Friday, May 15, 2009

Swine Flu Advice

My mother called me tonight (4.29.09) to ask if she should start taking Tamaflu for the swine flu. So, I told her that I would have to blog on this topic. I will give you my answer to her question below.

The swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by the type- A influenza virus which is a variant of the usual H1N1 flu virus. The H1N1 virus is the same virus that causes the flu in humans. What is different about this virus is that it contains DNA from bird and pig flu strains. How does a virus have DNA from a pig and bird and yet be able to infect humans? Scientists do not know how this mutation came about. Whether it is a man-made virus (created in a lab) or a spontaneous mutation is not known. However, a spontaneous mutation causing this virus is unlikely. I am not sure how this came about, but, hopefully, when the hysteria subsides, we can have a proper investigation which will point out how this mutation occurred.

But, let’s get to the basics. What should you do? Number one, don’t panic. The vast majority of the people ill with the flu have not died. Presently, no one in the U.S. has died of this flu. That is not to say it could not happen, but we must not let the media create a state of panic.

Next, ensure you are taking adequate amounts of vitamin C. If I had one nutrient available to me, it would be vitamin C. I suggest taking 3-5,000mg/day of vitamin C. If you are becoming ill or are ill, I would suggest increasing the vitamin C intake to bowel tolerance. That is, take as much as you can until you have diarrhea. Then, lower the dose until the diarrhea resolves. When you are ill, your vitamin C requirements dramatically increase. Usually, you can tolerate much higher doses of vitamin C when you are ill versus when you are feeling well.

In my office, we routinely do vitamin C IV’s when people are ill. These nutrient IV’s are a fantastic treatment for acute illnesses, especially the flu. If you have access to IV nutrient therapies, be sure to utilize these in times of need.

Ensure you are taking adequate amounts of vitamin D. I frequently have my patients take short-term, larger doses of vitamin D (10,000-50,000Units/day) for 2-5 days at the first sign of the flu.

Iodine is another nutrient that has potent immune stimulating capabilities to it. No virus has been shown to be resistant to iodine. It is important to achieve iodine sufficiency before you become ill.

Also, eating a good diet, free of refined food products helps every condition, including the flu. Lastly, make sure you are well hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water.

These are the proper steps to take to prevent and treat the flu.

Back to mom’s question. What about Tamaflu? Tamaflu is fraught with side effects including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue and cough. Sounds like the flu to me. Furthermore, the FDA has put a warning label on Tamaflu stating that it can cause adverse effects such as delirium, hallucinations, or other related behavior. Tamaflu has been banned in Japan (for children 10-19 years of age) as it was shown to cause brain infections and psychiatric problems including self harm in some users.

My experience with viral illnesses, such as the flu has been clear; it is best treated with a nutritional and common sense approach. Rest, keep hydrated and take vitamin C.

That advice was similar to what I received from my mother when I was ill as a child. So, to answer my mother—I will recommend following her advice. Drink lots of fluids (preferably water), rest, and take vitamin C. It is a lot safer than Tamaflu and has worked great for my practice.


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