How Antioxidants Can Help You Beat The Flu

Posted on November 27th, 2009 by Dr. Mercola  |  6 Comments »

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham believe they found a weakness in all flu strains – a weakness which they believe can be exploited by taking antioxidants.

Dr. Sadis Matalon, the university’s research director for critical care and perioperative medicine, explains that the flu virus damages your lungs using its “M2 protein,” which attacks the cells that line your lung’s inner surfaces, disrupting the cells’ ability to drain liquid from the inside of your lungs, setting the stage for pneumonia and other pulmonary diseases.

Dr. Matalon and his colleagues discovered that antioxidants, powerful nutrients known for their free radical-fighting benefits, prevented the M2 protein from causing damage to human lung cells.

This news comes as no surprise to Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has long recommended the use of vitamin C and vitamin D, two nutrients with antioxidant properties, to help boost the body’s natural immunity against the flu.

Dr. Mercola believes that the vast majority of flu casualties are actually caused by secondary infections such as pneumonia, rather than the flu itself. This means that the food that you eat plays a major role in how well your body can fight these complications as well.

Dr. Matalon’s study used antioxidants from drugs but ideally, it’s better to get these powerful nutrients from food, or from whole food dietary supplements.

The following foods are excellent sources of antioxidants: artichokes, beans, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, hazelnuts, oregano and walnuts.

As mentioned above, when it comes to antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin D have shown to possess flu-fighting properties.

Studies show that high doses of vitamin C, intravenously or orally, can be used to help fight infectious diseases like the flu and strengthen your immune system.

On the other hand, Mercola believes that the seasonal nature of the flu may in fact be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. An analysis of CDC data indicates that vitamin D deficient children are also at higher risk of death from the flu, he points out.

The data shows that almost two-thirds of 36 children who died from swine flu had cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental retardation or other neurological conditions associated with childhood vitamin D deficiency. Also, many of these children take anticonvulsant drugs, which lower vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is one of the most beneficial nutrients when it comes to disease prevention. Sadly, many Americans, adults and children alike, are vitamin D deficient. You should get your blood tested to find out your vitamin D status after a consultation with a nutrition-oriented doctor.

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