These packets provide a comprehensive arsenal of immune-supportive nutrients, helping the body maintain a strong defense, especially during the cold and flu season.* Products that comprise these packets were selected for their abilities to promote an overall healthy immune response, providing the body with efficacious amounts of anti-oxidative vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.1
Immunitone PlusTM provides antiviral and antibacterial support as well as
the ability to maintain natural killer (NK) cell activity and the synthesis of
cytokines (immunomodulating agents such as interleukins).* This formula
contains an array of botanicals such as green tea standardized to a very
high level of EGCg as well as standardized echinacea, elderberry, astragalus,
and andrographis. Standardized herbs contain optimal and consistent
amounts of the most active compounds. Other highlights include several mushrooms (cordyceps, shiitake, maitake, and reishi), all containing diverse biological activity with various degrees of immunomodulatory and therapeutic health benefits.2 The fatty acid lauric acid (monolaurin) is included for its antiviral properties and T-cell proliferative effects.3 Rounding out this formula are the polysaccharides larch tree (arabinogalactans) and beta 1,3 glucan, included for their abilities to stimulate immune cells.2,4
Vitamin D Complex features 2,000 IUs (50 mcg) of vitamin D, along with efficacious amounts of the other fat-soluble vitamins, A, E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), and K (K1 and K2). Supplementing clinically relevant amounts of vitamin D creates a greater need for its other fat-soluble counterparts.
Vitamin D has many health benefits including protecting the body from respiratory infections. Studies show that a deficiency in vitamin D increases the risk of such infections, including colds and flu.5,6 Vitamin D is involved in modulating two important aspects of the immune response: the function of T-cell lymphocyte and the production of interleukin-10 (IL-10). By doing so, this helps to better arm and activate the body’s immune system in order to destroy pathogenic bacteria and viruses and fight off infections.
The other fat-soluble vitamins in Vitamin D Complex are equally as important. Vitamins A and E are both involved in the development of some of the most important lymphocytes (NK cells, T cells, B cells), white blood cells responsible for the body’s immune response. Supplementing with vitamin E also helps reverse an age-related decline in T cell function, an important factor for the elderly whose immune system often weakens with age.7,8
Stellar CTM is rich in vitamin C (600 mg from a mixture of ascorbic acid and acerola fruit) as well as the plant bioflavonoids hesperidin, rutin, and quercetin. Vitamin C shines in its immune-enhancing abilities by helping reduce the risk, severity, and duration of respiratory tract infections such as colds and flu.9 Supplementing with vitamin C has been shown to improve antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities as well as lymphocyte proliferation.10 The plant bioflavonoids included in Stellar CTM support the immune system by protecting cell membranes against oxidative stress from things such as germs, toxins, environmental pollutants.11-14 Bioflavonoids, nature’s antioxidants, work synergistically with vitamin C, as they are found in fruits such as oranges and grapefruits.
Zinc SupremeTM is an important addition to these packets, as zinc is involved in virtually every aspect of immunity. This mineral has antiviral properties and is even effective against several viruses that cause the common cold.15 Supplementing with zinc has been shown to stimulate the production of white blood cells, as well as support the actions of neutrophils, T-lymphocytes, and natural killer cells.15 Zinc helps to increase the number of T cells, especially in the elderly, as this population is often deficient in this mineral.15 Zinc is also required for producing thymulin, the major thymus hormone. A reduction of thymulin may lead to impaired immune function.16 Zinc SupremeTM offers chelated minerals for superior bioavailability and optimal absorption.
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine’s inclusion is significant, as this amino acid helps to increase glutathione levels, the body’s most powerful antioxidant and the one most important to overall health. N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine and glutathione have been shown to minimize the onset of oxidative stress.17 Glutathione is needed in every cell throughout the body and is involved in regulating the body’s immune response. Research shows that lymphocytes from healthy humans have optimal glutathione levels, while low levels in the body have been associated with common illnesses and a weakened immune system.18 Building a strong defense against viruses such as the flu is dependent on sufficient levels of this vital antioxidant.
Recommended Use: As a dietary supplement, take one packet per day, or as directed by your health care practitioner.
You can purchase this item HERE.
***PLEASE NOTE: These items should be back in stock on or around March 16, 2020.***
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Can Natural Botanical Herbs and Supplements Impact Coronavirus? A Scientific Look at Botanical Plants and Supplements Against Coronavirus
Can Natural Botanical Herbs and Supplements Impact Coronavirus?
A Scientific Look at Botanical Plants and Supplements Against Coronavirus
Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD
Progressive Radio Network, March 10, 2020
In recent weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the news at the expense of everything else that is critical and urgent in our lives. As panic increases and more cases are reported daily, health-minded people are eager or even desperate to know whether there are ways to strengthen the body’s immune system to offer some protection from this specific upper respiratory infection.
There are six known strains of coronavirus, four which are associated with the common cold or moderate respiratory infections. Everyone has likely had a coronavirus infection at some time in their lives. However, two strains — Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) — are much more severe. Between the years 2002-2004 and 2014-2018 these strains respectively were observed to be lethal. However, during this periods, total deaths were less than one thousand. SARS has the ability to infect the lower respiratory system as well. The current strain being called Cov19 is a new mutation that is being recognized as a novel SARS. As of this writing, the current coronvirus has been attributed to over 4,000 deaths, the large majority among the elderly. In a recent press conference the Surgeon General remarked that the average age of deaths was 80.
Compared to other viral infections that target the respiratory tract, especially influenza, there has been far less research either to understand the pathway of infection and the drugs or natural substances to battle the virus. It remains uncertain how long immunity, if any, lasts after infection. Seemingly, immunity wanes quickly. Consequently, since coronavirus is most often responsible for a flu-like common cold, recommended prevention and treatment protocols are largely similar to the flu.
During a recent coronavirus task force meeting, Trump asked whether the flu vaccine would protect against the coronavirus. The flu vaccine is not only influenza-specific, it is also flu strain specific. It offers absolutely no protection to any other viruses. Nevertheless we are going to likely witness a sharp rise in propaganda recommending flu vaccines to fight the coronavirus scare. The belief is that increasing national flu vaccination compliance will not only reduce the risks of flu infection but will also help divert money away from flu infections to better deal with the rising coronavirus cases.
But there is a caveat. A very serious caveat.
Sometimes the universe has an unusual way of providing warnings that we have an opportunity to either heed or disregard to our benefit or detriment. On December 31, 2019 in order to usher in the New Year, China reported the first case of an “unusual pneumonia” in its port city of Wuhan. A week later on January 7th, the pathogen was identified as a novel strain of coronavirus. That same month, the prestigious journal Vaccine, published a study conducted by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Researchers investigated viral interference due to receiving the flu shot; in other words, does the flu vaccine make a recipient more susceptible to other non-influenza respiratory viral infections? The study’s conclusions state “Vaccine derived virus interference was significantly associated with coronavirus and human metapneumovirus.”
This is not the first time that viral interference from the flu vaccine has been associated with an increase in non-influenza respiratory infections. A much more thorough study, an actual clinical trial, was conducted by the University of Hong Kong in 2012. The double blind randomized controlled trial followed a group of flu-vaccinated versus placebo-vaccinated children between 6 and 15 years of age over the course of nine months to determine infection rates from 19 other respiratory viruses. The study found “no statistically significant difference in the risk of confirmed seasonal influence influenza infection between recipients of the [influenza vaccine] or placebo.” However, it was the dramatic number of incidences of non-influenza infections found in the flu-vaccinated group (105 cases), which included coronavirus, as opposed to 54 cases among those who received a placebo. In other words, the results suggest that receiving the flu shot may increase one’s risk of contracting another infectious virus by almost 100 percent.
A recent analysis out of China reviewing rates of infection, targeted populations and mortality reported that the worst hit group is older people, particularly those who have immune-compromised conditions: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory illnesses, etc. Taking this statistic into account, we may note that the majority of American adults have some type of chronic condition. It is estimated that 60% of American adults have at least one underlying health condition and 40% have two or more. For example, 33 million have diabetes and an estimated 84 million are pre-diabetic; heart disease affects 121 million and there are approximately 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses annually. All of these people, therefore, have either a mild to severe compromised immune system.
A Swiss study noted that the SARS coronavirus and influenza share two of the same proteases in targeted cells — TMPRSS2 and HAT. These are responsible for activating the spread of the virus at the point of infection and contribute to their pathogenesis in an infected cell. Therefore it may be partially conjecture on our part to suggest that natural supplements and botanical remedies that have been shown in the scientific literature to be effective against influenza may more or less effective against coronavirus as well. In fact, last month a study was released by Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University in the Journal of Medical Virology recommending that patients’ nutritional status should be evaluated before any conventional treatment. – The hospital recommended a regimen that included Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, Omega-3, Selenium, Zinc, gammaglobulin A administered intravenously and Chinese traditional medicine
Therefore we have scoured the peer-reviewed literature on the National Institutes of Health’s Library of Medicine database to identify compelling studies that may warrant vitamin, antioxidant, and botanical supplementation as a means to protect ourselves from coronavirus and other viral infections. These have been shown to either have strong antiviral properties in general or have known biomolecular effects to strengthen the immune system against microbial infection. We are not offering prescriptions. This is just a summary of some important scientific information for you to make better informed decisions for protecting yourself while the coronavirus wends its course.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), coronaviral infections belong to a specific epidemic disease category. Astragulus is not only a very popular plant used in TCM, but it is also one of the most researched and promising botanical plants shown to have antiviral properties. In both TCM and Ayruveda medicinal formulas astrugulus has been prescribed for centuries because of its effectiveness against infections and over-stressed respiratory conditions. Compounds, notably saponins, found in astragulus have been well researched and found to hinder influenza proliferation. The US Department of Agriculture’s Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory found it inhibits avian flu viruses.
Jinlin Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China conducted a study published in the journal Microbiological Pathology that concluded
“Astragulus exhibits antiviral properties that can treat infectious bronchitis caused by [avian] coronavirus”
In China, which has a large poultry industry, avian coronaviruses are a serious threat to chicken farmers. Chinese farmers will often use astragulus in feed to protect the birds from infection as well as pig feed to ward off porcine circovirus.
Two weeks ago, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine completed an analysis of previous research looking at the benefits of Chinese herbal formulas against the SARS coronavirus and H1N1 flu (swine flu). In 3 studies, among participants who took formulas against SARS, none contracted the illness. Nor did any contract H1N1 influenza in four additional studies. A primary ingredient in these formulas’ was astragulus.
Earlier in February, researchers at Beijing Children’s Hospital at the Capital Medical University provided a thorough overview of recommended diagnostic procedures and treatments for specific symptoms witnessed in the current Cov19 infections that included both allopathic and traditional Chinese medicine. In cases where there are signs of severe weakness and stress observed in the lungs and spleen, a formula called Liu Jun Zi is being prescribed, which includes astragulus and ginseng as two primary botanicals.
Last week, the prestigious journal Science published a review out of Yun-nan Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China that investigated the great disparities in infection and mortality rates between different provinces – Wuhan being the most severe. In the provinces with the lowest infection rates, there was between an 84% to 98% use of TCM formulas. Again, two of the main ingredients were Astragulus and Ginseng.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhizin Acid)
In traditional medicine licorice root has been used to relieve and treat ulcers, sore throats, bronchitis, coughs, adrenal insufficiencies and allergic diseases. Ancient manuscripts from China, India and Greece all include licorice for treating respiratory tract infections and hepatitis. In China and Japan licorice’s main antiviral compounds are known as glycyrrhizins (GL). For 20 years glycyrrhizins have been used intravenously to treat chronic hepatitis B and C infections with very rare side effects. It has also been shown to induce apoptosis in lymphoma cells and Karposi sarcoma related to herpesvirus. Therefore it was an unexpected surprise to discover that there is notable research on glycyrrihizin’s effectiveness against coronavirus and in particular SARS.
Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Disease reported GL’s effectiveness against coronavirus and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as well as Epstein Barr virus and human cytomegalovirus. After the deadly SARS outbreak in 2012, virologists at Frankfurt University Medical School investigated several antiviral compounds to treat patients admitted with SARS coronavirus infections. Of all the compounds tested, licorice’s GL was the most effective. The scientists concluded that “Our findings suggest that glycyrrhizin should be assessed for treatment of SARS.”
The above research was later replicated at Sun Yat Sen University in China and published in the Chinese journal Bing Du Xue Bao. The researchers identified several derivatives of glycyrrhizin as primary molecules with antiviral properties. In addition to being effective against the SARS coronavirus, they also found it may be effective against herpes, HIV, hepatitis and influenza.
Earlier in 2005, a team of scientists from Goethe University in Germany and the Russian Academy of Sciences had already identified the antiviral activity of GL against SARS coronavirus. The molecule showed a ten-fold increase in anti-SARS activity compared to other potential treatments tested. One conjugate of GL had a 70-fold increase. That study was published in the Journal of Medical Chemistry. During that same year, the Chinese Academy of Sciences screened over 200 botanical plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to find those with the strong potency SARS coronavirus. Four botanicals stood out. One of the four was licorice’s glycyrrhizin
Extract of licorice root is the most effective and glycyrrhizin is also available as a separate botanical supplement.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Elderberry has become a popular supplement for relieving symptoms of the common cold and flu infections. It is found wild worldwide and is part of many of the world’s indigenous pharmacopias. There are many species of elderberry; the species Sambucus nigra seemingly has been shown to have the most medicinal qualities. When purchasing Elderberry or Sambucus, it is recommended to note it is Sambucus nigra. It is better to use a prepared formula rather than try to make it on your own from fresh berries and flowers. Elderberries contain cyangenic glycosides that can be poisonous and cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and weakness.
Most research has focused on elderberry’s therapeutic value against influenza.
Hadassah University Hospital in Israel found that elderberry was effective in vitro against 10 different influenza strains. Cytokine activity for IL-1, TNF-a, IL-6 and IL-8 all significantly increased thereby confirming its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.
Another Israeli study by Hebrew University in Jerusalem and published in the Journal of Internal Medical Research found that participants enrolled with existing flu like symptoms who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup 4 times a day recovered four days earlier than those on medications or a placebo.
Finally, a more recent 2019 study by the University of Sydney observed that certain compounds in elderberry inhibit the flu virus’s entry and replication in human cells.
However, there is also research showing elderberry’s positive impact on coronavirus infections.
In 2014, researchers at Emory University noted that elderberry extract inhibited coronavirus virility at the point of infection. The scientists hypothesized that elderberry rendered the virus non infectious.
One of the better studies came out of National Sun Yat Sen University and the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan in 2019. The researchers used an ethanol extract of Sambucus stem (not the berry) and observed its potential against coronavirus strain NL63
It is important to remember that deaths being attributed to the coronavirus are more often than not complicated by secondary infections that are often bacterial such as pneumonia. In addition to its antiviral properties, elderberry is also effective against pathogenic bacteria. Under laboratory conditions at Justus Liebig University in Germany, elderberry was shown to be very effective against several bacteria that are responsible for pneumonia during flu-like infections, and against Influenza A and B viruses in particular
A systematic review of the existing research before 2011 by the University of British Columbia and published in the journal Pharmaceuticals, concluded:
“all strains of human and avian influenza viruses tested (including a Tamiflu-resistant strain), as well as herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinoviruses, were very sensitive to a standardized Echinacea purpurea preparation”
There are different species of Echinacea. The species Echinacea purpurea has been shown to be most effective and targets the most infectious pathogens. When purchasing echinacea, be certain it is the purpurea strain.
Echinicea does present limitations depending upon the severity of an infection. Once a cold caused by any one of the various cold viruses, including coronavirus, more deeply infects the bronchia and the lower lung, echinacea does not appear to be helpful. It is more effective with upper respiratory tract infections.
One of the largest placebo double blind studies on echinacea was conducted by Cardifff University in the UK. The study followed participants for four months and confirmed the safety of long term echinacea supplementation. It also observed a statistically significant decrease in cold episodes in the echinacea group.
There are no strong studies showing echinacea’s effectiveness against coronavirus. Up until 2014, only one study looked at its bioactivities against coronavirus and that was a mouse model which required high doses of the plant extract.
In 2012, Griffith University in Australia undertook one notable double blind study to determine whether echinacea provided protection to air travelers. The study concluded:
“Supplementation with standardized Echinacea tablets, if taken before and during travel, may have preventive effects against the development of respiratory symptoms during travel involving long-haul flights.”
As a piece of consumer advice, a Cornell University study looked at the medicinal properties throughout different parts of the echinicea plant: leaves, stems, bark, roots, etc. The scientists noted that only echinacea extracts that contain the root showed significant antiviral properties. Echinacea appears to modify the clinical course of flu-like respiratory infection by acting upon IL-8, IL-10 and IFN cytokine activity beneficially.
Oleuropein (OLE) is the most important biomolecule in the olive tree that contributes to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, anti-cancer, antimicrobial and antiviral activities and effects. One advantage of olive leaf is that it is highly bioavailable to the body’s cells.
There are almost 10,000 studies in the National Institutes of Health literature database referring to OLE, olive leaf, and olive oil, most with respect to its strong antioxidant and anticancer properties. According to analysis conducted by the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome of the oleuropein content in different parts of the olive plant, extracts made from buds and flowers showed the greatest strength and potency.
Olive leaf has not been shown to be particularly effective against viral upper respiratory infections; however there is considerable evidence to support olive leaf’s ability to strengthen the immune system against other infectious viral diseases in addition to possessing many anti-inflammatory qualities.
There are only a few studies showing olive leaf’s effectiveness against respiratory viruses. One randomized trial performed by the University of Auckland in New Zealand suggests olive leaf can contribute to treating respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus. A 2001 study out of the University of Hong Kong identified 6 separate antiviral agents in olives that were effective against parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Olive leaf is also effective against bacterial pathogens. Most bacterial pneumonias are gram-positive. According to a joint study by Arab American University and the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, OLE worked best against gram-positive pathogens but gram-negative organisms appeared to be resistant to OLE (eg, E coli, Salmonellas, etc.).
But OLE does possess notable anti-viral properties. The current Cov19 pandemic appears to utilize the host cell’s ACE2 receptor. This same receptor is also activated in HIV infections. This is one reason why patients infected with this new coronavirus strain are being prescribed HIV drugs. Therefore might olive leaf extract contribute to the treatment for this new coronavirus strain?
New York University biochemists identified olive leaf extract’s anti-HIV activity to modulate the host cell gene expression due to HIV infection. In fact, olive leaf extracts reversed HIV-1 infections. This was published in Journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Research. The conclusions state, “Treatment with OLE reverses many of these HIV-1 infection-associated changes.” Another joint study by NYU and Harvard Medical School concluded that OLE from olive leaf is “a unique class of HIV-1 inhibitors” and is “effective against viral fusion and integration.”
Oregano possesses a compound called carvacrol that has been shown to be antiviral. Although it has been tested on several influenza and flu-like respiratory viruses, it does not appear to have been tested against coronavirus.
Soochow University in China and the University of Oklahoma published a study in the BMC Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine focusing on oregano’s antiviral properties against influenza viruses. Although oregano did not kill the virus it nevertheless inhibited the virus’ ability to translate proteins responsible for the viral binding to cells.
A University of Putra Malaysia meta-analysis of existing research of different plant essential oils reported oregano was strongest against the flu-like viruses adenovirus and coxsackie virus.
A 2010 randomized double blind study study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested oregano was beneficial as a throat spray and showed significant and immediate improvement of upper respiratory infectious ailments.
University of Arizona published a paper in the Journal of Applied Microbiology investigating oregano’s antiviral properties when used as a sanitizer. The study focused on one flu-like virus, novovirus. If sprayed on surfaces, carvacrol will kill the virus within 15 minutes of exposure. The most recent research into Cov19’s surface life — living outside of animal host — is 9 days.
Saikosaponins is an important family of compounds found in the Bupleurum plant, which has been shown to have possible anti-coronavirus properties.
Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan examined many of the derivatives of saikosaponins and observed it has very potent anti-coronaviral activity that interferes with the early stage of the virus’ replication. Several companies offer Bupleurum online
University College Dublin and Sichuan Agricultural University conducted a systematic meta-review of the existing medical literature on Chinese herbs that may prevent and treat viral respiratory infections. Among the most promising herbs against SARS coronavirus were panax ginseng, glycyrrhizin from licorice, and Isatis tinctoria, commonly known as woad or Asp of Jerusalem. Isatis is also available online.
Houttuynia cordata also known as fish mint, rainbow plant, fish wort, bishop’s weed is indigenous to Southeast Asia. This botanical directly inhibits coronavirus’ protease and blocks the viral RNA polymerase activity. A study out of Tsinghua University in Beijing found it significantly reduces fevers, sore throat and coughs due to the SARS virus. Tinctures of this plant are available online.
Unlike the US, most of the world, especially in Asia and continental Europe, recognizes Vitamin C as an important anti-viral agent. It is also a remarkable antioxidant shown to ward off infections. At this moment, China is conducting several clinical trials with intravenous Vitamin C to treat patients infected with the Cov19 strain. The city government of Shanghai is now actively treating patients with intravenous Vitamin C. A trial at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan is using 24,000 mg per day intravenously. The Wuhan study can be viewed on the US National Library of Medicine’s website here: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533
Until recently, Vitamin C has not been tested against coronavirus. There was one study performed to see whether the vitamin protected chick embryo organs from infection by avian coronavirus — a very common infection in fowl. That study showed the vitamin positively increased embryo resistance against the virus. Otherwise, Vitamin C has only been well studied against other viral infections, especially influenza.
Seoul National University College of Medicine concluded that Vitamin C is an essential factor for anti-viral immune responses at the early stage of Influenza A infection.
In 2017 the University of Helsinki reviewed 148 studies that indicated Vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria and viruses. The most extensive indication studied was the common cold. Among people who are physically active, Vitamin C was most beneficial. However, many studies relied on very low Vitamin C doses, which likely contributed to the minor benefits observed. Some of these were as low as 100 mg daily. In addition, the studies showed that colds’ duration was frequently shorter and less severe among people with sufficient Vitamin C levels.
An early randomized double blind trial to investigate Vitamin C’s ability to protect elderly hospitalized patients from acute respiratory infections was conducted at Hudderfield University in the UK. The study relied on a very low dose of 200 mg per day. Nevertheless, those who received the vitamin faired significantly better than those taking placebo.
Finally, there was another early controlled placebo study involving 715 students between the ages 18-32 taking 1000 mg four times daily. The test group had an 85% decrease in flu and cold symptoms compared to the control.
Barely a week goes by without another study appearing in the peer-reviewed literature that looks at either Vitamin D’s therapeutic characteristics or the risks of Vitamin D deficiency. A high number of otherwise healthy adults have been reported to have low levels of vitamin D, mostly at the end of the Winter season. Deficiency rates vary between 42% for the entire population to 82% for Black Americans and 63% for Latinos. People who are housebound, institutionalized and those who work night shifts are most likely to be vitamin D deficient. This includes many elderly people who receive limited exposure to sunlight.
It has been shown that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase risk in autoimmunity illnesses and greater susceptibility to infection. It also boosts up the body’s mucosal defenses which are critical for protecting ourselves from infectious respiratory viruses
Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital in conjunction with a global collaborative study to follow up on a Cochrane analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials involving 11,000 participants confirmed that vitamin D. taken daily or weekly significantly cut the risk of respiratory infections in half
Jikei University School of Medicine in Japan conducted a randomized double blind placebo trial to measure the rate that Vitamin D reduced seasonal influenza A. Almost twice as many participants in the placebo group came down with the flu compared to the Vitamin D group. The Japanese scientists also observed that people with a history of asthma were best protected.
For children, a Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia meta review identified 13 of 18 studies confirming that Vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased incidences of acute lower respiratory infection.
Oxidative stress is a well known pathway for microbial infections such as viruses and bacterial pneumonia, especially in the lungs.
When the lungs are subject to serious oxidative stress, there is an increase in inflammatory cytokines, especially IL-1, IL-8 and Tumor necrosis factor or TNF. Each of these cytokines have been shown repeatedly in clinical research to play a role in different respiratory infections including influenza, coronavirus, echovirus, adenovirus, coxsackie virus and others. Therefore, certain antioxidants can alleviate lung damage due to oxidative stress.
N-acetyl cysteine is one of these extremely important antioxidants. It exhibits both direct and indirect antioxidant properties. The indirect benefit is that it increases the concentration of another important antioxidant, glutathione, in the lung cells.
There is no confirmatory evidence that NAC directly targets flu or flu-like viral infections; however it has been shown to significantly reduce the rate of clinical symptoms.
Johann Goethe University Department of Virology observed that NAC inhibits the replication of seasonal human influenza A viruses by decreasing several these pro-inflammatory molecules. The scientists recommend that NAC should be included as an additional treatment option in the case of an influenza A pandemic.
An Italian randomized placebo study conducted at the University of Genoa found that subjects who were already suspected of having contact with the H1N1 flu virus who were placed under NAC treatment had a 25% rate of experiencing symptoms compared to 79% in the placebo group.
Certain cytokines, especially tumor necrosis factor and IL-6, have been associated with the pathogenesis of influenza and can increase the risk of mortality. In a mouse study, Italian researchers at Zambon Research Center gave NAC to flu-infected mice with a significant decrease in mortality.
Nanoparticle or colloidal silver has been studied extensively for its anti-bacterial properties but less so for infectious viruses. Most studies for silver’s antiviral activities have focused on HIV-1, Hepatitis B, herpesvirus and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.
In a 2005 issue of the Journal of Nanotechnology, the University of Texas and Mexico University observed that silver nanoparticles could kill HIV-1 within 3 hours, and they suspected that this may be true for many other viruses as well. However, this conclusion may be too premature and more research is necessary.
There are studies showing silver’s efficacy against respiratory viruses. One large study by Japan’s National Defense Medical College Research Institute, published in the Journal of Molecular Sciences, recommended that Japanese healthcare workers take nanosilver to protect them from viruses including coronavirus.
In 2010, the University of Naples measured silver nanoparticles’ capabilities to reduce and prevent infection from the parainfluenza type 3 virus. The scientists hypothesized that the silver may block the virus’ interaction with the cell. Then a joint study by Deakin University in Australia and Osaka University in Japan found that colloidal silver significantly protected cells from H3N2 flu infection and prevented viral growth in the lungs
Finally, colliodal or nanoparticle gold has also been shown to inhibit the flu virus’ binding capaticity to a cell’s plasma membrane. That research was carried out by Freie University in Germany.
Yes, we should be concerned about the coronavirus’ high infectious rate. At the moment, the primary solutions being sought to handle the crisis is to spend billions of dollars to develop an effective vaccine and an accurate diagnostic kit. Additionally, according to a study out of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, the incubation period is estimated at 5.1 days for being infected and capable of infecting others without displaying symptoms. But there is no mention in the medical community nor the mainstream media about what we can do to strengthen our immune system.
Yes, a high quality 99% barrier mask is important, especially if worn in a crowded environment. Repeated washing of our hands for a full minute with soap water. Rub surfaces with alcohol at home and work and allow it to sit for 30 seconds. Likewise, wipe down door handles and telephone receivers. Quarantining people who have been exposed is important until they test negative. Closing schools is prudent. And if a vaccine is eventually developed and shown to be safe and effective that is another recourse. However none of the above protects the immune system in the event of coming into contact with the virus. We believe that the recommended natural solutions shared above, since it is supported in the peer reviewed scientific literature, is something everyone can do. Besides, it is safe and not expensive. Therefore these natural solutions too should be considered as a viable and effective recourse to lessen this pandemic’s fatal effects.
You can purchase professional, pharmaceutical-grade dietary supplements mentioned in the article HERE
Immunitone PlusTM is a comprehensive, synergistic formula that
combines herbs, mushroom extracts and other natural compounds
to help the body maintain a normal immune system response.* Some
of its significant botanicals include echinacea, astragalus, elderberry
and green tea that is standardized to a very high level of its key active
component epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg). In addition, Immunitone
PlusTM includes an impressive combination of the immune supportive
mushrooms cordyceps, shiitake, maitake and reishi.
The immune system is an extraordinary, complex system comprised of specificcells,organsandothermicroscopicimmunedefenseorganisms.
Together, they make up the defense system that protects the health
and wellness of our bodies on a day to day basis. An essential part of a strong immune system requires a healthy digestive tract consisting of beneficial gut microflora. This exceptional formula contains the herb Arabinogalactan, also known as Larch tree, which has a significant effect on enhancing beneficial gut microflora, specifically Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.
The standardized herbs in Immunitone PlusTM contain optimal and consistent amounts of their most active ingredients. This immune support formula is extremely effective and safe, and is suitable for both acute and chronic applications. It is also appropriate for all age groups.
As a dietary supplement, take four capsules per day with meals, or as directed by your health care practitioner. Not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
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How to Protect Yourself from the Corona Virus and Boost Your Immune System Naturally
The immune system is delineated into two distinct arms: innate and adaptive.
The innate system is comprised of nonspecific defense mechanisms that respond to pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Physical barriers (skin, mucous membranes) supply one layer of defense, while a variety of immune factors (macrophages, natural killer cells, mast cells, cytokines, complement proteins) also protect against foreign invaders.
The adaptive arm of the immune system is driven by t- and b-lymphocytes. These cells detect specific pathogens, secrete signaling molecules, and coordinate an immune response in the face of challenge. Upon initial interaction with a foreign microorganism, aspects of the adaptive immune system respond, developing memory for enhanced recognition during subsequent exposures. This adaptation results in a faster, more robust secondary response.
Several nutrients are known to be integral in immune function. Vitamins C and D possess strong immune-supportive properties, while vitamin A and zinc are required for the development and function of immune cells. A variety of herbs and botanicals also support antibody and immune cell activity, with many displaying the ability to help lessen the severity and duration of bacterial and viral infections. Mushrooms and their active compounds boast potent immunomodulatory capacity.
Therapeutic Diet and Nutrition Considerations
• Vitamin D – salmon, fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese (if tolerable), mushrooms
• Vitamin C – oranges, papayas, strawberries, kiwi, organic leafy green vegetables (spinach,
bok choy, kale), broccoli, bell peppers
• Reduce dietary sugar & alcohol intake
• Optimize omega-3 fatty acid composition of diet to support patient anti-inflammatory status
• Support protein status (RDA: 0.8 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of body weight a day. Higher protein intake may be warranted, and can be achieved by supplementing with high-quality protein powders. Whey protein supplementation has been shown to increase glutathione levels, further supporting immune and antioxidant protection.*
**Differential Blood Count: Reference Range, Interpretation, Collection and Panels. (2019, November 20).
Retrieved from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2085133-overview
ALP - blood test: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2019, April 29). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003470.htm
25-hydroxy vitamin D test: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2020). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003569.htm
Dosing recommendations are given for typical use based on an average 150 pound healthy adult. Consult with your health care practitioner for case-specific dosing based on intended goals, subject body weight, medical history, and concomitant medication and supplement usage. Any product containing botanical substances has the potential for causing individual sensitivities, appropriate monitoring, including liver function tests (LFT) is recommended.
*Use Practitioner Code TODDRUTKIN to purchase these items directly from the Designs For Health website by clicking on the links below:
Vitamin D Supreme
C + BioFizzTM
An Effective Probiotic Protocol to Heal Your Gut
In my two previous blog posts I wrote about the lack of standards in the supplement industry (http://www.vitalityandhealing.com/blog/dietary-supplements-why-quality-matters) and with probiotics in particular (http://www.vitalityandhealing.com/blog/march-02nd-2020).
In this post I will cover a simple yet effective protocol (which has been proven beneficial for countless numbers of individuals) utilizing four different forms of probiotics which offer a comprehensive healing tool for the gut.
What are probiotics?
Commonly known as living bacteria that inhabit our digestive system, “probiotic” literally means promotion of microorganism grown. While usually associated with health-promoting bacteria, probiotics and probiotic supplements can include bacteria, bacterial spores, or fungi (yeast).
Common forms of probiotics include:
● Bifidobacterium spp.
● Lactobacillus s pp.
● Bacillus coagulans (bacterial spore)
● Saccharomyces boulardii (fungus)
How are they named?
Probiotic names include a genus (first letter capitalized) and species (follows genus, usually italicized). For example: Lactobacillus r hamnosus
Isolated or subtypes of a strain may also be specified and are usually indicated by extra letters or numbers after the name. For example: Lactobacillus r hamnosus GG or Bifidobacterium longum BB536 ®.
Each genus, species, and subtype can have different actions in the body.
What are CFUs?
Colony Forming Units, or CFUs, are the count of probiotics that a manufacturing company guarantees are in one serving of the product b y the expiry date. This means that prior to expiry, an individual dose of the product should technically contain more CFUs than is indicated on the bottle.
How do probiotics work?
The microbial balance of the body, and most significantly the digestive tract, can be affected by a number of factors, including antibiotic use, dietary patterns, lifestyle, and genetics. Probiotics work by helping to change the colonies that live naturally in the environments they’re exposed to. They encourage the growth of commensal bacteria by directly supplementing their numbers, or by crowding out the non-commensal bacteria that have taken residence where they shouldn’t be.
Benefits of probiotics
Research has demonstrated that probiotics have numerous benefits [1,2,3], including:
●Digestive health/issues: diarrhea, constipation, cramping, bloating, fat metabolism,
mineral absorption, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
● Immune health/immune-mediated conditions: over 2⁄3 of a human’s immune system lives in
● Weight management and metabolism
● Mental health/depression
Dietary sources of probiotics
The most significant source of dietary probiotics is fermented food products, such as yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Fermented foods contain a wide variety of bacteria and yeasts that can impart health benefits, but are nearly impossible to specify for strain or quantity of probiotics.
Probiotic supplements are made of bacteria, bacterial spores, or fungi and can be found in oral, topical, or suppository form. Research shows that the benefits of probiotics are dependent on specific families and species of bacteria as opposed to just quantity or CFU count.
Manufacturing and storage
Probiotic manufacturing is different than other supplement manufacturing processes because the category has such a large number of ingredients within it that lead to many different methods of manufacturing. This variety in sources means that products will have varied handling recommendations. While some probiotics, such as Bacillus coagulans (bacterial spore) and Saccharomyces boulardii (fungus) are stable at room temperature, most probiotics are bacteria and require refrigeration because they lose potency and numbers at warmer temperatures. Always note the product label for storage instructions.
The Comprehensive Probiotic Protocol
Begin the protocol using all four probiotic forms discussed above (1. Bifido-Lacto Blend, 2. Bacterial Spore/Soil-Based, 3. Saccharomyces boulardii [fungus]). You may notice some disorder in your gut when you begin taking probiotics in general. Do not be alarmed this usually resolves itself within a week. (If it does not, you may want to stop and consult with a practitioner.) Take the probiotics for four weeks and observe if there is any improvement in your condition. Carry on until you reach a state of little or know change. Continue this for eight weeks then titrate down to the minimum effective dose. Follow the dosing instructions on the label. These are the exact professional, pharmaceutical-grade products and dosing I recommend for my clients:
Ther-Biotic® Complete Powder 2.1 oz
Take 1/4 tsp, twice per day, ongoing. Take in the morning, in the evening, before going to bed, upon waking up, and without food.
BioSpora™ 120 vegcap
Take 1 capsule, twice per day, ongoing. Take in the morning, in the evening, and with food.
Saccharomyces Boulardii 120 vegcap
Take 2 capsules, twice per day, ongoing. Take in the morning, in the evening, without food.
You can purchase these products direct from my professional supplement dispensary at https://wellevate.me/todd-rutkin or by clicking on one of the product links above.
Probiotics play an important part of most gut healing protocols. That said, unless you know how to navigate the supplement industry, it is very easy to end up with a useless or weak product, wasting your money in the process.
In my previous article, I wrote about the lack of government regulation of the dietary supplement industry (http://www.vitalityandhealing.com/blog/dietary-supplements-why-quality-matters). In this post, we take a look at the probiotic industry in particular.
The two most common issues with probiotics are:
One can best avoid these common pitfalls by looking for products that meet the following standards:
Does this mean one has to buy the most expensive probiotic? Not necessarily, but the cheapest will typically be just that in quality, cheap.
Why quality standards matter
The following studies demonstrate the importance of quality standards.
LabDoor found 43% of the probiotics assessed contained less than half the amount of probiotic listed on their labels.
The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology has concluded]
Regulation of probiotics is inadequate to protect consumers and doctors.
The journal PLOS One found
Only half of the probiotics they examined had the specific strain listed on the label, which varied considerably by store.
Bioinformatics and Drug Discovery concluded
Regulations of probiotics are loose, so the safety and effectiveness of most probiotics is decided by the manufacturer.
The Journal Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment found[]
None of the 26 commercial probiotics assessed fully supported label claims, and some of them contained unacceptable microorganisms. Two common problems were a low concentration of viable cells (you are not receiving what you are paying for) and the presence of undesired (potentially harmful) organisms.
So what to do? Make sure that you purchase your probiotics (and other supplements) from a reputable source. The professional dispensaries I utilize for my clients carry products with the highest quality standards in the industry. You can purchase professional-grade products directly from them at:https://wellevate.me/todd-rutkin or https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/vitalityandhealing.
Patients want to know 3 things about products they purchase:
1. That the products are safe
2. That the products work
3. That the products are worth the cost
FDA regulations do nothing to ensure any of these things.
The responsibility to ensure safety and efficacy falls on individual product manufacturers, which is why the choice of product really does matter. As a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, I do my best to make sure everyone is aware of the following 3 points:
1. The FDA does not test dietary supplements for safety or efficacy before marketing.
There is a law called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) that defines how dietary supplements are regulated. The law states that it is the responsibility of each manufacturer to show that a product is safe and effective before marketing that product. The FDA has no authority to do its own safety review before a product is made available to the public.
A commonly cited study that brings into question the quality of supplements was conducted by authorities in New York in 2014. They analyzed 78 bottles of dietary supplements from major retailers and found that 4 out of 5 products did not contain evidence of the herbs that were stated on the label and many contained contaminants not listed on the label—things like houseplants, powdered radish, and even wheat in products that were labeled “gluten-free.” Some have argued that the type of testing used was not a valid way to identify herbs, but the presence of so many contaminants cannot be dismissed.
Some companies do their own testing of raw materials and final products, but some do not. Product analyses are completely voluntary. High-quality companies will pay for third-party testing to confirm the presence of ingredients, the potency of ingredients, and the absence of contaminants. Common contaminants that are tested for include heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, and microbes.
Voluntary third-party certifications include the USP Verified Mark, Consumer Labs, UL, International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS), and the Emerson Quality Program℠.
2. The FDA does not certify supplement-manufacturing facilities.
The FDA requires companies to follow current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), but it does not offer any certification for this. cGMPs require that the manufacturing facility be clean, climate-controlled, and run with good quality-control procedures. cGMPs have to do with how products are made—they have nothing to do with what is actually in the final product.
Quality companies go above and beyond the requirements of cGMPs and get third-party certifications related to their manufacturing practices. Voluntary certifications for good manufacturing practices include NSF International and NPA (Natural Products Association). The Emerson Quality Program℠ ensures that all companies distributed through Emerson Ecologics and Wellevate meet or exceed the standards of cGMPs.
3. The FDA does not standardize dosages or forms of ingredients in dietary supplements.
Vitamins and minerals can be sourced from many different places and can be provided in many different forms. Pyridoxine hydrochloride is the cheapest form of vitamin B6, but pyridoxine-5-phosphate (P5P) is the most biologically active form. Niacin can lower serum cholesterol, but only at a dosage of 1000 mg per day. Iron sulfate causes the common side effect of constipation, whereas iron citrate formulated with vitamin C is most readily digested and absorbed.
The form of the ingredient, the dosage of the ingredient, and the formulation of the entire product all influence whether or not a dietary supplement will be effective. High-quality companies rely on a team of medical experts and evidence-based science to formulate products that offer patients the greatest benefits. Part of the Emerson Quality Program℠ is an evaluation of product formulations of all companies distributed through Emerson Ecologics and Wellevate.
This article was adapted from the professional dispensary I utilize for my clients, Emerson Ecologics and Wellevate. You can purchase professional-grade products directly from Wellevate at: https://wellevate.me/todd-rutkin
Todd is a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS) and Functional Nutritionist who holds a Master of Science degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College. He Specializes in Science-based Nutrition with a Focus on Anti-Aging, Vitality, and Rejuvenation. Using targeted laboratory testing, lifestyle modifications and individualized nutritional protocols, he guides his clients in restoring homeostasis and optimal health. Statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided on this site and in consultation with Todd Rutkin are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. © 2019 All Rights Reserved | Todd Rutkin, Vitality and Healing Functional Wellness Solutions