Cold & Flu – What’s the Truth and What’s a Myth?
Cold and Flu: What’s the Truth and What’s a Myth?
By Dr. Noémie Long
With cold and flu season approaching, it’s important to touch upon a handful of questions that I get time
and time again, things like which supplements should I take? How long should I take them for? Why
shouldn’t I take certain products and why can’t I give elderberry syrup year round? How do vaccines
The answers to these questions are complex and vary for each person. To address the question of which
supplements to take and when, we have to establish a basic understanding of how the immune system
works. Think of a teeter totter or a seesaw. When you sit on one end, the other end rises up into the air.
The immune system has 2 major branches to it. Something called TH1 and TH2. When we eat things or
take certain products, we increase the TH1 side of our seesaw while decreasing the TH2 side. You can’t
raise one side without lowering the other.
These two parts of the immune system play important roles. The TH1 system does things like fight
bacteria and viruses. It is also pro-inflammatory. The TH2 system helps us fight parasites and also plays a
role with allergies. This system is anti-inflammatory. You can also think of TH1 as the gas pedal and TH2
as the brake pedal.
Certain foods activate our immune system in one way or another. For example, coffee is a TH2
stimulator. Most cold and flu remedies like elderberry, Airborne, emergen-C, vitamin C, echinacea, etc.,
are all TH1 stimulators (gas pedal). You want these to fight a cold. But taking these all the time can cause
your body’s immune system to always be in fight mode. This is inflammatory, can cause functional
immune exhaustion, and worst case scenario contribute to autoimmunity long term. Short term use of
these products can be helpful, as a rule of thumb we don’t recommend using daily “immune boosters”
for more than 3 months in a row. Remember that the Core providers are always here to help, so feel
free to ask if you are unsure about a product or for suggestions.
Very briefly let’s discuss how vaccines work. When we get sick naturally (or with flu-mist/ other inhaled
nasal vaccines) the bacteria/virus goes into our nose or mouth where it signals the alarm system of the
body through what’s called an IGA response. The immune system’s fight ensues from there and
afterwards causes a memory response and protection that lasts your entire life. With vaccine injections
you bypass the IGA system and instead trigger natural killer cells to blow up whatever is in the vaccine.
Because a different immune cascade is triggered, you typically need boosters and your protection
doesn’t last forever as titer levels fall.
In my teens I made the decision to get an optional vaccine and my life has never been the same. I was
initially healthy but after that day I developed an autoimmune condition. While ASIA or Autoimmune
Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants is thought to be uncommon, it happened to me. I’m not saying anyone
should avoid the decision I made, but make sure you’re healthy enough, have a family history that
supports vaccination as a safe choice for you or your kids and ask your doctor if you’re not sure. Have
immune cell breakdowns like a CD4:8 ratios and other testing done to see if you’re a good candidate for
vaccines or to make sure you’re not allergic to the additives like egg, gelatin or silicone. The flu causes
suffering for 3 days, an autoimmune condition lasts every day of the rest of your life.
Dr Long’s Favorite Cold product: IG 26 DF
IG 26 DF is a form of “hyperimmunized egg.” There is egg in this product so do not use if you are allergic
or vegan. Immunoglobulins and antibodies in the egg help stimulate your immune system to help
protect and give passive immunity against 26 different pathogens such as Shigella,
Staphylococcus(staph), Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, H. influenzae, and