Tag Archives: Omega-3s

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)



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.




(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)





(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)






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)




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:

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.

Why You Should Avoid Flu Shots and What to Do Instead

Updated 4/15/2016.





In early December 2014 the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that this season’s flu vaccine is not as effective as in years past because the viral strain circulating this influenza season has mutated. Of the 85 influenza samples the CDC collected and analyzed between October 1 through November 22 2014, 52% of them differed from the virus strains included in this season’s vaccine. (Goldschmidt & Christensen, 2014)



Across all age groups reviewed by the CDC, the flu vaccines’ effectiveness during the 2012-2013 flu season was found to be 56% – that is, only slightly better than 50/50. The effectiveness rate of flu vaccine for seniors 65 and older in the US was found to be only 9%. (Mercola, 2013)
The CDC also reports that flu activity is low this 2014-2015 season. Yet we’re being urged by our doctors and numerous media ads to get a flu shot as soon as possible. The shots are even available at drug stores, supermarkets and workplaces. The CDC recommends yearly vaccination for everyone  six months and older unless they’ve had a severe reaction to a previous version of the flu vaccine. (Goldschmidt & Christensen, 2014)


Sick woman in bed taking temperature



Five reports issued between 2006 and 2010 by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, considered the gold standard of independent scientific evaluation and analysis, has decimated the myth that flu vaccinations are “the most effective flu prevention method” available. (Cochrane, 2014).
Cochrane reported that, in average conditions, when a flu vaccine at least partially matches the circulating virus, 100 people’s getting vaccinated prevents just ONE set of flu symptoms.


Cochrane Reviews are scientifically rigorous, systematic reviews of research  in healthcare and health policy. The Cochrane Library contains high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.



(Source: www.naturalnews.com)
(Source: www.naturalnews.com)




The FDA’s former Chief Vaccine Control Officer, Dr. J. Anthony Morris, a Virologist, states, “There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza. The producers of these vaccines know they are worthless, but go on making them anyway.”
See Public Comments From Individuals (as of January 20, 2012) – Submitted through the Federal Register Process to read Dr Morris’s and 144 other comments from health care professionals about the uselessness and dangers of routine flu vaccinations.







Doesn’t impairing your immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens seem exactly the wrong approach to avoiding a viral illness – or any other type of illness?
Dr Robert Mercola states “all vaccines suppress your immune system”. This is his list of some of the ways vaccines impair and alter our immune responses (Mercola, 2011):
  • Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic and may depress your immune response or cause brain and immune dysfunction, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants
  • The lab-altered vaccine viruses themselves may also affect your immune response in a negative way
  • Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and lead you to become chronically ill
  • Vaccines can trigger allergies or autoimmune disorders. Vaccines introduce large foreign protein molecules into your body. Your body can respond to these foreign particles in a way that causes an allergic reaction or triggers autoimmunity, especially in persons genetically or biologically vulnerable to allergy and autoimmunity
Mercola cites a study published in the Annals of Medicine that concluded:

“Abnormalities in arterial function and LDL oxidation may persist for at least two weeks after a slight inflammatory reaction induced by influenza vaccination. These could explain in part the earlier reported increase in cardiovascular risk during the first weeks after an acute inflammatory disorder.”





The flu does certainly involve some misery for those who become ill with it and can be serious for those with weakened immune systems. So what can you do to avoid getting the flu – while also avoiding catching colds, bacterial illnesses and other diseases?




Supplementing with Vitamin D3 has been demonstrated to be more effective than both vaccines and anti-viral drugs to prevent influenza. Vitamin D dramatically increases the body’s production of broad-spectrum NATURAL antibiotics called anti-microbial peptides.
A rigorous clinical trial (double blind, randomized and fully controlled scientifically) conducted by Japanese doctors and scientists in Tokyo showed that children who received supplementation with 1200 IUs (international units) of Vitamin D became ill with the flu half as often as children who didn’t take Vitamin D.
During the first month of the study the children taking the vitamin caught the flu as often as the ones receiving a placebo. The Vitamin D advantage became clear during the second month, when the Vitamin D levels in their blood were higher.
The study’s scientists note that the anti-viral drugs zanamivir and oseltamivir reduce the risk of flu infection by only 8% in children who have been exposed to infection, compared with a 50% or higher reduction with vitamin D.
Supplementing with Vitamin D is beneficial in many other ways as well: Reducing the risk of bone fractures, cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s,  viral and bacterial infections in general – and a long list of chronic autoimmune diseases.
Vitamin D, not actually a vitamin but a steroid hormone precursor, has profoundly positive effects on our immunity. It activates our innate immune system, triggering cell activity and disabling viruses.
Professor of Virology at Queen Mary School of Medicine, London, Dr John Oxford, says: “This is a timely study. It will be noticed by scientists. It fits in with the seasonal pattern of flu. There is an increasing background of solid science that makes the vitamin D story credible.”
While the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Medicine and the FDA all recommend daily dosing with 200- 500 IUs of Vitamin D, this is inadequate. The needed daily dose for adults is known to be about 5,000 IUs – or even higher.
Fewer than 5% of Americans have been found to have adequate vitamin D blood levels (between 70 and 90 ng/ml). The only blood test that properly determines Vitamin D adequacy is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D test, not the 1,25-di-hydroxy-vitamin D test many physicians order.



Metagenics is a high quality brand for daily supplementing with D3. You can purchase it on Amazon. I take 5,000 IUs in the sunny months and 10,000 IUs in the darker months * … and don’t catch the flu or colds.

4/15/2016 update:

* I’ve now reduced my Vitamin D3 intake to 5,000 IUs/day year round after my blood serum level was found to be too high.




Your immune system can protect you from all these baddies:





In addition to supplementing with Vitamin D, Dr Mercola offers some other strategies to protect yourself from the flu – in lieu of getting vaccinated (Mercola, 2013):
  • Have Effective Tools to Address Stress: If stress becomes overwhelming, then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
  • Get Regular Exercise: Exercising increases circulation and blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system also benefit, giving your immune system a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick.
  • Stay hydrated: Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats: Increasing your intake of healthy and essential fatty acids, like the Omega-3 found in krill oil, is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system. It is also vitally important to avoid eating the damaging Omega-6 oils that are trans fats and found in processed foods as they will seriously damage your immune response.
  • Wash Your Hands: Washing your hands decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary and cause far more harm than good. Instead, use a simple chemical-free soap.
  • Tried and True Hygiene Measures: In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
  • Use Natural Immune-Boosters: Examples include oil of oregano and garlic, both of which offer effective protection against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
  • Avoid Hospitals: Stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.






CDC: Flu shot less effective this year because current virus has mutated. See: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/04/health/flu-vaccine-mutated-virus/

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


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