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Tricks to boost your immune system during flu season

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Oct 30th, 2017

Old Wives’ Tales or Solid Science?  

Your mother probably nagged you as a child than you care to remember: “dress warmly, you don’t want to catch a cold!” and the all too often “if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll get sick!”.  These may sound like old wives’ tales, but it turns out they are now supported by science!  The common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature found inside your nose than at core body temperature. (2)  Sleep is imperative to a healthy immune system, and it’s not just about the hours you clock on the pillow; it’s essential to have uninterrupted, quality sleep.  Research demonstrates that immune cells known as T-cells get depressed and inflammatory hormones go up if we are sleep deprived. This combination leads to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.


A Health Hack for a Hacking Cough

If you’re looking for a home health hack for a nagging cough that works, try this DIY recipe. All you’ll need are some onions, honey, and ginger!


3 onions thinly sliced

1/2 cup honey (preferably Manuka)

2 thumb sized pieces of ginger root



Place sliced onion on a plate. Grate ginger over-top of the onion. Drizzle 1/2 cup honey evenly over the onion and ginger. Place in fridge for 4 hours – enough to allow the honey to extract the active ingredients from the onion and ginger. Pour the syrup into a glass jar with a tight lid in a dark cabinet, or refrigerator, for up to a few weeks.


Adult dose: 1 tablespoon every 4 hours for anyone over the age of 10.


Child dose:  1 teaspoon every 4 hours. Honey is not recommended for children under 1 year old.
Do this before getting shot in the arm… 

You’ve heard it from your doctor, your mother, and anyone who’s had the flu: get the flu shot!  But if you do, make sure to opt for the mercury free form and make certain that you aren’t experiencing an illness at the time.  Recent research thing is that you can enhance the flu shot by pairing it with certain natural remedies.  5.4 million Canadians are taking over the counter alternative remedies to treat cold and flu but are unsure where the evidence lies.


Along with the flu shot or on their own, there is excellent research in natural over the counter health products where some are proven to enhance your natural killer cells (whose job it is to fight viruses and bacteria) and seem to work to ‘alert’ the immune system into better uptake of the flu vaccine.


Good bugs for bad bugs!?

I normally explain to my patients that the hallmark of a true flu is a high fever for several days, major body aches, extreme fatigue, and weakness. It will put even the healthiest of us horizontal for up to a week and can often complicate with a superimposed bacterial infection. The latter is the reason a doctor may choose to prescribe antibiotics even as ‘prophylaxis’ when they think what you have is viral. If you do take antibiotics this season, it is very important to follow up after you have completed the prescription with a few weeks of supplemental probiotics.  But besides this scenario, probiotics are known to boost your immune system by improving your gift health – where 80% of your immune system lives!  Take them daily this season. My recommendation is look for the DDS-1 and HN019 strains and a product that contains 50 billion colony forming units (CFU’s) which also has shelf stability to the end of expiration.


Do D

Living north of 40° latitude – where we all hunker down for a long winter without sun – we get quickly vitamin D deficient.  Check this with your family doctor by asking for a blood test for 25OHD.  You want the result to be between 100-200 ng/ml but most show up far too low leaving them immune compromised. The average person needs about 3,000 IU vit-D daily which should be taken with supplemental a fish oil or fatty meal for best absorption.


Exercise Weakens Immunity!

Exercise and healthy eating are great for your health and general well-being, but did you know that performing vigorous exercise means your immune system takes a dive 30 minutes post-workout!?  To prevent contracting a cold or flu virus during this window while your immune system is temporarily compromised, make sure to wash your hands following your workout – especially if you’re at a public gym (its a cesspool in there!).  I prefer classic soap and water, but if you can’t find soap, hand sanitizer is a good option. And, by the way, wash your hands wherever you are – not just at the gym. Oh ya, and sneeze in your sleeve please! Lastly, to all you pickers – you “nose” who you are – stop it! That is the single best way to introduce a virus or bacteria into your system not to mention spread them around.



  • Valsalva Maneuver
  • Magnesium Bisglycinate 200mg twice daily + B6 100mg once daily
  • Adrenal support (for example: Rhodiola)