There's a lot you can do to support your immune system!
I'm reprinting excerpts from a short newsletter article I wrote for a newsletter in 2013. It explains how we can stay healthy and why we need certain supplements.
Following that is the Virus Protocol from Dr Gant, Director of College of Integrative Medicine, and a list of herbal support that may be available at your local store. I carry the same and more, but in different brands.
Its dry reading, but information that is useful.
What to do at the first sign of a virus
Each year, flu virus infections kill around 36,000 Americans and cause miseries for millions. Most of us look for a silver bullet – a single remedy to solve all of our problems in life. In truth, awareness, intention and corresponding lifestyle choices are the difference between the life of those who are radiantly healthy and those who have various or multiple health challenges.
The key to treating a flu is to be alert and take steps immediately to prevent viral infestation.
Several natural remedies have been shown to be helpful for prevention. Others can shorten the duration of a viral illness.
- Garlic – both aged and fresh garlic have antiviral effects.
- High allicin garlic – the strong smelling sulfurous garlic that pervades your body so that you too smell strong has been shown to have direct virus-killing effects in published studies. 9000 mg of garlic supplement once or twice a day. The studies concluded that allicin containing supplements can prevent attack by the common cold virus. A Chinese study showed that at least in the test tube, garlic is more effective than Ribavirin in inhibiting viruses that attack the intestinal track.*
- Aged garlic has unique immune boosting compounds that work differently than those in high=allicin garlic. *
- Vitamin D3 – 5000mg per day – high doses of vitamin D3 confer protection from viruses. *
- It is not the virus that kills, but the body’s hyper-reaction to the virus—in the form of uncontrolled over-production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
- Vitamin D downregulates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines...
Downregulating excess pro-inflammatory cytokine production, with vitamin D could save the lives of those stricken with acute viruses. Some other cytokine-suppressing agents include fish oil, green tea, borage oil, curcumin, and flavonoids.
- Severe viral infections sometimes causes dangerous Staphylococcus bacterial infections to occur in the lungs. In addition to the proper antibiotics, vitamin D may also help combat concomitant staph infections. Here’s how:
- Antimicrobial peptides are components of the immune system that protect against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. Secreted by immune cells throughout the body, antimicrobial peptides damage the outer lipid membrane of infectious agents (including viruses), rendering them vulnerable to eradication.
- Vitamin D upregulates the expression of these antimicrobial peptides in immune cells, providing a definitive biological mechanism to explain why vitamin D confers such dramatic protection against common winter illnesses. This is why those who contract concomitant bacterial infections with virus are also prescribed antibiotic drugs.
- However for those who wish to avoid antibiotics, there are many antimicrobial herbs that can be effective. See your holistic health practitioner.
- Melatonin – high does before bed can have an effect on the body’s ability to battle a viral infection. Melatonin has broad spectrum immune-enhancing effects and has been specifically shown to decrease viral load and prevent death in mice infected with certain viruses.
- “The immunomodulatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects of melatonin suggest that this indole must be considered as an additional therapeutic alternative to fight viral diseases.”
- Lactoferrin – from mother’s milk has well-documented immune-potentiating effects. One study shows lactoferin inhibits viral infection by interfering with the ability of certain viruses to bind to cell receptor sites.*
- Zinc - Studies show that if zinc lozenges are taken within 24 hours of the onset of common cold symptoms, the severity and duration of cold miseries are significantly diminished.
- Rhinoviruses are the medical term to define viruses that typically cause the common cold. Rhinoviruses attach to cell receptor sites in sinus and throat tissues, become lodged in nose-throat cells, and then replicate out of control. By binding to the same cell receptor sites as do cold viruses, zinc inhibits the ability of rhinoviruses to take hold in the body.
- The recommendation is to suck on two 24-mg zinc lozenges at the very first symptom of a cold and continue doing this every two waking hours. Once rhinoviruses bind to their receptor sites in the nasal tissues and begin replicating, zinc lozenges lose their efficac
- Only short term use is recommended - a few days- because long term doses of zinc, over 300 mg a day - may suppress immune function.
- Daily intake of 20 mg of zinc is optimal for long term protection.
- NAC - NAC is a precursor to glutathione; it helps dissolve mucus and is especially helpful in bronchitis; it protects against viruses; and it disrupts biofilms.
Dr Gant, Director of College of Integrative Medicine recommends:
For prevention of viral and other infections, which should continue for about three months or until the “coast is clear” from the coronavirus. This protocol is often recommended for patients with chronic infections due to other pathogens (EBV, Lyme etc.) and who are likely to be more vulnerable to the coronavirus
Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E and K) Listed in order of importance
Vitamin A - 25,000 IU a day (equivalent to about 5 oz. of liver a day).
Vitamin D – 5,000 IU a day.
Vitamin E (If over 60 years of age) – 400 IU a day
Vitamin K (If over 60 years of age) – 1000 to 2,500 mcg a day
Zinc (about 20 to 30 mg. of zinc in most brands) - 1 capsule/tablet twice a day.
Copper Chelate a day - 2 mg. Dr. Gant recommends one capsule/tablet to prevent depletion of copper which may occur with increased zinc supplementation.
Selenomethionine 200 mcg. – 1 a day
Water Soluble Vitamins
a. Vitamin C - 1000 mg. three times a day (minimum dosing). It’s OK to take higher doses three times a day, increasing up to bowel tolerance (vitamin C can cause loose stools, suggesting you have saturated your body with vitamin C).
b. B Complex – DRI (Daily Recommended Intake) 1 a day
Please contact me for dosage for those who are actually sick with a virus.
Herbs to help support immune function
Several Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs are documented to fight viruses. A combination of 3 of these, Androgrphis, dandelion, and indigo/isatidis, comprise a Chinese medicine known as Chuan Xin Lian.
Other formulas with Andrographis may be helpful.
Another herb which helps your body's lungs stay strong is Astagalus
Planetary Herbals is available in Natural Foods stores.
Astagalus Jade Screen is a Chinese herbal formula to prevent catching viruses.
Reishi Mushroom Supreme provides long term immune support
Andrographis Respiratory Wellness includes herbs to fight the flu.
Many people really like to use elderberry for cold and flu season. The caution for elderberry is not to take for more than a few days. It can unbalance the immune system if taken long term.
Remember all the other things that support your immune system:
We will maintain office hours for the next few weeks, and I'll review next class offerings at the end of the month!
I am available for phone consultations and questions by text and email.
Claire Didion, L.Ac