My Zen teacher spent years fighting Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system, usually triggered by an acute infectious process (he recovered fully but at a huge cost and with enormous personal effort). Although rare, the effects of Guillan-Barre are devastating, as a spreading paralysis sets in to the legs and arms and face and cause death if not treated.
Did you know that Guillain-Barre can be triggered by a flu vaccine? It's true. And, plenty of physicians believe that the current swine flu virus is no more worrisome than the typical flu virus. To me, that means that if you are generally healthy, then the risks of the vaccine could very well be greater than coming down with the flu.
Likely that it's better to rev up your immune system with lots of hand-washing (perhaps a little boycott on hand-shaking, but what fun would that be?), a nourishing diet (more raw veggies and alkalinizing foods), immune-boosting supplements (see my notes below), and plenty of sleep (did you know that plenty of sleep protects against parasites as well as colds and flu?). I think sleep is one of the most undervalued of preventive measures for immune system health.
As someone who pays attention to supplements, I like to first boost my daily dose of Vitamin C, which is an especially essential ally and becomes incredibly valuable in high doses when you are under stress or exposed to viruses. Most people are chronically low on vitamin C, and so I recommend that all of you consider high-dose vitamin C as as an inexpensive and entirely non-toxic cold and flu prevention aid.
By the way, attempting a "cure" with vitamin C after you have come down with a bad bug leads to the faulty conclusion that vitamin C doesn't help. That's like saying that "adding oil to a burned-out engine that had its oil light on for many miles doesn't help."
A good antioxidant formula that includes zinc and selenium is another important ally.
Did you know that selenium has been found to protect against viruses mutating into more virulent forms? Regions of selenium-depleted soils in Asia, incidentally, are correlated with avian flu virus outbreaks.
Our Sam's Advanced Antioxidant has selenium, zinc (another powerhouse mineral that boosts immune system response), along with basic antioxidants; vitamins A, C, and E; along with vitamin D3, which has been in the press endlessly and also supports immune system health.
B vitamins are known for reducing stress loads on your cells and immune system, thus I cannot emphasize supplemental B vitamins enough, especially whenever caffeine or alcohol is a regular part of your social routine! Our B-100 Plus has a synergistic blend of B vitamins, which work in concert with one another to provide optimum benefits.
Finally, based on customer requests for a cold and flu season support product, we formulated Immune Health with the help of naturopathic experts to include:
- N-acetyl-cysteine - a powerful cellular detoxifier, free radical fighter, and also a mucous buster in the lungs.
- Green tea extract - a botanical known for its epigallocatechin gallate, the polyphenol that has been studied for its value in fighting bacteria as well as carcinogens
- Quercetin - studied for reducing bronchial infections in athletes as well as helping the body handle allergens.
- Elderberry extract - packed with anthocyanins and long used in naturopathic and European folk medicine to fight colds.
- Beta glucan - considered a powerful immune-modulator, it is also gaining in its reputation as an anti-cancer botanical.
- Resveratrol - this is one of the hottest botanicals on the market and is known for fighting bacteria and fungi attacks as well as providing anti-aging benefits.