1. The flu med your doc is pushing on you could make you SICKER

    So many people suffer needlessly every winter…

    And here’s why.

    The TOP reason so many people suffer with the agonizing symptoms for days on end… is that we don’t recognize those first warning signs.

    Sure, it FEELS like something’s wrong…

    But early on, the flu can masquerade as something more minor.

    By the time we realize we’ve been bitten by the flu bug… we’re usually so miserable that it’s tough to even leave bed… much less head out of the house to get help.

    And even if you make it to your doc’s office, he’ll give you some of the worst advice around.

    But there’s a way to WIPE IT ALL OUT.

    You don’t have to take a single drug.

    BEAT the flu… and get back on your feet faster than ever… with my personal flu-fighting protocol.

    My PERSONAL recipe for CURING the flu

    Once you know for sure that you’ve got the flu, the signs are unmistakable.

    The painful body aches… the fever and teeth-chattering chills… the sniffles and sneezes… the body-shaking coughs that make it impossible to get any rest.

    You’ve got them all.

    Get lucky, and your doc will tell you to go home, rest up, and drink plenty of OJ.

    Roll snake eyes, and he’ll give you one of the new “flu drugs” out there… including the latest med to hit the market, baloxavir.

    Approved this season, this one promises to end the flu a day or two sooner.

    Congratulations! Your flu is CURED!

    But oh, by the way, you now have bronchitis.

    Yep. That’s an actual side effect… along with diarrhea.

    Getting the runs isn’t just nasty. For older folks battling flu, that could lead to dangerous dehydration.

    I’ve got a better plan:

    • At the FIRST SIGN of illness – even a little tickle in the back of your throat – boost your vitamin C I personally start out with several thousand milligrams at once and then 1,000 every hour as a “booster.” Often that blocks any infection – whether it’s the common cold or a nasty flu – right at the root.
    • If your symptoms don’t improve, take 500-1,000 mg of olive leaf extract every few hours.
    • Throw in some grapefruit seed extract. It’s a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic natural therapy. Use either a diluted formula or capsules to avoid the bitter taste.
    • Take some probiotics. Some acidophilus with your meals can help keep the populations of your good bacteria healthy as you fight off the infection.

    No drugs. And certainly no flu shot (I never get it myself).

    In Your Corner,

    Dr. Allan Spreen

  2. Surviving cold and flu season 101

    This week I've got some more advice about arming yourself against winter's worst viruses and bacteria. In addition to vitamin D and probiotics, there are quite a few things you can do to protect yourself winter during cold and flu season.

    First off, make vitamin C part of your daily regimen. It's a powerful detoxifier that also stimulates our immune system. But here's what most people don‘t realize about vitamin C: It doesn't work a lick once you've got a cold. So taking a few extra tabs once you‘ve got the sniffles isn't going to help you much. On the other hand, it works magnificently for the prevention of colds. So take it daily while you‘re healthy and you'll stay that way during this cold and flu season.

    Also, it's important to remember that vitamin C only stays in your body for a few hours at a time. So you've got to take it a few times throughout the day during cold and flu season. For basic cold prevention, take 1,000 mg two to three times a day. If you're under any type of stress -- physical or emotional -- you may want to go for more.

    Secondly, like vitamin C -- take the herb Echinacea daily to prevent catching a cold in the first place. It doesn't work well once you've caught a cold. In fact, a few years back, scientists found that taking Echinacea and vitamin C together can reduce your risk of catching a cold by a whopping 86 percent!

    Thirdly, at the height of cold and flu season, for some extra immune system support add some EpiCor, Beta 1,3 Glucan, and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) to the mix. EpiCor is 100 percent natural and helps to balance your immune system. Beta 1,3 Glucan is a natural polysaccharide that activates your white blood cells. And last but not least, ALA is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.

    Home remedies that work

    I‘m also a big believer in saltwater gargles. Most folks know that it can help relieve a sore throat. But did you know that rinsing with saltwater could even block you from catching a cold in the first place? A few years back, that‘s exactly what scientists discovered!

    They recruited 400 healthy volunteers to see if saltwater rinses could actually prevent colds. Half of the volunteers rinsed with salt water every day for 60 days during cold and flu season. The other half did nothing.

    Scientists found that the volunteers who gargled regularly caught 40 percent fewer upper respiratory tract infections compared to the non-garglers. Plus, when they did get sick, they got over it faster.

    Saltwater is effective against the common cold because it kills the bacteria in your throat, tonsils, and adenoids. I usually recommend dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in a glass full of warm water. Gargle for a minute or so before spitting it out. This will also help kill off bacteria that cause bad breath, so I gargle in the morning, after brushing and flossing my teeth.

    What should you take once you get a cold?

    Should you catch a bug this cold and flu season, there are a few things to do to get over it quicker. First off, here‘s the obvious: Lots of fluids and rest. Secondly, take a 13 mg zinc lozenge five or six times a day during your cold.

    Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in your immune health. And while most research is mixed as to whether or not it can prevent a cold, one fact about zinc is quite clear. It can help you get over your cold faster!

    In 2008 scientists found that men and women who took a zinc lozenge every few hours within the first 24 hours of developing a cold got over the bug faster. In fact, their colds only last half as long as the control group who took a placebo. Plus, their coughs lasted for two days instead of five. And their noses only ran for three days, instead of four and a half.

    This cold and flu season just be careful about which kind of lozenge you buy. Find one that contains zinc acetate. Your body will absorb this kind the best. Also, avoid lozenges that contain citric acid or other flavorings. These added flavors block zinc‘s natural ability to boost your immune system and may actually make things worse.

    Also, long-term use of zinc is not safe. This can lead to a copper deficiency. So just make sure to stop the lozenges after you kick your cold.

  3. These immune system boosters can protect you against winter’s worst germs

    Think your digestion has nothing to do with how well you fight off a cold? Well, think again. A new study finds that a natural digestive aid may be your ticket to a healthier winter with fewer colds. In the Guide to Good Health, I‘ve talked often about the "good bacteria" (also known as intestinal flora) in your gut. These tiny microorganisms help you digest food. They also defend against toxins and germs. In fact, your digestive tract is your first line of defense against disease and the common cold. Normally, billions of these good bacteria line your digestive tract. But a poor diet, antibiotics, and other drugs can wipe out these healthy bugs. Also, as you get older, your body‘s supply of good bacteria falls off. The good news is, you can replenish your body‘s supply of these natural immune boosters with probiotic supplements. These supplements contain billions of units of good bacteria. (As a comparison, yogurt only contains a few million active bacteria by the time you eat it. And that‘s hardly enough protection against today‘s resilient germs.)

    Boost your immunity this winter with probiotics

    Scientists recently put probiotics to the test against the common cold. They recruited 272 healthy volunteers to take part in this double-blind placebo- controlled study (the gold standard in scientific circles). They gave half of the volunteers a daily probiotic that contained billions of units of healthy bacteria. The other volunteers received a placebo. After 12 weeks, the volunteers who took probiotics had a clear edge. In fact:
    • The probiotic group got 12 percent fewer colds.
    • The probiotic group also got over their colds 30 percent FASTER than the placebo group.
    • Lastly, the probiotic group‘s symptoms were LESS SEVERE than the placebo group.
    Not bad for a digestive aid that you‘re hopefully already taking! Plus, while we‘re talking about cold and flu season, don‘t forget about vitamin D.

    Tiny vitamin packs a wallop against flu...

    In addition to probiotics, Vitamin D also helps to boost your natural defense. It kicks your T cells into action. And these cells track down and kill foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. Plus, a recent study showed that vitamin D also packs a wallop against the flu. For this study, scientists divided healthy patients into two groups. One group received 1200 IU of D3 (the most active form of D) each day for four months. The other group received a placebo. During the four-month period, 40 percent fewer participants taking D3 got the flu compared to the placebo group. Plus, the patients going into the study with the lowest levels of D got the biggest protection. These patients experienced a 74 percent reduction in the incidence of the flu. And these results only stem from a period of four months! I have a feeling that these results would have been even greater had the participants taken vitamin D supplements all year long. You see, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that gets absorbed into your body through your intestinal tract. Plus, your body can store it for up to 60 days. So even though it‘s not quite flu and cold season, now‘s the time to kick your immune system into high gear. I recommend taking up to 5,000 IU of D3 a day, especially if you live in the northern part of the country. In addition, load up on the probiotics. Look for a capsule that contains billions of units from many different strains of bacteria.
  4. The Secret about Flu Vaccines

    Well, if nothing else, at least the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) is predictable. Every year at about this time (going back to at least 2002 ), the AAP goes into marketing overdrive and puts out an report urging parents to get flu shots for themselves and their kids. And this year, like previous years, they’re recommending children as young as 6 months get the vaccine. Well, there goes my dream of a more sensible world in 2009! What a bunch of phooey. First off, the flu vaccine hardly ever targets the correct virus circulating in a given year. Even the CDC basically admits they’re shooting in the dark. That’s why you’re given three different strains of viruses. They’re hoping at least one of them will hit the mark. On the CDC’s web site it states: ‘How well the flu vaccine works depends on how well the match is between the influenza (flu) vaccine and the types of flu viruses that are circulating that year. Scientists try to predict what strains (types) of flu viruses are most likely to spread and cause illness each year to put into the vaccine.’ Okay…but here’s the problem… The CDC’s ‘predictions’ hardly ever hit the mark. Case in point: last year’s flu vaccine was only 44% effective in preventing the flu. This is according to the CDC’s own numbers, folks! Why such bad results? Here’s a surprise: two of the vaccine‘s three components didn‘t match most of the flu viruses circulating. But many elderly people (those most at risk) and parents of young children got lulled into a false sense of security. As a result, millions of people who thought they were protected actually ended up getting very sick. In fact, last year, by mid-February, flu deaths peaked at 9.1% of all U.S. deaths. Annually, about 30,000 people die from the flu. And the flu vaccine hasn’t done much to cut into those numbers. In my book, the flu vaccine is a medical failure of tragic proportions. In fact, calling it a ‘vaccine’ at all is certainly irresponsible, if not criminal.
    Nevertheless, the scare-tactic marketing continues. And more people than ever have been ambushed into getting the annual flu shot.
    Last year a record 113 million doses were given out. That was up almost 10 million from the previous year. (Guess all that marketing is starting to pay off.) Plus, your local government is now starting to get in on the act. The state of New Jersey now mandates that children ages 6 months to 5 years old get a flu shot to enroll in preschool or day care. According to New Jersey state law, parents had until December 31, 2008 to get their kids ‘vaccinated’ against the flu or the kids couldn’t go to school or day care. What scares me most about this development isn’t the government gone berserk (I imagine that other states may actually follow suit), it’s that children are now required to get a risky vaccine they could do without.
    There is no question that routine vaccines cause serious problems in many children.
    But the flu vaccine is even scarier. Here’s why… Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines since the 1930s. It’s known to break down into ethyl mercury in the body. Many experts believe this mechanism triggers autism in some children. One significant study published in 2003 in the Journal of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons examined the link between vaccines and autism. Results showed that kids who receive just three vaccines containing thimerosal were 27 times more likely to develop autism compared to children who get vaccines with no thimerosal. The CDC of course denies a connection between autism and thimerosal. But, in 2001 they went ahead and eliminated from most childhood vaccines as a ‘precautionary’ measure. A lot of docs like me are now waiting for children who received this wave of ‘thimerosal-free’ vaccines to mature. Hopefully, we’ll see a drop in the cases of autism.
    But here’s the problem. The flu vaccine still contains thimerosal.
    Besides the fact that the flu shot won’t do a lick of good at protecting your child against the flu, now you’ve got autism to worry about again. For parents, this is the biggest reason to avoid the vaccine. In my book, any pediatrician who doesn’t warn you about the thimerosal in the flu shot just doesn’t have your child’s best interest in mind. There is a thimerosal-free flu vaccine, but chances are your pediatrician won’t have it.
    My advice? Skip the flu vaccine all together.
    A strong immune system is all you need to fight off the flu virus. So, keep up the healthy eating habits (discussed in last week’s GTGH) in 2009. Plus, there are loads of research linking vitamin D deficiencies and a weakened immune system. Instead of the ‘flu shot-in-the-dark,’ try upping your intake of vitamin D to at least 2000 IU per day during the winter months. That should help boost your protection against anything Mother Nature throws at you!

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