By: Gleason Center Editors, Dr. Daniel Gleason DC
What should I take at the first sign of a cold? Is the flu vaccine really effective? In this December's newsletter, Dr. Gleason shares how to beat cold and flu season!
People who don’t get colds and flu just don’t understand. While these common conditions are almost never life-threatening, they can make us miserable for days or even weeks. They can be the cause of lost time from work or school, and lead to expensive doctor office visits or trips to the ER. Can they be prevented?
Can their effects be mitigated? I grew up on the saying that, “a cold last two weeks if you treat it and 14 days if you don’t.” There’s no cure for the common cold is an often repeated statement. Yet I for one, almost never get the flu or “catch a cold” (knock on wood). But, I know of many people who do. They report, “I get everything that comes along”. These individuals most certainly have a compromised immune system.
There are many things that adversely affect our resistance to infection. Because much of our immune system is in our GI tract, food allergies and dysbiosis are often part of the problem. Inflammation from chronic “stealth “ infections takes a toll. These can be things like chronic sinus problems or leaky root canals.
Toxic exposure is another stressor from environmental sources; examples being solvents, heavy metals, or molds. Neurological interference from spinal subluxations can be addressed by regular chiropractic care. Many people report fewer colds and flu when they receive regular adjustments. Hormone imbalances can leave us vulnerable. Testing adrenal, thyroid, and reproductive hormones can help. Stress and sleep also can play a big role. If you are plagued by frequent colds and flus these are some areas to investigate.
Lets look at some dietary and supplemental factors that can come into play. Eating a diet high in starches and sugars can both weaken your immunity and strengthen viruses. The immune system is dependent on Vitamin C to produce the oxidative “ammunition” that your white blood cells use to kill and inactivate the microbes that cause colds and flu.
Vitamin D influences immune cells and is very involved in both immunity and autoimmunity.
Zinc is involved in building a strong immune system. Our testing finds that many people are zinc deficient. And there is a simple taste test for zinc.
Magnesium is involved in many enzymes that the immune system uses to fight infection.
Vitamin A helps maintain cellular barrier function and increases white blood cell function to resist and fight infections.
Many herbal supplements are available that help boost immune function. These include:
*These can also be found in combination products.
At the first sign of symptoms, we recommend:
Have you ever heard the old saying, “starve a fever and feed a cold?”. I think, we should starve both. Fasting is a powerful technique that reduces the energy needed to digest, so that energy can go toward fighting the infection. Fasting or food reduction helps the detoxification process. Thin broths can be helpful as they’re nutritious, but they don’t seem to interfere with the fasting process.
No discussion of colds and flu is complete without talking about drugs and vaccines. Cold formulas may help with symptoms like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, or achiness. However, they don’t seem to shorten the process or deal with the cause(s). Flu shots are controversial, particularly among those who use complementary or alternative approaches. The prestigious Cochrane Collaboration has determined that flu shots are not particularly effective. Some years, even the CDC finds them ineffective. And many people don’t realize that they contain compounds called adjuvants that provoke an immune reaction. These include mercury, aluminum, MSG, animal kidneys, etc. For objective information on vaccines, including influenza, I recommend going to the National Vaccine Information Center at NVIC.org and click on the Vaccines tab.
Having been in the healing profession for more than 40 years, I have heard hundreds of people weigh in on their experiences with the flu shot. Many people swear by them and wouldn’t consider going through the winter season without them. Many others have had a terrible experience following a flu vaccine and would never again get one. Like all medical procedures, the rule of Informed Consent needs to apply. Your health practitioner should give you the pros and cons without coercion and then you, the patient, may be free to agree or decline the treatment.
If you like this post, you might also enjoy our: November Newsletter
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