Tag Archives: Flu

Vitamin D3, Omega-3s, & Yin Chiao to Prevent Flu & Colds

 

(Source: firerescuefitness.com)
(Source: firerescuefitness.com)

 

Here in New York City this winter, many people are coming down with bad colds and a nasty version of the flu that often take weeks to get over.  It’s possible to protect yourself from these viruses … and at the same time increase your odds of avoiding a wide range of other diseases and health problems too.
A nutritious diet high in whole foods and short on junk foods is of course very important for staying healthy. Functional Medicine doc Frank Lipman’s HEALTHY EATING CHECKLIST is a good resource for figuring out what to eat to maximize your health and stay well. He emphasizes “food quality, not calorie counting, so you’ll be including the healthiest foods and avoiding common irritants and harmful foods that drain the body of energy, including processed foods, sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine and alcohol.” (Lipman, 2015)

LipmanBlog-650x406

 

Here are also a few suggestions for supplements to build up your immune system so you’re less likely to succumb to whatever viral thing is making the rounds – and improve your health in general.

 

VITAMIN D3

 

(Source: hl123.blogspot.com)
(Source: hl123.blogspot.com)
The vast majority of Americans have woefully inadequate vitamin D blood levels. A 2000 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that 77% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. (Hardin, 11/30/2014)
The graphic below lists some of the symptoms of vitamin  D deficiency along with some of the diseases and conditions associated with it:

 

(Source: glutathionepathway.com)
(Source: glutathionepathway.com)
Causes of vitamin D deficiency include (CATIE, 2011), (Magee, 2014), (Shankar, 2014) & (Wortsman et al, 2000):
  • Insufficient Consumption of Vitamin D in the Daily Diet
  • Milk Allergy or Sensitivity
  • A Strict Vegan or Vegetarian Diet: Vegans and vegetarians are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency because most of its natural sources are animal-based: fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheeses, fortified milk, and beef liver. (Magee, 2014)
  • Limited Sun Exposure or Use of Sun Screen
  • Weight: Very overweight and obese people (a BMI of 30 or greater) tend to be vitamin D deficient. Obesity-associated vitamin D insufficiency is likely due to a decrease in the bio-availability of vitamin D3 because it gets deposited in body fat compartments.
  • Dark skin: The skin pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Crohn’s Disease or Colitis: Chronic inflammation of the inner lining of the intestine and colon cause dysentery, leading to the excretion of large quantities of vital nutrients – including vitamin D.
  • Cystic Fibrosis Cystic Fibrosis impairs the ability to absorb fats and fats are needed for the body to utilize vitamin D.
  • Old Age: The skin of elderly people takes longer to absorb vitamin D. The kidneys of older people may also lose their ability to convert vitamin D from sunshine into its active form.
  • Continual Exposure to Toxic Substances and Harmful Chemicals
  • Recipients of Transplanted Organs: Anti-rejection medications taken to suppress the immune system interfere with vitamin D production.
  • Side Effects of Pharmaceutical Medicines and Some Herbs, Including:
  1. Antibiotics – rifampin (rifampicin) and isoniazid, commonly used to treat TB. Vitamin D levels can sometimes fall after as little as two weeks’ exposure to these drugs.
  2. Anti-Seizure drugs – phenobarbital, carbamazepine, phenytoin
  3. Anti-Cancer Drugs – Taxol and related compounds
  4. Antifungal Agents – clotrimazole and ketoconazole
  5. Anti-HIV Drugs – research suggests that the drugs efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin and in Atripla) and AZT (Retrovir, zidovudine and in Combivir and Trizivir) may reduce vitamin D levels in some people. In contrast, exposure to darunavir (Prezista) appears to raise vitamin D levels.
  6. The herb St. John’s Wort or its extracts (hypericin, hyperforin)
  7. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – corticosteroids
Researchers continue to study the possible effects of various medications on vitamin D levels, so look for more news about this in the future.

 

(Source: simplygreenandhealthy.com)
(Source: simplygreenandhealthy.com)

 

It’s important to have your 25 hydroxy-D blood level checked fairly frequently to make sure your blood level of vitamin D isn’t TOO LOW or TOO HIGH … both are problematic.
Dr Robert Mercola included this chart in a recent article called The Real RDA for Vitamin D Is 10 Times Higher Than Currently Recommended, which I suggest reading:
(Source: Mercola.com)
(Source: Mercola.com)
In taking nutritional supplements, it’s best to look for ones made by companies that produce high quality products – ones that contain the supplement in bio-available form. These often cost somewhat more than the brands you’ll find at chain drugstores but will make a bigger difference to your health. Bio-availability is the amount of a drug or supplement that is physiologically absorbed from a given dose – as distinct from its chemical potency.
My personal favorite D3 supplement is made by Metagenics. They make three types: a bio-active micro-tablet containing 1,000 iu of D3, high potency softgels containing bio-available 5,000 iu of D3, and a liquid delivering 2,000 IU of vitamin D3/dose in its most bioactive form. All the Metagenics’ forms of D3 are gluten and GMO free.
Dr Mercola says it’s important to know, when taking oral vitamin D supplements, that you increase your need for vitamin K2. Vitamin D also requires sufficient amounts of magnesium and zinc to work properly, and is best taken with some healthy fat, as it’s a fat-soluble vitamin. (Mercola, 2015)

 

 

 

OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

(Source: www.theissnscoop.com)

(Source: www.theissnscoop.com)

 

In addition to supporting cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation in the body, and enhancing cognitive brain function, consuming omega-3 fatty acids is an excellent way to prevent colds and even cure flu – including “bird flu”. (Louis, 2013), (Morita et al, 2013) & (Rodale, 2013)
Our bodies can’t generate omega-3s so we must obtain them from outside sources. Plant sources include avocados, walnuts, and seeds (chia, flax, and hemp). Animal sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, and high-quality cuts of meat like grass-fed beef.
Dr Josh Axe (a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutrition, and chiropractic) recommends these as the 15 best food sources of omega-3s (Axe, 2016):

(Source: http://draxe.com/omega-3-foods/)

(Source: http://draxe.com/omega-3-foods/)

 

Omega-3s from Natural Sources + Supplements
Dr Axes advises: “When it comes to getting enough omega-3s into your diet, I recommend eating plenty of omega-3 foods and also supplementing in most cases. Through a combination of both, my advice is to make sure you’re getting at least 1,000 milligrams a day of EPA/DHA and about 4,000 milligrams of total omega-3s (ALA/EPA/DHA combined).” (Axe, 2016)
Dr Andrew Weil’s recommendations are to eat oily fleshed, wild caught, cold water fish 2-3 times a week. If taking a fish oil supplement, he recommends choosing one “derived from molecularly distilled fish oils – these are naturally high in both EPA and DHA and low in contaminants. Also choose a supplement brand that has been independently tested and guaranteed to be free of heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and other environmental toxins including polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs.” (Weil, 2013)

 

 

 

YIN CHIAO

imgres

Maybe you get run down or super stressed out and, in spite of having built up your immune system, you start coming down with a cold or flu …
Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao Pills are good for keeping something viral from taking hold if taken at the first sign of a cold or flu. They’re made of herbs and contain no pharmaceuticals, dyes, animal products,  preservatives or unlisted ingredients. This Yin Chiao  formula has been around for a lot of years and is a favorite of many people. It was first published in a Chinese herbal text by Dr. Wu Ju Tong in the year 1798.
There are other brands of Yin Chiao on the market but I’ve found Dr Shen’s to be the most effective.
One dose usually dispatches my symptoms. If any  return, I take two more Yin Chiao a few hours apart until my immune  system has successfully fought off the virus.
The wild crafted herbs in Dr Shen’s Yin Chiao are:
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera flos) Jin Yin Hua
  • Forsythia (Forsythia Suspensa Fructus) Lian Qiao
  • Balloon Flower (Platycodi Grandiflori Radix) Jie Geng
  • Peppermint (Menthe Herba) Bo He
  • Edible Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Niu Bang Zi
  • Crested Grass (Lophatheri Gracilis) Dan Zhu Ye
  • Schizonepeta (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia) Jing Jie
  • Fermented Soy Bean (Sojae Praeparatum Semen) Dan Dou Qi
  • Chinese Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Uranelsis Radix) Gan Cao

 

Dr Shen’s Yin Chiao is available on Amazon, elsewhere online, and at some health food stores.
Here’s a short video about Dr Shen’s Yin Chiao Formula:
For more information on Dr Shen’s Yin Chiao and other ways to avoid getting something viral, see also Fighting Off A Virus. (Hardin, 10/12/2014)
Here’s the Dr Shen’s website about their Yin Chiao formula.

 

 

(Source: www.pinterest.com)

(Source: www.pinterest.com)

 

 

REFERENCES

Axe, J. (2016). 15 Omega-3 Foods Your Body Needs Now. See: http://draxe.com/omega-3-foods/

CATIE. (2011). Overview of vitamin D – sources, dosing, drug interactions, toxicity. See: http://www.catie.ca/en/treatmentupdate/treatmentupdate-185/nutrition/overview-vitamin-sources-dosing-drug-interactions-toxi

Dr Shen’s. (2016). Dr Shen’s Yin Chiao Pills. See: http://drshen.com/collections/dr-shens-chinese-herbs/products/dr-shens-yin-chiao

Hardin, J.R. (10/12/2014). Fighting Off A Virus. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/10/12/fight-viruses/

Hardin, J.R. (11/30/2014). Alzheimer’s, Gut Bacteria and Music. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/11/30/alzheimers-gut-bacteria-music/

Lipman, F. (2015). HEALTHY EATING CHECKLIST. See: https://www.bewellbydrfranklipman.com/healthy-living/eating-plan.html

Louis, P.F. (2013). Research: Treat severe flu with omega-3 fatty acids. Natural News. See: http://www.naturalnews.com/039954_omega-3_influenza_defense.html#

Magee, E. (2014). Vitamin D Deficiency. WebMD. See: http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamin-d-deficiency

Mercola, R. (undated). Beginner Plan: Fats. See: http://www.mercola.com/nutritionplan/beginner_fats.htm

Mercola, R. (12/13/2012). Zinc—One of the Best Supplements to Help Fight Cold and Flu. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/13/zinc-for-colds-and-flu.aspx

Mercola, R. (10/19/2013). Vitamin D and K2 Work in Tandem to Slow Arterial Calcification. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/19/vitamin-d-vitamin-k2.aspx

Mercola. R. (12/8/2013).  Magnesium—The Missing Link to Better Health. See:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/08/magnesium-health-benefits.aspx

Mercola, R. (5/10/2015). The Real RDA for Vitamin D Is 10 Times Higher Than Currently Recommended. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/10/vitamin-d-recommended-dietary-allowance.aspx

Morita, M. et al. (2013). The Lipid Mediator Protectin D1 Inhibits Influenza Virus Replication and Improves Severe Influenza. Cell, 153:1, p112–125. See: http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(13)00216-X

Rodale. (2013). Best And Worst Natural Cold And Flu Remedies: Find out which immune-boosting supplements really help—and which are just hype – Omega 3s. Prevention. See: http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/best-and-worst-natural-cold-and-flu-remedies/omega-3s

Shankar, S. (2014). 6 Causes Of Vitamin D Deficiency In The Body. See: http://www.searchhomeremedy.com/causes-of-vitamin-d-deficiency-in-the-body/

Weil, A. (1/10/2013). Fish Oil and Omega-3. See: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03050/Fish-Oil-Omega-3-Dr-Weil.html

Wortsman, J. et al. (2000). Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity. American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 72:3, 690-693. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/72/3/690.full

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Fighting Off A Virus

 

 

(Source: http://thornefx.com/)
(Source: http://thornefx.com/)

 

Since we’re well into the flu and colds season, I thought it might be useful to describe how I ward off becoming ill when I feel the first inkling that something viral is trying to take hold in my body – a scratchy throat, a slight fever spike, and lethargy are my early warning symptoms.
These are the steps I take, in the order I do them:

 

 

 

FIRST: DR. SHEN’S YIN CHIAO PILLS

imgres
I take two Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao Pills right away. They’re made of herbs and contain no pharmaceuticals, dyes, animal products,  preservatives or unlisted ingredients. They’re intended for use at the first sign of a cold or flu.
One or two doses usually dispatch my symptoms. If any of the symptoms return, I take two more Yin Chiao an hour later and every hour until they’re gone. This has never required more than four hourly doses. Last winter, when a rather virulent flu was going around and I was exposed to many people who were sick but nevertheless felt compelled to be out and about (and in my office), my symptoms returned every few days for about a week so I repeated the dosing until my immune system had successfully fought off the virus.

 

From the Dr. Shen website:

This formula was first published in a Chinese herbal text by Dr. Wu Ju Tong in the year 1798.

SERVING:
Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera flos) Jin Yin Hua
  • Forsythia (Forsythia Suspensa Fructus) Lian Qiao
  • Balloon Flower (Platycodi Grandiflori Radix) Jie Geng
  • Peppermint (Menthe Herba) Bo He
  • Edible Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Niu Bang Zi
  • Crested Grass (Lophatheri Gracilis) Dan Zhu Ye
  • Schizonepeta (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia) Jing Jie
  • Fermented Soy Bean (Sojae Praeparatum Semen) Dan Dou Qi
  • Chinese Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Uranelsis Radix) Gan Cao

 

SERVING:
Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling.

 

SUGGESTED USE:
Keep a dozen tablets in your car, purse, or pocket. Take promptly.
Use for immune support at home.

 

Unlike some Yin Chiao imported from China, Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao contains no drugs, dyes, pharmaceuticals, animal products, or unlisted ingredients. Each tablet contains a generous amount (750 mgs.) of premium grade wildcrafted herbs. Each tablet is also coated with natural food glaze and shaped for easy swallowing.

Though Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao is considered a Wind Heat formula, it is traditionally used, and effective for, both Wind Heat and Wind Cold patterns. However, using this formula to support normal patterns can require the addition of herbs or formulas such as Er Chen Wan to dry dampness and leech dampness from the tissue.

For Immune Enhancement: Take three tablets every four hours.

Some people have said they get diarrhea after taking Chinese herbs. This has not been a problem for me but I have noticed slightly more frequent BMs if I’ve had to dose myself three or four times in a single day.
I can get Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao at LifeThyme, my local health food store. It’s also available on Amazon. I’ve tried several other herbal remedies for this purpose but have had the best results with this product.

 

SECOND: ‘MILK’ THE LYMPH GLANDS IN THE NECK

Our body’s lymphatic system is essentially its sewer system, removing toxins from the body. Like our blood system, it consists of millions of vessels – but it lacks a heart-like pump to keep the lymph moving.
This lack of a pump wasn’t a problem when we moved around a lot doing physical labor. Now that most of us sit at desks, in cars, and in front of TVs and computers much of the time, our lymph systems have become sluggish.  Lymph is moved along when we breathe and walk, and also by intestinal activity and muscle action. The lymph vessels are squeezed by tightening muscles, pushing the lymph along to be filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the heart. (Williams, 2014)
Exercise helps move the lymph efficiently. So do slant boards or inversions like head and hand stands. Lymphatic drainage can also be achieved manually.
Since I usually notice my body is fighting off a virus when I’m in the middle of a therapy session or am otherwise occupied in a public place and can’t conveniently do a Down Dog, I manually drain, or ‘milk’, the lymph glands just under my lower jaw, starting next to my ears. It’s quick and certainly not the weirdest thing I’ve seen people do in public.
This gets the stagnant, toxin-containing lymph out of those glands. While I find pressing on these glands a bit nauseating, draining them always leaves me feeling a whole lot better immediately afterwards.
I highly recommend doing this drainage whenever you start to feel a sore throat or have sinus congestion. It’ll also give you a nice burst of energy when you’re feeling tired and sluggish. And of course doing it prophylactically is an excellent idea.
It’s important to do the manual drainage in a downward motion, moving the lymph down toward the heart.
Here are two diagrams showing the lymph glands in the head and neck:

 

 

(Source: www.swollenglands.com)
Lymph glands of the head and neck. (Source: www.swollenglands.com)

 

 

 

(Source: www.mothering.com)
Lymph glands of the head and neck. (Source: www.mothering.com)

 

From the diagrams above, it looks like the glands I’m referring to are the parotid lymph glands.
If I have a little more time, I’ll also start under my jaw and milk down my throat on either side of my windpipe to drain those glands too – the anterior cervical.
(Source: meded.ucsd.edu)
(Source: meded.ucsd.edu)

 

 

I came across this in Dr. Williams’ article Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymph System but haven’t tried it yet – it looks wonderful. He says this manipulation alone is good for relieving headaches and neck tension:
Starting at the base of the skull with your thumbs just behind your ears, push under the skull, into the neck, with firm pressure slowly going down toward your collar bones. Continue doing this, each time moving your thumbs closer together toward the spinal column.

 

(Source: Williams.com)
(Source: drdavidwilliams.com)

 

 

Notes:
  • If you have Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins lymphoma, it’s not good to press on your lymph glands.
  • Regularly draining the lymph glands across the chest, from inside the armpits toward the breastbone in the center of the chest, is good for preventing breast cancer.

 

(Source: www.slideshare.net)
(Source: www.slideshare.net)

 

 

 

 

 

THIRD: VIGOROUSLY TAP THE THYMUS GLAND

(Source: drdavidwilliams.com)
(The thymus gland under the sternum. Source: drdavidwilliams.com)

 

The thymus gland, located under the sternum (breast bone), is a reflex point that helps stimulate lymphatic drainage in the upper body. Tapping it will also stimulate your immune system to kick in.
The gland sticks out on both sides of the sternum so tapping it vigorously with the finger tips of both hands or rubbing it vigorously for about two minutes helps get lymphatic drainage going. (Williams, 2014)
It will probably feel a little – or a lot – sore when you’re on the right spot.

 

 

 

 

FOURTH: DRAIN THE LYMPH GLANDS ACROSS THE TOP OF THE CHEST

I do this if I have time:
Use your knuckles to squeeze the stagnant lymph and toxins out of the line of lymph glands running across your chest in a line with your thymus gland. Be sure to start inside your arm pits and move toward the thymus gland so the lymph drains back to the heart.
I do this a few times a month, whether I feel viral or not.

 

(Source: www.drravindracancercure.com)
(Source: www.drravindracancercure.com)

 

I ALSO:

  • Up my fluid intake
  • Avoid any foods I know are inflammatory
  • Do a little breath work (pranayama) to center myself
  • Avoid letting things upset me
  • Go to bed early if at all possible

 

 

The general idea is to get your immune system to kick in to overpower the virus.

 

 

 

 

(Source: http://9gag.com/)
(Source: http://9gag.com/)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Dr Shen’s Quality Chinese Herbs. (2014). Yin Chiao. See: http://www.drshen.com/chineseherbproducts.html#yinchiaoherbs

Williams, D. (2014).  Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymphatic System. See: http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/lymphatic-system-drainage-exercises/

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.