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Tag: virus

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!

Kick a Cold — Garlic Tea

For booting unwanted invaders out of your body, there’s almost nothing better than Garlic Tea. Particularly when combined with a good sleep that gives the body a chance to heal.

Garlic has long been known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties besides its qualities as an aromatic flavoring. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and it is the only aphrodisiac food that actually works for encouraging and maintaining an erection — a natural Viagra. No wonder the Italians are so passionate!

The superstition of wearing leis of garlic around ones neck to ward of vampires likely came from the practice of using garlic to ward off the plague in the middle ages. It could have been fairly effective, too, as garlic can be used as an insect repellent in an organic garden and the plague was spread by fleas.

My favorite spice book, A Busy Cook’s Guide to Spices: How to Introduce New Flavors to Everyday Meals, even claims that you can rub garlic externally on corns, bunions, warts and bites. I must admit, I’ve never tried this, but I plan to on my very next mosquito bite. I’ll let you know how it works.

But back to the Garlic Tea… I learned about this during the summer I spent waiting tables on the Greek island of Rhodes. I was hanging out with an Australian woman who was steadily feeling worse one day; by nightfall she had a headache, stuffy nose, cough, fatigue and just generally didn’t feel well. She clearly looked sick. At dinner that evening, she ordered an empty glass, 3 garlic cloves, and a lemon. She sliced and ate the raw garlic. She halved and squeezed the lemon into the glass, and then drank the juice and went to bed. The next day she was completely well. It was amazing.

garlic cloveI’ve taken this concept and made it a little more palatable by steeping crushed garlic in boiling water and adding the fresh juice from 1/2 lemon and honey. The garlic/lemon combo is surprisingly sweet and sippable, though add some local honey if you have a cough or need to alter the flavor.

Garlic Tea Instructions

1. Peel and crush/chop/mince 3-5 cloves of fresh garlic.
2. Place garlic into a mug and then fill with boiling water.
3. Let steep for 5 minutes or more, and then add the juice from 1/2-1 lemon.
4. Stir in enough honey to make it palatable.
5. Sip. Eat the garlic if desired, but not necessary.
6. Repeat after 12-24 hours, if needed.

The tea seems to be as effective as eating the garlic raw, however if you need a more powerful remedy you might try some raw, too. I’ve been known to drink Garlic Tea two or three nights in succession when necessary.

The first question I always get when I tell people about this remedy is: Won’t you just reek of garlic? Who will want to be around you?

My response: You’re sick! You don’t want anyone around you anyway! Who cares if your breath stinks! Let’s just focus on getting well.

If you’re that concerned with stinky breath, eat some parsley afterwards. But know that the scent of garlic will emanate from your pores as your body flushes toxins from your system. I consider this a good thing, personally.

I recommended this remedy to my stepfather last week when he was fighting off the current mega-cold. He didn’t have any fresh garlic in the house so he substituted garlic powder. After he said, That was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted, he did say he thought it had helped his recovery. It sounds pretty gross to me, and I’m not sure how much of the nutritional properties are retained once garlic is dried and ground. I wouldn’t suggest using garlic powder: stick with the fresh cloves and you can’t go wrong!