If your college bound son or daughter is like many young adults, chances are they often ‘hear’ your advice but are not really ‘listening’ (I think many of you know what I am talking about)! As the proud parent of two wonderful daughters who just left for the University of Michigan, I know first hand that a parent’s job is never done. This is why I always give my daughters the same advice when it comes to their health. Over the years my fatherly guidance has finally held some traction. Let me know if you experience the same!
Dr B’s Top 6 Ways For Our College Kids to Stay Healthy:
Advice #1 Water: Remind your kids to drink plenty of water! Dehydration is definitely a recipe for disaster when it comes to their immune system. Most of the young adults I see at my practice are dehydrated and do not even know it. Beverages like coffee, juice, and soda are NOT substitutes for water and can worsen a dehydrated condition. Figuring out how much water they need is easy! Just take their weight in pounds and divide by two. The result is how many ounces of water they should drink each day.
Advice #2 Diet: There is no question that a healthy diet is one of the most important lifestyle choices to keep your college student’s immune system strong. While they may be tempted with the late night pizza and soda, remind them that keeping processed foods & soft drinks to a minimum is a critical part of a healthy diet. The ingestion of white, refined sugar (e.g. high fructose corn syrup) and flour causes the white blood cells to become sluggish for hours. Research has shown that white blood cells, the first line of defense for our immune system, become dysfunctional for up to five hours after ingesting refined sugar.
Advice #3 Exercise: As part of their health regimen, it is important to exercise regularly. I know that this is tough, especially during midterms and exams. Finding the time for physical activity is worth it. Even mild to moderate exercise, as little as 20 minutes a day, three times per week, can make all the difference.
Advice #4 Hygiene: During my years in medical school, one of the best pieces of advice from my mother was to ‘always wash your hands’. Mother knows best! Thorough hand washing helps prevent the spread of germs. Numerous studies back her up, showing that simple hand-washing techniques are very effective at decreasing the transmission of the cold and flu.
Advice #5 Sleep: Tell your kids to avoid the all nighters and get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Their body requires the proper rest to function optimally, stay alert, and to take those exams by storm!
Advice #6 Nutrients: Taking the correct nutrients are equally as important to support their immune system. These would include the daily intake of Vitamins A, C, D, and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Lauricidin, containing the fatty acid monolauren, may be an effective antiviral product in the prevention of cold and flu, as well. learn more about these essential nutrients below:
Alpha Lipoic Acid by PureZen Health / 90 capsules @ $26.00
This fatty acid, found naturally inside every cell in the body, helps to produce energy in the cells. It also acts as an antioxidant and an antiviral agent. I suggest taking 150mg of ALA two times per day at the start of any viral illness.
Bio D-Mulsion Forte by Biotics Research / 1 ounce @ $18.00
There are numerous studies showing that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased incidence of viral illness. People with higher vitamin D levels usually have a shorter course of viral illness, with fewer complications. At the first signs of illness take vitamin D for 4 days.
– Buffered C Powder by Thorne Research / 227 grams @ $17.00
The American chemist, Linus Pauling wrote extensively about the powers of vitamin C, including how it can effectively treat viral infections. Vitamin C deficiency leads to poor immune system functioning. Take (1) scoop of Buffered C powder daily.
Lauricidin by Med Chem Labs / 8 ounces @ $27.00
Monolaurin, a primary ingredient in Lauricidin, is an effective natural antiviral and antibacterial agent. I have found this product indispensable for patients who suffer from frequent viral infections. Monolaurin has been shown to have powerful virucidal (virus-killing) properties. I suggest taking 1 scoop, twice per day as a maintenance dose. Double the dose at the first sign of illness.
Vitamin A & D-3 by Blue Moon Herbal Products / 100 softgels @ $7.00
There is a long history of using vitamin A to treat and prevent viral illnesses. Personally, I have found great success with using high-dose vitamin A (25,000-100,000 units per day) when viral illness symptoms occur. I routinely prescribe my patients to take vitamin A for 7-10 days at the first sign of viral illness. Be aware that beta carotene is not a substitute for vitamin A.
Wishing our sons & daughters a great school year!
Go Blue! – Dr B