In 22 years of consulting people I have been able to examine many Natural Health Products designed to support immunity, and find out what works. As a result we have sourced and incorporated many of these products into our own Optimum Health line.
The objective of this blog post is to share with you a few of the items that I have found particularly useful in keeping myself and others healthy during the cold & flu season. Please note, I am not suggesting that you use all of the products discussed, but rather use the post as a quick reference that may be helpful in your quest to keep your immune system working optimally. (Everyone is individual, and different things work for different people!)
In general, the products discussed in Part 1 of this article are more for short-term use during the initial stages of a bug, for example, at the first signs of a cold or flu. And even though there is definitely overlap, products for ongoing, daily immune support are discussed in Part 2.
Part 1 of 2 - Antimicrobials for first symptoms or direct exposure
1.) Oregano Oil:
At the first sign of a sore throat or nausea, or for bug-ridden places like airplanes and hospitals, I reach for our Optimum Health oil of oregano. Truth be told, this product tastes awful, and is hard to get down, so you might want to have some water on hand when using it for the first time. Yet, I find it extremely effective as long as you start using it before a bug has had a chance to get established, i.e. within a day or two of realizing that you are catching something...generally the sooner the better. A study from the University of British Columbia which looked at the activity of different oregano preparations against the influenza virus found that though all preparations demonstrated antimicrobial activity, Oreganum minutiflorum was the most potent strain, and is the type of Oregano used in our Opti-potency Oregano Max.
This is a good item to simply keep on hand, but if storing long-term, make sure the bottle is upright to avoid the oil solubilizing the rubber dropper.
How I use it:
I take it 1 squirt at a time, about 1/2 to ¾ of an inch in the dropper, and try to get it right on the portion of my throat that feels sore. I then just grin and bear it while I experience “the burn”. If I am taking it for nausea, I will immediately swallow it and drink a glass of water. I will do this 3 to 5 times per day for up to 3 days. If after this it hasn't done the trick, chances are it's not going to. Remember, if you use Oregano Oil numerous times a day, be sure to take adequate amounts of probiotics... also critical for immunity.
2.) Opti Immune C&F by Optimum Health:
I designed this formula to address not only the first stages of avoiding a cold or flu, but also to shorten duration or reduce the severity if you get sick. It can downgrade the symptoms of a cold or flu because the ingredients are anti-inflammatory and help keep your energy levels up. In addition these botanicals obviously possess immune supportive properties…i.e. antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal. For references, and more information on the individual ingredients, see related article:
Related article: Opti-Immune C & F: Natural Remedies For Cold and Flu.
Experience has shown that Opti Immune C&F works best taken two capsules at a time, up to 3 times per day between meals. (I use it if a bug feels like it is going to keep coming past the initial shot of oregano.) Many find it works well when taken at bedtime. I use it on somewhat of an ongoing basis during the winter to keep my immune system balanced, (i.e. competent yet not over-reactive), but don’t take it for more than two weeks or so without a break. I have also found it useful in clients for food allergies/reactions, and candida yeast, but if you use it for candida, start slowly and work your way up to avoid die-off reactions.
3.) Optimum Health Opti-Silver Solution:
Though many people use this and similar products internally with great success, I find that in order to get concentrations high enough to be effective, you’ve got to take a lot of it on an empty stomach... a minimum of 1 once, 3 times a day. I find this very effective for nausea. I have also used it for sore throats. I pour it into a small spray bottle and spray directly on the sore area many times in succession.
Topical use for infections:
I have also used a spray of Silver Solution for myself and my family applied to the eyes, ears, nose, or throat. In this regard it can be used frequently to provide a barrier to entry of bugs while on planes, or in a hospital etc. I also find it great as a tissue friendly hand sanitizer. I even use it to mist leftover food that I am putting in the fridge, to prevent mold growth. Recent studies have shown silver can enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics, and even possesses anticancer properties…which isn’t a surprise given that knocking out bugs reduces inflammation. See here
4.) Propolis, Goldenseal, and Echinacea combinations:
If I have tried the above interventions, but a bug still keeps coming, I will use our product called Bee-Immune Optimized Propolis Formula.
The antimicrobial properties of propolis are well established. (see: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2013/308249/ ) Also called "bee glue", propolis is what bees used to seal, repair, and disinfect their hive.
For years this formula was my go to for colds, and particularly the flu, which I have seen it shut down within hours. The original product was called Bee-Fense, produced by Solaray, but when the company pulled out of Canada we were no longer able to get it. So we produced it ourselves with some small variations. I take 4-5 capsules, 3 times per day on an empty stomach, and have had good success in reversing development even after the symptoms setting in were definite and obvious.
5.) Opti A.I Extra:
Opti A.I. Extra is anti-inflammatory, and therefore will make you feel better if you are sick. This formulation possesses numerous antiviral botanicals such as green tea, curcumin, resveratrol, and others, which are collectively also known as Nrf2 Activators. This large
group of botanical substances dramatically upregulates (increases) the cells innate protection against oxidation and inflammation, and can provide major resistance to infection on a daily basis. This is a huge area for current and future research.
Opti A.I Extra is our most complete collection of Nrf2 Activators. I take 3- to 4 capsules a day, or if using them to ward off bugs, will repeat this once to twice more in a day. I find the results are more pronounced if take between meals, but it can also be used with meals. But don’t take Opti-A.I. at bedtime as it can interfere with sleep.
Considerations for lingering bugs and post illness suggestions:
For lingering bugs that just won’t quit, I recommend a product called AG Immune by Bodywise to enhance antibody response, and I have also found ImmunoCare by Celt Naturals to be helpful to my family when nothing else seemed to work. In addition, many find that medicinal mushrooms work well for both maintenance of immunity, as well as recovery from an illness. And if you are feeling weak after being sick, and just can’t get your “umphh” back, Optimized Methylation Factors, and Adrenal Balance by Optimum Health can be very helpful, the latter containing Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Rhodiola, and Ginseng as adaptogens and Nrf2 Activators to get your energy production back on track.
Hope this information is helpful.
Read part 2 of this 2 part series here
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.