“What are you doing to stay healthy and have your immune system at its best at such a time as this?”
(to skip my explanation, scroll down to see our favorite arsenal of products for immune support and cold/flu season)
This is an interesting question. Why? Because we are always cognizant of staying actively involved in our personal health to give us the best chances of staying at optimal health. Cancer awakens one to this. However, in light of the continual concerns of our family, friends and society with this unprecedented global hysteria we realized that it’s time to answer the question of how do we stay at our best or at the very least how do we give ourselves the best fighting chances to overcome and alleviate the symptoms of these viruses. (Side note: these tips can be useful for the common cold, the flu and respiratory issues – and even just overall health).
First and foremost, as many of you have followed our story Ryan went thru Stage 4 Cancer twice from 2015 to early 2018. This meant his immune system was compromised and he was considered high risk for infections and outbreaks of cold/flu/viruses. This meant we had to learn what would support his immune system. He has been tested for just about everything. He has done blood, saliva, stool, hair and kinesiology testing plus many more thru the years so we have seen with real reports what has boosted his micronutrients, his red and white blood cells, his organs, his gut bacteria and more.
One of the greatest compliments we were given by the oncologist was that Ryan didn’t just overcome, according to him Ryan was the healthiest person he had ever seen post treatments even though when he met Ryan he thought Ryan was dying. That doesn’t happen by accident. We have been around enough to know that most cancer patients that do chemotherapy and/or radiation and/or immunotherapy come out the other side with issues they have to deal with and their blood tests don’t tend to bounce back quickly. Ryan wasn’t on any prescriptions medications during caner nor has he been on any prescriptions since cancer (outside a couple antibiotics).
I say all this to say that if there is one thing I feel we have done right is we continually work with Ryan’s body to keep his immune system optimal.
But before I share what we do, here’s my disclosure: I am NOT a doctor or any type of health care professional. I am simply a person who studied hundreds of hours reading hundreds of articles, clinical trials, and reports on how to help my husband overcome and live a healthy life. Ryan and I always advocate working with a healthcare professional and taking personal responsibility for one’s health. Also, in this post there are some affiliate links that if you buy the product we get a small commission. Please see our detailed disclosures here: https://www.ryanluelf.com/disclosure
So here it goes. The much wanted, much asked for Luelf’s go-to’s for staying well and my “flu/cold/virus season” arsenal. By the way, these aren’t cures or ‘take this magical pill and you’ll be guaranteed immunity’. No, these are ways to provide your body better chances at staying well and healthy. Take at your discretion. There’s always more things you can do or different things you can do. Do your own research. Become your own health advocate.
Every Day Health:
1. While many supplements have been rotated, changed and replaced, this is our Number #1 item we have consistently taken for the last 3+ years:
Organic Greens: Why? Because as much as we try and do our best to eat and drink a well rounded balance of fruits & vegetables we just aren’t perfect. And, we found that this mix hits every major area of what many functional doctors call the bases for a healthy immune systems. Organic Greens is great tasting and expertly crafted with the perfect balance of organic gluten-free grass juices, vegetables, fruits, herbs and plants that are rich in Whole Food Vitamins & Minerals, Chlorophyll, Antioxidants, Enzymes, Fiber and Probiotics.
It provides the foundation for whole body support that is designed to help optimize overall health by promoting: Inflammation Control, Blood Sugar – Weight Management, Cardiovascular, Immune System Balance, Joint & Muscle, Brain – Mind – Mood, Digestion – Elimination, Sleep Restoration, Liver – Detox and Cellular Health
Ryan and I both put this in our smoothies and/or in water or orange juice when we don’t do smoothies. I have even scooped this into travel containers and used it while traveling when I know I’m just not eating as optimal as I’d like to. I’ve also been known to put smaller scoops into my kids smoothies, but shhhh don’t tell them! They don’t know! 😜
Pure Inflamax 365 has been in our arsenal since Ryan’s cancer journey. The benefits of turmeric, ginger and boswellia (frankincense) are bountiful, but the one most related to this blog post is that studies have shown inflammation to be the root cause of many underlying health related conditions. Pure InflaMax 365 is a proprietary combination of certified organic and wildcrafted ingredients from extracts of Turmeric, Boswellia and Ginger. Pure InflaMax 365 contains NuSorb™ a patent pending technology for enhancing bio-availability.
InflaMax 365™ uses NuSorb™ Technology: Is a certified organic proprietary delivery technology. Many botanicals are poorly absorbed by the body. Nutragen’s turmeric extract has been shown in a study to have a 5 fold greater bio-availability than turmeric extract alone. Each of the three ingredients in Nutragen’s Pure InflaMax 365™ utilize NuSorb™ technology.
My Winter ‘Medicine’ Cabinet:
Every fall I look at my cabinet then re-stock what I need. These are all in my “medicine” cabinet today to ensure that we are prepared for whatever comes our way. These items have worked wonders for all five of us and some of these items I have been using for 10+ years. Our entire family will take these supplements off and on depending on the time of year, season and when there is anyone in the household or extended family with the ickies:
1. Organic Zinc Lozenges
(Thank you Dr. James Robb, MD FCAP who was professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, and was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s) – for making this well-known! Here’s an excerpt from his letter that is rounding social media)
“Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx.”
2. Standardized Elderberry Immune Syrup. with Vitamin C, Zinc, Propolis & Echinacea.
TRIPLE ACTION IMMUNE BLEND*: Sambucus elderberry syrup is made from European black elder (Sambucus nigra L.) has been traditionally used as a winter remedy for immune support. When looking up this product Amazon let me know I have bought this product 17 times in the last 5 years! 😂
3. Alternative for Kids: Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Gummies with Vitamin C and Zinc.
Our youngest would eat these like candy if I’d let him! Heck, even Ryan will pop this into his mouth for a treat! 😁
Sometimes this mineral gets overrated, but what I can say is that we use this on a consistent basis for throat issues and infections. When I travel I spray this into my mouth multiple times a day. During the higher viral seasons I spray this into my mouth often. I’ll give this to Ryan and the kids as well when I feel it is needed. We bought a couple of small spray bottles and then refill it using the bigger bottle: Sovereign Silver Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol 16oz
5. Vitamin C:
Oh the king of so much! I am a personal believer that Vitamin C has a large array of benefits. So why not eat foods high in Vitamin C and if needed take Vitamin C Supplements? Some people (like Ryan and I) even get Vitamin C infusions with additional vitamins to boost their bodies. Here is one clinical trial that shows efficacy with treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pneumonia (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295174/)
Quoted statement from article: “For many years multiple investigators have conducted clinical treatment trials, searching for effective therapies to assist in the treatment for ARDS . . . the authors may have shed new light on a treatment which may ultimately be effective. The successful outcome described in this case report would suggest that larger trials must be conducted with high dosage intravenous vitamin C.“
In addition, There is currently a clinical trial by doctors in Wuhan, China, on Vitamin C: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533 . If Vitamin C wasn’t effective, why spend thousands, if not millions of dollars doing clinical trials on a virus that is causing world wide hysteria?
It is also beneficial to EAT foods high in Vitamin C. Below is a simple graphic of foods high in the great C! Eat yourself to a healthier life 🥝🍓🍊🥦🍅🥬
Arsenal When the Colds & Viruses Hit our Household:
There are several options depending on your symptoms. We have used different variations of these depending on the symptoms of our kids or us.
Just like the Umcka products, Boiron carries several options depending on your symptoms.
Homeopathic Medicine for Cough and Chest Congestion. We use this for the whole family when colds start causing cough and chest congestion. Kids like it and don’t fight = win! 👍
I’m going to be honest. This stuff taste nasty, BUT when anyone in our home has had a barking cough or non-productive cough this stuff works! Wild cherry is a plant. The bark is used to make medicine. Wild cherry is used for colds, whooping cough, bronchitis and other lung problems; diarrhea; gout; digestive disorders; pain; and cancer. It is also used in cough syrups because of its sedative, expectorant, drying, and cough-suppressing effects. (Reference: https://www.rxlist.com/wild_cherry/supplements.htm)
Other Wellness Habits to Integrate:
1. Vitamin D:
I have read for hours and hours on end the research on Vitamin D and I must say it’s exciting stuff (ok, not to most, but to me it is! There’s so much I could say about the big D! 😉) Vitamin D deficiencies are common to a high number of cancer patients but also has links to the flu and common cold. A Harvard University discusses the topic of Vitamin D and here’s an excerpt:
Vitamin D, the Flu, and the Common Cold: The flu virus wreaks the most havoc in the winter, abating in the summer months. This seasonality led a British doctor to hypothesize that a sunlight-related “seasonal stimulus” triggered influenza outbreaks. More than 20 years after this initial hypothesis, several scientists published a paper suggesting that vitamin D may be the seasonal stimulus. (Reference: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/)
Lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau from QMUL said: “This major collaborative research effort has yielded the first definitive evidence that vitamin D really does protect against respiratory infections. Our analysis of pooled raw data from each of the 10,933 trial participants allowed us to address the thorny question of why vitamin D ‘worked’ in some trials, but not in others.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170216110002.htm
During the winter season we supplement Vitamin D. Our favorite product is: Vitamin K2 + D3 with Organic Coconut Oil for Better Absorption. Ryan’s vitamin D levels went up when he was deficient years back by taking this supplement.
In the summer or any time in the year it’s warm enough and sunny outside we GO OUTSIDE and spend time soaking in some Vitamin D. With Ryan’s fair skin he is usually out 30 minutes without a shirt on then covers up so he doesn’t burn.
This was another of Ryan’s biggest deficiencies during cancer that had me researching until the wee hours of the night on many occasions. Without getting too technical, watch for two things: #1 choose Folate instead Folic Acid. Folic Acid is the synthetic form and an estimated 40% of the population is unable to process the synthetic forms due to the MTHFR gene mutations. (Ryan has both mutations and if a parent has it, it’s even more likely that their offsprings has the same mutations.) #2 The same goes for B12: Cyanocobalamin is the most commonly supplemented form of vitamin B12 and is chemically synthesized. Methylcobalamin is found in specific foods and is naturally occuring. While we are at it – get the methyl forms of all B-vitamins. Want to learn more? Hit up Google 🙂 (maybe I’ll write an article of this in the future). Because of all the supplements we have rotated in and out of our home there are crossovers in B12 and Folate, we don’t usually need specific supplement of this one. If we are looking for specific B12 and Folate only supplements, this is the one I tend to buy: Garden of Life B Complex with Folate – mykind Organic
We live in a society were rest is almost made fun of, but we are human beings that need rest. We can have short moments of less rest, but our bodies need rest to repair, recover and heal. Our bodies go thru healing processes while we sleep and if we chronically do not sleep enough then our bodies aren’t able to do their full jobs to stay strong and healthy. In this time of stress it is even more important to get a good nights sleep.
Olson, M.D.: Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.(reference: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757)
Yes, our mental and emotional health impacts our immune system. Stress, anxiety, fear and panic are all emotions that contribute to our inability to fight off infections both viral and bacterial. Some simple ways to reduce these stresses is by taking a moment to do breathing exercises and/or meditation. These two simple activities can greatly reduce our body’s reaction to stress. Ryan and I are such firm believers that stress was one of the contributors to his cancer that we now lead a meditation and group coaching to help others understand how to better handle their own stresses, fear, anxieties and more. To learn more about our meditation and group coaching click here.
The main types of immune cells are white blood cells. … When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system (e.g. lowers the number of lymphocytes).https://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html
I probably should have covered this first in the article but I know that many are anxious to get the ‘easy stuff.’ I am a firm believer that what we eat matters. It’s no surprise that eating candy, swinging by the drive thru and grabbing fast food is not good for our immune system. So do the stuff that is simple. Add fruits and veggies to your diet. Eat more salads with veggies and reduce the cheese, bacon bits and fried chicken strips! I totally understand in our fast pace world eating health “seems hard” but it’s really not. There are options for on the go such as smoothies, juices and immune boosting shots at many groceries stores and juicing bars. If its hard for you to eat veggies consider buying the Organic Greens Drink, The drink is not meant to substitute healthy eating, but it would definitely be a great start and your body will absorb those incredible nutrients like an adult chugging down water after eating a spicy pepper. Try the powder with orange juice if water only makes you nervous. Give veggies a go, you might be surprised at all the benefits. 🥕🌶🥒🥬🥦🥑🍆🍅
6. Essential Oils:
There’s a reason why this one is last. It is NOT because it’s not important, but because I have soooo many friends that are in certain MLMs that want me to side with their MLM. I LOVE Essential Oils. I diffuse them, apply them topically and certain ones we even digest at times of need. Essential Oils are absolutely a great addition to someone’s medicine cabinet arsenal. I personally have oils from all 3 main companies: doTERRA, Young Living and the newest one Revive EO. I gotta say, Revive is definitely the most economical, but all three companies have products that the other does not have so it’s a toss (to ME) to name a favorite anymore. When it comes to colds and viruses a few of my favorites would be Thieves (aka Immunity Boost for Revive and onGuard for doTERRA). Purify by Revive is another great one for cleansing the air (aka Purification for YL and Purify for doTERRA). Lastly, Frankincense, Tea Tree/Melaleuca, Eucalyptus and oh my I could go on, This is another post for another day! ☺️
Liked what you read? Stay tuned to the next Post featuring healthy smoothies for on the go families who wish to feed their kids (and themselves) quick and easy foods with powerhouse nutrients.
Live Loved, Life Free . . . Because YOLO!