As we face the outbreak of war and, with it, the biological weaponry of modern warfare, many of us may be wondering how we can protect ourselves from the terrifying prospect of a bioterrorist attack.
Scientists and clinicians have confirmed that enhanced nutrition reduces the risk of infections while improving recovery (Nutr Rev, 1998; 56: 5113-25). It has also been revealed that enhancing your immune system can significantly increase your resistance to most infectious agents - whether bacterial, viral or fungal (Ann Nutr Metab, 1997; 41: 98-107).
Recent studies have shown that a deficiency of just one vitamin or mineral can cause profound immune dysfunction (J Nutr Immunol, 1992; 1: 31-8). An insufficient intake of carotenoids, for instance, can play a major role in age-related immune suppression. However, supplementation with these nutrients allows the immune system to bounce back (Am J Clin Nutr, 1998; 68: 164-70).
If we do undergo chemical warfare, you can protect yourself and enhance your immune system, particularly the part that combats viruses and bacteria, by supplementing with:
* Beta 1,3/1,6-D-glucan, a complex sugar derived from baker's yeast, enhances immune function by activating macrophages, the body's front-line defense against 'foreign invaders' (Exp Med, 1992; 173: 1511-20) - and all without any toxic side-effects. Make sure to use only the pure products and those combined with inositol phosphate-6 (IP-6), since many cheaper brands either don't work or contain contaminants.
This nutrient fibre can also enhance wound-healing and protect against radiation (Radiat Res, 1989; 117: 59-69) - but follow the dose recommendations carefully since overdosing will produce the opposite effect of immune suppression. This is to be used in children only in a state of emergency.
* Magnesium oxide. Take 500 mg twice a day with meals. If you develop diarrhoea or abdominal cramps, change to magnesium citramate (1000 mg twice a day). Magnesium reduces many of the symptoms of infections and may even counteract the effects of anthrax.
* Vitamin C (buffered). Take 1500 mg three times a day to boost the immune system and for direct antiviral effects. Do not take with food and make sure not to eat for one hour after taking it to prevent excess iron absorption.
* Vitamin E succinate. Take 400 IU three times a day to boost immunity, and reduce tissue injury and inflammation.
* Probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium organisms. Take three capsules at bedtime to maintain the normal 'good bacteria' colonies in your gut. Adding NT Factor will enhance their growth (two tablets taken with the probiotics).
* Selenium (200 mcg, as selenomethionine). This will stimulate immune function and reduce the damage caused by free radicals. Selenium also protects against the effects of radiation.
* N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Take 500 mg of this amino acid three times a day to significantly reduce viral infections and increase glutathione, needed to activate enzymes and aid detoxification by destroying free radicals and other harmful compounds.
* Curcumin. Take 500 mg three times a day to protect against damage due to free radicals and inflammation.
* Garlic extract. Take 600 mg twice a day of this powerful antibacterial and antiviral supplement. Another advantage is that bacteria do not develop resistance to garlic extract.
* A multivitamin/mineral supplement (without iron). Take three times a day as a powder or in a capsule that includes at least 20 mg of the B vitamins, 400 mcg of folate and 500 mcg of vitamin B12.
* Vitamin A. Take 7000-10,000 IU twice a day to enhance any vaccines taken and to reduce the effects of viral infections. For children under eight, take only once a day. In small children, use mixed carotenoids (including 25,000 IU of beta-carotene derived from the algae Dunaliella salina). Carotenoids are non-toxic and increase the benefits of vitamin A.
* Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Take 100 mg three times a day to stimulate the immune system and promote cellular repair. Keep this oil refrigerated.
You should avoid:
* Omega-6 oils (com, safflower, sunflower, peanut, soybean, Canola oils) which are immune-suppressants. Use only extravirgin olive oil for cooking and for salad dressings.
* Red meat, especially beef, as it's high in iron, a potent promoter of viral/bacterial growth and spread.
* Iron supplementation.
* High-sugar diets, as glucose encourages bacterial growth and suppresses the immune system. Eat lots of fresh vegetables and some fruits.
* Processed foods that contain mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) or aspartame.
Recently, I treated a military professional who had large purplish-red, raised, patches over his jaw, shoulders and back that had appeared after his second anthrax vaccine. He also suffered from a severe generalised muscle weakness and pain, and confusion.
I gave him a broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral supplement plus additional vitamins A, C and E. A week later, he was completely symptom-free.
This case proves that good nutrition may be the best shield we have against modern biological/chemical warfare.
Dr Blaylock is president of Advanced Nutritional Concepts in Jackson, Mississippi, and an expert on toxins affecting the central nervous system. This article is based on material published in Medical Sentinel, 2001; 6: 134-6, (c) 2001 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), 1601 N Tucson Blvd, Suite 9, Tucson, AZ 85716, USA; www.aapsonline.org.