It’s “flu” season, right? Wrong!
It’s Halloween candy, processed carbohydrates, sweets, holiday deserts and drinks season, all of which have been shown to decrease the function of your immune system, according to my previous post on sugar and immunity.
Do you really think the “flu bug” from pigs and birds and whatever else only migrates here once a year in November and December? That would be silly…
People get sick because they engage in lifestyle habits that suppress their immune system. Whether, or not someone gets sick, or “catches a cold” is always a direct result of the health of the host: You!
What else would explain the fact that many people in a room can be exposed to the same bacteria, or pathogen and only some get sick? It’s because those that got sick had a previously compromised immune system; it’s not normal to get sick.
Let’s just say you were one of the unfortunate few who got sick...Now what do you do?
Well, we got a crisis; you are sick. The proper way to think is not to wait until you get sick and then try to treat or cure it, but rather adopt a wellness lifestyle to prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place. I am not speaking philosophically, but rather from first-hand experience. I haven’t been sick in almost five years since I started living better.
Maybe you need to change something in your lifestyle so you don’t get sick so often. Here’s my “secret”:
1) Get adjusted on a regular basis. Research has shown that chiropractic care boosts the immune system. Chiropractic adjustments relieve stress from the nervous system, which is a critical link and has governing role over the immune system.
Consider the following from a Maximized Living article:
- Spinal lesions, similar to vertebral subluxation complexes caused by misalignments, are associated with exaggerated sympathetic activity, which releases immune regulatory cells into the blood circulation and alters immune function. The nervous system has a direct effect on the immune system due to the nerve supply to the important immune system organs. 1, 2, 3
- White blood cells, which eat and destroy bad cells, are enhanced through chiropractic care. 4
- HIV positive patients adjusted over a 6-month period showed a 48 percent increase in CD4 cells, an important immune system component. 5
- The chief of cancer prevention at New York’s Preventative Medicine Institute found that people who received regular chiropractic care over a five-year period had a 200 percent greater immune competence than those who had not received chiropractic care. The chiropractic group showed a 400 percent greater immune competence than people with cancer and other serious diseases. 6
Chiropractic care for maintenance of a strong immune system should be a standard regimen for everyone. Typically, patients on a maintenance schedule will be able to hold their chiropractic adjustments from 1 to 3 weeks, depending on stress levels. However, in times of immune system suppression, a patient can have their spine examined for misalignments several times per day to ensure their nerve systems are free of interference. Wellness chiropractors use several objective technologies to check for diminished nerve supply, the presence or absence of subluxations, and how well (and how long) their patients are holding their adjustments.
2) Eat a diet free of inflammatory foods (dairy, grains, sugar, soy, artificial/fake sugar) while eating plenty of anti-inflammatory immune boosting foods (fish, lean animal protein, raw fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, garlic, ginger and a variety of spices).
3) Make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin D3 (>5,000iu’s per day), preferably from the sun. Exposing 70 percent of your skin in the sun between the hours of noon to 2 p.m. for 20 minutes will enable you to produce about 20,000 iu’s of Vit D all on your own. If you do get sick you can increase this to 10,000 iu’s per day while you are experiencing cold/flu like symptoms.
4) Get plenty of exercise (30 minutes moderate to high intensity for five days/week). Everyone already knows this, so I won’t bore you with the science behind it. Stop complaining you don’t have time or energy and just do it! Maybe if you fed your body better you would have more energy for exercise. See step #2.
5) Sleep at least 7 CONTINUOUS hours per night. Catching up in the middle of the day with a nap doesn’t count. You need continuous sleep during the night, when it’s dark outside, to go into deep REM sleep where your body heals and repairs itself.
6) Incorporate positive strategies to deal with in your life. Prayer/meditation are great ways to escape everyday stresses for short periods throughout the day. Adapt positive thinking habits and remove the phrases “I always get sick, I feel like I’m going to get sick, this will make me sick, I always get sick this time of the year,” etc… all you are doing by saying those things are re-affirming to your body that you will get sick. You mind is very powerful, use it to your advantage rather than sabotaging your life.
I know I could make this much more complicated, but there’s no need to. Taking care of your body is pretty simple, almost too simple. Here’s to your health this “flu” season!
- Felton DL, Felton SY, Belonged DL, et al. “Noradrenergic sympathetic neural interactions with the immune system: structure and function.” Immunol Rev. 1987 Dec;100:225-60.
- Korr IM: “Andrew Taylor Still memorial lecture: Research and Practice – a century later.” J Am Osteopathy Assoc 1974 73:362.
- Murray DR, Irwin M, Reardon CA, et al. “Sympathetic and immune interactions during dynamic exercise. Mediation via a beta 2 – adrenergic-dependent mechanism.” Circulation 1992 86(1): 203.
- Brennan P, Graham M, Triano J, Hondras M. “Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory bursts induced by spinal manipulation: Potential Role of Substance P.” J Manip Physiolog Ther 1991; (14)7:399-400.
- Selano JL, Hightower BC, Pfleger B, Feeley-Collins K, Grostic JD. “The Effects of Specific Upper Cervical Adjustments on the CD4 Counts of HIV Positive Patients.” The Chiro Research Journal; 3(1); 1994.
- Pero R. “Medical Researcher Excited By CBSRF Project Results.” The Chiropractic Journal, August 1989; 32.
Dr. Dan is a chiropractor at The Joint in Aliso Viejo. He is also a health and nutrition specialist.