June is here, and winter has well and truly hit us. I wanted to focus my article this month on immunity must-haves for the winter season.
Did you know 80% of our immunity lives within our digestive system, so having good gut health is essential. This doesn’t mean that a probiotic will be all you need for good digestive health. It requires an over hall most of the time, involving: healing, sealing and building the digestive system back to a healthy living organism. Once digestion has been taken care of, the first step in immune health is to consider these items to get you through the winter months.
Elderberry is one of my favourite herbs and great for kids especially. The best option is a tincture or liquid. Elderberry has been proven to reduce cold symptoms through multiple studies and is also used as an immune boost.
Echinacea an oldie but a goodie with many years of research in its function on the immune system. It can be used to improve immunity or when you already have a cold or virus.
Vitamin C – We all know about Vitamin C and the immune system and there are a few options when it comes to Vitamin C supplement these days. You can go for a buffered, liposomal or even an IV infusion to keep you going for months. If you suffer from chronic fatigue or have deficient immunity, then an IV infusion may be the best option and is available from Soul Spectrum monthly. Liposomal means it goes straight into the cell and so is great for anyone with absorption issues. Buffered means it’s gentle on the stomach and great as an option for children.
Zinc: A great add on for Vitamin C often found in Vitamin C combinations. Only take on its own in high strength if there is a known deficiency.
Vitamin D- less sunshine and more keeping warm indoors means less Vitamin D and more possibility for upper respiratory infections. Many years ago, a link was made to low Vitamin D and recurring upper respiratory infections. Recently, we have discovered that some people have a DNA snip that doesn’t allow supplement absorption; as such, companies have developed liposomal and bioavailable Vitamin D. For children, I always recommend cod liver oil as it provides natural Vitamin D and can be easily absorbed. If you have a known deficiency, then looking at an option like liposomal, bioavailable is recommended.
Iron – low iron level can reduce immunity, do not take iron unless you have been tested and show you have low iron. Always look for an iron that is a liquid format. Iron sulphate causes constipation most of the time and is heavy on digestion. Make sure you take Vitamin C with your iron and away from food by 30 mins for the best absorption. If your iron is always low and doesn’t go up, it’s time to look at digestive well-being and improving gut bacteria.
Homeopathy can be used at any age and with any medication. It can be used throughout the stages of the colds and flu and can shift in remedy depending on the stage and symptom picture. Homeopathy is all about matching the symptom picture with the current symptom you are experiencing. Dosing will depend on the intensity of the symptoms. If you are unsure or inexperienced, it’s best to connect with a homeopath or consider a homeopathic family wellness course. Some remedies that are good to have on hand are:
Aconite- for first sign of a cold or cough. If you have been out in the cold wind or air and then get a sore throat or a slight cough, use aconite straight away.
Anas barb- A good preventative for the flu, taken fortnightly or monthly during winter. It can also help with symptoms of weakness, aches and pains, hot and cold.
Pulsatilla is a good one for kids and adults with green/ yellow snot and a cough that changes from dry to mucus, and the cough is worse laying down. Symptoms are better outside and worse in warm rooms. They become clingy and want to be held or winge (kids).
Silica- for a blocked nose, clear running nose, sniffles, dry cough.
These are just a few remedies to have on hand in your pantry.
Always consult your health care practitioner before taking anything like some of these options as they may interact with medication.