Essential Nutrients for Fighting the Cold and Flu
By Heidi Toy, BS, FNTP
Flu season is here, and everyone seems to want to know if you’ve had your flu shot yet, especially considering we’re in the throes of a pandemic. The flu vaccine, however, is NOT your best defense against getting sick.
Each year, the FDA and the CDC decide which strains of the influenza virus should be sold in the U.S. These specific strains are selected through calculations of which ones are “most likely to cause illness.” Basically, the “experts” guess. Each flu shot also contains mercury in the form of thimerosal. Mercury is one of the most hazardous neurotoxins because it destroys brain tissue.
An alternative to getting the ambiguous and dangerous flu shot is to naturally strengthen your immune system through supplements, giving your body the ability to fight any bacteria, virus, or microbe.
Most folks who contract the flu already have a subclinical deficiency of a nutrient, which means that the body cannot function at optimal performance. Add in emotional stress, weather changes, and/or daylight changes and you have a recipe for the body functioning at a lower performance level. The result is that bacteria and viruses gain temporary control, resulting in a cold or the flu. Two major nutrient deficiencies that play a critical role in warding off germs are zinc and vitamin D.
Zinc is crucial for a healthy immune system and is a co-factor in over 200 enzyme systems. This mineral has a direct link to our body’s T-cells. If the body has a proper level of zinc, helper T-cells orchestrate an immune response while killer T-cells simultaneously hunt down and destroy cells that are infected with germs.
Zinc is also necessary for so many other functions:
- Improves of cardiovascular function
- Supports female and male reproductive health
- Increases wound healing
- Produces healthy skin cells
- Stimulates GI cell repair
- Reduces inflammation
- Creates healthy cell membranes
- Metabolizes essential fatty acids (Omega 3/6)
Vitamin D is responsible for the regulation of over 2,000 genes in our body, and almost every person is deficient in it. It helps the body make more of the master antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione gives us the ability to detox metals, toxins, and chemicals from every system in the body, including the immune system. It cannot be taken as a supplement--it must be made in the body, and vitamin D assists with production. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and should be taken with fat at your largest meal of the day.
Vitamin D has other roles in the body:
- Maintains blood sugar
- Supports a healthy gut
- Reduces inflammation
- Maintains healthy bone mass
A vitamin C supplement is also crucial to add to your regimen to fight the flu. Most people get vitamin C from fruit or juice, placing the intake of vitamin C in direct competition with an uptick of sugar. This causes elevated glucose levels, which effectively restricts vitamin C from entering the cells. This is one of the reasons we see a rise in colds and flu between Halloween and Valentine’s Day--the highest sugar-consumption period of the year.
The most effective way to combat disease and illness is not necessarily through a flu shot. You need to develop a wellness program that includes a whole foods diet and a professional grade supplement regime year round to help support optimum nutrition. Exercise, even moderate, is also important! Make your body its own best defense.
The nutrients mentioned above are crucial to our wellbeing. For more information, contact me through my website www.heiditoyfunctionalmedicine.com. Please support local businesses.
This information is not a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.