Dr. Robert J. Rowen, MD
Second Opinion Health Alert
For decades we've heard the myth that flu strikes in winter because of the colder weather. But numerous studies have all debunked that theory. Studies have shown that flu hits the tropics in their "winter" when it's still quite warm (usually during the rainy season).
No, there's another reason flu hits in winter. And it gives you an easy way to stop the flu before it hits. And it doesn't involve getting a flu shot.
We already know that our bodies produce a lot less vitamin D during the winter. But is it possible the reduced vitamin D levels in winter contribute to the flu?
The evidence is there. Years ago, an observant British general practitioner, R. Edgar Hope-Simpson, connected influenza epidemics in the northern hemisphere with winter solstice. So, flu hits right when vitamin D levels begin to plummet. Conventional medicine has largely ignored his work, until now.
Just this year, two major medical journals released a report written by Dr. John Cannell, a California psychiatrist at the Atascadero State Hospital in California. This is a maximum security facility for the criminally insane. In his report, Dr. Cannell noted that wards all around his got hit hard with a severe flu-like outbreak in April 2005. None of his 32 patients caught the flu - even after they mingled with infected inmates from other wards.
Dr. Cannell wondered why his ward avoided the flu when it hit all the others. He soon realized it was the high doses of vitamin D he prescribed to all the men on his ward. He had found that his patients, like most other people in the industrial world, had a deficiency. (He must be one of the very few psychiatrists that pays attention to nutrition!) His efforts to correct the deficiency boosted their immune system and completely protected them from the flu.
Why does it work? Science recently discovered that vitamin D stimulates your white blood cells to make a substance called cathelicidin. Researchers haven't studied this chemical on the flu virus yet, but they have previously reported that it attacks a wide variety of pathogens. These include fungi, viruses, bacteria, and even tuberculosis.
So, it turns out that my suggestions for you to have your vitamin D levels checked this time of year were right on target. But now, armed with this new information, I don't even think it's necessary to spend the money on a test. Vitamin D is cheap. And it stimulates your body to make what might be the ultimate antibiotic! One with no toxicity at all and only kills those organisms invading you (not your own cells).
Arm yourself with the incredible protection of vitamin D. Get sunlight when you can. Just be sure not to burn. If you are mostly indoors, I strongly suggest that you add vitamin D to your daily regimen. I recommend 5,000 IU per day. I see no downside to this dose, especially in the winter months!
Yours for better health and medical freedom,
Robert Jay Rowen, MD
Ref: FASEB Journal July 2006; Epidemiology and Infection, online, December 2006.
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