****SPECIAL BIRD FLU EDITION—- ALTERNATIVE HEALTH NEWS ONLINE *****
Named by Newsweek as its favorite alternative medicine site
and by Forbes as a “Bestof the Web”
From: Frank Grazian, Editor & Publisher
Circulation: 24,220 subscribers
DISCLAIMER: The news and other items in this newsletter are
intended for informational purposes only. Nothing in this newsletter is
intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis and advice.
***POSSIBLE ADJUNCT THERAPIES FOR BIRD FLU***
We have scoured our sources to bring you some possible adjunct therapies that might help in the fight against avian or bird flu, which as of this writing has not spread from human to human. Keep in mind that all of these therapies are still speculative, because there’s no clinical data that anything will work against this highly virulent flu–except possibly anti-viral drugs and a vaccine, if it can be developed in time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you want to access all of the links included in this
newsletter, we suggest that you go directly to our newsletter for this
article through the following link:
(AOL USERS: For some reason, AOL sometimes claims our links are not
available, when they are readily available on Internet Explorer and other
* PLEASE READ FIRST: The avian or bird flu, H5N1, is especially
lethal because it apparently causes the immune system to overreact and
flood the body with inflammatory proteins, called cytokines, that cause
excessive lung inflammation. One study found that bird flu produces
cytokines that are 10 times higher than the common human flu virus H1N1.
As a result, a “cytokine storm” develops that can prove deadly. For a
review of that study, go to our web page listed above.
In fact, Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for
Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota, told the
Washington Post that “those with the strongest immune systems may be at
highest risk for a serious outcome if infected with the H5N1 virus.
“At the same time,” he added, “it is surely possible that those with
weakened or immature immune systems, such as the very young or very old,
and those with underlying immune conditions, may experience the (type of)
serious illness associated with the annual influenza illness, which often
involves damage to the respiratory tract and subsequent secondary
Therefore, any supplement or drug that stimulates the immune system
may do more harm than good at this stage. That is why we are not citing
black elderberry extract, which some experts are recommending for bird
flu. Black elderberry extract has been proven to activate the immune
system with inflammatory cytokines–even if no infection is present. For a
medical abstract of that study, go to our web page listed above.
Of note, one doctor treating avian flu victims in Hanoi told The
Sunday Times of London that “the only way to keep avian flu patients alive
is to support all their vital organs — including the liver and kidneys —
with modern technology like ventilators and dialysis machines.”
However, if the avian flu ultimately spreads from human to human, it
possibly could be changed to a less-virulent form, and immune-system
boosters, such as black elderberry, may prove to be useful.
One possibility is that it could mutate on its own, as the 1918 flu
did, and remain deadly. Or it could evolve into a new form if a person
infected with another type of flu also catches avian flu from a bird. In
this case, the viruses would exchange genes, probably causing the flu to
be less virulent. Keep checking with your health-care provider.
Warning: Beware of sales over the Internet of “herbal Tamiflu,” because it
is probably worthless. Make the sellers prove their claims.
* ONE THING YOU MIGHT DO NOW—If the bird flu becomes a pandemic, you might
be required to stay home. Some experts suggest that you begin, as soon as
possible, to stockpile several weeks’ worth of medicines, first-aid
supplies, food and water. In fact, Gov. Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts,
says he will encourage people to buy an extra day’s worth of food each
time they do their weekly grocery shopping, according to the Boston
***THE POSSIBLE ADJUNCT THERAPIES***
The following therapies are merely suggestive as adjunct–NOT
primary–therapies. They are offered for informational purposes only.
ALWAYS consult with your physician or other health-care professional
before taking any supplement or drug. Also note that anti-viral
drugs–such as large doses of Tamiflu given over a longer period of
time–may prove to be lifesaving, if taken early enough (within two days
of initial symptoms).
Interestingly, one major organization, Life Extension Foundation, is
suggesting that more than one anti-viral drug (possibly up to four) may be
necessary to combat this virulent flu.
However, Dr.Tim Uyeki, of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta, recently told The Wall Street Journal that patients
fail see their doctors early enough. “If this cytokine storm has already
been triggered, antiviral drugs aren’t going to turn it off,” he added.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “researchers found
that a combination of measures, like giving antiviral medications plus
quarantining everyone near an infected person, could stop the virus in its
tracks if started early enough. Additional strategies, including
vaccination, were needed when the virus was more contagious.”
* A BLOOD-PRESSURE DRUG, known as an angiotensin-II receptor antagonist
(blocker), may hold the key to preventing the inflammation that causes the
acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in avian flu patients. Research
in Vienna, Toronto and Beijing on the SARS virus, which broke out in China
a few years ago, indicates that the virus kills people by boosting levels
of a chemical called angiotensin II in the lungs.
When excessive angiotensin is released in the lungs, the immune
system overreacts and the lungs fail. The researchers suggest that avian
flu may cause the same reaction. Also, the researchers were able to
prevent acute lung failure in mice whose lungs were damaged by treating
them with extra doses of an enzyme, ACE2, that reduces angiotensin II. For
the complete story from the Austrian Institute of Molecular Biotechnology
and a medical abstract, go to our web page listed above.
Addendum: Dr. Malik Peiris, a member of the team that discovered the
SARS virus, was quoted in New Scientist magazine as saying that
angiotensin-blocking drugs as well as “an even older class of blood
pressure drugs that prevent angiotensin from being made in the first place
might save many lives” in a future flu pandemic.
* A PNEUMONIA VACCINE might protect against a secondary or bacterial
infection. Several people in Asia who survived the “cytokine storm” cited
above were hospitalized with high fever and pneumonia. The vaccine causes
the body to make antibodies and memory cells against the weakened or dead
germs in the vaccine. The vaccine is currently recommended for people over
65 and those older than two who have weakened immune systems or chronic
* RESVERATROL, a phytonutrient known as a flavonoid, “strongly inhibited
the replication of influenza virus in cells” in a study reported in the
Journal of Infectious Diseases. It also significantly improved survival
and decreased pulmonary viral concentrations in mice infected with the
influenza virus. It works by blocking “host-cell functions that are
essential for viral replication,” according to the University of
Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy.
Resveratrol is found in red wine, grapes, raisins and peanuts and is
offered in capsule form in health food stores. It also worked best when
administered three hours after exposure to the flu virus and failed to
work if given nine hours after exposure. Although no studies have been
conducted in humans, one medical researcher estimates that “based on
animal studies, a reasonable therapeutic dosage might be about 500 mg
daily.” For a medical abstract of that study, go to our web page listed
(Editor’s Note: Resveratrol may have estrogenic effects and should not be
used by women with, or prone to, breast cancer.)
* QUERCETIN, a plant pigment known as a flavonol, helped to fight the
oxidative stress caused by the influenza virus in mice. In other words, it
restored the concentrations of many antioxidants that were depleted and,
according to a published study, may be useful “in protecting the lung from
the deleterious effects of oxygen-derived free radicals released during
influenza virus infection.”
Quercetin is found in red apple skins, red onions and both black and
green tea. It is also available in capsule form in health food stores.
When used therapeutically, normally 200 to 400 mg of quercetin is taken
three times a day. For a medical abstract of the study, go to our web page
* RESVERATROL AND QUERCETIN COMBINED, one study reported, “have novel
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory activity that may have applications for the
treatment of inflammatory disease” especially in the lung. For a medical
abstract of that study, go to our web page listed above.
* GREEN TEA EXTRACT has been shown to reduce the severity of acute lung
inflammation in mice. For the full medical study, go to our web page
Also, Epigallocatechin gallate, a constituent of green tea, was
found to suppress cytokine-induced damage in pancreatic cells. For that
medical abstract, go to our web page listed above.
Editor’s Note: All of the studies on resveratrol, quercetin and green tea
extract have been conducted either on cell cultures or in animals. This
does not guarantee that these ingredients will work in the human
body–even though the results look promising. In addition, one study found
that resveratrol was excreted in the urine and did not reach the body’s
cells when taken orally. [It was injected into the mice.]
* GLA (Gamma-Linolenic Acid) has been shown to cut down on the damage
cytokines can cause in the lungs of humans. Although little is available
in the diet, it can be obtained from both evening primrose oil and borage
oil, both available over the counter. For that study, go to our web page
Note: We were unable to obtain the potencies used in the human study, but
in human studies for other inflammatory conditions, as much as 1.5 grams
(1,500 milligrams) of GLA a day was given. We suspect the dosage for the
avian flu might be even higher. A capsule of evening primrose oil
generally contains from 125-130 milligrams of GLA. However, capsules of
borage oil contain as much as 300 milligrams. .
Also, a study in rats found that cytokine levels were significantly
decreased when GLA was administered. For that study, go to our web page
* N-ACETYLCYSTEINE (NAC), a modified amino acid–which is believed to
make glutathione (GSH) in the body–has been shown to reduce the severity
of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) when given by IV infusion in
human patients. Unfortunately,”there was no difference in mortality”
between the NAC group and the group given a placebo.
The IV dosage was 70 mg. per kg., which means that a 150-pound
person would be given about 4,600 mg. by IV every eight hours after ARDS
began. However, no test was conducted to determine what would happen if
NAC were given before the onset of ARDS. For a medical abstract of that
study, go to our web page listed above.
Another study showed that GSH “has an anti-influenza activity” in
cell cultures and in mice. The researchers noted that “oxidative stress or
other conditions that deplete GSH in the epithelium of the oral, nasal,
and upper airway may, therefore, enhance susceptibility to influenza
infection.” For that medical abstract, go to our web page listed above.
NOTE: A meta-analysis of medical studies has shown that NAC, given by
mouth, “prevents” acute attacks of chronic bronchitis in humans. The
dosage used in the different studies varied from 500 mg. to 1,400 mg. a
day. These were all double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. NAC
is available over the counter in dosages of 500-750 mg. For that medical
abstract, go to our web page listed above.
* CITRUS BIOFLAVONOIDS with micronized diosmin (90%) and hesperidin (10%)
have been found to improve capillary fragility in people who bruise
easily. Because victims of bird flu literally drown in their own blood due
to lung-cell flooding, some people feel it might be helpful to strengthen
the blood vessels in general–well in advance of getting the flu.
Therapeutic dosages usually consist of 500 mg. twice daily. For that
study, go to our web page listed above.
* STEROIDS–The Wall Street Journal said that the obvious candidates to
dampen the immune system “include steroids, sepsis drugs, ACE inhibitors
and statins. But so far, there’s no clinical trial data.” Steroids, the
newspaper added, “have been given to some patients with bird flu, but so
far they have shown no clear benefit.” It also quoted Dr. Uyeki as saying
that “steroids can suppress an immune response, but they may make the
patient more susceptible to infection.”
* PREVENTIVE MEASURES: The following measures are recommended by the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you travel to certain
foreign countries or if an outbreak occurs among birds in the U.S. As of
this writing, the following countries have had avian flu
outbreaks–Cambodia, China, Croatia, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan,
Kuwait, Laos, Mongolia, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey,
–WASH your hands frequently and carefully for 15-20 seconds with soap and
warm water. And keep your hands away from your eyes and nose.
–THOROUGHLY COOK all poultry foods–including eggs. Influenza viruses are
destroyed by heat. The World Health Organization recommends cooking
poultry to a temperature above 158 degrees.
–AVOID AREAS with live poultry, such as live animal markets and poultry
farms. Large amounts of the virus are known to be excreted in the
droppings of infected birds. After the droppings dry, they become
pulverized and airborne, at which stage they are inhaled.
* SPECIAL NOTE: For a story based on an editorial from the Mayo Clinic
Proceedings on precautions to take in light of the avian flu threat, go to
our web page listed above.
* FOR A MAJOR CITIZENS’ SITE on the bird flu, where people are sharing
information, go to our web page listed above.
SPECIAL NOTE: Consider forwarding this issue to your friends or business
associates who may be interested in this topic.