Whole Family Wellness

Naturopathic Physician

Biomedical Approach to Special Needs

CEASE Therapy Practitioner

phone: (802) 472-9355

Offices in Hardwick, VT



By Thauna Abrin, N.D.

Understanding the H1N1 swine flu

With the fall flu season approaching, this is a perfect time to educate ourselves on cold and flu prevention and treatment. Cooler weather, spending more time indoors, and sugar intake make one more susceptible to catching a cold or flu.

Most concerning this year is the swine flu, a 14 days flu spread from human to human via airborne contact or touching doorknobs. It's caused by a new swine flu virus that has changed in ways that allow it to be spread from person to person -- and it's happening among people who haven't had any contact with pigs. To clarify, The CDC calls swine flu illness "H1N1 flu" and the World Health Organization calls it "pandemic influenza A (H1N1)."
Typical H1N1 flu symptoms include: fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Many also develop diarrhea or vomiting. In a small percentage of people, there are more serious complications, including: seizures and changes in mental status (confusion or sudden cognitive or behavioral changes).

According to Ted Koren, DC," it is a myth that the swine flu spreading all over America and killing large numbers of people." In fact the swine flu is no worse than, or milder than, the regular flu. By July 2009 all the 50 states plus American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands reported that 40,617 "probable and confirmed" cases of swine flu and 263 deaths. It is not known whether the swine flu truly was the cause of death. The CDC reports that every year 36,000 people die from the flu. So far, this H1N1 flu is less dangerous than the seasonal flu.

According to the World Health Organization Director-General Dr Margaret Chan , "Many people are having mild disease, they recover without medicines in some cases and it is good news." The majority of people recover from the swine flu without any complications even untreated.

H1N1 (swine flu) prevention: H1N1 vaccine

As with the seasonal influenza vaccines, the 2009 H1N1 vaccines are being produced with and without thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative . All manufacturers (CSL Limited, MedImmune LLC, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited, and sanofi Pasteur) grow the vaccine in a base of egg. Thus, people with severe egg allergies should avoid the vaccine.

The main risk of the H1N1 vaccine is that it contains dangerous chemicals The new H1N1 swine flu vaccine will be made from PER.C6 cells (human retina cells) and contain MF59, a potentially harmful oil-based containing 3 chemicals: squalene, Tween 80 and Span85. Animal testing of rats injected with squalene showed that all rats developed a crippling disease of their legs. When injected into humans at 10-20 parts per billion, immune problems such as lupus and arthritis were reported. (Kenney RT, Edelman R. Survey of human-use adjuvants. Expert Review of Vaccines. 2003;2(2): 167-188.)

Squalene is linked with autoimmune diseases, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and Gulf War Syndrome. Research confirms that all Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) patients vaccinated prior to Desert Shield/Desert Storm had antibodies to squalene while all Persian Gulf veterans without GWS had no antibodies to squalene. (Asa PB et al. Antibodies to squalene in Gulf War Syndrome. Exp Mol Pathol 2000; 68(1):55-64.)

In conclusion the H1N1 vaccine could cause autoimmune conditions; in my opinion, a risk not worth taking.

H1N1 antiviral treatment: Tamiflu and Relenza

The CDC strongly recommends antiviral treatment for people at risk of severe flu complications who come down with flu-like symptoms. Pandemic H1N1 swine flu virus is sensitive to the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza. These antiviral drugs are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms.

Health Tip of The Season: 5 Ways to Prevent the Flu Naturally

1) WASH YOUR HANDS & SPRAY THIEVES ESSENTIAL OIL - Thieves is a special blend of oils (including lemon and cloves) which protected thieves during the plague from bacteria and viruses! Dr Abrin recommends spraying this in the air or on doorknobs when you are out shopping or flying on an airplane. Bacteria can be spread from doorknobs or pens in the grocery store. ** Please note:Dr Abrin recommends plain lemon essential oil for infants and all who are on taking constitutional homeopathic medicines.

2) STAY WARM - From a Chinese medicine perspective, cold air can invade the body through the neck or the head, causing illness. Dr Abrin has homeopathic medicines for colds or flus if you catch a cold after exposure to cold wind or water.

3) EAT FOODS FOR YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM - Include shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and garlic in your diet. Limit your sugar intake. One gram of refined white sugar causes your white blood cells to freeze for days, weakening your immunity.

4) TAKE SUPPLEMENTS PREVENTIVELY - The basic nutrients that I recommend during the winter are: Buffered vitamin C, zinc citrate, and anti-viral herbs such as elderberry, olive leaf extract or lomatium isolate. Please see below for dosages. Dr Abrin also has a homeopathic flu prevention kit available as an alternative to the influenza and swine flu shot.

5) NUTURE YOURSELF - We are fortunate to live in one of the most desirable tropical paradises in the world. During the holidays, take time to slow down and pamper yourself. Take a weekday afternoon off to spend the day at the beach with the kids or join the new yoga class that you have always dreamed of.

Cold and Flu Prevention Supplement Schedule

Buffered Vitamin C or food based Vitamin C- 250 mg infants, 500 mg age 2-5, 1000 mg age 6-13, 2000-3000 mg adults.

Vitamin D (cholecalciferol/vitamin D3) or food based Vitamin D- 400 IU infants, 1000 IU age 2-5, 2000-5000 IU adults. ***note: higher doses are recommended- ask your ND or MD to test 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels. Then call Dr Abrin for the proper dosage.

Zinc citrate, picolinate or food based zinc- half-1 mg per pound of body weight. Ie. 15-30 mg for 30 lb child and 50-100 mg for adult. This is a high dosage of zinc to be taken short-term during cold and flu season. Adults taking a high dosage of zinc (50-100 mg) for longer than 3 months should take 1-6 mg of copper. Side effects of zinc can include nausea and stomachache if taken without food.

Homeopathic remedies made from the H1N1 virus and 2009 influenza virus - will be available at Dr Abrin's office. Included in the flu prevention kit available at Dr Abrin's office will be recommended dosages for infants, children and adults.


Herbal Immune Booster by Thauna Abrin, N.D.

A healthy alternative to the flu shot is to boost the immune system naturally through nutrition and herbs.

Potent mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms native to China and Japan are the most potent immune boosting foods for both acute and chronic illnesses. shitake mushroom (latin name lentinus edodes) has been revered in Japan and China for thousands of years. Traditionally, shitake has been known to increase energy, eliminate parasites and cure colds. Modern research has identified a polysaccharide (carbohydrate) lentinan which is responsible for Shitake's immune stimulating effects. This fungus boosts the immune system by increasing the number of T-lymphocytes (white blood cells) and the activity of macrophages (immune cells which eat foreign substances).

Purified extracts of shitake called LEM are more concentrated than the whole mushroom, making them useful for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis, HIV and cancer (particularly stomach cancer). For everyday use, fresh or dried shitake mushrooms can be added to soups ((see winter wellness soup recipe) or stir-fry vegetables. Shitake mushrooms are non-toxic; however diarrhea and bloating can occur when used in high doses. It's safety during pregnancy has not been determined. Thus, I would not recommend shitake mushrooms for pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under the age of 2.

Other amazing herbs
Other immune supporting herbs include Echinacea and Astragalus. Echinacea (latin name Echinacea angustifolia or purpurea) boosts the immune system and has cooling properties. Echinacea is known to be safe during pregnancy. Astragalus root (latin name Astragalus membranosus) is a potent qi (energy) tonic that has both antibiotic and immune stimulating properties. Astragalus is effective against a variety of bacteria, including Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus, which are common causes of skin and throat infections. Astragalus can be taken as a tincture or capsule, or the dried root can be added to soups.

Food as medicine
Garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper are antibiotic and warming foods which are key ingredients to include in cooking during the winter time. Root vegetables and green leafy vegetables such as yams, carrots, kale and zucchini are high in beta carotene and vitamin A, important vitamins for a strong immune system.

In addition, recent research points to the importance of vitamin D in fighting the flu. Vitamin D promotes the production of antimicrobial substances that have the ability to neutralize the activity of bacteria and viruses, including the influenza virus. ( June 2009 report in the Journal of Immunology).

In the February 23, 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers studied 19,000 individuals and found that those who had lowest average levels of vitamin D (defined as less than 10 ng/mL) were about 40 percent more likely to have recent respiratory infection, including flu, compared to those who had higher levels of vitamin D (30 ng/mL or higher). I recommend testing your 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels in the fall to determine your dosage of vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D rich foods include: fish (especially sardines and cod), and shitake mushrooms. Lastly, pumpkin seeds and black eyed peas are rich in zinc, key minerals for healthy immunity.

Dr. Thauna Winter Wellness Soup

A delicious, easy to prepare soup that promotes wellness whether you are healthy or ill
3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 TBSP fresh ginger root, chopped
6 fresh or dried (soak for 1 hour) shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 slices dried astragalus root
½ pound firm tofu, chopped in cubes or 1 large yam, diced
1-2 TBSP powered vegetable broth
1 cup kale, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
2 TBSP brown rice or soy miso

Begin heating 6 cups water in a saucepan - add garlic, onion and ginger, shitake mushrooms, tofu or yam and broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a medium heat so soup continues to boil for 15 minutes. Add carrot and kale, then 10 minutes later add zucchini and reduce to simmer. Serve once zucchini is soft. Remove 1 cup of liquid from the soup into a bowl - dissolve 2 TBSP miso paste in this liquid. Add soup to this bowl of dissolved miso and serve. Bon appetite!

Note: Miso is a fermented past made from brown rice, barley or soybeans which is high in lactobacillus ("friendly gut flora"), minerals and protein, making it an easily digested food perfect for the winter season.

Pumpkin-Apricot Bread from Vegetarian Times Magazine

1 cup barley and ¾ cup oat flour OR gluten-free baking mix (add xantham gum)
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground coriander
¾ cup maple syrup
½ cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
15-oz. can pumpkin puree or 2 cups steamed and mashed fresh yams (peeled) or pumpkin (peeled)
1 TBSP ener-g egg replacer powder dissolved in 4 TBSP. hot water
1/3 cup orange juice
1 TBSP. grated orange peel

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-by3 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, coriander, maple syrup, and apricots; mix thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, egg replacer, orange juice and orange peel. Pour pumpkin mixture over dry ingredients; stir until batter is well blended. Transfer batter to loaf pan; bake at 350 degrees until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Makes 1 loaf.

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