Top 10: Taking Charge Of The Flu
By: Dr. Andrea Schrock
Have you ever wondered why some people catch the flu, and others don’t? We all are exposed to the flu virus (in fact, there are actually many different flu viruses!), yet not everyone gets “sick”. Studies show that the flu vaccine is ineffective, with the CDC admitting that the shots fail half the time,1 so it’s not the flu shot that is keeping people well (more on that later). The answer: it is all about the strength of the host. When it comes to bugs in general, keeping a healthy, resilient body is your best defense against sickness, and the result is not only not getting sick, but even more importantly having a thriving healthy body with lots of energy and protection against chronic illness! In this article, I am not only going to outline how to best protect yourself from the flu this Fall and Winter, but I am giving you tips that will serve you in your quality of life in general.
- Chiropractic for a Healthy Nervous System
Chiropractic adjustments remove interferences in the nervous system and help it to perform optimally. Since the nervous system controls the immune system, along with all other body functions, chiropractic care can be beneficial to the immune system.
In fact, during the 1917-18 Spanish Flu epidemic, an estimated 500,000 people died in the U.S. and 20 million globally. In Davenport, IA, the birthplace of chiropractic, one out of every 15 people treated for this flu by conventional medicine died (6,116 of 93,590 treated). Yet, see the following results of those stricken with this flu while under chiropractic care:
- At the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA: 1,635 cases with only one death
- Chiropractors in Iowa, outside of the Palmer School of Chiropractic: 4,735 cases, with only six deaths
- Oklahoma: 3,490 cases with only seven deaths
- In 233 cases in which conventional medicine gave up and considered lost, chiropractors saved all but 252
It is important to note that chiropractic care does not treat anything, but removes interferences in the nervous system, and in turn enhances the performance of the nervous system and the function of the body. It helps the body to heal.
- Vitamin D3 with K2
Medical studies show that a vitamin D deficiency may be the top deficiency in the U.S., with one of the main symptoms associated with this deficiency being a weakened immune system.3 Since we primarily get vitamin D from the sun, this is one of the main reasons we are deficient, as many are not getting adequate absorption from the sun’s rays, especially during winter months. In fact, this is largely why we have “flu season” –the sun goes away and we have a deficiency of sunlight. Thus, supplementing vitamin D is essential, and one that I recommend is the liquid Vitamin D3/K2 from Thorne.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Following this diet takes some dedication but is very attainable! It’s important to understand that stressors are not just emotional and physical, but also chemical, with chemical stress coming from the foods we eat as well as toxins in our environment (air, water, cleaning supplies, drugs, etc.). Between October and January (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), sugar and preservatives make up the primary stressor for most people due to all of the holiday intake of sweets. Cutting out inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, sugar (including pasta, rice, and bread), bad fats from sources like canola and vegetable oils and replacing these with good fats, organic cruciferous vegetables, organic and grassfed/free range meat and eggs, and wild caught fish is essential in maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet. Fantastic foods to weave in include green leafy vegetables, bok choy, chia seeds, celery, beets, ginger, broccoli, blueberries, pineapple, wild-caught salmon, bone broth, turmeric, avocado, and coconut oil.4 If you follow an anti-inflammatory diet, get adjusted, and absorb enough vitamin D3, the chances of getting the flu are minimal, unless there is major emotional stressor in your life. The reason is that these three things are paramount for attaining a healthy body. Many diseases start with/are triggered by chronic inflammation, so not only will this diet help prevent the flu, but it will help prevent disease and set you up for a healthy life!
Hydration is critical to flushing unwanted viruses and microbes from the body. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of spring or reverse osmosis water daily.5
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Organic, raw ACV is a great way to elevate your gut health. Made from fermented apple cider, ACV is a great source of bacteria beneficial to your gut, improving immunity as well as aiding digestive function. A shot of ACV in the morning is a great way to start your day! There are a wide-range of health benefits of ACV beyond these as well.6 When choosing an ACV, I highly recommend Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
Medicinal recipes incorporating elderberry date back to ancient Egyptian times, and Hippocrates, the “father of modern medicine,” who called the plant his “medicine chest.” Elderberry is packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and immune-boosting properties. Like ACV, elderberry has a variety of health benefits.7 A popular and easy way to consume elderberry is in a syrup, which you can make and store in glass jars in the fridge for up to two months. Take a shot glass in the morning and evening, or more if immune-challenged. Click here for the recipe!8
- Vitamin C
A fantastic way to get vitamin C is from your food. We really don’t need to supplement with vitamin C unless we are sick, or as we chiropractors say, “expressing health” (and if supplementing, I recommend Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C for its bioavailability advantages). Lemons are an incredible source of vitamin C – simply squirting the juice from two to three lemons into your water throughout the day will give you the recommended amount of vitamin C per day (needs vary based on gender or if pregnant, breastfeeding, or smoking).9,10 And, it tastes great too! While gram for gram, oranges and lemons have about the same quantity of vitamin C, oranges have more sugar (9.4g sugar per 100g of orange versus 2.5g sugar per 100g lemon), which is why I recommend lemon juice.9,11 Lemons also are packed with inflammation-fighting and immune-boosting antioxidants.12 If juicing is a challenge for you, organic camu camu powder is another great vitamin C source, and a great place to pick it up online is Thrive Market.
- Cod Liver Oil
A nutrient-dense source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, cod liver oil is great for reducing inflammation, heart health, combating auto-immune diseases and mental health disorders, and so much more. Most Americans consume excess omega-6 fatty acids without enough omega-3 fatty acids to create the proper ratio in the body (2:1 omega-6 to omega-3), leading to disease-causing inflammation.13 How to consume it? Eating fresh cod liver…or if that’s not your jam, you can take a supplement from a brand such as Nordic Naturals.
Keeping a healthy gut is essential, as approximately 80% of the immune system lives in the gut! According to Dr. Zach Bush, there is an ecosystem of more than 38,000 different bacteria and fungi that make up our gut microbiome. In fact, there are more of these microbes in our bodies than there are human cells, as they are very important! When one takes an antibiotic, in addition to killing the unwanted bacteria, it also destroys the healthy microbes that we need for a healthy immune system. Probiotics are important in restoring beneficial bacteria and maintaining a healthy microbiome, but we need to be careful when selecting. Many probiotics are high in only a few microbes and supporting only a small number of them can throw off the balance of the microbiome. I recommend Ion Biome due to its rich source of probiotics supporting the overall ecosystem of the microbiome and the beneficial enzymes that strengthen the tight junctions of the gut lining.14
- Essential Oils
Oregano oil has very powerful anti-viral properties, and I tend to reach for it when I feel my system is suppressed.15 Clove oil is a fantastic antioxidant making it a great oil to use more regularly to ward off free radicals.16 Diffusing an oil such as OnGuard in your home not only smells amazing but also cleanses the air and promotes healthy immune function.
Using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils to clean your home is another fantastic way to keep unwanted germs away while also reducing chemical toxins.
Following this top 10 list is not only a great way to prevent getting the flu this “season”, but you’ll also be extremely healthy, as this is truly a healthcare plan, not only a not-get-the-flu plan!
So, what about the flu shot?
The flu virus is not actually what makes us sick. The truth of the matter is that we all get exposed to flu viruses, but only some get sick. As mentioned earlier, protecting yourself from the flu is about the strength of the host – the resiliency of your body. Following the top 10 are great ways to become resilient.
With the flu shot, one is only exposed to a few different strains of the flu virus (out of the many that exist), and instead of being protected by the skin and the nasal passages and the body’s first line of defense, the vaccine is injected directly into the arm, bypassing these natural defense mechanisms, enters the bloodstream, and creates an abnormal response. It's not only the virus(es) that are in the shot, but also many other substances that trigger immune response including: formaldehyde, mercury, egg protein, and antibiotics. Upon receiving a flu shot, one is exposed to a host of toxic chemicals with serious effects, including neurological consequences like decreased immune response, brain inflammation, nerve damage, fatigue, muscle pain, weakness, and paralysis which can lead to death.17
It’s important to be aware of the risks associated with the flu shot prior to receiving it. If you choose not to get the shot, following the top 10 list above is a great way to not only help prevent the flu, but also to set yourself up for a healthy, vibrant life.
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