• Are you prone to colds and influenza?
• Are you concerned about the upcoming flu season?
• Do you get cold sores easily?
• Do you always feel like you are catching the latest “bug”?
• Do you have chronic sinus congestion?
• Do you frequently have ear infections?
There are effective natural treatments to both support your immune system and help you overcome symptoms of colds or flus.
The immune system is a complex organization of biological processes in the body to protect against illness and disease.
Many factors may influence the immune response including stress, diet, genetics and previous illness patterns.
Stress and Immunity:
- In order for our bodies to be able to handle stressful events, we secrete hormones to assist with energy availability and act as immune modulators. Cortisol, for example, is a hormone that helps increase sugar availability to cells in times of high energy demands (stressful situations) but also has the function of suppressing the immune system so that the body has resources to deal with the stressor at hand. Overtime, with chronic levels of stress, elevated cortisol can lead to increased vulnerability of the immune system in addition to blood sugar imbalances.
- Lack of sleep or disrupted sleep is also associated with lowered immune response and chronic symptoms of fatigue. When we are tired, it influences our ability to make quality decisions about nutrition, exercise and other important factors contributing to immune function. Immune support for our modern society frequently involves a combination of hormone support and stress management.
Nutrition and Immunity:
- Blood sugar imbalances, such as Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity are associated with lowered immune response.
Most people are aware that they feel worse after consuming more refined foods, sugars and dairy products.
When these types of eating patterns become a habit, then we are setting ourselves up for nutrient deficiencies, fatigue and inflammation.
- Managing diet is a central part to long term immune balance. This may be for those prone to colds and flues
as well as those looking to manage autoimmune conditions.
Digestion and Immunity:
- More and more research is emerging to support the critical role of healthy intestinal bacteria in immune function.
A history of antibiotic use, inflammatory foods, alcohol and low fiber can contribute to irritation and inflammation to the bowels and flora.
- Probiotics may be used for immune management but should be monitored by a qualified health care
practitioner as some bowel conditions may be worsened.
- Naturopathic Medicine can offer support through dietary modifications as well as rebuilding the delicate lining of the digestive tract.
Nutrients, Herbs and Immunity:
- Herbal medicine and specific vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D and zinc can play a key role in supporting the immune response.
Because the immune system is a complex system it is vital that the appropriate immune modulating treatments are chosen and monitored for.
Some herbal remedies such as lobelia are specific for clearing excess mucous out of the lungs and sinuses while others
such as lemon balm may provide antiviral protection.
Here are some simple and effective ways to start your immune support process:
• Wash your hands and cover your mouth with a scarf in crowds
• Limit sugar including candies, chocolate and fruit juice
• Limit refined carbohydrates including white breads, pasta, instant oats
• Limit exposure to stimulants: cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine
• Limit dairy consumption which is often inflammatory and mucous forming
• Get enough sleep: turn off the television early and get to bed
• Exercise regularly but don't overdo it in the winter months
• Put yourself first and make time to relax and honour your health
• Call in sick if you need to. Personal care is a critical for you and those around you
DR CARRIE WATKINS | NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR IN VICTORIA BC
VICTORIA MASSAGE THERAPY AND HEALTH SOLUTIONS CLINIC
645 FORT STREET, SUITE 212
If you are looking to book an appointment in Toronto, Ontario please call 416.738.6757 for Dr Rachel Goldgut