Viruses are infective particles smaller than any bacteria. In humans, they cause a number of familiar diseases including AIDS, herpes, polio, smallpox, and many others. Both the common cold and influenza are respiratory infections caused by viruses. While symptoms of a cold include a runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat, influenza—the flu—is typically more severe, with symptoms including fever; headache; aches and pains; lethargy; and fatigue and weakness that may last for days or weeks.
Both colds and flu viruses are transmitted by contacting respiratory secretions of an infected person (by shaking hands, touching an infected doorknob, etc., and then touching the mouth, eyes, or nose), or by breathing infective particles which can linger in the air for up to three hours.
Outside the body, viruses are metabolically inert and said to be in a grey area between a living and non-living state. In order to multiply and be infective, viral particles must attach themselves to healthy (though often weakened) cells, take over their reproductive capabilities, and begin reproducing additional infective particles, called virions. Influenza viruses typically gain access to healthy host cells by means of spike-like protrusions projecting from their bodies.
Agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have publicized that roughly 35,000 Americans perish annually from so-called “seasonal” influenzas. However, according to the CDC’s own publication National Vital Statistics Reports, only several hundred fatalities occur on an average year that are directly attributable to the influenza virus —mostly to the elderly and those with preexisting conditions or weakened immunity. The remaining deaths are attributable to secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia.
There are specific actions one must take in order to both prevent and treat flu viruses. Prevention is significantly aided by healthy diet and lifestyle choices as well as regular supplementation with immune-enhancing substances. Among the various immune enhancers two vitamins, vitamins C and D, are particularly effective in the treatment of both colds and influenza.
Vitamin C is an old but powerfully-effective standby. It is both antibacterial and antiviral and, as such, is effective in treating flu viruses and their bacterial complications, as well as cold viruses. Vitamin C works on several fronts. It energizes natural killer (NK) cells which attack pathogenic microbes even with no previous exposure to them. It also energizes macrophages, another of the immune systems front line of defenses against infection. Vitamin C also helps the body produce hydrogen peroxide, a tool used by immune cells against infectious microbes.
In the case of a bacterial or viral infection, high doses of vitamin C must be taken—in the range of at least 1,000-5,000 mg (1-5 grams) per hour. Treatment should begin immediately after onset—the sooner the better after symptoms are noticed. The only side-effect is diarrhea when bowel tolerance is exceeded. If the stool loosens, decrease the dosage slightly. When ill, greatly increased quantities of vitamin C are tolerated by the body before symptoms of diarrhea occur.
In one representative study, 700 college students were administered one gram of vitamin C per hour for the initial six hours following the onset of cold and/or flu symptoms, and three grams for several days thereafter. Both cold and flu symptoms were reduced by 85% (1).
The ascorbic acid form of vitamin C rather than Ester C® or other buffered forms should be used orally—either as a pill or powder (crystals). One teaspoon of powder equals approximately four grams. Although the buffered forms of vitamin C avoid the possibility of diarrhea, they are less effective in comparison to ascorbic acid. High-dose intravenous vitamin C is one of the most effective treatments for colds, flu, and even more virulent pathogens such as avian (bird) flu.
Pioneer vitamin C researcher, Robert Cathcart, M.D. (1932-2007) used vitamin C to treat all types of flu including bird flu. He demonstrated that even potentially lethal cases of bird flu and other flus having serious lung involvement can be treated effectively with massive doses of vitamin C, either orally (as ascorbic acid powder) at the level of 12 grams every 15 minutes (until diarrhea is produced—and then reduce the amount slightly), or preferably intravenously (as sodium ascorbate) by a qualified alternative/integrative physician at the level of 150-300 grams per each 24-hour period.
The respiratory tract is the initial attack point of bird flu (H5N1) and some other flu strains. (See the discussion of the cytokine storm, below under vitamin D, for further information on this topic.) The damage inflicted upon the lungs is caused by the generation of high levels of free radicals. Vitamin C is the optimal treatment/antidote for this condition, as it is the only substance/antioxidant known that can be taken in sufficiently large quantities—preferably intravenously but also orally, depending upon the severity of the condition—to counteract virtually any amount of free radical pathology produced by any disease state, including the high level of free radical pathology produced in the lungs by various strains of influenza. Because the body’s tolerance to orally-ingested ascorbic acid increases in proportion to the degree of toxicity of the illness, up to and beyond 200 grams per 24-hours of orally-ingested ascorbic acid usually can be tolerated in severely ill persons without causing diarrhea. The use of liposomal vitamin C is the most effective means of orally ingesting the substance without surpassing bowel tolerance. Liposomes are tiny spheres (100-500 nanometers in width) made from essential phospholipids, the same material as cell membranes. The vitamin C is contained within these tiny spheres and when taken orally, has an absorption rate of about 90%.
In a world poised for the emergence of virulent strains of influenza and/or other infective pathogens, the vitamin C solution cannot be overlooked. To learn more, visit www.orthomed.com. Here you will find links to the influenza/bird flu treatment protocols, including instructions for physicians on the method of preparing vitamin C for IV injection. To locate a physician in your area capable of administering IV vitamin C, visit www .acam.org or www.icimed.com.
Among the many vitamins that contribute to our good health, vitamin D is gaining recognition as a superstar. Vitamin D is unique in the vitamin world in that it is technically not a vitamin. It is the only known precursor of calcitriol—activated vitamin D—a powerful steroid hormone that regulates genetic expression in hundreds of genes. (2) Of the roughly 25,000 (protein-coding) genes in the human genome, as many as 10%—or 2,500 genes—are “activated” by vitamin D alone. As such, it is a master controller of a vast array of physical mechanisms throughout the body as it turns various genes “on” and “off.” Vitamin D also stimulates the white blood cells to produce hundreds of antimicrobial peptides, substances known to attack bacteria, viruses, and fungi. (3) Chief among these is the cathelicidin group of peptides.
Vitamin D is naturally produced by the skin when exposed to the ultraviolet B radiation of sunlight. Doctors and government agencies have given warnings about the dangers of developing skin cancer resulting from overexposure to sunlight. This has led to an epidemic of vitamin D deficiencies in much of the world’s non-equatorial populations. It is now recognized that a deficiency of vitamin D is a major factor in the pathology of many diseases and ailments including autoimmune diseases; birth defects; cancer (at least 17 types); cardiovascular disease; chronic pain; depression; diabetes; hypertension; multiple sclerosis; muscle wasting; muscle weakness; osteoarthritis; and periodontitis. (4)
It is recently understood that cold and flu seasons result largely from a deficiency of vitamin D caused by lack of sunlight in the months between the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year—and the summer solstice— the longest day of the year. (5) Insuring adequate levels of vitamin D intake, especially during this low sunlight window, serves as a powerful preventive—what could be considered the ultimate natural oral “vaccine.” Contrary to past understandings, vitamin D researchers now recommend adults obtain a minimum of 1,000-2,000 IU (International Units) daily of vitamin D3 during summer months—especially if one isn’t receiving regular sun exposure—and double that amount during the late fall, winter, and early spring. Some have suggested the rule of thumb of 1,000 IU per 25 pounds body weight. Adequate levels can be achieved through one or a combination of: sunlight exposure; dietary intake of vitamin D-rich foods such as cod liver oil; or supplementation with D3—cholecalciferol, not D2, ergocalciferol. Pill-form or liquid D3 supplements are the simplest means of achieving the correct amount.
Daily amounts up to at least 10,000 IU are known to be safe, and some experts believe the non-toxic daily dose may be closer to 40,000 IU. (6) For treating colds or flu, some doctors now recommend 50,000-100,000 IU of cholecalciferol daily for several days only, up to the level of 1,000 IU per pound of body weight for three days. According to this protocol, a 200 pound person would take 200,000 IU for three days. To put these dosages into perspective, the skin produces 20,000 IU from 20-30 minutes of “unprotected,” full-body summer sun exposure during hours where the shadow cast by the body is shorter than the body’s height. An SPF 8-rated sun screen reduces vitamin D production by 95%. Optimal blood levels should be maintained from 50-80 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter), as measured by the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. To learn more, read the informative article at www.whale. to/a/cannell.html, or visit the Vitamin D Council’s website, www.vitamindcouncil.org.
Wishing You the Best of Health,
The Research Team
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