How to Fight the Flu

flu 20shot

First of all get your flu vaccine. According to the Center for Disease Control:

  • Due to flu viruses constantly changing, the flu vaccines are updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses.
  • The second reason that annual vaccination is recommended is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time and annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection.

Increase Omega 3 fatty acids.

 Eat more fish and if you don’t like fish then take an omega-3 supplement daily to obtain the fatty acid's immune-fortifying properties. Omega 3 fatty acids increase the activity of phagocytes which are cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria according to a study by Britain's Institute of Human Nutrition and School of Medicine. Other research shows that omega-3s increase airflow and protect the lungs from colds and respiratory infections by reducing inflammation. Make sure to get fish oil capsules that contain at least 1 gram of combined of EPA and DHA and that are wild caught and small fish sources.

Boost up your Vitamin D.

Vitamin D may effectively boost immunity and help prevent colds, according to a Harvard Public Health Review (2007).  The study looked at people with the lowest vitamin D levels and showed that they were 36% more likely to have upper respiratory infections; compared with those with the higher levels of vitamin D. (Asthma patients with low levels of D were nearly 6 times as likely to get sick as those with the greatest amounts.) Since 80% of vitamin D comes from sunlight and only 20% come from food ( fish and dairy with vitamin D) you'll need a supplement to attain optimal levels  at least 1,000 IU daily.

Be careful with Vitamin C, eat it but watch the supplement use.

There's no downside to eating a lot of vitamin C rich foods, such as red peppers and citrus fruits. However, taking vitamin C for extra protection, especially in high doses, won't help.  A 2007 review of 30 studies found no evidence that vitamin C supplementation prevents colds in the normal population. Plus, high doses can increase rates of kidney stones, upset stomach, and even internal bleeding in children.

Boost you Zinc

The research shows that, "30 mg taken at the very start of a cold will shorten it by about half a day," says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. Products like Zicam or Cold-Eeze are a good source. They work by slowing the multiplication of the virus in the nose and throat, and so appear to shorten colds.

However, don't overdo it. Deficiencies in zinc can increase your risk of infection, on the other hand more than 50 mg daily can do the opposite by suppressing your immune system.

As the flu season approaches taking some of these extra precautions are suggested. Don’t forget to exercise daily. Getting 150 minutes of moderate cardio weekly will help naturally boost up your immune system and keep you healthy. Maintain a whole healthy diet with a reduction in added sugars. Avoid eating more than 45 grams of sugar per day as the sugar increases the body’s inflammatory response and decreases the immune system.  Get enough sleep so your body will stay healthy and strong to be able to fight infection. At least 6-8 hours is recommended.

For more information on staying healthy, call the LiVe Well Center at Park City Medical Center: 435-333-3535.