Integrative Health Blog

Improve Your Immune System Health to Fight Virus

Posted by on Wed, Apr 15, 2020

We are ALL concerned about how exposure to coronavirus could adversely affect the health of ourselves and our loved ones. We want to know:

  • Am I at high risk for COVID-19?

  • Is my immune system strong enough?

  • What can I do at home to remain healthy while social distancing?

  • What should I be eating?

  • Are there certain vitamins or minerals that may help?

The key to who gets sick and who does not lies in the strength of their immune system. The healthier you are, the better chance you have at fighting the Coronavirus. To combat coronavirus, or any flu or cold or virus, we must first support the immune system.

But how do we do this?

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Tags: flu, immune system, functional medicine, virus

Coronavirus: Healing the Gastrointestinal Tract to Boost Immunity

Posted by on Sat, Apr 11, 2020

One of the ways to tune up your immune system and give you more resistance to the Coronavirus is to heal your intestines.  A healthy gastrointestinal tract is often synonymous with a healthy immune system, which strengthens your resistance to any and all infections.

Roughly 60% to 80% of our entire immune system is estimated to surround our gastrointestinal tract to keep our microbiome, the bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses, in check.   If an overgrowth of unfriendly flora occurs or our immune system is reacting to various foods (e.g., food allergy), a lot of our immune systems energy is diverted to the intestines and away from the immune system’s other responsibilities such as resisting or fighting infectious invaders like Coronavirus.

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Microbiome

How can we tell if the immune system is wasting its energy fighting food proteins or the flora growing in our intestines?  One way is to consider symptoms.  If bloating, excess gas, abdominal discomfort, loose stools, acid reflux or constipation are a regular occurrence, you may be suffering with food allergy/sensitivity and/or the overgrowth of unfriendly intestinal flora.  Sometimes it is impossible to figure out which foods are involved, and which micro-organisms are overgrown without diagnostic functional medicine testing, like a stool test, a urine test and blood work.  Once the diagnosis is made, it’s a relatively simple process to correct the flora and get your immune system to then divert its attention away from the intestines to other parts of your body.

Healing the Gut with the 5 R’s

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Tags: immune system, gut, functional medicine, integrative medicine, virus

Coronavirus: It's Not Just About the Virus (Mostly)

Posted by on Tue, Apr 07, 2020

It’s more important to treat the person with a disease, than it is to treat the disease that a person has.

                                                                                                  ~Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine

When I was in medical school almost 50 years ago, we were recruited for an experiment to test the common cold virus (i.e., a rhinovirus).  I didn’t volunteer even though some extra spending money would have been nice, but my classmates did.  Students were selected who had essentially no antibodies to rhinovirus.  In exchange for a pittance, researchers at the University of Virginia Medical School divided the volunteers into four groups (if my ancient recollection serves me well): 

  • Group 1 was the control and received no virus.

  • Group 2 received a very low dose.

  • Group 3 received a moderate dose.

  • Group 4 received a high dose.

As you might expect, no one in group 1 became ill, whereas everyone in group 4 got a cold.  A few in group 2 came down with the sniffles and about half of those in group 3 “caught” the cold.  The takeaway from this outcome was that we all have a dosage threshold of inoculation.  Despite this well-established fact, I see little discussion about immune resistance to the corona virus and almost all discussion is about the virus itself.  It’s as if the quote above from the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, has never been heard.  It’s also similar to integrative cancer treatment – modern medicine’s expertise treats the cancer but may tend to ignore the whole person (with an immune system), who is fighting and killing cancer cells.

The Role of the Immune System

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Tags: immune system, functional medicine, integrative medicine, virus

Ginger: Potent, Pungent and Powerful

Posted by on Wed, Oct 02, 2013

Ginger is a potent spice with wonderful health benefits.

There are many reasons to use this amazing spice and with cold and flu season looming just around the corner, it is a good time to talk about ginger's health benefits and uses.

Healing Properties of Ginger

Ginger tastes great and it has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects in the body. Gingerols are the potent anti-inflammatory component in ginger responsible for reducing pain and increasing mobility. Inflammation can sometimes be silent in the body, on a cellular level, without our noticing it, setting the stage for disease formation.

When consumed on a regular basis, people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may experience less joint pain and find that it’s easier to move around.

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Tags: inflammation, ginger, holistic nutrition, integrative health, virus

Learn the Secrets of Those Who Don't Get Sick

Posted by on Wed, Jan 16, 2013

A strong immune system is more resistant to germs.

Here are some tips for boosting immunity and proper hygiene to ward off flu and colds:

1. Frequent HAND WASHING  with hot, soapy water. It is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of virus.

2. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and immediately throw the tissue away, or use the the "crook" of your arm to cover your mouth.

3. Cut down on sugar. It suppresses the immune system.

4. Aim for an alkaline condition in the gut. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits, sprouts, nuts and seeds, quinoa. Sugar, starches, coffee, sodas and meat contribute to an acidic environment and bacteria and viruses can grow quickly.

5. Drink plenty of fluids. Warm teas and pure water help flush out your system. Start your day with a glass of water with the juice of a lemon or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help alkalize your system.

6. Include fresh garlic into your diet on a daily basis.
It is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitical and anti-fungal.

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Tags: flu, vitamins and minerals, immune system, integrative health, virus

Flu and Virus Prevention: How to Stay Healthy When Others Get Sick

Posted by on Wed, Nov 10, 2010

Flu season is upon us again.

Many believe that this season has become more worrisome because of the H1N1 swine flu that we have heard so much about. In June 2009 the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. However, a pandemic does not mean that the virus is more deadly. It simply means that it has spread further throughout the world. The response to this pandemic resulted in the rapid development of the swine flu vaccine.

We at NIHA share these concerns and want to provide our community with effective prevention measures to stay healthy, including potent strategies of regaining your health rapidly should you fall sick.

Educate yourself and implement these effective and powerful health tactics into your life. Check out the recommended product list below and make sure you are ready for flu and cold season.

The Art of Staying Healthy When Others Get Sick

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Tags: flu, immune system, integrative health, holistic approach, integrative medicine, virus