Category Archives: Cold & Flu

ND Perspective: Allergy and Sensitivity Testing

The development of allergies is becoming more and more common. The same goes for sensitivities to foods, chemicals and environmental factors.

Our immune system and cellular tissue can become compromised due to inflammatory responses from the mechanisms of each reaction – especially through responses from sensitivities.

Here’s a little more information on the what and why of allergy and sensitivity testing – from an ND’s perspective.


A type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is an immediate release of histamine by IgE antibodies when exposed to an allergen. This type of allergy shows up quickly and sometimes with life-threatening symptoms such as swelling of lips or face, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock. The cause of the reaction is usually quite clear such as peanuts and shellfish.

Immune complex disease 

A type 3 hypersensitivity is mediated by IgG antibodies. This type of process antibodies bind to antigens and there is a gradual formation of antibody-mediated complexes (immune complexes) that can deposit in tissues and joints. Over time, this can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to an array of varying delayed onset of symptoms, like headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, joint pain, eczema, fatigue and many other health concerns.

Allergy testing 

type 1 hypersensitivity

Skin prick testing determines type 1 hypersensitivity, usually done through your medical doctor, where a purified allergen is injected just below the skin to produce a controlled reaction. This process usually tests for allergies like pollen, dander, dust mites, pet dander or certain foods.

If there is a known IgE reaction, foods that are causing an anaphylactic reaction must be avoided indefinitely.

type 3 hypersensitivity 

Food Sensitivity testing exists to determine type 3 hypersensitivity reactions. It is a blood test done in a lab and usually requisitioned by a naturopathic doctor. This type of test can detect sensitivity for over 200 specific foods as well as yeast overgrowth (Candida albicans). It measures the food-specific IgG antibodies found in the blood.

The test may also reveal high levels of IgG antibodies to food that you never or rarely eat, but the same proteins can exist in multiple foods and this is explained by the test results. ‘Treating the root cause’ is one of the foundational naturopathic principles. From an ND’s perspective, testing is beneficial in knowing what the culprit is that is causing the IgG reaction.

Environmental allergens, however, are not so easily avoided. Developing preventative lifestyle methods such as introducing a high-quality air purifier in the house, cleaning dust & pollen laden surfaces, and closing windows, especially during the night, when pollen release is at its highest, can be helpful.

However, when it comes to foods that are causing a type 3 hypersensitivity reaction, a more preventative approach can be taken. First, removing the offending food(s) for a lengthy period of time is a must. Using substances to heal the gut and support the body’s digestive system while promoting proper elimination is the next step (see list below).

An intensive healing protocol, known as the Four R’s (remove, replace, repair and reinoculate is often used if the intestinal wall has been compromised due to ongoing inflammation from sensitivities).

Depending on the severity of the sensitivity and the tissue damage it may have caused, integration of the original foods that were eliminated may be slowly reintroduced while monitoring symptoms.

Key therapies in practice 

L-glutamine is an amino acid that repairs cells when damage has occurred from food sensitivities, like inflammation. This inflammation can create spaces between the cells in the gut which allow for bacteria, food and toxic by-products to enter the bloodstream and cause subsequent ailments.

Vitamin C  acts as a natural antihistamine in high doses and helps strengthen the immune system by increasing white blood cells, improves the linings of mucous membranes to reduce pollen and other airborne allergens. Vitamin C can be easily be taken just before bowel tolerance (at the point it causes diarrhea) to make sure maximum absorption and benefit have occurred.

Probiotics like CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B, help strengthen the immune system by reducing inflammation and keep toxins moving through the system and out through the bowels efficiently.

Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, Selenium, and CoQ10 and N-Acetyl-cysteine are key at providing phase 1 and phase 2 in the liver with the nutrients it needs to process allergens efficiently so they can be eliminated through the colon.

Omega 3 fatty acids have an amazing anti-inflammatory effect, thus calming down the symptoms associated with allergies but also improving the immune system at the same time.

Detoxification is very important for chronic allergies, such as seasonal, asthma and hives, and is an area I usually begin with when developing a patient’s treatment plan that will properly address their allergies. This approach not only helps with treating the current symptoms but also addresses the root cause of improving the functioning of the elimination organs to reduce overall allergenic potential.

This, in turn, allows food and toxins to be processed properly, reducing toxic buildup from waste particles from inflammatory reactions.

Using supplements to support liver health, such as CanPrev’s Detox Pro, can ensure the liver has the nutrients it requires to neutralize toxins and get them out of the body. Along with eating a healthful anti-inflammatory diet, lots of water and fiber are all essential to enhance these detoxification systems, improve one’s immune response and decrease food sensitivities and allergy symptoms.

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Preparing Your Immune System for Air Travel

You’re dreaming of sunshine, scenic views, and counting the minutes till you board an airplane en route to your spring break getaway. But, have you stopped to consider how you’ll stay healthy during your travels?

It’s no secret that airports and planes are well-traveled public spaces that contain a ton of germs! Some of which can make you sick, thanks to close proximity with the thousands of passengers that frequent air travel on a daily basis – and we have no control over the hygiene of others!

Even if you aren’t overly concerned with germs in everyday life, it doesn’t hurt to take extra precaution to protect yourself from potential illness-causing germs when traveling.

A healthy immune system is your first line of defense against catching an unwelcome virus, like the cold or the flu. Before you put the finishing touches on your packing list, there are a few items you’ll want to include to help ensure you arrive at your destination in good health.

1. Sanitize Your Air Space

Come prepared to clean your personal flight space!

  • Include cleansing wipes and hand sanitizer in your carry-on and use them diligently throughout your flight
  • Upon boarding, wipe down any surfaces you may touch, like your tray, seatbelt buckle, headrest, armrests, and overhead air vent controls
  • Clean your hands with sanitizer before eating and drinking and after using the bathroom.
  • To avoid direct contact with bathroom surfaces, use clean paper towels when handling flushers, faucets, and door handles
  • 2. Stay Hydrated

    Flying is dehydrating to the body due to dry air and low humidity levels found at high altitudes. A study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research suggests the low humidity levels on planes are to blame for the increased prevalence of colds among air travelers [1].

  • Drinking water throughout your flight can counteract the drying effects of air travel
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, like coffee and soda, as these can dehydrate you further
  • Don’t rely only on the beverage cart for your hydration needs – it’s not enough, especially during long flights.
  • Purchase bottled water in the airport prior to take-off or bring a refillable bottle from home to guarantee you have plenty of fresh water to sip throughout your flight
  • Vitamin C can also enhance immune system function to help protect you against germs. However, our bodies are unable to make and store this vitamin, so consider enhancing your water with a supplement containing Vitamin C, like the healthy dose you get in our effervescent ElectroMag!

    3. Protect Naturally

    Proper hydration also helps support the mucous membranes in your nostrils and throat. These membranes, also known as the Mucociliary Clearance System, are a first-line of defense against invasive air-borne pathogens [1].

    The dry air found in plane cabins prevents this mucous from effectively clearing away harmful bacteria, leaving your respiratory system more susceptible to catching a cold while you’re flying.

    Essential oils, like tea tree and oregano, have antimicrobial properties that can aid your mucous membranes and immune system in protecting against air-borne bacteria.

    Studies have found tea tree oil works as an antimicrobial by disturbing microbes’ protective cellular structures [3].

    Naturopath tips:

    Place a dab of tea tree ointment in each nostril before flying to help capture harmful germs and prevent them from entering and infecting the respiratory system.

    It’s believed oregano oil works the same way. A few drops of oregano oil placed under your tongue or added to your water can help ward off harmful germs.

    While research shows you can boost your immunity and/or shorten the duration of a cold with supplementation, the best thing to do to ensure a strong immune system during travel is to take good care of it regularly – aka before and after any trips.

    Regular healthy habits to help keep your immune system strong include:

    • getting plenty of quality sleep
    • drinking lots of water
    • eating a balanced diet, rich with whole foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables
    • supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin and a therapeutic dose of gut-protecting probiotics

    Managing stress is also important since chronic stress decreases the function of your immune system.

    If flying or preparing for travel leaves you feeling stressed or anxious, take extra care in finding time to rest. Whether it’s with meditation, light physical activity, a massage, or other activity that you find relaxing or decompressing.

    Wherever your destination, planning ahead and “preparing” your immune system before and during air travel will leave you feeling energized and ready to make the most of your travels.

    CanPrev recommends

    Probiotic 15B
    Synergy C with Seabuckthorn

    Studies & Referenced Content

    [1] Journal of Environmental Health Research, 2004, Common cold transmission in commercial aircraft: industry and passenger implications

    [2] Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, 2013, Roles of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation

    [3] Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2000, The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil)

    Is your workout making you sick?

    If you’re constantly coming down with colds or flu, the intensity of your workouts could be to blame.

    Research shows that high-intensity exercise can actually compromise your immune system rather than strengthen it.

    One study determined that while moderate exercise can lower the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, the risk is increased when greater demand is put on the body.

    In fact, high-intensity exercise comprising 90 minutes of exercise or more can impair immunity for up to three days.

    Now, before you hang up your gym shoes in defeat, there’s good news: certain herbs can act as effective natural immunity boosters, and are generally considered safe for most people.

    Exercising at a steady pace three or four days a week is the smartest approach. But if you’re the type to take an aerobics class as a warmup to something a little more intense, you might want to take precaution and consider pre-exercise supplementation.

    So how exactly do these herbs help? Some increase disease-fighting white blood cell levels, while others have natural antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Certain herbs can even alter the body’s stress response, which in turn indirectly strengthens the immune system.

    A few tried-and-true natural remedies:


    This multi-tasking herb increases the production of antibodies in the respiratory passages and protects against bacterial and viral infections. It also increases NK (natural killer) cells, which are a type of white blood cell.

    Astragalus is a safe long-term immune support herb; plus it has a warming effect on the body, making it ideal for those who train outdoors.

    Those with autoimmune disorders should use it with caution, as it can stimulate an already over-active immune system.

    American Ginseng

    Classified as an adaptogenic herb, ginseng increases the body’s internal resistance to stress. Studies show that it can also shorten the duration and severity of colds and flu.

    Out of all the varieties of ginseng, American is less stimulating and therefore more suitable for younger people. Diabetics and those taking blood-thinners or digoxin should consult with a healthcare provider before using.

    Holy Basil

    Another adaptogenic herb, holy basil has antimicrobial properties and has been used in Indian traditional medicine for years to help increase energy, improve stress resistance and relieve coughs and cold. Diabetics and those taking heart or blood pressure medications should consult a doctor before using.


    A primary herb for recovering from periods of exhaustion or illness. It’s an excellent rejuvenating tonic that helps to boost endurance while calming the nervous system.

    Consumption of alcohol or sedatives is not recommended while taking this.

    Also worth noting: It’s common for herbs to have more than one healing property. Make natural remedies part of your workout routine to help build up your immune system – and help keep illness at bay. CanPrev’s Cold-Pro™ contains astragalus, American ginseng plus five other potent, immune-boosting nutrients and anti-viral and antibacterial herbs. Take Cold-Pro™ to help maintain immune system function and relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infection.

    CanPrev immunity boosters for cold & flu prevention and management

    Visit our website to find these, and our other favourite immunity-boosting and cold-fighting products.

    Synergy C Cold-Pro Adrenal-Pro-2Oil of Oregano 15ml