Anxiety, Depression & Natural Medicine
Over the past several decades, natural medicine has increasingly become a part of the everyday treatment of many conditions, including anxiety and depression.
With one in five Australians experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression at some point in their life and the rising cost of prescription medications, along with the adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms that many suffer from, it is not surprising that many are exploring alternative avenues. Research on treating mood disorders with herbal medicine and supplements has increased considerably with evidence showing the efficacy of many treatments.
Natural therapies proven to be beneficial in the prevention, management and treatment of anxiety and depression include –
- Herbal medicines
- Nutritional and dietary modifications
- Lifestyle adjustments and improvements
- Assistance with addressing nutrient deficiencies with supplemention
Healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, spirit and emotions!
Integrating conventional and alternative therapies to prevent and treat these conditions and most importantly, to promote optimal health.
Complementing psychological support, treatment with natural medicine for mood disorders such as anxiety and depression aims to reduce the associated symptoms, improve mood, enhance energy levels and feelings of vitality as well as optimising the patient’s nutrition, lifestyle and psychological health.
Diet is such a powerful tool and so easily modified when aiming to optimise one’s health. A diet based on a variety of nutrient dense wholefoods should be followed by individuals of all ages for preventing and managing depression. Results from an Australian research study exploring the associations with fruit and vegetable consumption and improved psychological health have stated, “the happiness health links reached a peak at eight servings a day of fruits and vegetables. The improvements in mental health were seen within 24 months of increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten.” Essential also is eating regular meals to stabilise blood sugar levels, as blood sugar irregularities have a major impact on our mood and behaviour.
Regular exercise is said to be the most powerful natural antidepressant, displaying beneficial and long-lasting results. Suggested exercise is strength training, aerobics and yoga. Also beneficial are relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation therapy, deep breathing exercises and guided imagery for stress management, coping strategies for everyday stressors and overall calming of the mind, body and spirit.
Hormonal imbalances may need addressing – depression can be a symptom of thyroid disease, adrenal or hypothalamic dysfunction. Many herbs are specific to hormonal health and together with changes to one’s diet and lifestyle, hormonal imbalances can be restored.
Nutrient deficiencies should be considered – it only takes a single nutrient deficiency to alter brain function and induce depression or anxiety. Together with alterations to diet, supplementing can be very beneficial. Results of studies have found S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) to be safe and effective in the treatment of depression as it is said to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain just as some antidepressants do. Evidence-based data also suggests supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids to be effective in the treatment of mood disorders.
Nutritional supplements often used in the treatment of mood disorders –
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-http)
- B Complex + Vitamin B₁, B₆ and B₉
- Essential Fatty Acids
- Folate and B₁₂
- Vitamin C, D and E
Herbal medicine can offer considerable assistance for anxiety and depression. Available evidence suggests that nutritional & herbal supplements are effective methods for treating anxiety & anxiety-related conditions without the risk of serious side effects. Herbs such as Piper methysticum (Kava) provide effective relief from symptoms with minor or no side effects in comparison to pharmaceutical treatments. Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo) is said to be not only beneficial in treatment, it also minimises the side effects of these medications.
The emphasis on individualised treatment is a significant advantage when treating with herbal medicines, as the practitioner is able to address the specific needs of each patient accordingly.
With the purpose of stabilising and elevating mood, some herbs used in the treatment of anxiety and depression work directly on restoring function and integrity to the nervous system, creating a toning and relaxing effect. Others concentrate on restoring the body’s natural response to stress, increasing resistance to physical, environmental and emotional stressors.
Herbs commonly used herbs to treat anxiety and depression –
- Hypericum perforatum – John’s Wort
- Passiflora incarnate – Passionflower
- Eleutherococcus senticosus – Siberian Ginseng
- Melissa officinalis – Lemon Balm
- Lavendula officinalis – Lavender
- Rosemarinus officinalis – Rosemary
“Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine be thy Food”
Nutrition is the essence of health and we now know that diet is as important to our mental health as it is to our physical health.
Each day we are learning more about the connection between the gut, inflammation, the immune system and brain health. Consuming a poor quality diet and eating highly processed junk food encourages constant low levels of inflammation throughout the body – this inflammatory response can disrupt the processes in the brain that helps to regulate our mood.
A healthy diet, especially a nutrient dense wholefood diet will help to reduce inflammation and positively impact the immune system and gut microbiota. The main constituents of the diet should be plant foods such as vegetables, salads, fruits, legumes, wholegrains, raw nuts, fish, lean red meats and healthy fats, such as olive oil.
Saturated fats & refined sugars have a very potent negative impact on brain proteins that we know are important in depression. The same proteins protect the brain against oxidative stress and promote new brain cell growth. Also impacted by saturated fat is the stress response system, significant in both anxiety and depression. Adequate protein in the diet is essential for the availability of amino acids as well as for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and regular consumption of fatty fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) is associated with a reduced incidence of depression. Stimulants, such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol that exhaust or depress mood should be avoided.
Many of my patients prevent to the clinic suffering from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
This may be due to poor dietary intake as well as farming and agricultural methods, including the use of fertilisers, which affect the vitamin and mineral balance of the soil and in turn the food we consume.
I do recommend that most people take a multivitamin supplement to prevent deficiency, but which vitamin is right for you?
We all have differing needs from our supplements dependant on our stage of life, diet and lifestyle.
I am often confronted with explaining to my patients why their retail or multi-level marketing supplement is not working for them and thus why they should always choose a Practitioner prescribed supplement.
As is evident by looking at my clinic shelves there is not one company that I feel does the best of everything. Each of my children’s, pregnancy, men’s, fertility and over fifties multivitamins are sourced from different supplement companies.
What I look for when choosing a multivitamin is that the nutrient, herb or superfood levels are in the therapeutic range. The nutrients must also be in the correct forms for optimal absorption.
If herbs/superfoods are included in a supplement that they are in fact the right part of the plant and that they are what they say they are.
The companies I choose my supplements form do multiple tests to ensure that the herbs/foods included in the supplements have not been adulterated.
Cheaper over the counter brands often use allergenic products such as lactose/gluten in their supplements. Excipients are the compounds used to stabilise a tablet to help it stick together.
As you can see there is lots to consider when choosing the right multivitamin.
Here is a list of the different female supplements I recommend dependant on my patient’s needs.
Over 50’s patients or patients needing extra antioxidant support: Prime Essentials Multivitamin and Mineral or Mygen Health fertility formula. Some of my 60-year-old patients have a giggle when I send them out the door with a fertility formula, but the antioxidants in this Multivitamin combination are the bomb!
Patients planning to conceive in the next three months: Mygen Multivitamin for women is such a beautifully formulated preconception supplement with maximum nutrient supplementation that is needed to promote a healthy pregnancy. Antioxidant support has been proven to be very important for the development of both a healthy egg and this supplement out performs any multi in this area.
Women aiming to achieve good hormonal balance: Vital women is my multi of choice for premenopausal women who need the added benefit of herbal remedies to achieve healthy hormonal balance.
Women focussed on good oestrogen clearance: Femme Essentials Multivitamin and Mineral: this supplement is perfectly formulated to promote oestrogen clearance and thus promoting better breast health.
Pregnancy: Mygen Maternity this supplement out ranks all multivitamins when it comes to creating a healthy baby. With increased nutrient needs in pregnancy, this multi has it all covered!
To be sure you are getting the very best supplement for your needs with the best quality nutrients always ensure that you are only taking a practitioner only supplement.
Remember that some of your vitamins will only be absorbed if they are consumed with some fat so please take your multivitamins with food.
Finding peace and happiness in a busy lifestyle can be hard for some and the cooler months can make this particularly hard with less outdoor exercise and sun exposure resulting in less serotonin boosts and vitamin D absorption.
To help you work towards a healthy, happy winter I have put together 9 essential lifestyle and nutrition tips to keep you smiling!
1. Check your vitamin D levels, although normal range for vitamin D is between 50 and 200, the OPTIMAL range to aim for would be over 85.
Deficiency of vitamin D has significant medical and psychological consequences. Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system, which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function.
2. Exercise a minimum of four times per week. With improved fitness, you will notice better mood, sleeping patterns and energy levels. There is nothing like exercise to change the levels of chemicals in the brain, endorphins and to reduce stress hormones.
3. Fight off bugs with good health gut health. If you have any awareness of your digestive system, such as bloating, pain, indigestion constipation or diarrhea, it is worthwhile addressing these by including herbal medicines, glutamine and the right type of probiotic for your system.
The gut/brain axis is a major focus of resolving underlying inflammatory drivers believed to cause depression.
4.Limit or stop your alcohol intake. Alcohol is a known depressant and yet many people use it to medicate themselves to take away the pain of depression. This quick fix, will only worsen your symptoms the next day.
5. Support your adrenals. Stress is everywhere we look these days. Promoting resiliency and managing stress via herbal adrenal support is the key when looking to reduce your nervous system from being triggered. Choosing the right adrenal tonic for yourself is the key. Feeling tired and wired? Then reach for Withania, one of my favourite adrenal tonics.
6. Take your supplements daily. The key to preventative medicine, is providing your body with all the micronutrients that even a healthy diet cannot provide, sadly our soils do not have the minerals in them that they used to as such our foods today have less nutrients, than in our grandparent’s day. I recommend that everyone should take a practitioner only, prescribed multivitamin, perhaps a methylated B vitamin tablet (if under high stress) and fish oils daily.
60 to 70% of your brain is made of fat. Ensuring that your body is provided with clean filtered fish oils will nourish your hippocampus to help your body manage stress.
7. Connect with others, join a group, contribution and sense of community helps to lift your spirits.
8. Consider mindfulness. The power of your thought is key when it comes to managing negative thought patterns. One of my favourite books is the Happiness Trap by Russ Harris.
9. Whole food is happy food! Relieve Stress with anti-inflammatory strategies. Reduce sugar, alcohol and packaged foods. Eat an abundance of vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, small portions of protein, small amounts wholegrains and dairy (optional). NB Diet is absolutely a personal choice some people thrive on a vegetarian diet whilst others prefer a Mediterranean style diet. Whatever diet you follow just choose less packaged foods and more wholefoods.
Please know that there is always someone to listen. If you feel that you can’t talk to your family or friends there are great psychologists, counsellors and hypnotherapists available to help. Speak to your doctor or health professional for a referral of who they think would best suit your needs.
Remember after the winter there is always spring ?
Detoxification remains one of the core concepts of naturopathic medicine. At a clinical level, effective detoxification is far more than a focus on the liver detoxification pathways. The skin, lymphatics, bowel, kidneys and respiration are all other essential systems to support during a truly holistic detoxification program, yet often overlooked and forgotten.
In my clinic, I recommend an easy 3-week detoxification program that is very gentle, yet very effective. It is not just a detox diet but a complete program that will enhance your vitality and well-being. During the 3-week program you will learn how to reduce your toxicity levels through diet, gentle exercise and other simple techniques.
You can eat 3 healthy meals per day and snacks, choosing from a wide variety of healthy foods and the choices increase with each week of the program. The program includes a few herbal and nutritional supplements that enhance the body’s detoxification pathways and improve health and vitality.
On completion of the program you will feel and look fantastic!
The combined effect of stimulating the body’s detoxification systems results in a wonderful cleansing of the body, allowing your cells to renew and start performing at maximum capacity. Detoxing now helps to avoid health problems in the future.
Will you benefit from this program?
Most people benefit from doing a detox once or twice a year (twice is ideal). The signs and symptoms of toxic overload are many and varied. Symptoms such as lack of energy, poor sleep and reduced capacity to concentrate are often accepted as an inevitable part of a stressful life. Although stress often plays a role in the development of these symptoms, detoxing will improve them greatly. A toxic overload in the body greatly increases stress, therefore by reducing toxicity you automatically reduce stress and improve health.
Many female reproductive problems such as endometriosis, fibroids and PMS can result from poor clearance of hormones from the body. Detoxification alone will often bring about a significant improvement in these conditions. It is ideal to do a detox as part of pre-conception care so that you are as healthy as possible when pregnancy occurs. Pre-conception health is equally important for both prospective parents.
Weight loss is greatly improved by reducing the toxic load. It is good to do a detox prior to embarking on a weight loss program, particularly if you have a lot of weight to lose. You will begin to lose weight whilst doing the Detox for Health Program and it will ensure that the detoxification systems are operating at full potential.
Detoxing speeds up weight loss!
During the process of weight loss, as fat is burned for energy, toxins are released and it is important that these be eliminated efficiently from the body. A buildup of these toxins will significantly slow or halt weight loss.
Have you ever been losing weight and then the weight loss suddenly stops for no apparent reason and no matter what you do it refuses to budge? This phenomenon is usually the result of a buildup of toxins and is easily corrected by undertaking a well-designed detox program.
You will be surprised at how easy it is and how fabulous you feel at the end.
When I detox, my therapeutic aim is to cleanse out my liver and get my fitness back to peak condition. I am taking the following herbs, nutrients and superfoods:
1. Probiotics – essential to rebalance the gut flora when detoxing
2. Herbs – turmeric (antioxidant), St Mary’s thistle (liver tonic), yellowdock, slippery elm (soothes and heals the whole digestive system and Schizandra (liver tonic)
3. Acai berry – richest anti-oxidant berry in the world
4. Green smoothies! With lots of mint and ginger
5. Aloe Vera juice – soothes the entire digestive system, great if constipation is an issue
6. Magnesium after the gym
7. Acetyl Carnitine before the gym
8. Coconut water – daily for hydration
9. Fish oils – for cognitive function, hormonal balance and anti-inflammatory action
As you can see I do practice what I preach and feel fantastic for it! I encourage you to join me and do a 3-week cleanse at least twice per year so that you can have abundant energy, balanced hormones and immune system.
The above covers the internal workings of the body, but don’t forget your mind. Regular exercise and mediation will keep your mind sharp and your stress hormones under control!
It makes me ridiculously happy to see so many of my clients having achieved their health goals this year. Coming into the festive season, with extra party foods and drinks, can though undo some of the good work that has been done on improving gut health. Higher alcohol, gluten and sugar intake can all lead to digestive upsets, immune dysfunction, mood imbalances and lower energy levels.
We’re only human and the temptation of your favourite treats over the holiday period, not to mention a glass (or two or four) of bubbles to bring in the new year, can be hard to resist.
Even without overindulgence of food and alcohol, the onset of leisure sickness is a common condition experienced by people whose body doesn’t adapt well to a non-working situation. This is unfortunately a common illness resulting in fatigue, nausea, headache/migraine and cold and flu like symptoms. School teachers are well known to be frequently affected by this phenomenon.
I really want you to enjoy your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, so here are some tips to help get you through the festive season and recharge over the holidays.
I heard a saying recently that opening a bottle of wine is like opening a bottle of depression and anxiety – a particularly negative statement, I know, but true for so many! This happens because alcohol burns up B group vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
As you’re aware, alcohol is also a diuretic, so drinking water in between each alcoholic drink or topping up your wine glass with mineral water, is a great way to stay hydrated.
Alcohol also decreases your immune health by killing off your good bacteria!
How to feel fabulous during and after the party is over!
To replace the vitamin B that alcohol can reduce, I recommend Methylated B, this will be good for; improving your mood, increasing your energy and healing your nervous system. Note that the holiday period is the best time to heal your worn-out adrenals and nervous system, when your stress and therefore cortisol levels are low.
My favourite herbal remedies for supporting adrenals and the exhaustion that comes with overworked adrenals are; Withania, Rehmannia and Licorice. These are available in either liquid or tablet form.
For post party hydration check out my favourite Green Smoothie remedy. Green Smoothie Download. Be sure to add extra mint and ginger as this will help settle your stomach, and perhaps add a probiotic to put back what the alcohol and sugary foods has killed off.
If you’re tempted to indulge in foods that aren’t apart of your normal whole food diet, perhaps have a shot of ginger tea or apple cider vinegar to get your digestive enzymes working for you. Please remember apple cider vinegar is harsh on the enamel of your teeth so always dilute with water and don’t swish before you swallow.
If you get to mid-January and are still feeling a little worse for wear, let me know and I can guide you through a quick yet comprehensive cleanse to have you starting the New Year on top!
Enjoy your well-earned break.
With the pollens of Spring many people find themselves rushing off to the pharmacy for antihistamines. Unfortunately, these drugs rarely deal with all of the symptoms of seasonal hay fever not to mention the unwanted side effects such as headaches, sleeplessness/sleepiness and rapid heartbeat.
So if you are wanting to tackle your hay fever symptoms naturally this Spring why not try natures proven remedies.
• Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids – The bioflavonoids are natural antihistamines and strongly anti-allergenic while the vitamin C will support your immune system and at the same time significantly depress histamine levels. Recommended product: Metagenics C- Ultrascorb tablets
• Vitamin A – Vitamin A is exceptional at cutting through thick mucus and supporting the immune system. Unless you are trying to conceive, this is a great supplement for nasal and sinus congestion. Recommended product: Thompsons Vitamin A 10000 iu
• Zinc – Zinc supports healthy immune function. Reducing sinus infections, duration of colds and has a modulates inflammatory cytokines and histamine release that exacerbates hay fever symptoms. Recommended product: Metagenics Metazinc tablet or powder
• Probiotics – Probiotics are bowel microflora organisms that help the body to maintain good gut and immune health. It is important to note, that there are many different kinds of probiotics all with different functions in the body. The best type of probiotics proven to reduce occurrence of, and manage allergy symptoms are ones that balance the immune system. Both Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Paracasei, have been proven in double blind placebo-controlled trials to improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis by down regulating inflammatory cytokines which are involved in allergy symptoms. Recommended product: Ultra Flora Immune Control
Herbal Medicines have been used for years to reduce congestion, infections and histaminic reactions. My favourite combination of herbs includes; Perilla, Atractylodes and Albizia. This combination of herbs has been proven to relieve symptoms of allergies and hay fever by stabilising mast cells and down regulating the cytokines that cause inflammation. This combination of herbs, along with Quercitin, come in tablet form and have proven to be a favourite of my patients who experience hay fever. Recommended product: Allergeze
Of course your overall good health to reduce allergy symptoms starts with good nutrition. I often see in clinic that it’s my patients who are sensitive to airborne allergens that also tend to be sensitive to certain foods. Identifying and removing those foods from the diet greatly improves their health and reduces allergy symptoms by reducing the histamine reaction in the body.
If you are suspicious that food intolerances may be a factor to your imbalanced immune system, I would recommend booking in for a food intolerance test next time you are in the clinic. This simple blood test (just a finger prick so also suitable for children) is performed in the clinic and within 45 minutes we are able to identify if any of the 55 different foods that are tested are causing IGg reactions in your blood indicating food intolerance.
We are exposed to toxins in our environment almost everywhere we turn but we do have the power to ensure our home environments a safe haven from the chemical onslaught through our choices in cleaning products, cookware, house paint, carpet, deodorant, makeup, food, and water.
Examining each and every product we come into contact with may sound extreme, but for your health, as well as the health of your family it is necessary. Many of the chemicals that we are exposed to in our environment are endocrine disruptors i.e. they upset the natural balance of both our detoxification pathways and our hormones.
Oven cleaners, deodorant, perfume, pesticides, cleaning products, insect repellents, cigarettes, shampoos, hair dyes, processed foods, deep sea fish, tooth paste, tap water, lead paint, new carpet, and amalgam fillings are all sources of toxic exposure but most of these also has a natural alternative that can be so much better for your body and the environment.
Here are some practical ways to limit clean up your environment:
The closer we get to nature, the more we can protect ourselves from unnecessary toxins. Cleaning up your environment, will make you more aware of the array of chemicals that we do not want to you be exposed to and will inspire you to have a clean safe family home.
It is important to remember that just because products are sold over the counter this doesn’t mean that they won’t harm you. Always remember that the cosmetic and personal care industry is a business. It is driven by the principle of maximising economic gain.
So please check your bathroom cupboard and start reading the ingredients list on your personal care products and replace any products which may contain any of the chemicals with organic chemical free products.
1. Youbicier-Smio, B.J. et al “biological effects of continuous exposure of embryos and young chickens to electromagnetic fields emitted by video display units” , Bioelectromagnetics, vol 18(7) (19997), pp 514 – 23)
Healthy eating is SO important but never forget that exercise is an integral part of any type of weight loss program. It has a beneficial impact on appetite, and provides long-term health benefits. For most patients it’s recommended to aim for, or build up to, 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, where you are puffing but can still talk, at least four days per week.
Activities can include a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise such as:
• Weight bearing exercises
Don’t Wait for Weight Loss - Do It Now!
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall health and is one of the best steps you can take in preventing many chronic health conditions. With our new professional weight management program, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is easy! Now is the best time to start tackling your weight loss goals, so you can be your happiest and healthiest.
Taking the first step to healthy weight is a common goal for us all. If you find that your indulgences have settled on your hips, or you’ve been carrying excess weight for some time now, it’s time to find your motivation for change. Set yourself the goal of a fantastic new you. It’s important to ensure good muscle mass is maintained during weight loss, as this will promote healthy metabolism and enable you to keep the fat off long term without that rebound.
We find it extremely beneficial and motivating doing regular Bio Impedance Assessments with our VLA machine to ensure that our patients successfully lose fat while maintaining muscle. This very clever machine was invented by NASA to measure their astronaut’s body composition before going into out of space and then when they returned. It gives us a report of exactly how much muscle mass, body fat and fluid the body is carrying. It also tells us how well our cells are ageing.
Our delicious, convenient and simple to follow dietary program will help to keep you feeling full, decrease your appetite and limit those sweet cravings in order to facilitate successful weight loss goals.
Don’t wait for summer to get started on your weight loss, start now and be set to hit the beach next summer.
If you’re overweight, or carrying a few extra kilos, you may already have tried one of those ‘fad diets’ advertised in magazines and on the internet. However, many of these diets can leave you feeling hungry and slow down your metabolism, making you more likely to suffer from rebound weight gain. This is because these diets frequently focus on low fat foods which are often higher in sugar or carbohydrates and low in protein. You may register weight loss on the scales, but be losing valuable muscle rather than fat. It is important to ensure good muscle mass is maintained during weight loss, as this will promote healthy metabolism and enable you to keep the fat off long term without the rebound.
TONIC’S totally natural and healthy Weight Management Program can help you successfully lose fat while maintaining muscle. Our convenient and simple to follow dietary program will help keep you feeling full, decrease your appetite and limit those sweet cravings in order to facilitate successful weight loss.
Look Good, Feel Great
Losing extra body fat with our professional Weight Management Program not only brings the benefit of looking good and feeling great, but can also help improve your energy levels, reduce your risk of developing many chronic diseases and encourage healthy ageing. It can also be a very rewarding and empowering experience.
Benefits of Regular Support
Keeping motivated and staying on track with your weight loss goals can be difficult to do on your own. Regular visits to our clinic can often be the key to success in fat loss and feeling great. We can provide professional advice to overcome your obstacles to weight loss as well as using our Bio Impedance Machine to measure exactly how much fat, muscle and fluid you’re carrying. This helps us design the perfect diet and exercise program for you.
6 Easy Steps to Looking and Feeling Great
The professional Weight Management Program uses a low carbohydrate, moderate protein approach to food intake, which promotes steady and consistent weight loss.
The six simple steps of our program are:
1. Consume two healthy meals per day consisting of a palm size portion of protein and three handfuls of allowable vegetables. One handful of vegetables may be replaced by an allowable portion of fruit each day.
2. A high protein meal replacement once per day in the form of a shake or a delicious bar.
3. Include two low carbohydrate protein snacks per day.
4. Incorporate healthy oils as a part of your daily diet.
5. Aim for 40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise four times per week, or as individually recommended.
6. Measure your ketones using Ketostix™ twice daily. Ketones appear in your urine if you are burning fat. By measuring ketone levels every day, you can monitor your fat burning in real time!
Are you at the mercy of winter each year? Do those dreaded colds and flus leave you and your family with runny noses, coughs, sore throats, headaches, fevers and fatigue through the winter months?
These symptoms are often the leading cause of time away from school and work. Now is the perfect time to boost your immune system and defend against cold and flu symptoms. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. If you frequently catch colds and flu, it may be that your immune system is out of balance and making you more susceptible to catching infections that are all too often shared around at this time of year.