Hopefully, by the time you read this article, you have not already been plagued with a nasty cold, flu, sinus infection or upper respiratory infection. Every year around this time we are told the “cold and flu season” is upon us. For many who haven’t learned a way around participating in this dubious season, the expectation is to get “sick” once again.
I’m here to explain what I have learned over the last 30 years of clinical practice as a chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist that can minimize your chances of succumbing to the march of the “bugs!” I suppose the most important concept is to realize that a bacteria or virus does not go on the attack, but rather look for suitably weak hosts where they can start a family. Just like a vulture does not attack a live, healthy elephant unless it is maimed or killed, neither do bacteria and viruses attack healthy humans. Sometimes, I’ve explained this concept of health of an organism this way: a watermelon seed will not grow on a rock. A watermelon seed can, however, germinate in soil of the appropriate nutrient and water content. It is the same idea with our bodies. If your body is clean and vibrant on the inside with a properly functioning nervous system and proper fuel for the digestive system, then bacteria and viruses will not be able to take a hold and start colonizing, creating sickness.
First of all, as I’ve explained to my various staff members over the years, the “season of sickness” always comes after Halloween… The tradition of children going out in costumes begging for candy and then parents allowing the gorging of several dozen candy treats is, undoubtedly, the beginning of the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. “Excess sugar depresses immunity. Studies have shown that downing 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about 20 teaspoons of sugar, or the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas) can suppress the body’s immune responses. Simple sugars, including glucose, table sugar, fructose, and honey caused a fifty-percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. An overdose of sugar—eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of two-and-a-half 12-ounce cans of soda—can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.”1 After Halloween, comes Thanksgiving, then Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentines Day and finally Easter. These holidays all tend to be laden with lots of sweets among other immune bashing substances. You have to moderate the intake of the offending items, or else, suffer the consequences.
Our body is an amazing self-healing, self-regulating organism full of trillions of cells. This body of ours I liken to a racecar that requires racing fuel for optimum performance. Not only the fuel is important, but the electrical system must be top notch as well.
As long as you are fairly knowledgeable about chiropractic, you know the purpose of chiropractic care is to maintain a properly functioning nervous system. The relationship of the spine and all the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons to the nerve tissue protected inside, is of vital concern to the chiropractic physician. Additionally, the neurological impact of all the sensors imbedded in the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the spine are critical to neurological health. In case you didn’t know, all the sensors just mentioned are designed to provide constant neurological input to the brain, keeping the brain stimulated and healthy.
Every square millimeter of your body has sensors that feed the brain neurological input. When any joint in your body (your spine has 180 of them) does not move in all the available 6 ranges of motion, the brain misses the neurological input and thus, the neurological output from the brain is less specific. This loss of specificity is what we all feel as problems occur in our body. In addition, much of the brain’s output goes into activities we don’t feel, like how many disease-fighting white blood cells we are making, how much digestive juices are manufactured, the quantity of hormones the thyroid and other glands are making, etc.2
For a very short video showing how to prevent a cold or flu from the neurological standpoint, navigate here: http://bit.ly/19yucaZ.
Aside from the neurological aspects of weakened immune function, having a lot of sugar, a lack of a variety of clean vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as a lack of quality protein sources, will lead to a weakened immune system. Increased stress (physical, chemical and emotional) also makes us more vulnerable to illness. Thankfully chiropractic care can help remove the physical effects of accumulated stress on the body setting the stage for a healthier you.3
In addition to good nutrition, limiting sugar intake, getting proper health enhancing chiropractic care, here are my top three of action steps to maintain a healthy immune system:
1. Keep your mucous membranes, the first defense against foreign bug invaders healthy by staying properly hydrated. Be sure to drink the equivalent of 1/3 of your body weight in ounces of purified water every day. This habit will maintain proper functioning of the membranes (as well has many other key functions of the body).4 In addition, be sure to humidify your home. Your furnace (especially gas, forced air) dries out the air in your home. Be sure to set your furnace humidity level higher in the winter if you have a furnace installed whole house humidifier. If you don’t have this option, consider buying an ultrasonic humidifier or two and keep them on, being mindful to keep your humidifier very clean. I’ve used this model, available at Amazon.com to successfully to keep my home humidity at proper levels (41% or so). http://amzn.to/1fh7cOV.
2. Increase your vitamin D intake as fall and winter march on. Most of the patients I see at my office have blood tests that show their vitamin D is way below normal levels. Vitamin D is very important for proper immune system function.5 We recommend an easy-to-take, easy-to-alter dosage type of liquid vitamin D. Right now I am taking 6,000 IU per day (3 drops of the type I am taking). For children I usually suggest half the adult dosage. As time marches into deeper winter and less daylight is available, I will increase my vitamin D intake. Those patients who have done this report little to no colds or flu. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity and an increased susceptibility to infection.63. Staying active is another strategy that helps your immune system. “Exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells (the body's defense cells)
through the body at a quicker rate. As these antibodies or white blood cells circulate more rapidly, they could detect illnesses earlier than they might normally. The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that "warn" immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses.”7 Everyone can go out for a walk—you just have to dress for the occasion. Indoor exercise classes are another option. My activity of choice will be starting up soon. I participate in an indoor bicycle, calisthenics and stretching program at my local American Cycle and Fitness store each year from November to March/April on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The fee to join supports charities.
If you slip up and/or catch one of the “superbugs” caused by the abuse of antibiotics, I recommend you come in for a personalized Nutrition Response Testing (AKA Body Reflex Testing) session. During this session your body will tell me what is needed to assist your immune system in getting back to your active life quickly. You can read dozens of testimonials about this unique health care approach at this link: http://bit.ly/1gphIqo.
My wish for you is a fall and winter season, full of vibrant health and prosperity!
For more details about the natural approach I take with my patients, take a look a the book I wrote entitled: Reclaim Your Life; Your Guide To Revealing Your Body's Life-Changing Secrets For Renewed Health. It is available in my office or at Amazon and many other book outlets.
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ALL THE BEST – DR. KARL R.O.S. JOHNSON, DC – DIGGING DEEPER TO FIND SOLUTIONS