Don’t Let the Flu Get You!

The flu has been sweeping the country, leaving us all in a predicament – no one wants to get sick! There’s a lot of information out there about what is actually effective or not, so we’d like to clear that up for you.

Let’s start with the flu vaccine! The data on the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine in North America has just been published, and the reports state that it is only 10% effective. In addition, the flu shot is only effective against influenza within two weeks of administration even though flu season can be anywhere from 4-8 months long. The flu vaccine is a guess of scientists – they try to match the strain they think will be the most virulent (or sickness-causing) with the vaccine they create; they don’t always guess correctly. Keep in mind also, that the flu vaccine has other additives, like thimerosal (which is a mercury derivative) and is highly toxic.

The flu vaccine is also not without the possibility of side effects, like paralysis from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, chronic shoulder pain at the injection site, and even death.

So how can you prevent the flu without getting the vaccine? Many of the answers lie in basic self-care:

  • Exercise: Exercise can boost the immune, elevate mood, and manage stress by modulating our stress hormone cortisol. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.
  • Nutrition: Stick with a consistent, whole-foods diet, and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Try to eat at least half of your plate in vegetables – this is important in making sure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet to support your immune system. Avoiding simple carbohydrates is also important to help support your immune system, because they convert to sugar which competes with vitamin C for entrance to your cells – so if lots of sugar is around, your cells don’t get vitamin C! (this is why “EmergenC” is not what we recommend ;) ) We love our Vitamin Sea powder. It’s got over 2 grams of vitamin C per scoop, tastes DELICIOUS, and has other vitamin to aid absorption, like magnesium and potassium.
  • Sleep: Studies show that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night.

Beyond basic lifestyle modifications, you may also want to consider taking the following supplements during flu season:

  • Vitamin D: this vitamin is important for nearly everything your body does, and it play an important role in regulating our immune system. It has even been shown to strengthen our innate immunity. If you’re local, come in for our awesome Immune shot or Immune Push. The shot features a large dose of vitamin D which your immune system needs when it’s working on over-drive to fight the bad-bugs. Our favorite vitamin D supplement is our Shine Sunshine D, which has 5,000 iu of active Vitamin D3!
  • Elderberry syrup: this tasty syrup is extremely effective at preventing colds and flus and is good to take prophylactically as we get into cold and flu season. It’s also safe for people of all ages, so it’s a GREAT kid safe option. You do a low dose consistently for prevention, and you can double the dose when you’re around sick people or when your kiddo is fighting the flu or cold. We have a great Elderberry tincture by our friends at Herbal Vitality, and it works!
  • Probiotics: these “friendly bugs” help go beyond the gut to influence many body systems such as the respiratory system, kidneys, and skin. They are also known to modulate inflammation and our immune responses, which is a fancy term for it makes your immune system work better! We love our Florashine probiotic line. It’s broad spectrum and at the concentration you want to support your immune system. Go gut bugs!