"We have overpromoted and overhyped the flu vaccine," said Michael T. Osterholm, Director of both The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy as well as its Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance. "It does not protect as promoted," he said in 2012.
The flu vaccine continues to be inadequate and yet we put all our medical eggs into this basket. This year it is estimated that vaccine efficacy may be a woeful 10%. "The perception that current vaccines are already highly effective in preventing influenza is a major barrier to game-changing alternatives," said Osterholm. And he said this before the the Asian H7N9, the aggressively virulent strain jumped to infecting humans in 2013--40 % of individuals infected with this strain have died, usually from rapidly-progressing severe pneumonia.
For dosages and brand recommendations, complementary consult with Dr. Ostroff. Call or text me at 973-214-2679.
1. Elderberry and Elder flowers
Has long had ethnobotanical history across many cultures
as a treatment for viral infections.
S; nigra flowers approved by German Commission E, for treatment of viral infections.
Numerous compounds thought active for anti-viral and
immune priming effects.
Possesses antimicrobial activity against gram + Streptococcus pyrogens and group C and G Streptococci and gram - bacterium Branhamella catarrhalis.
Porter R.S. et al. A review of the anti-viral properties of black
elder. (Sambucus nigra) Phytother Res 2017. April.31. (4): 533-554.
1a. Echinacea and Elderberry
Hydroethanolic extract prepared from freshly harvested
Echinaacea purpurea has demonstrated strong activity
against influenza virus strains (H1N1, H3N2, H5N1, H7N7,
473 patients with flu symptoms less than 48 hours, random-
ized to 240 mg echinacea herb/root + elderberry fruit
(Vogel BioForce) or tamiflu
No difference between recovery rates, anti-biotic use, inter-
mediate doctor visits, us of OTC medications, "ability to
return to normal daily activities," or patient-reported efficacy of treatments.
Raus K, et al. Cur Ther Res. 2015 Dec, 77: 66-72.
2. Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics reduce length of respiratory/flu infections
in children and adults.
Review of 12 studies with 3720 participants including adults and children not at high risk for URTI.
Moderate evidence shows reduced frequency of URTI
when taking probiotics 3-8 months.
Moderate evidence that probiotics reduced duration of URTI by approximately 2 days.
Hao Q, Dong BR, Wu T. Probiotics for preventing upper respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database
Sust Rev/ 2015 Feb 3;(2): CD 006895
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C cut the number of colds 50% in physically active people.
Regular dosing with vitamin C shortened duration of colds.
Two controlled studies found statistically significant dose-reponse for duration of cold symptoms, with up to
6-8 g/day of vitamin C.
Three controlled studies found vitamin C prevented
pneumonia and two studies found treatment benefit.
Hemila H. Vitamin C and Infections,
Nutrients 2017 March 29; 9(4)
-Zinc activates T-lymphocytes and other important immune cells such as macrophages, neutrophils and natural killer cells.
-Zinc appears to be effective in reducing the number of colds per year and reduces duration of common cold symptoms in healthy people if administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms.
-High dose zinc acceptable for a few days. Otherwise check to ensure adequate copper levels.
Allon GM, et al. Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. CMAJ 2014; 186(3):190-199.
Singh M. et al. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 18;(6): CD001364
5. Vitamin D
Acute respiratory infections kills an estimated 2.65 people yearly.
In 25 eligible randomized controlled trials with over 10,000 subjects Vitamin D supplementation reduced risk of acute respiratory infection among all participants and those who were vitamin D deficient experienced most benefit.
Martineau AR, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ 2017; 356: i6583.
Pelargonium root, also known as umckaloabo, is a south african species with an extensive history of use for treatment of sinusitis, bronchitis, and pharangitis.
Recent meta analysis concluded that there was moderate evidence for safety and efficacy.
Anheyer D, et al. Herbal Medicine in Children With URI: Systematic Review and Meta Analysis Acad Pediatrics 2017; pii: S1876-2859(17)30358-3.
7. Astragalus Root
Anti-inflammatory, immune-regulatory, anti-viral and immune stimulating activities have all been well documented in the literature for astragalus root. (huang qi)
It is a lung tonic that is highly regarded for the prevention of recurrent respiratory infections and treatment of asthma.
Most studies use astragalus in combo with other herbs so
Cochrane Review unable to assess astragalus as single remedy.
Qi Y, et al. Anti-Inflammatory and Immunostimulatory Activities
of Astragalosides. Am J Chin Med 2017;45(6): 1157-1167.
8. Cordyceps Candensis
A rare and exotic species of fungus, Cordyceps sinensis has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM for hundreds of years. It's harvesting season is so short (2 weeks), that this fungus, which is not unlike the familiar penicillin fungus, was only used by Chinese royalty because of its great expense. But in 1999 scientists were able to bring back high quality specimens to the U. S. from Tibet and cultivate the mushroom strains from DNA. You might be surprised to learn that virtually all our antibiotics, anti-rejection drugs for organ transplants, anti-cholesterol medications and many other pharmaceuticals come from the kingdom of the fungi. But Cordyceps is more powerful than many other fungi in its wide range of applications in medicine and reportedly, it has no side-effects! Randomized, controlled trials are extremely impressive.
Enhancing Pulmonary Function:Zheng, L.Y.; Deng, W.W. The clinical efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis Cs-4 capsul in treating chronic bronchitis and its effect on pulmonary function J. Admin. Tradit. Chin. Med. 1995, 5 (Suppl.), 9-11
Human Leukemia: This article was published in Life Science showing the mechanism of action in Human Leukemia --one of the anticancer properties of Cordyceps sinensis: Induction of HL-60 apoptosis by ethyl acetate extract of Cordyceps sinensis fungal mycelium Int J Inflam. 2013; 2013: 151028.
Published online 2013 Aug 27. doi: 10.1155/2013/151028
9. Palmitoylethanolamide PEA
Palmitoylethanolamide PEA was first identified almost five decades ago in lipid extracts of various natural products, and its anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects were established later. Over 350 papers are referenced in PubMed describing the physiological properties of this endogenous modulator and its pharmacological and therapeutical profile. The major focus of PEA research, since the work of the Nobel laureate Levi-Montalcini in 1993, has been neuropathic pain states and mast cell related disorders. However, it is less known that 6 clinical trials in a total of nearly 4000 people were performed and published last century, specifically studying PEA as a therapy for influenza and the common cold.
Palmitoylethanolamide: A Natural Body-Own Anti-Inflammatory Agent, Effective and Safe against Influenza and Common Cold. Keppel Hesselink JM, de Boer T, Witkamp RF. Int J Inflam. 2013;2013:151028. doi: 10.1155/2013/151028. Epub 2013 Aug 27. Review.PMID: 24066256