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Letters to the Editor Issue 158

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 158 - May 2009

Swine Flu Treatments – Emergency Natural Allopathic Medicine

by Mark Sircus
Swine flu is a respiratory illness in pigs caused by a virus. We live in a dangerous world and anything that throws us out of balance invites pathogens to take up residence in our bodies. If this is the beginning of the pandemic that health officials have been warning about it is best to begin preparing your body before the flu strikes. This article offers natural emergency medicine that addresses both the body's terrain and the potential pathogens quickly. Starting with the most basic medicine, we need to address dehydration and the use of water and mineral salts as medicines first.

Dehydration Dangers

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Many underestimate seasonal flu's severity and neglect treating dehydration, a survey of US physicians and consumers found. Fifty-seven percent of doctors surveyed said they considered dehydration the single most dangerous flu side effect. "Severe flu symptoms like fever and body aches often keep patients from taking in adequate fluids," said Dr. Leanne M. Chrisman-Khawam of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. "By managing symptoms, one will be more likely to manage their dehydration as well."

Dehydration is one of the most overlooked and basic causes of disease. Physicians rarely prescribe water, and you'll never hear of a pharmaceutical firm recommending it, but water can prevent and cure many common conditions because it is a basic or underlying cause of disease. According to a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, more than 70% of preschool children never drink plain water. Paediatric medicine does not pay attention enough to dehydration that occurs when acute diseases strike and children can pay with their life for this. The fact that one of the most common lawsuits in paediatric emergency room medicine is overlooking dehydration tells us of a gaping hole in paediatric medicine that need not be there.

The blood is 80 percent water, thus hydration levels are extremely important in blood chemistry. Moderate dehydration, a 3-5% decrease in body weight due to fluid loss is sufficient to result in a substantial decrease in strength and endurance because of the decrease in oxygen carrying capacity of the blood signalling a drop in Zeta potential. Proper hydration is thus the most basic preventative medicine against death from any type of flu.

Mercury Exposure = Increased Vulnerability

Chronic mercury exposure is also a threat to our health and makes us especially vulnerable to flu infections. It has been shown that "prolonged exposure of mammals (white mice) to low mercury concentrations (0.008 – 0.02 mg/m3) leads to a significant increase in the susceptibility of mice to pathological influenza virus strains. This is shown by more severe course of infection. In the experimental group more mice died (86 – 90.3 %) than inn the unexposed animals (60.2 – 68 %), additionally the experimental group died more quickly.

Though everyone in the northern hemisphere is contaminated with mercury, health officials have a mental block against suggesting anything that might reduce total mercury body burden. Though some dedicated health activists are cracking the FDA's endorsement of mercury dental amalgam, it will take a Martian death ray to get them to protect the public from the obvious. Natural chelation methods work safely to remove mercury but unfortunately, if this is the dreaded flu outbreak, there will be little time to reduce mercury levels. Much can still be accomplished with the emergency protocol suggested below. Mercury exposure will make flu symptoms worse and even more dangerous, and that is one reason the flu vaccine is deadly because most brands include thimerosal, with almost fifty percent mercury.

Several other mercury fighters have a place in the flu battlefield. In addition to binding mercury into a fairly harmless complex, selenium is a very good inflammation fighter even in small concentrations. N-acetyl L-cysteine, an antioxidant and glutathione precursor, stimulates production of this master antioxidant and, among other things, boosts the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties. Alpha-lipoic acid, another mercury mover, acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, while protecting the mitochondria and reducing cellular inflammation. Learn about them before you need them and add them to your medicine kit now.

Iodine, the Universal Pathogen Killer

As early as June 1, 1905 an article was printed in the New York Times about the successful use of iodine for consumption/tuberculosis. Though iodine kills most pathogens on the skin within 90 seconds, its use as an antibiotic/antiviral/antifungal has been completely ignored by modern medicine. Iodine exhibits activity against bacteria, moulds, yeasts, protozoa, and many viruses; indeed, of all antiseptic preparations suitable for direct use on humans and animals and upon tissues, only iodine is capable of killing all classes of pathogens: gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses and protozoa. Most bacteria are killed within 15 to 30 seconds of contact. Iodine is by far the best antibiotic, antiviral and antiseptic of all time.

The tremendous diversity and mutability of many infections and their ability to intelligently exploit the cells is one of the main reasons we should return to iodine as our favoured broad spectrum antibiotic, anti-viral and anti fungal agent. Iodine provides us with a safe way to strengthen innate responses to invading microbes while simultaneously correcting or eliminating a basic nutritional deficiency that causes immunological unresponsiveness.

Iodine is able to penetrate quickly through the cell walls of microorganisms. Iodine is a deadly enemy of single cell microorganisms, thus it can be our best friend in our fight against the most dangerous pathogens. Nature and evolution have given us an important mechanism to control pathogenic life forms, and we should use it and trust it to protect us in ways that antibiotics can't.

Influenza, Inflammation, and the Role of Magnesium

What makes avian-derived H5N1 strains, and the influenza strain underlying the 1918/1919 human pandemic so virulent is viral triggering of cytokine-mediated lung inflammation. Inflammation is the activation of the immune system in response to infection, irritation, or injury. Characterized by an influx of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved, inflammation has different names when it appears in different parts of the body. Magnesium is central to immuno-competence, and plays a crucial role in natural and adaptive immunity in great part because of its dominance over the inflammatory response.

Magnesium is at the heart of the inflammatory process; it is the prime first cause when it is not present in sufficient quantities. Increases in extracellular magnesium concentration cause a decrease in the inflammatory response, while reduction in the extracellular magnesium results in inflammation. Magnesium literally puts the chill on inflammation especially when used transdermally. "Magnesium deficiency induces a systemic stress response by activation of neuro endocrinological pathways," writes Dr Mazur. "Magnesium deficiency contributes to an exaggerated response to immune stress and oxidative stress is the consequence of the inflammatory response," he continued.

A little bit of magnesium chloride can be added to the drinking water (the same as sodium bicarbonate mentioned in the next section). But both can be introduced in much greater dosages and concentration in baths to bypass digestive systems that may not be working properly. Many already know of the transdermal effect of magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate. One can also apply both 'magnesium oil' and a self-made lotion of sodium bicarbonate to the skin for rapid absorption and this is most helpful for children. All can be put into a sterile solution and nebulized directly into the lungs if inflammation becomes life threatening. When all else fails, physicians can get both magnesium and sodium bicarbonate into the body with IVs.

Most people and children are already magnesium deficient, which would naturally increase complications or the possibility risk of death from influenza. Everything mentioned in this basic emergency protocol is preventive and can be started immediately. Don't wait for the WHO to officially announce an international pandemic before you stock your emergency kit with the basics.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Using bicarbonate to change blood and full body pH is going to shift the environment of most pathogens, making it more uncomfortable for them to inhabit a host. Malaria and influenza are often associated with abnormalities of fluid, electrolytes and the acid-base balance. Sodium bicarbonate is very useful and should not be overlooked just because it is one of the most simple medicines and food items you can buy in the supermarket.

Fluid and electrolyte imbalances easily occur in anybody with a severe flu. This is common in severe malaria, extremes of age, young children, malnutrition, and patients with high degree of fever and vomiting/diarrhoea.

Sodium bicarbonate can be administered orally every two hours and can be put in the baths as well as mixed with mineral water to make a lotion.  For oral use, Bob's Red Mill Sodium Bicarbonate is the best but for baths the old Arm and Hammer product is fine. Sodium bicarbonate buffers and defends us from a host of complications, and is even used in chemotherapy to protect patients from the toxic effects of dangerous drugs.

Sodium bicarbonate along with magnesium chloride are workhorse medicines that are extremely useful in most all clinical situations. Certainly they are useful together in infectious diseases to support both the basic physiology and mitochondrial function.

Vitamin C

One does not have to say much when it comes to the importance of Vitamin C in preparing the body for an aggressive attack of influenza of any type. If vitamin C levels are low, the body will be more vulnerable to complications. Also, an attack of the flu will lower already dangerously depleted vitamin C levels. Whole food vitamin C is often better tolerated than pure ascorbic acid in addition to the fact that whole food vitamin C comes with the necessary co-factors for its efficacy, which ascorbic acid does not.

There are many natural remedies on the market and many wives' tales – and there is always Mother's chicken soup! One will find an extensive list of possible herbs, formulas and foods that might help; however, they do not make up a core protocol that one can depend on in an emergency situation that can easily develop with a severe strain of influenza.

The Sun – Strong Medicine against the Flu

Medical scientists have noticed that people with the least D were most likely to have had a recent infection of the upper respiratory tract. We already know that getting plenty of vitamin D – more than diet can offer – appears to prorovide potent protection against colds, flu and even pneumonia. As the amount of vitamin D circulating in blood climbs, risk of upper respiratory tract infections falls and this is important when strong flu strains strike hard.

Dr Adit Ginde, an emergency room physician at the University Of Colorado Denver School Of Medicine in Aurora says that in people with lung disease, low levels of the sunshine vitamin "magnify many-fold" the apparent vulnerability to infection seen in people with healthy lungs. Dr Ginde findings concluded that in every season, people in the lowest vitamin D group were about 36 percent more likely to be suffering a respiratory infection than those in the highest group.

One of the most important and misunderstood vitamins is A, and it works hard to keep you healthy with vitamin D when in the right balance. Vitamin A plays a vital regulating role in the immune system also. Vitamin A deficiency leads to a loss of ciliated cells in the lung, an important first line defense against pathogens. Vitamin A promotes mucin secretion and microvilli formation by mucosa, including the gastrointestinal tract mucosa. Vitamin A regulates T-cell production and apoptosis.

If you are a sun lover, you do not need to take supplemental vitamin D; however you still need to consume adequate vitamin A. Animal studies show that even moderate amounts of vitamin D increase the body's need for vitamin A, whether the vitamin D is provided in the diet or by UV light. So, if you cut back or eliminate cod liver oil in the summer, you can also consume plenty of oily fish, liver, butterfat and egg yolks from grass-fed hens to ensure adequate vitamin A.

So get out in the sun when it is high in the sky and sun yourself until slightly pink, and do that perhaps every other day. Drink lots of carrot juice with oranges and eat spirulina, which is extraordinarily high in beta-carotene.

Mark Sircus Ac., OMD
Director International Medical Veritas Association


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