A strong immune system is your first defense against bio-terrorism

Early Sunday morning, I was trying to get my dogs to come back into the house, but they were enjoying the fall weather too much to care. While I waited for them, I realized how badly I’ve neglected my flower beds and started randomly pulling out weeds.

The first one I reached for was covered with prickly “stickers” that pierced my fingers, so I quickly pulled away. But I’ve never been one to give in that easily, so I asked my husband to grab a trowel. When I dug up the weed, its root was shaped like a perfect corkscrew.

So here was this little insignificant weed into which nature had built quite a defense system – prickly to the touch so you would resist pulling it and a root shaped in such a way this it’s virtually impossible to kill by pulling it out (without a shovel, that is). The survival mechanisms of this weed were simply amazing to me.

When I went back inside, I was still thinking about that weed. Yet, my attention quickly turned. The weekend news was talking about only one thing – the threat of anthrax or other bio-terrorism.

It’s now been nearly a week of straight reporting on the threat of this white powder. One person dead and more infected just from breathing the air in their office. Now others infected simply from opening their office mail. This morning we heard about a 7-month-old baby who is infected. Millions of people across the country are wondering what’s next, and how they can prepare if anthrax hits home.

The important thing to remember is that we all have some preparation built into us – like that weed. Our immune systems, when functioning properly, are capable of fighting off amazing attacks.

Anthrax is a bacterium. If it’s caught early enough, it can be eradicated with the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (Cipro). (Research has also shown that penicillin, doxycyline, and other antibiotics related to Cipro can effectively treat anthrax. However, the Soviet Union reportedly developed a penicillin-resistant strain of anthrax. And the FDA has approved only Cipro for the treatment of inhaled anthrax. Consequently, Cipro is the most common treatment.)

The incubation period varies greatly – anywhere from two days to 60. But once the spores begin to germinate, the disease progresses quickly. Much of the discrepancy in the incubation period is due to the effectiveness of the immune system response – the stronger the immune response, the longer it takes for anthrax to take over, and the longer you have to recognize symptoms and get treatment.

The symptoms of inhaled anthrax mimic flu symptoms, including a cough and breathing difficulties. Cutaneous anthrax first appears as a bump on the skin, which turns into a sore, followed by fever, swelling, and a headache. Intestinal anthrax is characterized by severe vomiting and stomach pains. If you experience any of the above symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

The incidents around the country have caused a lot of fear and panic. Some people are filling prescriptions for antibiotics, just in case. Some are buying gas masks. Public health officials are urging us to do neither. But it’s in our nature to want to do something, anything, to feel like we have some control over the situation, that we are prepared in the face of a threat.

As I said, we have a strong defense mechanism built in. But poor diet, environmental stressors, lack of sleep and stress all weaken it. Right now, more of us are probably experiencing lagging immune systems than usual in the wake of this national tragedy. There are several solutions we’ve told you about over the years for boosting your immune system.

Members have told us about remarkable results using AHCC, a unique hybridization of several kinds of medicinal mushrooms known for their immune-enhancing abilities. We first covered AHCC in January 2000. Studies on AHCC have shown that it can stimulate your body’s immune response in several different ways. It stimulates cytokine production (which stimulates immune function), increases natural killer cell (NK) activity against diseased cells, increases Interferon levels (which inhibits the replication of viruses and stimulates NK cell activity), and more.

In the July 2000 Members Alert, we reported on an Asian herb, called jiaogulan, used for over a century to boost immune function. Jiaogulan is a powerful adaptogen – meaning that it helps the body adapt and deal efficiently with the various stresses put upon it. When stress arises, the adaptogen equips your body to meet the challenge.

And for years, we’ve told you about the benefits of lactoferrin, an iron-building protein found in mother’s milk (colostrum). Lactoferrin was your first shield against infection and disease and your primary source of immune-system chemicals. Studies show that lactoferrin binds iron in your blood, keeping it away from cancerous cells, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that require iron to grow. Research also suggests that the lactoferrin protein activates specific strands of DNA that turn on the genes that launch your immune response.

You can find more details on AHCC, jiaogulan, lactoferrin, as well as other natural immune boosters in your new member bonus reports or on our website at www.hsionline.com. You can also call the companies directly to order their respective products. Contact information is listed below.

For most of us, the threat of receiving or contracting anthrax is remarkably small – less than the chance of being struck by lightning. However, strengthening your immune system is your best and most important defense against all of the threats to your health. Any of the products mentioned above can help you do just that.

Obviously, the threat of bio-terrorism and how to defend ourselves against it is very much on our minds. We will continue to provide information as we uncover it. In the meantime, please try not to panic; it can only compromise your system and make things worse.

Copyright 1997-2002 by Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C.