As flu season looms before us I thought I would try and address how we may protect ourselves from all our winter ailments such as colds, flu, upper respiratory infections, and sore throats etc.
Our immune systems consist of a complex collection of cells and processes that constantly protect us from invading pathogens including viruses, toxins, and bacteria. Research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs etc. can improve our immune response and protect us.
Let us start with one of the most important vitamins for immune support, namely Vitamin D. There are vitamin D receptors and activating enzymes on the surface of all white blood cells and vitamin D enhances the function of these immune cells including the T cells and macrophages. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with frequent infections of colds, influenza and increased risk of respiratory diseases including tuberculosis, asthma, and chronic pulmonary disease as well as viral and bacterial respiratory infections. It has been linked to decreased lung function affecting how our bodies fight those respiratory infections.
Next is Zinc, a mineral that is essential for immune system function as it is needed for the development of immune cells and to protect the tissue barriers and so help to prevent foreign pathogens from entering the body. Many studies have shown that zinc can protect against respiratory infection. High levels of zinc in the cell increases the pH within it and has the effect of inhibiting the replication of RNA viruses.
Next is vitamin C and its bioflavonoids and antioxidants including Quercetin. Supplementing with vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections. It provides yet another layer of protection. Quercetin is part of the vitamin C pie and is another strong and powerful antioxidant and can act as an ionophore to attach to the zinc ions and transport them into the cell where they can do their work of inhibiting the replication of RNA viruses. It also has unique biological properties which include anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral activities, plus it also has the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation and capillary permeability.
One of the body’s most potent and powerful antioxidants, glutathione, is known as the master antioxidant and assists in boosting other antioxidants in the body. It plays a key role in proper function of T cell lymphocytes allowing the frontline soldiers of your immune system to multiply in numbers. It also stimulates the production and activation of the Killer T cells. It also protects your mitochondria which is the powerhouse of the cells. NAC [N-Acetyl Cysteine] in combination with two other amino acids, glutamine and glycine is needed to make glutathione. NAC itself can relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions acting as an antioxidant, and as an expectorant loosening mucus in the air passageways. It helps replenish glutathione in the lungs, reducing inflammation in the bronchial tubes and lung tissue. People with COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] have damage and inflammation of the lung tissue allowing constriction which leads to shortness of breath and coughing. NAC can improve COPD symptoms, exacerbations, and lung decline. It helps with chronic bronchitis also to reduce inflammation, swelling and the closing of airways in the lungs. NAC acts by thinning the mucus in the bronchial tubes and boosting glutathione to decrease the frequency and the severity of wheezing, coughing and respiratory attacks. It is also helpful in other conditions such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis as well as symptoms of nasal and sinus congestion due to allergies and infections. NAC has also been shown to aid in neurological disorders in the brain and is able to improve both dopamine function and disease symptoms such as tremors. In recent studies it has been found to improve male and female fertility.
Nattokinase can dissolve fibrin which stops blood clotting and improves blood flow and so lowering the risk of heart disease. It also helps to lower blood pressure reducing the strain on the heart that can lead to heart attacks. Natto also has the ability to reduce the viscosity of mucus and can be used to treat COPD and bronchitis. Grape seed extract is also quite specific for chronic sinus infections.
Elderberry is one of the most versatile solutions for all ailments! Hippocrates called the elder tree “the medicine chest”. The berries are packed with antioxidants and boost the immune system, lessen stress, protect the heart, and tame inflammation and are particularly known for lessening the symptoms of colds and flu.
Colloidal silver is one of the most reliable methods of attacking viruses, bacteria and improving recovery from injury. The technology used to produce SilverSol silver is extremely advanced nanotechnology using a tetrahedron to protect the colloidal particles. The silver exits the body within twenty-four hours and, as it is not ionic zinc, will never be laid down in the body. It will not harm friendly bacteria in the gut. For severe lung infections I believe that putting our colloidal silver into a nebulizer and inhaling it will swiftly deal with any pathogens in the lungs. Ingesting the silver orally will kill any other pathogens in the body.
A recent study that includes Worcester Polytechnic Institute of biology and researchers from Colombia University New York and The University of Washington has found that Artemisia can inhibit the replication of the SarsCov-2 virus. Another interesting plant is Andrographis which I have found to be extremely effective in combating colds, flu and upper respiratory infections and is also widely used for hepatic protection and has anti-inflammatory activity.
This list a wonderful baseline for creating your family’s sick kit to get through cold and flu season but sometimes something comes along that needs a more tailored approach. It’s possible to gear yourself up to combat a whole multitude of things if given the right tools. That is why when we’re faced with a threat, we take the time to create effective and in depth protocols that target all the dark nooks and crannies where any nasty virus might hide.
Written By: Nathalie McNeill, Fountain Head Health Store & Cafe, Fergus