By Michele R Law, INHC
Here we are, the beginning of February and we have been in the “Cold and Flu” season for a number of months. We also have a couple more months to go. I wanted to share some easy, proven and effective ways you can help yourself and your family boost your immune system before and during an illness.
So, what happens to you when you have a cold or flu bug? Your body’s immune system identifies a foreign invader. At first, it doesn’t know what it is, much like a stranger ringing your doorbell. Do you let them inside? Do you send them away?
After a moment of checking out this stranger, your immune system determines it is a potential menace and attempts to send it away by mounting an immune defense. This is called ‘innate immunity’ and it’s one that you develop naturally over time after meeting foreign invaders and creating antibodies against them.
If the invader is new, your immune system must make new antibodies to fend off this new stranger. As the body fights to clear the invader you may experience symptoms, and this is how you know your immune system is working properly. Once you create new antibodies, your immune system will know exactly what to do with that particular invader in the future and you may not experience those symptoms again in the same way.
So, what is the best way to assist your body when it is fighting an infection? Truly, it is to get as much rest as possible and stay hydrated. The best hydration is always filtered water, teas, soups and fermented beverages like Kombucha, Kevita Probiotic Water, Kevass or Kefir. If you need to be around other people when ill, make sure to cough into your elbow, sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and to wash your hands often with plain soap and water. These are the still the best ways to keep from sharing your infection with others. I would caution against using anti-bacterial soaps and chemical hand sanitizers too often because they kill off beneficial bacteria that make up the biome of your skin as well as surface germs. Instead choose hand sanitizers made from essential oils or natural products. Plus, your skin absorbs whatever you put on it so keeping chemicals out will help your body fight infection better.
Oftentimes people are looking to boost their immune system by taking supplements such as Vitamin C, Zinc and what is becoming more mainstream, Elderberry Syrup. Vitamin C is amazing in its complete form. Your body needs more than just Ascorbic acid which the only ingredient found in most Vitamin C supplements. A whole food Vitamin C contains Ascorbic Acid plus the other 6 Co-Factors needed to ensure proper absorption and utilization. At Inner Sage, our go-to is Standard Process Cataplex C. This is a whole food derived C that contains all 7 components of Vitamin C to optimally boost your immune system and all cells of your body. For the best Zinc product, we recommend Standard Process Zinc Liver Chelate.
Elderberry Syrup is amazing and does a terrific job as a preventative supplement if taken in the very early stages of a viral illness. Elderberry Syrup can stop the viral replication process and speed your healing, but you must take it at the first sign of infection. Elderberry Extract has become more mainstream and can be found in grocery stores now. It is also a great product to keep on hand each season, just in case! At Inner Sage we love using a liquid botanical product from Energetix called Core Sambucas that has the Elderberry along with Echinacea, Eyebright and Goldenseal which supports the immune system, respiratory system and digestive system. This is easy for children and adults to take because it is a liquid.
If you would like some help determining which supplements are the best for you or your children to take, we can test different kinds with Nutrition Response Testing to determine the exact right supplement that will be most beneficial for your specific situation. Our goal with all infections is to support your immune system with the nutrition it needs to get you feeling better as quickly as possible.