Infections are sometimes obvious such as an acute attack of influenza or a boil under the skin or acute appendicitis; however, some infections are not obvious (hidden infections) and are a common source of poor health. We call these hidden infections "sub-clinical infections". They may not be diagnosed because they only produce vague generalized symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, aches and pains and possibly intermittent fevers and sweating. The source of the infection may remain elusive and hidden. These sub-clinical infections may be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites in various parts of the body. They may reside in the teeth, gums, sinuses, ears, lungs, bones, lymph glands or the intestines. Sometimes they can be in the liver, bile ducts or sequestered away behind abdominal organs, and may be surrounded by a protective bio-film that prevents the immune system destroying them. If you find yourself suffering frequent or recurrent infections the following recommendations will provide a much needed boost to your immune function.
The body's ability to fight off infection is via the immune system, which consists of different types of white blood cells found in blood, lymph glands, the liver, the spleen and the bone marrow. Some of these immune cells gobble up foreign organisms, others produce antibodies against viruses and bacteria and others work in a supportive role. The immune system is our defence force ready to go into action. We must keep it well provisioned and in tip-top shape by paying attention to nutritional and lifestyle factors. Many people suffer with chronic or recurrent infections, or take repeated courses of antibiotic drugs and/or cortisone type drugs, which can impair the function of the liver and the immune system.
If you are always “coming down with something”, and always trying to fight off infections and allergies with antibiotic, anti-fungal or steroid drugs, then you really need to look at nutritional medicine as an effective weapon.
If your immune system is overburdened you may have the following problems.
- Chronic or recurrent viral infections, especially glandular fever (Epstein Barr Virus), herpes or flu-like illness etc
- Swollen glands
- Frequent skin infections
- Frequent infections in the upper respiratory tract eg. sinuses, nose, ears or throat
- Recurrent bronchitis
- Recurrent cystitis
- Recurrent fungal and yeast infections such as candida and tinea
- Unhealthy bacteria and parasites in the bowel (dysbiosis)
Treatment and general recommendations
- Ensure that you are getting adequate sleep which gives your immune system a chance to rejuvenate itself.
- Smoking must be avoided.
- Alcohol intake should also be minimized, as it depletes the body of nutrients which are vital for immune function.
- Plenty of fresh air and exercise are also essential.
- Coconut oil and milk and coconut yogurt have natural antibiotic properties.
There are 3 steps to overcoming and preventing infections:
- Take the load off the immune system.
- Strengthen the immune system with nutrients.
- Avoid mucus producing and inflammatory foods, especially dairy products and sugar.
- Follow the principles of "The Liver Cleansing Diet". Time and time again I have seen that if one improves the liver and gut function, the workload of the immune system is reduced and it is then possible for the immune system to be restored and strengthened. Around 50 percent of the diet should consist of raw fruits and vegetables.
- Eat foods that are natural antibiotics; these include garlic (raw is most powerful), onions, leeks, shallots, radishes, mustard, fresh ginger, chilli, thyme, oregano and naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and miso, etc. Some people find it difficult to eat hot spicy things and it is not essential if you have a very sensitive digestive system. Always make sure that you have hot spicy things with plenty of food, and even small amounts of these things can help to expel infected mucus from your body.
- Avoid - all refined sugars (sucrose and glucose), processed foods, diet colas and soft drinks.
- Avoid mucus-producing foods such as dairy products, margarine, processed and preserved foods (especially processed meats).
- It is important to drink plenty of fluids (8 to 10 glasses daily) like water, herbal teas and raw vegetable juices.
- Tannins, such as those in grapes and black tea, seem to be effective in fighting viruses like the herpes simplex virus. Anthocyanins, found in high quantities in blueberries and blackcurrants, are another nutrient with antiviral and antibacterial properties. Citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, grapefruits and oranges are great infection fighting foods.
The Antibiotic Juice Recipe can be found in my book "Raw Juices Can Save Your Life". This juice combination acts as a powerful antibiotic and antiseptic, and when taken regularly can fight infections. You can dilute juicing recipes with water or herbal teas if so desired.
Antibiotic Juice Recipe
One glass (at least 10 - 13 oz/300 to 400 mls) must be taken every day.
- 1 carrot
- 1 beetroot including some green tops
- 2 spinach or cabbage leaves
- 1 to 2 apples - skin on
- 0.4 inches (1cm) fresh ginger
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) horseradish root
- 1/2 to 1 clove garlic (optional) or 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 cup watercress (optional)
- 2 limes or 2 lemons
- Wash all ingredients, trim, chop, and put through juicer.
- Dilute with water or cold herbal tea to begin with, or if too pungent.
NOTE: Some green herbs exert natural antibiotic properties and can be added in small amounts to your juice recipes. The most effective ones are thyme, oregano, coriander and basil.
Orthodox medical treatment
If you suffer from recurrent infections you should see your doctor for a thorough assessment. Your doctor may need to do tests such as swabs, and a midstream urine specimen for culture. A blood test may be ordered to look for anemia, the level of white blood cells, levels of globulins, CRP, iron studies or blood glucose level (diabetics are particularly prone to repeated infections). X-rays of the chest or sinuses may also be useful. If your general practitioner cannot help, you should obtain a referral to an immunologist.
For bacterial infections, antibiotics have certainly been a modern miracle, and are still invaluable tools. However, they are frequently used inappropriately, such as for minor infections or in the treatment of viral infections against which they are ineffective. This misuse encourages the development of multi drug resistant strains of bacteria with subsequent problems in finding effective treatments. Particularly in the case of frequent infections, antibiotic use should be minimized if possible. Antiviral agents (such as acyclovir used to treat some types of herpes virus and drugs against hepatitis C viruses and HIV) are effective. There are many viruses for which there are no effective anti-viral drugs. By improving your nutritional status and general health, and subsequently boosting your immune function, you are indeed getting to the root of the problem.
Recommended supplements for infections
Take 1 capsule daily with food. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant which helps your white blood cells to kill microorganisms. Taking selenium helps to ensure adequate intake of this essential mineral required by the immune system to fight infections. It is useful for recurrent or chronic viral infections like influenza, glandular fever, Ross River virus and herpes etc. Selenomune is the best supplement of selenium available.
- MSM Plus Vitamin C
Take 1/2 teaspoon twice daily in water or juice - This is an excellent source of organic sulfur, useful for recurrent infections. Sulfur is a powerful blood cleansing mineral.
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-septic agent and helps to break up bio-films and thick sticky mucus. Take two 600 mg capsules of NAC twice daily.
- Vitamin D
Have a blood test to check your level of vitamin D. If it is very low you will need 5,000 I.U. daily with food to get it back into the higher limit of the normal range. Vitamin D helps to reduce the risk of infections and helps the body to overcome infections. Vitamin D insufficiency is very common, especially in people who don't get much sun exposure.
- Bactoclear capsules are an excellent natural antibiotic that can be taken short term or long term; they contain a combination of herbal anti-microbials in an enteric coated capsule that releases its active ingredients into the intestines. They are helpful to fight unhealthy bacteria and fungi in the gut and sinuses.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.