When it comes to the flu, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really is true.
Last year’s flu season was touted as the worst since the swine flu pandemic of 2009, afflicting 1 out of every 5 adults. The predominant strain was the Hong Kong flu, which has circulated on and off for over 50 years and is documented as one of the more virulent strains. The good news is you can prevent viruses like influenza and even the common cold with natural therapies that boost your immune system and strengthen your defenses from the cellular level.
1. Going Viral
The influenza virus infects you when someone with the flu sneezes or coughs within 6 feet of you, and you breath in the infected droplets through your nose or mouth. If the infected droplets land on a surface where you rest your hand (like the grocery cart), then you rub your eye with that hand, you also can become infected. This is why it’s important to wash hands thoroughly after shopping and reschedule preventative health care visits for after flu season has passed. Wear a scarf if you can’t avoid crowds and remember to include cleaning door and faucet handles with natural antimicrobials. Multiple strains of the flu circulate each year, so if you’ve caught it once, you aren’t immune to catching it again, especially once your immune system is already down from fighting it the first time.
Viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. Unlike bacteria, which attach to the outside of your cell, viruses inject their genetic material inside your cells and spread by causing the cell to multiply. Antibiotics are lifesaving in bacterial infections, because they can target the bacteria without harming your cells. Viruses, on the other hand, are safe inside your cell, because any medication that destroys a virus has to damage or destroy your cells to get to them. This is why natural therapies are so important when it comes to viruses like influenza.
2. Flu Fighters
While it’s true antibiotics don’t work on viruses, there are natural flu fighters that target the virus directly. Elderberry is the most famous of these. Studies show elderberries contain an antioxidant-rich compound that “coats” the flu virus, which prevents it from entering into your cells. Over 90 percent of study participants were symptom-free after just 2 days while taking elderberry extract. You can drink elderberry tea or take liquid elderberry syrup twice daily during flu season or at the first sign of symptoms.
Our Para-Key contains a combination of botanicals that are effective against flu, especially when taken with vitamin C. Grapefruit seed extract and sweet wormwood are particularly well-known broad spectrum antimicrobials that cleanse away unwanted invaders.
3. Shore Up Your Cell Membranes
Viruses need a vulnerable host cell with a weak cell membrane in order to inject themselves inside and multiply. Without a host cell, a virus can’t multiply and infect you. This is why the most effective flu fighters focus on strengthening cell membranes and protecting healthy cells.
According to Ann Louise Gittleman’s new release, Radical Metabolism, Omega 6 fats are superstars when it comes to strengthening cell membranes. Linoleic acid, found in nuts, seeds, and their cold-pressed oils, is the most powerful key player in strengthening cell membranes and restoring their health. Oils like hempseed oil and Siberian pine nut oil have the highest concentrations.
High dose vitamin C not only boosts your immune system, but is also a powerful antioxidant both inside your cells and for your cell membranes. Studies show Vitamin C taken daily with l-lysine, an amino acid, are effective against influenza before and during infection. At least 2,000 to 5,000 milligrams of Time-C should be taken with 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of l-lysine.
4. Boost Your Immune Power
Supporting your immune system is key to preventing infection with the flu. Your white blood cells are front-line defenders against viral foreign invaders like influenza, and can stop the virus in its tracks before you even show symptoms. And while vitamin C is reliable and effective, there are several other remedies that work to supercharge your immunity, especially if you’re already immunocompromised or taking immunosuppressant medications.
Optimize your vitamin D level to heal from the flu faster. Not only does it calm the inflammatory response of the immune system and decrease complications from the flu, it also shortens the duration of symptoms from an average of 9 days to just 2 days, according to this study. Take 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily and keep blood levels at least 38 ng/mL.
Over 90 percent of your immune system is housed in your digestive system, because this is where we come in contact with most of the foreign invaders that enter the body. Even your respiratory system empties into your stomach. One way to boost your intestinal immune system is to supplement with a good quality probiotic and probiotic fermented foods, which repopulate your microbiome with beneficial bacteria that help you digest and absorb nutrients and break down pathogens like the influenza virus.
Your immune system is more than your white blood cells and microbiome. The master immune gland is called the thymus, and sits behind your breastbone, well protected. As you age, the gland is infiltrated with fat cells and weakens, which also weakens your immunity. The master organ of your immune system is the spleen, which filters your blood and stores immune cells like white blood cells. Thymus and spleen extracts can be taken during flu season to boost immune function and help you fight off the flu. Herbs like thyme do double duty in fighting off the virus and supporting the thymus.
5. Think Outside the Box
When it comes to illness, the obvious solutions are to boost the immune system and fight the virus directly. But, there is another, more subtle means of attack that works just as well, and it starts with measuring your pH. The flu virus needs an acidic cellular pH – ideally 5.0 – in order to inject itself into your cells. If you have the flu, you can safely assume you are acidic at the cellular level. Invest in pH test strips now and correct your pH to slightly alkaline before flu season strikes. Ann Louise Gittleman’s cran water is a great way to alkalize at the cellular level and fight flu before it starts.
Early prevention of influenza is a much better plan than being caught off guard and having to fight a raging infection that leaves you feeling miserable, and at-risk for pneumonia and other complications. Form your strategy now, by strengthening cell membranes, boosting your immune system, and correcting your pH, and keep flu-fighting botanicals on-hand so when the flu season comes, you are fully prepared.