Antioxidants Could Offer Protection To The Lungs During Flu Season

Life Extension Update Exclusive

November 3, 2009

Antioxidants could offer protection to the lungs during flu season

Antioxidants could offer protection to the lungs during flu season

A report published in the November 2009 issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal revealed the discovery of researchers at the University of Alabama and Southern Research Institute in Birmingham of a protective effect for antioxidants against lung damage caused by the influenza virus.

Sadis Matalon of the University of Alabama's Department of Anesthesiology Pulmonary Injury and Repair Center and colleagues demonstrated that the virus damages the lungs via its M2 protein, which attacks the cells of the lungs' inner lining by disrupting their ability to remove fluid, resulting in increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other conditions. The M2 protein accomplishes this by decreasing the expression and function of ameloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channels (ENaCs).

The researchers conducted a series of experiments using frog eggs and human airway cells. Airway cells transfected with M2 revealed increased levels of damaging molecules known as reactive oxygen species. Co-administration of M2 with glutathione ester (an antioxidant compound) prevented M2 from causing damage. "In this study we show for the first time that an influenza virus type A protein, M2, down-regulates the function of a major epithelial ion channel, ENaC, both in oocytes microinjected with human ENaCs and in human airway cells . . . by increasing levels of reactive species and activating specific isoforms of protein kinase C," the authors write. "These novel findings suggest a mechanism for the influenza-induced rhinorrhea and life-threatening alveolar edema in humans."

"The recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the rapid spread of this strain across the world highlights the need to better understand how this virus damages the lungs and to find new treatments," Dr Matalon remarked. "Additionally, our research shows that antioxidants may prove beneficial in the treatment of flu."

"Although vaccines will remain the first line of intervention against the flu for a long time to come, this study opens the door for entirely new treatments geared toward stopping the virus after you're sick," added Gerald Weissmann, MD, who is the Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. "As Thanksgiving approaches, this discovery is another reason to drink red wine to your health."

Printer Friendly Save as PDF Email this Page View Archive Subscribe Today
Health Concern Life Extension Highlight


The most common and dangerous complication of influenza is pneumonia, which can affect people of all ages and may be life-threatening. The people most commonly affected by complications of influenza are 65 years or older or those who have chronic disorders such as diabetes. Newborn infants, like the elderly, are at increased risk of serious complications because of their incompletely developed immune systems. These complications include pneumonia and other lung conditions, as well as occasional heart diseases such as myocarditis. Minor complications of influenza in infants and young children can include ear infections, while the fever itself may be responsible for febrile convulsions in children 6 months to 6 years.

The following doses are higher than the usual recommended doses for these supplements. These higher levels should not be taken constantly, or as a general prophylaxis. They should be taken to enhance seasonal support. This program should be followed for only a few days. At the first sign of flu symptoms, consider taking:

  • Cimetidine—800 to 1000 mg/day
  • Pure Gar brand garlic—9000 mg once or twice a day
  • Kyolic aged garlic extract—3600 mg/day
  • DHEA—200 to 400 mg in the morning
  • Lactoferrin—1200 mg/day
  • Zinc—Two 24-mg lozenges every 2 hours while awake. This is a very high dosage of zinc and is toxic if taken for long periods. Only take this much zinc for a few days.
  • Melatonin—10 to 50 mg at bedtime
  • Vitamin C—6000 mg/day (1000 mg every hour for the first 6 hours), then 3000 mg/day (1000 mg several hours apart).
  • Vitamin E—400 international units (IU) daily
  • Green tea—725 mg/day. A decaffeinated form is available for people who are sensitive to caffeine.
  • Selenium—200 micrograms (mcg) daily
  • Elderberry extract—Take lozenges as needed.

Life Extension Quality Assurance

Product specification begins with the ingredients we qualify for use in our formulas. We evaluate the source data for these ingredients from well-established vendors with impeccable credentials when formulating our products. Working with high-quality, raw material suppliers allows us the opportunity to select the best options for product formulations.

All sourced raw materials and raw material vendors undergo an extensive qualification process by our highly experienced members of our Product Development, Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Purchasing departments. All raw materials are evaluated according to our internal Raw Material Qualification Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Qualification must be approved at multiple steps in the process for each raw material to meet our stringent identity, purity and potency requirements before a material is approved for use.

Each manufactured lot of finished product is tested using state-of-the-art testing equipment to ensure finished product quality, purity and potency. Testing includes, but is not limited to, chemical analysis by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultraviolet/visible spectrophotometry (UV-Vis), gas chromatography (GC), and gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GCMS). Physical analysis is performed and active ingredients claimed on the product label are confirmed. Microbiological analysis and heavy metal testing (by ICP-MS) is also completed on every production batch to ensure that all specifications are met.

Complete COAs that meet specifications are mandatory for every production lot of product that is shipped to our customers.

When inspection and testing is performed, Quality Control personnel are authorized to approve or reject product if the finished product does not meet established quality guidelines at any step in the process. Only if the finished product meets specification is the product released for shipment.

Featured Products

Ultra Rejuvenight

add to cart

Scientists have known for years that your body rejuvenates while you sleep. They’ve also discovered that the skin works to rejuvenate itself during the nighttime hours. This realization led to Ultra RejuveNight®, a dream cream developed by Carmen Fusco, R.N., M.S., C.N.S., a research scientist and nutritional biochemist.

Ultra RejuveNight® contains nutrients that revitalize skin tone, enhance the appearance of elasticity and reduce the appearance of creases. Far more than just a moisturizer, Ultra RejuveNight contains potent antioxidants, including white and green tea extracts. Those tea extracts help to rejuvenate your skin and keep it younger looking.

Life Extension Mouthwash with Pomegranate

add to cart

Brushing helps break up the sticky film on teeth. Active rinsing helps prevent the build-up of that film which could otherwise harden over time. So Life Extension developed an advanced mouthwash formula that contains the unique antioxidant power of pomegranate, and which also promotes optimal gum health. Life Extension Mouthwash with Pomegranate is alcohol-free, and has a pleasant cinnamon flavor that leaves the mouth feeling fresh and clean.

News Archive

Life Extension Update

What's Hot

Life Extension magazine

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, send them to or call 1-800-678-8989.

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
954 766 8433 extension 7716
Sign up for Life Extension Update

For copyright permission, please refer to Life Extension copyright policy