(By Dr. Mercola) It's important to understand that the primary underlying reason for why you keep catching colds is an impaired immune system. Americans catch more than one billion colds a year, making it the most common infectious disease in the US. It's also the number one reason for doctor's office visits, despite the fact that conventional medicine has little to offer in the form of treatment.
One of the reasons for this is because colds are caused by viruses (and there are more than 300 cold-causing viruses), not bacteria. So taking an antibiotic for your cold will NOT do you any good whatsoever. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, such as sinus, ear and lung infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia.
Generally speaking, you do not need to seek medical care for a simple cold. However, if you have symptoms indicative of a bacterial infection you may want to consider visiting your doctor. For signs and symptoms to look out for, please see this article.
Just being exposed to a cold virus does not mean you will automatically catch a cold. If your immune system is operating at its peak, it should actually be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without ever getting sick.
If your immune system is impaired however, viruses can easily overwhelm your natural defenses and take hold.
A robust immune system is dependent on a number of lifestyle and environmental factors, but the most common factors are:
- Optimized vitamin D levels -- Research has confirmed that "catching" colds and flu may actually be a symptom of an underlying vitamin D deficiency. Less than optimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
In the largest and most nationally representative study of its kind to date, people with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu -- and the risk was even greater for those with chronic respiratory disorders like asthma.
I strongly believe you could avoid colds and influenza entirely by maintaining your vitamin D level in the optimal range. Vitamin D is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill both bacteria and viruses.
- Avoiding sugar and grains -- If you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu, this is NOT the time to eat sugar, grains, artificial sweeteners or processed foods. Sugar is particularly damaging to your immune system -- which needs to be ramped up, not suppressed, in order to combat an emerging infection.
- Getting proper rest -- If you aren't getting enough sleep, or enough restorative sleep, you'll be at increased risk for a hostile viral takeover. Your immune system is also the most effective when you're not sleep-deprived, so the more rested you are the quicker you'll recover. You can find 33 secrets for a good night's sleep here.
- Effectively addressing emotional stressors -- Emotional stressors can predispose you to an infection and make cold symptoms worse.
Finding ways to manage daily stress as well as your reactions to circumstances beyond your control will contribute to a strong and resilient immune system. My favorite tool for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a system that helps balance your body's subtle energies and repair emotional "short-circuits." EFT may even help you overcome cold symptoms.
- Regular exercise – Regular exercise is a crucial strategy for increasing your resistance to illness. There is evidence that regular, moderate exercise can reduce your risk for respiratory illness by boosting your immune system.
In fact, one study found that people who exercised regularly (five or more days a week) cut their risk of having a cold by close to 50 percent. Exercise likely cuts your risk of colds so significantly because it triggers a rise in immune system cells that can attack any potential invaders.
Ideally, establish a regular fitness program, such as Peak Fitness, now, to help you ward off colds and other illness.
However, if you're already feeling sick don't overdo it. Over-exercising can actually place more stress on your body, which can suppress your immune system -- and you don't want that either. You might just go for a walk if you are coming down with a cold, or simply tone down your regular workout. Any rise in body temperature will be an unwelcome climate for a viral invader, though, so some exercise during a bout of cold is likely to be beneficial.
If you address these five primary factors that can make or break your immune system, you'll be well on your way to never having to suffer another cold again.
However, should you come down with one, then what?
Safe and Natural Cold Remedies
(By Dr. Mercola) The list created by WPHL contains several of my recommended home remedies. Here are several more suggestions that they missed, including vitamins and other supplements that can help treat your cold symptoms.
- Hydrogen peroxide: I don't advise over-the-counter medications, but one simple treatment you can try that is surprisingly effective against upper respiratory infections is hydrogen peroxide.
Many patients at my Natural Health Center have had remarkable results in curing colds and flu within 12 to 14 hours when administering a few drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into each ear. You will hear some bubbling, which is completely normal, and possibly feel a slight stinging sensation.
Wait until the bubbling and stinging subside (usually 5 to 10 minutes), then drain onto a tissue and repeat with the other ear. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide in 3 percent solution is available at any drug store for a couple of dollars or less. It is simply amazing how many people respond to this simple, inexpensive treatment.
- Herbs and spices with high ORAC scores, such as turmeric, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves (for more on ORAC, visit www.oracvalues.com). You can simply add these liberally to your food.
- Vitamin C: A very potent antioxidant; use a natural form such as acerola, which contains associated micronutrients. You can take several grams every hour till you are better unless you start developing loose stools
- Oregano Oil: The higher the carvacrol concentration, the more effective it is. Carvacrol is the most active antimicrobial agent in oregano oil.
- Propolis: A bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world; propolis is also the richest source of caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important compounds that aid in immune response and even fight cancer.
- Elder flower extract: Rich in vitamin C and a wide range of valuable flavinoids, including anthocyanins and quercetin, elder flower has been traditionally used as a tonic to boost immunity. It is also widely known to promote lung and bronchial tract health.
- Elderberry: In one study, published in the Journal of International Medical Research, elderberry syrup reduced the severity of flu symptoms and shortened their duration by about four days. Elderberry extract is also known for inducing sweating, and helps relieve congestion.
- A tea made from a combination of elder flower, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint and ginger; drink it hot and often for combating a cold or flu. It causes you to sweat, which is helpful for eradicating a virus from your system.
- Olive leaf extract: Ancient Egyptians and Mediterranean cultures used it for a variety of health-promoting uses and it is widely known as a natural, non-toxic immune system builder.
Also make sure to drink plenty of fresh, pure water. Water is essential for the optimal function of every system in your body and will help loosen secretions. Drink enough water to turn your urine a light, pale yellow.
25 common ailments with inexpensive remedies
One should never avoid preventive health care and it makes no difference if you are poor or rich.
Unfortunately truly poor people seldom feel that they have the means to take good, preventive care of issues related to their cars, their homes, and even their bodies. Then, when the results of inattention show up, it's often already a problem that's too expensive to fix- requiring more money and effort than all the maintenance put together would have ever required. Lacking the preventive maintenance is the reason why the American health care is by far the most expensive in the world. And it still fails, as the life expectancy of the Americans is not even close to the top of the civilized world.
When it comes to your health, nobody should ever take that attitude. If your car falls apart, it's possible to get a replacement. But when your body goes, there's no second chance.
Below is a reference to an interesting paper written by alternative medicine practicing Dr. Williams (1) referring to quite a few therapies as "the poor man's" chelation/therapy, antidepressant, etc. It is obvious that one certainly don't need to be poor to take advantage of them all. There is a saying in Texas, why spend a dollar when a dime will do?
So here are Dr. Williams' 25 "poor mans" solutions in honor of his 25th Anniversary of "Alternatives Newsletter", most are free and even the most expensive one will fit to the budget even the financially disadvantage ones:
Hydrogen Peroxide - The WMD of the Nature
White blood cells are our most efficient defense system against invaders from outside. They operate the most efficient process in our body simply by producing Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) and releasing that chemical in areas that they recognize to be out of normality.
Hydrogen peroxide one of the natures strongest oxidizers and in high concentartions in will simply break down any organic material be it alive or dead. Hydrogen Peroxide is a "Weapon of Mass Destruction" of the organic world. It has a cousin, Ozone, that can be called the WMD of the all chemical world as it oxidizes almost anything that it encouners.
If organic material is thrown into highly concentrated Hydrogen Peroxide solution we will have an instant explosive fire until all organic mateial is consumed and broken down to Carbon Dioxide and water. Note that Hydrogen Peroxide was the first rocket fuel and is still used in some related applications. It has however been replaced by less dangerous and more stabile fuels.
The same time Hydrogen Peroxide is the most neglected chemical in the modern medicine. It is the key for our survival and well being and it can cure most of the diseases you ever encounter. The problem is that you can not drink it at all but you can apply it on low concentrations (3% or below) on your skin on temporary basis only.
Hydrogen peroxide must be present for our immune system to function properly. The cells in the body that fight infection (the class of white blood cells known as granulocytes) produce hydrogen peroxide as a first line of defense against harmful parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Hydrogen peroxide is also needed for the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It is a by-product of cell metabolism (that is actively broken down by peroxidase), a hormonal regulator, and a necessary part of the body's production of estrogen, progesterone, and thyroxin. If that weren't enough, hydrogen peroxide is involved in the regulation of blood sugar and the production of energy in body cells. It has also been used effectively in treatment of cancers.
When we notice a change in our body it is telling us that we are missing some specific minerals, vitamins or nutriens...
Here are some common problems we all have from time to time and now you can actually do something to fix them, unfortuantely we do not know a single author behind this table and believe it is more a summary what we have learned during the past fifty years:
If you have ...
Then you need more ...
"Chicken" skin on upper arms Essential fatty acids Bleeding gums Vitamin C Carpal tunnel syndrome Vitamin B6 Cold hands Magnesium Dermatitis around nose Vitamin B6 Dry eyes Vitamin A Frequent colds Zinc and Vitamin C Hair loss Biotin, Zinc, and Essential fatty acids High blood pressure Magnesium and Coenzyme QIO Muscle cramps Magnesium Night blindness Zinc and Vitamin A Premature gray hair Vitamin B12 Red scaly skin on face Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) Reduced smell and taste Zinc Shaking hands Magnesium and Vitamin Bl Soft or brittle nails Magnesium Sugar cravings Chromium Thyroid swelling Iodine White spots on nails Zinc
Vitamin B12 is known as the “energy vitamin,” and it is essential for many critical functions in your body, including energy production, supporting your immune system, and helping to regulate the formation of red blood cells.* Recent studies from the US Framingham trial show that one in four adults in the US are deficient in this vitally important nutrient and nearly half of the population has suboptimal blood levels.
Vitamin B12 is present only in animal sources of food--which is one of the reasons I advise against being a strict vegetarian or a vegan. This deficiency can result in less than optimal nervous system function, a tendency toward nervousness, and even less-than-optimal eye health.*
Vitamin B12 helps folic acid regulate the formation of red blood cells, and helps your body use iron.
In addition, it is also needed for proper digestion, food absorption, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It also helps keep your nervous system healthy by assisting the nerves of your body to function and communicate in an optimal manner.
B12 also helps in cell formation and cellular longevity. Plus, it can support female reproductive health, and promote normal nerve growth and development by maintaining the fatty sheaths. These fatty sheaths play a vital role as they cover and protect your nerve endings.
It is is critical to your circulation and adrenal hormone production -- plus, it helps boost your immunity.
Vitamin B12 supports a healthy mood and feelings of well-being.* And then there's this -- it also provides excellent support for your memory, mental clarity, and concentration.*
Aside from using B12 to give you an energy boost, when does it also make sense to supplement with this all-important vitamin? Well, there are several good reasons to take vitamin B12
Many people avoid red meats for a large variety of reasons. If you are one of them, you are at a high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency. Why? Because plant sources have virtually no vitamin B12. And oral forms of B12 in nearly all supplements are practically useless, as little is absorbed into your bloodstream.
Vegetarians should take this essential micronutrient to ensure an adequate supply of it, because it is found almost exclusively in animal tissues. And, the few plant foods that are sources of B12 are actually B12 analogs -- not the form that provides all the benefits of the real deal.
Simply put, an analog is a substance that blocks the uptake of true B12. The result being, your body's need for the nutrient actually increases.
Furthermore, your body's need for this nutrient may also increase if you take Metformin©. Metformin may interfere with calcium metabolism. And this interference may reduce B12 absorption, because this absorption requires calcium.
Studies suggest that 10% to 30% of patients taking Metformin show evidence of reduced vitamin B12 absorption. That's why it is important to speak with your doctor to discuss the best way to maintain B12 levels when taking this medication.
If you suffer from sleeping difficulties, I recommend taking vitamin B12 during the day. B12 plays a vital role in melatonin production.* Melatonin has been called "the sleep hormone" because it is responsible for letting you get a good night's sleep.
As you age, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get a good night's sleep because your body becomes less efficient at making this hormone. And that's why it's a good idea to take B12 to help you sleep like a baby each night.*
Moreover, a lack of adequate B12 can have other annoying consequences too.
Reflexelogy - What is it?
Around the world and throughout history, reflexology has been rediscovered time and time again. Archeological evidence points to ancient reflexology medical practices in Egypt (2330 BCE), China (2704 BCE) and Japan (690 CE).
In the West, the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century with European and Russian research into the nervous system and reflex- think Pavlov. Reflex therapies were created as medical practices but were soon eclipsed by use of surgery and drugs. The ideas of reflex use for health improvement were carried on sporadically and brought to American in 1909 by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an eye-ear and nose specialist from Connecticut. Physiotherapist Eunice Ingham is credited with developing a system of reflex areas by 1938.
In the East, ancient Chinese techniques were re-discovered in the 1980's and have spread throughout Asia creating today's reflexology-rich environment with reflexology paths in parks and a thriving reflexology industry of practitioners, businesses and research. A Short History of Reflexology Reflexology In Egypt, History Rewritten The Reflexology Path kit
Research has shown the specific techniques of reflexology to be effective and beneficial in many ways. A survey of 170 reflexology studies from 21 countries shows that reflexology is effective, impacting a variety of physical and psychological concerns. Reflexology:
In general terms, the benefits of reflexology have to do with the reduction of stress. Because the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body, they are an easy way to interrupt the stress signal and reset homeostasis, the body's equilibrium.
Reflexology is a complement to standard medical care. It should not be construed as medical advice. It should not be a replacement to medical help. Please use it wisely. We care about your safety.
A reflexology chart mirrors a reflection of the body on the feet and hands, left foot or hand representing the body's left half and right foot or hand its right half. In reflexology practice, technique is applied to the relevant reflex area(s) to prompt a change in the related part of the body. Research has demonstrated such effects for several reflex areas and their reflected parts of the body, i. e. the kidney reflex areas and the kidneys; the intestine reflex areas and the intestines and the brain reflex area and the brain.