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How To Stay Healthy This Winter

Dec 31, 2010 ● By Megy Karydes

Keeping colds and flu at bay during the winter season is always a challenge. We asked three local practitioners how to prevent and shorten this winter tradition that most of us would be happy to give up!

Dr.Tatiyana Urbin and Acupuncturist Bonnie Spina

According to Dr. Tatiyana Urbin, a chiropractic physician, stress and poor sleep can be extremely damaging to the body’s natural ability to fight infection, which, in turn, makes us more susceptible to getting ill.

Aside from reducing stress and getting more sleep, studies have shown that acupuncture strengthens and enhances the immune system, increases blood cell count and boosts lymphocyte and natural killer cell activity, according to Spina.

“Acupuncture helps the body in its continued effort to maintain homeostasis or balance naturally without the use of medications and unwanted side effects,” she says.

If you do catch a cold or the flu, Urbin recommends supplementing your diet with fruits and vegetables that contain extra Vitamin C. “It takes 18 small oranges to reach the 1,000 IU dose that is optimal during cold and flu season,” she says. “Vitamin C boosts your body’s ability to produce antibodies, as well as help rebuild damaged tissue. Other supplements, such as zinc, play a pivotal role in a vast number of metabolic functions which include immune function.”

Supplementing with zinc in cold months will further aid in maintaining the body’s defenses and boost its ability to recover from sickness, according to Urbin. She cites garlic and elderberry as other sources for important nutrients. “A combined consumption of these can help any person get through the cold months while being minimally effected by the bugs we encounter every day,” she adds.

While it may be attractive to try over-the-counter supplements recommended by advertisements or by sales associates at chain stores, Urbin cautions against it. “Practitioners such as nutritionists or chiropractors and naturopaths are specially trained in treatment with supplementation,” she notes. “Seek the advice of trained professionals who can recommend effective and high-absorbability natural supplements and who can streamline dosing and requirements to your needs. You owe yourself the most effective therapy for your money. Taking these kinds of supplements and herbs promotes the body’s ability to produce what it needs to maintain health. We have found some wonderful immune-enhancing supplements, but not all supplements are created equal, and each person is unique in their need for supplementation. We recommend a professional consultation for the best individual results.”

Dr. Jerry Gore

Dr. Jerry Gore practices both general medicine and psychiatry from a holistic perspective and highly recommends eating fresh, whole foods and warm soups while avoiding toxic hydrogenated oils and overdosing on sugar when it comes to preventing colds and the flu.

“Take some Vitamin C and zinc and fermented cod liver oil, as they help stimulate the immune system,” Gore says. “Take one dose of the homeopathic remedy Aconite-30c or 200c just as you are feeling the energy going downhill,” he says. “Stop all dairy for a few days, jump in a hot bath and then right into bed and sweat it out a bit.” Gore also recommends letting your body get plenty of rest and sleep. “Psychologically, cuddle the little girl or boy inside of you.”

Keeping these tips in mind will help prevent or lessen the duration of the cold or flu. “Even chicken soup is really good for you as the fats in the broth are healthy,” Gore says.

Dr. Archana Lal-Tabak

Dr. Archana Lal-Tabak is an integrative and holistic mind-body physician and intuitive healer who practices Ayurveda, Vaastu, homeopathy, SYDA yoga meditation and body-centered transpersonal psychiatry. Her patients range from in-utero to 91 years of age.

From a homeopathic approach, Lal-Tabak recommends methods that enhance the immune system and help balance the body, which, in turn, help prevent colds and the flu. “Taking a tiny capsule a day of Oscillococcinum, which can found over the counter, can be very effective and replace the need for a flu shot,” she says. “If you’re lactose-intolerant, you may need to avoid or dilute the powder in water. This is safe for young children as well.”

Like other experts, Lal-Tabak recommends a healthful lifestyle that includes plenty of sleep and rest, nutritious foods and exercise, as all contribute to a strong immune system.

Also, an ayurvedic remedy such as a daily morning detox is excellent. “A cup of honey and sea salt with half a lemon in warm water before you eat is a great way to prevent illness,” she says, but cautions again placing honey in very hot or boiling water as the hot water changes the nature of the honey.

If you start feeling a cold or the flu coming on—and we often don’t know which it will be—Lal-Tabak recommends the Chinese herbal formula Yin Chao. “You can take it for two weeks and then stop it for another two weeks and go back on it,” she says. “It’s especially helpful for coughs.”

While many herbal remedies are safe to use daily, Lal-Tabak encourages her patients to take regular breaks from echinacea. Although it’s a great way to help prevent a cold or the flu, taking a break for two weeks after taking it for two weeks allows your body to recalibrate itself, she says.


Archana Lal-Tabak, M.D.
Integrative Physician, Medical Director and Co-founder
Heart of Transformation Wellness Institute
1618 Orrington Ave., Ste. 206
Evanston, Il 60201
847-425-WELL (9355)

Tatyiana Urbin, D.C. and Acupuncturist Bonnie Spina
Integrative Wellness Clinic
9631 Gross Point Rd., Suite 107
Skokie, IL 60076
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Jerry Gore, M.D.
Center for Holistic Medicine
240 Saunders Rd.
Riverwoods/Deerfield, IL 60015
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