Flu Prevention 101

2018 Flu Pandemic.  In full swing.  What should we do?

Well, flu statistics tell us that February is the month with the highest rate on infections.  So, the worst is yet to come.  Pharmacies are having difficulties keeping Tamiflu in stock, and they are saying this could be the worst flu season since the bird flu scare.  As a functional medicine practitioner, I have never been a fan of the flu shot for a couple reasons:

  1. The flu shot is a vaccine that we produce BEFORE flu season.  This means that we GUESS which pathogen will be the issue, and we are notoriously wrong.  That means that massive amounts of people are convinced to get a shot that includes adjuvants.  What are those?  Things that wake up the immune system.  Often times they use things like components of an egg.  It always makes me wonder if they has anything to do with why so many people have egg allergies now.  It’s just not normal to have egg anything in the bloodstream and it actually makes sense that the immune system would recognize this as abnormal and produce antibodies against it.  Hello food sensitivities.   Anyway, that’s exactly what happened this year.  We dispersed vaccines against a strain that was not the correct one.  So, even if you had a flu shot, you are just as susceptible as everyone else.  Sorry, Charlie.
  2. The flu vaccine was created specifically for immunocompromised populations.  The elderly, HIV patients, you know, people that will DIE if they catch the flu.  However, a healthy individual may be down for a few days, but then they will be fine.  We shouldn’t need to intervene with toxic therapies.

We can’t take back the fact that the vaccine was against the wrong strain.  So, is there anything we can do now?  Yup.  Here are my tips for preventing and treating the flu naturally and effectively:

  1. Wash Your Hands.  When you go around touching surfaces and then touching your face, you expose your mucus membranes to all the organisms that may have been resting on those ledges, hand rails, door handles, dollar bills, pens, you name it. So, washing your hands before you eat is huge deal right now.  Just do it.
  2. Eat plenty of plants and organ meats.  Plants are full of phytochemicals that keep your immune system robust.  Spices also contain compounds that can stimulate the immune system, so use them generously.  Organ meats (from appropriately-raised animals) are full of fat soluble vitamins like A and D.  These are heavy-hitters for the immune system.  They also have minerals like Zinc.  Zinc is a well-known immune-supporting mineral, which is why zinc lozenges adorn the shelves of every pharmacy.
  3. Get 8 hours of sleep.  When you sleep, cortisol levels go down.  When you wake up, cortisol levels go up.  Cortisol levels are inversely related to immune system function.  That means that you immune system is allowed to its best work at night when cortisol is down.  If you deprive yourself of sleep, then you don’t do much to support your immune system’s ability to fight infection.  Why do you think people just want to stay in bed when they are sick?  Sleep matters.
  4. Take supplements.  I’m not a huge supplement person, but there are a couple supplements to consider in these types of situations.  The first one is colostrum.  Colostrum contains antibodies.  The antibodies have the ability to bind up viral antigens like those present in influenza to eliminate them before they would get into your bloodstream.  The other supplement is one that has a mixture of herbs and nutrients that specifically support immune function.  You should be looking for beta-carotene, zinc, Vitamin C alongside herbs like Echinacea and Andrographis.  If you feel the slightest tickle in your throat or “off-ness” start taking an immune stimulating formula right away.

A word of advice:

The flu is caused by a virus, which means antibiotics have absolutely zero impact on it’s treatment.  If you have confirmed flu, consider denying the antibiotics and letting it run its course if you are healthy.  Most people will be just fine.  Keep hydrated, get rest, get some nutrients, and consider taking some supplements to boost immune function, but DO NOT take antibiotics and expect them to treat your flu.  What they will do is wipe out the healthy bacteria in your gut that is fighting for you  It will take 3 months to rebuild that bacteria, so think about it!

Cheers to a happy and healthy winter season!

Herbal Series: Echinacea for Cold and Flu

This photo of a purple coneflower was taken over a year ago before I even realized it was Echinacea!  Often times, we have medicinal plants growing all around us, and we are completely unaware.  Therefore, I wanted to highlight some of the herbs you may see around or that may pop up in your supplements.  I’ll let you know what they are, what they’re good for, and anything you should consider when taking them!

What is Echinacea?

Echinacea is a wildflower native exclusively to North America, and Indians used it therapeutically more than any other herb. In 1895, an Ohio drug firm manufactured the first preparations of Echinacea in the US, and by 1994, German physicians had prescribed Echinacea over 2.5 million times.  To this day, it remains popular in Europe, and is used most to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu.

What is it good for?

Echinacea is one of the most studied herbs in herbal medicine and it has shown many effects on the immune system.  It increases antibody responses to viruses and it signals to WBCs to fight infection.  This is a great tool to take when you feel as though you may be coming down with something, but it’s not that great for prevention.  So, look for Echinacea to use short-term during cold season.


Autoimmunity: Echinacea boosts the immune system and unfortunately, in today’s world, there are many people that suffer from autoimmune conditions.  These people have an over-activated immune system and should be careful using herbal remedies that boost immune activity, such as Echinacea.  These patients would do better using beta-glucans instead.

Medications: Echinacea can have an effect on liver enzymes and increase blood levels of certain medications including statins, allergy medications, and birth control.  Like I have mentioned before, herbs can work just as well as medications and therefore can react with medications or affect their ability to work properly.  The more you can rely on herbs PRIOR to using medications, the less interactions you have to worry about.

*This is not intended to diagnose or treat any conditions.  Please consult with a knowledgeable physician to decide it is right for you.


Patient Journey: Anxiety and Depression

As promised, I am sharing patient journeys without any edits or influence! I ask the question, and they give you unadulterated answers to your burning questions. What is it really like to be on a healing journey through my patients’ eyes. Anxiety and Depression is a common patient complaint that land on my doorstep and the current treatment methods need a lot of work. There should be an approach that addresses the problem at the root. That could mean doing something much more drastic than taking medications; it could mean changing how you do life, how you eat, how you think, how you ARE.

1. What health issues were you struggling with when you began to work with Dr. Angela?
Anxiety and depression. Constant (almost daily) headaches. Also some issues that I did not know “could be” helped, like eyes watering, or eczema, lack of energy.

2. What treatment methods had you tried prior to Dr. Angela’s program?
Anti-anxiety and –depression meds prescribed by my MD.

3. What health benefits did you gain from working with Dr. Angela?
I feel like a “better me”, I have more energy, my mind is sharper, my memory is better, my mood is better. I can clearly identify certain triggers that happen when I eat “bad” foods and I do not want to feel that way.

4. What was your biggest struggle during the transition to a healthier lifestyle?
The ups and downs. Feeling good for days then having a setback. Forgetting that I have been one way for 39 years and only “my brand new healthy self” for few months. Giving up sugar (candy) was difficult but finding sweet treats to make from healthier alternatives was wonderful.

5. What did you find most beneficial to you in the program?
Understanding how the human body works and how everything affects everything. Also, learning to set up boundaries for myself as far as how much coffee I can enjoy per week etc. I am still learning the little triggers that set off certain reactions in my body.

6. Did your food options taste good?
Yes everything tasted so good. In fact both my son and husband told me that I make the best foods in the world. I am sure not all of it is my cooking ability, it has to be the good foods we are eating too.

7. Did you have an ah-ha moment that helped you commit to the change? If so, what was it?
When my MD told me that I would have to take meds for the rest of my life for anxiety. The side effects were horrible. I did not want to feel addicted to a pill that I have to take for the rest of my life. To me that was not normal.

8. If you were going to give a piece of advice to someone on the fence of following a program like Dr. Angela’s, what would you say to them in order to help them decide?
“You will not know how amazing you can feel, until you try it”. In the long run with all the medications and doctor visits you will throw out more money and still not get better than what the program with Dr. Angela costs; the difference is Dr. Angela’s program will heal you inside out. And you will feel better than you ever can think of. It is amazing how many people are on the fence about it, even though they could only start trying it for 30 days. What’s 30 days, it is a short amount of time!


Dr. Angela’s perspective:

This patient case had some food sensitivities involved, so reactions to food stimulants, and some actual allergies, too.  It’s always a puzzle with many pieces to find a home for.  That takes time, which is why it’s impossible to successfully treat or correct complex health issues in a visit every few months.  It’s a process and if I didn’t take adequate time, I would have missed valuable pieces of the puzzle.  For example, once everything was corrected for this patient, she wanted to continue care to address some other things such as eczema.  Some simple investigation and it was completely cleared with a supplement because of determining her particular cause: an environmental allergy.  In some ways, I wish treating patients was simple, but then I wouldn’t enjoy the “investigative hunt,” and that is half the fun for me.  Like many patients before this person, she did not commit to care until traditional treatments failed her.  I’m always waiting when a person may want to try a different route.