There are hundreds of possible viruses that can cause colds and flu. In most cases of the common viruses, the best defense is a combination of a healthy immune system supported by good supplements. Fortunately, there are several ways nutrients can help our bodies and our immune systems defend themselves against disease and infections. These can be put into two classifications of nutrients that can help us:
1. Nutrients that strengthen our body against virus and bacterium.
2. Nutrients that directly attack virus and bacterium
For the common varieties of colds and flu, both of the above methods are helpful and presented in our “Colds and the Common Flu” A-Z Index articlea.
Swine flu is a little different.
At this point, it appears that swine flu isn’t as dangerous as the press made it out to be. However, future strains may be worse! Most flu viruses attack the respiratory system. The main cause of death is often related, directly or indirectly, to respiratory inflammation. This is a byproduct of our immune system’s reaction to the infection. With an infection, the immune system causes inflammation for a reason. Inflammation increases the blood supply in the immediate area of the infection, which brings more white blood cells and antibodies to the area. This is the redness you might see around a cut. (There is technical information in the accompanying articles.)
Unfortunately, in the lungs, too much inflammation can restricts the amount of air (oxygen) that can be absorbed. If the inflammation gets serious enough, it can be deadly. So, with a flu virus that causes a lot of respiratory infection, too much inflammation can happen.
Since swine flu affects the respiratory system more than normal, immune system stimulators (such as euchinacea, a stimulator, not a booster) should not be used!
Bird flu is really different!
Fortunately we are not dealing with contagious bird flu (yet). So far, it can only be caught from infected birds.
Like swine flu, most deaths from bird flu (over half of infected people – this is really nasty) are caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS and ARD) from inflammation! This means that immune system stimulators, like echinacea, would actually work against your lungs!
Here are several nutrients you should have in your swine/bird flu defense kit. The 1-3 sections are repeated from the common flu recommendations. Resveratrol and curcumin are added.
The direct attack nutrients here are the Ultimate Monolaurin and Sambucol (added). However, the Sambucol comes with a caution and answers to that caution.
Defenses against Swine and Bird Flu
There are some very effective natural defenses against colds and the flu. Our approach to defending ourselves against colds and flu includes:
1. General prevention: (Nutrients to help our body resist a cold or flu in the first place.)
Monolaurin and Lactoferrin – the #1 Prevention!
There is an abundance of information about monolaurin in our “A-Z Index” and elsewhere (and, in all humility, our monolaurin really is the best). Its ability to kill all pathogen bacteria and all lipid envelope (skin) viruses (which includes most cold and flu viruses) is documented by many, many studies. The FDA has even approved it for killing bacteria in foods and food equipment!
Our recommendation is to take monolaurin at least:
General maintenance: 1 scoop (1 tsp.) every other day during the year.
During flu season: 1 scoop every day.
If exposed often: 2 scoops a day, 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening.
At first hintof getting sick: 3 scoops a day, spread out.
If followed closely, most reports we receive back are extremely positive! People either don’t get sick at all, or the duration is radically shortened. This is not surprising because it is in line with the many clinical studies that have been done.
*(As we said, if swine flu is making the rounds again, or if (heaven forbid) bird flu makes its appearance, the recommended procedure changes! If that is the situation, be sure to check the Swine Flu link above.)
A Good Multi-vitamin / Nutrient
This helps give your body and immune system the nutrients it needs to be at optimum health. (Of course, we recommend our Ultimate Foundation multivitamin, minerals and nutrients since it is the best available.)
Our Ultimate Foundation gives more vitamin D-3 than most multivitamins for general maintenance. However, during flu season or when not getting much sun (winter, northern or no exposure, etc.), I add an extra 2,000-4,000 IU of D-3. This may be the single biggest reason some people catch more colds and keep them longer than others. Exciting new research has come from noticing that the amount of colds and flu people get is directly related to the amount of sunlight they receive. Vitamin D-3 appears to be a huge support of body immunity!
Sunlight can cause your body to produce as much as 20,000 IU of D-3 in just 20 minutes. Therefore, little sun, covered skin or dark skin = little vitamin D-3 production. (Contrary to old thinking, sun exposure – without burning – turns out to be very healthy! Sun tan places with high UVB, low UVA, such as Sperti lamps, are a possible winter choice. (The low sun angle in the winter does not have D-3 producing rays). The alternative is adding vitamin D-3, cholecalciferol (not D-2 – ergocalciferol) during this time.
2. If being exposed, but no symptoms yet: (Monolaurin, of course, as per above, plus.)
Xylitol Nasal Wash
The nose is the #1 way of viruses and bacteria to enter the body. Xlear brand is the best, but any good xyitol nasal spray is good to have on hand. Simply spraying the nostrils twice, 3 times a day, is the first line of defense to prevent anything from getting started.
Zinc throat lozenges
This is a good, inexpensive way to protect the #2 germ access, “hands to the mouth”. Only use zinc lozenges 1-2 times a day. (Zinc can be overdone – I prefer lower amount lozenges, 10-15 mg, so I can take them twice a day). If you take them more than 2 weeks, you may want to add 2 mg daily of copper because zinc decreases the body’s copper stores.
Our Ultimate Foundation has a lot of the vitamin C family. However, in high exposure times, add 1,000 mg daily in addition to your multivitamin C (our recommended type is in“Additional Supplements”.) Use time-release C to spread the absorption rate, usage and to ease stomach acidity. Make sure they have bio-flavonoids in them.
Again, our Ultimate Foundation has selenium. However, if you use another multivitamin, add selenium if it does not have at least 175 mg. Deficiencies of selenium are common. Selenium boosts the production of glutathione peroxidase that helps stops flu viruses from making you sick. Places that are deficient in selenium (such as China) slow outbreaks of viral diseases simply by giving selenium to the population.
3. Sambucus (Nature’s Way Sambucol)
Sambucus is a special elderberry extract that fights ALL viruses (even bird flu)! There are multiple articles in our “A-Z Index”. It doesn’t necessarily prevent you from getting the flu, but it does slow down the multiplication ability of the virus. This gives your immune system more time to defeat the virus before it gets bad. In clinical studies, it shortens a flu duration by about 2/3 and radically lowers the intensity of the flu. In swine and bird flu, this helps prevent the critical fluid build-up in the lungs. Sources are listed in the “Additional Supplements“.
4. Sambucol – With Cautions!
We have several articles on Sambucol (or another brand, Sambucus) in the “A-Z Index”. Many studies have shown it to be incredibly effective again viruses in cultures – especially the H5N1 bird flu virus! We do not use it for common flu or cold attacks since our general recommendation, with Ultimate Monolaurin, has handled those attacks very well. However, in the special case of bird flu, it may be very helpful.
The difficulty is that Sambucol increases cytokine production– which causes inflammation! The concern with H5N1 bird flu infections is the possibility that this may encourage the inflammation that we have wanted to avoid. In the extreme case of bird flu, though, we think we may want all the help we can get. However, if using Sambucol, be sure to take the resveratrol and curcumin we recommended above. If so, the overall value appears to make Sambucol a good addition to bird flu defense.