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Naturopathic Clinic Email Newsletter – November 2004
* Cold and Flu Season is Here
* Vitamin E in the News
COLD AND FLU SEASON IS HERE AGAIN
(This is a reprisal
of our webpages on acute
important thing to remember with colds, respiratory flu (influenza) and
other acute infections is that there are things we can do to build up
our immune system so we can better fight these nasty bugs. It takes both
a susceptibility to the virus or bacteria as well as the exposure in
order to get sick. Both of these parameters can be influenced by the
choices we make.
The main way that cold and influenza viruses are
spread is through contaminated secretions from coughing, sneezing and
the hands of someone sick. Infection primarily occurs through hand to
mouth contact. We can lessen our exposure by washing our hands with soap
and water and using surface disinfectants in contaminated areas (i.e.,
where other people with colds may be). We can avoid spreading it to
others by the obvious things your mother taught you - cover your month
with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing and sneezing and wash your
hands regularly. It is very radical in our overworked society but
another really good way to prevent others from catching our cold or flu
is to stay home when sick. It will also speed your recovery!
To improve your resistance to the bugs cut down on
simple sugars such as desserts, sweet snacks and fruit juice (they
depress the immune system), eat a whole foods healthy diet, drink plenty
of water, take a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement, get enough
sleep, and lessen the stresses in your life. Anything that is physically
or emotionally stressful can depress the immune system. In many people
dairy tends to produce more and thicker nasal mucus and can encourage
secondary bacterial infections to develop that lead to sinus and ear
infections. So for these people avoiding dairy during the illness is
Once you sense you may be coming down with
something (e.g., a scratchy throat) - don’t wait! This is the time to
jump on it. Immediately start high doses of vitamin C and herbs that
support the immune system. I really like an Echinacea/Goldenseal
combination formula but other herbs are good too. Sometimes this will
kick the virus out before it ever gets going. If that is not doing
enough you can add other herbs like Astragalus and Black Elderberry.
There are also herbal cough elixirs that are very helpful for
symptomatic relief of coughs and Zinc Lozenges are helpful with sore
throats. The combination homeopathic remedies that can be found in the
health food stores can also be very helpful with flu and colds (best to
not use these if on a constitutional remedy).
Eating lighter is recommended (e.g., vegetables,
soups, etc.) and if you have no appetite don’t eat at all. Hot herbal
teas are nice, such as fresh ginger tea with lemon. Also avoid
suppressing symptoms when possible (i.e., decongestants, cough
suppressants, etc.). This is especially true for a fever (unless it is
high) since the fever is part of the body’s effort to fight the
infection. You may feel better in the short term with these medications
but it usually takes longer to recover from the illness.
in any form is an excellent addition to the infection-fighting
arsenal. The very best is raw organic garlic. This is pretty intense and
not for the faint of mouth - or stomach - but eating it raw will give
you the most benefit. It helps to slice it up and take it with a little
bread or other food - plus it is helpful to have other food in the
stomach when you take it. Of course, you will stink (bad!) but the
microbes won't like it either and it is very effective. All the other
ways of getting it in are also useful (cooked, capsules, etc.). One
caution: don't leave raw sliced or chopped garlic in contact with your
skin or mucous membranes (e.g., mouth) for longer than it takes to chew
it up and swallow.
If none of these self-care solutions I’ve
discussed does the job you can also come in for an appointment to our
office and get an individualized treatment. Last year’s flu season was
rather bad but at the clinic we were able to successfully treat the
influenza patients with the homeopathic remedy matched to each
individual’s symptom picture. So regardless of whether a person gets
influenza, a bad cold, the stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis), an ear
or sinus infection, natural treatments can help.
Recommended adult doses:
Echinacea/goldenseal – ˝ dropper 6 times a day (tincture), or 2
capsules 6 times a day
Vitamin C – 1000 mg 6 times a day
Astragalus – ˝ dropper 4 times a day, or 2 capsules 4 times a day
Black Elderberry – ˝ dropper 4 times a day
Garlic - 2 to 4 cloves of raw organic garlic per
day or 4 to 6 capsules per day
Children’s doses: Cut down the doses
proportionately by weight.
Don’t forget to review your handouts or study up
on the various acute infections and their home treatments before you get
sick. Go to Self-care.
E IN THE NEWS
Recently a number of
news outlets reported on a soon to be published combined analysis of
several different vitamin E research studies (this kind of analysis is
called an meta-analysis). In this meta-analysis the researchers
concluded that vitamin E intakes of greater than 400 IU daily may result
in a small increase in mortality in elderly patients with chronic
However, there are some
serious problems with the news reports of the analysis. (1) The selected
studies in the analysis were NOT designed to evaluate the effect of
vitamin E on mortality. (2) The selected studies did not always evaluate
vitamin E alone, but in combination with other nutrients. (3) No
distinction between natural and synthetic vitamin E was made in the
analysis (we always recommend natural vitamin E). (4) The authors of the
analysis themselves concluded that their findings could not be
generalized to healthy adults.
Three other recently
published analyses found NO evidence that vitamin E supplementation up
to 800 lU/day significantly increased or decreased mortality. [Notice
that these studies didn’t make the news!]
Vitamin E has been studied
for many years. There are literally thousands of studies published in
scientific journals with most showing benefits of vitamin E. Many of
these studies have concluded that 400 to 800 IU of natural vitamin E
supports cardiovascular health.
Here at Heartland
Naturopathic Clinic, we will still be recommending every adult get
around 400 IUs of natural vitamin E daily to help protect against
disease. This should
be taken along with the other antioxidants (vitamin C, natural
beta-carotene and selenium) and a good multiple vitamin/mineral.
Naturally, we also recommend that everyone is also consuming a healthy
whole foods diet with lots of vegetables.
for more information on our nutritional recommendations, diet, natural
vs. synthetic vitamins, etc.
was prepared using information from Susan Carlson, RPh, J.R. Carlson
Laboratories, Inc., www.carlsonlabs.com/.