Boost your Immune System
Preventing illness during the cold
and flu season
Dr. Jese Anne Wiens B.Sc., N.D.
Okanagan Wellness Centre
September 22, 2011
N.D. = Naturopathic Doctor
Extensive Training: 8 years
Therapies include Nutrition, Botanical
Medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine
including acupuncture, Physical
Medicine, Homeopathy, Counselling.
What do I treat: any acute or chronic
Principles of Naturopathic
First, Do no Harm
Doctor as Teacher
Support the healing power of nature
Identify and treat the causes of disease
Heal the whole person through individualized
Colds and Flus
Colds and flus are respiratory infections
caused by viruses. However, because these
viruses are so widespread, it is perhaps more
accurate to say that colds and flus are
caused by a decrease in immunity that allows
one of these viruses to take hold.
Biological terrain vs. germ theory. The state
of the body can determine the severity of
The Immune System
Through a series of steps called the immune
response, the immune system attacks
organisms and substances that invade body
systems and cause disease.
skin, lungs, stomach, tears, saliva, flora
Components of the Immune System:
White Blood Cells circulate via blood and lymph.
Organs: thymus, spleen, bone marrow
White Blood Cells
Two types of leukocytes
1. Phagocytes, cells that chew up invading
organisms. Eg. Neutrophil, monocyte, basophil
2. Lymphocytes, cells that allow the body to
remember and recognize previous invaders and
help the body destroy them. Lymphocytes start
out in the bone marrow and either stay there and
mature into B cells, or they leave for the thymus
gland, where they mature into T cells.
B cells make antibodies and eventually develop into
memory B cells.
T cells are helpers, cytotoxic, have memory, and
Symptoms of low immunity
frequent or severe colds/flus
What can lower immunity?
Stress, due to increased cortisol release
Dietary fat imbalance
high trans or saturated fats. Low omega fats
Poor GI flora (dysbiosis)
Use of alcohol, smoking
Lack of sleep
Some prescription meds (eg. Prednisone)
Vitamin A. Beta carotene from foods is
converted to Vitamin A. Stored in the liver.
maintains the protective mucus barriers
increases the number of infection-fighting
cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells
a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess
free radicals that accelerate aging.
It is high in orange and green vegetables.
Helps to kill viruses, maintains tissue repair &
is an antihistamine
It is high in tomatoes, carrots, citrus fruits,
peppers, & berries.
As a supplement:
kids up to age 6 can take 250 mg per day. Older
kids can take 500 mg per day. Adults 1-3 grams.
Available as a powder, chewable, or capsule.
Most useful at onset of illness or as a boost
when exposure to illness increases.
Due to a mutation, humans can’t make it.
is an antioxidant. It is high in wheat germ, nuts & seeds.
Stimulates the production of natural killer cells &
enhances the production of B-cells
maintains the immune system and generates new white
blood cells. A vital mineral for enzymatic function, blood
sugar metabolism, protein metabolism and DNA
Found in pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, & seafood.
Children up to age 6 years can take 10 to 20 mg per
day. Older kids and adults can take 20 to 40 mg per day.
Esp important for those who suffer from recurrent
infections, allergies, have diets high in dairy, or are
Needed for DNA replication / cell growth. Iron stores can
be depleted during periods of rapid growth, such as
Very important for children and menstruating women.
Animal sources of iron are the most absorbable, 10
times more than plant forms. Chose organic beef,
chicken, dark turkey meat, eggs. Plant sources of iron
include dark green leafy vegetable, sunflower and
pumpkin seeds, organic unsulfured dried fruits (raisins,
prunes, figs, apricots, cherries), blackstrap molasses,
beets, red beans, quinoa, almonds.
is a boost to thymus activity, increasing NK cells and
Found in seafood, brazil nuts, & whole grains.
Vitamin D ‘the sunshine vitamin’
Used for regulation of gene expression and so
affects health in many ways.
It is helpful in acute illness and to prevent
Recent studies show that deficiency is common
and is a risk factor for many chronic diseases like
cancer, autoimmune reactions, and diabetes.
Supplementation is recommended for all ages,
including breastfed infants. 1000iu per day for
children up to age 12, 2000iu age 12 and up.
Other Nutritional Tips
Water. The cells lining the inside of the mouth and nose are
extremely prone to dehydration. When these tissues dry
out, they develop small holes and cracks, thereby offering
free passage to cold viruses. In contrast, well-hydrated
mucus membranes are plump and more resistant to infection
Avoid sugar! It can paralyze white bloods cells starting at 30
minutes after ingestion and lasts for up to 5 hours.
Decrease dairy to one serving per day. It creates mucus
production that can congest the ears, nose, sinuses,
intestines, and throat.
Overall: Focus on whole foods, organic when possible.
Wash all produce with a veggie wash to remove pesticides
These are healthy bacteria that live in our intestines and
help with our immune system. They inhibit colonization
of pathogens in the intestinal tract, degrade toxins,
stimulate local and peripheral immunity, promote
enzyme activity, and produce antimicrobial substances.
Probiotics are considered safe and well tolerated,
making it a great supplement for all ages.
The most studied include Lactobacillus acidophilus, L.
casei, L. sporogenes, Bifidobacterium bifidus and
Saccharomyces boulardii. 3-8 billion twice daily
depending on age.
Echinacea is used to boost immunity to prevent
illness and also to decrease the severity of colds and
flus. Activates macrophages, increases T cell
Astragalus. Common in Chinese Medicine, this herb
has the ability to enhance natural killer cells and
increase white blood cell immune activity. Can be
used to increase resistance to infection. Found as a
piece of bark that can easily can be added to teas
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma)
is used to boost antibody response and antiviral activity. It
can also be used to boost recovery after illness or
chemotherapy. ‘the king of herbs’
stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells,
boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency
of antibody production.
The immune-boosting properties of garlic seem to be due to
its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and
sulfides. Best used fresh or lightly cooked.
Homeopathic Influenzinum / Oscillococcinum
This remedy can be taken prophylactically or at the
onset of cold or flu symptoms and is very safe and
easily taken by children. This remedy decreases duration
and severity of influenza infections without side effects.
Thymulline is used to support thymus activity.
homeopathics from a pathogen and can be used for
homeoprophylaxis. These can be used to increase the
body’s response to a specific disease, such as whooping
cough. This is not equivalent to a vaccine.
The homeopathic ‘flu’ shot
increases the activity of the antiviral white blood cells.
This results in a decreased risk of viral infection, and
less symptoms and shorter recovery time during illness.
Wash your hands, for 15 seconds with soap and get under your
nails. Always before you eat, after you use the toilet, when
coming home, and after visiting a public place.
Disinfect your high use areas: doorknobs, fridge handles, light
switches, phones, KEYBOARDS.
Get plenty of exercise, preferably in fresh air.
Find ways to reduce stress, as high cortisol inhibits your
Ensure that you wind down in the evening and get 7-8 hours of
Bundle up to keep warm. In Chinese medicine colds and flus
are seen as external invasion of cold. Cover your ‘wind gates’,
which are between the bottom of your neck and your shoulder
blades. Use those scarves!
For more information, please contact me:
Dr. Jese Anne Wiens ND
Okanagan Wellness Centre
318 Main Street