So, if getting the flu shot is a bad idea then what SHOULD we do??
Optimize the immune system
If you read the post ‘What is the flu?’ then you have an understanding of how the influenza virus infects cells. However, your fate is not sealed if you are exposed to the influenza virus. Clearly, not everyone that is exposed to the influenza virus contracts the flu. Well then, who gets the flu? Quite simply, those who’s immune system is weakened for one reason or another. So, the best thing you can do to prevent the flu is to ensure that your immune system is functioning at its highest levels.
* Avoid sugars, fructose, and grains – Americans consume 75 grams of fructose per day on average. This amount of fructose & sugar can decimate your immune system!
One way that fructose & sugar can have this effect is the impact on gut flora balance. These sugars feed the unhealthy bacteria, and especially Candida, which diverts the attention of the immune function to fight these issues leaving you vulnerable to influenza attack. Our post on gut health talks about this more but 70-80% of the immune function lives in the gut. Any impact on the gut makes gut health absolutely critical for your immune system to function at peak performance! Stick to less than 15 grams of fructose per day.
Also, don’t forget that low blood sugar levels (which often follows high blood sugar & high insulin levels) can be a potent stimulus for cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels depress immune function.
* The 3 R’s – this issue is so important that it is one of the tenants in the ‘Healthy Trinity’. The 3 R’s include Rest (sleep), Recovery from Exercise, and Reducing stress.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to sleep and what all it does for you. Suffice it to day that lots of sleep can help optimize the physiology and improve hormone (including cortisol) levels which can help improve immune function. Mama was right… rest and chicken soup!
Excess stress can wreak havoc on the body and the immune system. We want to minimize these effects as much as possible. You can read more about these effects on the Adrenal Fatigue post. If you are experiencing mental or emotional stressors then your immune defenses may be a little worn down as well. Dealing with these stressors in an appropriate way can maximize immune function. We have had excellent results with Revolution.calm and several other supplements to help mitigate stress.
* Exercise – Exercise has many benefits for improving your overall health. One of these benefits is that exercise can have a hormetic effect. That means that exercise induces a little stress which stimulates our bodies ability to deal with these stressors. This response persists after stopping exercise which improves our stress adaptability.
Additionally, exercise improves circulation and lymphatic flow. Both of these can be very important for optimal immune function.
* Wash your hands regularly – the influenza virus is susceptible to detergents and frequent handwashing during times of increased exposure can dramatically reduce your exposure to the virus.
Vitamin D has several effects that help modulate the immune system and reduce the likelihood of contracting respiratory illnesses like the flu. It is very interesting to note that the influenza virus exists year-round but the incidence of illness increases during the winter when our sun exposure is lowest with correspondingly lower levels of Vitamin D. Dr Cannell does an excellent job of laying out the Vitamin D argument in his paper. There are several sources that discuss the evidence linking Vitamin D deficiency and the incidence of flu and colds.
- Vit D & URI in Finnish Men – Subjects with serum Vitamin D concentrations < 40 nmol/L had significantly more days of absence from duty due to respiratory infection than did control subjects
- Newborns with Low Vitamin D levels and Respiratory Tract Infections – newborns with subclinical vitamin D deficiency may have an increased risk of suffering from acute lower respiratory tract infection
- Vitamin D and Respiratory Tract Infections in Indian Children – “Subclinical vitamin D deficiency and nonexclusive breastfeeding in the first 4 months of life were significant risk factors for severe ALRI in Indian children”
- Vitamin D and URI – “Serum 25(OH)D levels are inversely associated with recent URTI. This association may be stronger in those with respiratory tract diseases.”
- The Vitamin D Connection to Pediatric Infections – “The connection among vitamin D, infections, and immune function in the pediatric population indicates a possible role for vitamin D supplementation in potential interventions and adjuvant therapies.”
- Vitamin D Prevents Flu A – “This study suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren.”
Vitamin D has been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of influenza in school children. This study also showed a reduction in asthma attacks. These effects were increased if the children hadn’t been taking Vitamin D before and they were starting nursery school after age 3.
Ensuring appropriate Vitamin D levels is probably the most important and cost effective action you can take in order to prevent the flu.
Echinacea has been shown to inactivate the flu virus at recommended dose concentrations. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. A pretty good overview of echinacea is listed here.
Garlic is significantly effective in supporting and maintaining healthy immune function. Dr Mercola recommends Garlic for immune support in his post. This post discusses the benefits of garlic pretty well and is well reference.
This article shows benefit for the common cold. A soup made of garlic is suggested to “defeat colds, flu, and even norovirus” in an article in Preventdisease.com. An article on LiveStrong states “Bryan Rade, a naturopathic doctor who practices in Halifax, Nova Scotia, claims that raw garlic is highly effective in warding off the flu.”
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCg) is a polyphenol in green tea. A study performed in Tokyo showed “that EGCg contained in green tea has potential to inhibit flu infection regardless of its type, and suggested once again that green tea is effective in preventing flu.” Gargling green tea dramatically decreased the incidence of flu (1.3% vs 10%) in nursing home patients in this study. A specific formulation of Camella senensis decreased flu and flu-like illness as well as duration of illness in this study. Or, how about this study on Health Care Workers showing a decreased incidence and duration of clinically defined flu.
Green tea consumption is inversely associated with the incidence of influenza infection among schoolchildren in a tea plantation area of Japan: “Our findings thus suggest that the consumption of 1-5 cups/d of green tea may prevent influenza infection in children.”
Among the many uses of this Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) bitter herb are that it supports the body’s response to a variety of foreign challenges and helps regulate the body’s temperature during illness. Andrographolides are the major active constituents. Some preliminary research suggests that the herb may stimulate synthesis of antibodies and phagocytosis by macrophages. In addition to the properties above, andrographolides are believed to protect the liver and promote bile secretion. Clinical research has demonstrated an improved sense of wellness in as few as two days after the beginning of supplementation. A three-month study examining andrographis as immune support against foreign microbial challenges demonstrated it was twice as effective as placebo. In clinical trials, 100 mg of a standardized extract of andrographis taken twice daily was sufficient to improve immune response against harmful microbes.
This is available in Immune Revolution
Beta Glucan Particle
Research indicates that orally administered yeast beta-glucan is processed by macrophages, with subsequent increases in phagocytosis, selective cytokine release, and oxidative degranulation. Macrophages degrade beta-glucan into small fragments that are then bound to neutrophils (granulocytes). This action primes the neutrophils and enhances their ability to eradicate microbial challenges. Prophylactic administration of beta-glucan promotes production of antioxidant enzymes and assists in ameliorating microbial imbalance. Sustained release of beta-glucan fragments into bone marrow may affect white blood cell recovery, a unique mechanism of action exhibited by beta-glucan.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted during the peak of seasonal immune challenge. Subjects receiving 250 mg of WGP had a significant reduction in the number of days in which signs of immune distress were experienced. A 12-week, randomized, phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 1,3/1,6 beta-glucan from S cerevisiae confirmed that long-term use was well tolerated and supported immune system function.
We recommend 250mg of WGP daily during high-risk times of the year for prophylaxis. This is available in Immune Max in our office.
Vitamin C has long been touted as very good for colds and flu. A Chinese study showed flu virus elimination in vitro (in the lab). Another study showing effectiveness for treatment and prevention. The list of studies showing effect goes on an on. Conversely, Vitamin C has its skeptics as well. The issue is that the only known side effect to oral vitamin C is possible diarrhea but all you have to do is decrease the dose. So there are lots of potential benefits and no real side effects. So, Vitamin C is on my list for colds and flu.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive Leaf extract from the traditional medicinal plant Olea europaea, has been shown to possess an array of healthful attributes, including antioxidant properties and effective immune support against opportunistic microbes. Olive leaf’s multifaceted effects on the immune system include the ability to stimulate phagocytosis (an immune response against harmful microbes) and neutralize production of reverse transcriptase and protease enzymes that can adversely alter the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of healthy cells.
Oleuropein, a bitter glycoside that was isolated from olive leaf in the late 19th century, was found to be further hydrolyzed in the body to elenolic acid, which is believed to be its most active component. Research reveals that both olive leaf extract and oleuropein exert positive immune effects, but olive leaf acts in a dose-dependent manner; that is, the greater the dose of olive leaf, the greater the inhibition of microbial replication. Immune Max provides concentrated olive leaf extract that is standardized to 20% oleuropein, while less concentrated formulas are standardized to as little as 6% oleuropein.
What to do if you are required to take the flu shot?
The Following was composed by Dr. Russell Blaylock as a method to reduce autoimmune reactions to the flu vaccines only. Do not use this if you have the flu itself. These are just general observations and not medical advice. You should work with your doctor for a specific program.
Treatment for Toxic Vaccine Exposure
- Place a cold compress on the site of the injection immediately after the injection and continue this as often as possible for at least two days. If symptoms of fever, irritability, fatigue or flu-like symptoms reoccur — continue the cold compresses until they abate. A cold shower or bath will also help.
- Take krill oil as a source of animal based omega-3 fats.
- Curcumin, quercetin, ferulic acid and ellagic acid as a mixture — the first two must be mixed with extravirgin olive in one teaspoon. Take the mix three times a day (500 mg of each)
- Vitamin E (natural form) 400 IU a day (high in gamma-E)
- Vitamin C 1000 mg four times a day
- Astaxanthin 4 mg a day
- Zinc 20 mg a day for one week then 5 mg a day
- Avoid all immune stimulating supplements (mushroom extracts, whey protein) except beta-glucan — it has been shown to reduce inflammation, microglial activation and has a reduced risk of aggravating autoimmunity, while increasing antiviral cellular immunity.
- Take a multivitamin/mineral daily (one without iron — Extend Core)
- Magnesium citrate/malate 500 mg of elemental magnesium two capsules three times a day
- Vitamin D3:
- All Children — 5000 IU a day for two weeks after vaccine then 2000 IU a day thereafter
- Adults — 20,000 IU a day after vaccine for two weeks then 10,000 IU a day thereafter
- Take 500 mg to 1000 mg of calcium citrate a day for adults and 250 mg a day for children under age 12 years.
- Avoid all mercury-containing seafood
- Avoid omega-6 oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, canola and peanut oils)
- Blenderize parsley and celery and drink 8 ounces twice a day
- Take Jatoba tea extract (add 20 drops in on cup of tea) one day before the vaccine and the twice a day thereafter. (you can get it at http://www.iherb.com/Amazon-Therapeutics-Jatoba-1-oz-30-ml/14429?at=0) It is inexpensive.