Flu Shot: Yay Or Nay?

Internist & Functional Medicine Clinician By Susan Blum, M.D., MPH
Internist & Functional Medicine Clinician
Susan Blum, M.D., MPH is a nationally recognized clinician, speaker, author, and teacher. She currently lives in Port Chester, New York, and received her master's in medicine from the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn and her master's in public health preventative medicine from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Clearly, the flu is reaching epidemic proportions, especially in the Northeast. Should you get a flu shot? My stance is simple: I recommend a flu shot for high-risk patients with chronic illnesses or any heart or lung problems, and for those over 65. I do not recommend it for her healthy adult patients.

What I do recommend is building up the immune system, which is the foundation to staying healthy. Keep in mind that there are other viruses making people sick, not just the flu virus. Since you can't take a shot to protect yourself from all of these possible viruses, the best strategy is to strengthen your immune system to fight all of them.

This is not just crucial during flu season, but should be a strategy year-round because a strong immune system is the foundation for staying healthy.

Here's how to build the foundation of a strong immune system: 

1. Get lots of beneficial bacteria.

Take a probiotic every day with at least 20 billion cfu of mixed strains lactobacillus and bifidus species. If you're taking antacids or proton pump inhibitors, stop, because this alters your gut flora in a negative way.

2. Balance your stress hormones.

Get a good night's sleep and don't over work yourself during flu season. Stress harms your ability to fight viruses.

3. Eat foods that are good for your immune system.

This means avoiding processed foods and focusing on fruits and veggies that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

And here's how to boost your immune system: 

1. Here are the important vitamins to consider taking:

  • Vitamin D 2000 iu/day
  • Vitamin A retinyl palmitate 5000 iu/day
  • Zinc 30 mg/day
  • Vitamin C 3-4000 mg/day
  • Probiotics

2. Consider taking additional supplements: 

  • Whey Protein Powder is high in immunoglobulins that boost your immune system
  • Herbs like Elderberry, Echinacea and Astragalus
  • Beta Glucan supplements (mushroom extracts)

3. Wash your hands! 

Make sure to wash your hands multiple times each day, especially before you eat and after exposure to public transportation, like riding the subway.

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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