By Carol B. Blair, BS, DIHOM
Cold and flu season is once again upon us. What can we do to protect ourselves against these viral invaders and if an invasion occurs, what can we do? The answer is plenty!
Even healthy individuals get an occasional viral infection, but building a strong immune system is good prevention. To do this, be sure to take a broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral supplement with a minimum of 1000 IU of Vitamin D, 15 mg of zinc and 70 mcg of selenium. We have several that will satisfy those requirements such as Natur-Tyme’s Advanced Daily. Studies show that selenium helps to keep viruses from replicating, while even marginal deficiencies of A and/or zinc may cause one to become more susceptible to infections. More is not better, however. All of these nutrients have the potential for being harmful in large amounts, so a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is a good choice.
How often have you been sick when you became overly stressed and weren’t sleeping well? These are common factors that will reduce our resistance and make us more susceptible to infection. Keeping your adrenals nourished enhances your immune system. Garden of Life My Kind Organic Adrenal helps to keep your adrenal glands healthy. My Kind Organic Ashwagandha not only helps with stress but it also encourages a restorative sleep. They also have a product called Sleep Well that is worth a try if sleep is an issue for you.
In addition, consider Adding Garden of Life’s Oil of Oregano Seasonal Drops and extra Vitamin C to keep the immune system robust. Again, there are many choices for vitamin C such as MegaFood Ultra Vitamin C 1-2 daily or their Tangy Citrus gummies or even their C Protect Booster powder. Of course, it goes without saying, that a good diet, six to eight glasses of water daily, exercise, and adequate rest are very important. One or two cups of green tea may also be helpful as antioxidant protection. Add to your diet plenty of garlic, onions, and ginger-foods, often recommended by “old time” herbalists such as Dr. John Christopher. Horseradish will also help to clear the sinuses.
In the event you suffer from an infection, regardless of your best efforts, natural remedies are available. Elderberry, in particular, has many studies behind it as anti-viral support, and comes in a variety of forms: chewables, syrups, drinks, capsules, etc. Our knowledgeable staff can help you pick the correct one for you or your children.
Umcka is a great anti-viral that has been used in Europe for many years. It has at least 17 studies behind it and clinical trials showed significant symptom relief compared to the placebo group. Umcka also comes in various forms.
Many medicinal mushrooms are revered for building the immune system. Three types of mushrooms, Cordyceps, Maitake and Reishi, all have been shown to increase natural killer cell activity from 230–300%, respectively. Since these mushrooms modulate the immune system, they are particularly beneficial for individuals with auto-immune disorders. When several mushrooms are formulated together, their synergistic effect increases. Host Defense MyCommunity is one such mushroom support product that I recommend frequently.”
Zinc gluconate lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of a cold from an average of 7.6 to 4.4 days.
Homeopathics are often very useful. Although narrowing the choices for a single remedy is sometimes difficult for the layperson, combination products are also available. Homeopathic remedies are very safe and have the added benefit of not interfering with prescription drugs. Oscillococcinum (pronounced o-sill-o-cox-see-num) has been used in France for 65 years and is a popular European flu remedy. A German placebo-controlled study showed that after 48 hours, 62.9% of the individuals showed clear improvement with “Oscillo.” In this study, the remedy was not taken at the very onset of symptoms—which is important to achieve the best results.
Although I have outlined many possibilities, there are a few formulas to help narrow your choices. Always start whichever protocol you choose as soon as symptoms develop (so it is a good idea to keep your favorites in the house).
As always, check with your physician before starting any regimen.