you’ll find in a single Tonic.

We created Tonic to have the highest available doses of vitamins C, D and Zinc.

Why those three? First, because they have the greatest weight of scientific evidence to support them. And second, because they’re also the hardest to get adequately from our diet. Basically, they’re where a well-designed supplement makes perfect sense.

- Sunna van Kampen, Tonic Health founder


*Spoiler Alert* You probably need to up your dose

Myth 1: All I need is 100% of my recommended daily allowance

So why is this a myth? It sounds legit. Well RDA is defined as the amount of vitamin you need to prevent nutritional deficiencies. This isn’t the same as optimal health, which would ensure your body has an abundant amount of vitamins and minerals to function optimally. Saying all you need is your RDA is the equivalent to saying I only need to eat food once a month. True, eating only once a month would ensure you probably don’t starve, but you would be very thin, weak and certainly not functioning optimally.

Myth 2: The amount of vitamin I need is consistent all the time

False - do you feel the same everyday? The same energy level… The same mood… No, because you are human.
Think of it another way. The amount of water you drink isn’t consistent. Go to the gym or for a run and you'll soon find yourself reaching for a bottle of water or some electrolytes to quench your thirst. That’s because exercising puts a strain on your body, you sweat and lose water and minerals which then need to be replenished. From a vitamin perspective it is much the same; vitamin requirements fluctuate depending on the situation we are in. When we are stressed, run down, fighting an infection or lacking sleep, our body requires more vitamins and minerals. Some scientific studies have administered doses of up to 8 grams of vitamin C per day to an individual when experiencing cold and flu to have the maximum impact. That’s an incredible 100x more than your RDA. Tough times call for tougher doses.