Every summer I hear of cases of the flu and I am not surprised.
Recently I saw a patient to whom I had recommended a high dose of vitamin D and that she not stop taking it in the summer, as her levels were 60 nmol/L and I was trying to get them into the 150 nmol/L range.
So when I checked her levels in June, sure enough they had only risen to the low 80 range and she had stopped taking her vitamin D. “It is the summer I figure I am getting enough!”
So why am I encouraging Canadians to optimize their levels?
Well the importance of vitamin D is long; here goes: calcium absorption, bone health maintenance, gut mucosal integrity, maintains muscle mass, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, anti-autoimmune benefits, immunosupportive and anti-infection benefits, anti-cancer benefits, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, prevents deficiency induced musculoskeletal pain, weakness and seizures. And of course prevents the flu! So have your 25(OH) checked, (it costs about $70) and prove it to yourself that you are taking enough. Most naturopathic physicians will recommend 4000Iu’s per day and I have found over the last four years of testing patients in my clinic that this is not enough for most. A Canadian study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research in August, 2010 found that 37,000 deaths per year in Canada could be prevented by taking therapeutic dosages of vitamin D. Another reason folks get the flu during the summer is poor eating habits when they are travelling or having company.
One way to help offset these temporary changes, as they are best temporary, is to take a probiotic every day. This helps maintain your guard on full time duty at the level of the intestinal mucosal lining to head off invaders at the pass. The HMF probiotics I use in my practice are viable out of the fridge for three months , making for easy travel. Another trick to give your body a rest is to fast on fruits or vegetables for one day. Be sure to maintain your bowel function also. Extra magnesium is a simple easy fix for this along, with probiotics and fish oil.
What do I reach for when I feel I am fighting something?
HTSF is a homeopathic flu combination that works easily and well within 24-48 hours of taking it three to six times per day. Another reason that it is in our Summer First Aid kit.
Of course I can’t leave you without reminding you about fish oil as a great immune booster. With 3,000 mg per day of EPA and DHA combined for adults and children alike, you will be getting a good dosage. So with these few very simple and inexpensive tools you should never get the flu in summer or winter either. Prove it to yourself.
Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or www.DrPincott.com