14 Oct 2017 • CTV Morning LiveWatch on network
Hacking Immune Health with City Health Expert Bryce Wylde
Believe it or not Cold and Flu season is upon us. Generally traveling East to West around the globe, the 2017 flu virus will start to spread rapidly in October. We normally don’t think about viruses and bacteria until late fall when immunization clinics start opening across Canada. You don’t even think of the immune system until we start to hear coughing behind you in the grocery line, sneezes on the subway, and sniffles at work. But the best way to stay healthy this year is to start hacking your immune health now!
You can’t live in a bubble or maintain a five-foot distance from a subway sneezer during rush hour, but you can do your best to prevent catching a cold or the flu by integrating manageable lifestyle tips into your daily routine.
Let’s begin by setting the record straight. Being sick doesn’t necessarily mean you are unhealthy. The indicator of how healthy you really at any given time is how quickly you recover. My immune boosting tips are based on helping Canadians prevent illness and recover in record speed.
Cold and Flu often get lumped into the same bag. That is because they do share similar symptoms. Both colds and flu bring coughing, headache, and chest discomfort. The key differentiator is really the intensity and the abruptness of onset. Flu is irrefutably quicker to hit, includes a fever, and is much more intense. It can be life threatening in the elderly and the immune compromised.
Influenza-A runs October to April and affects 10-25% of Canadians annually, sends about 20,000 to the hospital (some with serious complications), and can kill up to 4,000 (especially those who are elderly and immune compromised). That translates into the more vulnerable being seniors 70 and older, pregnant women, and infants 2 years and younger. (1)
Unlike the dominant strain of flu for the year there are more than 200 cold viruses that can knock you out. Common ones are known as the Rhinovirus, Coronavirus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (or RSV), and parainfluenza (which is not real influenza). There are also a lot of viruses that doctors haven’t identified. Researchers estimate that about 30% of colds are caused by unknown viruses and bacteria. No matter the virus your dealing with, the best way to defend and recover from it is to boost your natural defenses.
Tips ‘n Tricks To Hack Your Immune System
Flu Fighting Food
Eating or drinking too much sugar or refined foods curbs immune system cells that attack viruses and bacteria. This effect lasts for many hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks. One powerful solution is to eat soup! Research shows that astragalus root (a Chinese herb used to ward off flu), has powerful immune-enhancing properties. The sliced, dried root is available in specialty health food stores, Chinese grocery, and herb stores. It adds a pleasant, sweet taste when simmered in soups. Shiitake mushrooms, onions, and turmeric spice also naturally boost immunity. Garlic and onions have natural and powerful anti-viral and antibiotic effects; ginger and turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Replace traditional pasta noodles which are immune suppressing with black bean or shirataki noodles which are carb free!
No Flu For You Soup (Serves 8-10)
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 lg spanish onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 lg carrots, thinly sliced
2 pieces astragalus root, either dried or freshly choped into large cubes (roughly 1×1 inch)
8 cups organic mushroom or chicken stock
2 tbsp tamari
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cups scallions, diced
1/2 cup chives, diced
1 pack Black bean or Shiritake noodles (to purchase, go to www.zeroodle.com)
Instructions: Place oil in a soup pot on medium heat and add onions, garlic, ginger, and tumeric powder and sauté for about 5 mins or until translucent. Add mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, astragalus root, choice of stock and an additional 3 cups water. Bring to a full boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the tamari and adjust salt to taste. Let cool for 30mins. Remove the astragalus root pieces. Garnish with scallions and chives and serve while hot.
Old Wives’ Tales or Solid Science?
Your mother probably nagged you as a child than you care to remember: “dress warmly, you don’t want to catch a cold!” and the all too often “if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll get sick!”. These may sound like old wives’ tales, but it turns out they are now supported by science! The common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature found inside your nose than at core body temperature. (2) Sleep is imperative to a healthy immune system, and it’s not just about the hours you clock on the pillow; it’s essential to have uninterrupted, quality sleep. Research demonstrates that immune cells known as T-cells get depressed and inflammatory hormones go up if we are sleep deprived. This combination leads to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.
A Health Hack for a Hacking Cough
If you’re looking for a home health hack for a nagging cough that works, try this DIY recipe. All you’ll need are some onions, honey, and ginger!
3 onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup honey (preferably Manuka)
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger root
Place sliced onion on a plate. Grate ginger over-top of the onion. Drizzle 1/2 cup honey evenly over the onion and ginger. Place in fridge for 4 hours – enough to allow the honey to extract the active ingredients from the onion and ginger. Pour the syrup into a glass jar with a tight lid in a dark cabinet, or refrigerator, for up to a few weeks.
Adult dose: 1 tablespoon every 4 hours for anyone over the age of 10.
Child dose: 1 teaspoon every 4 hours. Honey is not recommended for children under 1 year old.
Do this before getting shot in the arm…
You’ve heard it from your doctor, your mother, and anyone who’s had the flu: get the flu shot! But if you do, make sure to opt for the mercury free form and make certain that you aren’t experiencing an illness at the time. Recent research thing is that you can enhance the flu shot by pairing it with certain natural remedies. 5.4 million Canadians are taking over the counter alternative remedies to treat cold and flu but are unsure where the evidence lies.
Along with the flu shot or on their own, there is excellent research in natural over the counter health products where some are proven to enhance your natural killer cells (whose job it is to fight viruses and bacteria) and seem to work to ‘alert’ the immune system into better uptake of the flu vaccine.
Good bugs for bad bugs!?
I normally explain to my patients that the hallmark of a true flu is a high fever for several days, major body aches, extreme fatigue, and weakness. It will put even the healthiest of us horizontal for up to a week and can often complicate with a superimposed bacterial infection. The latter is the reason a doctor may choose to prescribe antibiotics even as ‘prophylaxis’ when they think what you have is viral. If you do take antibiotics this season, it is very important to follow up after you have completed the prescription with a few weeks of supplemental probiotics. But besides this scenario, probiotics are known to boost your immune system by improving your gift health – where 80% of your immune system lives! Take them daily this season. My recommendation is the DDS-1 strain, something that contains 50 billion colony forming units (CFU’s), and has shelf stability.
Living north of 40° latitude – where we all hunker down for a long winter without sun – we get quickly vitamin D deficient. Check this with your family doctor by asking for a blood test for 25OHD. You want the result to be between 100-200 ng/ml but most show up far too low leaving them immune compromised. The average person needs about 3,000 IU vit-D daily which should be taken with supplemental a fish oil or fatty meal for best absorption.
Exercise Weakens Immunity!
Exercise and healthy eating are great for your health and general well-being, but did you know that performing vigorous exercise means your immune system takes a dive 30 minutes post-workout!? To prevent contracting a cold or flu virus during this window while your immune system is temporarily compromised, make sure to wash your hands following your workout – especially if you’re at a public gym (its a cesspool in there!). I prefer classic soap and water, but if you can’t find soap, hand sanitizer is a good option. And, by the way, wash your hands wherever you are – not just at the gym. Oh ya, and sneeze in your sleeve please! Lastly, to all you pickers – you “nose” who you are – stop it! That is the single best way to introduce a virus or bacteria into your system not to mention spread them around.
Besides what you should do now and during cold and flu season to protect yourself against viral illnesses, in order to keep healthy during the rest of the year, arm yourself with Youtrients. This is your DNA’s prescribed supplement. Your everything else booster. (My new custom personalized company which I’ll tell you all about in person!)