A couple of weeks ago I wrote about telomere’s and how chronic stress destroys them. Two days ago, the Nobel prize for medicine went to two researchers who have been studying telomere’s for ~25 years. What are telomere’s? They are the protective ends on our chromosomes. Think of the plastic on the ends of shoelaces; they keep them from fraying. Telomere’s do the same thing for our chromosomes, and that is important because fraying on our chromosomes is used as an indicator of aging and in diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the ends are frayed, leading to cell death. Chronic stress accelerates the damage. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and vitamin C all counteract high stress.

Swine flu, what to do? With all of the hoopla surrounding swine flu and our imminent demise, it’s time to sort out fact from scare tactics. So far, most reports are that it indeed seems to be very contagious, but you don’t necessarily need to stock up on Tamiflu or get a vaccination. Doctors around the country are saying that most cases seem to be mild to moderate, with the average down time about six days. High fever and lethargy are the major complaints, but no vomiting or nausea with most. And, although there have been some fatalities, all flu’s kill people. Also, most of those infected are kids and teens. A doctor from Austin, TX, says that the H1N1 closely resembles  a type of flu last seen in 1957, so the people that were exposed to that flu seem to have a built-in immunity. Pregnant mothers are also at risk. There is a lot of uncertainty with this flu, but the message I’m getting  is to be afraid, very afraid. Although I’m no clairvoyant, I think it will be a less severe scenario. Vaccines have a very sketchy, and with the rush to get a vaccine to the public, clinical trials will be very limited, so safety is an issue. There are, however, natural defenses to boost immunity seem to be safer to me.Vitamin D should be your first line of defense, especially since government studies show that three out of four Americans have blood levels below 30 ng/mL, and these serious deficiencies can impair many aspects of your health. According to a 2009 study, vitamin D has the potential for treatingthe flu, and it is essential for boosting the immune system. EpiCor, derived from baker’s yeast, enhances many aspects of the immune system. In addition to increasing the efficiency of natural killer cells, which attack and dispatch cells affected with viruses and cancer, EpiCor also helps coordinate the immune response. Probiotics also boosts immunity, since 80% of your immune system resides in or around your gut. Other remedies are Oscillococcinum, elderberry, colostrum, echinacea, and vitamin C.

Until more is known about H1N1, I think the best course of action is to boost your body’s ability to fight illness, wash your hands often, and refuse to buy into the panic.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.