Each and every winter the influenza virus otherwise known as the “Flu” creates misery in our every day lives. The typical symptoms of the flu include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, cough and stomach symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. A flu virus can come on very slowly with it’s symptoms or it can hit suddenly without any notice at all. People wonder how they can prevent themselves and their family from getting the ravages of flu virus. Natural prevention and treatment of the flu virus includes vitamins and minerals, herbal medicine and lifestyle changes and ideas
Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamin C– Vitamin C can vastly enhance the immune system’s ability to fight infections of all different kinds. There have been trials that have shown that Vitamin C aids in the prevention of influenza, as well as shortening the duration and reducing the severity of infections already in full force. So taking it before sickness is recommended to avoid illness but if you do contract an illness then Vitamin C can help you to get over it faster. You can not overdose on vitamin C as it is a water soluble vitamin, (the worse that can happen is diarrhea) and high doses of vitamin C work better then the standard recommendations. 1000mg is the MINIMUM you should take to prevent illness and 2000-3000mg is not unrealistic if you are already sick. Taking with bioflavanoids increases absorption as does taking it in liquid form.
Zinc- Zinc plays an important role in maintaining healthy immune function. Low levels of zinc are associated with a decrease in T cell function, a vital white blood cell that helps fight infections. Zinc can prevent viral cells from reproducing and also keep them from lodging in the mucus membranes of the mouth , nose and throat.
Vitamin A– Vitamin A is also associated with T cell function, making it an impotent and vital component of a healthy functioning immune system. Vitamin A helps to maintain the integrity of mucus membranes, which are the front line of our defenses against viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections.
Elderberry- Research demonstrates and shows that elderberry extract has particular immune controlling and antioxidant properties that neutralize and stop the activity of viruses so they can no longer enter the cell replicate and reproduce. The berries also contain vitamins A and C, and the bioflavonoids quercetin, anthocyanin and rutin, all of which greatly boost immune function. Elderberry comes in many already prepared formulas both for adults and for babies and children. This can be taken to help prevent illness and also to fight illnes once it has started. But it works best for prevention.
Larch arbinogalactans– Larch arabinogalactans are polysaccharides derived from the wood of the Western larch tree. These polysaccharides stimulate the immune system to fend off infections. Larch arabinogalactans have been studied and shown effective in adults, as well as children, which makes it a great choice for keeping the whole family healthy through the flu season. This is also a known pre-biotic that feeds the good bacteria in your intestines. The good bacteria in your intestines plays a big part in your immune system and immune health.
Echinacea– Echinacea also has the immune stimulating polysaccharides that give it an important role in naturopathic antiviral treatments. These polysaccharides naturally enhance the body’s resistance to infection. This has been studied for many years has been proven to work for both fighting to prevent infection and illness and also fighting illness that has already started. It has a proven track record. You can find this in many already prepared preparations.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
70% of your immune system is in your intestines. Your good bacteria play a HUGE part in keeping you healthy and keeping the bad bacteria in your intestines in check. Imbalances can lead to many sicknesses because of a low functioning immune system. Everyone can benefit from a probiotic and prebiotic supplement. Choosing a high quaility supplement of at least 20 Billion CFU is important for prevention of illness and for fighting illnesses once they have started.
Lifestyle tips for the prevention and treatment of the flu:
Sleep– Maintaining a regular and balanced sleep routine is one HUGE way to keep our immune system healthy. Adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to revitalize for the next day. Consistent, regular inadequate sleep lowers the body’s defenses needed for fighting viral infections.
Stress– While stress is a part of everyday life; excessive stress can decrease immune function and make it easier to come down with the flu virus. Establishing regular stress management techniques like deep breathing and regular exercise can help ensure that every day stress won’t leave you vulnerable to catching the flu.
Diet- A diet super rich in fruits, vegetables and high quality proteins is a sure foundation for a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that eating a sugar filled snack or meal can severely depress the immune system for several hours, creating a real window of time during which you can catch the flu more easily. Avoiding excessive sugar can help keep the immune system working at the high level needed to fend off viral infections, like the flu.