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Tag: cold and flu

Vitamins to Help Avoid or Recover from a Virus

Ever since Linus Pauling first discovered how vitamin C works with the human body’s immune system over 100 years ago, we have been learning more and more about how the human body functions and the essential roles these substances play. The scientific field of orthomolecular medicine is the study of how vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients affect the human body. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness.

Before we go into which vitamins and minerals could help keep you healthy or perhaps work to restore your health if you are already suffering, let’s be clear that this is not a replacement for any social distancing or personal protective equipment guidelines. As always, nutrient supplementation should be undertaken in addition to other health efforts such as eating a healthy, whole foods-based diet, getting exercise, avoiding chemicals, etc., and not instead of other efforts.

While we are calling the virus that causes this pandemic “novel”, there’s nothing unfamiliar about how to address viral infections and how to help our bodies resist and recover. In fact, there has been a lot of chatter in the world of natural health and in the world of scientific studies about the anti-viral effects of some vitamins and minerals that could prove useful. At worst, they won’t harm.

Vitamin C

Chinese officials have been successfully using IV vitamin C therapy in their battle against the virus, and there is abundant clinical evidence as to the efficacy of intravenous vitamin C in battling viral infections. While you can get i.v. therapy at a hospital if you are already admitted and insist on it, or at a stand-alone center, the rest of us should be taking it orally. There has been documented success in using vitamin C against any virus.

My preferred method of getting vitamin C is through foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, and acerola cherries, but supplements can be taken, too. 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C daily is a good goal for maintaining health, which I would double or even triple and take in divided doses if feeling ill. My favorite bio-available Vitamin C supplement is called OPT.

Vitamin D

Humans synthesize vitamin D from sun exposure to un-sunscreened skin, but the great majority of Americans are deficient. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to autoimmune issues and vitamin D works with vitamin C in helping us withstand viral assaults.

To supplement during this time where viral threats luck everywhere, 5,000 I.U. of D3 daily may help boost your immunity. Vitamin D needs to travel on fat, so be sure to take it with something that contains fat such as dairy products, avocados, etc.

Vitamin A

Most Americans are also deficient in vitamin A. Dr. Brownstein recommends 5,000 units of vitamin A (not beta carotene) daily as a preventative, and significantly increasing this amount for a limited time (4 days) if you are ill. It’s important not to take higher doses of vitamin A for a prolonged period to avoid vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin A is found in foods from animal sources, including dairy products, fish, and meat (especially liver). If you are a vegan, now is an especially important time to supplement with vitamin A.

See a lot more tips and remedies for recovering from a viral infection in my ever-popular Kick-a-Cold series.

Stay well!

Kicking a Head Cold with Natural Remedies

A 40-hour anatomy of a head cold (or how to kick a head cold in 40 hours):

Wednesday, 3:30pm Walking down the block to meet the school bus I notice that my head feels rather full in the sinus area. Uh-oh, I think. I race home and take 4 homeopathic Aconite after a Sinus Rinse. Aconite can often stave off a viral infection, especially if taken at first sign.

Wednesday, 6:30pm The aconite must not be the right remedy and I’m feeling lousier by the minute. My nose is both stuffed and runny, I’m tired and ready for bed. But first, I brew some Throat Coat tea along with 3 chopped cloves of fresh garlic and the juice from 1/2 a lemon I found in the fridge (have you heard about garlic tea? Very potent.). I let it all steep for 15 minutes, then top it off with a teaspoon full of local honey. While my throat is not sore yet, my lymph nodes feel swollen and I think all the herbs in there that provide respiratory support will be helpful. Most importantly, it doesn’t contain echinecea, which I want to avoid since I have multiple sclerosis. While I wait I do another Sinus Rinse.

Wednesday, 8:30pm I steal the humidifier from one of the kid’s rooms and set it up near my bed. I feel like a Pink Floyd song, “My head swells up just like a balloon…”, but I am so far from being “comfortably numb” that I toss and turn all night. My sinuses are full and the pressure is very uncomfortable. I take some homeopathic Hepar Sulph, which is good for colds with thick mucous and homeopathic ColdCalm to try to relieve some of the symptoms and make me more comfortable. Another Sinus Rinse, a round of Sinusin homeopathic nasal spray, and I head to bed.

Thursday 7:00am I get the kids up and on the bus and off in the carpool and head directly back to bed with large glasses of orange juice, chamomile tea, and water. I switch to homeopathic Natrum Mur, a remedy helpful for relieving blockages like the one behind my eyes, crank up the humidifier, stack my pillows to keep my head elevated, and sleep on and off all day until I have to pick up a kid after Spanish at 4:15pm. (As a working mom, getting to spend a whole day sick in bed with no one needing anything from me was a treat, even though I wasn’t feeling well!) Of course, there were several Sinus Rinses in there, too, followed by squirts of Sinusin.

Thursday 9:00pm Back in bed with mint tea with honey. This time, the night passes restfully.

Friday 6:00am I awake with an empty head and breathe a sigh of relief. With a shower I feel close to human again, with energy to tackle the day. Sure, my nose still needs to be blown regularly, but the pressure is gone and what’s left won’t hold me back. I corral three 4-year olds for a preschool field trip to see the Junior Symphony Guild’s Tiny Tots program, navigate downtown streets to fight an unjust parking ticket, and run errands the rest of the day.

While I’m not 100% better 40 hours after onset of the head cold, I’m back to being a functional human being in record time with the help of homeopathy, herbs, warm mist, and rest. I was pretty impressed with this as my neighbor got the same head cold a few days earlier but was sick and miserable for a week.