A new study just published in the journal Postgraduate Medicine has good news about a way to help fight a potential flu pandemic, naturally. Researchers found that a specific strain of probiotics, which are beneficial microorganisms similar to the “friendly” bacteria found naturally in the body’s digestive system, increases the body’s immune response to the flu virus — specifically, to influenza A. And the currently much hyped and much feared so-called swine flu, also known as H1N1, is a variant of influenza A.
Although many mainstream medical doctors as well as natural health practitioners have long recognized that probiotics can often help people with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, gas, and bloating, the idea that taking probiotics could help healthy people stay that way has been controversial. But the new study could change that notion. It shows that taking probiotics regularly can boost the immune system in a specific way which helps the body give influenza A the boot. The probiotics strain, which has the scientific tongue-twister name of Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086, was found to cause significant increases in T-cell production of TNF-alpha, a key immune system activity marker, when health adults were exposed to influenza.
Researcher Mira Baron, MD, measured changes in blood TNF-alpha levels in 10 healthy adult volunteers before and after they took doses of the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans (which is marketed under the trade name GanedenBC30 and found in various dietary supplements) daily and then were exposed to an influenza A virus. Results showed a huge 1709 percent increase in TNF-alpha levels upon viral challenge after the research participants had taken the probiotic for about a month. Dr. Baron noted in her study that the initial, dramatic increase in the body’s production of TNF-alpha in response to viral exposure shows a heightened immunological response aimed at protecting against infection.
The study did not evaluate an immune response to the specific swine flu virus, H1N1, currently causing much worry. However, there’s certainly reason to think that Bacillus coagulans could boost the body’s natural defenses to fight a variety of flu viruses, including swine flu. “These results demonstrate the ability of GanedenBC30 to boost the immune system of healthy adults against viruses that cause some of the most common human illnesses,” Dr. Baron said in a statement to the press. “The study helps support the long-suspected belief about the beneficial effects of GanedenBC30 on the immune system and adds to the emerging body of evidence that probiotics can benefit healthy people as well as those with specific health issues.”
According to Dr Peter D’Adamo, you should aim to protect the gut and respiratory passages. Elderberry should be used only by people under 15 or over 35. This is one of the useful herbs. The other herb that can be considered is licorice.
Also of course in order to keep your immune system at an all time high, you want to minimize your exposure to harmful lectins. If you are not quite sure what types of lectins are bad for you, please refer to my earlier blog on, “Why all diets are not equal”. Be wary of immune stimulants. Some of the products outlined above are part of a comprehensive protective program.
However in the event that you actually do get an infection, then you may want to consider a product called “lentin plus”. Lentin Plus 1000 is a dietary supplement, which contains Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound that has been scientifically shown to increase NK cell activity by as much as 300% in just a couple of weeks, whilst T and B cell activities are increased by 200 and 150% respectively. Research has also shown that it can help significantly boost natural antibody production, as well as other parameters of the immune system. It has been clinically proven to help powerfully enhance depleted immune systems and improve the quality of life. I have used this product for my patients and myself for the management of acute viral infections. The results have to be experienced to be believed.
It is also important to be sufficiently well hydrated. Research has shown that significant dehydration can have an impact on the immune system as well. There are certain white cells that are sensitive to histamine and that strongly inhibit the activity of the immune system in the bone marrow. There are twice as many of these white cells as there are cells that stimulate the immune system. Thus, dehydration that can cause the production and release of more than a certain amount of histamine may, in the long run, suppress the immune systems of the body at its central command station, the bone marrow.
One way the immune system relies on water is the same as for exercise. Dehydration causes the blood to become concentrated and torpid–not optimal conditions for immune cells to rush the invader. Furthermore, water helps regulate temperature–essential during fever–and flushes microbes and toxins out of the body. Remember, thirst is an indicator that you are already dehydrated.
Those who lead healthy lifestyles do not have to worry about the destruction done by smoking, alcohol and drug use, but toxic chemicals are present elsewhere and are harmful to our immune systems. Avoiding second-hand smoke is essential. Also important is the amount of non-organic foods you ingest. This is particularly true for children, because the EPA’s guidelines for safe pesticide levels are standardized for a large adult human male, not for children who are not only smaller but who metabolize chemicals at a different rate.
The cells that comprise the immune system–NK cells, macrophages, B-cells, T-cells, etc.–rely on a well functioning, strong circulatory and lymphatic system. A sedentary lifestyle leads to lethargic blood and lymph flow. By neglecting to take physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system.