Avian Flu Treatment Augusta GA
Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Adolescent Medicine-Pediatrics
Medical School: Med Univ Of Sc Coll Of Med, Charleston Sc 29425
Graduation Year: 1974
Alternative Medicine Cabinet - Avian Flu
By Jack Challem
Flu season may be months away, but persistent outbreaks of avian (bird) flu, also known as strain H5N1, could presage a horrific scenario—a supergerm that jumps from birds to people, triggering a worldwide pandemic. Currently, it appears humans catch the disease only through direct contact with live, infected domestic birds (primarily chickens)—thereby limiting its spread. Experts worry, however, that the virus will eventually mutate into a strain capable of human-to-human transmission.
That’s a scary thought. No vaccine yet exists for this strain of flu, and studies indicate that the virus may be developing resistance to the highly touted antiviral drug Tamiflu. So just what are your flu-fending options?
Don’t panic, advises Marcus Laux, ND, clinical professor and physician at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, but do prepare yourself. His prescription: Take your supplements. “Your best defense is to boost your immune system well ahead of the flu season,” he says. “Some supplements have direct antiviral effects, and others work by helping your body fight the infection and reduce symptoms.” Laux and the experts we consulted recommend the following top immune boosters:
Low levels of dietary selenium appear to drive flu virus mutations, according to research led by Melinda Beck, PhD, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Selenium-deficient regions in Asia act as breeding grounds for these mutations, which first infect migratory waterfowl (such as ducks), then cross over to domestic birds, and, finally, to people.
Beck has found that three things happen when animals or people who lack sufficient selenium get even a mild form of flu. One, a lack of selenium weakens the immune system, leading to more serious infections. Two, when a flu virus infects a selenium-deficient animal or person, it mutates into a more aggressive and dangerous strain. And three, once this happens, the virus can infect even people who do get enough selenium from their diet and supplements. At that point, no one is immune.
Rx: Take 200 mcg of selenium daily, says Laux, and up the dose to a maximum of 400 mcg during an active infection.
Used in hospitals to treat Tylenol overdose and lung congestion, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) may offer the best antioxidant support against the flu. A study of 262 people, led by Silvio De Flora, MD, at the University of Genoa, Italy, found that NAC dramatically reduced flu symptoms. Only one in four people taking NAC developed symptoms, and those were generally mild. In contrast, four out of five people taking placebos had far more debilitating symptoms.
Rx: Follow the dosage De Flora used in his study: 600 mg of NAC twice daily over the flu season. During an active infection, you can safely increase your NAC intake to 3,000 to 4,000 mg daily.
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