The best defense is to practice prevention, ensuring your body is in top shape to fight off viruses and stop bacterial infections from settling in. Lifestyle changes are vital in supporting your immune system and the following steps are a good start.
Wash hands constantly - when you wake up, before you eat, before you sleep and in between.
Stay hydrated - Drink half your weight in ounces of pure filtered water per day between meals starting with a glass first thing in the morning.
Regular exercise - Your lymph system clears your body of pathogens. Vigorous movement and deep breathing pumps your lymph system. Breathing exercises, walking, swimming and anything that moves your arms and legs works wonders. Rebounding is excellent!
Eat Antioxidants - A minimum of 50% of your diet should be raw fruits and veggies. Every meal you eat, make sure half of it is raw – that's easy! Eat a rainbow of colors and remember the blues, reds and purples!
Eat Clean - Avoid sugar, caffeine and processed food. Sugar suppresses the immune system. White blood cells are depleted by 50% after just 1 teaspoon of sugar and take several hours to recover. Caffeine robs your body of water, minerals and vitamins, dehydrating and malnourishing your body. If you drink coffee, make sure you add an additional two glasses to your water intake per cup of coffee. Processed Food - these food products contain hundreds of chemicals that are not recognizable to the body as food. This means that they are perceived by the immune system as foreign invaders that must be dealt with. When the immune system is tied up battling the invaders you have willingly put into your body, it is not available to do the job it was created to do.
Adequate Sleep and Rest - Sleeping less than 8 hours a night depletes your immune system.
Stress Management - Try yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, gardening, listening to music – whatever you love doing that relaxes you. Make it a part of every day.
Probiotics. Normalize your intestinal flora by taking a high potency supplement with a minimum of 2 billion live bacteria per capsule. It will assist in restoring intestinal immunity by hindering the growth of harmful bacteria such as candida, molds, yeasts and fungi. These helpful microfloras not only assist digestion, they exert antimicrobial activity against pathogens and boosts immunity be encouraging immune cells to proliferate, and reduce inflammatory cytokines. Food Source: plain yogurt, miso, kefir, sauerkraut daily
Vitamin D. Your adaptive immune system (the cells that activate in the presence of an invader and retains antibodies and immunity for the future) cannot function without the presence of Vitamin D. Most people are deficient. Make sure you are taking the D3 form which is the most active and natural form. Take 4000 – 6000 IU daily for adults and 400 – 800 IU for children, aiming for the higher range in the winter months. Must be taken in or with a multi containing Calcium and/or a Calcium formula to aid absorption. Food Source: mackerel, salmon, oysters, sardines, tuna, eggs, butter, chanterelle and shitake mushrooms, oatmeal and parsley and…. SUNSHINE!! Get a minimum of 20 minutes of sunshine on your skin each day during late spring, summer and early fall.
Vitamin C makes your immune system more active and is a powerful antioxidant. Take a supplement that includes bioflavonoids (plant chemicals that enhance Vit C's effectiveness.) Supplementary range is 1000 to 10,000 mg daily. Take 1000 mg every hour until you experience loose bowels, and then back off 500 – 1000 mg. This will be your optimal intake. Food Source: citrus fruits, berries, green and leafy vegetables, tomatoes, green peppers, papaya, raw onions, rose hips, alfalfa, cayenne pepper.
High Quality Multi Vitamin Mineral in an Antioxidant Formula with Vitamins A, C and E with zinc. Food Source: Raw fruits and veggies especially red, green and orange colored and lots of leafy greens, raw nuts and seeds.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids in the form of fish body oils or flax seed oil. Carlson's Laboratories makes a good lemon flavored one with NO fishy taste and flax seed oil has a slight nutty taste, you can mix it into fruit juice, yogurt or smoothies. Food Source: Eat cold water fish a minimum of twice per week, and a handful of raw (refrigerated, unsalted, unprocessed) nuts/seeds per day.
If you do come down with something, reducing the initial viral load when the first symptoms are felt is effective at staving off or limiting the severity of an illness.
Gargle and rinse sinuses with saline. Cold and flu viruses multiply in the sinuses and at the back of the throat. Use ¼ tsp kosher or pure sea salt in a neti pot or soft squeeze bottle full of lukewarm water. Heat the water in a kettle; don't use warm water from the tap. Do this several times a day for gargling and at least once a day for sinus rinsing – this alone can make a huge difference in getting back on your feet quicker.
Oil of Wild Mountain Oregano – you can find this essential oil in the health food store. MUST be Origanum Vulgare and must be a minimum of 20% Carvacrol FINISHED. 40% is better. Wild Oil of Oregano is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic plus boosts the immune system and is rich in minerals and Vitamin C. A, C and minerals. Put 5-6 drops in a shot glass of orange juice (or water if you can stand it) 3 – 4 times per day with meals. Most kids can't stomach the taste so try putting the drops in an empty gel cap if they can swallow them. Will destroy beneficial gut bacteria also so must be followed up with a course of therapeutic probiotics to replenish friendly microflora in the intestines.
Olive leaf extract - OLE is a member of a group of antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids. In laboratory tests OLE effectively eliminated a wide range of organisms including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeast/mold/fungus.
Aged Garlic is one of the best infection fighters available for both bacterial and viral infections while being kind to beneficial bacteria. Stimulates the activity of macrophages (which engulf foreign organisms), helps clear mucous from the lungs, making garlic particularly helpful in treating upper respiratory viral infections, effective against strep and staph bacteria.
Homeopathic Remedies - There are flu and cold formulas that if taken immediately at the sign of symptoms, can reduce the length of sickness by 75%! Something to keep in your medicine cabinet.
*If you are pregnant or nursing or on medications, check contraindications with your naturopath or medical doctor.
Some Final Tips
Eat lightly. When your body is put to task fighting illness, don't tax it further by overeating. Eat lightly and choose foods that are easy to digest and drink lots of liquids. Water and 50/50 diluted apple juice are great.
Avoid Tylenol / Advil. When you are fighting a fever, don't take Tylenol for fevers below 103 degrees. A fever is an expression of the immune system working at its best. Fever increases the amount of interferon (a natural antiviral and anticancer substance) in the blood. A mild fever also increases the white blood cells ability to destroy viruses, fungi, bacteria while impairing the replication of many bacteria and viruses. Use cool head cloths, and avoid sugary drinks and traditional snacks such as jello and ginger ale…the sugar does more harm than good.
A Natural Alternative to Vaccinations
Because we all have varying risk factors, I believe the choice of whether to vaccinate or not is very personal, with both sides containing risks, depending on your individual situation. I have opted for an oral homeopathic immunization (Influenzinum 9CH) for my family which is very inexpensive ($28 per person) with absolutely none of the side effects of a traditional vaccine such as death and permanent disability. Influenzinum is a homeopathic formula made with the current year's flu strains but doesn't contain the live virus or the many chemical toxins found in traditional vaccines which include ethylene glycol (antifreeze), formaldehyde, phenol (carbolic acid), aluminum, antibiotics such as Neomycin and streptomycin. It is also free of squalene which has been linked to the devastating autoimmune diseases suffered by countless Gulf War vets. Taking Influenzimun by Boiron Labs each autumn is easy - it dissolves in your mouth, tastes great and is an inexpensive step in preventing the flu.
The ideas and suggestions in this handout are not intended as a substitute for appropriate care of a licensed health care practitioner. They are meant for educational purposes only.