Staying healthy is almost on everyone’s list every winter. But this year, in the midst of a pandemic, it may be even more of a concern than usual. People might wonder if they should:
- Take special supplements to support their immune system
- Invest in cleaning devices to eradicate those germs
Whilst the viral threats may be different from usual this year, the strategies that we use every year still remain the same but we should look at a holistic approach to staying healthy this winter.
View this post on Instagram
In discussion with the fabulously knowledgable @shabirvh, co founder of my favourite health website @victoriahealth. As we move into a new season, our bodies began to lack key vitamins that are essential for our immune system, skeletal system and mood. But never fear, Shabir is here… Products mentioned: ALIVE by Nature’s Way Life Drink by Terra Nova DLux 3000 by BetterYou DLuxJunior by BetterYou DLuxInfant by BetterYou FLORASSIST® Mood Improve by Life Extension Sugar-Free Apple Cider Gummies by New Nordic Betaine HCl with Pepsin by Lamberts Mega Probiotic by VH Liposomal Vitamin C by YourZooki Elderberry Syrup Organic by Pukka Triple Flu Defense by Dr Nenninger Jumper – @essentielantwerp
Clean your hands – practicing good hygiene is not novel, but it works. Washing with soap and water and using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser when soap and water are not available stops you transferring germs from an infected surface to the eyes, nose or mouth – the three main ports of entry.
Eat healthy – eating a well-balanced and healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables should help to provide vitamins and minerals in order to prime your immune system. This may sound easy but this is not always possible for many reasons:
- The foods we eat may be processed with little or no nutritional value. Poor agricultural practice has led to many fruits and vegetable having low levels of nutrient
- We all love certain food groups like carbs etc and tend to eat more of the food groups we love which can often result in nutrient deficiencies
- Many of us do not even reach the minimum five-a-day recommendations on fruits and vegetables let alone the eight daily
So in order to prevent a nutritional gap in the body, it is important to consider a quality multivitamin such as Alive Ultra Potency Multivitamins – food state derived, contains fruit and vegetable extracts and more; easy one-a-day supplement to be taken with food. It is important to remember that multivitamins are not a substitute for a healthy diet.
Support your Immune System
The immune system is the most complex system within our bodies and aside from vitamins, there are other compounds like probiotics which are important. It is important to take probiotics because the beneficial bacteria of the gut work to produce antibodies which detect bacteria and viruses and then signal white blood cells to go and eradicate these germs that have entered the body.
So there are of course supplements we have talked about in the past such as:
- DLux 3000 Spray – the high absorption vitamin D3 spray – deficiency stops white blood cells from attacking pathogens
- Liposomal Vitamin C – taking vitamin C just before or immediately after the onset of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections may ease the symptoms and reduce the duration of illness
- Herbs like elderberry and astragalus all work in various ways to support the immune system by displaying anti-viral properties or by enhancing white blood cells. Whilst there may be many people who choose to take these individual supplements, there are also an equivalent amount of people who simply want one supplement that contains everything to help support the immune system
- Daily Immunity is one such supplement that contains smaller amounts of all the nutrients, probiotics, herbs, mushroom extracts etc all in one easy to take supplement. Explain dosage- suitable for adults and children over 12 years of age
- Another very interesting remedy is Triple Flu Defense which is a homeopathic remedy which is reformulated each year to best match the current strains and the symptoms that these strains exhibit. Triple Flu Defense is suitable for children over 2 years of age and the dose is weight related – take once a week for maintenance and three times a day at the first sign of symptoms
So what do you take if you get a common cold?
Common colds are the most common human infection.
Research in the 80’s showed that taking zinc lozenges helped shorten the duration of the common cold. What remains critical is taking it at the first sign of any symptom of a cold and ensuring that your zinc lozenge is converted into ionic form slowly.
Rhinoviruses are the most common viruses of a common cold. They enter the upper respiratory tract and attach themselves to the mucus membranes and then replicate out of control.
When taken as a slow release lozenge form, the zinc binds to the same cell receptors in the respiratory tract preventing the rhinovirus from entering the cells. I tend to recommend Zinc Lozenges by Life Extension.
We often think of dehydration as associated with hot weather but actually cold weather dehydration can also be very important. During winter, sweat evaporates more rapidly so we are tricked into thinking that we are not losing water as rapidly as we would be on a long summer’s day. Cooler temperature can reduce the sensation of thirst.
Also in cold weather, we lose fluids through respiratory water loss – when you see your breath in fresh air, it is actually water vapour that your body is losing.
Almost everyone is at risk of dehydration and if you don’t drink until you feel thirsty then the chances are that you may already be dehydrated.
Symptoms of mild dehydration are dry, sticky mouth, dry skin, headaches, dizziness and generally not feeling well.
As a rule of thumb, drink 6-8 glasses of water a day – you do not have to gulp it down in one go – just be aware that this is what you need and do this gradually over the day.
- Stay active by following a regular exercise routine.
- Walking at least three times a week does more than keeping you fit and trim
- Regular exercise keeps inflammation at bay enhances circulation of disease fighting white blood cells which helps the body fight any infection like the common cold.
- Reduces the symptoms of stress by releasing endorphins which are feel good chemicals in the body.
How stress impacts our body
Stress causes a myriad of concerns for example:
- Shuts down our digestive system so we are not able to get maximum nutrients from food
- Causes the adrenals to produce inflammatory cortisol which can disturb our hormones
- Lowers the numbers of white blood cells which makes us more susceptible to infections
- Causes low grade inflammation which ages our body including all the glands
So aside from the normal stressors that we face, we have of course now extra stress due to the pandemic and all that this entails with our lives so it is not a surprise to me that people are highly stressed at the moment and of course this in itself makes us more susceptible for infections.
There are many vitamin and herbal remedies available that are marketed for stress and anxi-ety; notable examples include St John’s Wort, 5-Hydroxy-tryptophan and B vitamins, however some of these take a long time to work and some contra-indicate with prescribed medication.
If you are suffering from stress and would like to try something natural, I always recom-mend Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, which has helped many people to cope with the symp-toms of stress.
Magnolia Rhodiola Complex contains:
- Magnolia and Phellodendron – Magnolia bark extracts have been extensively studied and found to help physically relax muscles and nerves as well as helping to reduce excess levels of stress hormones, notably cortisol. Phellodendron is one of the 50 most important herbs in Chinese medicine. It contains numerous compounds with a variety of benefits including some phytonutrients that have natural mood elevating proper-ties helping to support emotional well being. This combination of herbal extracts may be invaluable to help control stress-related symptoms such as irritability, emotional ups and downs, restlessness, tense muscles, poor sleep and concentration difficulties.
- Rhodiola Rosea – Also known as Golden Root, this plant thrives in the cold climates. It is termed an ‘adaptogen‘, which means that it helps to achieve balance within the body. Rhodiola contains active compounds that enhance the transport of serotonin precursors, notably tryptophan and 5-HTP, into the brain and additionally it helps re-duce the degradation of mood boosting neurotransmitters. Additional benefits in-clude energy production and immunity support, both of which may be compromised under stress.
- L-Theanine – The benefits of green tea are well documented and many people drink green tea for its relaxation effect. This relaxing property can be directly traced to a unique amino acid called ‘L-theanine’, found almost exclusively in tea plants. Research has demonstrated that L-theanine can create a sense of relaxation within 30 minutes of ingestion. It does so by enhancing the formation of another amino acid, which in-fluences levels of dopamine and serotonin. Additionally, this amino acid stimulates the production of alpha waves in the brain which helps create a deep state of relaxa-tion and conversely can aid concentration.
Cold weather can wreak havoc with on your skin leaving it dry, flaky and possibly inflamed. This is due to the breakdown of ceramides found in between the cells within skin.
Ceramides and tiny lipids that act like mortar in between bricks – they work to keep skin elastic and supple and to prevent dehydration.
We lose ceramides through cleansing, cold weather, inflammation, free radical damage etc.
Our bodies manufacture ceramides through essential fats in our diet such as omega 3, 6, 7 and 9. The composition of fatty acids in Sea Buckthorn Oil is unique to this species and is highly valued in both biomedicine and in the cosmetic industry. Sea Buckthorn Oil has been the subject of numerous studies for dry skin conditions such as vaginal dryness, dry eyes and also for general dry skin such as those on face and body.
Sibu Omega 7 Sea Buckthorn Oil contains a super dose of omega 7 and I would highly recommend this for all dry skin conditions. Also beneficial for eczema-prone skin.
Get adequate sleep
Several studies have shown that healthy adults who sleep for eight hours each night had a greater resistance to both bacterial and viral infections. Those who slept for seven hours or less were 3% more likely to develop viral infections after exposure.
This is because during sleep, the body releases small amounts of cytokines which are proteins that help the body fight infection by regulating the immune system.
When the cytokines become too abundant, the immune system may not be able to stop and the immune cells spread beyond infected body parts and start attacking healthy tissues.
I am an advocate for Herbal Sleep PM. Herbal Sleep PM is a science-based herbal formulation which promotes healthy sleep without using melatonin. The scientifically studied ingredients in this formula target the sleep centres of the brain for healthy, restful sleep and overall physical well-being.
Be considerate of others – it is a shame that some people do not consider others such as when sneezing without covering your nose and mouth and staying at home when contagious are important – after all there are 4 billion of us on this planet!