As of April 28, 2009, there are 66 confirmed cases of the swine flu in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, besides Mexico, cases have been reported in Spain, Scotland and Canada.
Has the swine-flu virus pandemic got you worried? Do you know how to protect yourself and your family from getting this vigorous mutant flu virus? What if you get it, what can you do to boost your ability to recover? What about flu shots? Knowing that most of them contain mercury, should you set aside the mercury concern in favor of protection from this virus? What about the Tamiflu drug? Should you set aside concern about its side effects?
On April 27, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the alert level for the swine-flu to Phase 4. This means there is sustained human-to-human transmission causing outbreaks in at least one country. Knowing your options and implementing them are essential since this is an especially virulent flu with a combination of pig, bird and human viruses. (This begs the question: “Is this a man-made biological weapon?”) The following are my recommendations for adults and children.
For prevention, use the following dietary, lifestyle and nutritional supplement recommendations:
1. Have the recommended total of 9 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. These foods contain many essential vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients for proper immune system function. If you cannot realistically eat 9 servings of vegetables and fruits, you must supplement with some type of “green drink”. Many of these contain dehydrated concentrated vegetables and fruits, chlorophyll, and beneficial algae. You can purchase the various brands of powdered drink mixes at a local health food store or various online nutritional supplement stores.
2. Avoid table sugar, sugary foods, and all artificially-sweetened foods at all cost. These significantly suppress your immune system function. Ditto all artificial colors and flavorings.
3. Get plenty of sleep, and get in bed by 10 pm at night at the latest. The hormones melatonin and growth hormone, in particular, are released primarily at night during deep sleep and have many very powerful recuperative and restorative benefits. You can use supplemental phosphatidylserine to lower night time cortisol levels to help you sleep. A combination of the amino acids arginine, ornithine, glutamine and lysine taken before bedtime can also help boost night time growth hormone release. This combination is best used under the supervision of a trained functional health care doctor, especially if you are on any prescription or non-prescription medicines.
4. Exercise regularly to help support proper immune system function.
5. Get enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D in a dose of at least 4000 IU per day is necessary for most adults for proper immune system function. Vitamin D is also made by the skin through exposure to sunlight, particularly UVB radiation in sunlight. The people with more deeply pigmented skin, such as Blacks, Latinos, etc., require more time of direct sunlight exposure to make adequate Vitamin D through the skin. In the late spring or summer, if you have less than 15 minutes of direct sun exposure (without sunscreen) with at least your face, arms and legs exposed for 4 days each week, then you need to supplement with Vitamin D to get the required amount. A glass of milk only has 100 IU of Vitamin D. You would have to drink 40 glasses of milk each day to get enough Vitamin D from milk! We all know that is not going to happen.
6. Get enough Vitamin A. The mucosal barriers of the digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts need sufficient Vitamin A for proper immune system response to the flu. Dietary Vitamin A from free range eggs, grass fed and free range dairy products and many fruits high in Vitamin A are essential. Those not getting enough Vitamin A must supplement to get 2500 to 5000 IU per day, with 10,000 IU mixed carotenes. Pregnant women should get no more than 4000 IU Vitamin A per day, but may take the higher amount of mixed carotenes.
7. Take colostrum. Colostrum is an excellent immune system stimulant. Colostrum contains numerous factors that stimulate the immune system and help to prevent illness. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) coats the intestinal lining preventing attack by pathogens. Colostrum helps keep IgA at healthy levels.
8. Take mushroom extracts. Various types of mushrooms have significant immune stimulating effects. Each contains high percentages of polysaccharides, long chain sugar molecules that regulate immunity. They stimulate antibodies and activate white blood cells. The most helpful mushroom extracts are Reishi (ganoderma), Maitake (grifola), and shiitake (lentinus). You can often get mushroom formulations for immune system support at a local health food store or an online nutritional supplement store.
9. Take additional zinc. Zinc has beneficial immune-protective properties. Use supplemental zinc glycinate in a dose of about 15 mg/day with about 1.5 mg copper for prevention.
10. Take Omega-3 fatty acid supplements in the form of fish oil capsules or liquid fish oil. This helps establish healthy cell membranes that prevent inflammation, resist toxins and help prevent attack by pathogens. Between 4 to 6 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids per day is recommended.
11. As a preventive measure (or if you are exposed to the flu), use the homeopathic medicine Influenzinum (in 9C, 12C, or 30C dilutions). Follow the dosage specified on the container. In the U.S, as of April 28, 2009 the states where cases of this flu have been reported by the CDC are California, New York, Texas, Ohio and Kansas. Using this homeopathic as a preventive option is especially judicious for anyone in these states. You can get this at your local health food store or at various online nutritional supplement stores.
12. If you have taken any antibiotics or used any corticosteroid containing drugs or creams, or used any antacids within the last 5 years and have not replenished your system with a dose of at least 15 to 20 billion of the beneficial bacteria (various lactobacillus and bifidobacter strains) for at least 2 months, you must immediately do so!
13. Get mercury-free flu shots. Sanofi Pasteur makes one that is mercury-free.
In addition, consider getting chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture to help support healthy immune system function (due to the beneficial effect on the autonomic nervous system).
If you get this flu, do the following:
1. If you are still able to eat, try to eat easily digested vegetable soups or stews with some chicken or lamb. You can also use some powdered green drink mixes mentioned earlier to get the necessary vitamins and minerals into your system.
2. Additional selenium is recommended in fighting viral infections. The normal dose is 200 mcg but you can go as high as 1,000 mcg for short -term use. Here’s one reference for this.
3. Take up to 300,000 IU per day (except for pregnant women and children) of Vitamin A for short-term use for optimal mucous membrane function.
4. Take 10,000 to 20,000 IU per day of Vitamin D (short term use).
5. Take Vitamin C. It decreases histamine release. Viral infections stimulate release of histamine, which is immunosuppressive. Dosage should be as high as bowel tolerance. In other words, as high as you are able take just before you get runny stools. This varies for each person, but for many, it is between 4000 to 8000 mg.
6. Take mushroom extracts. There are some very good brands of mixed mushroom extracts that you can get from many local health food stores or online nutritional supplement stores that are pre-formulated for immune system support.
7. Take zinc capsules or lozenges. Zinc has potent immune protective effects. Use 25-30 mg of zinc per day, in the form of zinc glycinate. Note that if you take above 20 mg of zinc per day for an extended period of time, you will also need to take copper to prevent a deficiency. A good zinc to copper ratio is 10:1. For most cases, you should get a supplement that contains both.
8. Take Myer’s Intravenous Cocktails three days in a row. These are a combination of nutrients delivered intravenously (IV) that have been used for the last 50 years. It is named after the physician John Myers from Maryland who treated many patients with this IV nutrient combination with good results. Many functional medicine centers across the country often use this. You must have this performed by a knowledgeable doctor. Most conventional doctors are not even aware of this. Learn more about this here. To find a doctor who is trained in functional medicine visit: www.functionalmedicine.org.
9. If you are well enough to get to your local chiropractor for an adjustment a few times during the course of this flu, by all means do so. Acupuncture is also highly beneficial.
10. I highly recommend consulting a functional medicine physician. To find one in your area, see item 8 above.
Options for Children
All the recommendations for adults can be beneficial for children with adjustments in dosages based on the child’s age and size.
Regarding Vitamin D, for sustaining proper immune system function, infants need at least 1,000 IU of Vitamin D and older children need at least 2,000 IU. For acute infections you can go up to 6000 IU on a short term.
Regarding Omega-3 fatty acids, 1 to 2 grams per day is recommended for children under 12 years old.
Children respond particularly well to chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture.
My Final Comments
Worrying or panicking benefits no one. Keeping informed and taking action to protect yourself and your family are essential at this time.
If you or someone you know have questions about non-pharmaceutical, effective evidence-based natural immune boosting and flu prevention options, do not hesitate to contact us. For those interested in purchasing the supplements, we can recommend online stores that carry high-quality products with some at a significant discount.