By Rika Keck, FDN, ACN, CMTA Specializes in Nutrition, Fitness and Women’s Wellness.
Life is busy, going at 160 miles per hour! Deadlines at work for the end of 2013, social commitments, Holiday preparations, shopping, staying more indoors because of the cold outside, not getting enough sleep, more sugary treats at home and the office – all will lead to a weakened immune system and that sets up the terrain for viral and bacterial infections. Oh, and by the way, trying to recover from breast cancer surgery and/or cancer treatments of various kinds?
It is within the above landscape that health, detoxification and strength of the immune system need to be addressed and supported. This is not medical advice and I do recommend discussing the information with your health practitioner or holistic-minded physician before embarking on a supplement program.
As a Holistic practitioner, I believe in supporting health while also using anti-viral and anti-microbial protection. I use specific nutritional and herbal supplements plus homeopathic remedies, but I wanted to address some easy immune-supporting ‘DIY-at-home’ tips.
I am not in favor of the Flu-shot for multiple reasons including the harmful ingredients and preservatives used in the ‘vaccine’. I do believe everyone must make their own choice regarding what they put into their body. It is worth knowing what is in a Flu shot, esp. as it injected directly into the bloodstream. http://www.drfranklipman.com/the-truth-about-the-flu-shot/
‘Natural Flu Protection’ Measures?
(This is not medical advice. Please check in with a Health Practitioner if on medications.)
Optimal nutrition with seasonal whole foods including free range / wild sourced protein, healthy fats and complex carbs go a long way to boost overall immune health at any time. Consider eating multiple different colored organic vegetables and some seasonal fruit daily to assimilate a variety of protective anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. With toxic cancer treatments, the body has a higher need for food-based anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Did You Know This About Probiotics?
70-80% of the immune system is in the gut! This is why probiotics play such an important role in supporting your immune system. There are multiple strains, various dosages and multiple companies available.
With chemo and radiation, the micro flora in the gut becomes disrupted. This weakens the immune system, resilience and absorption of nutrients. Opportunistic ‘bad bugs’ and fungal infections can gain a foothold in a compromised environment resulting in additional physiological stress.
General info: In today’s world, probiotics are an imperative part of our daily maintenance program. Why? Consider the amount of antibiotics used in commercial foods. These alter the healthy flora in your gut, “they destroy the good guys.” As such, it is great to consider a high quality probiotic for your daily wellness.
Rotation? Rather than choosing one probiotic, do rotate your probiotic to assimilate different strains besides acidophilus. lactobacillus, bifidia. The healthy yeasts, saccaromyces boulardii, are very helpful in various gastro-intestinal challenges and yeast infections.
I would use a high dosage of probiotics when feeling immune-compromised, ‘under the weather’ or recovering from surgery. (Also, It has been shown that probiotics will shorten the duration and severity of a cold.)
Health Fats And Your Immune System?
Healthy fats, esp. coconut oil, are terrific immune boosters. This saturated fat will keep your metabolism humming by supporting thyroid function. The thyroid is adversely affected by chronic stress, radiation and chemotherapy. Coconut oil contains essential fatty acids that are antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal. Adding it to the creamed buckwheat, or over steamed dark green veggies or adding it to your chicken curry, it will go a long way to support your health!
Cod Liver Oil will support with vitamin A and vitamin D – both are needed for immune support, gut-lining support, plus the DHA supports brain health and memory! (Do check-in with your physician before any surgery!!!!!)
What About Supplementing With Vitamins?
When you feel that you are getting sick, I do recommend increasing complex vitamin C, E, vitamin A, vitamin D, selenium, calcium and zinc. It is during this preliminary time, that you have a chance to ‘put a brake on the Flu infection pedal’.
Taking higher doses of nutrients for a few days can be very supportive in fighting off a viral infection. If you are on medications esp. heart or blood thinning meds, you do want consult with your physician before going on a short term, therapeutic and higher dose regimen.
What About Synthetic Vitamins?
I strongly discourage use of any synthetic ‘natural’ vitamins, which are made from cheap ingredients. Even though promoted as ‘natural’, these synthetic supplements often non-food based, plus they contain harmful fillers, colors and toxic additives. Quality matters!
Look for only ‘whole food supplements’ that contain complexes and phytonutrients, not isolated and fractionated compounds. Synthetic vitamins have a long shelf life and are not bioavailable, e.g. Synthetic vitamin B is made from coal tar, ammonia, acetone and hydrochloric acid……
BTW, synthetic vitamins are used in clinical studies – no wonder the outcome is not favorable….esp. regarding vitamin A and vitamin E…It is important to stay with organic and whole food supplements.
Minerals: Which minerals have good anti-viral properties?
Selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, All are immune boosters and are helpful. When you feel you are coming down with a viral infection, I would suggest using doses in small increments regularly throughout a few days – Just using one mega dose in the morning will not be effective.
Iodine supplementation is also very helpful regarding infections and this is best discussed with a practitioner.
Herbal Teas: There are great teas at the Health store that will support mucous membranes in the sinuses and bronchioles. Check for teas that include herbs such as Slippery Elm, Marshmallow Root (not with statins), Nettles, Golden Seal, Licorice Root (avoid if high blood pressure), Choose from a great selection of herbal teas that will soothe inflamed membranes and support drainage. Arnica and Boswellia will provide inflammatory relief. Saline nasal sprays or use of the netti pot is helpful too.
A Few Additional Tips?
- Avoiding of sugar: One teaspoon of sugar depresses the immune system by 4 hours. (This is important not just for the Flu Season.)
- Hydration: With the heated buildings, being dehydrated poses a risk, as the he boy is not flushing efficiently.
- Sleep: Getting enough sleep is so helpful for immune support.
- The obvious: Washing of hands, not touching eyes, nose or mouth to avoid viral transfer via mucous membranes
- Put up your feet; listen to some nice music while you are enjoying a cup of tea!
- Meditation, Yoga – any form of stress reduction that resonates with you will support your immune system during the Winter months.
- Dry skin brushing helps lymphatic flow and it is supportive during cancer treatment too.
Find joy and laughter – the best ‘medicine’!
About Rika Keck: Find Rika at NYIntegratedHealth.com
. Rika specializes in Nutrition, Fitness and Women’s Wellness. Rika is Certified in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, also a CMTA Speaker, Corporate Wellness Consultant and Holistic Life Coach.
Rika Keck, FDN, ACN, CMTA