If it seems like everyone around you is coming down with the flu again this year and you want to do anything you can to prevent getting it yourself, you’re not alone!
As Americans, we are bombarded with offers for the flu vaccine. In fact, some pharmacies will even donate food to hungry people if you get vaccinated! Some will give you $5 to spend at their store – the list goes on.
Should I get vaccinated in order to prevent the flu? Is there anything else I can do to prevent the flu?
These are controversial, but common questions that I hear from my patients. My answers are usually along these lines:
Should I get vaccinated in order to prevent the flu?
Well, the CDC’s website says that the flu vaccine is only 40-60% effective.
(1). How many things do you do when there’s only an average of a 50% chance that it will work?
Moreover, the website also states that the vaccine only really “works” when the scientists correctly predict the strain of the virus that will present for that respective year. So, if they guess wrong, the vaccine is much less effective, if at all. If they predict correctly, the flu vaccine MAY help reduce your symptoms of the flu.
Furthermore, there’s always the chance that you may actually get symptoms of the flu with just the vaccine itself – how nice!
Is there anything else I can do to prevent the flu?
Yes! Immune support, immune support, immune support! I’ll say it again – immune support! When our immune system is healthy, we may still get symptoms of the flu, but our bodies will contend with the virus faster and easier.
The flu is most detrimental to those with a compromised immune system (typically elderly folks and otherwise ill people). If you are a generally healthy person with a healthy diet and lifestyle choices, yes, you may get the flu, but it will come and go relatively unremarkably as your immune system deals with the virus.
Sometimes, when your immune system is very strong, you may come in contact with the flu virus, but it will last only hours or days, or sometimes not even at all!
So then, how do I support my immune system?
There are several vitamins and herbs that support your immune system. The most important of these seems to be Vitamin D3. Dose recommendations vary from doctor to doctor, but one article showed a reduction in the incidence of the flu when taking 1200 IU of vitamin D3 daily (2).
The other most important things to keep your immune system healthy and strong is a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and exercise including fresh air and sunshine.
Beyond this, it is best to review other flu-prevention and immune system building products and activities with your physician. If you don’t yet have a naturopathic physician, give us a call today for an evaluation of your current immune function, vitamin status, and ways to reduce your risk of getting the flu this year.
Written By Dr. Jessica Corbeille, ND, CES
Elevated Natural Health
If you are like me, your family can always look forward to a few bottles of whatever your newest favorite supplement is this year in their stocking! I always think, instead of packing the stocking full of candy (which is terrible for us) or tiny trinkets (that really never get used for anything), why not spend our time and money shopping for things that can improve the health of our family members!? Stuff those stockings with vitamins and healthy snacks this year! If you need some ideas,
These are a few of My Favorite Things…
Warmest of wishes to you and yours!
Potassium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, calcium….electrolytes. It’s not just athletes that need to replenish daily with electrolytes, it’s all of us! Why is that? What do these electrolytes do in our bodies? Let’s take a look.
Potassium: Almost everyone consumes far less than the recommended adequate daily intake – some of us not even half of what is recommended. What kinds of issues could be coming up as a result? Well, potassium is responsible for a multitude of functions in the human body. The most important could be the conduction of signaling in cells (muscle cells, nerve cells, brain cells, etc.). Without potassium cells cannot function, leaving a person with inappropriately or poorly working muscle cells (leading to muscle cramps, weakness, fatigue), nerve cells (leading to numbness, tingling, poor nerve conduction), brain cells (leading to mental fatigue, brain fog) and so on. Another notable issue that can arise without enough potassium is elevated blood pressure and increased salt sensitivity.
Magnesium: Perhaps the most important electrolyte in the body is magnesium. Magnesium is involved in countless biochemical pathways which end up influencing the way your entire body functions. Some conditions that magnesium can help include: breathing issues/asthma, high blood pressure, constipation, muscle cramps, muscle fatigue, muscle pain, nervousness, moodiness, anxiety, decreased cognition, and poor circulation, among several others. The simplest way to think about magnesium is that it can promote vascular (blood vessel) relaxation, which will improve blood flow and decrease pressure. So, anything that would improve with better blood flow and lower pressure is likely to benefit from magnesium.
Sodium: This electrolyte gets a bad wrap due to its relationship with elevated blood pressure. If you noticed above that both potassium and magnesium can help to lower blood pressure, perhaps it’s really the relative deficiency of those electrolytes compared to sodium that cause the problem. Sodium is absolutely necessary to the normal functioning of our body. For all of the cellular signals that we mentioned potassium is needed, sodium is also a piece of that equation. Sodium is also hugely important for the overall blood volume and hydration stabilization in the body. Without sodium, hydration is not possible.
Chloride: With fear of sounding redundant, chloride is the third electrolyte responsible for widespread cellular conductions throughout the body. Again, without chloride, no cell signaling can occur. Chloride is also hugely responsible for maintaining blood pH and overall body hydration – two very important tasks necessary to maintain life. Another pivotal role of chloride in the body is to make hydrochloric acid (stomach acid). Without stomach acid, digestion weakens and the absorption of essential nutrients, like B12, will not occur.
Calcium: Most people think of bone density when they think about calcium. Bone density is an essential task for calcium as our bones are prominently composed of calcium, but that’s not the only task calcium has in the body. Calcium is also used with magnesium to support proper muscle contractions. In fact, even though magnesium is needed to relax and repair the sore muscles, calcium is the electrolyte that is released inside the muscle fibers to initiate the contraction of the muscle. So without calcium, we would not be able to use our muscles at all!
For recommendations on how to improve your electrolyte intake or for a personalized look at your electrolyte status, please call our office to schedule a time to meet with a physician.
Here it comes again - that time of year where we purchase new yoga clothes, running shoes, and a bathroom scale. It's the time of year where we look back at the holiday festivities and wonder when they started putting more calories in pumpkin pie and less elastic in our pajama pants.
If you're like millions of people, for you, winter months are time for cleansing and detox. It's a new year, a new start - and with no holidays in sight for a few months, it's a great time of year for a detox regimen. Perhaps you wouldn't mind even losing a few pounds. If this sounds like your goals for the winter months (and prep for the summer season), have you considered that there are healthful, energizing, and satisfying ways to obtain these goals?
Many diet and detox plans these days involve pasty protein shakes or starvation diets. The truth is, weight loss that is achieved in this fashion is not sustainable. Starvation by severe calorie restriction further stresses the nervous, hormonal, and metabolic systems and can make weight loss in the future even more difficult.
While weight gain is linked to diet and lifestyle choices, for many, diet and lifestyle are not the culprit for those extra pounds. Most often, it's the hormone system, the nervous system, and/or the metabolic system that is dictating the weight imbalance.
So what does all this mean? Balance. It really comes down to balance.
The next step in balancing weight is to ensure proper balance of the micronutrients (specific amino acids, vitamins, minerals) in addition to the macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates). While this can be done slowly with oral supplementation, a new, faster, convenient, and more efficient way to help balance the metabolic system is through IV nutrition therapy. This involves receiving a 45-90 minute IV once or twice a week for 6-8 weeks (note: exact protocol to be determined on an individual basis).
The nutrients in this IV are geared towards ramping up the mobilization and metabolism of macromolecules for energy production (i.e. calorie or fat "burning") and supporting all of the detox and antioxidant pathways to promote health and prevent aging.
What are the side effects of these IVs? Well, we expect that in addition to weight loss, you may also feel more alert, happier, less anxious, have fewer symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance, have better hair growth, and maybe even look and feel more youthful! (As a side note: It is not common, but some people do actually feel tired after the IV treatments in the beginning. This actually indicates a greater deficiency of the nutrients and after sufficient replenishing, these people will reap the positive benefits too.) Overall, people tend to feel a lot better and more energized while on this detox protocol.
If IV therapy for weight loss and detox sounds like something you'd like to try, please don't hesitate to give us a call!
Aaaaahhhh---CHEEEWWW! *Cough Cough Cough*…. Seasonal allergies – enough to ruin anyone’s springtime bliss. They sneak up on you, right when you are ready to hang up your winter coat and enjoy the new blooms of early spring. Allergies flood our sinuses, cloud our vision, and bring the toughest souls to tears. So, why wait until mid May to reach for Claritin and Zyrtec? Is there anything to start doing now to prevent the rush of inflammation and stuffed sinuses in the spring? The answer….YES!!
Dr. C makes posts to this page regularly with new health information, home remedies, and other interesting tidbits.