Helping the Immune System Is More Than About Flu Shots…Plus My Top 12 Tips for Immune Balance
Many people ask me about options/alternatives to taking the influenza shot each year. Since the flu shot is recommended mostly for people who are elderly, or have long term health problems, or people who work with these people, it leaves a question for the rest of the general population. The first recommendation I make is to address any nutritional deficiencies. The most frequent causes of a depressed immune system are nutrient deficiency, and toxic overload. Many clinical and experimental studies show that any single nutrient deficiency can profoundly impair immune system function. In my naturopathic practice, I test nutrient levels on all my patients, by a hair or blood nutrient analysis. What I have found has been startling: a range of 3 to 15 nutrient deficiencies in each patient! There is a clearly widespread nutrient deficiency across North America. The most useful nutrients related to the immune system are vitamins A, C, D & E, B-vitamins, iron, zinc and selenium. So, a better diet, targeted nutritional supplements, and or a multivitamin make good sense. In my clinic, to boost the immune system, I additionally offer intravenous injections of vitamins and minerals. I commonly use a combination known as the ‘Myers cocktail’. It is useful in supporting the immune system, and also in helping people with a current cold, flu, sinus/allergy problem, asthma or even digestion problems.
The next recommendation I make is to avoid sugary/sweet foods and drinks. Consuming only 100 grams of sugars in the form of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or juices/pop significantly reduces the ability of your immune system white blood cells (WBCs) to destroy microorganisms in your body. This effect can last up to 5 hours, with a 50% reduction in the WBCs ability to destroy foreign microorganisms. Since many Canadians consume sweets in excess, it’s no wonder that we really have chronically depressed immune systems all year, and are then susceptible to developing infections.
Here are my general recommendations for a good immune system:
1• reduce stressors, increase relaxation activities
2• eat regular meals, and do not over eat
3• eat more vegetables & fruits
4• avoid alcohol, sweets, caffeine, and smoking – Detoxify the body!
5• use garlic, onions, thyme, oregano
6• daily 6–8 glasses of water/herbal teas
7• at least 7 hours of sleep per night
8• wash hands with soap and water regularly
9• regular exercise
10• avoid close contact with those with the cold or flu
11• address nutrient deficiencies
12. Finally, for those who want a specific option to the flu shot, due to allergies, or personal choice, I give them a homeopathic injection that supports the immune system, proven to decrease the chances of getting flu’s and reduced symptoms if you do. For those with poor health, I give this monthly, otherwise I give it 1-2 times each year, before and during the flu season.