WEEKLY HEALTH BULLETIN October 3, 2009
KEEP IT SIMPLE – START FLU PREVENTION NOW – TWO SMART WAYS TO STAY HEALTHY THIS WINTER
Nothing can wreck your winter like a nasty case of the flu. Fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and body aches that can sometimes get so bad you can barely move.
I see a lot of patients who choose to skip the flu vaccine, including more than a few nurses I’ve worked with in our local hospital. Some developed a flu-like illness immediately after receiving the vaccine. Others don’t trust its safety. Still others just aren’t convinced it works. Whether or not you decide to get the flu vaccine yourself, I recommend the following two-part plan for protecting yourself from respiratory tract infections during the winter months.
#1) HIGH DOSE VITAMIN D3
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, active in every cell in the body, including immune cells.
This means it travels around the body delivering important instructions. It’s involved in the synthesis of a peptide called hCAP-18, which helps fight disease causing organisms. If you’re exposed to the flu virus and have adequate levels of vitamin D, you have a better chance of fighting off infection. But what constitutes an adequate level? Most experts agree that’s somewhere between 50 and 60 nanograms per milliliter. And for most people that means taking as many as 5000 units daily during the winter, when the vitamin D we get from the sun drops.
#2) THE RIGHT KIND OF ECHINACEA . . . EVERY DAY.
Echinacea is a popular herb but its quality is variable. It helps immune cells swallow up foreign invaders, such as the virus particles that cause flu. In the 19th century, herbalists noticed that high quality root, when chewed, caused a tingling sensation in the mouth. We now know that these are alkylamides, which play a key role in the immune system support of echinacea. They actually switch on immune tissues, resulting in a robust immune response. I recommend and use myself a high alkylamide product called Echinacea Premium, from Medi-Herb, an Australian company known for their excellent quality and stringent production standards. It contains both types of echinacea – purpurea and angustifolia – and only the root is used. It’ll get your mouth tingling just moments after you take it, evidence of its high alkylamide content. In Australia, supplements are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which also regulates pharmaceuticals, so you’re assured a quality, safe, reliable product. Take 1 teaspoon daily for prevention. Take three a day if you feel something coming on. Don’t worry about having to give your body a rest every few weeks from echinacea. This is a popular belief with no basis in fact that assumes echinacea is an immune system stimulant. In fact, it’s a tonic and quite safe to take continuously through the winter.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Add these two supplements to support a health immune system and protect yourself against illness. Nothing can spoil your winter like a nasty case of the flu.
Alan Inglis MD
American Country Doctor