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Cold and Flu Guide by Alive and Well: Be Prepared with a Sick Bin

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Winter is around the corner, and with it comes the infamous cold and flu season. The key to navigating this challenging time is being prepared. The Alive and Well Functional Clinic Team is here to guide you through the season, emphasizing the importance of having a well-stocked “sick bin” at home. Just like a first aid kit, a sick bin ensures you have all the essentials to support your health during colds, flu, and other illnesses.

Supplements to Stock Your Sick Bin to Combat Cold and Flu

Our supplement specialist, Katherine Crosswell, shares the essential products to stock your sick bin with. As a reminder, our motto at Alive and Well is “Test, Don’t Guess” when it comes to vitamin and mineral levels. Take advantage of one of our clinic’s comprehensive blood panels or ask your primary care provider to check your levels before starting a new protocol.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often recognized as the “sunshine vitamin,” emerges as a critical player in immune function and the battle against colds and flu. The immune-boosting properties of vitamin D are underlined by its influence on both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Essential for the activation of immune cells, including T cells and macrophages, vitamin D acts as a regulator of immune responses. Notably, vitamin D receptors are present on immune cells, emphasizing its direct involvement in immune function. In the context of cold and flu, vitamin D is known to enhance the body’s defense against respiratory infections. It has the capacity to modulate the inflammatory response, reducing the risk of excessive inflammation that can worsen symptoms. Moreover, vitamin D plays a role in the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides, which contribute to the body’s ability to fight off infections. 

As a deficiency in vitamin D is commonly observed, particularly during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited, ensuring optimal levels becomes paramount for a robust immune system, providing a formidable shield against seasonal illnesses.

Recommended Dosage: 10,000 IU daily 

Recommended Products: 

Zinc

Zinc stands as a vital element in the body’s defense against colds and flu, showcasing its indispensable role in immunity. This essential mineral is recognized for its capacity to inhibit the replication of the influenza virus and alleviate symptoms associated with respiratory infections. Zinc contributes significantly to the proper functioning of immune cells, such as T cells and natural killer cells, essential components in the body’s defense mechanism. Additionally, zinc plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of mucous membranes, acting as a physical barrier against invading pathogens. 

In the context of cold and flu, zinc has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms, underscoring its potential as a therapeutic agent. Moreover, zinc supports the production of antibodies, crucial for the adaptive immune response. As a micronutrient that the body does not store, regular intake or supplementation is essential, particularly during the cold and flu season, to ensure optimal zinc levels and fortify the immune system against viral threats.

Recommended Dosage: 20-50mg/day

Recommended Products:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays a pivotal role in bolstering the immune system and combating colds and flu. Renowned for its potent antioxidant properties, vitamin C serves as a crucial defender against harmful free radicals in the body, which can be especially abundant during periods of illness. Its anti-inflammatory capabilities further contribute to immune system support by reducing inflammation and facilitating a more efficient response to infections. 

Vitamin C is integral to the production and function of white blood cells, key components of the immune system responsible for identifying and eliminating pathogens. Additionally, it enhances the production of interferons, proteins that play a pivotal role in the body’s defense against viral infections. Moreover, vitamin C supports the synthesis of collagen, a structural protein essential for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucous membranes – the first line of defense against invading pathogens. 

The combined effect of these mechanisms positions vitamin C as a formidable ally in fortifying the immune system, making it an essential component of the defense arsenal against the common cold and influenza.

Recommended Dosage: 500mg twice daily

Recommended Products:

NAC (N-Acetylcysteine)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) emerges as a potent ally in the immune system’s battle against colds and flu, showcasing versatile mechanisms that contribute to overall immune resilience. As a precursor of reduced glutathione, NAC plays a pivotal role in enhancing the body’s antioxidant defenses. By penetrating cells and promoting glutathione synthesis, NAC exerts broad-spectrum antioxidant effects, mitigating oxidative stress and inflammation associated with viral infections. 

This multifaceted compound has been recognized for its ability to modulate the immune response, exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage the severity of cold and flu symptoms. NAC’s immunomodulatory effects extend to its role in supporting the respiratory system, where it aids in reducing mucus viscosity and facilitating the clearance of respiratory secretions. 

Moreover, NAC’s potential to influence viral replication adds another layer to its significance in the context of immune defense. Whether through its antioxidant prowess or its impact on respiratory function, NAC emerges as a valuable supplement to fortify the body’s immune response, offering a comprehensive approach to staying resilient during the cold and flu season.

Recommended Dosage: 600-1200mg twice daily

Recommended Products:

Elderberry

Elderberry, revered for centuries for its medicinal properties, plays a pivotal role in fortifying the immune system and combating colds and flu. Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamins, elderberries possess potent antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-boosting properties. The high concentration of anthocyanins in elderberries is particularly noteworthy, as these compounds are known to stimulate the immune system by enhancing the production of cytokines, crucial signaling molecules that coordinate the immune response. 

Scientific studies have indicated that elderberry extract can effectively inhibit the replication of influenza viruses and reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms. Additionally, elderberry’s ability to modulate the inflammatory response contributes to its effectiveness in alleviating symptoms associated with respiratory infections. 

Whether consumed in the form of supplements or syrups, elderberry stands as a natural and holistic approach to strengthening the immune system, providing a flavorful defense against the challenges posed by the cold and flu season.

Recommended Dosage: 1200-1500mg/day

Recommended Products:

Immune Boosting Formulas

  • Biogenesis Complivir 
    • CompliVir™ is a powerful immune-boosting formula combining monolaurin, zinc, propolis and standardized botanical extracts. This unique blend is designed to help support your body’s natural defenses and keep you feeling your best.
  • Orthomolecular Viracid
    • Viracid’s synergistic formula significantly boosts immune cell function including antibody response, natural killer (NK) cell activity, thymus hormone secretions, and T-cell activation. Viracid also helps soothe throat irritations and nasal secretions, and maintains normal inflammatory balance by increasing antioxidant levels throughout the body.
  • Orhtomolecular OrthoMune 
    • OrthoMune is a targeted blend of nutrients designed to provide a broad-spectrum support to the body’s immune reserves. The formula includes quercetin, a powerful bioflavonoid that aids in supporting the immune system. Vitamin C and N-acetyl cysteine are potent antioxidants that promote respiratory function and support the function of quercetin. Vitamin D and zinc are important micronutrients needed to create a robust immune reserve. This powerful combination works to promote healthy respiratory and immune function.
  • Oscillococcinum
    • Take Oscillo® at the first sign of flu-like symptoms and feel like yourself again. Oscillococcinum® (o-sill-o-cox-see-num) is for everyone ages 2 and up and easy to take. It has been shown in clinical studies to help reduce both the duration and the severity of flu-like symptoms.

Our Recommendations Based on Cold and Flu Symptoms

Sinus/Nasal Congestion

  • NeilMed Sinus Rinse
    • NeilMed SINUS RINSE is an easy squeeze bottle system that allows you to deliver the saline solution with positive pressure to clean the nasal passages thoroughly, while maintaining your head in an upright position. You have complete control of the pressure and volume of solution, ensuring a gentle, soothing and therapeutic experience. Daily rinsing is safe and will keep your nasal passages clean, healthy and open.
  • Alkalol Nasal Wash
    • Use ALKALOL as a nasal wash and mucus solvent to help clear blocked nasal passages and provide drug-free relief from nasal congestion and irritation caused by sinusitis, allergies, head colds, and post-nasal drip; Dissolves mucus. Contains: 1 Alkalol nasal cup, 16 ounces of Alkalol (A natural soothing nasal wash, mucus solvent and cleaner), and directions. Natural ingredients: The Alkalol Nasal Wash Kit is made with a blend of natural ingredients, including menthol, eucalyptus, and wintergreen. These ingredients are safe and effective for most people.
  • Xlear Nasal Decongestant Spray
    • Xlear 12 Hour Decongestant Nasal Spray adds the benefits of xylitol to cleanse, moisturize, and soothe delicate nasal tissues. One of the biggest complaints of people who use nasal sprays with oxymetazoline is dryness, which creates an environment where contaminants can infect—not so with Xlear 12 Hour. Because of the xylitol saline solution, Xlear relieves congestion while also alleviating dryness and assisting the body’s natural defenses so your airways can be healthy and clear.
  • Sinus Lavage
    • Sinus lavage, also known as nasal irrigation or sinus rinsing, is a practice that involves flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution. This technique offers several benefits for clearing congestion and promoting sinus health.

Cough and Sore Throat

  • Integrative Therapeutics V-Clear
    • V Clear EPs 7630® is an upper respiratory treatment containing a proprietary, homeopathic preparation of Pelargonium sidoides extract which addresses the underlying cause of symptoms to help speed recovery, and shorten the duration of upper respiratory irritations
  • Propolis Soothing Lozenges
    • The Bee Keeper’s Naturals propolis soothing lozenges are not your average cough drops! These honey lozenges are made with powerful ingredients, like raw honey, propolis, Vitamin D and zinc, that promote immune health while soothing dry, scratchy throats.
  • Quick Silver Liposomal Immune Charge Throat Spray
    • A highly bioavailable zinc-based spray designed to provide immune support in the throat. Zinc combined with quercetin, luteolin, and propolis helps increase zinc levels in the throat. Perfect for travel, seasonal exposures, and year-round fortification of defenses.

Recommended Health Devices to Keep On Hand

  • Thermometer
  • Nebulizer Machine
    • Use at the first sign of congestion and don’t let colds, allergies or sinus problems slow you down.
  • Cool Mist Humidifier
    • Keeping the air from getting too dry is the key. It will quiet your cough and keep your mucous membranes from drying out.Dry mucous membranes are more easily infected.
  • Pulse Oximeter
    • A painless, noninvasive method of measuring the saturation of oxygen in a person’s blood. Oxygen saturation is a crucial measure of how well the lungs are working. 

Immune Boosting Services at Alive and Well

IV Vitamin Therapy to Boost Your Immune System

At Alive and Well, we have several proprietary formulas to support the immune system and help the body help itself and can customize the formula based on the individual patient’s needs. IV treatments are full of electrolytes, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that the body needs to function at its best. With the stress of the holidays, spending time out with people and celebrating, our bodies could definitely use the extra boost of support. Your body will absorb all of the nutrients in your IV treatment, strengthening the immune system and ensuring your body is properly hydrated.

A few of the recommended IVs we offer at Alive and Well include:

Short on time? Come by Alive and Well for a quick IM immune boosting shot:

Ozone Therapy for Cold and Flu Symptoms and Prevention

Ozone therapy stimulates the body’s natural regenerative and immune systems. Additionally, ozone therapy has been effective in reducing the symptoms associated with ear infections, sinus conditions and upper respiratory tract infections. At Alive and Well, we offer several variations of ozone therapy that can boost your immune system and relieve some of the painful cold and flu symptoms.

Being sick is challenging, but with a well-prepared sick bin and immune boosting resources in your arsenal, you can make the journey to wellness smoother. By thinking ahead and dedicating a specific container to cold and flu items, you can put more energy into getting well. Stay proactive, stay healthy, and embrace the winter season with confidence.

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