By Dr. Jeff - December 12, 2014
I know that ‘Immune Support Season’ is not the phrase that we’re all used to, but that’s actually the most accurate way to describe the state of our health in the times of inclement weather. The truth is this; the Flu is not a season. That’s a good example of a misnomer!
Colds and Flu are a state of decreased immune tolerance, an inability of immune receptors to adapt, and weakened immune cell response. There are a number of reasons for this, some of which are obvious, but the most important thing that a person should pay attention to, in order to avoid coming down with, or recovering faster from a cold or a nasty flu, is the health and strength of their immune system.
Before I talk about things that challenge the immune system, let’s first take a look at the balance or ‘homeostasis’ that exists between us and the bugs. This is really common sense when you think about it, but our body does only what it needs to do for any function, and nothing more. In other words you will not deposit mineral substance into bones any more than what is necessary for the stress you place on them. You won’t develop any more muscle fibers than what is needed for the physical challenges you perform. A good example of this is when an arm is put in a cast because of a broken bone for example, the muscles will begin to atrophy inside of 48 hours. Likewise, you must understand that our body’s immune system can only maintain a balance with the immune challenges of our environment – nothing more.
You see, we’re bathed in a sea of bacteria and viruses. I know that’s tough to swallow for the ‘germaphobes’ out there, but it’s very real. If you could take one of those nifty lights like they use on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” that show blood and other fluids, but instead you have one that lights up all the bacteria that’s all over everything, you would be amazed – or maybe a little grossed out. But that’s the world we live in, and what’s more if they weren’t everywhere in us and around us, we probably wouldn’t be alive. In fact, there are more bacterial cells in us and on us than the number of cells in our entire body! Our biological environment is teaming with ‘stuff’ we don’t see, but it’s all a necessary part of the cycle of life. We can only strive to stay in balance with it. Also understand that most of the ‘flora’ that’s blanketing our environment are mostly all good (‘friendly‘) bacteria and viruses that are in a quiet state or not virulent.
What allows us to become ‘sick’ is when our immune strength weakens, thus opening the avenues for our environment of bugs to overwhelm us which then produce symptoms and illness until a time when we rebuild our immune strength and recover. But even with good immune system strength, we can still be susceptible. For instance, even if a healthy person were directly sneezed on by a sick person with some 'unfriendly' bugs, that would probably also overwhelm the defenses. There are a number of ways the immune system can lose the battle, but the point is the best defense is a strong offense – so always strive to support your immune system and then strengthen it when illness comes about.
Also important to understand is that your immune system is the first to get sacrificed when the body becomes taxed. In other words, staying up late and lack of sleep, mental stress, over consumption of alcohol and of course poor dietary intake, especially sugar, are all very harmful to your immune strength. Probably the most detrimental to your immune system is sugar! Get this; consumption of a good dose of sugar, like a can of pop, a piece of frosted cake, or a whole candy bar will essentially shut off your immune system for 4-5 hours!
I want to emphasize this next point even though, like the point of the title, it’s not the way we’re ‘taught’ to believe. Antibiotics and vaccinations only weaken the immune system. It’s already well documented in medical literature that antibiotics are seriously over-prescribed in children especially when the vast majority of upper respiratory infections and the flu are viral infections which are completely unaffected by antibiotics. In these situations, think of it this way, if you walk around all day long on crutches, are your legs getting stronger or weaker?
That’s what has essentially been discovered of the outcome of prescribing antibiotics for simple respiratory and flu ailments. You are more prone to them the next time around because your immune strength has been put on crutches – it doesn’t need to work so it becomes weaker. But don’t get me wrong - of course antibiotics are extremely important for surgeries, serious wounds, or serious infections. The discovery and development of antibiotics has saved millions of lives. However, as for vaccinations, that’s a topic for another article. But please contact me if you want specific information - I studied in the field of viruses for over 14 years.
I am always promoting the support and strengthening of our immune system regardless of being healthy or in the middle of an illness. Of course there are a myriad of ‘symptom reliever’ products that can be helpful to allow you to sleep or breathe a little easier. But the important products and measures to take are those directed at supporting immune strength. Things like vitamin C (from eating oranges and raw onions), or consuming several cloves of raw garlic, which contain a very strong immune supporter – allicin, are just a few good natural methods. (I have an excellent way to eat the garlic without causing you or those close by any grief!) I emphasize the raw food for many reasons, mainly because the active components in the foods are mostly lost when processed, such as in garlic capsules. Also, essential oils are a very important addition to keep in your arsenal.
But the strongest and most successful means of battling these challenges besides good dietary support is to supplement with quality, whole food immune support products – like the Standard Process supplements we carry that have helped so many patients. These products are a balance of whole food and herbal sources that have powerful immune enhancing effects. It is very common for someone who contracts a cold to be completely symptom free within 2 days of taking our supplements. Sometimes sooner if action is taken right away.
Colds and the flu don’t appear as a season. However, being in the cold is one of those things that can tax your system, which may make you more vulnerable. Also during the colder, wetter seasons you’re going to be inside more and in closer proximity with more people, some of whom may be infected. Therefore, it only makes sense to support your good immune health. Remember, good or bad season, most people don’t get sick. A great study was done, several years ago after the H1N1 flu outbreak, to show another important immune supporting nutrient. Of those who did not get the flu, it was determined that every person studied in this group had normal or above normal levels of vitamin D. Conversely those whom they tested who were sick, all had low levels of vitamin D.
You can think of your immune health as if you constantly need to live on guard. Essentially live in a bubble of Lysol spray, hand cleaners, getting harmful and mostly ineffective vaccinations, and avoiding anyone that is ill. Or you can emphasize supporting your immune system any way you can and maintain the balance of power in your favor. I can assure you that good dietary practices, avoiding the stressors that will weaken your immune strength, and of course utilizing powerful and effective immune support supplements, will go much farther and is the most successful means to keep you from succumbing to, and recovering from colds and flu’s.