The H1N1 flu, otherwise known as swine flu, is now a pandemic, meaning it is spreading all over the world. It is not a killer flu now, but the fear is that it will mutate as is spreads. This flu, which is worse in cold months, is in addition to the regular A and B strains of seasonal flu that occur each year.
Those who are more susceptible are healthcare workers, pregnant women, and the younger population – kids and those into their 30s or early 40's. Unlike the seasonal flu, those in middle age and older are not as likely to be seriously affected, unless they have a chronic underlying condition such as asthma, COPD, immune disorders, or are run down from frequent infections.
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from the flu. Standard advice such as frequent hand-washing, avoiding those who are sick, and getting the flu shot are all still valuable practices.
But there are other various preventive aspects that are now being studied. There are four vitamins/minerals that are critical in enhancing immune system function, providing natural protection against the attack of these viruses. Three are vitamins E, C and zinc. The fourth, which is getting the most attention in current research, is vitamin D.
There is growing suspicion that low vitamin D levels are contributing to a weakened immune system, and thus an enhanced tendency to get the H1N1 virus. Why? There appears to be a correlation of the occurrence of the flu to the geography and the season of an area. The further a region is from the equator geographically, the weaker the sun's rays and the less vitamin D people will produce. The other factor is the season; in the colder months, people are less likely to be getting sun exposure outdoors.
Because of this, I recommend 400u-1000u of vitamin D daily for immune protection. You can't get enough from sun exposure – and this is one area that everyone, even the "anti-supplement" crowd, seems to agree on.
In addition to vitamins D, C, E and zinc, there are other nutrients worth mentioning:
• Astragulus is a root that stimulates the immune system. This is important, because starting at age 25, your immune system gets continually weaker as you age.
• Beta-glucan, a polysaccharide, is another substance that stimulates the immune system.
• Probiotics feed and increase the counts of healthy bacteria in the gut, which is a very important part of the immune system. In particular, the lactobacillus and bifido bacterium are the most effective.
In summary, you need to be on a good, full spectrum multivitamin and mineral. In addition, if you have a predisposition to a weakened immune system, and are prone to frequent infections, colds and flu, you may also want to take a supplement specifically designed for the immune system, with the special nutrients I mentioned for increased protection.
We are facing potential epidemics – the Bible talked about these pestilences – that we haven't seen before. This H1N1 has the potential to do some real damage, so let's do what we can on the prevention side, by keeping our immune systems strong.
You need to pray about taking advantage of what God has provided for us. God does not want you sick; he wants you well, and He created a pathway to healing for you.