As the cold and flu season is upon us, it’s time to talk about its causes, and how we can protection our selves from having it effect our lives. Although it’s something we cannot control, I believe there are measures we can take to decrease the impact the flu may have on our bodies.
I for one have always suggested preventative medicine as being the best medicine, like taking vitamin C at the first signs of the change in weather, if you’re not taking it all year ’round. I’m also a huge proponent of a taking a daily multiple vitamin, something I have done ever since I could remember. I’m also a big advocate about the proper amount of sleep. The three items listed above, vitamin C, multiple vitamins, and sleep, I believe, can go a long way in protecting you from not only the flu, but other diseases as well.
Since I’m not a medical doctor or science professor, I’ll leave the explanation of the proper way to protect your self from the flu up to TriVita’s Chief Science Officer, Brazos Minshew.
Important Health News – Protect Yourself from the Flu
by Brazos Minshew, TriVita’s Chief Science Officer
About this time of year many people ask me what they can do to prevent the flu or minimize its impact. That has never seemed more relevant than today; so, I will address this with the best science we have available today. I say “today’s best science” because we simply don’t know everything we need to know about preventing and treating the flu. And we need to remember that not all that long ago “current science” said that the earth was flat and diseases were caused by evils spells or dead ancestors.
Many people never get the flu – no matter which strain we are talking about. Do you? When you get the flu, are your symptoms severe? Are there high-risk people living with you? Then your preference for or against preventive measures must take them into consideration. (What if you got it and survived but transmitted it to them and they died? How would you feel?) In any case, 35,000-40,000 people in North America die of the flu each year. It is estimated that this number will double with H1N1.
There are three pathways you need to focus on with flu protection – any variety:
We will begin at the ending: Inflammation from the immune system that incapacitates – even kills – people when they have the flu. MOST IMPORTANT: The flu kills people not by transmission or by infection, but by an inflammatory immune system response called the “cytokine storm.”
Our immune system is designed to neutralize and excrete any non-self protein it finds. That includes the influenza virus. The size of the immune response needs to be equivalent to the strength of the invader.
Think of this as a building on fire: small fires are extinguished by local fire fighters. Some fires are so big that fire fighters from other departments have to be called in to help. So, fires are designated as “one-alarm,” “two-alarm,” “three-alarm,” and so on. At a certain point, our immune system pulls all of the alarms and immune system fractions from all over our body rush to put out the fire, so to speak. However, this is a case of fighting fire with fire. Cytokines are inflammatory. They kill viruses and bacteria by creating inflammation.
The cytokine storm is responsible for all of the symptoms we feel: fever, body aches, nausea, diarrhea, etc. It is also responsible for filling the lungs with mucous (pneumonia/pneumonitis) which is often the fatal trigger in influenza, SARS, Hanta virus, bubonic plague, etc.
To survive we must modulate the cytokine storm so that it does its job but doesn’t overwork and kill us. We make it work smarter, not harder. So we don’t use Vitamin C or Echinacea or anything that “boosts” the immune system. We use immune system modulators so we get exactly the right response. Quercetin, green tea polyphenols and ginseng (Panax and Eleutherococcus) all help balance the body’s immune system and decrease the cytokine storm.
Prior to the cytokine storm is the infection stage of influenza. The virus infects the cell by matching a cell receptor called Hemagglutinin. Hemagglutinin (the “H” in H1N1) allows the virus to gain entry to the cell and mutate the cell DNA so it can breed an infection. It also allows the newly mutated DNA to be incorporated into surrounding cells and through cell lines. Hemagglutinin describes “infection” with the flu. Two powerful natural bulwarks of Hemagglutinin are green tea polyphenols and ginseng (Panax and Eleutherococcus) found in some B-12 supplements.
Neuraminidase describes “transmission” of the flu where the virus disarms the immune system with an enzyme. This is the “N” in H1N1, H5N1. Neuraminidase inhibitors like Tamiflu limit the ability of the virus to transmit its DNA strands. Two strong natural Neuraminidase protectors are green tea polyphenols and quercetin. It is likely that green tea polyphenols and quercetin will help your body do what it does best: resist infection. Think of them as the first line of defense to arm your immune system and help protect against the flu virus from disarming it. *** End of Article ***
If inflammation and the flu are related, to me, preventative medicine makes more sense, and if vitamin C and/or multiple vitamins, can do one-half of what has been scientifically proven, I believe many people will be protected from the flu, not to mention living healthier and more active lives.
The flu can be extremely dangerous to your health. However, I believe, like so many others, that inflammation may even be more dangerous, because it is related, or the leading cause of so many diseases. And if we can continue to fight inflammation I believe we can all live longer and healthier lives.
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The above information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.