Sick Woman with a Cold

The Flu & Vitamin D

Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP

There is a chill in the air. It gets darker earlier. We no longer need to run our air conditioners. Summer is gone and fall is upon us. That also means flu season is upon us. Radio and TV remind us of this constantly. If you walk by a pharmacy they broadcast “get your flu shot here”. Does the flu shot work all the time? What about for small children?

The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent network of researchers that does not accept commercial or conflicted funding, reported in 2012 that there is little evidence that the flu vaccine is effective in children less than 2 years old. Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the overall effectiveness of the 2015 -2016 seasonal influenza vaccine was 47%.

For those who choose natural methods to prevent and treat the flu there are options:

1. Vitamin D3- Flu epidemics tend to occur in the winter. Vitamin D levels in the population are much lower in the winter as well. Given that flu virus is seasonal, it is possible that vitamin D may be a factor that can affect the chances of getting the flu. According to the Vitamin D Council, if you get the flu you can safely take 50,000 IU/day for 5 days to fight off the infection. For those more interested in prevention a mid-range dose of 5000 – 8000 IU/day is a good starting point to maintain proper immune function. For children consider 35 IU per lb. of body weight as starting dose. If you are unsure of your Vitamin D levels, then have your health care provider test it. Make sure to take vitamin D with food.

2.  Sleep- Our bodies heals and repairs during sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can raise stress hormones. This lead to a decrease in immune function.

3.  Exercise- 20 minutes, three times a week. A routine that increases circulation and generates a sweat is desirable. Exercise increases oxygen flow to our muscles and improves the function of your immune system.

4.  Probiotics- These beneficial organisms provide vital support to your immune system. These beneficial bacteria have a powerful effect on the immune system in your gut and your systemic immune system as well. Probiotics also protect against over-growth of other microorganisms that cause disease.

These simple strategies can help keep you and your family healthy during the cold and flu season and ward off other common infections.

Woman with the flu

Beat Colds, Flus & Inflammation with this Simple Remedy

Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the body and person as a whole, and finding underlying causes of diseases and disorders. In addition, prevention is also integrated into every protocol, as it is a major principle in naturopathy.

When illnesses such as the flu, a cold or upper respiratory infections strike, the symptoms may be a sign that viruses or bacteria have overrun the immune system and that it is not functioning properly.

Traditionally in western medicine, an antibiotic or antiviral can be administered and the idea is to kill the bacteria or suppress the virus. With a holistic approach, the focus is left on the body to stimulate an immune response strong enough to fight off the bacteria or virus on its own.

One way you can treat these illnesses is by using what is called the "wet sock treatment". This is a traditional and common treatment method used by many naturopathic physicians and natural health providers.

The treatment starts with soaking a pair of thin cotton socks in cold water. Wring out the cold socks thoroughly and then place the cold wet socks on your feet. Next, place another pair of thick wool socks over those. It is best to wear them for at least 8 hours, so I suggest doing this before bed to get the best clinical effect.

The idea of the "wet sock method" is to boost the body's defenses by increasing circulation and stimulating the immune system. This can be used to treat coughs, colds, flus and bronchial infections, but is especially effective for reducing fever.

This treatment isn't for everyone and should be done under a practitioner’s guidance. Those with a compromised immune system or specific illnesses should consult with their practitioner before beginning this treatment.

This is just one component of an immune boosting protocol. Additionally, herbs, homeopathy or vitamins, specific to your needs, are added to enhance the body’s defenses. If you suffer from chronic immune problems, please contact us or your local health provider to find the best strategies to help support your immune system and get you back on the road to good health.

Field with flowers

Lyme Disease on the Rise

As the weather gets warmer, we enjoy more time outdoors. With warm weather comes more exposure to tick bites, which can lead to Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection of Borrellia burgdorferi, a spirochete bacterium that can take many shapes once it infects humans.

The typical sign from a tick bite would be a " bulls eye" rash accompanied with fever and pain. However, this really isn’t the best indicator to prove that you have been bitten by a tick. In fact, most people may not have any visible symptoms at all. This is why Lyme disease can be so difficult to diagnose and treat.

Lyme disease is very complex. It can be categorized as an acute illness to some, but a long term, chronic, debilitating illness for many others. In addition to Lyme disease, these ticks can also transmit other co-infections. These organisms known as Anaplasma, Bartonella, Babesia, Mycoplasma, Rickettsia and Ehrlichia, are often worse than Lyme disease itself and can cause long-term autoimmune disorders if left untreated.
Symptoms of Lyme include:

Joint pain
Extreme chronic fatigue
Autoimmune disorders such as Multiple sclerosis
Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease
Brain fog or cognitive impairment
Gastrointestinal issues
Food allergies/ sensitivities
Chemical sensitivities

One reason why Lyme is on the rise may be due to climate change. Unusually warm temperatures don't allow ticks to die off in cold winter months. Another reason may be because of an overpopulation of certain infected hosts that are rapidly spreading the bacteria that causes Lyme to other insects and animals. In the past 30 years or so, it is believed that Lyme carrying hosts have become much more aggressive and stronger. This just makes things so much more complicated.

Seeking treatment immediately is extremely important and crucial to the recovery process. Lyme disease can be treated and you can recover fully from it. It's also important to address immune disruptors, as well.
Lyme can be treated with many useful therapies such as:

Antibiotic therapy - short term
Herbal antimicrobials
Nutritional Supplements for immune boosting
IV therapy
Low dose immunotherapy
Diet and lifestyle

I want to stress the importance of diet and lifestyle. Following an alkaline diet is key. Microbes do not like to live in alkaline environments, therefore it's very beneficial to focus on eating foods that are alkalizing. This helps tremendously in recovering from Lyme and co-infections. I find my patients do very well with individualized food plans, based on their specific cases. I incorporate stress reduction programs into treatment plans, as well. Getting proper sleep is critical to recovery, as Lyme disease tends to disrupt the sleep cycle and interferes with the time our bodies need to heal.
After all, it is these lifestyle adjustments that will only encourage beneficial, long-term habits.

Man about to take tylenol pill

Tylenol Use May Cause Asthma

By Mark Sanders, ND

One of the basic teachings of Naturopathic medicine is that fever is one of the body's best natural defense mechanisms to help fight infection and is a normal part of the recovery process.  Most Naturopathic doctors advocate for letting the fever run its course, unless the fever becomes unusually elevated. In 2 recent studies, both showed a very strong association linking asthma symptoms with the use of Tylenol™ (acetaminophen, paracetamol), even only when a single dose was administered. The risk of developing asthma further increased with increased use of acetaminophen.  It is suggested that acetaminophen may disrupt that action of the naturally occurring anti-oxidant glutathione. Glutathione is a 3-amino acid peptide that not only serves as an anti-oxidant, but is also involved in liver detoxification was well. Other studies have shown people with asthma have lower glutathione stores in their lungs compared to those who do not have asthma. It is possible that acetaminophen further depletes glutathione stores in the lungs, making them more susceptible to allergens and other microbes that can trigger asthma.

The good news is there are many non-toxic naturopathic treatments for reducing fever if necessary. Placing the child in a tepid bath or using cool wash cloths can help lower fever safely. Homeopathy and herbs can be especially useful in reducing fever and helping someone recover from illness. The remedies vary depending on what other symptoms are present in addition to fever. Please consult a licensed naturopathic physician to help guide you on which remedies will help you get over the illness quickly and without risking further harm to the body.

Exposure to paracetamol and asthma symptoms. Gonzalez-Barcala FJ, et al. Euro J Public Health 2013 Aug 23(4); pp706-710

Association between paracetamol use in infancy and childhood, and risk of asthma, rhinoconjuctivitis, and ezcema in children aged 6-7 years, analysis from Phase Three of the ISAAC Programme. Beasley R, et al. Lancet 2008 Sept 20, 372 (9643), pp1039-48