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 parked outside your building. You’re sucking on zinc lozenges like they're candy… You’re taking the recommended Vitamin D dose (600iu) and starting to wonder 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. Forget the orange juice, you need a therapeutic dose of Vitamin C. 

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

2. 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. Get echinacea root – 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. Get some 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 – don’t take antibiotics. 

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.

Dana James

Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN is a Columbia University-educated nutritional therapist and founder of Food Coach NYC. She holds her Masters in Clinical Nutrition and is trained in nutrition biochemistry, functional medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy. She believes that food should be viewed as nourishing, joyful and fundamental to self-care. Her goal is to help women break their antagonist (and often obsessive) relationship with food and their body. She believes that true beauty stems from grace, dignity and embracing our idiosyncrasies that make us unique and imperfect. Dana created "How to Ditch Sugar" video series for mindbodygreen. Check out the program here: How to Ditch Sugar. Dana coaches one-to-one, runs workshops in NYC and LA, and holds teleseminars on various topics that help women lead a more beautiful and balanced life. To connect more with Dana, check out her Instagram account and sign up for her bi-weekly Sunday evening emails.
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