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Infectious Disease Infection Protection

Two Potential Viral Epidemics Could Ruin Your Anti-Aging Program

4 years, 2 months ago

1455  0
Posted on Oct 30, 2014, 6 a.m.

Clinical update on Ebola & The Flu from the A4M

The height of the influenza season has arrived, but its dangers have been overshadowed by the global Ebola outbreak. With no known cure, and a mortality rate of over 50%, Ebola plagues the public as an inherent concern. Yet, people are far more likely to contract influenza, which is a highly contagious virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 50,000 deaths were attributed to influenza and related diseases last year.

In today’s era of global interconnectivity thanks to airplane travel, the potential for Ebola to arrive from nations in West Africa to Europe, Asia, and the United States is great. The US CDC urges that people who recently traveled to West Africa self-monitor for fever, headaches, and body aches in the next 3 weeks. If becoming ill, they should call a doctor and specify where they traveled (and on what airlines and via which airports). A person can get Ebola through contact with an infected surface. Though Ebola is easily killed with disinfectants like bleach, if it isn't caught, it can live outside the body on a hard surface. A frequent international traveler, Dr. Robert Goldman, MD, DO, PhD, FAASP, A4M cofounder & Chairman observes that: “If someone with infectious Ebola gets his or her diseased bodily fluids on a surface that you touch — such as an airplane seat or tray table — and then you put your hands in your mouth and eyes, you could get Ebola on an airplane.”

A number of similar symptoms manifest in Ebola and seasonal flu, notably fever, aches and pains (including headache), vomiting and diarrhea. Because of this infection intersection, it is critical to establish early diagnosis to promote the best treatment outcome. See Table 1 to differentiate the flu from Ebola.

                                         Table 1. Differentiating The Flu from Ebola

Characteristic Seasonal Flu Ebola
Pathogen Orthomyxoviridae Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus
Symptom Manifestation Begins 2 to 21 days after exposure, but the average is 8 to 10 days Begins 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body
 Chest congestion Common and can become severe No
Cough Common and can be severe No
 Fever Usually high (102-104°F [38.8-40°C]). May last 3-4 days. Yes
Chills Common and can be severe No
General aches and  pains Usual and can be severe
Yes - muscle pain abdominal(stomach)
Headache Common Yes - severe
Sneezing and/or red,  water, itchy eyes Common No
Sneezing Occasional No
Sore throat Occasional No
Stuffy nose Occasional No
Tiredness Severe Yes - weakness
Nausea and vomiting Occasional Yes - diarrhea, vomiting
Lingering fatigue Common, can last 1-3 weeks No
Other characteristics Pneumonia is a common complication Unexplained hemorrhage  (bleeding or bruising)
Mortality Less than 5% overall 50 - 90% fatal


Remarks Dr. Ronald Klatz, MD, DO, A4M cofounder & President: “Despite a person’s best efforts in following the tenets of anti-aging medicine, namely – healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and staying mentally engaged, the reality is that a case of Ebola can ruin the best anti-aging program.” See Table 2 for a Top Five list of natural compounds that may help to strengthen an individual's overall immune function, reduce the viral load, and control inflammation. They also may boost antioxidant protection and optimize cellular processes.

                                               Table 2. Top Seven Natural Immune Enhancers

Vitamin C Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and protects against free radical cellular damage. Research by Braun et al revealed that 67% of those surveyed believed that taking supplementary vitamin C helped to reduce cold symptoms. Vitamin C may also reduce the symptoms and duration of infection of other viruses such as mumps, herpes, measles and the flu.
Vitamin D Vitamin D is a potent immune system modulator. Research has shown that the vitamin D receptor is expressed by most cells of the immune system, including T-cells (white blood cells that are crucial to the immune system) white blood cell crucial to the immune system) and antigen-presenting cells (cells that present foreign substances capable of eliciting an immune response, such as bacteria, to the immune system), such as dendritic cells (specialized cells that present antigens (foreign substances) to specific cells of the immune system) and macrophages (a type of white blood cell that protects the body against infection.) There is also evidence to suggest that vitamin D exerts a variety of effects on immune system function that may enhance innate immunity.
B-Complex Vitamins
The immune-boosting B vitamins include: folic acid, B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin or cyanocobalamin.)
Curcumin Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of the Indian spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), and is responsible for the spice’s bright yellow color. In recent years curcumin has been linked to multiple health benefits, and has demonstrated anticancer, antioxidant, antiarthritic, antiamyloid, anti-ischemic, and anti-inflammatory properties in both in vitro and animal studies.
Selenium Selenium is vital for the proper functioning of the immune system, and that it can increase levels of white blood cells, therefore enhancing the body's ability to fight illness and infection. Selenium may also inhibit viral replication.
Zinc Zinc promotes resistance to infections, particularly in aging, a time when the immune system slows down.  Zinc has been shown to increase the activity of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell that destroys tumor cells and cells infected with certain organisms) and to boost the production of antibodies (proteins produced by the immune system that recognize and help to fight infection) in response to infection
Melatonin Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland, a small organ set behind and between the eyes. Melatonin plays a major role in setting the body's internal clock and is vital for sleep. Melatonin is also important for the functioning of the immune system.  Chen et al found that rats fed a diet supplemented with melatonin showed an increase in the production of interleukin-2 (a chemical messenger called a cytokine that can improve the body's natural response to disease), and thymocytes (cells that mature to become T-lymphocytes, which are responsible for attacking infectious invaders.) The results of this study also showed that melatonin suppresses an inflammatory response that causes arthritis in rats. Maestroni found that melatonin administered to lab animals enhances the release of Th1 cells (helper cells that coordinate the immune response to infectious agents).  While in humans, Maestroni observed that melatonin enhances the production of interleukin-6 (a chemical messenger called a cytokine that activates B-lymphocytes, which secrete antibodies in response to infectious agents.) Taken together, these findings suggest that melatonin plays a role in mounting the proper immune defense when an organism is exposed to infectious agents.


Additional reading:


To stay current of the latest anti-aging approaches for infectious diseases, visit The World Health Network,, the official educational website of the A4M and your one-stop resource for authoritative anti-aging information. Be sure to sign up for the FREE Longevity Magazine® e-Journal, your weekly health e-newsletter featuring wellness, prevention, and biotech advancements in longevity.

Based on Klatz R. and Goldman R. “Infection Protection: Pandemic.” A4M, 2006.

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