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Monday, November 14, 2011

The First Thing to do When a Cold or Flu Strikes - Vitamin D and Zinc

The First Thing to do When a Cold or Flu Strikes.  Yay!  Common sense from a doctor!   This article by Dr. Joseph Mercola is absolutely excellent. It provides you with a significant amount of very important information to help you prevent or deal with colds or flu.  The season is here.

Advice from this critical care registered nurse:  ALWAYS Wash Your Hands  BEFORE   putting anything in your mouth to eat.  Do NOT share food, drinks, so on where viruses can be "shared" as well.  ALWAYS Wash Your Hands after touching doorknobs, using the toilet, and any form of social contact such as kissing, handshaking and so forth.  Air borne viruses love, love, love saliva and nice moist nasal tissues.    Make sure your kids understand this as well and that their teachers have a clue.

  • "The “gold standard” of scientific reviews has repeatedly found that there is little or no evidence backing flu vaccines as an effective flu prevention strategy

  • Evidence is mounting in support of vitamin D as a potent cold and flu prevention strategy. Optimizing your vitamin D levels through regular sun exposure is preferred, as it imparts health benefits beyond what you can get from oral vitamin D supplements

  • Colds and flu’s are the result of a viral assault on an impaired immune system. They are not an inevitable result of viral exposure alone

  • A number of factors influence your immune function, including diet, well-chosen supplements, exercise, and proper sleep

  • Effective all-natural cold and flu treatments include: zinc, green tea, vitamin C, mushrooms, chicken soup, and more


    What Causes Colds and Influenzas?

    Both colds and various influenzas are caused by a wide variety of viruses (not bacteria).
    While the two ailments typically affect your respiratory tract, there are some differences between them.
    Common symptoms of a 'regular cold' include runny nose, congestion, cough, and sore throat. The symptoms of the flu tend to be far more severe, as the influenza viruses are capable of causing severe lung infection, pneumonia and even respiratory failure. They also tend to affect your joints—hence that allover achy feeling.
    The most common way these viruses are spread is via hand-to-hand contact. For instance, someone with a cold blows their nose then shakes your hand or touches surfaces that you also touch. However, the key to remember is that just being exposed to a cold virus does not mean that you're destined to catch a cold.
    If your immune system is operating at its peak, it should actually be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without ever getting sick. Ditto for flu viruses. If your immune system is impaired, on the other hand, they can easily take hold in your body. So, it's important to understand that the reason you catch a cold or flu is because your immune system is impaired. It's not an inevitable event based on exposure alone.
    Lifestyle factors that can depress your immune system, alone or in combination, include:
    • Eating too much sugar, particularly fructose, and too many grains. The average person is consuming about 75 grams of fructose per day, and when fructose is consumed at that level it can devastate your immune system. One of the ways it does this is by unbalancing your gut flora. Sugar is 'fertilizer' for pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi that can set your immune system up for an assault by a respiratory virus. Most people don't realize that 80 percent of your immune system actually lies in your gastrointestinal tract. That's why controlling your sugar intake is CRUCIAL for optimizing your immune system.
      It would be wise to limit your total fructose consumption to below 25 grams a day if you're in good health, or below 15 grams a day if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or are insulin resistant.
    • Vitamin D deficiency, as a result of insufficient sun exposure
    • Not getting enough rest
    • Insufficient exercise
    • Using ineffective strategies to address emotional stressors

    Shocking LACK of Evidence Supporting Flu Vaccines

    While the flu vaccine is touted as the "best" way to avoid catching the seasonal flu, what many fail to realize is that the science available actually does NOT support this conclusion. In essence, it's wishful thinking that is unsupported by scientific evidence.
    Take the Cochrane Database Review for example—which is the gold standard for assessing the effectiveness of common medical interventions—as discussed here in a recent article on Here are five Cochrane Database Reviews, published between 2006 and 2010, completely decimating the claim that flu vaccinations are the best course of action to prevent the flu.
    1. A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children under two. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
    2. Two years, later, in 2008, another Cochrane review again concluded that "little evidence is available" that the flu vaccine is effective for children under the age of two. Even more disturbingly, the authors stated that: "It was surprising to find only one study of inactivated vaccine in children under two years, given current recommendations to vaccinate healthy children from six months old in the USA and Canada. If immunization in children is to be recommended as a public health policy, large-scale studies assessing important outcomes and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required."
    3. Then, last year, Cochrane published the following bombshell conclusion:
      "Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.
      WARNING: This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration). An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines.
      The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding." [Emphasis mine.]
    4. Last year, Cochrane also reviewed the available evidence with regards to protecting the elderly, and the results were equally abysmal. The authors concluded that: "The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older."
    5. They also reviewed whether or not vaccinating health care workers can help protect the elderly patients with whom they work. In conclusion, the authors state that: "[T]here is no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents influenza in elderly residents in long-term care facilities
     At the First Sign of Cold Symptoms: Zinc to the Rescue!
    Green Tea—A Healthful Beverage Choice During Flu Season
    Vitamin D May Help You Recover Quicker… and Prevent a Cold or Flu in the First Place
    Supplements that Send Pathogens Packin'

    Supplements can be beneficial for colds, but I believe they should be used only as an adjunct to other healthy dietary and lifestyle measures discussed in this article. Some of the more helpful options for cold and flu--above and beyond vitamin D--are:
    • Vitamin C: A very potent antioxidant; use a natural form such as acerola, which contains associated micronutrients. You can take several grams every hour till you are better unless you start developing loose stools
    • Oregano Oil: The higher the carvacrol concentration, the more effective it is. Carvacrol is the most active antimicrobial agent in oregano oil.
    • Propolis: A bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world; propolis is also the richest source of caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important compounds that aid in immune response.
    • A tea made from a combination of elderflower, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint and ginger; drink it hot and often for combating a cold or flu. It causes you to sweat, which is helpful for eradicating a virus from your system.
    • Olive leaf extract: Ancient Egyptians and Mediterranean cultures used it for a variety of health-promoting uses and it is widely known as a natural, non-toxic immune system builder. 

    Vitamin D is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. So optimizing your levels will not only help send a cold or flu virus packing … it will prevent them from invading your body in the first place.
    Contrary to flu vaccines (which I'll discuss in a moment), this recommendation has been gaining scientific validation.
    For example, in one study, published last year, researchers investigated the effect of vitamin D on the incidence of seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. For over a year, they conducted a study comparing the effects of vitamin D3 with placebos. They found that influenza A occurred in just 10.8 percent of the children in the vitamin D group, compared with 18.6 percent children in the placebo group." 

    Read more from this terrific article that includes dietary guidelines as well.

    The First Thing to do When a Cold or Flu Strikes.  Some of my favorite anti-viral homeopathic remedies include Engystol and Oscillococcinum, and the fabulous
    Elderberry syrup for sore throats, coughs and immune support by Gaia Herbs and Zand also makes a terrific zinc and elderberry lozenge that really helps right from the onset of symptoms.  

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