By Frank Lipman, MD on November 11, 2011
"Flu season is headed our way and in a few weeks many will suffer, but you don’t have to be one of them if you start boosting immunity now. Here are 10 simple ways to prep your body so it’s strong enough to repel viral invaders all winter long:
1) Do your D’s. Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function the way it is designed to. Unfortunately, there are no significant dietary sources of Vitamin D – most of our intake comes from exposure to sunlight. To optimize your vitamin D levels, you’ll need to take a Vitamin D3 supplement daily. This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu!! To find out how much vitamin D you’ll need, get your 25 hydroxy Vitamin D level checked by your doctor. If that’s not an option, you can self-test your level with ZRT labs. For optimal health, you’ll want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml. It may require several months of taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vit D3 daily (especially during winter) under a doctor’s supervision to achieve this – but it will be well worth the effort. Monitor your 25 hydroxy vitamin D status every 3 months until you are in the desired 50 and 70ng/ml range, then cut back to a maintenance dose of at least 2,000 IU a day.
2) Do take a probiotic daily. A strong immune system relies heavily on having a healthy, well-functioning gut – and probiotics help keep your gut engine humming. A recent study confirmed that probiotics could help fight off colds. Look for a probiotic with 10-20 billion organisms and take one every day.
3) Do stock up on antiviral herbal supplements. Immunity –boosting antiviral herbs contain thousands of medicinal compounds that attack viruses with a full spectrum of synergistic substances – and without creating resistant viral strains. Four great antivirals are andrographis, olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract and elderberry extract. Use one or several in combination as a prophylactic measure, particularly if you spend time in high-traffic areas such as airports, offices, theaters, etc.
4) Don’t eat crap. In other words, avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar is a poison which, among other things, dramatically decreases immune function – so lay off the stuff. And processed foods? Virtually all of the nutrients get processed right out of them so they do nothing to strengthen immunity. Talk about empty calories!
5) Do get your greens. Colorful salads and dark greens are loaded with flu-fighting phytonutrients, so pile your plate high.
6) Do garlic. Not only does garlic repel vampires, it also has anti-viral properties and is a known immunity booster. My advice? Dig in!
7) Don’t skimp on sleep. One key to a strong immune system? Sleep! Get plenty of it to allow the body to restore and repair itself while you rest. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night and try taking a 20-minute catnap if you’re falling short.
8 ) Do break a sweat. Adequate exercise helps keep your immune system healthy and robust, so keep moving throughout the winter.
9) Do chill out. Reduce stress, particularly during flu season. Do breathing exercises, yoga or simply things you enjoy, to help boost immunity, relieve tension and enhance physical and mental resilience.
10) Don’t wash with antibacterial soap. Instead, wash hands frequently with good, old-fashioned hot water and chemical-free soap. Skip the antibacterials as they are loaded with toxins and increase the risk of creating resistant bacteria. They also over-dry and crack the skin, making transmission of viruses that much easier. Best wishes for a flu-free winter!
For more information on how to optimize your health, visit DrFrankLipman.com."
What are your thoughts on the flu vaccine? (Personally, I don't get them.)
Enjoy your weekend!