Influenza A (H1N1) (aka "Swine Flu")
"Nutritional deficiency is the number one cause of immuno-deficiency worldwide" & "Nutritional status directly influences both the incidence and pathology of infection" - ["Combating Influenza by Stimulating the Body's Natural Defenses" presented by Barry Ritz Saturday December 13, 2008 at the A4M Conference in Las Vegas]
A review of data found 2000 IU of vitamin D/day virtually eliminated self-reported incidences of colds and influenza. [JOHN F. ALOIA and MELISSA LI-NG (2007). Correspondence. Epidemiology and Infection, 135 , pp 1095-1098 doi:10.1017/S0950268807008308]
Certain nutritional interventions, or nutraceuticals, appear to have a positive effect on the NK cell response to influenza virus infection. [from Barry Ritz's press release on his research at Drexel University, see the bottom of this page for the entire release]
Big business is looking to cash in by selling H1N1 vaccines. There is no reason to believe these vaccines will be of any benefit and may be harmful. Don't get conned into getting an H1N1 vaccine. There are many doctors trying to raise awareness of the harmful effects of vaccines. Getting unnecessary vaccines is not a good idea (except for the big pharmaceutical companies which make a lot of money off such products).
The most important factor that determines how severely a virus will effect your health is the status of your immune system.
The "Starfire Research Protocol" (updated April 18, 2010) is:
- 50,000 IU Vitamin D3 (first day)
- Probiotics (high potency, multi-strain)
- 1 tablet of Iodine Complex (12.5mg of iodine/iodide)
- 200 mcg Selenium
- 20 mg Zinc three times daily
- 2,000 IU Vitamin A (not beta-carotene or in addition to beta-carotene)
- 1,000 mg vitamin C five times daily.
- 600 mg N-Acetyl Cysteine three times daily
Note: the 50,000 IU of Vitamin D3 is only for the first day, after that an individual should take the appropriate amount of vitamin D to maintain their levels at an optimum level (a rough ballpark figure would be 5,000 IU per day for someone, of average weight, that lives a typical indoor lifestyle in a northern climate). In a severe case, the above protocol, at full strength, may be repeated for two or three days.
This is a preventative measure that individuals may decide to use to boost their immune system, it is not a treatment for an active infection of influenza A (H1N1).
This protocol was inspired by my discussion with Dr. Mayer Eisenstein after his presentation, "The Newly Rediscovered Anti-Aging Properties of the Amazing Sunshine Vitamin D", at the A4M conference in Las Vegas on Saturday December 13, 2008.
Discussion with a group of doctors on April 26th and 27th, 2009 came to the conclusion that this would be a reasonable recommendation of a healthy, preventative protocol which might help blunt the impact of the "Swine Flu".
This is a cute photo, but keep in mind that Influenza A (H1N1) is airborne and transmitted from human to human.
General Discussion & Technical Concepts
Barry Ritz, PhD, in research at Drexel University has shown NK (natural killer) cell activity at the first stages of viral infection is extremely important to successfully combating a viral infection.
Vitamin D3 is a precursor to the principal macrophage activating factor (MAF). [PMID: 17935130]
Nutritional support of the immune system, via key nutrients, should enhance the body's ability to defend against a previously unseen pathogen such as the "Swine Flu". While this shouldn't be construed as a "cure", but it may very well help blunt the impact of the swine flu.
When viral epidemics hit, like the current one, there is always a pattern of death and survival. A hundred people can be exposed to the same virus, some will have no symptoms, others will have mild symptoms but recover quickly, while others will have more severe symptoms and take longer to recover, and a few unfortunate individuals will die. The difference is not due to the virus, or the medical attention they receive, but the strength of the immune system in each person. We know certain things will harm or strengthen the immune system. By avoiding things that weaken the immune system and taking advantage of things that strengthen the immune system, you can fortify your body to have the best chance for survival. Most people survive swine flu with no intervention. So obviously, an intact human immune system is capable of defeating the virus.
If your 25-hydroxy vitamin D level is below 70 ng/mL, potentially the most important step you can take would be to immediately consume a large dosage of vitamin D to rapidly raise the amount of vitamin D3 that is available in your blood for usage by your immune system.
Among the most important ways the body keeps itself well, is by capturing iodine/iodide on cell membranes. If these nutrients are available, your cells will use them as a natural disinfectant. Iodine in the body works in a similar way to chlorine in your swimming pool. Bromine, chlorine and flouride are also "halogens" and can be taken up instead of iodine. Our daily toxic exposure to bromine, chlorine and flouride creates a need for consuming even more iodine than we historically would have needed.
An excellent source of iodine is seaweed (kelp). Most Americans do not consume very much seaweed, an alternative is a supplement called "Iodoral" which contains both iodine and iodide, both forms are important for usage in the human body so it's important to supplement both iodine and iodide.
The Importance of Multi-strain High Potency Probiotics
A study of the "Bifidobacterium breve" strain found: "These findings demonstrated that the oral administration of B. breve YIT4064 increased anti-influenza virus IgG antibodies in serum and protected against influenza virus infection." [Protection against Influenza Virus Infection of Mice Fed Bifidobacterium breve YIT4064]
"Lactobacillus rhamnosus favorably enhances and modulates innate and acquired immunity. It increases phagocytic activity in peripheral blood polymorpho-nuclear cells and killing activity in NK cells." [Prothera V775 Monograph]
"In elderly adults, supplementation with bifidobacterium lactis has been shown to reduce constipation and improve immune status increasing numbers of helper and activated T cells and natural killer cells." [Prothera V775 Monograph]
"Lactobacillus bulgaricus has been demonstrated to have high immunopotentiating activity and yogurt fermented with lactobacillus bulgaricus stimulates the systemic immune system." [Prothera V775 Monograph]
Using Life Extension (except for the probiotics) as a high quality source, the following table offers a cost analysis of following a protocol like this. Lower cost options for these nutrients can be found from various sources for anyone with financial concerns.
Cost per Day
|Zinc (2x "Only Trace Minerals")||
|Total Cost per Day||
Press Release from Dr. Barry Ritz:
Natural Killer cells may help protect against new strains of influenza virus
*Swine flu outbreak highlights influenza virus research at Drexel University*
Philadelphia, PA-- Research conducted at Drexel University has demonstrated the importance of natural killer, or NK, cells in controlling primary influenza virus infection. These findings may help us understand how the bodys immune system may best respond to the newly emergent swine flu.
While no studies have been conducted on the specific H1N1 strain of influenza virus referred to as swine flu, Drexel researchers have asked the question How does the immune system respond the first time it encounters a new strain of influenza virus?
Using a mouse model of primary influenza virus infection, Dr. Barry W. Ritz and colleagues have demonstrated that NK cells, specialized white blood cells that participate in innate or non-specific immunity, help control influenza virus early during an infection. Specifically, the studies demonstrate that NK cells are essential in controlling lung virus titers early during an influenza virus infection and that NK cell function decreases with old age.
Dr. Ritz: NK cells are among the earliest responders to influenza virus infection and help control the infection, and because NK cells are non-specific in their response to influenza virus infection, they respond similarly no matter the source of the infection.
Dr. Ritz and colleagues have also studied the importance of nutritional status and specific nutritional interventions to support NK cell activity in response to influenza virus infection.
Dr. Ritz: Certain nutritional interventions, or nutraceuticals, appear to have a positive effect on the NK cell response to influenza virus infection.
For example, Dr. Ritz has published several papers demonstrating that supplementation with a mushroom extract called Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) increases the non-specific NK cell response to primary influenza virus infection, increases survival, and results in a less severe infection. This work was sponsored by Amino Up Chemical Company, Sapporo, Japan. Similarly, Dr. Ritz is currently studying the potential NK cell supportive properties of a bovine colostrum preparation, supported by La Belle, Inc., Bellingham, WA.
Dr Ritz cautions: It remains unknown what, if any, effects these nutritional interventions would have on the immune response to swine flu.
Nogusa S, Gerbino J, Ritz BW. Low-dose supplementation with active hexose correlated compound improves the immune response to acute influenza infection in C57BL/6 mice. Nutr Res. 2009;29(3):139-43.
Ritz BW. Supplementation with active hexose correlated compound increases survival following infectious challenge in mice. Nutr Rev. 2008;66(9):526-31.
Ritz BW, Aktan I, Nogusa S, Gardner EM. Energy restriction impairs natural killer cell function and increases the severity of influenza infection in young adult C57BL/6 male mice. J Nutr. 2008;138:2269-2275.
Nogusa S, Ritz BW, Kassim SH, Jennings SR, Gardner EM. Characterization of age-related changes in natural killer cells during primary influenza infection in mice. Mech Age Devel. 2008;129:223-30.
Ritz BW, Nogusa S, Ackerman EA, Gardner EM. Supplementation with Active Hexose Correlated Compound increases the innate immune response of young mice to primary Influenza Infection. J Nutr. 2006;136:2868-73.
Swarthmore College Microbiologist Discusses Keys to Swine Flu Response - this is a good article discussing basic good sense in staying healthy and protecting yourself from viruses (like the H1N1 outbreak).
Chinese Doctors are treating H1N1 with a combination of Tamiflu (apparently Tamiflu itself is ineffective and had adverse effects) and four herbs: lonicera japonica, Isatis indigodica, Mentha haplocalyx and Glycyrrhiza glabra. A research study showed this cured 76% of the cases.