by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Yes, cold and flu season is just around the corner and this is the beginning of a two part series on boosting your immune system.
Today’s focus will provide some lifestyle and supplemental tips you can use to keep your immune system function high and do your best to keep the cold and flu at bay for yourself.
Let’s first look at some lifestyle tips.
Get Some Sleep
Wow, if this isn’t the single biggest thing you can do so support your immune system, I don’t know what is!
If you’re the person that says you do fine on 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night, you are kidding yourself. While this may appear to be working fine for you right now, this is leading you down a path of adrenal insufficiency, immune dysregulation and a host of other health problems for your future. Start working on increasing your sleep by getting 5 minutes more sleep every day. You’ll be up to 8 hours before you know it.
Maybe your are the so called “night person?” You go to bed at 1:00AM and sleep until 9:00AM so you feel like you are getting enough quality sleep. Recognize though that the best sleep is in accordance with our natural rhythms which would put us to bed about 9:30 to 10:00PM and waking near the time of sunrise. If you are the night person, you are not getting the best immune boosting sleep, even if you are still sleeping 8 hours. Work on going to be 5 minutes earlier and waking up 5 minutes earlier each day until you reach the optimal time frames.
If this seems impossible for you this could be tied into elevated cortisol at night or depleted melatonin.
If this is the case, I would recommend testing for these hormones. Get this test here and we will be happy to evaluate this for you.
You also want to make sure you are getting into the deep delta sleep pattern. If you are waking often during the night or perhaps you wake consistently at one time nightly, you may not be reaching this deep delta sleep pattern. This delta sleep state is when your body’s immune system is taking care of rest and repair for you. I often see clients that are taking care of so many areas of their health in high regard, but this lack of deep sleep can still keep them from reaching their health goals.
As you may have guessed already, I feel that proper sleep is extremely important to crank up your immune system.
Stress Might be Taking You Down
The other big lifestyle factor is stress. This will often deplete your adrenal function, thus leaving you with poor sleeping patterns, as discussed above, or this can be creating immune system dysregulation for you.
If you guessed that this would deplete your immune system function, you are right on!
Chronic mental/emotional stress depletes us on so many levels and most of us do not even recognize that this has taken over our lives. Here is a typical day for the average American.
- Wakes up slowly needing coffee to get going
- Often running late due to a slow start
- Stuck in traffic heading to work
- Running into work to hastefully begin the day
- Dealing with unrealistic deadlines all day
- Trying to put up with challenging and over demanding supervisors
- Quick lunch eating at your desk
- Attempting to move through your day quickly so you get leave at decent hour
- Driving home in heavy traffic
- You arrive at home carrying the emotions of your day which leads to stressful situations with your spouse or children
- You go to bed late because you are trying to accomplish tasks that you simply do not have time for
I know that many of you are thing right now, how the heck does Glen understand my day so well?!
Here’s the funny part.
Most of these people would say they do not have much stress. Really?
The reason why this is not regarded as stressful is because it has become normal but realistically, this is a completely stress saturated day and in the end this will effect your immune system function.
While some of these areas with work, traffic, supervisor and such may be tough to change, there are areas that you can improve upon.
- Plan your meals the day before so you have healthy choices through your day
- Get to be earlier so you can get a good night’s sleep and wake up a bit earlier to provide a more relaxed morning for yourself
- Do not eat at your desk. Make sure you get out, get some sunshine if you can and take some deep breaths do you can enjoy your lunch and set your body up for proper digestion. Remember it is called “rest and digest” for a reason
- Use you drive home to listen to some relaxation tape, soothing music or listen to and audio book
- Take some deep breaths before you walk into the home and focus on releasing your day
- Cherish your family when you get home
- Make sure you take some transition time when you get home
If you are wondering if your poor sleep and/or stress are impacting your adrenal function, take this free assessment.
So what can you do supplement wise and why?
This recommendation is not one you’ll likely hear about anywhere else. Understand that vitamin B5 is one of the essential raw materials needed for adrenal hormone production.
And why is this so important?
Because your adrenal glands play a role all of these areas that tie into immunity and so much more…
- Immune regulation
- Metabolism of fat and protein
- Your mucousal surface integrity which is your immune systems first layer of defense
- Thyroid function which plays a major role in immune function
- Pro and anti-inflammatory states as a part of the immune system healing crisis
- Cellular energetics
- Quality of sleep
- Quality of mood
So as you can see, the better your adrenal function, the better your immune function.
Get your daily supply of Vitamin B5 with the Depke Wellness Prime Adrenal Support. The vitamin B5 you need, without the other ingredients that many lower end supplements may contain.
Reishi Spore Extract
Reishi Spore Extract can enhance the production of immunoglobin and is 75 times more potent that other Reishi products.
- Antibacterial, antiviral (Herpes, Epstein-Barr), antifungal (including Candida) properties
- Immune system up-regulation
- Normalization of blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Reduction of prostate-related urinary symptoms in men
Learn more about Reishi Spore Extract.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that usually inhabit the gut and are a very well documented in optimizing your immune system function. After all seventy to eighty percent or more of your immune system occurs in the gut, and this beneficial bacteria are the most important component of that immune system.
Here at Depke Wellness we always recommend the combination of a quality prebiotic along with your probiotic. To learn more about the reasons why this is important, visit this link.
Zinc/Vitamin C Combo
It is well documented that the combination of zinc and vitamin C combines an important combination to support your immune system. Enjoy this abstract from PubMed which addresses this powerful combination.
We always recommend the easiest forms of supplements to digest and whenever possible we recommend liquids or powders that you mix in water. Get more information on a high quality Zinc Liquid and a powdered Buffered Effer C (Vitamin c.) Buffered Vitamin C is much easier on the digestive tract and always our recommendation.
Address your key lifestyle tips and pick the supplement combo that resonates with you and crank up your immune system function and assist your body in eluding the cold and flu this year.
Next week we will discuss the cold and flu from the healing vs. disease crisis. Don’t miss this follow up article.