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Prevent Viruses from Taking Hold and Reduce Recovery Time

February 2019

By Stephanie Riser

During the 2017-2018 flu season, more than 900,000 people were hospitalized and close to 80,000 died from influenza-related complications.1

The annual flu is a threat to the entire population. People over 65 are especially vulnerable because of age-related weakening of their immune systems.

Contracting a flu virus further weakens immune functions,2 creating complications like bacterial pneumonia or sepsis.

The best way of protecting against the flu is to attack it with an arsenal of anti-viral compounds that can prevent initial symptoms from transforming into full-blown infection.

Tamiflu® is nearly a 20-year old drug that is effective if taken within 24-48 hours after onset of flu symptoms. Flu viruses, however, can mutate and become resistant to antiviral drugs like Tamiflu.

While this may not be an issue for this year’s expected flu viruses, there is concern that over time flu viruses could develop resistance to Tamiflu, reducing its effectiveness.

A new antiviral drug called Xofluza™ has been recently FDA-approved. Xofluza works via a different mechanism than Tamiflu.3 What’s critical with either drug is having it available as soon as flu symptoms manifest.

This is true for the arsenal of nutrients (like zinc lozenges and garlic) and drugs (like cimetidine) that Life Extension® has long urged readers to initiate as soon as a common cold or flu symptom manifests.

For those unable to prevent a full-blown flu infection, scientists have identified a botanical extract that can help speed recovery from the flu.

Faster recovery can allow one to avoid more serious complications that accompany the flu.

What You Need to Know

Speed Flu Recovery

  • Influenza can have a devastating impact on older adults.
  • Adults over 65 are at an increased risk of suffering from flu complications such as pneumonia, sinus problems, organ failure, and even death.
  • French oak wood extract has been shown to speed recovery from the flu.
  • In addition to reducing fatigue, it more quickly improves recovery rates for weakness, sleep, concentration, and attention.
  • Speeding recovery helps reduce the likelihood of suffering from potentially deadly complications.

Unleashing the Nuclear Bomb

If you develop flu symptoms, it is critical that you act quickly to halt the rapid replication of viruses occurring in your body. Go to the nearest health food store or pharmacy and purchase:

  1. Zinc Lozenges: Completely dissolve in mouth one lozenge containing 18.75 mg of zinc acetate every two waking hours. Do not exceed 8 lozenges daily, and do not use for more than three consecutive days. (You can also keep zinc acetate lozenges on hand in case cold/flu symptoms manifest.)
  2. Garlic: Take 9,000-18, 000 mg of a high-allicin garlic supplement each day until symptoms subside. Take with food to minimize stomach irritation. Some people prefer using aged garlic extract (Kyolic®) in the high dose of around 3,600-7,200 mg a day.
  3. Tamiflu: 75 mg twice daily. This is a prescription drug and is only effective for certain flu viruses. Generic name for Tamiflu is oseltamivir.
  4. Vitamin D: If you do not already maintain a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D over 50 ng/mL, then take 50,000 IU of vitamin D the first day and continue for 3 more days. Slowly reduce the dose to around 5,000 IU vitamin D daily. If you already take around 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily, then you probably do not need to increase your intake.
  5. Cimetidine: Take 800-1,200 mg daily in divided doses. Cimetidine is a heartburn drug that has potent immune enhancing properties. (It is sold in pharmacies over-the-counter.)
  6. Melatonin: 3 to 50 mg at bedtime.

Do not delay implementing the above regimen. Once a flu virus infects too many cells, it replicates out of control and strategies like zinc lozenges will not be effective. Treatment must be initiated as soon as symptoms manifest!

The Critical Post-Flu Period

Man sick in bed

If you’ve ever suffered from the flu, you know that the infection phase is only the first part of the process.

The typical symptoms are usually abrupt and include fever that can last 3-4 days. Once the infection passes, the recovery period can take twice that long.4

The flu leaves your body in a weakened state that can impact your energy, sleep, concentration, and overall quality of life for weeks.

It’s like the aftermath of a hurricane.

Besides producing symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and cough, the recovery period leaves your immune system in a weakened, vulnerable state.

As researchers searched for a natural way to shorten the post-flu recovery period, they looked at one of the strongest, most resilient plants around: the oak tree.

Hope from the Oak

Image of Germs

Oak trees are prized for their strength and durability. They can live for centuries. Even after they are cut down for lumber, their wood remains solid and resistant to decay.

An oak tree’s resilience is due in part to producing a wide array of protective plant compounds called flavonoids.

In particular, oak trees contain roburins. These unique tannins are found only in oak trees, where they provide powerful chemical stress-fighting properties.5

Roburins can offer protection for humans as well, especially when it comes to improving energy and fighting fatigue.

Previous studies have shown that French oak wood can help manage chronic fatigue syndrome and moderate liver failure.6-8 With this in mind, researchers wanted to find out if French oak wood extract could exert similar fatigue-fighting, energy-boosting effects in older adults struggling to recover from influenza.9

Xofluza™: A Newly Approved Flu Medication

Almost 20 years ago, the drug Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) was approved for use, helping to reduce the duration of symptoms of the flu.

Since the release of Tamiflu, no new antiviral medications with a novel mechanism of action had been approved.

In October of 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced the approval of Xofluza™ (baloxavir marboxil) for the treatment of acute uncomplicated influenza in patients 12 years of age and older.11

Xofluza™ represents an entirely new type of antiviral medication. Tamiflu and others like it blocked the final step of virus reproduction, preventing already formed viruses from infecting more cells.12

In contrast, Xofluza™ works at an earlier step in the development of new viruses. It blocks the production of viral mRNA, which is necessary to begin to build the new virus particles in the first place.

Two randomized trials of Xofluza have already been completed demonstrating clinical benefit in the management of flu. When given within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, a single dose of Xofluza reduced the duration of symptoms to a similar extent as Tamiflu.11

However, the new drug also reduced the duration of viral shedding, or release of virus from the body, which can infect other people, to a greater extent than Tamiflu. This means that Xofluza may help prevent the spread of the flu virus more effectively than previous antiviral medications.12

Xofluza is now a treatment option for individuals 12 years of age and older if started within 48 hours of symptom onset. However, the FDA has cautioned that Xofluza or any other antiviral treatment should not be considered a substitute for yearly flu vaccination, which is an established strategy to help control the spread of the flu virus.11  Not everyone agrees on the FDA’s position regarding flu vaccines.

Faster Recovery from the Flu

Researchers studied 38 people aged 65-75 who had the flu.9

After the acute flu ended, subjects either took French oak wood extract (300 mg/day) or continued with standard flu recovery care such as fluids and rest (they served as the control group).

After 10 days, subjects taking French oak wood extract showed greater improvements on all five recovery parameters. These included:9

  • Weakness
  • Alterations in attention
  • Sleep patterns
  • Recovery after effort
  • Alterations in working/concentration

The subjects taking French oak wood extract also demonstrated improvements in objective parameters, such as: 9

  • Higher oxygen saturation levels (a measure of how well oxygen gets from the lungs to the tissues via the blood),
  • Higher hematocrit (which measures what percentage of your blood is made up of oxygen-carrying red blood cells), and
  • Lower concentrations of plasma free radicals (a measure of chemical stress).

These effects may explain the improvements in fatigue, cognition/attention, and recovery experienced by the French oak wood extract group. The more red blood cells and the more oxygen they carry, the better the functioning of all tissues in the body.

The French oak wood extract group also sharply improved their edema (swelling) scores compared with control subjects. Reduced swelling is yet another important indicator of a faster recovery.

Faster Functional Improvement

Woman sick at work

The “Karnofsky score” was included as part of the evaluation. This score assesses patients based on their functional impairment, which gives a better picture of the participants’ experience during recovery. 10

At the beginning of the recovery period, both groups had almost identical impairment scores of about 67 (indicating impairment in normal activity). This makes sense, as the flu can leave a person in such a weakened state that simple tasks like fixing breakfast or walking to the mailbox can lead to serious weakening and energy loss.

Ten days later, the group taking French oak wood extract had a significantly greater improvement than the control group, reaching a Karnofsky score of 97.2.

Even after three weeks, the control group did not score as high as the French oak wood extract group did after just 10 days.

Simply put, the individuals taking the French oak wood extract recovered much faster and were able to more quickly resume normal activities.

Ultimately, improving recovery from the flu is more than just a major step in comfort. It has critical implications in fending off more serious, potentially life-threatening ancillary infections.

Summary

Man holding head and stomach

Recovery from the flu often lasts longer than the illness itself. For some, slow or incomplete recovery can mean worsening health, with the onset of pneumonia and other complications.

French oak wood extract speeds post-flu recovery. This allows older adults to get back to their favorite activities faster, while reducing the likelihood of suffering from potentially deadly complications.

Even more important is starting the antiviral protocol described at the beginning of this article as soon as any flu symptom manifests.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

References

  1. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/estimates.htm. Accessed November 9, 2018.
  2. Available at: http://www.yalescientific.org/2010/10/influenza-renders-immune-system-vulnerable/. Accessed November 8, 2018.
  3. Available at: https://www.popsci.com/fda-new-flu-drug-xofluza. Accessed November 13, 2018.
  4. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm. Accessed November 1, 2018.
  5. Available at: https://www.robuvit.com/fileadmin/robuvit/robuvit_brochure_EN_161_WEB.pdf. Accessed November 8, 2018.
  6. Belcaro G, Cornelli U, Luzzi R, et al. Robuvit(R) (Quercus robur extract) supplementation in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome and increased oxidative stress. A pilot registry study. J Neurosurg Sci. 2015 Jun;59(2):105-17.
  7. Belcaro G, Gizzi G, Hu S, et al. Robuvit(R) (French oak wood extract) in the management of functional, temporary hepatic damage. A registry, pilot study. Minerva Med. 2014 Feb;105(1):41-50.
  8. Belcaro G, Cornelli U, Luzzi R, et al. Improved management of primary chronic fatigue syndrome with the supplement French oak wood extract (Robuvit(R)): a pilot, registry evaluation. Panminerva Med. 2014 Mar;56(1):63-72.
  9. Ippolito E, Belcaro G, Luzzi R, et al. Robuvit(R): improvement of fatigue in medical convalescence. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018 May;58(5):678-83.
  10. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2172510-overview. Accessed November 2, 2018.
  11. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm624226.htm. Accessed November 13, 2018.
  12. Kikuchi T, Watanabe A. Baloxavir heralds a new era in influenza virus biology. Respir Investig. 2018 Nov 2.
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