Immune Support

It’s the beginning of December, and we have entered the cold and flu season!  Yes, that time of year when the days get shorter, the evenings become darker, we have rain, we have cold weather, and a lot of people are getting sick.  So what can we do to help prevent this?

Many people do proceed with getting immunizations for the flu virus.  This is fine as it may protect against some forms of flu; however, we often find that people succumb to illness even if they have been immunized.  So here are a few tips to help protect you during this time of year that has everyone coughing and blowing and sneezing.

  1. Remember that the health of your intestinal tract goes a long way in augmenting your immune system.  Keeping your diet healthy and free of stressors such as excessive alcohol, sugar, and refined carbohydrates helps maintain a generally healthier lining of the GI tract.  Taking probiotics is also a good way of building up that first line of immune defense.

  2. Make certain that your vitamin D levels are not only within the normal range but optimized.  The reference interval often listed on blood work can range from 30 to 100, but it has been found that at least 50 to 70 is a preferred number for keeping the immune system in better shape.  Little did we know years ago that vitamin D is so important in helping maintain immunity and not just keeping bones strong and healthy.

  3. Maintain adequate amounts of vitamin A.  Vitamin A palmitate is another fat-soluble vitamin that serves multiple functions in the body, but keeping this level optimized with healthy intake of green vegetables (as well as the yellow and orange ones) can help greatly in maintaining vitamin A from a natural standpoint.  Being sure your multivitamin contains 5,000 to 10,000 units daily is also a good protection for your immune system.

  4. Vitamin C.  There are different types of vitamin C, and the individual tolerance can vary between one and another, but keeping at least 1,000 mg a day in a form that is tolerable for you is never a bad idea.  Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and has some slight antiviral and antimicrobial tendencies as well but certainly would not be enough to treat an overwhelming infection!

There are a few other things that are helpful should you come down with a flu or cold.  Of course, keeping yourself well hydrated is extremely important.  So is remembering to avoid close contact with other people, especially during the first 48 to 72 hours that you feel symptoms.  This is the point in which you are most contagious.  Additionally, there are some other possible immune-stimulating nutritional products that may be used to help your body fight off these viruses.  These should always be used only under the supervision of a healthcare provider, especially if there is any tendency toward any other autoimmune types of illnesses.

Finally, just be careful not to overstress or overwork during this time.  During the holidays, diets tend to be less healthful, and stress levels seem to be higher, which can weigh down the immune system.  Doing everything in your power to have those downtimes and keep yourself emotionally and spiritually healthy goes a long way in helping toward keeping that immune system in good shape.  I still feel that an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure, and hopefully these are some things you can add to your regimen to make that happen.