Sunday, December 30, 2018

What to do about the flu

Not just Christmas season, this is also flu season and the vaccine makers are not sparing any expense to convince all humans that they must have a flu vaccine or risk death.

As a Functional Medicine doctor my patients are a little more wary than the average citizen and have a lot of questions about whether they should get a vaccine.

My story is that I'm allergic to most of the components of the vaccine so the last time I got a flu vaccine was in 1993 and that was also the only year I've ever had the flu. It was awful.

Vaccines are supposed to stimulate your immune system and help you create antibodies against a potentially harmful infection. Many vaccines helped our society immensely when communicable diseases like smallpox and measles were rampant and we didn't have tools to help sick people get better. I think when vaccines were first created that our immune systems were not as compromised as they are today.

My hypothesis is that our environment and water and food are now so contaminated that our immune systems are already overly challenged and that is why we are seeing dramatic rises in the rates of cancer, autism and autoimmune diseases.

But this post isn't about how to safely give vaccines, there are lots of books about that topic. This post is about flu prevention.

If you are required to get a flu shot for your job and know that it doesn't harm you then do a little research and decide for yourself whether you'd like to get one. Read this before you give yourself or your children the flu shot.

Since I am allergic to almost every ingredient in the flu vaccine I elect not to get it. My flu prevention starts with the vitamins you see in the photo. Taking a high quality multivitamin helps by giving your cells the nutrients they may not be receiving in our nutrient deficient food supply. I also don't use hand sanitizer because of allergies but recommend hand washing and making sure not to drink or eat after others. Don't share utensils or dishware!

Remember during the holidays that excess sugar, alcohol and processed foods also compromise your immune system. Try to celebrate the season in moderation and treat yourself with whole foods and vegetables - your immune system will function better and you'll be less likely to get sick.

If you aren't living at the equator and out in the sun daily your immune system probably could use some extra vitamin D. See a Functional or Integrative physician to have your vitamin D, thyroid, zinc, folate and B12 levels checked. You could also get a functional nutrient assessment that will show whether you have any other vitamin deficits or heavy metal toxicity.

I take 50000IU of vitamin D3 every week and if someone around me gets sick I take an extra D3 the first day of exposure  and the next day just for good measure. Vitamin C (1000mg per capsule in the Ascorbplex example above) is also necessary to help your immune system fight off a viral attack.

I recommend taking at least 3000 mg a day if you suspect exposure or begin to have symptoms of a viral infection. Zinc is also necessary so make sure your multivitamin has 30mg of zinc or get a good zinc supplement. I also like the Elderberry and zinc lozenges by Sambuca to help with fighting off a virus.

Mushrooms like Shitake, Maitaki, Cordyceps and Turkey tail will help give your immune system a boost. If you don't like the taste or can't get a steady supply of mushrooms there are supplements made from these species of mushroom to help strengthen your immune system's defenses.

Last but not least, your immune system will be compromised if you are overly stressed and don't take time out to manage your stress levels. Regular activities that are relaxing and let your adrenal gland (main organ of stress management) have a break will help your immune function.

I really enjoy yoga and reading books so I make time for those. I also recommend a good meditation app like Stop, Breathe and Think. A few minutes of meditation daily has been shown to increase mental clarity and focus and help reduce the effects of stress. Lowering the effects of stress will help your immune function.

Take charge of your health in 2019 and have the healthiest year yet.

Happy New Year!

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