Flu season is well underway, and I’ve received lots of questions on The Myers Way® Facebook Community about how to avoid the flu and stay well this winter. This is an important question, as getting sick can stress your immune system, increasing your risk of a flare up in an autoimmune condition, thyroid dysfunction, or other chronic illness. Getting a cold or the flu can also often lead to taking antibiotics which are typically unnecessary (since the cold and flu are both caused by viruses) and can damage your gut.
Let’s look at my top 10 tips for supporting your immune system to prevent a cold and the flu!
10 Tips for Supporting Your Immune System and Preventing the Flu Naturally
Ensuring a strong foundation of health and following simple best practices will go a long way in decreasing your risk of getting the flu. Here are ten tips for staying healthy this flu season.
1. Wash Your Hands Frequently and Thoroughly
This is the number one way to prevent the flu and other respiratory infections. You must scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds in order to kill viruses. Twenty seconds is about how long it takes to sing the ABC’s one time through. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands.
2. Heal Your Gut
Your gut is your gateway to health, 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. Make sure your gut is in tip-top shape, and take a high-quality, multi-strain probiotic with at least 25 billion units. This will keep your levels of good gut bacteria up to help fight off infections.
3. Reduce Alcohol and Sugar Consumption
Even moderate alcohol consumption suppresses the central nervous system, and therefore your immune system. Consuming too much sugar can suppress the immune system and make it more difficult for your body to fight off infections like the flu. It also leaves you open to gut infections such as Candida and SIBO, which suppress your immune system and cause leaky gut.
With the abundance of holiday treats out this time of year, sugar cravings can be a real bear. That’s why I love my Blood Sugar Support supplement. It’s a blend of herbs and vitamins that help support healthy glucose metabolism to make overcoming sugar cravings easier.
4. Reduce Your Stress
Stress is known to suppress our immune systems. Consider meditation, yoga, or acupuncture. See additional relaxation tips and learn about my favorite ways to relieve stress in this article.
5. Get 7-9 Hours of Sleep Every Night
Your body relies on sleep to recuperate from daily exposure to toxins. Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly reduce immune function.
6. Take an Immune Booster
Give your immune system an added boost with a supplement containing immunoglobulins and protein, such as the immune boost powder I carry in my store. This supplement is a purified form of colostrum, which is the first milk after birth designed to bolster the immune system.
The immunoglobulins in colostrum will boost your IgA antibodies – which are your body’s first line of defense. These IgA antibodies are produced by immune cells in your gut and can deactivate and even eliminate harmful pathogens and toxins, such as those that come with seasonal sickness and bacterial imbalances. This means immune boost will strengthen, not heighten your immune system, which is key for anyone with autoimmunity.
I recommend this supplement for anyone looking to take preventative measures with their health and avoid seasonal illnesses. It is sourced from dairy, however it is free of casein (the protein in dairy that most people are sensitive to), and contains such minimal dairy that it will not cause a reaction for the average person.
7. Supplement with Glutathione, Turmeric, and Vitamin C
Antioxidants are very important for your immune function. Glutathione is the chief antioxidant in your body, responsible for enhancing your immune system and helping your liver with detoxification. Curcumin is the orange pigment in turmeric and a potent antioxidant that improves joint health and cardiovascular function. Vitamin C provides potent antioxidant protection, and supports optimal immune function
8. Optimize Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a powerful immune system modulator, meaning it is key to fighting off infections and regulating autoimmunity. Optimal levels range from 50 to 70 ng/mL, so I recommend taking 5,000 IU of a high-quality vitamin D supplement per day and working with a physician to regularly monitor your levels. You will also want to be sure that your vitamin D supplement is paired with vitamin K (like the one I carry in my store) to ensure that it is safely absorbed and doesn’t lead to artery calcifications.
9. Consider a Zinc Supplement
Zinc is another powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in immune health. Within the immune system, zinc is needed for gene regulation and the functioning of neutrophils, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes, which are all types of white blood cells.
10. Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise can boost your immune system by increasing your circulation and relieving stress. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel throughout your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off an illness. Exercise can also enhance your immune system by relieving stress and slowing the release of stress hormones in the body.