3 Tips To Hack Your Immune System

 In Guelph Naturopathic Doctor

Did you get hit with multiple colds and flus last year?  Did you have to take consecutive days off work or go to work feeling terrible?  Was your little one absent from school numerous days or constantly fighting a runny nose?

Last year , I had multiple patients experience this “cold” that just would’t go away!  They had a cough that lasted over 3 weeks and once they started to feel better, got hit with another cold only a few weeks later.  They were stressed out over missing work and felt like they couldn’t keep up with their families on weekends because their energy was shot.  They were exhausted, but just kept “pushing through” and felt like they were sick the entire winter!

Does this sound like you? Are you constantly battling colds and flus in the winter with one rolling into the next? Or maybe you only get sick a few times a year, but when you do you’re down for 2 weeks?  Or, every time your child is sick, you get it too?   Have you considered that your immune system may be to blame?

Your immune system is your primary defence against the outside world and protects you from foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungus. It’s composed of  tissues, organs and cells that help to keep the outside world out. It’s job is to discriminate self from non-self and takes it’s job very seriously!  Your immune system consists of external and internal defences:

  • External Defences– Your external defences include the skin, mucous membranes (linings of respiratory tract and digestive tract) , nasal hair, saliva, stomach pH and good gut bacteria and these defences work to keep any pathogens and foreign invaders out.
  • Internal  Defences– Internal defences are composed of white blood cells that can be broken down into Innate or Adaptive Immunity.
    • Innate Immunity– Your innate immunity if your 1st line of defence and is non-specific.  It comes into play immediately after you’re exposed to a foreign invader and acts as a built in defence mechanism.
    • Adaptive Immunity – Your adaptive immunity is more complex and  much more specific.  It  takes a bit more time to establish it’s response and will create specific cells and antibodies that target and eliminate the threat.  In addition, your adaptive immunity has ‘memory’ so that the next time you’re exposed, your body’s response will be rapid and efficient.  Smart body!

I’ll let you in on a secret, the trick to staying healthy this cold and flu season is to augment the effectiveness of your internal and external defences.   By making these lines of defence more effective and balanced we can reduce your number of sick days and improve your resiliency to cold and flu bugs!   So let’s learn the 3 Tips To Hack Your Immune System.

3 Tips To Hack Your Immune System

  1.  Probiotics – 70-80% of your immune function comes from your gut and your good bacteria. A daily intake of probiotics during the fall and winter have been shown to drastically reduce the  number of sick days and can help to shorten the duration of colds and flus.
  2. Vitamin D-  is a supportive nutrient for the immune system and has been shown  to boost the immune system.  It can even be used when we are acutely ill to reduce the number days that we are sick.
  3. Medicinals Mushrooms-  Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, maitake, shiitake and coriolus versicolor contain high amounts of immune balancing polysaccharides.  The combination of mushrooms has been shown to support a healthy immune system by stimulating both the innate and adaptive immunity (1st and 2nd line defence systems).   The mushrooms also support your adrenal glands and can help to increase energy and reduce stress.

So let’s get healthy this cold & flu season!  As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Try adding these tips into your daily routine so we can have you optimizing your health all winter long!  Bye bye colds & flus!

Suffering from a cold or flu?  Check out my new video series on Facebook.  DIY Your Health: 4 Cold & Flu life hacks to get you feeling better faster…the natural way!

 Video 1: At Home Steam Inhalations 

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