The Flu: Your Best Defense

Flu season this year has been wicked and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. This year’s flu shot seems to have missed the mark and we’ve had lots of sick people coming in that can’t seem to get better. Read on for the best ways to avoid the flu, get rid of the flu, and recover from it.

Our top 5 for Kicking the Flu:

                                             

Oscillococcinum– A.k.a. “oscillo”, a homeopathic remedy that comes in little vials. It works best right at the onset of illness. Take the first 3 doses every half hour, and then continue at the recommended amount. If someone close to you has the flu, take one dose each week and increase if you feel something coming on.

Wellness Formula-A combination of literally every bug-fighting herb known to man and Vitamin C. You can take 2-3 capsules or tablets per day if someone close to you has the flu, but take 3 capsules every 3 hours if you are becoming ill. It works fast! This one is only for those who are generally healthy and don’t take any prescription drugs—too much potential for interactions! Also, the presence of garlic and some other herbs in the formula don’t make it the best choice for those with stomach symptoms.

Dr. Nenninger’s Triple Flu Defense—This homeopathic combination has remedies that target both this year’s flu strain and typical flu symptoms. It is great for any type of flu. If you have stomach symptoms, this one won’t aggravate them.

Monolaurin—Derived from coconut, this powerful anti-viral substance is also easy on the stomach. You have to take 4-6 capsules of the one we have on the shelf.

Quick Defense by Gaia—This one is great if you feel respiratory symptoms coming on. It has echinacea, elderberry, andrographis, and ginger.

Talk to our staff about the best options for you! Other nutrients are very important to the functioning of the immune system and may need support, particularly if you have an illness that is severe or seems to hang on. Here are the most important ones:

Vitamin D—Vitamin D has been widely researched and touted for its ability to protect against many illnesses including viral infections.  Having an adequate level of Vitamin D in the body can help the body ward off disease.  The best way to know if your Vitamin D is low is to have a blood test. The optimum level of Vitamin D should be a minimum of 50 ng/ml and up to 80 ng/ml according to natural health experts. Even if you don’t know your levels, it is safe to take 1000-2000 IUs per day in the fall and winter months when you are not getting enough sunshine. During the acute stage of the flu, don’t be afraid to take 5,000-10,000 IUs per day depending on your size and Vitamin D status.

Vitamin A-This vitamin is essential to proper immune function.  It is crucial to maintaining the skin and mucosal surfaces, the “first defense” level for the body.  It stimulates several immune functions including enhancement of white blood cell function and increased antibody response.  About 5000 IU’s per day are recommended for prevention.  Many multivitamins, particularly the food-based ones, now have as much as 10,000 IU’s of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. If you have acute illness, take 10,000 IUs per day.

Vitamin C-This vitamin is well known for its importance in fighting disease and it plays a vital role in many immune mechanisms.  A range of 1000-2000 mg a day is recommended for prevention of colds and flus in the fall and winter months.  Children can take 500-1000 mg per day.  Vitamin C can cause bowel disturbance in some people, so it is best to start with 500 mg and go up from there to test your tolerance.  If you are actually ill, you can safely take up to 10,000 mg per day, up to bowel tolerance.
Zinc-Adequate tissue levels of zinc are necessary for proper immune function.  A zinc deficiency results in an increased risk of infection.  Zinc is involved in virtually every aspect of immunity.  For general health, take 10-15 mg of zinc (will be part of a good multi). When trying to resolve illness, 50-80 mg for men and 30-50 mg for women.  Zinc competes with copper for absorption, so long term use at high levels should be avoided.

Probiotics– If you want to maintain health you must have a good amount of healthy bacteria in your system.  Taking a probiotic is very good protection against any sort of virus, bacterial infection, or even fungal infection. Take a probiotic daily to assist the immune system in fighting bugs. Double up on your probiotic if you are around sick family members or coworkers, or if you have signs of illness.