By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
The biggest issue we see this time of year is that all the stress, the parties, the sugary treats, and lack of sufficient sunshine all come together and culminate in a BIG… FAT… COLD. Ugh! Your immune system can only take so much for so long, and then guess what? Maybe you wake up with a sore throat, or get a headache and chills at the end of the day… Next thing you know, you’ve got a fever and your plans for any productivity are ruined.
You hit the sack and then realize – “What should I take? I have nothing on hand! What should I eat? What do I need? Who will take care of me?”
We get these questions surprisingly often. Here, we’ll guide you through creating a Natural Medicine Cabinet so you’ll be fully prepared for that moment when life catches up and bites you in the you-know-what…
Caveat: we’ve got lots of suggestions for you below. Please don’t feel like you need one of everything – you don’t. Take a look at what you have on hand, and where do you need to fill gaps in your immune coverage? Do you have some of the basics – check! Something for acute support – check! Something for general inflammation – you betcha! Then you should be in really good shape. Remember to contact us with any questions!
Basic Prevention for Immune Health
We’ve all learned we’re supposed to supplement with certain things in order to stay well… Unfortunately, your typical drug store multi isn’t going to cut it. Synthetic vitamins only “work” for the short term. Studies show there are known and unknown cofactors we obtain from our foods that make the magic happen in the body. Synthetic vitamins eventually cause deficiencies because they are produced without the necessary cofactors that must be borrowed from the body’s tissues.
- Vitamin C – ideally we want the whole vitamin C complex. Ascorbic acid, which is only the preservative, is not what’s really active; it’s only partially supportive during acute infection, but is not really good for every day prevention. Inside the full complex, we have tyrosinase, rutin, P factors… multiple things that are anti-inflammatory and good for strengthening capillaries. Try Cataplex AC or Cyruta Plus.
- Vitamin D3 – is probably the #1 factor that pre-determines how well you’ll fare with a respiratory infection. In the office, we suggest NOW brand vitamin D3, or Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte. And for goodness’ sake, get your levels checked!
- Zinc is an essential support to the immune system, to help keep viral replication in check. We suggest Biotics Zn-Zyme.
- Cod Liver Oil is one of the best anti-inflammatory supplements you can take all winter long. It has vitamins A and D with the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA for brain health.
Remember, every day we should be working on supporting our immune health and keeping inflammation low. Avoiding sugar and carbs should always be on our radar! In addition, we want to remember these basic foods for healthy sufficiency:
- Organic oranges, berries and apples for vitamin C
- Fatty fish like wild-caught salmon for healthy fats and D
- Pumpkin seeds for zinc
- Seaweed snacks for iodine
- Brazil nuts for selenium
- Dark leafy greens for magnesium
Keep your fridge and pantry well-stocked so you stay prepared!
Beyond the Basics – Your Immune Organs
Have you ever heard the expression, “like cures like”? It means if a part of your body is not working well, you should eat that direct tissue to get specific factors that would help with healing. Remember, science has not discovered everything yet. It is always changing. There are still unknown factors within organs and foods that may be necessary for good function but have not been isolated yet. So, what else do we need to support?
- The spleen is constantly working to remove harmful bacteria and viruses from the bloodstream. It serves as a memory center for the immune system. It also recycles our red blood cells.
- The thymus gland produces our T Lymphocytes, a certain type of white blood cells that constantly fight bacteria, viruses, and cancer. Thymus function generally diminishes as we age.
- The White Blood Cells are literally the soldiers of your immune system. There are several different types of WBC, but there are certain nutrients excellent for building up their numbers… calcium and sesame seed oil.
There are several products we love to recommend this time of year, to provide true multivitamin coverage with the addition of spleen and thymus extracts:
- Standard Process Immuplex, or
- Biotics Bio-Immunozyme Forte.
- In addition, Echinacea Premium has a profound effect on the immune system. Just a little bit over a long period of time can increase your resilience to any kind of infection!
When you’re ready to move beyond the basics, check out these products to achieve your next level of health!
When you first get that indication of “Oh no, I think I’m getting sick” the important thing is to get home quickly and get in bed. Make sure you have your supplies nearby, with your water, vitamins, and cozy pj’s.
- Calcium is useful to control a fever, and Calcium Lactate is the most easily absorbable product we carry. We also suggest Congaplex for additional vitamins A, C and thymus extract. It’s hammer time!
- If you or your child can’t swallow pills, we suggest Biotics C/Cal/Mag as a powder form of vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Easy to mix in water, and little to no taste!
- Herbs enhance immune activity, and there are a couple we might suggest right at the beginning of infection. Either Andrographis Complex, which can be helpful in the acute phase and with controlling temperature, or Black Cumin Seed Forte, which was recently added to the FLCCC prevention protocol.
Be sure to get all the rest you need! Sleep is when your body works on growth and repair!
When people tell me they’ve got someone sick at home, aside from their supplements, I always ask if they’ve got these immune system-promoting foods at home:
- Homemade bone broth – so nutritious!
- But if you must buy store-bought, then try these: Epic, Bonafide, or Kettle and Fire broth
- Fresh garlic cloves (anti-microbial)
- Organic oranges (vitamin C and calcium)
- Pumpkin seeds (a great source of zinc)
- Kombucha tea (non-dairy probiotics)
These are great to have on hand all the time!
What if I’m Traveling?
When you’re on the go, you don’t want to be caught unprepared for a sudden illness coming on. You already know it’s so hard to stay well when traveling, so why not set yourself up for success? Go ahead and pack a few things that hopefully you won’t need along the way. One item that’s easy to pack and covers a lot of bases is our SP Herbal Throat Spray. It’s great if you plan to be public speaking and want to keep a sore throat at bay.
If you get caught empty-handed and need to find something at the local drug store, no worries! With some careful label reading, yes, you can find some good choices. You can avoid the acetaminophen and jittery side effects from OTC drugs by looking for these…
You might also like to stash some Doterra OnGuard or Breathe cough drops in your purse or suitcase when traveling!
We hope this information empowers you to take charge of your health in a whole new way! You will love feeling prepared for any little sniffle or sickness that crosses your path.
There is no reason to worry when you have everything on hand you need!