The Viral Scare: How Can I Protect Myself In the Wake of the Ebola Outbreak?

Dear Vibrant Health Community,

Recently many patients and parents have contacted me about viruses in the wake of the Ebola outbreak. They have been inquiring as to what they can do to protect themselves, their families, and loved ones from viral infection. It is true that viral diseases are on the increase. Almost all recent pandemics are of the viral kind.

By no means do all the people who come in contact with a virus encounter the disease.  However, someone with a weakened immune system is much more vulnerable to viral diseases. The key way to protect yourself from any viral disease or pandemic is to strengthen your immune system.

How Do I Strengthen My Immune System?

The following are my top recommendations to strengthen your immune system.

1. Kalium Muriaticum (Kali Mur) 6X is a homeopathic cell salt.  Cell salts help to reorganize the way tissues function, often lifting them out of their pattern of dysfunction.  I recommend Kali Mur 6X because it helps to protect the integrity of cells against viral invasion.  This includes almost every cold and flu, as well as more serious viruses.

Dr. Rudolph Ballentine, master homeopath and one of the most influential doctors in the alternative health movement, discusses Kali Mur 6x in his book, Radical Healing:

“…when smallpox used to sweep India, health workers would go from village to village ahead of the epidemic, handing out Kali Mur 6X.  Where this was done, it is said, the epidemic passed over or there were only mild cases.”

2. Vitamin D is an equally important tool in your vibrant health arsenal. In October of 2007, Epidemiology and Infection presented some very important findings concerning the epidemic levels of vitamin D insufficiency in the United States. The public health impact of this observation could be great, but more specifically:

  • Over a 3-year period, taking 800 IU of vitamin D3 reduced the incidence of colds and flus by 70%.
  • Taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 reduced the incidence of colds and flus to nearly zero (only one person out of 104 had a cold or flu while taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D. That one person only had ONE COLD all year out of all 104.)  The people in the control group, also numbering 104 members, suffered an average of 3 colds/flu per person per year.

Additionally, a 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D.  Based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may therefore be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.

3. Takuna is the herb I prescribe most often in my practice to help strengthen the immune system . It is an extract produced from the bark of Cepropia strigose, an herb which has been traditionally used by indigenous tribes in Peru. Takuna has been found to have very powerful antiviral properties.

4. Lastly, I recommend a daily intake of probiotic supplements. They are live “friendly” bacteria found in the microflora working to keep a healthy intestinal balance, reducing the amount of harmful bacteria while replenishing and maintaining beneficial strains.  Maintaining this balance is critical for overall good health and prevention of colds and viral infection.

Remember, a strong immune system is key. It is important to note that the addition of Kali Mur 6X, Vitamin D, Probiotics and Takuna does not supplement a healthy lifestyle. In addition to a non-inflammatorywhole-food diet, your life style should includeplenty of water, sufficient rest and exercise, as well as avoiding sugar whenever and wherever possible. With a healthy lifestyle as a foundation, these homeopathic remedies and nutritional supplements will help to strengthen and balance your immune system.

The best defense is an early defense, so use these tools to proactively care for your health. Please share this with everyone who will benefit from it!

Yours in Vibrant Health,

Dr. Salzarulo and Megan

Please note: In addition to the above mentioned products, there are many other nutrients that can be helpful to meet the individual needs of each person. In our practice we are committed to empowering our patients with information and inspiring them to lead vibrantly healthy lives. It is important to keep in mind that symptoms are our body’s cry for help. They are our body’s way of letting us know that it needs support. If you or anyone in your community are suffering from persistent symptoms, feel free to give us a call at (212) 475-2222.

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Glutathione Recycling for Auto-Immune Disease

August 18th, 2011 | Author: Dr. Datis Kharrazian

During the past couple of years I continued my investigations into taming autoimmune disease and addressing the mechanisms that underlie it (and will always continue to do so). I found some approaches that looked promising and began experimenting with them with my patients, as well as recruiting other practitioners I know to work with the same principles. I came across a few discoveries that have produced profound results. One is the concept of glutathione recycling.

Glutathione and stress

In the thyroid book I introduced glutathione, our body’s most powerful antioxidant, and how integral it is to modulating the immune system. Ideally the body makes sufficient glutathione to help keep everything running smoothly, however it becomes depleted in the face of extreme or chronic stress.

Modern life bombards us with stressors, the most common being ongoing insulin surges from sugary, high-carb diets, immune aggravation from food intolerances, chronic gut infections (too much bad bacteria or parasites), hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, and of course our hectic, information-overloaded lifestyles.

Many people suffer from all of the above on a daily basis and also may smoke, drink too much, or even overtrain athletically, compounding an already precarious situation. Of course autoimmune disease itself is a significant stressor, further depleting the body’s precious supply of glutathione.

In fact, I might go so far as to say it is difficult for the body to produce an autoimmune attack if the glutathione system is functioning properly.

Boosting glutathione levels though a liposomal cream or intravenously—as glutathione taken orally is ineffective—is a key strategy in combating the damage of stress. However these levels can be quickly depleted if the body cannot recycle glutathione to keep the supply on hand to meet the many stressors.

Glutathione’s job is to take the bullet

Before I can explain how glutathione recycling works, I first need to explain more about how specifically glutathione protects us. Glutathione is like the bodyguard or Secret Service agent whose loyalty is so deep that she will jump in front of a bullet to save the life of the one she protects. When there is enough of the proper form of glutathione in the body to “take the bullet”, no inflammatory response occurs. However when glutathione becomes depleted it triggers a destructive inflammatory process.

Glutathione recycling explained

Glutathione recycling is a separate function from just boosting glutathione levels through a liposomal cream, intravenously, a nebulizer, a suppository, or other means. These forms of glutathione delivery will help one’s antioxidant status but they do not raise levels of glutathione inside the cells. Glutathione is the main antioxidant for mitochondria, the little factories inside each cell that convert nutrients into energy. Some cells have more mitochondria than others depending on the cell’s function. This is important because an autoimmune disease destroys the mitochondria in the affected cells, thus causing tissue destruction, and glutathione protects these mitochondria.

Reduced glutathione versus oxidized glutathione

But not just any form of glutathione does this—it needs to be reduced glutathione. There are two main forms of glutathione in the body: reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG).

Reduced glutathione, or GSH, is the bodyguard who “takes the hit” from free radicals that damage cells. Free radicals are molecules that are unstable because they have unpaired electrons and are looking for another electron to steal in order to become stable They steal electrons from the mitochondria, thus destroying them and causing inflammation and degeneration.

However when there’s plenty of GSH in the cell, the GSH sacrifice themselves to the free radicals—throwing themselves in front of the bullet—in order to protect the mitochondria. Thus the GSH ends up with an unpaired electron and becomes unstable, at which point it becomes GSSG, or oxidized glutathione, which is technically a free radical itself.

Doesn’t this make GSSG dangerous to the cell then? When there is sufficient glutathione in the cell, the unstable GSSG naturally pairs with available glutathione in the cell with the help of an enzyme called glutathione reductase, returning back to its reduced glutathione state so it’s ready for action once again.

The key thing to remember is that two enzymes play important roles in these processes:

  • Glutathione peroxidase triggers the reaction of GSH to GSSG, which is when glutathione “takes the hit” to spare the cell
  • Glutathione reductase triggers the conversion of GSSG back to useable GSH.

These enzymes come into consideration when we look at how to support the glutathione system nutritionally.

The link between poor glutathione recycling and autoimmune disease

Studies show a direct correlation between a breakdown in the glutathione system and autoimmune disease. The ability to constantly take oxidized glutathione and recycle it back to reduced glutathione is critical for managing autoimmunity.

Fortunately studies also show various botanicals, nutritional compounds, and their cofactors have been shown to activate glutathione reductase and the synthesis of reduced glutathione. By boosting this enzyme and supplementing glutathione levels we can increase glutathione levels and glutathione recycling to quench inflammation once it starts, or, even better, to prevent inflammation in the first place.

Studies have also shown that efficient glutathione recycling helps boost the TH-3 system, the branch of the immune system that helps balance the TH-1 and TH-2 systems and prevent autoimmune reactivity. (I explain TH-1 and TH-2 systems of immunity in my book.) Proper glutathione activity not only helps protect cells, research shows it also modulates cell proliferation and immunity, and helps tissues recover from damage.

Glutathione recycling helps repair leaky gut

Good glutathione recycling helps tame autoimmune diseases in another way. One thing I have found universal in all my autoimmune patients is poor gut integrity. They all suffer from some degree of leaky gut and repairing the gut is vital to the recovery process. Studies show glutathione may play an important role in gut barrier function and the prevention of intestinal inflammation.

A compromised glutathione recycling system can worsen intestinal destruction—the person with multiple food sensitivities and a gut that never heals may be victim of this mechanism. Although repairing a leaky gut is vital to taming an autoimmune response, we can see now glutathione recycling is another vital piece to the puzzle of restoring gut health.

Stevia for your sweet tooth

Stevia is an herb that has been used as a sweetener in by native peoples in South America for hundreds of years. Stevia is incredibly sweet, 30 to 100 times sweeter than sugar. A recipe for cookies sweetened with stevia may call for only 1/4 teaspoon to sweeten the whole batch. Stevia contains no calories and it does not affect blood sugar levels.
The sweetening agent in stevia, called stevioside, does not feed yeasts in the intestines like sugars. Therefore Stevia is okay to use as a sweetener for those suffering from candidiasis, a condition of yeast overgrowth in the intestines.
All natural sweeteners, even fructose, feed yeasts, which makes even fruit and brown rice syrup off limits to someone suffering from candidiasis

Milk Thistle Herb for the Liver

Uses: Milk Thistle is the premier liver herb. Protects the liver from toxic drugs, chemicals and pollutants. Prevents free radical damage and stimulates the growth of new liver cells. Useful for liver detoxification, chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, gallbladder disorders and weakened immune system. Also good for inflammatory bowel disorders, asthma, psoriasis, candidiasis and disorders of the spleen. This herb is esssential for a seven-point cleanse.

Dosage: 20 drops 2 to 4 times per day.

Cautions: None known

Olive Leaf Herb

Olive leaf fights all types of viruses, fungi, bacteria and parasites. It helps stave off colds and flu.
It is good for virtually any infectious disease as well as for chronic fatigue syndrome, diarrhea, high blood pressure, inflammatory arthritis and hypercholesterol. It is a very useful component of a well-designed Candida program.

Dosage: 20 drops in a little water 2-3 times per day

Cautions: None known

Mullein Herb for the Lungs

Uses: Mullein is a soothing herb and it is an old-time remedy for bronchitis and dry unproductive coughs.
Because of its demulcent properties, it is also useful for asthma, hayfever and emphysema.
Mullein is also a wonderful addition to a seven-point cleansing program.

Dosage: 20 drops in a little water, 2 to 4 times per day.

Cautions: None known

Red Clover Herb for Detoxification

Red clover is a very useful and important herb for natural detoxification programs. It purifies the blood and fights infections. It it commonly used for bacterial infections, coughs, bronchitis, inflamatory bowel disorders, kidney and liver problems, skin disorders, and weakened immune system. It has expectorant, antispasmodic and relaxing effects. It is also helpful for psoriasis and eczema.

Dosage: 20 drops in a little water, 2 to 3 times per day.

Cautions: None known

Spilanthes Herb for Candida

Spilanthes is an herb that is often overlooked in the treatment of Candida overgrowth (Cadidiasis).
Spilanthes has very powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It is an integral part of my Candida programs.

Dosage: 20 drops in approximately 1 ounce of water, 2 times per day.

Cautions: None known

Spilinathes can be purchased at many health food stores. The brand I recommend is Herb Pharm