Last week I left Washington D.C. and came back to Florida with strep throat. I have theorized that many factors lead to a compromised immune system such as stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and excessive alcoholic consumption on St. Patrick’s Day. I was given my diagnosis and medication by a medical doctor in Virginia and, in addition to those interventions, I supplemented my diet with antimicrobial foods.
At NUHS, we take two nutritional biochemistry classes, three nutrition classes, and two botanical medicine classes. In Nutritional Biochemistry, we discussed micronutrients like zinc and Vitamin C and how they can be immunopotentiating. In Botanical Medicine, we discussed functional foods as well as herbal supplements like Echinacea and Goldenseal, which are immunopotentiating and antimicrobial. To combat this infection I decided to take the prescribed antibiotics but prescribed myself a healthy diet of antimicrobial foods.
Strep throat will go away with or without antibiotics, however one can remain contagious for two to three weeks if one does not treat with antibiotics. I do not believe the literature took into account diet and herbal supplements, which are also broad-spectrum antimicrobials and may have similar effects to the antibiotics. That said, I did not want to risk it because I live with my girlfriend and go to school with people who are not sick. I did not want to infect my classmates or significant other. I bought an over the counter supplement with zinc, vitamin C, Echinacea, ginger, selenium, and other micronutrients essential to the immune system.
In Nutritional Biochemistry, we discussed nutrient and drug interactions of the supplements. Zinc can affect absorption of antibiotics and reduce their effectiveness. One must wait three hours between consumption of each in order to ensure absorption. In order to soothe my throat, I gargled with salt water and drank plenty of green tea. In order to enhance the tea’s soothing and medicinal properties, I added fresh ginger root, lemon, and raw unfiltered honey. The ginger, lemon, and raw honey are all anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Green tea is also an abundant source of antioxidants.
For dinner, I made an antimicrobial soup from scratch using organic bone broth, garlic, celery, peppers, onions, carrots, chicken, and romaine lettuce. I then seasoned it with basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and parsley. The bone broth has minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It also contains the amino acids proline and glutamine, which are vital to immune function. Celery, peppers, onions, and garlic are all potent antimicrobials as are the herbs I used for seasoning. Finally the protein from chicken is necessary to help replenish and fuel the immune system. Protein is required in our diet because we cannot synthesize the 10 essential amino acids – phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, histidine, arginine, leucine, and lysine. These are necessary for a multitude of functions within the body and therefore required when one is sick.
I had a complete resolution of symptoms in just two days of this regimen. I highly recommend anyone who has an illness to use complementary treatments in addition to the conventional treatments like antibiotics. If one does not have access to antibiotics, garlic, onions, and oregano are all potent broad spectrum antimicrobials and can be used to help fight the infection. Always seek out a medical professional when you feel ill. Even as someone who knows a few things about diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, I seek out professional help when necessary. We all have a part to play in the new health care dynamic; we learn complementary treatments for any and all conditions here at National that will enable me to help my patients in more ways than just adjusting the spine.
That’s all for this week. Please send any questions you have tomailto:[email protected]