Have you noticed that the cold and flu season is early this year! The signs everywhere you go. People sniffling, blowing their nose, sneezing and coughing (often, unfortunately, in your direction!).
As soon as the weather gets more damp and cooler, and daylight savings time ends, we all spend more time indoors… including our children at school, so they more likely to share their germs and bring them home. We don’t go out to play or exercise as much; which also impacts our ability to get a good night’s sleep. So this all further impacts our immune system.
I also find that right after Halloween, after a fun night of trick or treating and overindulgence of sugar, the stress and sugar opens up our body to an overgrowth of viruses and BAM! You end up feeling tired, achy with a sore throat and soon fever and chills and now you are stuck in bed with a viral infection!
Each year, nearly 111 million workdays are lost due to the flu. And 60 million school days are lost due to the cold and flu season.
I know you don’t want to be one of those statistics so today’s Nature’s Secrets, I will be talking about how to bump up your immunity, and the best natural healing strategies and formulas, for the common cold and the flu.
Bumping up your immunity is the best solution
Did you know the largest immune tissue is in your gut? If you eat healthy foods, you support your microbiome optimally and your immunes system will become more robust with stronger defenses! How do we boost our immunity and microbiome? It all happens with nutrition of course!
A whole foods nutrient dense diet, with little processed and white food is best, with a lot of fresh veggies, fermented foods (such as sauerkraut, miso, my favorite kimchee, and kefir), healthy oils and fatty acids (olive or coconut are my favorites), and healthy proteins to boost your immune factors like organic chicken, eggs and beef.
Spice all your foods up with natural herbs that naturally have high antioxidant power, such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and oregano.
Garlic provides great antimicrobial benefits against fungi, bacteria and viruses. I believe it can help reduce the severity and length of viral infections and the flu. It can be eaten in spice form or extracts via capsules.
Adequate exercise and sleep, are all important in maintaining healthier immune systems.
Practicing good hygiene washing your hands with hot water and soap before every meal, after using the bathroom, after shaking people’s hands, and teach your self and your children to coughing into the crook of your arm versus on your hands.
Clean surfaces often, and teach kids not to share toothbrushes, glasses, plates, etc.
I just got back from a conference in San Diego, and to check out through the TV, I had to use the remote control, so I used one of those plastic bags from a grocery store so I didn’t grab the apparatus directly…Studies show that the remote control has the highest level of microbes in a hotel room! Yuck!!
Let’s go through some of my favorite natural immunity boosters!
Olive Leaf Extract
I’ve been using olive leaf extract for over 20 years and research has found that olive leaf extract may be an actual anti-viral compound, as well as an immunity booster. It has double the antioxidant of green tea!
Olive leaf contains oleuropein, which is a substance that exhibits antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal behaviors in laboratory studies. Unlike antibiotics that kill both good and bad microorganisms, olive leaf extract appears to selectively target the bad microorganisms.
Many people have never heard of andrographis, but it is popular in Asian medicine, and has been widely studied. It can be used to boost one’s immunity to help fight viral infections, and it has been shown in clinical studies to improve symptoms of the common cold when started within 72 hours of feeling sick. It may be a little more difficult to find than some supplements, but capsules or tincture form should be at health food stores.
Vitamin C is a “must have” for this time of year! It increases the production of white blood cells needed to fight off cold viruses and strengthens your immunity. I wash my vegetables in water containing some vitamin C powder! Buy organic oranges, strawberries, kiwi or Brussels sprouts for a good whole foods dose. I recommend my own specially blended Vitamin C supplement that also contains Quercetin (see below), which is a powerful anti-inflammatory (and is also a natural antihistamine). Just be careful not to overdo vitamin C as too much can cause loose stool and/or bowel irritability.
Research has found that people with low vitamin D levels are as much as 36% more likely to have upper respiratory infections than those with higher vitamin D levels. A simple blood test can determine if you are deficient and I recommend to my patients anywhere from 2000 -4000 ius depending on the location you live and your outdoor activity level.
Quercetin is a bioflavanoid that acts as an antihistamine, an antioxidant and is a good anti-inflammatory as well. Found naturally in dark purple and red fruits (cherries, blueberries, red grapes) and green leafy veggies. It is great for people who may be at greater risk from respiratory effects of colds and the flu (such as people with asthma); it naturally reduces inflammation, histamine release and nasal congestion.
Nettle leaf supports immunity, decreases histamine production and helps the body remove toxins. Add it to hot tea.
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)
NAC is my go to natural Mucinex! This amino acid breaks down mucus naturally and has been heavily studied to address bronchial and respiratory disorders. I have combined Vitamin C, Quercetin, NAC and a probiotic in my premium respiratory package, a great immunity booster and cold/flu preventive measure. You can find it on my website drsusanne.com
Taking zinc at the very start of a cold will shorten the length of the cold. It appears to slow the multiplication of the virus. I suggest oral zinc gluconate lozenges. Taken within 24 hours of cold onset may reduce the severity and duration of both the cold and flu.
For kids, use zinc lollipops made with xylitol to avoid food coloring and sugar!
One of my favorite anti-bacterial and anti-viral remedies is oregano oil. I use an emulsified version, due to the intensity of the oil. If you do use the oil version, you can dilute it and rub it on your feet for absorption, or you can diffuse it. Put a few drops in hot water, cover your head with a towel and breathe it in.
Elderberry works as an antiviral and antibacterial agent and helps enhance the body’s immune system. It can help with nasal congestion and can reduce mucus membrane swelling.
A distinct technology used by Silver Sol provides a much different capability from traditional colloidal (iconic) silvers, safely boosting the immune system, and providing broad-spectrum antimicrobial benefits that can destroy bacteria, viruses and fungi.
SilverSol Power is a particular preparation that is especially powerful at killing the bad bugs while “re-charging” itself (to kill even more). It has been shown to be safe without encouraging drug resistance or resulting in any negative side effects. The best part is, is that it does not destroy any of the good bacteria, your good probiotics!
Now you have all of my Nature’s Secrets strategies to have a cold-free, flu-free season! Go out there and have a blast!!