10 Steps to Outsmart a Virus
Viruses are everywhere in the news these days—and not just Ebola.
Ten states have reported an outbreak of a mysterious flu-like virus causing severe respiratory illness in kids. Enterovirus is now being investigated.
In Kansas City, Missouri alone, more than 300 cases of respiratory illnesses were reported last month, according to the state Department of Health. In about 15% of the cases, children were placed in an intensive care unit.
Viruses, unlike most bacterial infections, don’t respond to treatment with conventional medicine like antibiotics. The key to treating them seems to be in managing the symptoms and of course, avoiding them in the first place.
Ideally, if you have a healthy immune system, your body’s natural defenses will combat the virus, and a healthy diet is the one of the best way to fortify the system.
It has long been known that people who are malnourished are more susceptible to infectious disease. The immune system needs adequate nutrition to function well.
1) Nix Sugar, Reduce Grains and Maximize Magnesium.
As I have discussed many times, sugar suppresses your immune response and slows recovery. Grains also take their toll as naturally-occurring phytic acid can bind minerals like calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium and prevent them from being absorbed by the body.
This is important not just for those suffering from food intolerances, but for those who are mineral deficient—the majority of the U.S. population.
Magnesium and zinc—typically in very short supply in the American diet and “used up” when under stress—are both important nutritional weapons against any type of virus.
Topical magnesium oil and bath flakes (both sourced from magnesium chloride) are becoming increasingly popular to help the system absorb this pivotal mineral from the outside in.
Dr. Raul Vergini, an Italian physician who has spent years writing and studying about the use of magnesium chloride to fight infectious disease, says it has “unique healing power on acute viral and bacterial diseases.”
He uses higher amounts, a few grams every few hours, in the oil form because it has better bowel tolerance. According to Vergini, he’s seen a lot of flu cases healed within 48 hours.
2) Add Coconut Oil.
Coconut oil is made up of 60% medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) found by laboratory tests to be effective in destroying viruses that cause influenza and other disease-related pathogens.
According to Bruce Fife, N.D., the author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, “The antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of coconut oil are due to the medium chain fatty acid in the oil, including capric acid and caprylic acid, and the powerful lauric acid.”
Coconut oil is excellent for cooking and baking and with a smoke point of 350 degrees, it’s also a healthy oil to use when sautéing.
3) Aim for Omega-3 Fatty Acids Daily.
Flax oil, flax seeds, chia, walnuts, and wild caught salmon are some of the highest sources. These foods are important in production of the eicosanoids and prostaglandins that are released by immune cells to quickly defend against foreign invaders.
4) Eat Lots of Green Veggies.
Keeping the liver clean is key in controlling duplication of viruses in the body. Spinach, kale, broccoli and broccoli sprouts provide lots of liver detoxifying and nourishing plant phytonutrients and purifying chlorophyll. Broccoli sprouts contain about 100 times the amount of glucoraphanan—the precursor to sulforaphane—a key compound that activates the body’s defense system.
5) Spice Up Your Diet with Antiviral Herbs and Spices like garlic, onion, oregano, turmeric and mint.
Toss them into your next stir fry and season salads, meats, chicken, beans, and veggies with these herbal antibiotics. Many of my Fat Flushers add a teaspoon of raw turmeric to their daily smoothies.
Vitamin and Mineral Magic
Several key nutrients are at the core of the immune system response.
6) Select Selenium.
Selenium is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Research has shown that when your body’s lymphocytes are selenium-deficient, they are less able to proliferate and respond to invading pathogens. A deficiency also allows viruses to mutate and cause more severe and longer-lasting illness.
An 18-month study with 262 AIDS patients supplementing with 200 mcg of selenium daily showed lower levels of the virus and higher levels of immune system cells.
7) Implement Iodine.
Years ago Americans traditionally ate high dietary amounts of iodine in bread. Today, iodine is in short supply because there are so many elements in the environment like fluoride, chlorine, and bromine, which can displace this vital trace element and wreak havoc on thyroid heath.
8) Power Up with Vitamin C.
There is no other substance that does as much to promote strengthened immune function as vitamin C. Among many other effects, vitamin C directly increases interferon and antibody production, while supercharging the functions of the white blood cells.
Vitamin C is so effective in killing viruses because of several mechanisms. Most importantly it sets them up for destruction by activating the ‘Fenton reaction’—wherein the vitamin C enters virus cells and stimulates a reaction that creates hydroxyl radicals that in turn, kill the virus.
Vitamin C is also a precursor of glutathione, the body’s toxic waste eliminator which can help neutralize heavy metals, bacteria, and virus.
9) Get Down to D.
Researchers at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY found that giving supplements of vitamin D to a group of volunteers reduced episodes of infection with colds and flu by 70% over three years.
The researchers said that vitamin D stimulates “innate immunity” to viruses and bacteria. Supplements of fermented cod liver oil or Vitamin D itself (1,000 – 4,000 IU) can support immunity and ax viruses.
10) Elderberry for Everyone?
Studies show Elderberry may help boost immunity by increasing the body’s production of cytokines (proteins involved in regulating the immune system’s response to disease and infection) and indicate that this herb shows promise as a flu-fighter.
In a 2004 study of patients suffering from flu-like symptoms, scientists found that those who used elderberry extract for five days (taking 15 ml in syrup form four times daily) saw symptoms disappear four days sooner than participants taking a placebo.
Many of these foods and supplements are available widely in health food stores and whole food supermarkets around the country. Naturally, sufficient rest and relaxation are also part of the equation when it comes to fortifying your immune system.