Winter sports, or any sports for that matter, can bring excitement of victories, but also wear down the body. In this article I'll be focusing on athletes, as well as families. As a person newer to wrestling, I am learning much about how hard of a sport it really is and the toll it can take on the body. My husband, being the amazing man he is, has lived and breathed wrestling. I want to share with you wisdom and information to keep your kids healthy during sports, mainly their immune system, as well as yourself.
With many months of intense training, poor diet from weight cutting, dehydration and inadequate recovery phases, your immune system weakens. It then becomes more vulnerable to viruses and bacterial infections. Most wrestling environments are breeding grounds for bacteria because of the warm temperatures and the constant transfer of body fluids between wrestlers. You could also say this for any close contact sport as well.
As the season progresses, it becomes harder for you to fight off infection unless some care is taken to "re-charge" your body’s natural defenses. But what can you do to protect yourself?
Maybe you already had this one in mind, or maybe you didn't. Either way, this is an important one! We are surrounded by sugar, everywhere. Processed foods, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, grains like wheat, candies, and so much more! Sugars like these disrupt the gut microflora, which in turn suppresses our immune systems. Dumping sugar into your body can actually lengthen how long you are sick. Your body is going to have to fight the inflammation that the sugar caused instead of fighting the cold. Fill your diet with vegetables, fruits, clean proteins, and good fats! Have healthy snacks like veggies and homemade ranch, jerky, dried fruit strips, sweet potato chips, etc. All those foods have sugars, but they are in their natural form that the body can use!
Rest and Recovery – With the pressure of wrestling season, academic requirements and trying to enjoy a healthy social life, sometimes rest and recovery are ignored. Find the time to give your body a chance to re-charge itself. If that means getting to bed a little earlier or giving up some non-essential activities, then adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
This is needed for the body to recover and function optimally! Your body actually heals as you sleep. You might be wondering, how many hours of sleep do I need? Students should get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Women need more sleep, 8-10 hours a day. Younger children need more, especially when they are sick. Make sure to get restful sleep and wind down without devices like phones, TV, and computers at least 30min before bed. 1-2 hours before is ideal, but I know that is not always possible. This helps to shut the brain off instead of getting it stimulated to stay awake!
Supplements to support the immune system
Silver- Silver hydrosol, a form of colloidal silver, has many properties that will boost your immune system by helping fight those bacteria, viruses and fungi that pass along sickness. This is one I always have in my medicine cabinet. It can be taken every day, weekly, and especially when you are sick, you can take it more often.This is the best silver to get: https://www.amazon.com/Results-RNA-Colloidal-Strength-Effective/dp/B0058HX4K8/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?keywords=results+rna+spray&qid=1580505402&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1&smid=AYHYKUFYWYYAI&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFISVVBWVdRUjNQWjEmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA0NDkwMTMzNlZYWUMzT0VaREc5JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAxNjQ5MTkxMTBOSVc3SzlGWVQ0JndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
Vitamin C-Increases the production of antibodies, interferon and white blood cells. Camu camu is one of the best ways to take it. Naturally high in vitamin C, this can be taken in a powder or capsule form. Lipospheric Vit C is also another great when yo take it as it will absorb faster. You can get this in packets!
Vitamin D-is crucial to activating our immune defenses and without sufficient intake of the vitamin - the killer cells of the immune system (T cells) will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. Most adults need at least 5,000 IU a day. It is best to get your vitamin D level tested by doing a blood test. Then you can know exactly where it is is and how much more you may need to take. A good rule of thumb is 1,000 IU for young kids, and 3,000 IU for adults if you don't know your levels. Its good to know what they are because you may have to take a lot more then other people. Here is a good vitamin D : https://store.thewellnessway.com/vitamin-d3-5000-i-u
You can also get it at most nutrition and grocery stores.
Medicinal Mushrooms- these are great to take for prevention and will help your body when you are fighting a cold. Medicinal mushrooms like reishi and chaga are great for immune support with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Echinacea- A high-quality echinacea will enhance the immune system, promote healthy white blood cells, and encourage healthy upper respiratory function.
Elderberry- Antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant/modulator. Elderberry provides comprehensive immune system support against influenza, colds and other common ailments.
Garlic- This is not only delicious, it has antibacterial and antifungal qualities that make it a great addition to your immune support. It is 100 times more effective than two well-know antibiotics at fighting disease causing bacteria.
Probiotics-( good bacteria) help keep the gut flora healthy and prevent bad bacteria from spreading and growing. Antibiotics kill your good bacteria so you need to repopulate it! When you don't have enough good bacteria, your gut can't help fight infections as well. Your Immune system is mainly in your gut. Make sure to get a probiotic that has prebiotics as well. Prebiotics are food for the probiotics. We sell a great one on our website, but you can also get them at most grocery or health stores. There are refrigerated probiotics (goat milk kefir is great), and there is shelf stable probiotics. Make sure the CFU count is high, anywhere from 15 billion- 100 billion. Look for a label that says "live and active cultures". Start with a lower amount if you have never taken them as there is an adjustment time. Better yet, if you want to save money, eat probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut (the best), kefir, kombucha, pickles, and apple cider vinegar. These foods can be taken everyday instead of buying a supplement.
Oregano (when needed)- This can be taken when sick. I recommend taking the young living vitality oregano essential oil with one drop and fill the rest of the enteric coated capsule (does not get broken down in stomach acid) with olive oil and take. It can be taken 5 days in a row but then should be stopped as it is strong in nature. Oregano is an natural antibiotic. I use this when I am sick along with thieves. If you want to learn more info on oregano, visit this article! https://naturallivingfamily.com/benefits-of-oregano-essential-oil/
Skin issues related to Immune Function
1. Ring Worm-It isn’t actually caused by a worm or any type of living parasite. Instead, it’s a skin condition that’s caused by a type of fungus called tinea. It lives on the dead tissues of skin, including your nails and hair. Ringworm causes a red, scaly, itchy patch on your skin and over time, it takes the shape of a circle or a ring (or several rings). This is where the name “ringworm” comes from.
You can get it on your skin and nails. It’s most common on the arms and the scalp, but you can get it anywhere on your skin, including your face. If ringworm develops in different areas, it may be called by a different name. For example, when it affects the groin area, it’s referred to as jock itch. When it affects the area between your toes, it’s called athlete’s foot.
Tips for minimizing it: Get in a habit of not sharing towels, clothing or other personal items with others.To avoid excessive sweating, avoid wearing thick, unbreathable clothing for long periods of time, especially in humid environments- opt for dry fit clothing. Avoid animals infected with ringworm. Keep your hands as well as shared spaces clean. Where flip flops in shared showers.
2. Herpes-I wont' dive in too deep on this, as there are many different herpes viruses. The big thing is that the herpes virus can live dormant inside a person’s immune system for a lifetime, periodically causing blisters that burst and turn into open cold sores or ulcers before healing. This is why you will see it more in winter months as people's immune systems are suppressed. Viruses, you can't get rid of but you can put them into remission where they will never cause problems again. It really is getting your immune system strong in order to do that. People can have cold sores, cancer sores, or rashes anywhere on their body, or getting a flu or cold like symptoms (this is in the category of herpes complex 1). The virus can be passed easily. So don't be sharing lip stick, towels, mouth guards, etc, if that person has the virus. Take a look at this article for a deep understanding: https://draxe.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-herpes/
Best things are going to be silver, aloe, and upping your immune system.
3. Impetigo-is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection that most commonly affects infants and young children. Adolescents and adults with a weakened immune system are also susceptible. The most common conditions of impetigo are blisters with a honey-colored crust that typically starts around the mouth and nose. It eventually spreads to hands, feet and the trunk. Treatments for impetigo are available to relieve the itching and discomfort associated with this acute skin infection. It's classified as a "non-invasive group A strep illness", just like strep throat. Usually there is clusters, blisters, or skin lesions. Impetigo can be caused by strep strains. As mentioned earlier, individuals with a weakened or compromised immune system are at a greater risk of developing impetigo than those with strong immune systems. In order to effectively guard against an impetigo outbreak, it is vital to keep wounds clean and covered. It’s also important to wash hands frequently to prevent unhealthy bacteria from entering the body. Coconut oil, tea tree, and acv are great natural things to combat it.
These are all going to help with skin bacterias, pH, and viral infections. They could be applied daily as a preventative and during times of skin issues. Keep in mind these are all natural things, however, some people can react to certain things, so make sure to test things out on a small area first if you have sensitive skin. These also have to be used on a regular basis, they can't necessarily make something go away in one day.
Make sure to contact your doctor if things are not going away within a couple weeks.
1. Coconut oil is- antimicrobial & anti fungal. It can eradicate mild or superficial fungal infections when applied topically. These benefits come from the lauric acid and antimicrobial lipids found in the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil. It helps soothe & moisturize skin.
Find this at most any grocery store. Make sure to get organic, extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil if you can. You can find coconut oil at costco, cashwise, fresh thyme, and many other places. This could be applied after showers to help prevent future skin issues.
Using coconut oil to treat ringworm is exceptionally easy. Keep the area clean and dry before applying melted coconut oil to the affected area with a cotton ball or cotton swab. Rub it in thoroughly.
Make sure you wash your hands even if you don’t think there is risk of contamination so you won’t spread it to other areas of your body or to another person.
Apply coconut oil to the affected area between four and six times a day.
2. Charcoal Soap- this is a detoxing agent that helps to cleanse out the pores of the skin and remove dirt and oils from the surface and help acne. This is good to use after a hard work out or where lots of sweating has occurred. Using weekly is benefical! Can be bought at most health food stores as well as on our website.
3. AVC-Apple cider vinegar has strong anti fungal properties, so it can help treat ringworm when applied topically to the affected area. It helps to keep your skin acidic! To use it, soak a cotton ball in undiluted apple cider vinegar and brush the cotton ball over your skin. Do this three times per day. Make sure to get organic apple cider vinegar with "the mother". You can get it on amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Bragg-Organic-Apple-Cider-Vinegar/dp/B0796P9TXK/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Organic+acv&qid=1580505339&sr=8-5
Or get it at any grocery store.
4. Silver- This is one of my absolute favorites to keep on hand. I use it daily. Silver is anti fungal, anti microbial, and anti viral. It can be used internally and on the skin, we do both. It will help with immune support as well as many skin conditions.
Studies have shown that colloidal silver has potent anti fungal abilities. To use this natural ringworm remedy, first make sure the ringworm area is clean. Next, simply spray on some colloidal silver and let it dry. Repeat two to three times per day until the infection goes away completely. Colloidal silver is clear and has no odor so it is definitely a non-messy option. It also makes as a great ointment for cuts and scrapes.
Here is the best kind I have seen anywhere: https://www.amazon.com/Results-RNA-Colloidal-Strength-Effective/dp/B0058HX4K8/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?keywords=results+rna+spray&qid=1580505402&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1&smid=AYHYKUFYWYYAI&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFISVVBWVdRUjNQWjEmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA0NDkwMTMzNlZYWUMzT0VaREc5JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAxNjQ5MTkxMTBOSVc3SzlGWVQ0JndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
5. Aloe Vera- This has long been used as a natural remedy for both bacterial and fungal infections, and ringworm is no exception. Aloe vera can treat the ringworm and may soothe symptoms of itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort. You can find ointments with aloe vera or apply aloe vera gel directly to the area. Do this at least three times daily. You can find organic aloe vera gel at most health food or grocery stores. Getting organic is ideal but anything will help!
6. Tea Tree & Oregano Essential oils- Combining coconut oil with other anti fungal and antimicrobial ingredients may help increase its effectiveness. Tea tree oil is another common remedy that’s used to treat ringworm. Mix two drops of tea tree oil in with a tablespoon of melted coconut oil and apply it to the affected area.
"Oregano oil has been shown to work just as well as antifungal treatments and antibiotics in some cases. Powerful components of oregano oil, such as carvacrol, have been shown in studies to have impressive antifungal powers. When used topically for ringworm, it can really clear up an infection fast. However, just remember that it is extremely strong stuff. Oil of oregano is an essential oil that you should always dilute with a carrier oil. You only need a drop or two tops for an area of ringworm." ( From DrAxe.com).
Scientific studies have shown that tea tree oil exhibits antifungal activity as well as antibacterial, antiviral and antiprotozoal abilities. For natural ringworm treatment, you can apply pure tea tree essential oil to the affected area or you can combine it with an anti fungal carrier oil like coconut oil.
If you have a a really stubborn case of ringworm, then I recommend using tea tree oil as well as oregano oil. Combine three drops of oil of oregano and two drops of tea tree oil with a small amount of coconut oil. It’s best to mix and store these ingredients in a glass bottle. Also, make sure to choose high-quality, therapeutic grade essential oils. You can apply the mixture two to three times per day.
Fungal Skin Spritzer Recipe: About 20 uses.
1 ounce pure aloe vera gel
1 ounce silver spray
1 ounce jojoba oil
1/2 ounce olive oil
1/2 ounce apple cider vinegar
8 drops lavender pure essential oil
2 drops of peppermint pure essential oil (optional)
4 drops tea tree oil
2 drops oregano oil
½ ounce witch hazel
Combine all ingredients into a 5 ounce or larger glass spray bottle (do not use a plastic bottle). Blend well and keep in the refrigerator to provide a cooling sensation upon use if you want. Shake before each use. Use to spray after showers and use on area 2-3 times a day and allow it to dry. If you have sensitive skin and it irritates you, add more olive oil or aloe vera.
Every wrestler knows that lowered hydration levels are sometimes unavoidable, but you must maintain an adequate hydration baseline or performance will be compromised. In addition, your body needs enough fluids to fully process nutrients, especially water soluble vitamins like the B complex and vitamin C. If you're using any powdered supplements like protein and creatine, then even more liquids are required to adequately flush them from your digestive system. When we sweat, we are losing not just water but also crucial minerals. We need to replenish our bodies with the minerals it needs like: potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. Electrolytes are also necessary for: nerve impulses, muscle contraction and relaxation, and pH balance. You want a balance of sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium to make sure your cells stay as hydrated as possible. Electrolyte drinks like high-sugar sports drinks, pickle juice, or water don’t actually make a difference in your hydration levels. You will get these minerals when you eat foods with these minerals in them, or take these minerals as a supplement or added to water.
Here are some great things to help with hydration:
1. Fresh water with lemon- Citrus fruits contain calcium and potassium, which, when combined with salt, provide a balance for pH and fluid levels in the body. Just squeeze a fresh lemon in your water bottle- preferably stainless steel or glass, and you are ready to go!
2. Celtic Sea Salt- this is wonderful for getting sodium and chloride in your body. It's not table salt, its celtic sea salt, unadulterated and pure! I use this sometimes on a daily basis, when I'm sick, or sweating a lot. Price wise you are looking at: $.33 a drink/serving. Really great option! You can get this on amazon here :https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BINWVMI/ref=twister_B07D3N36ZN?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
3. Solar Synergy-97% of people are deficient in potassium. This drink mix has a 3:1 ratio of potassium to sodium as well as the other minerals. The perfect amount your body needs for its cells. This drink has goat milk mineral whey with organic high antioxidant berries and sweetened with sugar. No bad processed sugar in here! We use this regularly.
If you are interested in this product, we sell it on our website. Price wise, you are looking at about $2 a drink-one that is very healthy!
4. Endure- This is a great drink, very comparable to a powerade or gatorade, except it's better! It has a slow releasing system so you have sustained energy. The lemon lime flavor is my favorite. Here is the link: https://killcliff.com/collections/endure/products/kill-cliff-endure-variety-pack
Price wise: $2.33 per bottle. Again, a much better and healthier choice then other sports drinks.
5. Nooma Coconut Water- This is a great natural drink, straight from the coconut! This is a coconut water that actually tastes pretty good! Some coconut water, I have to admit, I cannot stand. This however is sweetened with stevia and fruit flavored! Here is the link to get the best price, (better then on amazon): https://www.drinknooma.com/collections/organic-sports-drinks/products/the-real-ingredient-sports-drink-variety
Price wise: $2.21 per drink
6. Maple Water-This is one of my favorites. It's completely natural, straight from the tree. The tree pulls the minerals out of the ground and up through its roots and trunk. We have done our own maple sap collecting and cooked it just enough to kill the bad bacteria and drink it. It's slightly sweet and so good! If you don't want to do all the work to do that, you can buy some that is flavored!
If you want to try it, here is the best way to purchase it: https://drinksimple.com/collections/maple-water/products/12-oz-drink-simple-raspberry-lemon-maple-water-pack-of-12
Price wise: $3 a drink from drink maple, or better yet, go collect your own!
Wrestling Mats-Besides using a disinfectant, using apple cider vinegar with water (50/50) can help combat funguses and bacterias. This should be done after each practice!
Any other equipment that gets sweat on it or is going to have skin contact on it, should be wiped clean each time to prevent spreading. Using a apple cider vinegar spray, essential oil spray like thieves, or any other natural cleaner is great. Side Note, Lysol or Clorox does not kill everything, especially if you don't use it right!
When you need to disinfect, you have to use them properly. I do not use these products myself, as I turn to natural products. If you do use these, this is good information to know.
"Not only can overuse of disinfectants breed superbugs, inappropriate use may not kill bacteria, exposing your family to harmful chemicals without the germ-destroying benefit.
All disinfectant products, including bleach, need to stay on the surface for a certain duration of time to work adequately, so always read instructions on the label. You might be surprised how many wet wipes it takes to ensure the surface stays wet for the full 4 to 10 minutes directed on the label." (Taken from the EWG cite).
Many people mistakenly believe that disinfectants work instantly on contact. Truth is, they don’t. They have to be used exactly as directed in order to work. The process of disinfecting means a surface must first be cleaned, then the wet disinfectant applied and allowed to sit for a “sit time,” allowed to dry, and rinsed clean. Only then will the surface be very temporarily free of most germs. This is a time consuming process rarely done. All disinfectants have “sit” times. Many require minutes at a time to be effective. Read the product label and use exactly as directed. Simply wiping will not disinfect, yet this is how the product is almost always used. Read the directions on the Lysol and Clorox wipes’ labels if you are using them. I like to opt for natural cleaners such as using Norwex products, Thieves cleaning products, apple cider vinegar, and many more.
1. Wrestle at a manageable weight– The nutrition robbing environment within wrestling’s sub-culture of weight cutting is second only to intense training as the cause of immune system suppression; it’s also the most manageable. Of course, if you’re cutting ridiculous amounts of weight, nutrition management is even more problematic.
Your minimum wrestling weight should include allowances for adequate body fat, hydration and nutrition levels. Without a window for nutrition management, you leave yourself open to increased risk of infection. Minimum acceptable wrestling weight, should be discussed with coaches, parents and physician. Don't deprive yourself just to pass the pre-season body fat and hydration requirements.
2. Eat Nutritiously- Make sure you avoid processed sugars and eat nutrient dense foods. Vegetables, fruits (watermelon is great to have on hand), organic meats, good fats (avocados, coconut oil, animal fat, ghee,) are all going to give you the nutrients and vitamins you need. However, sometimes we don't eat enough of these foods and need extra support like vitamin D and vitamin C. Prep food ahead of time and have easy, healthy snacks to put in lunch bags and purses. That way it's easy to not get tempted!
Learn & Build Up Your Body
I know we covered a lot, and it may be overwhelming, but start with one thing. Just one. Then it doesn't seem so bad. Once it becomes a habit, then it's a routine, and then it's a lifestyle! All this information can really apply to anyone. Just like a tree, we need things to help us grow, thrive, and reach our potential! Each individual is different and your needs will be different, so listen to your body. I hope you found this information helpful and that you can apply something to your life. In the mean time, celebrate the victories, and work through the loses!