Just when we thought we had plenty to worry about with war, financial collapse and poverty,  the four horseman of the apocalypse show up bringing swine flu to get the party off to a rousing start.

Consumer reports offers some timely perspective and good advice.

Although, for  my money, the best results I’ve ever had for cold and flu symptoms has been from the homeopathic preparation called Occilococcinum. It’s made by the French compay Boiron. The stuff is miraculous when used at the first hint of symptoms. It can take a little longer if you wait before using it. And as a bonus, you won’t have to worry about potential side effects that have been associated with flu vaccines.  It’s safe, effective and impossible to pronounce. But don’t let that stop you. The caption on Boiron’s add reads:   “o-sill-o-cox-see-num

Tough to pronounce.  Even tougher on your flu.”

Dr. Cathie Lippman offers 10 Tips to reduce your flue risk. It may seem like common sense, but based on our national health statistics, that’s something most of us could use more of.  Here they are:

With the fear about “swine flu” and the panic about a pandemic, people may lose sight of what they can do for themselves to reduce their flu risk. Resist your temptation to dismiss these proven methods for improving your immune system.

1. Sleep
I put this first because it is the aid most people dismiss. When we sleep is when we heal, when we regenerate our batteries. We cannot make up for lost sleep in one night. Get into the habit of treating yourself to a good night’s sleep (8 hours average) every night.

2. Reduce your sugar intake

Eating sugar impairs the immune system for hours. That means that your white cells become “drunk” and less able to protect you from potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. My suggestion during this time of increased vulnerability is to cut out sugar entirely (yes, the white stuff), except for very special occasions like birthday or anniversary celebrations.

3. Vitamin C

We are one of only 4 mammals that do not make our own vitamin C. This vitamin is a one of the best antiviral supports we have. Take vitamin C to “bowel tolerance,” meaning just under the amount that would cause diarrhea. When you are well this amount will be less, often significantly less, than when you are ill or “fighting a bug.”

Don’t think there is something wrong with you if you need even 5000 mg on a regular basis.  That is your body’s requirement. Increase it as needed to stay well.

4. Vitamin A
Some years ago a study in Japan showed that high doses of vitamin A (100,000 to 400,000 iu’s) per day for 3 days would significantly reduce the duration and severity of measles in children. Thus, at the first sign of a viral infection, take 100,000 iu’s of vitamin A for 2 or 3 days. Note, this is not beta carotene, but the actual vitamin A.

5. Zinc
Zinc is also essential for the immune system and really helps with viral infections.

Take 75mg approximately (e.g. 80 is ok too) the first day, then 50 mg the next few days, and then reduce to a maintenance level of 15 to 30 mg. If you take zinc on a long term basis, you need to supplement with copper 1 to 2 mg a couple times per week to balance the zinc.

6. Vitamin D
This is the newest discovery for improving the immune system and so much else in the body. We are finding a majority of the population quite deficient in this essential nutrient, even those of us in sunny southern California. Take 10,000 units of vitamin D for about 3 days at the first sign of an infection. Then reduce your intake to between 2000 and 5000 per day. Within 3 months of this level, I highly recommend a blood test for vitamin D: 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 level is the one to request. It is possible to have too high a level. The blood test will help you to determine your proper dosage.

7. Probiotics
Several pounds of beneficial bacteria are supposed to reside in our intestines. They are a critical part of our immune system. The intestines are lined with lymphatic tissue which is supported by the beneficial bacteria. The general name for these bacteria is probiotics. Most people have heard of lactobacillus acidophilus. There are dozens of species of these different bacteria that we need, and we do not get them adequately in yogurt. Some brands need to be refrigerated and some do not. Some are made from milk and or soy, and others are dairy and gluten free. Purchase the kind that fits for you. Take them 2 to 4 times per day at the first sign of infection. Many of us need them on an ongoing basis at least once per day.

8. Frequent hand washing
Viruses can survive very well on any surface. I do not recommend the antibacterial hand wipes or soaps on a regular basis because they will kill the beneficial bacteria on your skin. In addition, there is concern that the chemicals may be more harmful than beneficial for us.

Nothing replaces soap and water. Get into the practice of not putting your fingers in your mouth, your nose, or your ears. These are avenues of entry for viruses and other infectious agents.

9.  Ultimate Defense
This is one of the best antiviral products I have experienced. It apparently works on all viruses.  This is in contrast to antiviral vaccinations that are limited to certain viruses, and also to prescription antivirals which are also often limited.

Ultimate Defense and Ultimate Defense Plus are available from my office.

10.  Other immune boosting remedies
Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic that many find helpful to combat flu. As a preventative I recommend 1/3 tube 3 times per week throughout the flu season.

ProBoost is thymic protein which really boosts one’s immune system. I recommend 1 every day or every other day throughout the flu season. ProBoost is a phenomonal product that has served us well.

Echinacea Premium is a very fine Echinacea from the MediHerb company.

There are many combination remedies available. Immuplex is one from Standard Process. Many good combinations include olive leaf extract, cat’s claw, ashwaganda and other herbs that support the immune system.

Best wishes for wonderful health…

Cathie-Ann Lippman, M.D.
The Lippman Center for Optimal Health
291 S. La Cienega Blvd., Ste 409
Beverly Hills, CA 90211