Boost Your Immune System and Give Germs a 1, 2 Punch!

Cold and flu season is upon us. If you’ve already been bit by the bug all is not lost. Here are a few quick pointers to help boost your immune system and possibly shorten the course of your illness…..

  1. As always WASH. YOUR. HANDS!
    • This is a no brainer. Germs are parasites waiting to find their next host. Don’t volunteer.
  2. Eat a healthy, organic, whole food based diet and supplement if you can’t meet the mark.
    • Fresh squeezed (organic) orange juice is packed full of natural vitamin C that your body can recognize and utilize.
    • Fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juices are full of micronutrients that will help cleanse your body and help reset the microbiome of good bacteria in your gut and squeeze out the bad bugs.
    • If you’re unable to meet the mark, whole food based supplements like Juice Plus can help fill in the gaps.
  3. Raw honey is a great antiseptic that can help kill off bad bugs.  It can also help soothe a sore throat.  Years ago a study was done comparing cough medicine to a teaspoon of honey for night time cough in kids – the honey won!
    • Just make sure it’s ACTUALLY honey.  Read the label – high fructose corn syrup with honey flavor doesn’t count.
    • You also want to be sure it is raw and unprocessed as heat can kill some of the beneficial properties.
  4. Probiotics
    • 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut. Give it what it needs.  Go here for more detailed info.
  5. Grass fed colostrum
  6. Drink plenty of fluids.
    • No pedialyte on hand? Make your own!
    • To 1 Liter of clean water (we like alkalinized or Fiji) add 1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar (or honey if over 1yo)* and 1 teaspoon of see salt. Voila!
  7. Rest!
  8. Tell us what works well for you in the comment section below!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Comments, Questions?! Post them below!

The Doctor is in!

*Do NOT give honey to children under 1yo due to the risk of paralysis from botulin toxin!

 

Back to School Bug Brigade

It’s that time of year again – Back to [Home] School!

This is that lovely time of year when kids dive in head first and swap cooties! Typically medical offices and urgent cares look like an abandoned Western Frontier Town right about now – tumbleweed and all.

Back to school bugs Back to school physical exams are done and the dust begins to settle and then BOOM! Typically at just about two weeks after school starts there is a flood of kids coming in like a Petri Dish Parade.

Back to school bugsThe incubation period on all the cooties has expired and they begin to rear their ugly heads – strep throat, colds, stomach flu, the list goes on….

So what can you do to protect you and yours?

There are a few thing things that you can do to gird up your immune system. The most obvious is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of (hopefully organic) vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats and protein – in that order! That is honestly the best foundation.  Hippocrates even knew that everything begins in the gut.

Back to school bugs

About 80% of your immune system is found in your gut in the GALT system (Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue).

Back to school bugs

With that in mind there are additional things that you can do to strengthen or regulate the immune system via the influence of what you ingest.  First and foremost taking a good quality probiotic daily can fortify the defenses in your gut and help crowd out any bad bugs trying to take up residence.  If you tend to have recurrent ear and/or throat infections, you can also use a probiotic powder.  After brushing your teeth at night, sprinkle a little bit of the powder on the back of your tongue so that the good bacteria found in the probiotics can colonize the back of your throat and the opening of your ear tubes overnight to discourage the growth of the bad guys like strep! The Waldeyer’s Ring of Tonsillar tissue is a ring around the back of your throat full of immune system tissue and modulating cells. Let’s give them what they need!

Back to school bugs

 

Another option is taking colostrumColostrum is that nutrient rich, antibody laden golden richness that is produced as the “first milk” when a child is born.  You can actually purchase grass-fed, cow colostrum and reap all of the benefits of the immune boosters there, too. Colostrum helps regulate the balance of immune cells in your system.  You have two types of helper cells in your immune system, Th1 and Th2 (T helper cells 1 and 2, respectively).  Oftentimes due to insults like poor diet, infections, and environmental toxins the balance of these two types of cells is off and, therefore, not functioning optimally.  Think of it like this: your Th1 cells are your Watchers on the Wall and are supposed to protect the kingdom from any possible threat while the Th2 cells are the villagers down below.  Now the Th2 cells aren’t pushovers by any means and can wield a sword when necessary but they are not the same caliber of warriors like the trained fighters on the Wall. You do need both but The Watchers on the Wall (Th1) need to do their job properly so that the villagers (Th2) can do the other things that they are better trained to do and not wear themselves doing things that are above their pay grade.  Due to environmental insults all too often the Th2 cells are all over the place doing way too much and the Th1 cells are laying down on the job.  Taking colostrum can help rev up your Th1 cells so that they can do their job properly and the Th2 cells can go back to business as usual.

One thing that you can also do to help prevent the SPREAD of germs is to teach your children (and yourselves) to wash your hands properly, dry them off and then use that paper towel to turn off the faucet (moist Petri dish) and then use it again to grab the knob (Petri dish number 2) and open the door with it, THEN throw it away.  Also, when you cough or sneeze, do so into your ELBOW – not your hands (that you will then use to open a door, use a pen or something else and spread the joy).  Some viruses like one of the most common causes of the stomach flu can survive on surfaces for 6 WEEKS!! This is how they get passed around so far so fast – think cruise ships. So WASH. YOUR. HANDS! Also, wipe down and sterilize door knobs, toilet handles, sink faucets, etc to slow the spread of the germs.

If perchance you lose the battle and get sick, all is not lost! There are a lot of natural things that you can do to help shorten the course of your illness.  Too much to include here today so put a pin in it, sign up for our newsletter @ MommyMadeMD.com, and be sure to have that info and much more delivered straight to your inbox in the future.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me via the comment box below @ www.MommyMadeMD.com

The Doctor is in!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Take Home Tidbits

  • 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Protect it with probiotics and colostrum.
  • Cough and/or sneeze into your ELBOW not your hands to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Some viruses can survive on surfaces for SIX WEEKS so WASH. YOUR. HANDS!

Nobody Said it Would be Easy!

Breast-feed, Breast-feed, Breast-feed!!!

No. it’s not easy.  No, it doesn’t happen in a snap. But it is well worth it and priceless if you can manage to figure it out. First and foremost get a lactation consultant! I repeat – get a lactation consultant!! Most hospitals offer this service as part of your labor and delivery regimen. Also, there oftentimes are classes that you can sign up for before you deliver that give very good, basic information about infant care, breastfeeding, and what to expect during the delivery with a tour of the hospital.  If you are using a midwife or plan to deliver at home, ask your midwife if she offers similar instructional courses for expecting moms.  I was blessed with an awesome lactation consultant after I had my first child.  I nursed my 9 pound baby for a full year. I had my second 9 pound child about a year after I stopped nursing my first one. So I thought ‘This should be easy! It’s the second go around. No big deal right?!’ Wrong! Yes, it had just been a year since I last nursed but it had just been a year since I last nursed a one year old that had the hang of it! I was starting all over with another completely new and immature 9 pound baby. He had no idea what he was doing. And at times felt like I didn’t either. But I didn’t give up. I asked for the very same lactation consultant that I had after I delivered my first child by name. She whipped me and my baby into shape quickly. I must admit that I’ve noticed personally and professionally that on about day two or three there is a ‘click’ when things seem to get a little bit easier- term used loosely. Then again at about two weeks out from delivery there’s another ‘click’ and things tend to go much smoother. Try, try, try to press through the first 2 to 3 weeks as hopefully it will get better and better. Now, I will admit it was downright painful in the beginning. Irrespective of whether my child latched on properly or not there is a toe curling sensation as your milk first starts to be evacuated from your breast. AND the same hormones that your body secretes during breast feeding also cause uterine contractions -OUCH! BUT the added bonus is getting your waistline line back faster! The reason is two fold, your uterus contracts and you burn more calories when you breast feed – WIN, WIN!  Fortunately for me that discomfort only lasted a few weeks and just for the first few moments of the nursing sessions and it was greatly outweighed by the joy of finally succeeding. However, I do realize that for some women it never goes away. I hope that’s not your story. If it seems to be the case, try pumping your milk to see if that is less uncomfortable for you. At least your child is getting the nutrients from your milk. There are lots of great options these days – even “hands free” pumps. Often times I made and ate my breakfast while I pumped in the morning- multitasking at its best. You produce the most milk in the mornings so the best time to pump is after your first nursing session in the morning  you can sometimes pump several ounces after your baby’s first feeding. The added bonus is there’s a bottle for a late night feeding ready to go so you can get a break.  My husband was more of a night person so I would go to bed after the 9pm feeding, then he would give a bottle about 11pm or midnight while I rested. I would nurse about 3am and again at 6 or 7am. That way each of us got about 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep on a good night. See if you can work out an alternating schedule at night like that during the first months where your baby needs to eat every 2-3 hours. It can make a big difference.

If you’ve done all that you can and just cannot seem to produce enough milk -you’ve tried all the teas and have been drinking all the water and hydration possible and you just still don’t feel as though you are making enough milk, there are other options. You can supplement here and there with formula.  The added bonus is it gives daddy (and siblings) a chance to bond with and feed the new baby and a specific way to help/participate. There are also breast milk banks. Proceed at your own risk. Consider asking the hospital where you delivered your child if they have any referrals to a breast milk bank. Ask about the testing and processing procedures of the milk and make an educated decision. If that is not an option, a wetnurse may be an option as well. Again, proceed at your own risk! At the very least consider adding some high quality colostrum to your child’s formula. Yes, I said colostrum. You can purchase high quality, grass fed, pasture raised, bovine (cow) colostrum powder with all of its immune modulating properties and benefits for you and your child.  Breastfeed

If you absolutely cannot breast-feed at all for whatever reason be it medical, or personal, no guilt trips here. As I said in the beginning it is not easy! Either way know you are doing your best. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. I’m here to tell you as no one else may have – it is not easy. You are not a failure. You are no less of a mother.  If you must choose a formula, please try to choose an organic version with as many organic, naturally derived, non GMO (genetically modified organisms -more on that another day) ingredients as possible. If you can’t read the ingredients, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. That goes for you and your baby.  Also be mindful of soy based formulas. About 90% of all soy in this country is genetically modified (there it is again).  In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, soy is a hormone modulator and mimics estrogen.  I’d be cautious about giving THAT much soy (estrogen) all day everyday to a new baby.

If you notice your baby having difficulty tolerating the formula or breast milk consider a few things. If you are breast feeding, what have YOU been eating? I can’t tell you number of times that things have been going well and all of sudden a new baby develops violent diarrhea and/or vomiting because mommy answered a craving for chili cheese fries -true story. If your baby develops bloody stools, it could be a milk protein allergy. Remove all dairy from your diet if you’re breastfeeding and consult your Pediatrician immediately.  If there is a history on either side of the family of food allergies, eczema, or nasal allergies, and you notice difficulty tolerating the formula (constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, colic, fussiness) you may want to consider a hypoallergenic formula. Discuss this option with your Pediatrician. Again, adding bovine colostrum may help this condition as well. Remember all of those awesome immune modulating properties I mentioned?  You may also want to consider giving your baby probiotics as this may help colonize their intestines with good quality bacteria to help them process and digest their food better. Probiotics in the gut also produce some of the vitamins that our bodies need – especially new babies.  If your baby was born via C-section, then they didn’t pass the the birth canal where we first pick up the bacteria that colonizes our gut naturally. Another reason to consider giving probiotics to your baby from the start. Probiotics have also been shown to reduce symptoms of allergic/immune conditions like asthma, eczema, and even psoriasis. Probiotics come in powdered form and can be added directly to your baby’s bottle. If you are nursing and wish to give your baby probiotics, simply apply the probiotic powder with a clean fingertip to your nipple and when your baby latches on they will easily consume the probiotics as they nurse.

An aside-There are very cute and fashionable breast-feeding covers that you can use when out and about if you choose. I personally preferred them. It made a unique, quiet, calm environment for comforting and soothing my baby Bunny to receive nourishment and continue to bond with me without the distractions of the over stimulating world around us.  There was a nice little ‘window’ through which I could peek down and we can look into each others eyes as my babies nursed.  It maintained my modesty. It set the stage for pseudo-quiet time with my baby. And people in the room were none the wiser. They just thought my baby was taking a nap most of the time. Nobody was offended. Nobody was hungry. Everybody was happy!!!

Happy healthy living!

Until next time!

Two Minute Tidbits:

  • Breast feeding isn’t easy.
  • Breast feeding shrinks your uterus and burns calories
  • Bovine Colostrum and Probiotics are a great way to bridge the gap.
  • 90% of soy is genetically modified and soy is a hormone modulator that mimics estrogen
  • Breast pumps and breast feeding covers are great options.

Supportive Documents

The case in favour of probiotics before, after, and during pregnancy:insights from the first 1,500 days

Food Allergies: Our Evolving Understanding of  Its Pathogenesis, Prevention, and Treatment

Gut Microbiota and Allergic Disease in Children