Every time I open the news section I get at least one headline about people dying from flu. My mind is starting to play a trick on me and I see that word “flu” creep-growing in my head towards a first-class danger equalling cancer, mass shootings, and a nuclear threat.
Are we all going to die from a virus?
“Wait a second!” my reason peeps from the shadows. “You’ve seen flu patients before! It’s not like they are dying right, left, and center. Sure, there is a small percentage of the unfortunates, but they usually are in poor health, use immune-suppressive meds, or simply have weak immune system.”
“Really?” My sensitive self hesitates. “How come “everyone” (AKA my doctor, my pharmacists, my TV host, and my government) only talks about the virus, not the immune system?”
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“Don’t be silly” logic responds. “That’s how they are trained. They are trained to recognize the dangers of the virus, but they are not trained to screen for low immune system (not to confuse with immunodeficiency) or ill health. Neither are they trained on how to boost the immune system through lifestyle improvements. Have your doctor, pharmacist, or a TV host asked about a diet diary, job stress, sleep pattern, bowel habits, or work environment while addressing the virus? Likely not.
This is where the problem lies. Unless health and lifestyle details are known, infections and their effects will always be seen as random and out of your control.”
Let me quote a paragraph from the newly released book “Ousting Sniffles”. Maybe it will open your eyes on how some “random” health details can weigh heavily on whether one recovers from an infection or not.
Would you stop blaming the flu virus already!
Influenza is said to be one of the deadliest infections, yet in-depth studies showed, that it is not the flu virus that is deadly, but the flu sequela. The worst-case scenarios happen to flu-infected individuals that have low immune system. These tend to develop nasty secondary bacterial or fungal infections. If death occurs it is usually from raging inflammation that accompanies the second infection and not from the presence of the flu virus that initiated the sequela.
This is where good gut flora comes in. It lowers host damage by buffering inflammation and quickly restoring immune system balance. In other words, gut bacteria can prevent inflammation from becoming lethal and by doing so reduce deaths from influenza inflection.
I need to mention that the secondary infection does NOT require getting infected with a new pathogenic strain. Many pathogenic bacteria and fungi co-exist with a normal microbiota and appear non-threatening if the good-bad microbial balance is maintained. However, the moment good gut bacteria are compromised, opportunistic pathogens proliferate. They will exploit an impaired host immune system when the protective flora is decimated.
Basically, it means that gut flora is our body’s army and that a perfectly balanced gut flora is our biggest health asset. Gut flora can define the immune system strength more than any lotion, potion, or any other medical magic.
What are the symptoms of low immune system?
Surprisingly, there are many common signs. Among those are: bloated stomachs, chronic inflammation, chronic pain, environmental sensitivities, autoimmune disease, poor gums, excess weight or dependence on prescription medication. These signs are so familiar to every one of us that even though they suggest some kind of malady, they are considered normal and the individuals having them healthy.
Let’s not panic
Some time ago I read a panic-invoking headline “healthy woman dies of flu”. Hmmm… healthy? Anybody did any fact-checking? Eating junk, feeling crappy, and popping pills to feel better is so wide-spread in our society that nobody questions such “health”.
The point is that what we call healthy is not healthy at all. So, let’s not fall for panic-invoking headlines where a “healthy male dies of rare bacterial infection”. That “healthy” male could have had toe fungus, five meds, and bowels that open once a week. You get my point.
How to boost the immune system in one step
Instead of running away from viruses you’d be better off focusing on boosting the immune system which means taking good care of the gut AKA your army. But taking good care of the gut doesn’t mean investing the very last dollar in a supplement screaming “50 billion bacteria in a single dose”. That would be going in the wrong direction.
Although taking a condition-matching probiotic supplement can make a huge difference, taking mountains of random bacteria isn’t the right way to boost the immune system. Iron-strong defenses need a little bit more than a pile of random pills. Hulk-strong immune system isn’t random, so random diet, random supplements, and random lifestyle won’t do.
One step further
If your immune system is dear to you I suggest spending an evening with an expertly written eye-opener titled “Ousting Sniffles”. It will help you discover a maze of immune-boosting techniques you never knew existed. From top-performing herbal adaptogens, must-have vitamins, and simple manual techniques, to hidden causes and symptoms you should be looking out for. Happy reading.