Sunday, March 14, 2010

Natural Disease Prevention

We’ve heard a lot about colds and influenza and the controversy surrounding the vaccination programs. There are some important steps that can be taken to naturally protect yourself from these diseases.

One of the most important steps is to make sure that you have adequate vitamin D levels. It is no secret that cases of colds and flu are found in greater numbers during the fall and winter seasons. During these seasons there is less sunlight and correspondingly lower vitamin D levels. Studies suggest that the optimal level in the blood should be 50 – 65 ng/ml (Holick MF. Calcium and Vitamin D. Diagnostics and Therapeutics. Clin Lab Med. 2000 Sep;20(3):569-90 as quoted in and even higher levels are recommended in the case of severe illness. Many Americans have levels below 20 ng/ml in late winter season. In previous years this vitamin was only mentioned in conjunction with calcium levels for bone density. But current research shows its importance in preventing and treating a vast array of conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Exposure to sunlight aids in natural vitamin D production but there are concerns with excess sun exposure and skin cancer so supplementation may be used. However, it is important to have blood levels checked prior to beginning a supplementation program because vitamin D can build up to toxic levels in the body. The proper test checks the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is the active form. There are many great articles online discussing vitamin D.

Make sure you take care of you body by keeping your spine in alignment – the proper function of the nervous system and body alignment keeps the immune system tuned for peak performance. Make sure to get enough rest and proper nutrition. Maintain adequate hydration – moist mucus membranes are one of our first lines of defense against bacteria and viruses. Use a vaporizer if your home air is dry due to use of the heating system.

Basic hygienic measures can be effective in prevention as well. Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose or mouth. These are portals of entry for bacteria and viruses and your hands may carry many of these pathogens. Wash hands frequently – use soap and warm water. Remember to soap well between fingers and around nails. Keep hands adequately moisturized after handwashing –dry cracked skin allows pathogens to enter. Do not lick fingers when counting money or shuffling papers. If you’ve been ill be sure to clean your phone and toothbrush to prevent reintroducing infection. Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing to prevent spread of infection.

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