Why You Should Not Fear Ebola
Now that it’s arrived in America, what do you know about the Ebola virus? TV, radio and Internet news sources are keeping it on our minds morning, noon and night. Updates, speculation and the usual parade of “experts” have raised more fear and uncertainty than understanding and intelligent, prompt action.
We’re being told to stay on high alert as new Ebola cases in the U.S. bring analysis of hospital procedures, concern about air and public transportation, and government officials working to build public confidence in an uncertain situation. We know the situation is serious: the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that this is the largest Ebola epidemic in history.
While the news carries images of frightening protective hazmat suits and the bodies of men, women and children who have died of the disease, the numbers show how many have died, and the potential for many more deaths. Reports indicate nearly 9,000 confirmed cases, and deaths from Ebola are at nearly 4,500. As this information strikes home, the public is paralyzed with fear.
Our information is muddled: "experts" abound and it's hard to tell how well-informed highly visible people are. Some public figures are simply shouting criticism and alarm rather than helping with a solution we can all use. Fear of vague possibilities is a common topic. Here are some of the recent celebrity quotes that are being brought to the public by news and social media. With repetition they start to sound true – but these high-profile experts, commentators and celebrities aren’t reporting facts and answers that we can use.
* At the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s special Ebola representative declared that “Ebola has the potential to become an airborne disease.”
* At the University of Minnesota, Director for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Dr. Michael Osterholm called Ebola “the single greatest concern” in his entire 40 year public health career, including HIV. “I can’t imagine anything in my career,” he declares, “that would be more devastating to the world” than airborne Ebola.
* Executive Director of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons painted a doomsday scenario of 100,000 West Africans that have learned Spanish in Central America and are coming across our border – "carrying Ebola, naturally.”
* On Twitter, Donald Trump broadcast urgent news of an impending “plague,” insisting that flights from “EBOLA infected countries” must be immediately stopped. “Act fast!” he urged.
* Somber words from House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton reminded Americans of the “grave warnings” that “we have all heard,” indicating that “this will get worse before it gets better.” “Folks are scared,” he reminds us.
Informed medical sources are working hard to address and dismiss claims like these and more, but the public discussion of Ebola still is guided by similar quotes on a daily basis.
Rather than present more worries, I would like to present some more positive news. Our bodies have a natural ability to fight Ebola or any virus, protecting us and keeping us healthy. Let’s look at how our natural defenses work, and what we can do to help. Here are some more helpful, documented statistics:
* During the last Ebola outbreak, a study showed that a full 71% of those who came into close contact with the virus, even testing positive, never got sick.
* Another study showed 46% of those who came into close contact but didn’t get sick actually had evidence of an Ebola infection that never progressed.
* The “R-nought factor,” a measure of how many people will get infected from one sick person, is very low compared to other viruses such as measles, mumps, and HIV.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which monitors and responds to international health issues, has indicated that Ebola is NOT an airborne virus, and it is highly unlikely to mutate into one.
A 1999 study examined the body’s immune response to Ebola, and its ability to build defenses and attack the virus. Dr. Sylvain Baize and and Eric M. Leroy of the International Center for Medical Research found that balance between the body’s humoral and cellular immune responses allowed the body to attack the Ebola virus.
We can act to protect ourselves and our loved ones against Ebola or any other viral infection. Proactive choices can help us develop and maintain a healthy and balanced immune system. But Ebola is different, you may say. It’s more deadly than most viruses.
Here is a quick overview of what it does:
*Ebola protein (VP24) interferes with a human protein (KPNA5), a key messenger in humoral immune response.
* Ebola’s protein disrupts one of the messenger’s “message,” (STAT 1).* When the cell nucleus doesn’t receive the “message,” the body’s natural antiviral responses are blocked.
* Blocked from producing “interferon” to fight infection, the body overcompensates and overproduces “cytokines,” used to hunt and kill invading cells.
* The flood of cytokines produces a super high fever and a buildup of pus and other fluids. It also reduces the blood’s clotting ability.
* This combination of reactions causes fluids to ooze from the body, ultimately killing it.
So, knowing a bit about how Ebola attacks, how do we keep the body ready to respond as the Ebola VP24 protein interferes? I suspect that the key is twofold:
* Building the immune system
* Eliminating any kind of immune system suppression
Ways to do that include:
* Proper nutrition
* Proactive supplementation
* Healthy lifestyle practices
Malnutrition brings weak immune system problems to much of the world. Adequate daily supplies of micronutrients and vitamins from a proper diet are essential to a resilient immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection and disease.
Protein deficiency directly affects cellular immune response. A lack of protein affects the ability of the thymus to produce T-cells, which target and kill unhealthy and invading cells in the body. They also are essential to the memory response that tackles later infections of the same kind.Protein is also key for mucosal barriers, which when disrupted increase the chance of respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal infection. With insufficient protein, levels of Vitamin A, copper, selenium, magnesium and zinc will also be low, further impacting the ability of mucosal barriers to be effective against infection. High-quality proteins such as free range eggs, grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish are excellent for immune system support.
Dietary fats help balance cells that support the immune system. Omega 3 and Omega 6 (mono/polyunsaturated) fats are important to the body in general and the immune system in particular. Sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6 (mono/polyunsaturated) fats include fish, flaxseed, walnuts, avocado, and olive oil. Omega 3 fats are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) increases levels of antibodies in the blood, and decreases cytokines. CLA is found in high quality meats and organic milk from grass fed cows.
Vitamins and minerals support and help balance both the humoral and cellular immune response. Vitamin A supports the skin and mucosal cells. Vitamin D is also an importantmodulator in the humoral and cellular immune response. Vitamin D supports healthy cytokine production, suppression of pathogenic cells, and antibody production. Antioxidants Vitamin C and E protect immune cells from oxidative damage which primarily benefits the cellular immune response, contributing to increased resistance to infection. Vitamin B is important to immunity through its relationship to protein and the metabolism of amino acids.
A complete diet is the starting point for combating Ebola or any other virus, bacteria, or fungus. Adequate nutrition is not just at matter of what you eat, but also of nutrient absorption. For best results, high quality foods such as raw organic vegetables, free range/ grass-fed meats, and healthy high quality oils are essential to an immune building diet. Refer to the food list below for immune building foods.
Kombucha Eggs (Free-range, cage free)
Yogurt (Watch out for sugar!) Beef (grass-fed)
Lemons Salmon (Wild caught)
Green apples Milk (grass fed, organic)
Blueberries Navy beans
Goji Berries Almonds
Kale Pumpkin seeds
Spinach Matcha Tea
Mushrooms (Reishi) Green Tea
Sweet Potato Coconut Oil
Garlic Olives Oil
Ginger Himalayan Sea Salt
Some foods actually suppress the immune system, and must be avoided. Refer to the list of these foods below.
Sugary Drinks White Sugar
White bread Colored cereals
Wheat bread Rice cakes
White pasta Candy
White Rice Fried Foods
Start with at least 30 days of a complete immune building diet. After that, proper supplementation is the next key to building a "powerhouse" immune system. When choosing the right supplements, consider the rate of absorption and metabolism or ability to be used in the body. High quality supplements are designed by their manufacturers to be available to your body in a way that maximizes their effectiveness. Do your research!
Zymogen, Thorne Laboratories, DoTerra, and Designs for Heath are a few proven companies I would suggest looking at first.
Probiotics have been shown in studies to be an immune system modulator. They enhance the body's response to harmful viruses, bacteria, and other antigens. Probiotics help stabilize the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut and in turn create an immune barrier in the intestines. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium should be the first supplements you add to your regimen. Another benefit of adding these to your immune system protection is their help in breaking down the nutrients in your food to make them more available to your body.
Essential oils help to build a powerhouse immune system because of their ability to get inside of cells. Fat soluble, these oils are able to penetrate cells even the cell walls have hardened to due a lack of oxygen. Providing the proper amount of oxygen and transporting nutrients to cells, essential oils can then work to stimulate the immune system. All essential oils are inherently antiviral, anti-bacterial, and antifungal, and have been shown to destroy viruses and bacteria with little or no cost to healthy cells and tissues in the body.
Here is a list of essentials oils to add into your immune building supplement stack.
Clove bud Frankincense
Wild Orange Ginger
Linking lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise and stress reduction as I’ve described supports building a "powerhouse immune system". What is great about this is these things are simple to start, have no prerequisite, and they are free to do. So start incorporating these lifestyle practices today! Although there is very little scientific research on the effects that lifestyle have on immune building the suggestion below do have certain by-products that are known to support immune health.
A couple of nights of bad sleep and the cold that often follows show that sleep is essential to immune building. Most authorities will agree that 8 hours a night is needed for a powerhouse immune system. Research shows that T-cell development is reduced with a lack of sleep.
Follow these simple sleep rules:
* Bedtime 10 PM or earlier.
* No caffeine or other stimulants within 6 hours of bedtime
* Don’t eat within 2 hours of bedtime
Smoking and Drinking
Nicotine and alcohol are known to suppress the immune system. Smoking has been shown to produce inflammation that suppresses the response to many types of infections. Too much alcohol depletes essential immune system nutrients such as Vitamin A, and can cause overproduction of inflammatory cytokines and suppress natural “killer” cells that are key to our immune defense.
Everyday and intense stress is very hard on the body’s immune system. It slows production of natural “killer” cells and nearly blocks production of essential interferon and infection fighting T-cells. When the autonomic nervous system is over activated by stress, immune response slows way down. In addition to managing daily stressors, thirty minutes of daily exercise and ten minutes of meditation a day will help lower stress levels.
Though the news these days is frightening, I hope that I’ve shown some ways that the human body can hold its own against disease, with our help. Our complex systems and balances are truly miraculous. I’d like to inspire you to trust your body, inform and empower yourself to take charge of your health and wellness. Ebola may not be a risk for you, but you are empowered to work with nature, becoming self-sufficient and building your own health. I believe that optimal health is a right that everyone should enjoy.
I do not want anyone to disregard or not seek medical advice, which is an important part of wellness. I am presenting this information for your use, but I have no formal training in the field of medicine. I do have an ambition to seek information in the fields of natural medicine, health traditions and available scientific study. I hope to present it to the members of the concerned public who may not hear it; when faced with personal or public health challenges. Information is the answer to fear and the key to personal action.
Warren "MrFit" Bloom - Certified Personal Trainer NSCA, NPTI, CHEK (HLC)