Natural Immune Boosters and Antivirals

Published: October 22, 2012
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1. Thymic protein A is an excellent natural immune stimulant. Although not a hormone, thymic protein A mimics the natural hormone produced by the thymus, the gland that stimulates the immune system. I find it to be extraordinarily effective in fighting common acute infections of any kind that seem to pop up and recommend it be in everyone's medicine cabinet.

Although taking it for 1 to 3 days will quickly eliminate most acute infections, for the chronic infections of CFIDS, 1 dose three times a day for 3 months is needed. In one study, this dropped EBV IgG levels by 70 percent after 3 months in CFS patients.

2. Silver is a remarkable anti-infectious agent against a very broad spectrum of infections. In low doses, this mineral is an anti-infectious agent against both viral and bacterial infections, and liquid silver can even be used orally for many types of difficult-to-address chronic infections. Silver also works well in combination with the prescription sinusitis nose spray, which your physician can call into ITC Pharmacy.

The problem with using the wrong types of silver is that if a person overdoses it can build up in their body, and turn the skin permanently blue (very Smurfy, but not a good idea). Called argyria, it is not dangerous, but it is odd looking. Because of this, it is important to use safe forms that are very small molecules, so they don't build up in the body. I use the Immunogenics brand of silver liquid and nose spray. These have never caused the blue skin problem. (Directions for silver use.)

In addition to ProBoost and Silver, some other excellent immune boosters include:

  • Leuko-Stim. This mix mostly stimulates immune function, but the olive leaf may also have anti-viral properties. It contains Olive Leaf Extract, Beta 1,3, Glucan, Maitake Mushroom Extract and Arabinogalactan (Larch).
  • Maitake D Fraction 30. Contains 330 mg of maitake mushroom and extract (an immune stimulant).
  • Anti-Viral. This natural combination contains a mix of Milk Thistle Extract (80 percent Silymarin), Phylanthus amarius, Phylanthus uraria, Monoammonium glycyrrhizinate, L-Lysine, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, Astragalus Herb Powder, Lactoferin, Olive Leaf Extract, Dionea (Venous Fly Trap extract), and Selenium (Selenomethionine).

If a chronic viral or bacterial infection is suspected, consider addressing it with three months of an herbal antiviral supplement, plus thymic protein. Adding the silver solution may also help. These natural supplements can be taken on their own or with antibiotics and antivirals. Though these are more expensive than many other natural supplements, they can be very helpful in fighting these infections and are well tolerated. You'll see effects from therapy in about three months.

• Lysine is an amino acid (one of the building blocks of protein) that inhibits oral and genital herpes viruses by depleting arginine, another amino acid that the virus needs to grow. It is not known whether Lysine also inhibits EBV, HHV-6, or CMV, but these viruses are all members of the herpes family. Lysine is safe and inexpensive. The recommended dosage is 1,000 milligrams three times a day. Arginine is used by the body to make both nitric oxide and growth hormone. Decreasing arginine may therefore also decrease excessive nitric oxide activity in CFS. The down side is that it may also decrease Growth Hormone—which is too low in CFS. Because of this, it may be reasonable to take Lysine for 6 months, but I would not use it long term in CFS.

• Another therapy that may be helpful is Vitamin C. High doses of 15 to 50 grams of vitamin C, administered intravenously, are often dramatically helpful for CFS when given in the intravenous nutritional therapy your doctor may administer called Myers Cocktails (available at many Holistic physicians' offices).

• In addition, your clotting system may be activated by several infections, making it difficult to eliminate the viruses. Using the anti-clotting therapy that we discuss in From Fatigued to Fantastic! can also make it easier for your body to eradicate infections.

Natural Antiviral Therapies Available by Prescription

There are two therapies that deserve special mention. The first is a natural anti-viral derived from animal livers. Called Nexavir (formerly sold as Kutapressin), it is given by daily injection, either subcutaneously or intramuscularly. In my practice, I have seen dramatic improvement with regular use of the Nexavir. However, daily injections are a must, and the few patients who only used it three times a week did not get much, if any, benefit. The downside is that it costs $19 a day, and the symptoms may return when the injections are discontinued.

The second natural prescription therapy is gamma globulin. These are the actual antibody infection fighters derived from the serum of numerous blood donors. The serum is first altered to kill off any infections the donors may have had and then the antibodies are harvested. Although these antibodies can be helpful against both bacterial and viral infections, in patients with latter we have seen a die off reaction (initial flaring of symptoms) with each injection of gamma globulin. I am now advising patients to start with the Nexavir first and add the gamma globulin 1-3 weeks later. I recommend 2 cc be given intramuscularly weekly or 4 cc IM every other week for 6 doses, and then as needed. Although it can also be given through an IV, this delivery method is very expensive and does not seem to bring any additional benefit.

Because Valcyte has been so effective and can eliminate the infection, I rarely prescribe the Nexavir anymore. The gamma globulin IM injections are wonderful in these illnesses, and a recent study suggested that they even help the nerve pain present in a third to half of those with fibromyalgia (though in that study they gave it IV). If your illness began with an infection, or persists despite other therapies, you may wish to discuss these therapies with your doctor.

Antibiotic Sensitive Infections Such as Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, and Lyme Disease

Though beyond the scope of this article, this issue is discussed at length in my books. Research by Dr. Garth Nicolson and his wife, Nancy L. Nicolson, has shown that a number of antibiotic sensitive infections, including Mycoplasma and Chlamydia, can be important in CFIDS. These microorganisms can cause persistent infections and have similar characteristics. Mycoplasma are a type of ancient bacteria that lack cell walls and are capable of invading a number of types of human cells. They can cause a wide variety of human diseases. These organisms can cause the types of symptoms seen in people with CFIDS and, according to Dr. Nicolson, tend to be immune-suppressing. Unfortunately, they cannot be readily cultured on a culture dish. They are sensitive to antibiotics though.

For more information and the studies references noted above, I recommend reading From Fatigued to Fantastic!

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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