Elderberry has long been regarded as a food with incredible immune-supporting properties. But can this simple berry truly improve how your body responds to illness? If you’re talking about the influenza virus, a source of annual epidemics, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
A placebo-controlled, double-blind study (the scientific gold standard) showed influenza B infected individuals who were given elderberry extract recovered much quicker than those who were given a placebo. In only 3 days, over 90% of people who were taking the elderberry extract had completely resolved the infection. In contrast, the placebo group needed as long as 6 days to start feeling better.*
The study found that people who were taking the elderberry extract had a stronger, quicker immune response which was visibly displayed by elevated anti-haemagglutination titers to influenza B. This means that not only did they ward off the flu virus more efficiently, but they were also better prepared to handle a future infection. Additionally, elderberry inhibits neuraminidase, an enzyme that cleaves sialic acid groups from glycoproteins and is required for the influenza virus to replicate.**
One of the best ways to get your elderberry is through Proberry 3 Liquid or Proberry Caps, two D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition supplements I created. Both are rich in natural sources of antioxidants and vitamin C, including not just elderberries but also blueberries and cherries. These dark-hued fruits work together to support the strength of your immune system, especially when it is under fire from seasonal stresses like the flu.
While taking either form of Proberry is a great way to stay healthy for all types, I particularly recommend them for Types B and AB because of their general susceptibility to the virus. To learn more about the different vulnerabilities of each type in relation to the flu virus, read my blog on Influenza and The Blood Type Diet. And remember, when flu season rears its ugly head, have the friendly elderberry by your side to support your immune health.
*Statistics pulled from the following study: Zakay-Jones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med 1995;1:361-369.
**Editor's note: Zanamivir is an influenza medication that, to an extent, duplicates this neuraminidase blocking ability of elderberry, but does not appear to have elderberry's additional beneficial impact on the immune system.