With the weather and temperature fluctuations this increases the opportunity to get sick or as we say in Chinese medicine, it opens your pores more, What this means is that external invasions (colds and flus) can more easily affect you. BUT you can prepare and strengthen your body, mind, and spirit to help prevent getting sick.
My top 5 tips to stay healthy during the fall and winter seasons.
1. Wear the right gear. In the Bay area we are used to having temperature changes just from going from the coast to inland. If you don’t live in the Bay area this is still a great tip. Carrying a scarf, jacket and hat with you will help protect your Wei Qi – external qi. The common place for an “invasion” is the neck and abdomen so wearing a scarf and jacket will protect these areas.
2. Make sure your vitamin D level is sufficient. We’ve heard a lot about vitamin D over the last year plus, and for good reason. Vitamin D plays a major roll in your immune system along with other functions. For the immune system it helps prevent excessive inflammatory responses (keeps inflammation in check).It also helps the enzyme ACE2 in sufficient amounts which protects the lungs. AND it can even keep some viruses from replicating.
I like to see a blood level of vitamin D 25-OH between 50-80 ng/ml. If you haven’t had your levels measured this year I suggest you have it done. A low vitamin D level is pretty easy to fix! I adjust the dosage of supplemental vitamin D depending on your blood levels.
3. Take your vitamin C! Yes, it is a wonderful vitamin and one that gets used up quickly when you’re sick. Our body doesn’t make vitamin C so you do have to get it through supplementation and diet. During illness it works alongside with glutathione (#1 antioxidant) and the tocopherols (vitamin E) to help prevent cytokine storms. If you are low in vitamin C you are more likely to have a cytokine storm (major inflammation). If vitamin C is not replenished this can be fatal.
4. Exercise! Any type of movement is good, walking, jump rope, pilates, swimming, dancing, playing with kids, running around the yard, hiking, gardening, rebounding. It’s all good for you and your immune system. Studies show that exercise increases the immune cells like white blood cells and anti-inflammatory molecules.
5. Take care of your mental health. Yes, it’s true that the mind plays a significant part in our health. The more fear, anxiety, stress, worry, fear (yep I repeated that) the weaker your immune system. I’ve said it several times before and I will say it again, turn off the news, media, etc. Take a break for a week and see how you feel. Do you feel calmer, more at ease, less stressed? There are studies that show your mindset can make you sick or healthy. Which do you prefer?
Use the time that you would normally read or watch the news and read something inspiring, take a walk in the neighborhood, connect with your friends or family, or get back into a hobby or craft that you enjoy. Do something that lifts your spirits. It will take some effort at first and you may not notice a difference immediately, in fact you might have with drawl symptoms 😉 BUT stick with it. This WILL make a POSITIVE difference in you health and well-being.
Bonus Tip #1 – I also recommend taking Mucococcinum, a homeopathic flu formula, preventatively. You can purchase this in the office or on Fullscript. I have used it successfully to help prevent and treat the flu. It is a great formula!
Bonus Tip #2 – Coming in to the office for a Myer’s cocktail IV is another wonderful way to support your body. The nutrients and vitamins help support your immune system. Vitamin C, b vitamins, magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium all help. Once a month is a good rule of thumb. Call to schedule an appointment. Some blood work may need to be run prior to the IV.
Want more support?
Great! I am here for you.
If you just want to prepare and take preventative measures like the Mucococcinum or finding out your vitamin D level, excellent! Give us a call. 650-777-7966.
If you find that you are coming down with cold or flu symptoms, call the office, don’t wait, we can figure out the best plan of action for you.
Dr. Laura Enfield, ND, LAc
Dr. Laura Enfield is a California licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist. She is an expert in helping people with acute and chronic joint pain, digestive issues, fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, and thyroid issues.