A Close Look at Vitamin C with Dr. Axe
With widespread flu and a new coronavirus circulating, is it time to further explore alternative and complementary medicine possibilities? We know vitamin C may help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold and viral pneumonia hospital stays.
Interestingly, a 2017 study outlined the case of a 20-year-old woman diagnosed with virus-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, also known as ARDS. When mechanical ventilation failed, hospital doctors administered a high dose of IV vitamin C that was associated with “rapid resolution of lung injury” and full recovery.
Interestingly, this type of severe respiratory distress is also being seen in some serious cases of the new coronavirus overseas, along with a previous SARS outbreak.
It’s important to note that this was just one case study. And it doesn’t mean we should all seek out mega doses of vitamin C. But it does suggest we should invest more research to investigate how vitamin C and other natural methods could help assist in global outbreaks to possibly save lives.
In the meantime, especially during cold and flu season, it’s important to seek out some of these top 20 vitamin C foods. *Bonus for the tapeworm crew: Food #8 on this list also offers natural anti-parasitic properties.
If you’re shopping for vitamin C in supplement form, look for products that rely on real- food sources for the C.
Lastly, I want to offer the 12 best natural flu remedies out there. You may be surprised, but chiropractic adjustments are on the list. During the 1918 flu epidemic, flu patients receiving chiropractic care were more likely to survive. Why? Chiropractic care focuses on the health of your nervous system and aids the immune system. This list goes beyond chiropractic, though, and lists the top supplements, common dosages and more to keep the flu at bay.
He’s to keeping your immune system healthy, balanced and strong.
12 Flu Natural Remedies
So, how do you get rid of the flu naturally? Home remedies for the flu include vitamins C and D, herbal supplements, essential oils, probiotics and eating healthy. Try these flu natural remedies to help relieve your symptoms.
- Vitamin C (1,000 mg 3–4x daily)
Vitamin C helps with immune system function and boosts white blood cells. Research shows that vitamin C has shortened the duration of colds and can decrease the number of colds in physically active people.*
Take 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily to ward off a cold or the flu and up to 4,000 milligrams daily when you are experiencing symptoms. For the most dietary vitamin C, eat whole fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin D3 (2,000 IU daily)
Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunlight and regulates the expression of over 2,000 genes, including those of the immune system. Unfortunately, up to 90 percent of people are deficient in vitamin D. * Recent research shows that low vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections.*
Many physicians believe that current recommended daily amounts of vitamin D are far too low, and that 2,000 units rather than 200–400 units per day is a better choice. You can also order home testing kits to test your vitamin D levels.
- Echinacea (1,000 mg 2–3x daily)
This herb can help your body fight off infections, but it is best to take it at the first sign of illness.
An extract of echinacea was tested in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial in 2013. Researchers found that the echinacea effectively treated respiratory tract infections in the short- and long-term, and didn’t cause the same resistance as a popular flu medication, oseltamivir, often causes when treating this illness.*
A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study conducted in 2000 indicates that drinking five to six cups of echinacea tea per day as soon as upper respiratory symptoms developed, and reducing the number to one cup of tea over a 5-day period, was effective for relieving cold and flu symptoms.*
Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu. It directly attacks yeast and other kinds of fungus.
Different preparations have different concentrations of echinacea. Some common preparations and dosages include:
- Tablets containing 6.78 milligrams of echinacea extract, two tablets three times a day
- 900 milligrams of echinacea root tincture daily
- Five to six cups of echinacea tea on the first day of symptoms, and then 1 cup a day thereafter
- Elderberry (10 mL daily)
It is believed that this herb can deactivate the flu virus and naturally boost immunity. The flowers and berries of elderberry are said to boost the immune system, treat flu and relieve sinus pain.
Elderberry does seem to attack flu viruses and reduce bronchial inflammation. A preliminary study found that when 15 milliliters of elderberry syrup was taken four times daily for a five-day period, it relieved symptoms of influenza an average of four days earlier than those taking a placebo.*
- Oregano Oil (500 mg 2x daily)
Oregano oil has a powerful antiviral effect. I like to use oregano oil to fight viral infections and although there aren’t studies evaluating the efficacy of oregano on influenza specifically, there is research that indicates the powerful antiviral properties of the essential oil.*
- Zinc (50–100 mg daily)
Zinc supports immune function and has an antiviral effect. *It works best when taken at the first sign of illness. Zinc may lessen the symptoms of the cold virus, but excessive amounts aren’t good for you. Zinc pills and sprays do not seem to be effective.
Take 50–100 milligrams of zinc daily to ward off or treat cold and flu symptoms.
- Brewer’s Yeast
This popular supplement contains B vitamins, chromium, and protein. It is used for cold, flu and other respiratory tract infections. In fish, brewer’s yeast stimulates immunity by positively influence the microbiome, which may also improve digestive function.*
Research conducted at the University of Michigan Medical Center found that a yeast supplement was able to reduce cold and flu symptom severity, and lead to significantly shorter duration of symptoms in patients.*
- Essential Oils for Flu
Rubbing peppermint and frankincense essential oil into the neck and bottoms of the feet can naturally support the immune system.*
I also like to use clove oil to protect my body against infection and speed recovery from the flu. Research confirms that clove oil has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.*
- Chiropractic Care for Flu Prevention
During the 1918 flu epidemic, flu patients that received chiropractic care survived much more readily than those that didn’t. This is because chiropractic care focuses on the health of your nervous system, which can help to boost your immunity.*
A 2011 study showed some promise for chiropractic adjustments and their potential to help boost the immune system.*
Restoring the beneficial bacteria in your gut can help boost your immune system considerably.
A lab study conducted in 2017 showed that a particular strain of probiotics, Bacillus bacteria, demonstrated anti-influenza activity, with complete inhibition of the influenza virus.*
A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluated the effects of probiotics and prebiotics on the immune response to the influenza vaccination. The results showed that participants who took probiotics and prebiotics showed significant improvements in the H1N1 and H3N2 strain protection rates. This suggests that taking probiotics may elevate your immunity.*
- Get Fresh Air
Indoor winter environments can be a source of concentrated toxins and germs. The dry air we inhale as we heat our homes during the winter makes airways more reactive and sensitive to viruses.
An added bonus to time spent outdoors in the winter is the extra bit of sunlight you receive.
- Top Foods for Flu Recovery
Also, these are the best foods to consume while you recover from the flu.
Light, easy-to-digest foods: Include soups with bone broth, cooked vegetables or herbal teas to help with digestion. Don’t force yourself to eat.
Water: Adequate hydration is the key to flushing out the virus from your system. Fluid helps your body to flush bacteria and viruses from your system. Drink approximately half your body weight in ounces daily of either spring water or reverse osmosis filtered water. Green and black teas are potent immune system boosters and antioxidants. Try to drink at least eight ounces every two hours.
Hot water with lemon, honey, and cinnamon: Honey and cinnamon helps prevent mucus buildup and keeps you hydrated.
Ginger: Make a ginger tea and add raw honey.
Garlic and onions: Both of these vegetable help boost immune function.