FIVE WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM THIS ALLERGY/ COLD/ FLU SEASON

With kids back in school,

and adults going back to the office…

We are all noticing sniffly noses, congestion, scratchy eyes and throats.

WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF ALLERGY, COLD AND FLU SEASON!

And, after many months of isolated conditions, our immune systems have gone into overdrive. If you are like so many others, you might be wondering how to maintain your health this year. Use this list to be proactive during allergy/ cold and flu season:

FIVE WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

  1. Get some sleep! One of the major ways our immune systems weaken is when our bodies aren’t given the proper chance to recharge. Remember to practice sleep hygiene: turn off screens one hour before bed, dim the lights, use lavender in your diffuser, or take a warm bath. Avoid overworking and staying out late.

  1. Eat with your immune system in mind. The following foods are immune boosters: pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, elderberry extract, astragalus root, ginger, turmeric and garlic. Avoid processed foods, alcohol, and any foods that might cause inflammation especially if you are sensitive to histamines.

  1. Supplement your nutrition when necessary. In winter months when natural sources of Vitamin C (fresh fruit) and D (the sun) are scarce, it’s essential to supplement your nutritional regimen with those vitamins and Zinc as well. We carry a number of herb/nutrient combinations at the office that can assist in boosting your immune function, as well as products to help lower your susceptibility to allergy symptoms.

  1. Make lifestyle choices that support immune health. Here are a few suggestions for daily living that will support your immunity as well:
  • Disinfect your environment by washing hands and surfaces in your home.
  • Take your shoes off at the door.
  • Avoid large indoor gatherings when possible.
  • Pay attention to indoor and outdoor air quality to eliminate allergens that might exacerbate symptoms.
  • Continue to focus on the basic pillars of health: movement, nutrition, hydration and sleep.

  1. Keep your nose and throat clear. Using a nasal and/ or throat spray daily is a helpful way to flush allergens and germs out of your system where they normally locate. You can also incorporate steam inhalation, using essential oils such as eucalyptus and thyme, which is a great way to naturally get rid of foreign microbes within the upper respiratory tract.

We know that our immune systems are facing down a barrage of irritants this allergy, cold and flu season. It’s time to get proactive with your health and make sure you have immune boosters on hand in your pantry and bathroom cabinet to make sure you remain as healthy as possible this fall/ winter. Dr. Fisel can help you find natural solutions and relief if you are battling with the symptoms of allergies, colds, or the flu. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation.

RESOURCES:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-immunologist-wants-you-to-know-about-surviving-cold-and-flu-season

Flu and Elderberry

I almost universally recommend Elderberry in cases of flu and other viral respiratory infections. Here is some research that demonstrates it’s effectiveness:

According to a recent study, an extract of black elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) inhibited human influenza virus A (H1N1) infection in vitro. The IC50 value (i.e., the concentration at which the infection was inhibited by 50%) was 252 µg/ml. Two flavonoids isolated from the elderberry extract were found to bind to H1N1 virions and to block the ability of the virus to infect host cells: these flavonoids were 5,7,3′,4′-tetra-O-methylquercetin (Compound 1) and 5,7-dihydroxy-4-oxo-2-(3,4,5-trihydroxyphenyl)chroman-3-yl-3,4,5-trihydroxycyclohexanecarboxylate (Compound 2). Compound 1 and dihydromyricetin (the 3-hydroxyflavonone of Compound 2) were synthesized and shown to inhibit H1N1 infectivity in vitro by binding to H1N1 virions. Compound 1 had an IC50 of 0.13 µg/ml (0.36 µM) for H1N1 infection inhibition, while Compound 3 had an IC50 of 2.8 µg/ml (8.7 µM). The IC50 of the elderberry flavonoids compared favorably with those of oseltamivir (Tamiflu; 0.32 µM) and amantadine (27 µM), which are prescription drugs used to treat influenza.

 

The results of in vitro studies do not necessarily translate into clinical efficacy. In order for a compound to have an antiviral effect in vivo, it must be absorbed intact in amounts sufficient to achieve a virucidal concentration at the site of the infection. No data are available regarding the absorption of the antiviral flavonoids in elderberry, and the capacity of the human body to absorb other naturally occurring flavonoids has been found to be limited. However, in clinical trials, administration of an elderberry extract produced encouraging results in people with influenza-like illness.

 

Forty patients suffering from influenza-like symptoms during an outbreak of influenza B/Panama in 1993 were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, a proprietary preparation (Sambucol) containing extracts of Sambucus nigra L. and raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) or placebo. The dosage was 30 ml per day for children and 60 ml per day for adults, and the treatment was given for three days. Twenty-seven patients completed the trial. After two days of treatment, a higher proportion of patients in the active-treatment group than in the placebo group had experienced significant improvement in symptoms (93% vs. 25%; p value not stated). Symptoms resolved completely after three days in 87% of patients receiving active treatment and in 33% of those receiving placebo.

 

Sixty patients (aged 18-54 years; mean, 30 years) who were suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 hours or less were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, Sambucol (15 ml 4 times per day during meals) or placebo for five days. The mean time until complete or almost-complete resolution of symptoms occurred was significantly less in the active-treatment group than in the placebo group (3.1 days vs. 7.1 days; 56.3% decrease; p < 0.001). No side effects were reported.

 

Further research with larger numbers of patients in whom the diagnosis of influenza is confirmed by laboratory studies is needed to confirm the results of these preliminary trials. The availability of natural substances should not deter people from taking appropriate precautions for preventing influenza (such as washing hands, keeping family members at home when they are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, and receiving vaccinations when clinically indicated). Nor should the availability of natural substances deter people from seeking medical care and taking medications such as Tamiflu when necessary.

 

Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael MD, Li D, Alberte RS. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry 2009;70:1255-1261.
2 Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, Manor O, Regev L, Schlesinger M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med 1995;1:361-369.
Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res 2004;32:132-140.