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Natural Strategies to Prevent “Swine Flu”

September 7th, 2009 · Naturopathic News · , ,

Healthcare providers and concerned citizens worldwide want to prevent H1N1 flu, now considered a pandemic, from infecting their communities, schools, hospitals and families. This is what I am doing, and encouraging my patients to consider.   Wash your hands (and request that your children do so also) frequently. Use friction, soap and hot water for a good 20 seconds per hand-washing.  Avoid triclosan (anti-bacterial agent in many liquid soaps) as the flu is not bacterial and triclosan down the drain adds to the pharmaceutical pollution of our water and food.  Additionally, choose at least one of the three prevention remedies briefly presented below.

VITAMIN D
Good over-the-counter brands include: Rainbow Light 1000 IU Gummy Ds; Nordic Naturals Omega 3D (fish oil plus 1000 IUs of D3)

Ideally you would dose with Vitamin D3 until your blood levels are between 60 and 100 ng/mL.   This test is available at Alaska Health Fairs for $50.  Next on October 3 at the Nugget Mall.   If it is not feasible to test your blood levels, then take 1000 IUs of D3 per 50 pounds of body weight through the fall and winter.  Also, spend time outdoors during daylight hours whenever possible.

Epidemic influenza and vitamin D.Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, Giovannucci E. Atascadero State Hospital, 10333 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422, USA. Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40. Epub 2006 Sep

Why are deadly flus more common in winter?  Solar radiation triggers robust seasonal vitamin D production in the skin; vitamin D deficiency is common in the winter, and activated vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D, a steroid hormone, has profound effects on human immunity.  1,25(OH)2D acts as an immune system modulator, preventing excessive expression of inflammatory cytokines and increasing the ‘oxidative burst’ potential of macrophages.  Perhaps most importantly, it dramatically stimulates the expression of potent anti-microbial peptides, which exist in neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells, and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract where they play a major role in protecting the lung from infection.  Volunteers inoculated with live attenuated influenza virus are more likely to develop fever and serological evidence of an immune response in the winter.  Vitamin D deficiency predisposes children to respiratory infections.  Ultraviolet radiation (either from artificial sources or from sunlight) reduces the incidence of viral respiratory infections, as does cod liver oil (which contains vitamin D).  An interventional study showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children.

more info on Vitamin D at www.VitaminDCouncil.org

PROBIOTICS
my favorite over-the-counter brands include Nutrition Now’s PB8 and Enzymatic Therapy’s Intensive Care Probiotic Pearls.

Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children. Leyer GJ, Li S, Mubasher ME, Reifer C, Ouwehand AC. Department of Research and Development, Danisco, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. OBJECTIVE: Probiotic consumption effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration were evaluated in healthy children during the winter season. METHODS: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 326 eligible children (3-5 years of age) were assigned randomly to receive placebo (N = 104), Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM (N = 110), or L acidophilus NCFM in combination with Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis Bi-07 (N = 112). Children were treated twice daily for 6 months. RESULTS: Relative to the placebo group, single and combination probiotics reduced fever incidence by 53.0% (P = .0085) and 72.7% (P = .0009), coughing incidence by 41.4% (P = .027) and 62.1% (P = .005), and rhinorrhea incidence by 28.2% (P = .68) and 58.8% (P = .03), respectively. Fever, coughing, and rhinorrhea duration was decreased significantly, relative to placebo, by 32% (single strain; P = .0023) and 48% (strain combination; P < .001). Antibiotic use incidence was reduced, relative to placebo, by 68.4% (single strain; P = .0002) and 84.2% (strain combination; P < .0001). Subjects receiving probiotic products had significant reductions in days absent from group child care, by 31.8% (single strain; P = .002) and 27.7% (strain combination; P < .001), compared with subjects receiving placebo treatment. CONCLUSION: Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age, especially when using multi-strain probiotics (Lactobaccilus and Bifido bacteria).

Homeopathic OSCILLOCOCCINUM
take one vial of this homeopathic duck-liver remedy each week through the flu season.

1. Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al. Oscillococcinum in patients influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled, double-blind evaluation. Br Homeopath J. 1998;87:69-76.
2. Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D’Adhemar D, Balducci F. A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1989;27:329-335.

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