Is a fever a good thing? If any microbe, virus, or bacteria cannot be contained by microphages or pyrogens and proteins, the hypothalamus in the brain recognizes there is an invader and raises the body temperature to assist in killing it off. So, a fever is actually our body’s third line of defense. The hypothalamus determines, based on the number of pyrogens and proteins, what temperature will be necessary to eliminate the microbe. For all children above the age of 3 months, a fever is actually a good thing! It’s a sign that our immune systems are functioning properly! When we shift out mindset to appreciate our body’s intelligence, it allows us to care for our bodies with gratitude and grace.
As a chiropractor, I’ve spent hours upon hours studying normal human physiology while working towards my doctorate. We know that your nervous system controls every cell, organ, and tissue in your body, but it is also intricately connected to your immune system! Many people wait until their nose is congested to the point of mouth-breathing until they whip out the remedies to support their immune system, but we like to be preventative in our lifestyles and proactive when our immune system shows us the slightest symptom. After all, those symptoms are simply our body’s way of communicating to let us know that our immune system is doing its job but could use a little support. Through the years, I’ve curated a “protocol” that we do in our home the second someone gets a sniffle.
This is something we do weekly as part of our healthy lifestyle but it’s also the #1 thing we do when we get sick because we want to make sure our nervous systems are functioning free from interference. A chiropractic adjustment unleashes your body’s innate ability to heal itself. There is no medicine, herb, or tonic that is as powerful as your own body. We have only scratched the surface in scientifically quantifying your immune system, so we always want to make sure our bodies are functioning optimally to allow for optimal healing from the inside-out. Click here to read more about the purpose of chiropractic care and how you can utilize it in your life.
Bone broth is a healing hero and if I could get an IV drip of this stuff when I’m under the weather, I would! It’s rich in minerals that support immune function. The marrow of these bones that is simmered for long periods of time contain lipids, especially alkylglycerols, which are vital for the production of white blood cells. You know, those little guys that are on the front lines fighting off the invading microbes! My favorite immune-boosting bone broth is Osso Good’s Immuni-Qi because it’s infused with Chinese herbs that help nourish and cleanse your body’s toughest immune fighting organs.
Other great options are:
Bonafide Provisions (available in the freezer section at most Whole Foods)
Brodo (only available in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania or through online ordering)
Make your own at home using this recipe
Note: There are a variety of shelf-stable bone broths available in stores, but I don’t personally recommend those. When trying them in the past, I’ve noticed they don’t get gelatinous when chilled and they often contain stabilizers, preservatives, or flavorings to increase shelf life. Bone broth can be pricey so when considering a budget, making your own at home is always the most affordable option.
Have you ever thought about why the flu only comes around in winter? The reason the flu is seasonal isn’t because there aren’t viruses around all the time. It’s because that’s when we have the least amount of exposure to sunlight, meaning we convert the least amount of vitamin D. We make vitamin D in our skin when we get out in the sun — more precisely, when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB). Nearly every cell of our body has receptors for vitamin D so vitamin D really drives our innate immunity! When vitamin D attaches to these immune cells, they produce antimicrobial proteins which are antivirals. They kill a flu virus. We know that if you’re vitamin D deficient, you’re going to be much more likely to contract not only viral infections but fungal and bacterial infections and certainly all upper respiratory tract infections.
I know in the winter months, it’s not easy to get outside and expose your skin to direct sunlight, but it is the best way for our bodies to make and regulate vitamin D. I’m a fan of supplementing vitamin D during this time, but it’s important that vitamin K2 is included.
Vitamin K2 controls the flow of calcium into bones keeping it out of tissues and arteries. There are two types of vitamin K2 (MK-4 and MK-7), and while they are structurally similar, MK-7 is the superior form of vitamin K2 as it has been found to remain in the blood approximately nine times longer than the MK-4 form. Most vitamin D supplements containing vitamin K2 are using the MK-4 form so for this reason, Orthomolecular’s Vitamin D3/K2 is the only vitamin D supplement I recommend.
Watch this video to learn more:
Addressing the root cause of a deficiency is also important. Vitamin D levels might be low because calcium levels are too high and through a negative feedback loop, the body suppresses vitamin D production and/or conversion to minimize further increases in calcium. Calcium might be too high because of a magnesium deficiency! This is why I always recommend working with a functional medicine provider or naturopath for proper testing and supplementation dosing. You can find my list of referrals here.
Magnesium is an important mineral involved in over 300 different processes in the body, including the ability to make and use ATP, the body’s main form of energy. Magnesium aids in a handful of activities related to vitamin D production and use. In particular, it seems to modulate the sensitivity of our tissues to vitamin D. A recent study showed that magnesium supplementation was more effective at correcting a vitamin D deficiency than vitamin D supplementation alone.
We can take in magnesium through foods or through the skin (via transdermal magnesium therapy), but we lose magnesium through the GI tract and the kidneys. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and if things like nicotine and birth control patches can enter the blood stream through your skin, so can magnesium! Plus, bypassing the digestive tract avoids problems of irritation and diarrhea and can actually benefit your skin as well with conditions like eczema and psoriasis and even muscle cramps and pain. There are a variety of transdermal magnesium applications but my two favorite are a spray-on magnesium oil and magnesium bath flakes.
Elderberry syrup has been scientifically proven in two randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled studies to inhibit both influenza A and B strains when given orally in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms. Another study showed a beneficial effect on severity and duration of cold and flu-like symptoms when participants consumed elderberry extract lozenges. For more research on elderberry, check out this post from my friend Ali of @empoweredautoimmune.
As a preventative measure, we take one teaspoon of elderberry syrup Monday through Friday during peak cold and flu season. I do not recommend taking elderberry syrup daily as a prophylactic measure
When we’re coming down with something we will double or triple this amount until we feel better. Plus, it tastes delicious! No need for artificially flavored and dyed syrups to taste like fake fruits in this house! I either make my own elderberry syrup using this recipe or I buy it from Cassie Green or Organic Olivia.
If vitamin C isn’t something that you’re supplementing with regularly, taking it when symptoms appear might be too late. This is definitely an area to be proactive in! Literally the second someone has the slightest sniffle, we will start this protocol rather than waiting until we can’t breathe through our nose because our body is working hard before we even realize it. Supporting early is key! If you have access to intravenous vitamin C, by all means! That’s not necessarily in our budget at the moment so I like to supplement and hyper-dose (when sick) with liposomal vitamin C. This liposomoal vitamin C is derived from sunflowers compared to most liposomal vitamin C products which are derived from soy. Vitamin C is also needed for your body to make collagen: the #1 connective tissue in your body that is responsible for improving the health of your hair, skin, nails, teeth, joints, gut, liver, heart, and more.
Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain which is a complex mixture of proteolytic enzymes, mainly glycoprotein. Numerous reports have documented the benefits of bromelain for sinusitis! A recent study showed that administration of bromelain among children suffering from acute sinusitis shortened the duration of symptoms and accelerated recovery when compared with usual care regimens. Sinusitis patients that received bromelain demonstrated complete resolution of breathing difficulties and inflammation of the nasal mucosa (source).
I like to incorporate an entire pineapple in my homemade immunity tonic! It includes other healing ingredients like fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, pink Himalayan salt, lemons, honey, apple cider vinegar, and mint leaves. All major immune-boosting ingredients!
The Neti Pot is a small pot with a handle and a long spout that can be used to pour a steady stream of specially prepared water up your nose and directly into your sinuses in order to clean them out and soothe them. I remember the first time my mom suggested I use a Neti Pot and I thought she had lost her marbles. There was no way I was going to pour lukewarm water up my nose and into my sinuses because I was afraid it would feel like I was drowning. Well, that is definitely NOT the case, but it’s not the most attractive thing you could ever do either. Just keepin’ it real, yall!
But I will say, there is nothing that will give you immediate sinus relief like a Neti Pot. I’m such a fan of this little tool, that I’ll even use it as preventative. Flush the sinuses before any microbes even have the opportunity to camp out up there and raise hell. This has been a huge turning point in preventing colds and sinus infections in our home. I don’t personally use or recommend the plastic ones but they can be beneficial because you can give them a little squeeze to apply some pressure to the water if needed. I also don’t use the sinus rinse packets that come with the plastic Neti Pots simply because I prefer to incorporate natural healing ingredients link pink Himalayan salt and colloidal silver. We have a ceramic Neti Pot that I snagged on Amazon and here is the recipe I follow when using it.
Silver has been used for hundreds of years in order to prevent microbial infections. It has been used to treat a variety of infections and has been effective against almost all organisms tested. Silver compounds were major weapons against wound infection in World War I until the advent of antibiotics. No wonder it’s known as the world’s most powerful natural antibiotic. These silver nanoparticles bind with microbes and inhibit them. The antimicrobial activity of silver nanoparticles has been investigated against yeast, gram negative and positive bacteria. When silver nanoparticles were tested in yeast and E. coli (gram negative), bacterial growth was inhibited, but the inhibitory effect in Staph aureus (gram positive) was mild (source).
There are three bacteria that most likely cause sinusitis — Streptococcus pneumoniae (gram positive), Haemophilus influenzae (gram negative), Moraxella catarrhalis (gram negative). Although you may not know the exact bacteria that’s raising hell in your sinuses, it’s safe to say that colloidal silver can slow bacteria growth up there. I have used the colloidal silver Neti Pot recipe, but prefer a nasal spray bottle of Sovereign Silver’s 10 ppm colloidal silver. This can cause unpleasant sensations of burning and tingling, but I have not personally experienced these discomforts. 10 ppm is best for ingestion, use in a nebulizer, for the ears, nose, throat, and eyes. Higher ppm is not necessary, and greatly increases your risk of toxicity. Yes, colloidal silver can cause you to turn blue (argyria) but only in crazy high quantities. I’m an advocate for the safe, sane and responsible usage of colloidal silver.
I’m a big fan of baths. Maybe that’s because my mom was a firm believer in their healing powers. It didn’t matter what my complaint was growing up, it seemed that being thrown into the bathtub was the answer. Since I’m also a fan of fevers, you can actually use a warm bath to help spike a fever to help your hypothalamus get your body up to the temperature it needs to fight whatever microbes it’s fighting. The Journal of Natural Immunology demonstrated that increasing the internal temperature in mice to create an artificial fever increases the number of immune cells that are sent to the lymph nodes to facilitate the destruction of invading pathogens (source). My favorite way to do this is with Pursoma’s Hot Tub Bath. It’s perfect for when you’re feeling run down from seasonal symptoms like runny rose, chest congestion, body aches, and fatigue. This is an incredible detoxifying experience!
I know that getting sick is extremely inconvenient and it’s easy to switch to medications that essentially silence the fire alarms, rather than putting out the fire because it makes you feel better in the short-term and carry on with your responsibilities (recognizing that life can place high demands on some folks). There’s a time and place for all things but having one or two colds per year is actually a sign of a healthy immune system. You can think of the infections as a yearly tune-up. The intensity and duration of symptoms during a given sickness provide important clues to immune system health status. Ideally, infections should bring symptoms that are intense but which have a short duration and resolve completely. The best thing to do is to stay home during that time to rest and sleep. Your immune system will be able to work more efficiently this way. The cold allows your body to cleanse itself and the immune system becomes stronger to fight future infections. Never getting sick or when colds linger for many weeks are markers of a weakened immune system.
There are a variety of immune-boosting remedies that you can start incorporating into your lifestyle, but this is what has worked best for us! As always, you should consult with your trusted healthcare provider!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for educational purposes only.
This article is sponsored by The Osso Good Co. but as always, these words are my own and in no way influenced by The Osso Good Co. I have personally used, believe in and support this company even long before I had this sponsorship opportunity.
This article contains affiliate links which means that I receive a percentage of commission if any products are purchased through them. As always, these are brands / products / services I have used personally, believe in and support. Receiving a sample(s) of any of the above products in no way influences my opinion. Thank you for supporting me, Dr. Courtney Kahla, through your purchases!