The cold and flu season is here and will be with us for several months to come. No one can predict how bad this season will be, but there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of getting ill and spreading the illness to others.
Please consider the following for yourselves and your families:
The Three Most Potent Cold and Flu Prevention Strategies
1. Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
We believe it’s possible that the widespread prevalence of colds and flus may actually be due to vitamin D deficiency, which is incredibly common in the United States, Vitamin D produces 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Essentially, it works as a very broad antibacterial and antiviral agent. Consider 3,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
2. Avoid Excess Sugar Consumption
It’s important to remember that excessive sugar consumption effectively suppresses your immune system and impairs your defenses against all infectious disease. Avoid ALL sugars when possible (fructose in particular), artificial sweeteners, and processed foods. This includes fructose from fruit juice and all types of grains (as they break down as sugar in your body).
3. Proper Hand Sanitation – Wash, Wash, Wash
Hand washing is an easy way to prevent infection and it’s one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Viruses are spread by hand contact as well as coughing and sneezing.
Other Natural Ways to Build Your Immune System
1. Zinc: According to a Cochrane Database Review of the medical research on zinc, when taken within one day of the first symptoms, zinc can cut down the duration of a cold by about 24 hours (Identical results to Tamiflu). It was also found to greatly reduce the severity of symptoms. We recommend 30 – 50 mg Zinc Tablets daily.
2. Chicken soup: Chicken contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. For best results, make up a fresh batch yourself (or ask a friend or family member to do so) and make the soup hot and spicy with plenty of pepper. The spices will trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs, which will help thin down the respiratory mucus so it’s easier to cough up and expel. We also strongly recommend using local pastured chicken and simmering the bones (and the feet if available) for 24 hours to get the most you can out of the chicken. It makes an absolutely heavenly soup.
3. Mushrooms: While most people think only of eating the fleshy fruiting body of the mushroom (the part that grows above ground), most of the benefits are actually located in their complex root structure, called the mycelium. Beta glucans and proteoglycans are the primary biologically active compounds in the mushroom fruit body and mycelia that support your immune system. The beta glucans are special proteins with unique side-branching patterns that “fit” perfectly with cellular receptor sites that support your immune system, just like a key in a lock.
Mushrooms also contain trace minerals, polysaccharides, amino acids and fiber that support your health by protecting against environmental stressors; supporting your detoxification process; and promoting healthy gut flora and optimal digestion, just to name a few of the known health benefits.
4. Vitamin C: Recommended by Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, vitamin C is a very potent antioxidant. Use a natural form such as acerola, which contains associated micronutrients. You can take several grams safely every day. We recommend at LEAST two Grams of vitamin C a day (that’s four 500 mg tablets daily). Avoid the orange juice route, which introduces too much sugar into your system.
5. Oregano Oil: The higher the carvacrol concentration, the more effective it is. Carvacrol is the most active antimicrobial agent in oregano oil.
6. Propolis: A bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world; propolis is also the richest source of caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important compounds that aid in immune response.
7. A tea made from a combination of elderflower, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint, and ginger: drink it hot and often for combating a cold or flu. It causes you to sweat, which is helpful for eradicating a virus from your system.
8. Olive leaf extract: Ancient Egyptians and Mediterranean cultures used it for a variety of health-promoting uses and it is widely known as a natural, non-toxic immune system builder.
Remember that the flu vaccine only offers limited protection from respiratory illnesses during any season, and antibiotic treatment has NO role in the treatment, once illness occurs. The flu vaccine only protects, at best, against 10% of all the cold and flu viruses that linger during each season.
Submitted by Michael B. Teiger, MD, FCCP of NEIHA located in West Hartford, CT. For more information, visit www.neihact.com or call 860.278.3812. Please ask any of your NEIHA professionals for additional recommendations or information.