I remember when I was in the gas station business I used to get excited around the holidays because there would be a rush of people traveling to see family, and my sales would go way up. I have a feeling doctors get excited this time of year, because their business booms from all the people coming in with colds and flus. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure they’re concerned for your wellbeing and give you the best care they know how. But I also know the beginning of the year means a new deductible to meet for most patients, and they avoid going to the doctor unless they have a chronic condition that needs monitoring or they have an urgent issue – like the flu. So I’m just not sure if prevention, or even education on how to prevent the flu, is ever really going to be their focus.
The good news is you can prevent the flu – and even the common cold, with natural therapies that promote good health at the cellular level. A virus like the common cold or influenza needs a weak cell as its host. Viruses can’t replicate unless a vulnerable cell allows them to attach and inject their genetic material inside. Here are 3 ways you can make your cells strong enough to fight off viruses and stay healthy through the flu season.
Shore Up Your Microbiome
Your body is home to trillions of microorganisms known as your microbiome. This collection of mostly bacteria cells is there to help you create good health inside your body. When your microbiome is out of balance from stress, too much sugar, a strong course of antibiotics or other medications, or environmental assault, it can get overrun with Candida yeast, mold from environmental exposure, and even parasites, and this weakens your immune system as a whole. Your microbiome is primarily housed in your digestive system, and 90% of your immune system is also located in your digestive system. This makes sense because most of your contact with the outside world comes in through your digestive system; even your respiratory system “dumps” into your stomach.
To strengthen the protective mechanisms of the digestive system, we need to shore up the microbiome with a good quality probiotic. Supplementing more of the “good guys” allows them to take up residence and restore the balance back to health. When you take a probiotic, it’s important to take enough. Think about it, there are trillions of cells in the microbiome, so supplementing with millions of probiotic bacteria won’t even make a dent. You need billions, and often it takes much more than the label on the bottle recommends to see a change in your health. A good probiotic has a pleasant flavor, and can be sprinkled on foods or added to smoothies to get enough in during the day. It’s important to not heat or freeze probiotics; you’ll lose a significant number of good bacteria if they’re exposed to temperature extremes.
Support Your Glands
Learning to support your immune system is a key factor in also learning how to prevent the flu. And when it comes to supporting the immune system, the major player is the digestive system, but the master immune gland is the thymus. You don’t hear much about the thymus gland; it sits right behind the breastbone at the level of the heart and makes T-lymphocyte cells, a type of white blood cell important to fight off pathogens, like colds and flu. This gland is highly active in childhood but is infiltrated with fat cells as you age and weakens in its functioning. While this is thought to be normal, as you age this process can actually weaken your immune system and your thymus may need support to function optimally. I recommend taking both thymus and spleen extracts to boost the function of the immune system during flu season and prevent these bugs from taking hold and making you sick.
Build Collagen with 2 Key Nutrients
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It’s found in muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It strengthens hair, skin, nails and connective tissue. Basically it’s the “glue” that keeps us all held together, and it declines naturally as we age, making us more prone to achy joints, wrinkled skin, sore muscles, and something called leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when an inflamed intestinal lining allows whole proteins and pathogens like bacteria and viruses to pass into the blood stream, causing more inflammation and infections. The microbiome support of a good probiotic plays a large part in its healing, but strengthening collagen is really the key to restoring the integrity of the lining and bringing health to the immune system again.
The 2 key nutrients used to support collagen production are Lysine, an amino acid, and vitamin C in high dose. Studies done by Dr. Matthias Rath show this combination to be effective against influenza before, during and after infection. I recommend at least 2,000 to 5,000 mg of Vitamin C daily, especially during flu season, and supplement 1,000 to 2,000 mg of Lysine with the vitamin C.
I’ve written more about Dr. Rath and how Vitamin C saved my life here.
I often say “Don’t be a doctor’s Christmas present.” Well, don’t be his Spring Break either. With a fundamental education on how to prevent the flu, and few basic supplements like vitamin C, lysine, thymus and spleen extracts, and a good probiotic, I believe you can support your health at the cellular level, and avoid colds and flu altogether.