Wednesday, July 1st 2009
The swine flu has raised our awareness of how serious some flu strains can be.
Swine flu aside, many health practitioners like myself expect serious health illnesses to occur each winter. I am often asked why I believe that this is going to be the case?
Our lifestyles are one of the main things to blame. A lot of us work in office blocks, under fluro lights and hardly every see the light of day. We all seem to be so busy racing around and many companies have cut down on staff, so the work load put on the individual is often extreme. Many people are too exhausted to eat properly, and preparing a meal for some, is a thing of the past. I know myself the pressure of running my own business and trying to keep up with the day to day tasks at home. It seems never ending!
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Another factor that I believe will be a contributor to this winters illness, is the amount of people who are having flu vaccines. I have to say that I am not necessarily saying don't have the flu vaccine, because I believe this is an individual choice. However how many people have you spoken to who have had a flu vaccine and then get the flu for the next three weeks? Many people I speak to tell me they are encouraged, in their office building, to have a flu vaccine to help prevent sick days.
From a natural health point of view, the most sensible answer to me is "Build up your own immunity, so if an invader comes into your body, your defence system is ready to respond", no matter what type of virus or bacteria it is. Surely this makes more sense!!
At Ideal Health, the formula I recommend for immune boosting is Astra Forte. Astra Forte is a deep immune rebuilding tonic to assist in conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, glandular fever, lack of vitality, repetitive cold and flu infections, debilitated immune function, debilitation from chemotherapy, post infection recovery, as a liver tonic for hepatitis and a bronchial cough.
If your immune system is weak and its power is low, then an immune stimulant like Echinacea can not work effectively.
Taking an immune tonic with Astragalus (one of the herbs in Astra Forte) will help to restore the immune competency and power, so Echinacea can work again. If you fail to recover your strength and vitality after an illness, such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia, you will know that you have depleted your immune power.
Fatigue, increased susceptibility to infection, swollen glands, night sweats, sore throats, loss of appetite, muscle weakness and mental exhaustion are some of the main symptoms of a devitalised immune system.
A pre winter course of Astraforte will help to keep your immunity higher. We always have a bottle at home, so that if I have been under a lot of extra stress or feel like I'm coming down with something, I take the recommended dosage for a week or 10 days. The difference is very noticeable after a course of Astra Forte. As well as this, I personally always take my Multi Vitamin, as it is unrealistic to think you can get all the nutrients you need from the food you eat alone.
As 70% of your immune system is situated in your intestinal wall, it only makes sense to take a probiotic, to help with immune strengthening. I personally take these every day and I can honestly tell you that I notice a huge difference if I do not. The Primadophilus Optima is the highest strength probiotic we stock. This is a powdered option, which can be taken other members in the family Inner Health Plus Powder.
Primadophilus Optima is the highest potency probiotic product in the Primadophilus family providing 35 billion live viable bacteria per enteric coated capsule. Optima also provides 14 strains that are all clinically proven to benefit the health of the human intestine plus FOS to help encourage colonisation. Primadophilus Optima is designed to deliver to the gut the beneficial microorganisms essential to the maintenance of healthy intestinal flora. Diarrhoea, constipation, intestinal infections and certain medications can reduce the number of beneficial bacteria leading to gastrointestinal ill health. Probiotics are specific for use after antibiotics and for those who suffer with bowel problems, thrush, urinary tract infections or cystitis, eczema, candida, bad breath, food poisioning, fungal infections and nutrition for a healthy pregnancy.
Colostrum is another immune strengthening substance and well worth considering, as part of a regime to help with immune strengthening. We are lucky here in NZ to have high quality dairy products, with colostrum being one of these. Colostrum is the first secretion produced from the mammary gland, which precedes milk. During the first 24-48 hours following birth, colostrum provides life supporting immune and growth factors (IgG and IgF). These help form the building blocks for healthy development. Colostrum is so important to animals that they would die without it.
We stock a number of different Multi Vitamins at healthyonline and also in our physical retail store, Ideal Health. We have our own brand of Multivitamin called MultiVite. When I formulated this, I took into consideration the soil depletion here in NZ and ensured that the product contained adequate zinc, selenium and boron - nutrients specifically missing. This vegetarian product is low in iron, so is ideal for both men and women.
Radiance have formulated a multi vitamin called Multi Power. Multi Power is a 1-a-day multivitamin containing a green base of chlorophyll, chlorella and barley grass, as well as the liver supporting herb Milk thistle extract and the antioxidants lycopene, and octacosanol. Increasing this dosage to one tablet in the morning and another one tablet at lunch, can help to support the body if particularly tired or stressed.
Another great alternative is the Multi Vital herbal tonic. Multi Vital is a powerful tasting totally herbal Multi Vitamin. 15ml is taken each morning in a small amount of water. True herbal goodness!
Individual vitamins and minerals can help give you a boost when feeling run down. At Ideal Health, myself and the staff make up drinks of Vitamin C with Hesperidin powder. This is a delicious Vitamin C drink that has a sweet lemon taste. It contains Stevia as the sweetener.
Having extra B Complex vitamins can help build your immunity, as well as give you that extra boost of energy you need, when you are feeling more run down.
Most B Complex's contain Beta Carotene. There is a lot of information about this antioxidant nutrient and how this also helps with better immunity.
An extra boost of Zinc and Selenium can also help with immunity, especially because these nutrients are missing in our soils here in NZ. I personally noticed a huge difference in my own immunity, once these nutrients have been topped up adequately in my diet.
Having consulted for a bee pollen company for well over 1 year, I learnt so much about this wonderful gift from the flowers - I believe we should all consider taking this supplement. I certainly do... and I contribute my overall good health to including things like this in my daily regime of supplements.
Spirulina and Chlorella are other excellent natural ingredients that contain vitamins and minerals, and I also like to take these as well. These, and Bee Pollen, all contain such a large assortment of naturally occurring nutrients, as well as other essential health improving factors.
Cats Claw and Olive Leaf extract are other good herbs to use at this time of year, to help with immunity and to help ward away virus's and bacteria.
Cats Claw supports a wide range of health ailments associated with the immune system and digestion, such as gastric ulcers, arthritis, intestinal disorders, certain skin disorders, herpes, candida, chronic fatigue, lupus and tumours. It can also be used as an aid for stomach and bowel disorders, such as Crohns disease, leaky bowel, colitis, diverticulitis, gastritis, ulcers, intestinal flora imbalance and haemorrhoids. Cats Claw prevents the formation of blood clots, lowers blood pressure, increases circulation and inhibits the formation of plaque. It is helpful for inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and rheumatism. It is also helpful with female hormonal female imbalances, irregularities of the female cycle and with symptoms of PMS.
Olive Leaf extract has been found to boost energy and aid in the treatment of viral, bacteria, yeast and fungal infections, assist in cases of chronic fatigue and allergies, and is useful to lower blood pressure and blood sugar. A natural broad spectrum antibiotic - could be used with any infection, virus, fungi, yeast, bacteria or parasitic condition. Olive Leaf is helpful in colds, flu's, upper respiratory and sinus infections, glandular fever (Epstein-Barr Virus), herpes, shingles, mumps, measles, candida, and psoriasis. Olive leaf compound has an ability to interfere with critical amino acid production that is essential for virus growth. Olive leaf compound has an ability to 'restrain' viral infections, by inactivating viruses, preventing virus shedding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane. Olive leaf compound also has the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication. In the case of retroviruses, Olive leaf is able to neutralize the production of reverse transcriptase and protease. These enzymes are essential for the retrovirus (such as HIV) to alter the RNA of a healthy cell. Olive leaf compound can stimulate phagocytosis, an immune system response in which cells ingest harmful micro organisms and foreign matter.
Don't let the winter bugs get to you this year. Be proactive.
If you can't find what you need here at HealthyOnline or you need help choosing the correct products, please email or phone the team at Ideal Health.
Author Leanne James Dip. Irid., Dip. Herb. Med. Herbalist
The following products are all useful for Winter Immunity & Viruses:
Formula 825 Verm-Ez
Inner Health Plus
Olive Leaf Complex Liquid
Superior Olive Leaf
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If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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