Healthy Beginnings

3 simple, natural tips to prepare your body for flu season

Oil from the oregano plant can help reduces symptoms of the flu. Courtesy photo

The adage of this magazine is “Life’s a journey. Make it a healthy one.” And there’s no better time than the beginning of the flu season to engrain this into your daily routine.

Here are some simple, organic tips to prevent being ravaged by the flu this season and avoid the need for vaccinations or anti-viral medications.

  1. Decrease Stress in Your Life.

Dr. Leonard Calabrese, a clinical immunologist at the Mayo Clinic, states, “The (body’s) response to stress is to produce the stress hormone cortisol. In short bursts, cortisol boosts your immunity by increasing inflammation, but over time it has the opposite effect and decreases the immune system’s ability to fight off infections.”

Additionally, stress reduces the number of circulating lymphocytes-white blood cells that fight disease. Lower lymphocyte levels make you more susceptible to viruses, including the common cold and influenza.

  1. Get More Sleep.

According to the cover article of the August 2018 National Geographic, “There is … evidence that sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system…”

In fact, sleep is so essential to immune function that when researchers at the University of Washington Medical School took blood samples from 11 pairs of identical twins with different sleep patterns, they discovered that the twin with the shorter sleep duration had a depressed immune system when compared with his or her sibling.

The findings were published in the journal Sleep in January 2017. Further, a 2013 article published in Journal of Sleep found that, “acute illnesses were more frequent in otherwise healthy adolescents with shorter sleep, and longer sleepers reported fewer illness bouts.”

  1. Exercise Like Your Life Depends On It.

The influenza virus is potentially fatal, and your body needs all the help it can get waging war on this troublesome virus.

Not only does exercise give you the resiliency needed to fight the long, hard battle influenza brings, according to the March 2018 article in African Health Sciences, “after elderly subjects underwent just 6 months of aerobic exercise, their T Cell counts and IL-10 counts were elevated, thus upregulating the immune system and downregulating inflammation respectively.”

T Cells help rid the body of infections by recognizing infected cells and destroying them. Some T Cells even have a “memory” of the virus allowing them to readily activate and destroy viruses promptly next time they are encountered.

What it do if you do get the flu

If you do happen to get the flu this season, immediately take 15ml of Elderberry syrup 4 times a day for 5 days (scientifically proven to quickly reduce flu symptoms). Also, high-dose Vitamin D (a 1-time, 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 or 10,000 IU 3 times daily for 2 to 3 days) has been shown to rapidly resolve influenza symptoms.

Mega-dosing Vitamin C, 1000 mg hourly for 6 hours at the onset of symptoms, and then 3 times daily thereafter, has been shown to prevent and relieve symptoms of cold and flu. Also, liposomal Vitamin C will ameliorate any GI upset.

Oregano oil (taken in capsules or facial steam) has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-viral properties and reduces symptoms and infection burden.

A smart nurse practitioner once told me, “If we all just listened to our grandmother’s advice about getting a good night’s sleep, exercise daily, don’t smoke, eat your vegetables, and don’t get too stressed out, we would all be a lot healthier.”

I guess science proves granny was right after all.

Robert Floyd, MD, is a board-certified family physician practicing integrative and functional medicine at Gerber Medical Clinic in Reno. He is now accepting new patients. Visit www.DrFloyd.org or call 775-826-1900 for more information.