Orchard Chiropractic Centre - Jersey

Protecting yourself against colds and Flu

Thursday 29 November 2018

Protecting yourself against colds and Flu

 

The common cold and flu are airborne viral infections that our immune systems have to deal with from time to time, but especially during the months of November to May. Whilst a cold is annoying and can make you feel unwell, flu is characterised by more severe fever/ chills, headaches, sore throat, cough,  fatigue and whole body aching. In order to stave off these viral infections or recover as quickly as possible, it is important that your immune system is strong when it encounters these pathogens.So what is the best course of action?

At the first sign of a cold, the first thing we suggest is boost vitamin C intake as the body responds to infections by increasing Vitamin C metabolism[1]. Humans, primates and guinea pigs are unable to synthesise vitamin C so we must get it from our diet. The current RDA 90mg is sufficient to prevent scurvy, but research shows that high doses between 6-8g per day significantly reduces the duration of cold symptoms. At Orchard Chiropractic Centre we would suggest high doses vitamin C in the first 24 hours - 1g per hour from onset of cold.

A  2013 Cochrane review on Vitamin C and colds summarised that

“in adults the duration of colds was reduced by 8% and in children by 14% .The severity of colds was also reduced by regular vitamin C administration.”

I've read that vitamin C supplements are a waste of money as most of it is passed in urine

Vitamin C is water soluble meaning that it cannot pass directly through cell walls and cannot be stored by the body. This means that you cannot overdose on Vitamin C as any excess is excreted by the kidneys in urine. Vitamin C metabolism appears to be dependent upon oxidative stress on the body therefore, requirements increase with activity and infection.

At doses between 30-180mg/ day absorption rate is 70-90%. At doses above 1000mg/day absorption falls to about 50%. So, in an inactive person who is free from cold or infection, any more than 1000mg/ day will see increased vitamin C excretion. However, in active people, and those suffering from cold or infection, far higher doses are absorbed by the body as vitamin C metabolism increases.

In order to greatly increase the amount of vitamin C absorbed by the body, liposomal vitamin C has been created. In effect, liposomal vitamin C is ascorbic acid wrapped in liposomes (fat) so that the vitamin can be transported through cell walls and is not excreted in urine. At Orchard Chiropractic Centre, we stock Altrient© liposomal vitamin C.

For best results/ protection from winter colds and flu we suggest:

Vitamin D3

Supplementation during the winter months to modulate the innate and adaptive immune systems, thus helping to suppress autoimmune attack and reducing risk of infection.

Vitamin C

High doses vitamin C in the first 24 hours - 1g per hour from onset of cold.

Garlic

In addition to its potential anti cancer properties, decreasing the effects of some diabetes complications and benefitting circulation, garlic has powerful antimicrobial, antiviral and anti fungal properties and can help alleviate symptoms of common cold and some infections.

Ginger

Ginger contains compounds like gingerols, shogaol and paradols, which can help fight free radicals, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Ginger root also has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Laboratory studies suggest that it may effectively protect against respiratory tract infections and fungal infections.

Eat sufficient protein

Protein is the building blocks for our immune system, therefore, eating sufficient protein whilst suffering from a cold or flu is most important. At Orchard Chiropractic Centre we suggest home-made organic chicken bone broth with plenty of garlic, turmeric, pepper and onion seeds. This bone broth is  an excellent source of protein and collagen and also benefits from the anti inflammatory properties of the herbs and spices.

Avoid sugar?

I am usually the first person to advocate avoiding glucose/ carbohydrates. However, an article from 2016 that I have only just read[2]  suggest that avoiding glucose is only necessary with bacterial infection, whereas some carbohydrate actually helps the body to overcome viral infections (cold and flu included).  Whilst the study was conducted in mice, it seems to fit with the changes to appetite that occur in humans when suffering from either bacterial or viral infection.  Bacterial infections seem to suppress appetite, whereas viral infection increases appetite or even cravings. But, let's be clear, the study is not suggesting that you eat bags of sweets at the first sign of a cold, but eating fruit or other sources of carbohydrate seem "..to be necessary for adapting to the stress of viral inflammation, by preventing stress-mediated apoptosis (cell death)".   

As always, if you have any questions arising from this article, please do not hesitate to contact one of our chiropractors, Charles or Cardin. 



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409678/ Vitamin C and Infections

 

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/glucose-inflammation/498965/

 


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