Boost Immunity with Simple Tips
Since we’re getting into “cold and flu” season, I thought I’d share a few simple tips that can help keep your immunity strong through the season. Immunity is not something that you should do reactively, rather it is a concerted effort to prepare for the time of year when we are in-close quarters with less air flow and, for those of us with kids, exposure to all the bugs and viruses that the little ones bring home.
First, it is important to understand that it is not necessarily the germ or the virus that causes a cold or flu, all of us have, crawling all over our bodies, pathogens that if allowed to proliferate, could kill us. This being said, germophobia is not only irrational, it is impossible, as the little critters are literally everywhere!
Understand that immunity has a direct correlation to a healthy functioning nervous system, as the nervous system controls all other systems in the body, including our immune system. Therefore, it is imperative that you are regularly getting your spine and posture corrected in order to have your nervous system give the strength and energy necessary to fight off the incoming onslaught.
There are also several things that can be done to avoid the transmission of viruses and bacteria that live primarily in the fluid secretions of our bodies.
1) Make regular hand washing a part of your daily routine. If you touch an object that other’s have touched, it is wise to wash off anything that might be transmitted to you. This is also true if you touch your face, rub your eyes, cough or sneeze. This simple technique of hand washing has been shown to considerably reduce the transmission of colds and flu.
2) Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is a crucial component to health. Sleep deprivation can not only make us gain weight, it can also weaken our immune system and increase our susceptibility to illness. Sleep in a dark room, without the TV, pets and kids, and you will strengthen yourself immeasurably. Try for 8 hours of sleep per night, and more if you can get it. Naps are also a great way to boost your immunity and energy, and naps have also been shown to reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s; Bonus!
3) The sunshine vitamin. If you are fortunate to live in a place like Colorado, where we get more than 300 days of sunshine per year, try to get some expose to your skin daily. The sun on your exposed skin for 20-30 minutes per day can significantly increase your production of Vitamin D and can assist many systems in your body, especially your immune system. If you live in a dark part of the world, supplementation with Vitamin D3 is a great alternative. If you have specific questions about dose, there are blood tests available that can tell exactly how much Vit D you need.
4) Ascorbate. Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid has been extensively studied and shown to improve resistance as well as lessen the severity and duration of colds and flu. There are some truly incredible studies out there that have shown amazing benefit to high dose ascorbate therapy. If you have access to a provider that performs IV drip ascorbic acid therapy, take advantage, as the benefits can be amazing. For home, taking ascorbic acid daily is a wise decision and more can be better. However, some people are more sensitive to Vit C and too much can cause diarrhea. Take as much as you can tolerate.
5) If you do get a cold or the flu, try to keep it to yourself. I know that misery loves company, but if you have a fever and are coughing and sneezing everywhere, keep it at home! There are people who go to work and school with colds and flu and, unfortunately this only increases the likelihood of transmission to others.
6) Exercise. Exercise is a crucial component to health. If you exercise during the cold and flu season, your body will produce chemicals and endorphins that can assist your immunity. Get as much exercise as your body can tolerate without exhaustion. If you have a respiratory infection and it is above your throat (head and sinus) cardio exercise can shorten the duration of the infection. If the infection is in your lungs, it is not advisable to exercise intensely, as this can irritate the lungs even more.
7) Stay away from sugar. Sugar literally feeds infection and if you want to keep a well functioning immunity, keep the sugar intake to a minimum. Stay away from refined sugars especially as these can weaken you and make the likelihood of getting a cold much greater. Try to stick to healthy carbs like fruits and veggies (If you’re not in phase 1 or 2!) and make sure that you eat the healthiest, whole foods available to you. Fresher is better and the nutrients in fresh foods can further boost your immunity.
Hopefully these simple tips can encourage you to nurture your immune system. Remember, start preparing your body today for what it may be exposed to tomorrow. Think proactively and don’t wait until it’s too late. If you would like to see how your nervous system can be used to boost your immunity, contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation and evaluation of your health.
Dr. Jason W. Haas