Thursday, December 15, 2011

Probiotics can help protect against colds and flu

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15 December 2011

UK Edition

Dear Reader,

There are loads of things I love about winter: the chill in the air, the return of the eggnog latte at Starbucks...

But there's another winter return I absolutely hate: the return of the sniffles.

So, as the days get colder and shorter, I find myself consulting all my trusted sources on new cold-prevention research. The goal: to keep myself cold-free straight through winter.

Now, that's not an easy task. But by building my cold- fighting arsenal now, I may just make it to spring without so much as a sniffle.

At the top of my list, especially after new research reported in The Cochrane Library, is a well-known immune system booster. You've heard them called "friendly bacteria," and there's good reason for that. Probiotics can keep your system healthy — and increase your chances of staying cold-free.

Study participants who took a daily dose of probiotics via yoghurt or supplements had 12 per cent fewer incidences of acute respiratory tract infections (a much longer way of saying "cold"). They also demonstrated lower use of antibiotics when they did come down with the sniffles.

The study of 3,451 people showed that probiotics reduced the number of people who had at least one cold by a pretty impressive 42 per cent. Other trials have showed similar results.

Other studies on older adults that have focused on upper respiratory tract infections in addition to the flu have shown even more promising reasons to add probiotics to your daily regimen. They showed lower duration of winter infections and a 3.4-fold reduction in the risk of getting a cold or coming down with the flu.

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    Lump in your throat

    Q: My daughter has had laser treatments to remove lumps from her vocal cords. She says it's caused by a form of papilloma virus. I know that viruses are not easy to treat, however I am hoping that there may be some alternative worth trying. Can you help?

    Dr Jonathan V Wright: Possibly! In 2004, researchers reported results from a five-year follow-up of 33 individuals who had undergone surgery for respiratory papillomatosis were asked to take 200 milligrams of indole- 3-carbinol (I-3-C), twice daily. After five years, 33 per cent of the patients had no further occurrence of the problem, and another 30 per cent had a significant reduction in papilloma growth resulting in less surgery than before.

    These days, though, most practitioners skilled in nutritional and natural medicine have abandoned use of I-3-C in favour of di-indolymethane (DIM), the compound that the body converts I-3-C into naturally. I-3-C has been associated with some adverse effects, but none has been reported for DIM.

    People with a papilloma virus may want to consider taking 200 to 300 milligrams of DIM twice a day. In addition, they can safely get even more of this natural compound directly from their original source — Brassica vegetables (also known as mustard family and cruciferous vegetables). These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, etc. Eating them approximately four times weekly may also help. (It's probably wisest not to eat them more often, as there may be a small possibility of interfering with thyroid function with larger amounts.)

    Since papillomas are a viral infection, it's also helpful to improve immune system function in general by eliminating all sugar and refined carbohydrates, and testing for food allergies (and eliminating and/or desensitizing any that turn up). There are many supplemental items that can help boost immune function. Check with a practitioner skilled and knowledgeable in the areas of both allergy and nutritional medicine for advice specific to your daughter.

    One other note about papilloma viruses: They can also cause cervical cancer. In 2000, researchers reported that eight of 17 women with biopsy-diagnosed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (a "precancerous" condition caused by the papilloma virus) had complete regression — disappearance! — of the precancerous condition after 12 weeks on either 200 or 400 milligrams of I-3-C daily. (The complete regressions were proven by biopsy.) In the placebo group, 0 of 10 had regression.

    Although there's no proof as yet, it's very likely that some can dramatically reduce the papillomas they've had on their vocal cords — not to mention reduce their risk of cervical cancer — by eating Brassica vegetables, taking DIM (remember it does all the same things as I-3-C without any of the risks) and following the other measures to keep their immune systems strong.
    Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone's personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

    Wishing you the best of health,

    Andrew Miller
    UK Editor
    Nutrition and Healing

    P.S. In the latest issue of Nutrition & Healing, Dr. Wright explains how to read your body's blueprint for treating – or preventing – depression... We'll also tell you what the best proven remedy is against winter infections... don't be unprepared! You'll also learn about the five unexpected benefits of vitamin A... plus much, much more...

    All new members who sign up will receive important updates like these in addition to receiving Dr. Wright's 7 Volume Library of Natural Healing.

    Read here for full details.


    "Probiotics May Be Effective Cold Remedy," Medpage Today (

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