By Dr. Kenneth Hoffman, DACM, L.Ac.
If you are considering not getting the flu vaccine this year or want to hedge your bets by super boosting your system, consider these steps instead, which can be a science-based, safe and effective alternative for yourself and your family. You cannot always avoid getting sick. In fact, its nature’s way of building the immune system. So try to avoid the flu and if you do get it, just take care of yourself — properly.
Tips for supporting your immune system and preventing the flu naturally:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. This is the number one way to prevent the flu and other respiratory infections. You must scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds in order to kill viruses. Twenty seconds is about how long it takes to sing the ABC’s one time through. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands.
- Take care of digestion. 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. According to Chinese Medicine, “The Middle Jiao is the seat of health”. Increase fermented foods or take a probiotic. This will keep your levels of good gut bacteria up to help fight off infections.
- Reduce alcohol and sugar consumption. Even moderate alcohol consumption suppresses the central nervous system. Consuming too much sugar can suppress the immune system and make it more difficult for your body to fight off infections like the flu. It has been well studied that even 1 teaspoon of sugar can suppress white blood cells for up to 6 hours.
- Reduce your stress. Stress is known to suppress our immune systems. Consider meditation, yoga, and acupuncture.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Your body relies on sleep to recuperate from daily exposure to toxins. Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly reduce immune function. Get more sleep if you need it.
- Increase your antioxidants. Antioxidants are very important for your immune function. Juice Plus+ has been clinically proven to significantly increase antioxidant levels. Curcumin is the orange pigment in turmeric and a potent antioxidant that improves joint health and cardiovascular function. Vitamin C also provides potent antioxidant protection, and supports optimal immune function.
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise can boost your immune system by increasing your circulation and relieving stress. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel throughout your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off an illness. Exercise can also enhance your immune system by relieving stress and slowing the release of stress hormones in the body. Just remember, excess exercise, meaning high aerobic activity, can suppress the immune system, so if you are feeling like something is coming on, go easy.
Suggested supplement prevention regimen:
- ImmuneMax – Dose: 1 capsule, 3 times per day. A comprehensive herbal formula designed to promote healthy immune system function. Includes herbs, mushroom extract and other natural compounds found to have potential antiviral and antibacterial ability, stimulate natural killer cell activity and immune response. ImmuneMax is a great formula for both acute and long-term use for all age groups.
- HiPo D Plus K – Dose: 1 drop per day. Vitamin D supercharges the immune cells and has been clinically studied and validated for the reduction of upper respiratory infections. Optimal blood levels are important for your immune system. Ask us for a Vitamin D OH-25 test to see if you have optimal levels.
- Probiotic Complete – Dose: 1 capsule per day. A unique probiotic formula designed to deliver active organisms shown to promote healthy gut microflora, protect intestinal integrity and boost immune function. Each Probiotic Complete capsule provides seven proven probiotic strains chosen for their ability to withstand the harsh gastrointestinal environment and adhere to the intestinal tract to deliver superior results.
- Helps maintain a gastrointestinal balance.
- Increases secretory IgA for enhanced gut immunity.
- Supports bowel regularity.
- Supports digestion and micronutrient absorption.
If you catch a cold, do the following:
- If you are a patient, call our office for treatment and advice on dosage changes.
- Take Master Chen’s Healing Soup Recipe 1-2 times per day
Take the following additional supplements:
- Health Max Silver – Dose: 2 teaspoons 2 times per day. It is an immune support, meaning that it is designed to help boost a healthy immune system to act as a first line of defense. It has been proven safe for daily usage when used as suggested.
- Muco Coccinum – Dose: Preventively, adults let 1 tablet dissolve underneath the tongue every 2 weeks starting early in autumn and proceeding the winter period. For children, the tablet can be dissolved in a bit of slightly mineralized water and sipped. Muco Coccinim is a homeopathic preparation that is specifically formulated for the prevention and treatment of colds, flu-like symptoms and respiratory ailments. Each tablet of Muco Coccinum contains ingredients that reduce symptoms including mucus production, fever and chills. Muco Coccinum can be used preventively as well as therapeutically at the first sign of the flu.