Ask Dr. Spectre: Health tips for vampire hunters

Buffy #1, courtesy Dark Horse

Holistic healthcare practitioner and paranormal investigator Frank Cinelli aka "Dr. Spectre" joins us on occasion to offer advice about how to remain in a prime paranormal investigative state for the most healthy hunts. If you've questions for the good doc, send them to and reach out to him on Twitter @DrSpectre.
(*The Fine Print: cannot validate claims made by the columnist. Before taking any advice offered by the columnist, you should consult your physician)

"A cranky Slayer is a careless Slayer." – Buffy Summers

Buffy was totally right, and few things can make you as cranky as feeling under the weather. Regardless if you're hunting the undead, or just trying to enjoy living an un-damned life with a soul, human slayers should really have a stake in their health.

So follow these health tips for slayers and you'll be able to survive a vampire onslaught, along with hopefully fight off a nasty bug that affects your mortal immune system. (After the jump...)

The Sun, courtesy NASA, Wikimedia

As a vampire slayer you have a big advantage over your nocturnal foe - the ability to walk in the daylight. Most of you know vampires don’t glow and shimmer in the sun, they freaking explode! One of the prime benefits of sunlight for humans is that it supplies the body with Vitamin D, which not only promotes the absorption of calcium in the gut, but also transfers calcium across the cell membranes. This, in turn, provides strength to the bones as well as contributes for a healthy nervous system by increasing the production of endorphins in the brain.

The undead vampire has increased strength and reflexes, so those extra-strong bones and healthy nervous system will come in handy. Some other healthy benefits we get from the sun are strengthening of the cardiovascular system, normalizing blood pressure as well as blood sugar, increased metabolism and improved digestion. Above all, sunshine has that magical power to alter your moods and cheer you up, thereby preventing anxiety and depression - and nobody should ever hunt vampires while depressed or anxiety-ridden.

Silver bullion, courtesy Unit 5, Wikimedia

Traditionally silver's lunar associations - as well as the aesthetic qualities of the white, reflective metal that cause it to be associated with purity - has led to the metal's connections with folklore as an antidote to various maladies and monsters. A repellent against vamps, silver has healing and antimicrobial properties. 

Small doses of colloidal silver on a daily basis, like in a spray, can help you make it through cold and flu season unscathed. While tracking and hunting vampires, this same small dose is sure to make your blood unappealing to Dracula or his cronies. I should also mention that silver is very alkalizing, and recent studies suggest that if your body is in a proper ph-balance, you can prevent some major illnesses.

Courtesy Jonathunder, Wikimedia

For a slayer, this is probably the single most important of all foods and or supplements. Historically garlic has been used for everything from allergies to warts, and has always been guaranteed to keep vampires away. One of the theories compares vampire bites to mosquito bites. Mosquitoes suck blood, and in doing so, spread disease. So do vampires. Some of the symptoms of malaria - exhaustion, fever and anemia - are reminiscent of the reputed effects of being bitten by a vampire without being totally drained or turned. Garlic is a known insect repellent which reportedly works well against mosquitoes; perhaps people saw the similarity with vampires, especially when in their bat form. So along with taking a garlic supplement daily, be sure to use fresh raw garlic in most everything you eat.

Courtesy Columbia Pictures

Yup, take a tip from survivors of the walking dead when dealing with the undead. As they say in the movie, "When either fighting a zombie or running from zombies its not a great time to be pulling a muscle or throwing your back out. So limbering up is kind of a must. Stretch it out a little.. it may save your life."

Stretching is necessary to increase range of motion, and should be done before and after every workout. Sudden forceful movements can cause serious injury to muscles and tendons. What's more, stretching releases synovial fluid stored in the joints. This fluid lubricates all the joints, protecting them from friction and injury. Stretching brings blood supply to the soft tissues. This improves endurance so you don't tire as easily. Stretching also helps to elongate muscles and provide flexibility, promote healing and prevent future injury.

Blood bags, courtesy montuno

Being a vampire slayer is more than just finding a sharp piece of oak or being able to swing an axe, it's about maintaining a healthy heart and good blood - and keeping bloodsuckers from being able to dine on either. First off, you will want to lower your heart rate. Vampires have extremely good ears and can hear your heart beat, so if you want to blend in, keep your heart rate low. Along with a good cardio exercise program, you can also take these supplements:

A diet high in saturated and trans fats can put you at risk for developing hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Prescription-strength Niacin may help prevent the narrowing of blood vessels, which can lead to increases in blood pressure and heart rate by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol in your blood. reports that niacin can boost HDL by 15-to-35 percent. The benefit lies in the effect HDL has on total cholesterol. It assists in the removal of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, from the bloodstream. LDL contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

L-Arginine is an amino acid found in a variety of food sources, including red meat and poultry. It is also prescribed to treat some cardiovascular health conditions. It can benefit heart rate by its effects on blood vessel dilation. In the body, L-Arginine is converted to nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. This can mean less stress on your heart with improved blood flow.

Fish Oil
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a qualified health claim for the use of fish oil to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. As a 2010 study by Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease points out, omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can improve cardiovascular function by reducing inflammation and improving platelet and endothelial function. It can also help prevent irregularities in heartbeats, or arrhythmias. These factors may play a role in reducing your resting heart rate by maintaining normal blood flow throughout your body. While no substitute for exercise, supplements like fish oil can complement your efforts to lower your resting heart rate. Also worth mentioning in lesser detail is Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Co-enzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine.