Flu

Preventative Immune Health for Kids and Adults

Now is the time for preventative immune health for both kids and adults, particularly since it’s been such a warm fall, transitioning to cooler, damp weather can sometimes be a shock to the system- not to say that cold weather causes illness, but being indoors more frequently with other people’s germs makes falling prey to illness more likely. Also, interestingly, some viruses like rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold) replicates better at cooler temperatures, and the flu virus is thought to survive better in cool, dry temperatures.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to post some links to previous articles about a variety of immune boosters which can help both prevent and reduce the duration of illness.

Our Favorite Immune Boosting Supplements

This article really runs down the full list of immune supplements and how they work.

Zinc Lozenges: Clinically Proven to Boost the Immune System

A Natural, Herbal Version of Tamiflu for Flu Recovery

Experts are already forecasting a bad flu season for this year (I can’t imagine how they know that, but I’m inclined to believe it). If there’s one thing that is best against the flu virus (and that’s backed up by research), it’s elderberry.

Vitamin D, How Much to Take?

Ester C, a Better Form of Vitamin C for Boosting Immune Function

Keeping Kids Healthy This Winter

We also have a new kid’s probiotic that I wanted to mention, a chewable kids probiotic from Renew Life called Ear, Nose, and Throat. It contains a combination of probiotics that have been specifically chosen for their researched benefits for the entire respiratory system (literally the ears, nose, and throat, like the name), one of the probiotics it contains has even been positively researched for its benefit in helping to prevent strep throat and other bacterial infections.

One study published on PubMed found that kids with recurrent strep throat who took this specific probiotic strain and had an 80% reduction in streptococcal infections when compared with the control group. I do feel like certain kids are more prone to strep throat for whatever reason, so while this probiotic would be great for all kids during cold and flu season, I would definitely recommend it for those kids who have had recurrent strep throat.

A Natural Alternative to Tamiflu for Flu Prevention and Treatment

The flu this year is absolutely horrendous- health officials have said this is the worst flu season in nearly a decade, with the rate of hospitalizations continuing to increase. We all know that washing hands helps to prevent the spread of viruses, but it’s impossible to completely reduce your risk. 

Tamiflu has been approved as a prescription antiviral against the flu, but it is not without side effects, some of which can be severe.

The best way to stay healthy is to do what you can to boost your body’s own immune system, since we are every day exposed to bacteria and viruses, and it is our immune system that works to fight them off and keep us healthy; it’s when the immune system is overwhelmed that we fall ill.

There are a number of great, well researched immune boosting supplements that we would recommend at Pass Health Foods, but the best there is against the flu is elderberry syrup, also known as Sambucus. Elderberry has natural antiviral properties, and has been researched with great results for preventing and reducing the duration of the flu. In clinical trial of elderberry syrup, it found that elderberry cured 90% of flu infections after 72 hours. In the same trial, the patients receiving a placebo needed six days for recovery.

New research, however, has even found that the combination of elderberry syrup and the herb echinacea is as effective as the prescription antiviral Tamiflu against the flu virus.

The study gave 473 patients who exhibited flu symptoms elderberry extract and echinacea or Tamiflu within the first 48 hours of the beginning of the illness. The recovery rates from the combination of elderberry and echinacea were the same as Tamiflu  (the elderberry and echinacea group actually had slightly better recovery rates when compared to the prescription Tamiflu), but without side effects- the researchers reported that patients taking oseltamivir (Tamiflu) were more likely to experience gastrointestinal issues such as nausea and vomiting than the supplement group.

We have had a large number of our customers confirm this research, who have had great results taking the combination of elderberry syrup and echinacea.

Finally, I’ll share the story of one of the ladies who works at the Revival Yoga Studio in Palos Heights, which is across the street from the health food store (if you’ve never been in there, I’d really recommend stopping by- it’s a gorgeous yoga studio). She told me of how her son had contracted influenza, and was prescribed Tamiflu. A few days later, the rest of her family got sick and was confirmed by their physician that they did in fact have the flu. She decided that instead of doing Tamiflu for the rest of her family, that they would instead take elderberry syrup and echinacea. She said that the group of them that took the combination of elderberry and echinacea actually got better faster than her son that was on Tamiflu, and had didn’t have the digestive side effects that he experienced.

Elderberry can be taken preventatively against illness, but it’s best to save the echinacea until you feel the beginnings of sickness, since research has shown that that is when it is most effective. If you've been sick for a while, supplementing with elderberry alone is the best course of action, due to its potent antiviral compounds. 

We recommend Nature’s Answer Sambucus Elderberry Syrup, which is the highest potency of elderberry per dose of any available, and Natural Factor’s Echinamide echinacea extract for the best results.

Please stop by the health food store if you need any more information so we can help you further. Take care of yourselves!