To get a flu shot—or not?

To get a flu shot—or not?

Rather sheepishly, I signed up for my first flu shot ever today. I recently read a doctor’s blog that made the argument that, along with other proven preventative measures—like the two biggies: wash hands frequently and avoid contact with sick people—the flu shot represents an opportunity to “test” (thereby boost) the immune system.

It made some sense to me—and I was feeling slightly vulnerable because my school-age kids and I have been feeling slightly crummy for the past week or so. Plus, flu shot administrators are coming to our offices and they're free.

I don’t work or spend much time around babies or older people or anyone else with a delicate immune system, so as an advocate for healthy eating and trusted dietary supplements—naturopathic above allopathic, if I can help it—it feels like a betrayal. Or maybe it’s an experiment, as Steve Taormina, a longtime education resource in New Hope Natural Media’s Standards department, termed his first-time decision to get a shot today.

At our all-company meeting today, Functional Ingredients Editor-in-Chief Todd Runestad jokingly urged our colleagues not to get the shot.

1. Vitamin D
Take 2,000 IU in drop form daily, he recommends. If you feel like you’re getting sick, up it to 20,000 or 25,000 IU for a few days, taken with omega-3s, maybe vitamin E, and other fat-soluble nutrients that help with absorption. “Vitamin D is about cellular wellness; it makes your cells function better,” he said.

2. Wellmune WGP
Runestad is also fan of this patented beta-glucan yeast ingredient that primes the neutrophils, the first line of cellular defense. It passes through the body in 24 hours, he says, so there are no toxicity issues, which is why regulatory bodies the world over from EU to China approve it.

3. Embria’s EpiCor
This clinical study-backed ingredient helps activate Natural Killer cells and is said to help balance (not boost) immune response. The company supplies the city of Ankeny, Iowa, with discounted EpiCor for city employees, who have seen a drop in illness since starting to take the supplement.

4. A quality multivitamin
Source Naturals and Rainbow Light are two examples.

5. Adequate sleep
In my experience, a good night’s sleep can head off a potential cold before it sets in.

6. Let food be thy medicine, or eat kale.
This advice from Jody Mason, one of our superhealthy resident vegans, and Michelle Kelly Zerbib, another of our Standards Department brains.

7. Herbs, homeopathy and more
Delicious Living editor-in-chief Radha Marcum says, “I got a flu shot earlier this season but don't always. My go-tos are Wish Garden Kick-Ass Immune formula and Yin Chiao Chinese herb formula if I am traveling or know I have been exposed. Also Occillo if I feel something coming on. Multivitamin, Vitamin D, and fish oil as usual. And rest. Rest is huge!”

8. Get empowered by taking responsibility for your own health.
Zerbib says this attitude has been key to her overall health and that she has even avoided getting sick by opening lines of communication with someone or something difficult that’s going on in her life. I’m going to have to try that one!

9. My famous fresh lemon-ginger-honey tea 
I swear by this; feeling its spicy-warm burn as it goes down my throat makes me feel invincible. And I also keep Kick-Ass on hand—it’s just fun to say!—and dose everyone in my family several times a day. American Health Effervescent Ester-C is fun to take, and I also up my vitamin D.

Do you plan to get a flu shot? What are your go-to fixes when you start to feel under germ-attack? Please share in comments below.

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