food for the mind

Functional Medicine

What You’re Doing Wrong with Your Flu Fighting Strategy

You had the flu shot…but ended up with the flu.

You’re dosing up on so much orange juice that the Tropicana truck is now resident outside your building. You’re sucking on zinc lozenges like they are candy…  You’re taking the recommended Vitamin D dose (600iu) and starting to question if echinacea really works? You seem to be doing the right things, but you just can’t kick this flu. What’s going on?

It’s all in the details.

Here’s how to enhance your flu flighting strategy:

1. Vitamin C – forget the orange juice, you need a therapeutic dose of Vitamin C – 2 grams at the onset of a flu, followed by 1 gram every hour. Your objective is tissue saturation for the strongest anti-viral activity. Look for a buffered Vitamin C powder (ie with magnesium and calcium) to improve bowel tolerance and prevent abdominal discomfort. I like DFH Buffered Vitamin C powder.

As a comparison, 16oz of orange juice will give you 250mg of Vitamin C as well as a liquid sugar hit that suppresses white blood cell production and inhibits your flu flighting ability.

2. Zinc – zinc is crucial for manufacturing T-cells that help kill the influenza virus. Suck on a 15mg zinc glycinate lozenge (or take a capsule) every three hours until the flu has gone. Avoid the lozenges containing sorbitol as it inhibits the absorption of zinc. I like Perque Zinc & Throat Guard Lozenge.

3. Vitamin D – take 4000iu everyday until the flu has gone. Vitamin D helps activate an anti-microbial peptide that punctures holes in the cell walls of the virus and prevents replication. Choose a liquid form, as Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient which requires a lipid base for optimal absorption. I like DFH Emulsi D3 Synergy.

4. Echinacea – only the echinacea root has the active anti-viral properties, not the leaf, which most capsules contain. Select an alcohol-free tincture and place one dropperful in the mouth, hold it for five minutes, then swallow. Do this every three hours for three days. Echinacea inhibits the virus from multiplying. I like HoneyCombs Echinacea Root Liquid.

5. Astragalus – one of the most effective herbs in flighting off the flu (but with less research than echinacea). It enhances the replication of the white blood cells that are vital for fighting off an infection. It’s often all I need to ward off a flu. Buy a tincture, add a dropper to water, and drink. Do this every three hours until the flu has gone.  I like Herb and Alchemist  Astragalus.

What not to do – antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. They only work against bacterial infections – such as Strep throat. In fact, the antibiotics kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad and make it more challenging for the body to defend itself against a viral infection.


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