A Theory About Flu Season
We’re well immersed in winter now, so that means we are in the thick of “flu season” here in North America. Pharmacies and doctor offices are pushing patients and customers to make sure they get a flu shot so as to be protected, and they have been encouraging this for a couple months. The flu season runs from fall through winter and begins to dissipate at the beginning of spring. Every year. And I have a theory as to why that is the case. It goes like this:
Yes. The holidays. They are a big part of it.
What do all of these things have in common? Treats, candy, holiday sweets, and lots and lots and lots of sugar. Cookie exchanges, pumpkin pies, chocolate covered cherries, oh my! The holidays all involve a great deal of sugar consumption in some form.
The problem is, our bodies don’t take a break from their regularly scheduled operations for the holidays just because we want sweets. Sugar, as we know, wreaks havoc on the immune system. (Sugar is even known now to cause cancer. Not just feed it - it causes it.) For four to six hours after you consume sugar, your immune system is operating at only 25%. Sugar takes a serious toll on our bodies in every system. A compromised immune system is much more prone to viruses and infections than one that is adequately supported and functioning properly.
In addition, it is no coincidence that in North America our flu season is during the fall and winter because we have now discovered that the best defense against the flu is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin. This makes perfect sense because during the winter, our vitamin D stores are quite low since we are not exposing our skin to the sun.
According to the World Health Organization, at the equator, there are no reported seasonal peaks in flu activity. In areas just north and south of the equator, the flu incidence rises a bit during the rainy season, again suggesting that vitamin D plays a key role. In areas that have access to warm sunshine year round, there is no reported flu season. Populations in this area have regular access to vitamin D, so their immune systems have the proper support.
Between the body’s prodigious sugar consumption and lack of adequate vitamin D, it’s no wonder that we are extra susceptible to disease and viruses in the wintertime. While the flu shot is rife with risks, dangerous chemicals, and effectiveness inconsistencies, many people opt every year not to get vaccinated against the flu. And that’s ok - because the best defense against the flu is not the shot.
So, here’s this chiropractor’s the best advice for avoiding the flu.
- Get adjusted. Without access to the sun, your body needs all the immune support it can get. A single chiropractic adjustment increases the immune response by 200%. Weekly adjustments can do a world of good for your preventative health.
- Cut back on the sugar. I know the holidays are full of sweets. But that doesn’t mean your house needs to be full of them for months and months. An occasional treat is acceptable, provided you are eating well in between those times.
- Supplement your vitamin D. Now, it’s important to note that vitamin D supplementation is not near as effective as the real deal. But it can go a long way towards keeping your immune system supported during these frigid winter months when the only part of your body that sees sunlight is the tip of your nose.
Stay healthy, stay warm, and enjoy the holidays!