I would consider the colds and flues I’ve gotten before 2014 average. I’d get one or two a year until my kids went to school, then I’d get three or four. I could mark the calendar with the first cold of the season: 2nd week of October. I’d get sick again in January, then again in February and if it was a bad luck cold season, I’d get sick again in the spring.
The worst cold I had was delivered via a birthday cake in April 2013. That’s when I learned about viral load and its link to how severe one gets sick. It’s also the exact time I stopped eating birthday cake anyone – whether sick or not – blew out the candles on. In this house, that meant a piece of cake was cut for the birthday boy or girl, candles were put on it, and they blew them out and ate their own spit.
Because I had been hit with such a high viral load, I was sick within 12 hours, and I stayed sick for three months. It was the worst cold I ever had with a horrible cough, and coughs are the one area I excel at. I’m a natural cougher, so when a cold hits, I can cough so hard, well, let’s just leave that right there. Even when I’m not sick, I’m coughing. It’s the way I’ve been since I was a child. I’d cough all night except I slept through it and the only reason I knew I was coughing is others heard it and told me. My uncle John was the same way.
In the spring of 2014, I went to work at Atlantic Gardens. There I met a woman who gave me one of the best health tips of my life and resulted in me not having a cold or flu since. She had learned it a few years earlier from her pharmacist when she was sick with a bad cold during a busy week at work she couldn’t take off.
WARNING: What I’m about to tell you is not medical advice. When she told me, I came home and did my own research and found amazing stuff no doctor, nurse or teacher had ever spoken about. While I was able to implement this regiment, those with health conditions and are on certain medications may not be able to. I am a healthy individual that takes no medication.
The health tip revealed to me was (and you’ve probably heard this before but may not have thought it worthy): zinc prevents and fights colds.
The pharmacist told her to take two zinc that day and then two the next day. She was desperate, so she took three a day, and her cold was gone within 24 hours.
WARNING: I don’t recommend that dose, so if you take it, it’s on you.
That’s it. Zinc. When I got home from work, I dove into the research, and, oh, what a rabbit hole I went down. Zinc not only treats colds but prevents them from happening. According to what I read in 2014, because of the poor western diet most people in North America are either low or deficient in zinc.
Side note: My research into the Spanish Influenza for a genealogy column several years ago revealed interesting information about the lack of zinc in the population’s diet during the mid-1910s due to lack of fresh food (because of the war) and the introduction of canned food, which drastically affects zinc content. It’s only one reason 1918 had been the perfect storm for a pandemic.
Back to Zinc
I dove deeply and went into how zinc got into the cell and its effects on the mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – but it’s too much to go into here, so I’ll leave you to learn about that.
While researching zinc, information about vitamin D kept popping up. The link between the two became clear, and I did more research on the D vitamin. Coincidentally, most people in North America are also deficient in this vitamin. I knew I was because of blood tests.
As many know, vitamin D is produced naturally by the body if that body gets enough exposure to the sun. However, in Canada, our days grow increasingly short after mid-September. Today, we have only 10 hours and 26 minutes of daylight and with cloudy skies and a storm approaching, I am not expecting to see the sun for two days.
Skin Tone: The lighter your skin, the more efficiently you absorb vitamin D from the sun. Given the make up of my genes (Scottish, Irish, English, German, Scandinavian, Mi’kmaq, Spanish – I know, I’m a mixed bag of nuts), I have darker skin than most Anglo-Saxons, so I need more exposure to the sun to absorb enough vitamin D.
There is a wide range of percentages when it comes to vitamin D deficiency in North America. Numbers range from 4% to 75%. A detailed report on vitamin D deficiency is found on the Oxford Academic site. Read the article here (published February 2005): Vitamin D Insufficiency in North America.
Given the decline in consumption of healthy foods, I imagine this study if done again would find even more deficiency in the population. Also, given the current health concerns and the lack of vitamin D, is it any wonder people are getting sick easily?
A Lesser Known Mineral
All this research into zinc and vitamin D exposed a mineral known to me but one I had not considered in the human diet: selenium.
Goats are susceptible to selenium deficiency. If they are too deficient, they’ll get sick and die. It’s one of the things we learned early on when we got goats. We give selenium shots, and we’ve used salt blocks that contain selenium for goats to lick when they need it. All this stuff is known in the goat world, yet I didn’t know it applied to the human world, too.
Our go-to source for goat information (for those who have or planning to have goats) is Onion Creek Ranch. Here’s what they say about selenium.
Selenium deficiency, like Vitamin E deficiency, can cause white muscle disease (nutritional muscular dystrophy), causing the goat to have difficulty controlling its muscles. Newborns with weak rear legs may be selenium-deficient. Kids may be too weak to nurse their dams. Pneumonia can result from weakness in muscles that control breathing.
Read the rest of the well-written article here: Minerals & Vitamins In Goats Deficiency & Toxicity
Much of our selenium comes from plants. Animals, such as chicken, also get their selenium from plants. If they are deficient, there’s not a lot for us to consume when we eat them. The problem arises because most soils in North America are deficient in selenium. If the soil doesn’t have it, the plants can’t absorb it and pass it on to the humans and animals that eat them. Needless to say, I’ve also researched ways of increasing the amount of selenium in my garden soil, so it then gets transferred to me when I eat my harvest.
Further research uncovered more of the connection with zinc, vitamin D and selenium. I call them the trinity of health.
The doses I use are 50 mg for zinc, 400 UI for vitamin D and 100 mg selenium.
When I began this regiment, I took these every day for five months. In mid-October, after I considered myself to be less deficient in these things, I reduced the dose to every second day. I knew my system was doing better because when the kids came home from school sick in early October, I didn’t get sick. In fact, I didn’t get sick at all that winter though the flu bug went through the school system several times, and my kids, who refused to take my trinity of health, got sick. There were times when everyone in the house was sick except me. It didn’t matter what they had – flu or cold – or how severe, I didn’t catch it even though I played nurse to my kids.
After all this time, my regiment is the following:
Vitamin D: every day from September 22nd until April 1st, and on cloudy days between April 1st and September 22nd. If the sun is shining and I’m outside all day, I skip that day. This means for most of the summer, I don’t take vitamin D.
Zinc: twice a week plus days I’ve been exposed to someone who is or possibly is sick. This includes the few times a year I visit the city, particularly the seniors’ home where my mom is. There’s usually someone sick there, so I take it the day before, the day of and the day after the visit. If I feel something coming on, I take it until the feeling goes away.
Selenium: twice a week.
More than seven years later, and I am still cold and flu free. Did this trinity of health prevent illnesses for me? YES.
That said, I also live a relatively healthy lifestyle. I’m always outside doing something. I eat mostly whole foods (eggs, apples, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, etc.) and very little processed food, and I don’t consume sugary drinks. If I eat cake or cookies, they’re homemade. I have never smoked, vaped or took recreational drugs. I have the occasional drink, but there are months, sometimes years, where I don’t drink any alcohol.
However, I’ve lived this lifestyle most of my life, yet I still got colds and flues before 2014. This is why I attribute the lack of illness to the trinity of health.
I don’t include vitamin C in this regiment because it’s all most commercials, doctors and government health sources have talked about for decades. And vitamin C is easier to get. Most people aren’t deficient in it. 100 grams of potatoes gives us 32% of our daily dose. An orange gives 88%. If we eat a diet with at least three or four plant foods (oranges, apples, broccoli, lettuce, tomato, etc.) or have a glass of orange juice, we’re good to go.
However, if you are deficient in vitamin C, add it to your diet in the form of food, not supplements.
Signs of the Time
I was fortunate to have stumbled upon this trinity of health before governments went insane with the Wuhan Flu and began fudging data and removing information. Why governments aren’t recommending people to take Vitamin D and zinc every day is lunacy.
Obviously, we are individuals. Our bodies have different needs. What works for me may not work for you, so results may vary.
In general, I believe most people can take zinc, vitamin D and selenium with no cause for concern. However, if you are unsure of how this vitamin and these minerals will react in your body, ask a professional. Obviously, you can take too much, so be wise about the doses.
If you can, get blood work done that measures zinc, vitamin D and selenium. You’ll know immediately if you are in desperate need of one. In two years, get the same test done to see the difference. In both cases, get a print out of the results so you can have them to compare and to keep on file.
Zinc: I am told those on heart medications cannot take a zinc supplement. Please, before you take zinc, consult with your doctor or the pharmacist who has your prescriptions on file. I am also told pharmacists know more about drug reactions than doctors. Do your own research regarding this and take responsibility for your own health.
Your health is in your hands, not anyone else’s, not even the government’s. Take control of it. Do your research. Consider more than what is presented by the health care system.
I read a sign last week that made me think long and hard about western medicine. It said something like this: modern western medicine studies diseases that kill us; chiropractors study what makes us healthy.
Think about it and choose wisely. You have only one body per lifetime. Treat it well.