Preventing Viral Illness

Recently, one of the physicians on national news referred to the health benefits of ultra violet light. Though he didn’t say it, he was indirectly referring to the increase in vitamin D that comes from sunshine on your skin. As an orthopedic surgeon I have long been aware of the necessity of high levels of vitamin D for good bone health.

What I have also learned is that vitamin D is perhaps the most powerful booster of your immune system.1 Recently I have read two studies that confirm that high levels of vitamin D will prevent flu better than a flu shot.2, 3

Many studies suggest that about 70% of our population is deficient in blood levels of vitamin D (including even the Pittsburgh Steelers!) Therefore, I find it incredible that almost none of our many health experts has ever mentioned this extremely helpful preventive treatment.

The standard recommended dose of vitamin D for adults is 5000IU daily. If you have not taken vitamin D before you will need a loading dose of 20,000u daily for 5 days. The blood level of vitamin D needed to prevent flu is approximately 75 - 100ng/ml.

In addition, almost everyone knows the vitamin C is also good for preventing and healing viral illnesses. A good dose for vitamin C would be 1000IU three or four times daily. Also, Vitamin A 25 U (not beta carotene) and zinc 50mg are other natural therapies that are effective against viral illnesses. Beyond supplements, it is important to eat healthy with a diet free of refined sugar and flour as well as staying well hydrated.

Also, as proven by the overwhelming statistics from China, smoking and tobacco use of any amount carries a MUCH higher rate of illness and death from the virus. I am not an "expert" in complementary medicine but I know people who are. Please consider these simple and safe measures to protect yourself and your family.

Bruce T. Henderson, M.D. Oakland Orthopedic Partners

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