Swine Flu and your Immune System

First it was the worry of a bird-flu pandemic, and now it seems that the world is gripped by swine-flu concerns that are blown way out of proportion to the current scale of the issue…unless of course it comes true and is unable to be effectively quarantined. I have a tiny baby son who often travels abroad to see his mother’s family and the thought of him on a plane with all those circulating international germs is overriding even my normal rational sensibilities. So with a swine flu pandemic at the forefront of the current news agenda I thought that now would be an apposite time to remind ourselves of what we should do to maintain a healthy and strong immunity to the many and varied bugs out there.

1) Sleep Properly
Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Countless studies have shown that a lack of sleep causes a myriad of negative hormonal problems not least of which is a seriously subdued immune system. Think about when you are most run down and susceptible to colds – it is almost always when you are not sleeping properly and / or burning the candle at both ends.

2) Adequate Hydration
The throat, or to be precise the tonsils, is the first line of defence for a healthy immune system. Ensure that you drink plenty of water as a dry throat does not do it’s job and properly prevent air borne pathogens from entering the body.

3) Use the Right Supplements
Vitamin C (2-5gms a day) is fairly obvious, but don’t forget to add a good fish oil, at eats 50mg of zinc and ideally a few daily scoops of whey protein for it’s high levels of glutathione and immunoglobulins – both crucial factors to the support of a healthy immune system and absolutely vital if we ever do face anything as horrendous as a swine flu pandemic. I am currently road testing a new Poliquin product called Immunotrophics – it seems to be doing a fantastic job at keeping my awful tonsil infections at bay. I’ll write much more about this later once I can say for certain whether it is making as much of a difference as it seems to be doing. You might also want to look at gut enhancing protocols for better immunity.

4) Eat Right for Your Immune System
This means NO junk and very limited sugar as wild blood sugar fluctuations raise cortisol levels (bad for our immune systems) and promote an acidic internal environment (doubly bad for our immune systems!). Eat lots of greens (my favourite way to ramp up my greens intake is via Poliquin Performance’s Primal Greens powder – it even tastes better than old hay which is more than I can say for other superfood concoctions I have tried in the past!), good fats, and protein. So have an egg (or three) for breakfast and start skipping the cornflakes. You’ll note that this is also a great way to eat for fat loss so you can get lean and bolster your immunity in one fell swoop.

5) Coconut Butter
And finally a little known trick I picked up from Charles Poliquin is to add a tablespoon of coconut butter to a mug of hot water and drink it 20 minutes before you eat. It will boost immunity, speed up your thyroid (another essential to a healthy immune system and doing our own tiny bit to keep healthy in the face of swine flu worries) and kill some of the pathogens that may be lurking in your food.

The world can be a seriously scary place. Right now good news is hard to come by – recession and swine flu seem to be the only topics that people have wanted to talk about today – but we can all do our own small things to stay ahead of the game, stay healthy and positive and look forward to being healthy, fit and active.

And just to add a bit of levity to this otherwise serious non personal trainer, swine flu / immune system focused blog, I have just reread my first paragraph and realise that it sounds as if my baby son travels by himself – the Mitchell spirit is independent, but he isn’t quite there yet! I know, I know, I need to up the DHA ratios in his fish oil and get him operating at super genius levels pretty damn quick!