Winter, for many, is the season to get tired and sick. With so much to do in so little time, the holiday season can be ruined by a cold or flu-like illness. Armed with knowledge, you can stave off illness so you can be merry and have a happy and healthy holiday season. Here are some strategies for natural flu prevention.
Stave off Stress to Improve Immune Function
Stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, which pours out adrenaline and cortisol. This lowers your immune function and can make you more susceptible to an illness of any kind. Just a few rounds of deep belly breathing can deactivate the sympathetic nervous system and activate the calming, immune-enhancing parasympathetic nervous system. This is a natural flu prevention technique that can be done anytime, anywhere. The more you do it the better you will be able to manage stress. Not only does it strengthen your immune system, it brings oxygen to the brain, lowers stress, blood pressure, and heart rate and unleashes energy and creativity. You can try other methods such as meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, tai chi, prayer or being quiet in nature.
Over 80% of your immune system lies in your gut. That good bacteria found in probiotics is a natural flu prevention supplement with many added benefits. Studies showed that probiotics decreased the frequency and duration of upper respiratory tract infections as well as days off from school or work. Those who did get sick had less fever, cough, runny nose, and the duration of illness was shorter. Other studies of students taking exams who were stressed and sleep-deprived reported fewer colds and flu. Probiotics increased antibodies and the immune response in adults as well.
Vitamins D Delivers
The flu is seasonal and coincides with low levels of Vitamin D. Taking Vitamin D supplements is a good natural flu prevention strategy and studies showed it has shown promise in preventing influenza A and secondary asthma in children. A Canadian study showed resolution of flu symptoms within 48-72 hours using a one time dose of 50,000 IU of Vitamin D3 or 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3, 3 times daily for 2 to 3 days. They claim that one-time doses of vitamin D at this level have been used safely and have never been shown to be toxic but more studies need to be done in this area.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a potent antioxidant that can break up mucous and act as an expectorant. It has been used to treat bronchitis and lung conditions and can serve as a natural flu prevention supplement as well. Studies showed that patients with chronic bronchitis who were given 300 mg of NAC twice a day for 6 months experienced less severe infections and a 65% reduction in sick days. Another study in elderly subjects showed a significant reduction in the frequency of flu symptoms and those that did get the flu had very mild symptoms.
Talk To Your Doctor About Natural Flu Prevention
If you have questions about the dosages for the mentioned supplements, reach out to a trusted functional medicine doctor. Make this flu season uneventful by trying some of these natural flu prevention supplements and strategies and get a flu vaccine if there are no contraindications.
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker, and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier.” She can make you slim, sharp, sexy and supercharged. She is an expert in anti-aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, medical nutrition, supplements, and executive health. Dr. Maita was the medical director for 3 Fortune 100 companies and has a private practice specializing in Functional, Integrative, Personalized and Anti-Aging Medicine in Summit and Basking Ridge, NJ. She educates virtually at www.vibranceforlife.com. She is also an advisory team member for Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life on WOR radio, the #1 talk radio station in the NY Metropolitan area. Contact her office today for your total health assessment!