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!

 

Beauty IS More than Skin Deep

I’ve been asked a lot lately about several skin conditions like acne and eczema and if I have any products that will help. Although we have a few products coming down the pipeline, I think it is prudent to explain what you can do from a holistic stand point TODAY.  It doesn’t much matter what you slap on top of your skin to fix a problem (which is really just a symptom of something deeper oftentimes) without fixing the real underlying problem – the inside! The old adage “you are what you eat” is SO true! Many skin ailments begin on the inside. Remember last week we talked about how the skin is actually the largest organ in the body? and how it absorbs and excretes things? Well let’s dig deeper.

Recent research has shown that ailments like asthma, allergies and eczema (all three ride on the same gene) and even psoriasis can be improved with taking probiotics. Why is that you ask? Many chronic illnesses with immune system or inflammatory issues actually begin in the gut just like Hippocrates said!

All disease begins in the gut.

So we talked briefly before about gluten and leaky gut.  So here we are again.  Allergic or inflammatory responses like eczema and psoriasis can find their root in your gut.  If you have the typical Western or American diet, then likely all of the (genetically modified) additives have poked microscopic holes in the lining of your gut and caused an imbalance in the bacteria that line your intestines.  Recolonizing your gut with the good bacteria it needs from fermented foods and high quality probiotics can help. Taking colostrum can also help plug those holes in your leaky gut as well.  When you have a leaky, improperly functioning gut, partially or improperly digested food particles can slip straight into your bloodstream through the gaps that are created in between your intestinal cells by this unhealthy environment.

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These molecules are recognized by your immune system as foreign invaders and attacks them.  The problem is that your now overactive immune system also attacks your own healthy tissue by mistake – including your skin.  In addition, as we mentioned earlier your skin excretes and absorbs things.  When your liver (which typically helps filter and clean your blood of undesirables along with your kidneys) becomes overloaded, the skin takes the hit as things spill over into the blood stream in uncontrollable amounts. The consequences can be eczema, psoriasis, acne, and hives among other things. One thing that you can do to help is adding Epsom Salt to your bath water. The magnesium sulphate is absorbed directly through your skin and gives your liver the cofactor it needs to help with the excretion of toxins via a sulfation process.  It will also help calm the itching.  If you can’t stop to take a bath try soaking a clean cloth in warm (not hot) water with Epsom salt dissolved in it and apply it to the rash. Don’t apply to broken skin that has been scratched raw as the salt may cause a stinging sensation. Be sure not to bathe in hot, hot water as heat causes histamine to be released from your immune cells and will aggravate itching. Hence, the use of anti-histamines to treat allergies (anti means “against” or “opposite of” so an anti-histamine medication works “against” the release of histamine to reduce or prevent itching).

One other thing to consider is not using harsh soaps. In fact, try to refrain from lathering your whole body and taking prolonged showers or baths as that disrupts the protective lining and probiotics that naturally coat your skin.  I’ll tell you like I tell my kids “Get in, get the good parts, and get out!”  Of course, they don’t always listen as they LOVE to play in the tub but I try.  That’s part of the reason that I created my own Body Wash without the harsh Sodium Laurel Sulfates and the like so as to minimize the damage to our skin. I also load their bathwater up with Epsom salt to boot.  Infants (especially newborns) and very young children don’t need baths everyday by the way. They don’t have developed sweat glands like adults that cause odor yet. (Put a pin in that topic for another day). So unless they’ve had an extensive day of outdoor play in the hot sun, it’s okay to skip a day especially in the cooler months when eczema symptoms can be more intense. Now if they smell like the “great outdoors” after a day of play, of course, give them a bath.  But if not, don’t stress about it.

Be Mindful – Herxheimer Reaction

Be aware but don’t panic! Sometimes as you begin a new regimen, your skin symptoms may sometimes appear to worsen briefly before they get better. This is a phenomenon known as the Herxheimer or die-off reaction.  As the new, good bacteria starts to squeeze out the old, the old bugs will die and release some toxins which have to go somewhere. If your liver is overloaded, the toxins will exit through your skin. This may appear as an increase in your original symptoms or new rashes.  You may also feel a general sense of ‘blah’ and maybe even joint or generalized aches and pains.  Have no fear – this, too, shall pass.  If you can push through the discomfort (consider slowing down on your new regimen for a few days if it becomes too much) and drink plenty of clean water, then life will be better on the other side! Applying coconut oil to those areas of your skin rash flare -ups can help.  If you mix in a little lavendar or Teatree oil with the coconut oil that may help even more. Coconut oil is antiseptic and anti-bacterial and also helps kill yeast which is one of the main culprits in eczema.

canstockphoto23765846Cleaning up your diet  (and personal care products) and removing processed foods by sticking to organic vegetables, fruits, fats, and meats (in that order) is a great first step.  Daily probiotic use, drinking clean water, and even juicing can take you to the next level of health. We will go into more detail about juicing in the future – it’s more than just a fad. Awesome things can happen when you add it to your healthy lifestyle. Can’t wait to chat about it later!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…..

Questions? Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in….

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!