It’s cold , and I have a lot of people coming in with an Influenza A Symptoms and asking, “How do I keep my immune system healthy? How do I keep from getting all these things that everyone else around me is getting such as the influenza A virus or colds?”  

In my practice, I give a few simple nutritional tips that you can use to help keep your immune system happy, healthy, and hopefully stave off all this stuff that’s going around.

Diet and lifestyle make a big difference.

Diet is really important, and I can’t stress how important it is in keeping your immune system healthy because up to 80% of your immune function comes from the gut. If you’re basically living off junk food and processed food, sugar, things like that, it’s going to undermine your immune system. It’s going to make you more susceptible to getting something like a cold or the flu.

Eating and Sleeping to Fight Influenza A Symptoms

Make sure that you’re consuming good, healthy, nutritious food that’s free of dyes and corn syrup. -Tweet this

Your diet should be full of nutrient-dense foods free of sugar and fructose and all those other things that just generally aren’t good for your health overall. Diet’s really important.

Be on a regular sleep pattern. When you sleep is when your body does a lot of repair and restore, so when you’re not getting good sleep, we know from the studies that it definitely undermines your immune system and makes you more susceptible to getting sick.

Is your sleep pattern is consistent and you’re getting at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night?

Hygiene to Fight Influenza A Symptoms

Wash your hands. This is just simple hygiene practice. It’s not rocket science to figure out if you’re not washing your hands, people in and around you, if they touch something, they’ve been coughing, sneezing, particularly when they blow into their hands and they go touch something, it’s very easy that you grab a doorknob or something else, you pick up some of their mucus and if you touch your face it’s very easy to get sick yourself.

By washing your own hands, you’re at least protecting yourself from getting whatever else may be out there in the environment. I have a nutritional staple that I use with a lot of my patients that just keeps the immune system primed, keeps it happy. You can use this really all year long if you’re someone who’s prone to getting sick anyway, even outside of the cold and flu season.

Vitamin A, C & D to fight Influenza
Vitamin A, C & D to fight Influenza

Vitamin C to Fight Influenza A Symptoms

It really helps support your immune system.

It supports connective tissue. People tolerate it pretty well. For an adult, 1,000 milligrams, 2 to 3 times a day is well tolerated. For children, you can basically halve that dose, and vitamin C you can find in various forms. Whether you use buffered vitamin C or regular and it really just depends on your stomach and what you tolerate.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a little bit confusing. If you go to the health food store and buy a supplement that says vitamin A, look at the label carefully because sometimes it will say in parentheses beta carotene.

Beta carotene and vitamin A are actually not synonymous; It is technically 2 vitamin A molecules joined together. The body actually liberates very little vitamin A from beta carotene. What vitamin A does is it helps support your mucus membranes. It helps raise something called secretory IGA, which is your first line of defense in your nose, your throat, your gut, and any kind of mucus membrane.

I like using pure vitamin A. At high levels, vitamin A can be toxic. However, most people don’t get doses even remotely close to that to be toxic. For an adult, up to 25,000 IUs a day with food is sufficient. For kids, I usually use up to about 10,000 IUs a day with food. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. You do want some food with it to help improve its absorption, but it does keep again your first line of defense really primed and working well.

Vitamin D

This is not actually a vitamin. It’s a hormone, and it is an immune modulator. -Tweet this

We get it from exposure to the sun through our skin. We get very little vitamin D through diet alone. For adults. I recommend 5,000 to 10,000 IUs a day with food. For kids, up to 2000 IUs a day with food is safe.

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Zinc for Preventing the Influenza A Symptoms

It is a natural antiviral, but it also helps support the immune system. -Tweet this

The nutrient Zinc is an important nutrient that is considered a trace nutrient. It’s not super high in really very many foods other than certain types of nuts and seeds. Adding supplemental zinc during the cold and flu season can really keep your immune system primed. I’ll usually recommend about 20 to 30 milligrams a day, and for children, 10 to 15 milligrams a day.

With zinc as a supplement, it’s actually very important you take it with food. Zinc on an empty stomach can definitely make you nauseous and it doesn’t feel good. Make sure that you take it with food. Taking zinc long term could deplete copper. When taking it more than 2 or 3 months at a time, make sure you get a little bit of copper. There are companies that do sell a zinc-copper mix.

How Do I Keep My Immune System Healthy During the Winter Season?
How Do I Keep My Immune System Healthy During the Winter Season?

Sometimes copper is incorporated in part of a multivitamin. If you want to know if you are deficient, you can always have a blood test done to check your zinc and your copper levels. Using zinc this way is not because you’re deficient necessarily. We’re actually using zinc more therapeutically as a way to help kickstart your immune system and keep you from getting sick. I will also use these nutrients if it looks like you’re starting to come down with something. You can always bump up the doses a little bit and just until the point where you start to feel well and then back off again. 

Combining these Supplements

The combination of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc is just a great 1, 2, 3, 4 punches to keep your immune system happy, healthy, and hopefully stave off all these things that are circulating, like colds and Influenza.




How Do I Keep My Immune System Healthy During the Winter Season?

Hope you enjoy the tips and leave your comments below!

Thanks so much.

Darin Ingels, ND, FAAEM, FMAPS

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