Your all-natural remedies for fending off cold and flu viruses

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced that the death toll from last year’s influenza virus was the highest in 40 years. Yet each year, more and more people are bullied into taking the government’s pathetic influenza vaccine, for all the good it’s doing. Which is a terrible shame, especially since we have effective, natural remedies that can help you avoid the flu.

Plus, as I first told you two years ago, a well-known natural extract significantly reduces the symptoms and duration of the flu virus.

Of course, mainstream medicine had trouble accepting these findings two years ago because at the time, we didn’t have the science showing exactly how it works in the body. We only knew that it did indeed work.

One of the great things about science is that it’s never “settled,” but keeps ongoing. And new research reveals the mechanism of action behind this natural remedy’s ability to enhance immune function, which ultimately helps fight off viruses like influenza.

I’ll tell you all about this natural extract in a moment, but first, let’s back up for just a moment…

One of medicine’s greatest mysteries — solved 

As I’ve often reported, the first phase of scientific testing on a natural remedy usually assesses whether or not it’s effective. In other words, the first studies simply test a remedy’s effectiveness.

In the next phase, scientists figure out the natural remedy’s “mechanism of action” — or more simply, how it works.

But many natural remedies have low “bioavailability,” meaning they’re not absorbed well into the bloodstream from the GI tract microbiome (the environment in the gut where billions of healthy bacteria, or probiotics, thrive). This has puzzled scientists attempting to discover the mechanism of action of certain remedies, since low bioavailability makes it hard to figure out how a substance works in the body.

For example, only 10 percent of polyphenols (potent and beneficial antioxidant-rich plant compounds) make it into the bloodstream from the GI tract.

So, if only a small fraction of the active ingredients get into the bloodstream and tissues, how do these extracts benefit our health?

This key question has puzzled scientists for years. Indeed, as the King of Siam sang in “The King and I” musical — this low bioavailability presented a real “puzzlement.” It also made it difficult to know how to enhance the activity of specific ingredients.

We now realize low bioavailability isn’t an issue in these cases. And especially when it comes to potent, healing plant compounds called polyphenols.

In fact, we now know many natural extracts — including polyphenols — work directly inside the gut to influence our microbiome’s “good bacteria” (probiotics).

I’ve come to call this mechanism “biome-availability.”

And now, let’s get back to the natural extract I mentioned at the beginning of this Daily Dispatch…

Turns out, it too goes to work directly inside the microbiome to help support immune response, before it ever enters the bloodstream…which leads me back to the extract I mentioned above.

Elderberries support microbiome health

The latest research from Washington University School of Medicine focuses on elderberry extract.

Of course, elderberry extract is among the most commonly used medicinal extracts in the world. Traditionally, Native Americans used it to treat infections. And it’s still used in folk medicine across many parts of Europe, most commonly taken as a supplement to treat cold and flu symptoms. (Raw elderberries, bark, and leaves of the plant can be poisonous and cause stomach problems.)

Elderberries also contain high amounts of polyphenols.

In fact, previous research shows elderberry extract can help prevent and treat conditions of the upper respiratory system such as colds, coughs, congestion, and sore throat. Plus, it helps combat lower respiratory problems — like asthma and bronchitis. It also has plenty of natural vitamin C, which helps reverse acute infections.

Elderberry even appears to help control chronic inflammation associated with arthritis and joint conditions. (And that’s why I like to think of natural ingredients more as immune system balancers, or modulators, and not just “boosters.”)

Of course, as I mentioned above, elderberry is perhaps best-known today as an effective agent against the flu — especially in combination with the popular herb Echinacea.

Elderberry goes to work against the flu

This new study sheds clear light on elderberry’s mechanism of action. Turns out, it goes to work in the GI microbiome to modulate an immune response.

Researchers found that after ingesting elderberry extract, the body produces a compound called desaminotyrosine (DAT), which acts as a metabolite in the GI system to fight the influenza virus.

This new finding makes sense, since previous research shows elderberry extract helps improve digestion, promotes secretion of digestive juices, and prevents constipation. (And other research shows that polyphenols — such as those found in elderberry extract — improve symptoms related to gastroenteritis, such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas.)

I think the best way to take elderberry, specifically, is to add the extract to a hot infusion with other ingredients — like honey, ginger, lemon, and turmeric. I recommend making an infusion any time during flu season — especially when you feel like you’re coming down with something.

Other ways to fight the flu and other viruses

Of course, you can bolster your immune system in other ways too to make yourself much less susceptible to viruses.

In addition to elderberry infusions, I recommend taking:

  • A good-quality B complex daily with at least 55 mg of B6
  • 250 mg of vitamin C twice daily
  • 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily
  • 400 mg of vitamin E daily
  • 200 mcg of selenium daily
  • 35 mg of zinc daily

In the November 2015 issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“ 7 natural ways to stay cold and flu free—without vaccines”), I outlined my top cold and flu-fighting strategies to keep you healthy throughout the winter months and all year long.

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“Studies drill down on how elderberry ingredient provides immune support via microbial reaction in gut,” Nutraingredients ( 1/29/2018