The Flu: How to prevent and treat

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The flu is in full swing right now, and this one is a doozy. I pray you have not fallen victim to it and can manage to escape it this year but if you can not, here are my tips for fighting it naturally. 

So what can we do to protect ourselves? Do we get the flu shot? Do we not get the flu shot? What foods can we eat? What supplements can we take? Do essential oils really help?  Let me break these things down for you so we can all breathe a little easier this flu season and feel prepared.

First up, the flu shot: to inject or not to inject?

That answer is ultimately up to you. My family and I don’t get the flu shot, but you have to decide for yourself. Here are some facts that may help you make up your mind:

One reputable integrative MD states: “The flu vaccine continues to be inadequate, and yet we put all of our medical eggs into this basket. Even in its best years, it may be about 60% effective. This year, it’s estimated that vaccine efficacy may be a woeful 10%.”

Yikes. 10%? Is that worth the chemical cocktail of octoxynol-10 (TRITON X-100) (also used in vaginal spermicides), α-tocopheryl hydrogen succinate (a type of vitamin E), polysorbate 80 (a surfactant and emulsifier used in cleaners and personal care products), hydrocortisone (cortisol, essentially), gentamicin sulfate (an antibiotic), ovalbumin (the major protein constituent of chicken egg whites), formaldehyde (a carcinogenic impurity), sodium deoxycholate (a bile salt and an ionic detergent), sodium phosphate-buffered isotonic sodium chloride (a water-based salt solution), that’s included in the flu vaccine? Honestly, I’m not sure.

“But Jen, those chemicals are in such minute amounts, they can’t harm us”.

Here’s the thing about chemicals that is important to understand: 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 2 when it come to chemicals, (or herbs for that matter – but with herbs, that’s a good thing).

What do I mean by this? I mean that your total chemical exposure equates to way more than the sum of these chemicals’ individual parts. So 1 + 1 may actually equal 4, and onwards and upwards we go. This is called chemical synergy.

So when you hear that something contains a tiny amount of a chemical please remember this fact: all these exposures to “tiny amounts” of chemicals add up to a whopping amount in your system. And make no mistake, we are surrounded by chemicals on a daily basis that are inhibiting our organs of detoxification, which is inhibiting our health.

I’m of the mindset that we should do whatever we can to prevent additional exposure to chemicals, especially to little children whose ability to detoxify isn’t as robust as adults. In fact, newborns to age 7 have an under-active PON 1 enzyme – an enzyme that aids in the detoxification of pollutants from our body. I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your kids free and clear of chemicals to the best of your ability, (and no, I’m not telling you not to vaccinate your kids – that’s not something I have a lot of information about. All three of  my kids are vaccinated, just not with the flu vaccine).

Additionally, Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH and a group of five other scientists at the University of Minnesota’s Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy published a report that stated: “we can no longer accept the status quo…The perception that current vaccines are already highly effective in preventing influenza is a major barrier to pursuing game-changing alternatives.” And he also stated in the New York Times a more poignant statement: We have over-promoted and overhyped this vaccine. It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s all public relations.”

No great surprise there.

What’s more, the more flu vaccines you get the less effective they become.
In a review of 5 years of vaccination data, vaccine effectiveness for influenza A in those with no prior vaccine history was 65%, whereas effectiveness was reduced to 24% in those with a frequent vaccination history. [source]

As if that weren’t enough, those who get the flu vaccine are 6 times more likely to infect others! Whaaaaa?

So what can you do to protect yourself from the flu, (whether you’ve had the flu vaccine or not – because we know now that even if you have had the flu shot it’s highly likely it won’t prevent you from getting the flu ).

Here are my top tips:

  • Liposomal Vitamin C: It’s common knowledge that vitamin C is a potent cold and flu fighter and we have a lot of science to back this up. In particular, this study reported: “Those taking 8 grams of vitamin C on the first day of the cold only, reduced the duration by 20%… the safety record of vitamin C means that we can and should be using it now.” I suggest liposomal vitamin C because tablet vitamin C is poorly absorbed in the body.  I really like this brand found HERE.  
  • Vitamin D: Unlike vitamin C, not many people realize the powerful benefits of vitamin D to fight colds and flus, but listen up because this one is super important. A meta analysis recently showed that those deficient in vitamin D had a 50% reduced risk of getting the flu when they supplemented with vitamin D daily! More studies have concurred with these results and I am constantly telling the clients I work with to test their vitamin D. Doctors will tell you that it’s “normal” but anything below 50-70 nmol/L is a deficiency in the the functional medicine space. At the first sign of sickness I personally take 10,000IU of Vitamin D3.  This is my choice brand that can be found HERE.
  • Zinc:  Zinc is a mineral that’s important to the body in many ways. Zinc keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth.  When the body is fighting a virus I take 40-50mg of Zinc Picolinate or Zinc Citrate daily.
  • Immune Boosting Blends: I love blends  because they are so simple to take and already have many of the immune boosting vitamins and minerals in them.  A few of my favorites are Buried Treasures Rapid Relief, Activa Naturals Mushroom Supplement,  and Doterra’s OnGuard Capsules (these are a blend of immune boosting essential oils.)
  • Other herbal medicine: I also take Oscillococcinum by Boiron at the very first sign of any cold or flu and if we do come down with the flu regularly until all symptoms subside.  This has been a Godsend for us as a medical doctor told me years ago that she saw it as being as effective as Tamiflu!
  • Probiotics: By now every man and his dog knows that probiotics are an important part of living a healthy life. Whether you get them from food such as kimchi or sauerkraut or from a bottle, just ensure you’re getting them. Up to 80% of our immune system is located in our gut – you have to ensure it’s in tip top shape and probiotics, as much as they are important, are just the start.  When fighting a virus I personally take one in the AM and the PM ~30 minutes before food.
  • Food: ensure you are not eating a lot of sugar. Sugar greatly depresses your immune system. Ensure your diet is full of whole foods, mainly veggies, but protein too from organic sources. Functional foods are where it’s at when it comes to flu prevention, so think things like this delicious Bone Broth  are really nourishing to the body and allow the body to focus on healing rather than digesting.
  • Other tips:  WASH YOUR HANDS! This is one of the best tips I can give you.  In my home with use Doterra’s OnGuard soap throughout the school year to add in some extra germ killing!  Along with proper hand washing prioritize REST.  Sleep is one of your best defenses and will ensure your body is in tip-top fighting mode!

If you want to ensure your health is in tip top shape this flu season please feel free to reach out to me to book a free 15-minute health consultation where we can discuss your health struggles and how I can help you.

In happiness and health,

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