In your health,
Dr. Jon Wise
A study of 715 people showed that flu symptoms were decreased by 85 percent when people took 6 grams of vitamin C as a one-time loading dose, then continuing with 1 gram three times a day, compared with people taking only the 3 grams daily. The message here is to take a lot of vitamin C the first day you feel symptoms or the first day people around you are getting sick, and then take 3 grams daily after that. Keep in mind that vitamin C can loosen stools, so be careful if you are predisposed to this.
An additional study showed that vitamin C is 10 times more effective in its antiviral properties when taken with iron. Ten to 20 mg of iron can be taken on a daily basis, and is also a good mineral to balance the stool-loosening effects of vitamin C.
Vitamin D has exploded in research and popularity the past few years. Most of us are familiar with its bone-building properties, however new research suggests it improves the immune system as well. Have your doctor test your vitamin D levels before supplementing. Research suggests 2,000 IU daily is safe for most adults and children. Higher doses are safe and effective, but must be monitored by your doctor.
Elderberry (Sambucus) was researched in a group of 60 people and found to alleviate symptoms four days earlier compared with controls. Elderberry helps boosts the immune system and is great-tasting for kids. Start taking as soon as symptoms manifest.
Panax quinquefolium (ginseng) was studied in a large group of 323 patients as a preventive natural medicine. The group that took panax experienced 30 percent less colds compared with the placebo group (people who didn't take ginseng), and average number of sick days were 11 compared with 16 in the non-treatment group.
Last, but not least, the well-known oscillococcinum is a homeopathic flu treatment that is created new every year. Tough to pronounce, but effective; a Cochrane review of all oscillococcinum studies showed that it reduces the length of illness compared with placebo.
There's a high likelihood that the flu and/or colds will affect your family every year. In most cases it's nothing more than an inconvenience, in some cases it can be deadly serious. Prevention and immune boosting is essential for everyone to ensure that when they do get sick, it is only a short and mild inconvenience. Trust in the power of natural medicine. Talk to your doctor for more information about these and other natural ways to boost your immune system and ward off colds and the flu.
The Flu Vaccine: A Few Words of Caution
Flu vaccines are available on an annual basis, but concern should be taken for the following reasons:
- Flu vaccines contain thimerisol, a neurotoxic mercury preservative.
- Children with severe egg allergy should not get the vaccine.
- Children with Guillain-Barre syndrome should not get the vaccine.
- Young infants with low immune systems should not get the vaccine.
- Children with acute illness should not get the vaccine.