Whether you got the shot or not, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent any of the influenza viruses (along with bacteria and fungus) from taking over your immune system.
Many believe that if they were vaccinated against the flu, they are immune to carrying/contracting/having symptoms of the flu. Not only is this false, but even if your body is able to fight off an influenza exposure, this takes energy from your immune system. Depending on other virus or bacterial exposures you might have you are now more susceptible. If you want to become CEO of your health without relying so heavily on pharmaceuticals, here are a few ways to take charge.
1.) Wash your hands, frequently. Especially after being in highly populated areas such as grocery stores, movie theaters, parks, doctor's office or hospital.
2.) Fill your body with nourishing food. Eating the Standard American Diet will keep you very well fed, but not well nourished. Your cells, particularly your immune response cells cannot function properly if they do not get the energy they need. One simple suggestion is to add more of the good (green) stuff, like fresh veggies and fruit instead of take away any of the not so good stuff. Not depriving yourself of anything but stuffing yourself with nourishing foods will put you in a better balance. Helpful super-foods to fight flu season are Garlic, Onions, Mushrooms, Lemons, and Apple Cider Vinegar.
3.) Humans are at least 65% water. Drink at minimum of ½ your body weight in oz. of water each day. If you work out or sweat, you will need to add to this. A 200Lb. person should have at least 100oz. or 12.5, 8oz. glasses of water daily. Build up to this and I promise your body will adjust and stop sending you to the bathroom every 20 minutes.
4.) Sleep. It evades us. Lack of sleep (most humans need minimum 7 hours/night) or interrupted circadian rhythms raises cortisol levels (stress hormone), decreases serotonin
and dopamine levels, and decreases immune function. If sleep is scarce, studies show that even 5-10 minutes of meditation can decrease cortisol levels, increase our feel good response with serotonin and dopamine and activate the reward centers of our brains. There are several “Apps” or YouTube videos with guided meditation for beginners. Additionally, short naps between 5-20 mins have also shown to decrease cortisol and increase immunity so go ahead and take that little cat nap!
BEST SUPPLEMENTAL IMMUNE BOOSTERS:
1.) Elderberry- This has been used in traditional medicine for years. Elderberries contain flavonoids that are rich in antioxidants and help protect cells from free radical damage caused by oxidation. They are a top source for vitamin C and have immune-strengthening
compounds that research suggests encapsulate viruses decreasing their ability to replicate in your body. There are studies that show subjects suffering from influenza symptoms noticed significant relief 2-4 days sooner when given elderberry than those given a placebo. These results are better than the antiviral medicines often prescribed and a lot less toxic! Elderberries contain cyanogenic glycosides which can lower blood pressure, abdominal cramping, headaches, and have even shown results improving skin appearance.
2.) Vitamin D- This is an important player in healthy immune function and is an antimicrobial agent producing 200-300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In addition the use of Vitamin D is also being used very effectively for depression treatment. Get your level checked (a shocking number of Americans are Vit. D deficient) and get medical advice about the amount you should take. More is not always better here as you can reach toxic levels.
3.) Zinc- Your immune system needs zinc to work efficiently. It interferes with a virus’s ability to fully infiltrate your cells. Lozenges with 9-24 Mg are most effective taken every 2- hours upon onset of symptoms.
4.) GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract)- Compounds called polyphenols act as antimicrobials and antioxidants that kill microbes. This has been found to be superior in its effectiveness as an antiseptic and purifier to bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and colloidal silver. It is effective against more than 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, as well as single cell
parasites. It is best known for its treatment of pathogens, especially fungal pathogens like Candida albicans in the GI tract. Studies also show improvement in patients with IBS and eczema. GSE is so effective however, that if taken for several days, you will want to add a probiotic to maintain good normal GI flora.
5.) Echinacea- Again this has a complex mix of active substances such as phenols (antioxidant properties) and alkamides which have an active effect on the immune system. There are many studies that show Echinacea works just as effective against viruses such as influenza as pharmaceuticals such as Tamiflu without the side effects and without any resistance to multiple uses. Echinacea is also used to treat headaches, sore throat (streptococcus infection), and UTI to name a few. Capsules, tea, and tinctures are all available although you must be sure you are getting this from a reputable source.
6.) Mushrooms!- No, not the psychedelic kind. Mushrooms like Reishi, Shitake, Cordyceps, Maitake, Oyster, Cremini/white button, and other also have a high antioxidant content along with bioactive molecules that have anti-viral abilities. They inhibit viruses and decrease severity of illness to those already sick. Many increase the production of B and T lymphocytes, which are crucial immune cells that control our response to pathogens
(bacteria), viruses, and toxins. Cancer treatment is another area mushrooms are getting lots of attention and they have been used for centuries in Eastern medicine. No worries if you are not a fan of these in your diet, there are a few reputable products that sell several varieties of mushroom in either tincture or capsule form. I use Host Defense 17 mushroom tincture blend which also comes in capsule form.
7.) Defense Plus is a supplement our family has been very successful using and contains most of the above plus more. Follow the directions for a 14-day period. We alternate this with Host Defense My Community along with daily elderberry doses. We add others as needed depending on how our bodies are feeling.
Aside from the above mentioned there are a few other practices that will aid in maintaining your health this season. Meditation was mentioned above, but going one step further and meditating with a focus on strengthening your immune function is very powerful. Combined with visualization of your immune cells combating any viral, bacterial, or foreign invaders, this mind, body connection creates serious magic. Lastly, getting regular massage, Reiki, acupuncture, or other healing modality will greatly increase your energetic and physiological system creating an immunity armor hard to penetrate!
Whether you add one or all of the above practices having daily gratitude for your maintained health will ultimately keep you manifesting your best winter season ever!
Sending Love and Light!