by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Yes, you heard it right, another cold and flu season is upon us.

Did you get sick last year?

Did your cold and flu take you down for some time?

Was it painfully agonizing to simply make it through those days?

Perhaps is was tough to sleep because you were up coughing all night?

I don’t know about you but this does not sound like fun to me at all, so how about this being the year that you do something to support your immune system so the cold or flu does not take you down?

Or if you do end up with either the cold or flu, is your immune system strong enough to make a short order of this?

This is the big learn to discuss first here. It is not true that if your immune system is regulated properly and your are healthy that you never get sick. Honestly, I would be more worried about somebody that claims they never get sick. Understand that with the environment we live in, the stress levels we live with and the fact that we are exposed to so many infections all the time, getting sick is actually healthy.

What, getting sick is healthy? What is that crazy talk?!

Just thought I’d share what you might be thinking right now.

No really, it is healthy to get sick. I may have a slightly different definition of sickness than you. To me this is referred to as a healing crisis, which is both a natural and a healthy response.

This is much different than a disease crisis though, which I will discuss later.

Back to the healing crisis. To explain this it is much easier for me to show you the flow chart of a healing crisis, so here you go. (Healing crisis)

  1. You are exposed to a pathogen
  2. Your immune system recognizes this and communicates with your adrenal glands
  3. The adrenal glands create a pro-inflammatory response surrounding the pathogen or toxin
  4. Your immune system creates the immune components necessary to destroy this pathogen
  5. The immune components travel through the blood to the sight of the infection
  6. From your blood, the immune components travel easily through the inflammation to the sight of the pathogen
  7. The immune components destroy the pathogen
  8. The debris is moved to the lymph, to the blood and out the body through your systems of detoxification and elimination
  9. The immune system communicates with the adrenal glands again to let them know that their job is done
  10. The adrenal glands create cortisone, which is your bodies natural anti-inflammatory, to eliminate the inflammation
  11. You have completed the healing crisis and you are now ready to enjoy your life

Doesn’t that sound like a beautiful system?!

It should because it is awesome and efficient as long as everything is working properly. If it’s not, this is when you get into trouble and this is what I would refer to as the disease crisis. The disease crisis looks similar but it is very different.

Here is what many go through when they are exposed to a pathogen, A.K.A. the disease crisis. Notice how similar this is until the end. (Disease crisis)

  1. You are exposed to a pathogen
  2. Your immune system recognizes this and communicates with your adrenal glands
  3. The adrenal glands create a pro-inflammatory response surrounding the pathogen or toxin
  4. Your immune system creates the immune components necessary to destroy this pathogen
  5. The immune components travel through the blood to the sight of the infection
  6. From your blood, the immune components travel easily through the inflammation to the sight of the pathogen
  7. The immune components destroy the pathogen
  8. The debris is moved to the lymph, to the blood and out the body through your systems of detoxification and elimination
  9. The immune system communicates with the adrenal glands again to let them know that their job is done
  10. The adrenal glands are working from a deficiency and while they had the vitality to create inflammation, they do not have the ability to create the cortisone needed to create the anti-inflammatory affect
  11. This leaves you stuck in a chronic inflammatory condition ultimately leading to the potential of liver congestion, leaky gut, a rise in cytokines and/or and increase in fat cell production and interestingly enough, these all lead to more inflammation
  12. This simply continues to recycle the disease crisis

The other challenge here is that once you get into the disease crisis pathway with consistency, this can lead to an even more challenging disease crisis such as this below. (This is the chronic inflammatory/autoimmune disease crisis)

  • Because of chronic inflammation, immune dysregulation and adrenal insufficiency, your immune system is either red flagging healthy cells for destruction or you are over producing the immune components to the point of also destroying healthy cells
  • This is an autoimmune condition that can attack any tissue in your body
  • An autoimmune condition is actually a weak immune system that is stuck in either a B cell or T cell dominance
  • This would also leave you open and suspect to other pathogens because you are the ideal environment for infection

Let’s hope that even if you are in a disease crisis you are in the first disease crisis flow chart and not in the autoimmune response. While both can be addressed holistically, it is much easier to catch this before you reach the chronic inflammatory/autoimmune response.

If your immune system and adrenal function is healthy, when you get the cold or flu, this will likely be short lived and you will progress through this process in just a couple days or slightly longer. If your cold or flu lingers for a week or more, you are likely in the disease crisis and some changes need to be made.

So what do you do?

If you feel that you tend to suffer with your illness for more that a couple to a few days, you would want to follow the steps below to turn this around and help position your body in the healing crisis mode.

Here is my professional recommendation and I would address this in the steps provided.

  1. Address your fundamentals of health. These are the simple things that we could all be focused on in our lives such as deep breathing to improve oxygenation of our cells and stress reduction, drinking enough pure water, being attentive to your nutritional needs and food sensitivities, getting proper sleep, moving our body, addressing the health of your vertebrae, achieving at least two bowel movements per day, getting out in the sun and working through the mental/emotional stress of life in a healthy way. This is a significant focus with all our Depke Wellness clients.
  2. Test your adrenal function and address this with the proper protocol that will not only assist your body in balancing adrenal hormone production but also resetting the ever important HPA axis. If you are wondering if adrenal fatigue is an issue for you, take this free adrenal assessment.
  3. Look at the most significant underlying factor that I find with my clients that disrupts the entire gut, brain, immune connection, which is gut pathogens. These can be recognized as parasites, protozoa, detrimental bacteria, H-pylori infections and so much more.
  4. We address this with our clients with the use of a comprehensive stool testing kit. Once you know what you have, this can be addressed naturally, but knowing what your pathogen is, is a key. This is because a general parasite cleanse does not necessarily take care of a detrimental bacteria or H-pylori and likewise.
  5. Next we would address inflammatory conditions. It is best to wait until this point to be in the best position to achieve a high level of success with your anti-inflammatory protocol. When you get to this stage you want to be aggressive. We always use liquid emulsified anti-inflammatory supplementation that packs a powerful punch for our clients. And don’t forget that inflammation potentially leads to leaky gut, increased fat cell production, a rise in cytokine production and liver bio-transformation, all of which can lead to more inflammation. That is why it is essential to look at this as a whole.
  6. Lastly we would look at detoxification. Most people with significant health issues are not vital enough to go through detoxification without adding to their symptoms and potentially worsening their condition. We also like to confirm toxicity via testing so we know what we’re dealing with and to what level.
  7. Also note that prior to detoxification you want to understand the health of your blood/brain barrier. If you release toxins from the tissue of your body into the lymph and to the blood, this can potentially cross an unhealthy blood/brain barrier and create even further symptoms for you.
  8. For a small percentage of our clients that do not progress as expected through this systematic approach, we may choose to look at genetic testing to see what may be standing in the way of your progress.

So now when you think of the cold and flu season, you will understand the underlying factors that will determine how your body responds to this.

Even more important, you now know what steps to take!

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