Don’t Forget Vitamin C for Swine Flu Prevention

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

German researchers have now demonstrated that a baseline amount of beta-interferon1 must be active in order for competent immune recognition and response to any viral invader, which of course includes the swine flu (H1N1).  One of the many immune roles of vitamin C is to enhance the production of beta-interferon.

The German research helps to clarify one angle of healthy immunity.  It means that certain immune cells must be primed to go into action, and a key sign of their readiness is a small baseline production of beta-interferon.  This enables a more vigorous production of interferon upon viral exposure, and they demonstrate that the interferon is specifically used to help your higher-powered immune response actually identify the invader for a targeted immune response.  Without adequate interferon there is a delay or inefficiency in recognition, making it more difficult to identify the enemy and mount a response.

Interferon levels can be boosted with vitamin C.  In fact, it was just two years ago when a paper was published explaining how vitamin C could contain a world-wide avian flu pandemic (at that time we were more concerned with the bird flu).  This is a comprehensive and excellent review paper on the importance of vitamin C in regards to the flu, and a flu pandemic in particular.  The research suggests up to 5 grams of vitamin C per day for general health, 1 gram of vitamin C every hour to help fight off a bug, and higher amounts if a flu bug has gained a toehold in you.  You can read this entire article by following this link:  Vitamin C and the Flu2.

Public health officials are putting all their eggs in the experimental vaccine basket, a gamble in defense of a withering paradigm on its last legs.  In economic jargon we are always told to diversify to reduce risk, after all, one plan might not pan out as hoped.  It is high time public health officials get rid of their perverted negative view of dietary supplements.  Many lives hang in the balance.

There are a number of nutrients that are fundamental to immunity.  Vitamin C and its synergistic antioxidants like vitamin E, NAC, selenium, and beta carotene are just a few.  Others include zinc and vitamin D.  Even friendly flora that helps maintain digestive competence is plain common sense.  And thankfully, there are many other nutrients that can help your immune system in times of need.  No nutrient guarantees protection from Swine flu or any other illness.  On the other hand, lacking immune support nutrients is like going into battle with a neon target on your forehead.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Beta-Interferon Needed for a Healthy Immune Response  J Immunol.  1.Zietara N, Łyszkiewicz M, Gekara N, Puchałka J, Dos Santos VA, Hunt CR, Pandita TK, Lienenklaus S, Weiss S.
  2. ^ Vitamin C and the Flu  Experimental Biology and Medicine  John T. A. Ely

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