How Mom and Dad Dealt with Flu and Colds

Writing the last post about building the immune system to protect against viruses, made me think about how my parents used to protect our health with nutrition. Some would consider it a very drastic environment for a child growing up with hard work on the farm. It was a way of life that I hope we do not disrupt with new rules about farm labor. We toiled together every day and we got diseases together because close contact. We also had a wonderful life being in the great outdoors every day. Close contact with the earth, plants, and animals helped me to establish the value of life. To love and value life and not treat life as the last of priorities.

There were many forms of illness that were experienced during my childhood. We hardly ever went to a doctor. We only sought the aid of a doctor in case of a serious illness that could result in disability or death. Of course this was the way of life during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Yes, we got all the necessary vaccine requirements of the time. Small pox, polio, and tetanus were of main concern. There were always the diseases that we considered minor because the symptoms would disappear quickly from great nutrition provided by growing our own vegetables, fruit, meat, and grain. Let’s not forget the large amounts of fat from grass fed cow’s milk and meats and the unadulterated enzymes in skimmed milk that was not processed.

In the last post, I suggested that vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, other minerals, and folate are necessary for a strong immune system. So how did we get these important nutrients without science to guide us? It was through the understanding of long used remedies that had been passed along through centuries of farm life and trial and error.

It was the winter of 1959 that can best explain how this was accomplished. After Thanksgiving, the whole family had various forms of lung congestion and sinus issues that were brought on by unknown causes. Dad could not stand to see the ailments continue. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, he took off to find the remedies necessary to relieve us. When he returned he had only three things. A gallon of cod liver oil, a box of oranges, and three gallons of black strap molasses, sulfured, that was used to fortify cattle feed. We lined up every day to take our dose of cod liver oil, followed by a helping of the sulfured black strap molasses. We were encouraged to eat the sweet oranges. In less than a week, everyone was well.

The cod liver oil provided us with the needed vitamin D and vitamin A. I am sure that there were other unidentified nutrients to be found in this concentrate of fish liver oil. The oranges were a source of vitamin C as well as other helpful nutrients. In the concentrated remnants of the cooked-down molasses cane were the many minerals that were stored in the grass. The fortification of sulfur in the molasses was there to drive the many sulfate requirements for health. We also had huge amounts of turnip and collard greens. There it is, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, minerals, and folate. I am also sure that our normal diet with the many forms of fruit, vegetables, grains, and meats also contained all of the vitamin B and vitamin E that were required for health. This is truly the way of sustaining natural health during farm life.

Now, we are struggling to define what constitutes healthy forms of nutrients. With all of the processed food and the many enzymes and nutrients that have been removed, our only action to achieve health is to use drugs as dictated by societal norms. Get the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals every season to boost your immune system and to protect your health. – Pandemic Survivor.

RXr1

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Treating and Preventing Viral Infections

Modern medicine has solutions to many things that can be treated with drugs or surgery. However, when it comes to viral infections, medicine takes a back seat to the body’s innate immunity.   We have very effective drugs for treating bacteria and fungus infections. When it comes to viruses the best thing seems to be to prevent the disease. This is typically done through acquired immunization. Sometimes the vaccines are not very effective. Have you ever had the flu vaccine and still got the flu? The many varieties of the common cold virus and its constant mutations have prevented the development of a vaccine.

But what about treatment for really serious viral infections like the flu or the present concern over the Ebola virus. It seems that the best course of treatment for these two very serious diseases is to maintain nutrition and hydration as the disease runs its course. I find it odd that we don’t have a vaccine for many of the common bacterial infections that we treat with antibiotics, but we have vaccines for viral infections that we have no drug for treatment. Is there an economic factor in the development of drugs versus vaccines with different types of infections?   Would it not be great to have a vaccine against the streptococcus bacterium? Of course it would “kick the crap” out of the antibiotic economics because of reduced need. Would it not be great to have a vaccine for antibiotic resistant diseases like MRSA? MRSA diseases do account for about fifteen thousand deaths each year in the US.

When there is not a drug to effectively treat an infection, the best course of action is to assure that your innate immunity or your body’s natural immune system is running at peak performance. So how do you accomplish this peak performance to prevent and treat virus infections? I will tell you how I have gone for ten years without getting a cold or the flu. I had one bacterial lung infection during this period that was most likely caused by not wearing a respirator when entering a very nasty crawlspace under an old home. I also had a MRSA infection that was brought home from a hospital by a family member. It seems that our natural immune systems are much more effective at taking care of viral infections versus bacterial infections. Since I have not had a cold or the flu during this period except for the time I tempted fate by not taking my normal course of vitamins and minerals, we have to believe that proper nutrition and exercise to keep the body healthy is the best course of action against viral diseases.

Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, and iodine: These vitamins work together for producing many effects in the immune system. This includes boosting your white blood cells and the differentiation into the many types of natural pathogen “killers”. Also vitamin D and vitamin A work together to allow the body to make a very effective pathogen killer called cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides. This family of anti-pathogens is very effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungus. The amounts of these nutrients in the body are very critical to their effectiveness.

I read one story about how during a research project, the serum vitamin D of the subjects was being taken once per week. It was noted that one of the subjects had a 25(OH)D level above 60ng/ml one week and the next week the level had dropped to below 20 ng/ml. The next day this subject came down with the flu. When a viral infection becomes active in the body, the immune system can use up its stores of nutrients very rapidly. To repeat, the amount of important micronutrients is extremely critical. For example, you should increase the amounts of vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc if an infection is present.

It may be that you need to take 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 for a couple of days or the amount you would make at the beach in the sun for a week. You may also want to consider the amount of vitamin C that you are taking. A good way for short term increase in vitamin C is to take liposomal vitamin C. I do not think that you should take this form on a regular basis as it will be too much. One gram, 1000mg, of liposomal vitamin C may act as taking as much as 20 grams or more IV. Antidotal cases have shown that vitamin C is a very effective disease fighter. On a regular basis, you should get at least 3 to 4 grams per day. Zinc is another disease fighter that you may also want to increase. You might increase your intake to as much as 50 mg/d until the virus symptoms recede. Also, folate from leafy greens or as supplement of methyl folate with vitamin B12 is critical for the methylation cycle for proper genetic expression. All of the above nutrients can be depleted rapidly during disease.

Since there is not an effective method for treating Ebola, I wonder why nutritional techniques are not practiced on a disease where the death rate is 50 to 70 percent and sometimes higher. I guess modern medicine has simply decided to remove these efficacious tools. It seems that they do understand the need for hydration and the replacement of minerals, but what about all of the other nutrients that get depleted.

Protect yourself this winter as common viruses start to invade the population. Be sure that you are getting enough of the important nutrients. – Pandemic Survivor

Further Reading: Linus Pauling Institute Oregon State University – Immunity: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/immunity.html

Dr. David Brownsteins Blog Ebola: A Scurvy-Like Illness: http://blog.drbrownstein.com/ebola-a-scurvy-like-illness/

List of viral diseases – CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/disinfo/disease.htm

 

Worshiping at the Vitamin Church

An Open Letter to Margaret Wente; from her profile: “Margaret Wente is one of Canada’s leading columnists. As a writer for The Globe and Mail, she provokes heated debate with her views on health care, education, and social issues. She is winner of the National Newspaper Award for column-writing.”

Re: Why I’m Leaving the Vitamin Church – Globe and Mail, Canada 

Dearest Margaret,

I am extremely sorry for your demise.  I assume you’re writing from the grave.  Anyone taking 1000 mg of vitamin D (forty million IU per day for years?) for as long as you suggest would certainly be dead.  At your autopsy, your death was stated to be idiopathic.  In plain English that means the idiots did not know the cause.

The study from the Lancet that you refer to suggested that vitamin D does not improve bone density.  If you had read the abstract closely, you would have noted that they did not use more than 800 IU of vitamin D.  Simple logic would suggest that the study was devised to keep researchers employed as everyone knows that two minutes of mid day summer sun, the equivalent of 800 IU of vitamin D, would not improve bone density.

What are worse than flawed science research papers are extremely flawed opinion articles by renowned authors.  You used the weight of your public face to express an opinion that really means nothing even though it is beautifully written.  At some point the realization that process and content are both important must infuse your vitamin deprived soul.  The cutback in advertising for your publication must have got the technical editor.  Or worse, maybe your publication was given more advertising for the writing of this article by the pharmaceutical/medical insurance industry.

A simple interview with anyone that has recovered from serious disease by the use of nutrition would have rendered your heart so that out of love you would not have written such an error riddle article.  Without knowing it, you may have caused the deaths of thousands of people.  You should heed the words of the nutrition evangelist, Dr. Randy Jirtle, renowned genomic researcher and Time Magazine Person of the Year 2007; “Food is Medicine”.

Judging from your photo showing your ashy white pallor, I suspect you are already starting to get your first cold of the season.  Given the half life of vitamin D is only three weeks, you should expect to get your second cold or the flu about Christmas since you have stopped taking vitamin D.  If you had truly been keeping up with the vitamin D science, you would know that it is not how much you take, but how high your serum level of 25(OH)D.

Worshiping at any church other than a church of God is nothing more than idolatry.  I really am glad that you have decided to give up the vitamin church and free yourself of this evil. Perhaps you should help others in this effort.

To your good health,
Pandemic Survivor

Cooked Pork and the Flu

I had decided earlier the incidence of the flu would be low in the US this year.  I was wrong.  There has been an early spike in the incidence of the flu that occurred in the southeast starting in mid-October.  This is very unusual for the flu as most of the time the highest incidence starts in the northeast and northwest and spreads across the rest of the country.  The timing was odd as well as normally the spike occurs in January and February.  I was struggling for an explanation and then this interesting thought struck me.

It was the Saturday before Christmas and we had gathered at my youngest daughter’s house to celebrate.  My daughter had just had a baby two weeks earlier and was stuck at home for Christmas because of the premature birth.  My other daughter and her husband and two children joined us as well.  What a great time.  My son-in-law decided to have pork tenderloin; roasted on his shinny new grill.  I love pork tenderloin.

As he started to cook he stated that it would not be long as the pork only needed to get to 145­­ 0F.  Having grown up on a farm where we slaughtered hogs every year I was alarmed.  Surely he understood the warnings in the Old Testament about eating pork to say nothing of the billions of Muslims that also have a prohibition against eating pork.  The reason, I believe, pork has historically caused disease when not being properly prepared.  He also had not been inside of the large slaughter houses that I have seen in Smithfield, VA and Tarheel, NC.  I inquired and was informed that the Government said that 145 degrees was high enough temperature for cooked pork.  I was tense.  It was his house and I did not want to insult him as he seemed very trusting of Government and it bastions of institutions and the scientist.

In came the pork and it was blessed and my mouth was watering as I will say it again, there is no better tasting meat than pork tenderloin.  I cut into the pork and there were the pink centers and that smell of pork that says, “I have not been properly cooked.”  I ate the side dishes, feigned swooning over a grandchild, and left the pork on my plate.  I love pork tenderloin.  As I rocked the baby boy to sleep, I whipped out my smart phone and sure enough in May, 2012 the USDA had changed the cooked temperature to 145.  It stated that expert chefs had always insisted that 145 was the ideal temperature for pork.  You know, I am one of those expert chefs when it comes to cooking pork and I like mine well done.  However, if pork is slow cooked on a grill or smoker, I am just fine with the temperature at 145.  But slow cooking means that the meat is held at that temperature for four to six hours which allows the proteins and fats to convert to that extremely pleasing flavor.  I have gotten up many mornings at four am to fire the hickory down to embers and start cooking the pork shoulders for consumption in the evening.  It usually takes at least eight hours by this method to allow the pork to develop to a proper delightful taste.  Pork roasted on a grill at 300 or above should not be eaten until the pork internal temperature reaches 170.  You have to be careful when using this fast cooking method as it is easy to dry the pork out.

I was struggling yesterday with why the flu outbreak had started in the southeast when that ‘light’ went off in my head.  A quick look at the temperature required to kill the flu virus and I found that most viruses die instantly at a temperature between 163 to 170 0F.  One source said that most flu virus could withstand a 145 degree temperature for thirty minutes or more.  A quick review of the USDA websites and the CDC shows that most bacteria die off at under 140 but for poultry, it is necessary to be sure that poultry reaches 165 so that viral contamination is properly controlled.  WHAT?  All other meats except poultry are required to reach a temperature of 160 according to the USDA.  How could the USDA come to the conclusion that 145 is okay for pork, but poultry must reach the temperature of 165 to make sure all the viruses have died.  Control against the bird flu but not against the swine flu?  Has our GOVERNMENT made the same mistake it made in scaring us out the sun for fifty years?  Swine have long been known to carry many types of viruses that can be easily transferred to people.

Nobody loves their pork better than people from the southeast.  If restaurants are now cooking pork quickly at higher temperatures, then eating pork at a restaurant may be like playing roulette with you health – some is virus free and other may not be.   The USDA and CDC say there is no danger of getting the flu from eating properly prepared pork or poultry.  Could twenty degrees difference in final cooked temperature be the cause of the flu outbreak this year in the Southeast?

Vitamin D will protect you from the flu.  However, when your exposure to virus is extreme, then your increased immunity can still be compromised.  Thank you son-in-law; informing me of the cooked temperature change by the USDA is the best Christmas present ever.  I am wondering now when I went for seven days without vitamin D and contracted a severe cold if eating pork twice that week had anything to do with it. You can bet I will not be eating any pork until the USDA changes the temperature for pork back to at least 160 like the rest of meat.  I will still be enjoying pork, but only pork that I know has been properly prepared.  – Pandemic Survivor

The Great Vitamin D Versus Cold Immune System Experiment

When there are just you, statistical significance relates only to you.  This is an odd kind of statement, but when you are considering whether to take a measure against something that may happen to you, the only thing that concerns you is whether it happens to you.  Of course you can always commit a type 1 error, or believe that something is present when it is not.  When given multiple possibilities, the one that makes the least assumptions is the correct one – you may know this as Occam’s razor.  My simple hypothesis is that we seldom get colds or the flu in the summer because of exposure to the sun which gives us more vitamin D.

Since I started regularly taking vitamin D in November of 2004, I had only one incidence of the sniffles that could be considered a cold.  Last year, I had the sniffles that lasted approximately thirty six hours and may have been related to my allergy to wheat and not a viral infection.  So had the vitamin D along with the several grams of vitamin C and the 25 mg of zinc that I take per day prevented me from having a cold for over eight years?  The only way to tell was to test.  I stopped taking my normal 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.

It was the first of November and a great time to test as my children and my grandchildren seem to all have colds.  I stopped taking the vitamin D one week before Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving Day, my nose started to run.  By the next morning, I was completely stopped up and felt terrible.  It only took seven days without vitamin D3 to get my first real cold in eight years.  As far as I am concerned that was proof enough.  In not having a cold for so long, you forget how miserable you can feel with a viral infection that drags out.  I returned to taking vitamin D, but it was not getting better after three days.  I then decided to ‘take a trip to the beach.’

In the winter time, my escape to the Caribbean Islands is to take fifty thousand IU’s of vitamin D3.  I believe this is the amount that I would make in about two days at the beach with a significant amount of skin surface exposed.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I took the fifty thousand IU’s.  I did this until Wednesday or for four days.  Finally the symptoms went away and I could breathe again by Thursday.  I will not repeat this experiment again!

To give consideration to the amount of vitamin D that I missed versus the amount of increase to feel better, review this balance.  I went for seven days without D3.  That was a reduction of 70,000 IU that I would normally have taken.  I then started again at 10,000IU per day but my cold was not getting better.  I then went to 50,000IU per day for four days before I got better.  This represents a ‘make-up’ of 160,000 IU (4 days x 50,000 – 4 x10,000  “my normal intake”) to get my immune system to respond.  So in the fourteen day period, I had 90,000 IU (160,000 – 70,000) more than I would normally have taken.  Once your immune system has gone down, it takes more than normal vitamin D to get it to respond quickly.  This should be a lesson in the design of experiments when trying to give a large dose and then measure whether it is effective over a long period.  Vitamin D works best when received every day with an adequate amount.  CNN – “Vitamin D supplements no help for colds, flu”

Ah, eight days at the beach in the Caribbean and my cold went away.  Since I could not afford to take the time to go to the Caribbean, the one dollar worth of vitamin D that I took was a very easy and cost effective solution.  The formula to prevent colds and the flu:  Per day, 40 IU of vitamin D3 per pound of body weight every day without missing.  If you weigh 150 pounds then 6,000 IU per day.  If you miss a day then make it up by taking twice as much the next day.  Take one gram (1000 mg) of vitamin C per fifty pounds of body weight per day.  If you weigh 150 pounds then three grams per day.  Take 5 mg of zinc per day for every fifty pounds of body weight.  If you weigh 150 pounds then 15 mg per day.

Sounds simple, it is simple.  You may say that taking all those supplements really bothers and you don’t want to do it.  I say fine, go ahead and have colds and the flu and feel miserable.  Meanwhile, I will spend my winters in the Caribbean in the sun.   – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D3 Usage in the US

How much supplementation and by how many people is a difficult number to determine. There have been several articles recently on how many people understand vitamin D3 importance, how the body makes vitamin D3 from the sun, and how much supplementation is required.  Everyone in the US has some form of supplementation because of the number of different products that are now having vitamin D added.  Of course, our natural connection to the sun and the production of vitamin D3 in the skin has forever been changed because of sunscreen products, mainstream medicine constant warnings about staying out of the sun for the last fifty years, and the lack of sun exposure because of air conditioning and electronic devices that trap us inside.

The question becomes – When our understanding of vitamin D3 finds its way through the bulwarks of the insurancemedicalfoodindustrial complex that is in opposition to a healthy population?  The answer to this question will be found when the population has enough vitamin D3 and other nutrients in which we are deficient that the occurrence of chronic disease starts to diminish.  As I have stated in earlier post, it is my belief that the first realization will be in a reduction of infectious disease like the common cold and the flu.  The second realization will come with the reduction in cancer incidence and death from cancer.  We will then see a reduction of heart disease by fivefold to the levels of Japan and Greece when it becomes common knowledge that the major cause of heart disease is the combination of vitamin D3 and sulfur deficiency.

So where are we now in assurance we are getting enough vitamin D3?  There is so much confusion on vitamin D testing (what type of test, the mixing of data between D3 and D2, and not including all forms of epi-D) and how much sun exposure the population is getting leads only to more confusion.  I believe the best way is simply to determine how much supplementation is occurring.  We know that food additives are targeted to give us about 100 to 400 IU of additional vitamin D per day or equivalent to about five minutes or less in the midday summer sun.  To reach a level where infectious disease (colds and the flu) remain at summertime levels will require at least two thousand IU per person per day of supplementation during the winter months.

According to a recent article in AARP, sales for vitamin D have jump from forty million dollars in 2001 to over six hundred million in 2011.  I have found the cost of vitamin D3 supplementation to range from less than a half cent per one thousand IU all the way up to around five cents.  We can determine the amount of supplement per person by using the following conditions.  1 – Most people will not supplement during the summer because they feel good and don’t see the need.  We will then say that vitamin D3 is supplemented October through February or for one hundred twenty days.  2 – We will use the cost of vitamin D3 supplementation at two cents per one thousand as a first approximation.  3 – The stated vitamin D sales are vitamin D3.  Without boring you with the math, this allows enough for 125 million people under the above conditions or about forty percent of the population.  Whether there are 125 million people getting two thousand IU per day or 250 million people getting an additional one thousand IU per day, this is enough to have a significant effect on colds and the flu.  I also believe that people are more significantly increasing their vitamin D3 levels by exposure to the sun because of the reduction in the fear of sun exposure by the media.

So when will vitamin D3 sales reach a level for cancer reduction?  I suspect the population would need to have enough additional vitamin D3 so that the year round supplementation is two thousand IU per person per day.  If we use one cent per thousand IU because of competitive price reduction at this level of supplementation, we would need to reach sales of 2.2 billion dollars per year for vitamin D3.  Okay vitamin D3 marketers, there is your first goal.  You cannot claim that it cures, prevents, heals, treats, or diagnosis disease in your marketing.  You, however, can state that it will promote WELLNESS as any other nutrient or food.

You may think there are too many assumptions for this article to make sense.  However, someone has to speculate for the wellness of the population.  From your speculator-and-chief promoter – Pandemic Survivor

The Coming Flu Season

Summer seems an odd time to talk about the flu, but there have been several really great years with low incidence of the flu.  I like to watch the CDC’s outpatient illness surveillance.  Here they record the percentage of patients that have influenza like illness (ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and cough and/or sore throat.) as a percentage of visits. This is great information as they look at around thirty million patient visits per year.

This past year was of real significance as this is the first year in fourteen years that the percentage of hospital visits did not exceed the CDC’s baseline.  The baseline is a number set by taking the average of the percentages of non-flu season visits and going two standard deviations above that.  What this means in laymen’s terms is the 2011- 2012 season was like summer all year round.  Because vitamin D is a very potent disease fighter and seems to be the most effective against viral infections, I have theorized that the increase in the amount of supplementation of vitamin D has already had an impact on the rate of flu incidence. Flu Hits Fourteen Year Record Low  also  Flu Vaccine Versus Innate Immunity, and  All post on the flu that includes my prediction from last January. 

So what does the future hold for the flu?  There are no real crystal balls but we can certainly speculate based on existing trends.  Based on the downward trend of the flu, we are going to have another great year.  That is if the effect is indeed based on the increased supplementation of vitamin D.  The way vitamin D works by building up your innate immunity, its actions are much better than a flu vaccine which is only targeted to existing strains of the flu.  Vitamin D will work against all mutations of the virus.  Here are my predictions for the coming year shown on a graph from CDC.  I suspect again that we will have another year where it appears that it is summer all winter.

Your part in this test of flu vaccine versus innate immunity is to assure that you maintain a serum level above 40 ng/ml or the level of 25(OH)D3 where innate immunity starts to perform at its best.  Of course higher levels will even give you better protection. Everyone seems to reach different levels of the 25(OH)D3 versus how much vitamin D they are taking and their sun exposure.  As a rule of thumb, to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D, you should supplement every day that you are not in the sun with 40 IU per pound of body weight, i.e. if you weigh 100 lbs then supplement with 4,000 IU of D3.

What do you get in return for your efforts of taking vitamin D3 regularly?  No colds or the flu during the winter.  Of course the cold remedy manufacturers and flu vaccine manufacturers will not be happy.  – Pandemic Survivor