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Staying Healthy this Winter

There are many ways to enhance your health in order to avoid the flu and other illnesses in the winter.

Choosing healthy foods while avoiding junk food, processed foods and foods with harmful additives such as sugar substitutes are an excellent choice.   Others include:

•          Flu vaccine

•          Vitamin D3

•          Other supplements

Person laying on the couch with a blanket covering them

Since the CDC in America and other government agencies around the world “predict” which strain of flu will be prevalent, they are often wrong.  Often flu vaccination offers only meager protection.  Therefore “staying healthy” is probably your best option. There are many supplements that support a healthy immune system and still other natural remedies that can help lessen symptoms if you do get sick.

Flu Vaccine

Signs are posted everywhere, and most physicians encourage their patients to get a flu shot.  Many of us, unfortunately, may be unaware of the potential downsides of this option.

Success rate: Getting a flu shot does not mean you will be protected from getting influenza. The Centers for Disease Control reported that for the 2014-2015 season, the vaccine was only 19% effective, and it is estimated that the success rate for this year will be even lower.

Toxic additives: According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, many vaccines contain aluminum, formaldehyde, and mercury. Another additive is MSG (monosodium glutamate). Mercury, in the form of thimerosal, is found in multi-dose shots but not in single doses of these flu vaccines: Afluria, Afluria quad, Flulaval Quad, Flulaval, Fluvirin, and FluZone Quad. So, if you have decided to get vaccinated, the best option is finding a provider that uses one of these single-dose shots.

Damage caused by flu shots: The U.S. Special Claims Court reports there has been a drastic increase in the claims for damages as a result of flu vaccines. Damages awarded in 2014 were $4.9 million, but this figure rose over 1,000% to $61 million in one year and rose an additional 50% in 2016.  I personally have chosen to stay away from the Flu Vaccine and discourage any but the most immune compromised to do the same.  I routinely see many of my patients get sick from or have other side effects from this injection.  For instance, over the past few weeks, I have been taking care of a woman who developed a frozen shoulder (had trouble lifting and using her arm and shoulder), neck and upper back pain, and a severe headache from her recent flu vaccine. 

Of course, the choice is yours but make sure you consider the risks before you just go because you think that it’s the right thing to do.

Vitamin D3, Other Supplements and Flu

A review of the research on Vitamin D shows that it supports a healthy immune system, helps to mobilize white blood cells in case of infection, supports a healthy immune response and can protect people from flu. A meta-analysis (review) of 25 clinical trials involving nearly 11,000 patients from 14 countries, published in the British Medical Journal, February of 2017, concluded: “Vitamin D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall.” The best results were seen in patients who took the supplements on a regular basis and had low levels of Vitamin D at the beginning of the studies.  

Transluscent pill in between thumb and pointer finger

Unfortunately, most people who live in northern latitudes tend to have insufficient levels of Vitamin D, especially during the winter months, due to the low angle of the sun in the sky.  If your shadow is longer than you are, your skin is not making Vitamin D upon exposure to the sun (know as the shadow test).   Therefore, Vitamin D supplementation in the winter months is strongly recommended.

Garlic has a long history of supporting a healthy immune system as well. I carry and excellent supplement “Aged” garlic supplement by Kyolic, which has numerous immune boosting studies along with studies on cholesterol, triglycerides, heart health, many others and best of all does NOT cause bad breath.

Vitamin C: Supplements that supply the full Vitamin C Complex and not just ascorbic acid can be wonderful immune system supporters. Standard Process makes a supplement called Cataplex AC which is a nice blend of whole food vitamin C with the full C complex, plus vitamin A for the lungs and bronchi along with just the right amount of echinacea to help support a healthy immune response.  It tends to work great for the flu.  If you feel symptomatic, come into the office and I can “muscle test” you for it.

Probiotics:  In the past, I have preferred refrigerated probiotics, however, there is a brand-new probiotic which I now consider to be the best one.  It’s made by a company call Just Thrive:  It features 4 different strains of probiotic which come in the form of spores (like a seed), so they are protected from our stomach acid and actually grow in the small and large intestine.  This probiotic is on the expensive side; however, considering 100% of these gut-friendly flora actually survive and thrive in our intestine and colon, vs, 99+% being killed by our stomach acid, they are worth it. There is very substantial research showing these strains support a healthy immune system, weight loss, and an overall health boost.  Since they arrived about two weeks ago, I have been using them daily and feel great.

Oregano and especially Oil of Oregano are powerful immune system supporters along with Echinacea, Goldenseal, Astragalus and Andrographis (a mushroom).  Of course, I will be happy to review these with you, should the need arise, and can muscle test you to see which ones might offer the best immune support for you.

Remember to:

*Wash your hands, especially after being around someone who is sick or appears to be symptomatic.
*Drink lots of water.
*Try not to get too stressed out.  Studies show it’s bad for your immune system.
*Eat lots of fruits and vegetables while trying to stay away from junk food because sugar immediately lowers immunity. 
*Try to maintain a positive, healthy outlook. Studies show it’s good for your immune system. 
*And lastly…. try to get plenty of restful sleep which nicely boosts your immunity.