Beat the Flu This Winter

Sick Girl

This past May I was sick for 9 days. Despite two negative COVID tests, I still think I had COVID! I guess I’ll never know, but I can tell you that it’s scary to get a bad flu when you have asthma and it’s COVID season.

As we move into fall and winter, there’s a fair chance you’ll catch a virus and be worried as well.

The two best things you can do for flu season are practice diligent self-care, and be ready to take action should you start to feel flu symptoms.

So let’s learn some options!

Please note that these are my opinions and I am not your physician. I do not diagnose or treat disease. Please consult your physician before any new health program. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

Boost Immunity While Getting Back Out There

As we return to a pseudo-normal lifestyle, going back to work, church, schools, gyms and restaurants. This increases risk of exposure to the flu and other viruses, but there are many steps you can take to prevent the flu from multiplying and taking hold.

1. Eat Well

healthy foodSugar tanks your immune system, and you can see that as our whole country gets sick throughout Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you are craving something sweet, make a good choice, such as a small square of dark chocolate or sparkling water with a splash of juice.

If you’re headed to a party, eat beforehand or bring a healthy dish for sharing.

There are also lots of options for yummy ‘treats’ for these holidays, such as nut-based power balls and healthy hot cocoa made with collagen powder and almond milk.

Besides avoiding sugar, aim for 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day in all colors of the rainbow. A ‘cheat’ is to use a greens or reds powder alone or in a smoothie. Drink plenty of filtered water and choose organic, wild and grass fed whenever you can.

2. Get Exercise

man on treadmillExercise has so many benefits, and boosting immunity is one of them. It also helps move lymph, and when that’s moving, your immune system can communicate better.

If you can get outdoors to exercise, that’s even better. You’ll get a little vitamin D (although not enough in the winter in most US latitudes), fresh air, and the calming effect of being in nature.

Any exercise is good exercise, so if you only have the energy for a 10-minute walk, great! Ideally, though, do a variety of movements. Some options include living room dance parties, YouTube ab workouts, jumping rope or jumping on a trampoline, biking, and yoga.

3. Use Your Sauna

woman in portable infrared saunaI’ve had a Sunlighten Solo System for nearly three years now and I love the convenience of having my own sauna! My son is also happy to use it, too.

I feel great after using my sauna and I sleep like a baby. Stress reduction and improved sleep are just two of the benefits. 

You’ll also detoxify and repair or eliminate damaged cells. This creates a cleaner environment in which your immune system can better function.

Raising core body temperature is key. Although Sunlighten saunas heat you up differently than a fever, the increased body temperature provides the same benefits, including white blood cell and T-cell production to ward off viruses. Sunlighten saunas are the only ones to have been proven to raise core body temperature by 3 degrees. This not only helps fight off any viruses already potentially lurking in your system, but also boosts your immune system to be able to continue to fight them off.

4. Take Your Basic Supplements

vitaminsThanks to stress, environmental toxins, declining nutrition in food and more, it’s next to impossible to get all your nutrients from diet alone. Our clients are very health conscious and we see nutrient deficiencies on test results frequently.

Especially as you move into flu season, please be sure you are taking high-quality supplements so that your immune system has all it needs to function correctly.

This is my short list:

Vitamin D with K- I recommend 5,000 IU a day in dark, winter months

“Vitamin D plays a critical role in regulating the immune system. VDRs (vitamin D receptors) are expressed on B cells, T cells, and antigen-presenting cells, which are immunologic cells that control innate and adaptive immune responses.” [1]

“Up to 70% of adult whites and 95% of adult African Americans in the US have a vitamin D level under 30 ng/mL.” [2] I like to see vitamin D3 levels around 80 ng/mL, or at least 60 ng/mL.

Multivitamin with methylated Bs- one serving a day

Here are a few ways a multivitamin will support your immune system:

  • B6, B12, and folate all support immunity in the gut, and we know that COVID can survive the stomach and attack the gut lining. [3, 4]
  • Vitamin A promotes intestinal immune response and provides immunoregulation by regulating membrane fluidity and gap-junctional communication and enhances burst activity of phagocytes(I like that phrase), amongst other functions.[3]
  • Selenium supports antioxidant response, positively affecting leukocytes and natural killer cells.[3]

Omega 3s- 1.5 gm a day, split between EPA and DHA

Fish oil strengthens your cellular membranes and has multiple benefits beyond immunity, including fortificating the brain and gut barriers.[5]

“Ten volunteers were given fish oil supplementation containing 26% EPA and 54% DHA daily for two months. Thereafter, the phagocytic capacity of the neutrophils in the blood was increased with 62%.”[6]

Probiotic- I recommend working up to 2 MegaSporeBiotic a day

“Different Bacillus strains have been reported to display antimicrobial, anti-oxidative and immune-modulatory activity in the host….the antagonistic activity of Bacillus spp. has been explored against a large number of pathogens.” [7]

Probiotics have anti-inflammatory properties related to the stimulation of secretory IgA synthesis in mucous membranes and the production of cytokines.” [8]

Here’s some very interesting findings on one probiotic strain, Bacillus clausii:

“Bacillus clausii is an aerobic, spore-forming bacterium that is able to survive transit through the acidic environment of the stomach and colonize the intestine even in the presence of antibiotics.

B. clausii may exert a significant and persistent impact on RI (respiratory infections)  in children and is safe and well-tolerated.” [8]

5. Do Some Extras

Doing the above will go a long way, but it is
COVID / flu season, so why not get some extra protection going on?

In my practice and in my personal life, I am a big advocate for daily detox and DIY detox. We are living a strange world these days, with EMF, chemical toxins, global pandemics, wildfires – you name it.

The liver, a key organ of detoxification, does the following:

  • Produces acute immune proteins
  • Kills antigen particles
  • Clears waste particles
  • Produces local inflammation
  • Deletes activated T cells
  • Induces tolerance to ingested and self-antigens

“The liver is a major site of extrathymic T cell development, which assumes increasing significance with aging in mammals. Perturbations in hepatic structure or function can result in significant ramifications in both the innate and adaptive immune systems.” [9]

This AGA Journals article also stated, “As many as 60% of patients with SARS had liver impairment and the virus has been detected in liver tissue.” Yikes! [4]

Liver damage can lead to  increased inflammation and adverse drug reactions in COVID-19 cases. [10]

Add these practices that support the liver or direct immunity for an added boost:

Steps for Once You Are Sick

The truth is that you will likely get sick with something in the next 9 months while COVID is kicking around. In my opinion, until you get a diagnosis, it’s important to act as if and be proactive.

Continue the above and:

  • Stay home- don’t go to work or run errands
  • Avoid other people in the home
  • Get tested quickly
  • Keep the house clean with non-toxic cleaners
  • Run essential oil diffusers to clean the air (lemon, tea tree, orange and clove are ideas)
  • Use a sauna daily if possible
  • Use a castor oil pack daily
  • Do a coffee enema daily if you are up for it
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Avoid any sugars or processed foods
  • Do partial fasting if it feels ok
  • Use a nasal wash
  • Use a steam inhaler with ½ tsp colloidal silver added for any lung symptoms
  • Take 2 olive leaf a day (an antiviral herb)
  • Take 2 fulvic and humic acid (a binder that also blocks viruses) at bedtime 
  • Take vitamin C throughout the day totaling 5-6 gm/ day
  • Take 2 broccoli seed supplement a day (supports the liver too)
  • Get more sleep as needed
  • Be alert for sleeper symptoms–when oxygen dips you could be lethargic

If you can’t afford everything on this list, don’t fret. Just do a variety of things. There are so many immune boosters out there. Other ideas include lemon water, chicken soup… you get the idea! 

Immunity is in your control more than you might think, so be proactive with your immune boosting this winter and feel more confident about your health!

References

Bridgit Danner has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2004 and a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner since 2015. She ran a busy, integrative medicine clinic for ten years and has done over 12,000 treatments in her career.

After losing everything to toxic mold, Bridgit now educates about toxins on how to detoxify with a functional healthcare approach through her online community at bridgitdanner.com. She also offers functional lab testing and practitioner-grade supplements through her shop, HormoneDetoxShop.com.

She offers a free Guide to Science-backed Supplements for Immunity at her site.

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