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Building up a natural defences to fight against colds & flu
Posted on: 18/01/2013 @ 3:13pm
With cold weather knocking on the door, minus temperatures, and snow on it's way many are concerned about falling victim to colds and flu. How about the Flu Vaccine?!... The most effective way to prevent the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—remains a controversial subject. First, most flu vaccines still contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative. Second, because of the unpredictability of upcoming flu strains, the available vaccine often doesn’t match the strain of flu that hits the population.
But even if the vaccine corresponds with the circulating flu strain, it is not that effective. A recent study found that the overall effectiveness of vaccines against flu-like illness in the elderly was 23 percent when vaccine matching was good, and “not significantly different from no vaccination when matching was poor or unknown.” Well-matched vaccine, however, may effectively prevent pneumonia and decrease hospitalization rates due to pneumonia or flu, according to the study.
Some believe that the best protection from flu is flu itself. Recent research shows that the theory may actually have validity. In the past 20 years, deaths from flu in the elderly—the group most vulnerable to flu consequences—have decreased. At the same time, flu vaccination has increased by 45 to 50%. Researchers concluded, however, that flu vaccine didn’t help decrease deaths from flu—people simply acquired natural immunity to the emerging strain of flu, which resulted in fewer flu-related deaths.
With flu vaccine effectiveness unclear, many are looking into natural ammunition against winter viruses.....
Let's take a look at garlic! ... Garlic is often referred to as a 'super food'! Did you know that garlic has been used 5,000 years and has been made known for it's antibiotic properties & effect on allergies, cancer and general immunity?! Now we know why it is called a 'super food'! It is not merely an ingredient to a dish. The Egyptian and Roman labourers used garlic in their diet to enhance their physical endurance and in the 20th Century, garlic was used to fight against the global influenza pandemic (i.e Flu) of the time. Today, more than 5,000 scientific publications from all over the world have gradually confirmed the traditionally recognised health benefits of garlic, which include acting as an anti-biotic as well as other health advantages like it's anti-cholesterol benefits. One of the major breakthrough's in the research of garlic study was the discovery of allicin (al-e-sin) in 1944 by an Italian Chemist, C.J Cavallito. Allicin is the principle biological active compound of garlic and scientific evidence suggests that allicin is responsible for the many health benefits associated with garlic. Did you know that allicin is effective against fatal infections such as Tuberculosis and MRSA?
Research shows that garlic improves cardiovascular health and inhibits carcinogenic activity. In addition, a recent study that a group of people with an allicin-containing garlic supplement for a period of 12 weeks between November and February had significantly fewer colds than those that took a placebo (24 versus 65) and recovered faster if infected.
In the group treated with the garlic supplement, 24 people came down with the common cold, which lasted for 1.52 days, compared with 65 people in the no-treatment group who had colds that lasted on average 5 days.
Now let's see what vitamin C can do! The role of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections has been widely researched. The verdict, however, is not in yet. Some studies suggest that vitamin C can affect the duration or severity of symptoms. Others have shown no effect on the symptoms, but suggested that vitamin C can reduce susceptibility to colds.
A recent study compared 29 clinical trials in which participants received 200mg or more of vitamin C daily. The researchers found that vitamin C prevented flu or colds in people who were exposed to "brief periods of severe physical exercise and/or cold environments". In those who regularly take vitamin C, they concluded that Vitamin C plays some role in their defence mechanisms, helping them to recover from their colds faster and reducing the severity of their symptoms.
Lastly, we'll take a look at stress reduction... Because research on natural remedies' in fighting respiratory infections shows conflicting results, scientists turn to another powerful factor that influences health... this is stress. Here's what research shows;
• Chronic stress , such as unemployment or interpersonal difficulties with family or friends that last a month or longer, may substantially increase the risk of catching a cold.
• Children with a history of recurrent colds and flu have higher rates of exposure to stressful experiences, stress-prone personality traits, and signs of emotional disturbance than healthy children.
• Stress management reduces the duration of colds and flu.
Many chiropractors have also noticed that chiropractic adjustments have helped prevent or reduce the duration of their patients' colds. Preliminary results of an ongoing chiropractic study show that chiropractic may increase immunoglobulin A levels and that it decreases the levels of glucocorticoid cortisol, a major component of stress. Chiropractic may affect the common cold through stress reduction; however more research is needed to confirm this.