Nourishing Ourselves = Peace of Mind

About West Nile and Zika:

 From all my research on the subjects, I understand that both West Nile and the Zika virus  symptoms can be very mild – almost imperceptible – in many cases.  At other times, the symptoms are flu-like.  In rare cases, these viruses can be more invasive and damaging to the human body.  What accounts for the varying levels that these viral infections attain in the body?

I think much of the fear surrounding these diseases is based on a number of things, most significantly the state of our collective health in this country.  We are sadly uninformed about taking care of our own immune systems.

Nutrient Depletion + Toxins = Impaired Immunity

There is an epidemic going on, if you haven’t noticed. Chronic inflammation.  Heart disease.  Diabetes.  Cancer.  Thyroid imbalances.  Critically low Vitamin D levels seem to be the norm, even in folks that spend time in the sun. Food is processed, contains harmful oils, and unbalanced or missing nutrients. Sugar is everywhere, and we rely on caffein for energy.  We are surrounded by toxins.  How can any of this support good health and a strong immune system?  No wonder we are fearful about becoming infected with mosquito-borne illness.

During the clinical portion of my herbalist training, I got a good look at just how depleted our diets are.  Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks that support organ function, energy, and our ability to respond to and eliminate incoming viral or bacterial infections and toxins.  I watched dozens of clients and all of my fellow herbalists become more vibrant and healthy by simply supplementing with the basic required nutrients and focusing on a diet of whole, organic foods.  Making these changes in my own diet dramatically improved my health and probably saved my life.

Two of the most important nutrients for building and maintaining a strong immune system are Vitamins C and D.

Being Well Nourished = Strong Immunity

All vitamins and minerals are important – they’re required by the body, and are a vital part of maintaining organ function, energy flow, general health and a strong immune system. Take a good multi – preferably one with trace minerals. Every single day. I do, along with extra C, D, E, selenium, and a few others. Your body runs on and is energized, repaired, detoxified and maintained by the chemical reactions that are going on 24/7 inside your body. If the chemistry is right, with all the nutrients, enzymes and electrons present, accounted for and moving efficiently, then good health is the end result. When nutrients are missing, or when foreign substances are present, chemical reactions slow down or get blocked and the body can’t repair or even respond to incoming challenges. This is exactly how imbalances, inflammation and chronic disease begins.

Vitamin C, it turns out, is a very special and powerful nutrient that counteracts inflammation and chronic disease.  Vitamin D is also fundamental for maintaining the boundaries within the body. Keeping our Vitamin D levels above 50 by supplementing on a daily basis with at least 5,000 iu Vitamin D3 will go a long way toward maintaining a strong immune system.

More about Vitamin C

I first learned about high-dose vitamin C from Dr. Wendell Belfield’s books How to Have a Healthier Dog and The Very Healthy Cat Book. He treated, with great success, “incurable” diseases like Distemper in dogs and Feline Leukemia in cats. Despite all the doubters and nay-sayers, of which there were many, he persevered and is one of my personal heroes. He saved the lives of many animals who had been given up for dead by conventional veterinary medicine.  And he improved quality of life for many, many more.  All of my animal friends now receive extra Vitamin C every single day. Me, too.

There is so much to say about Vitamin C.  Primal Panacea by Dr. Thomas E. Levy, M.D., is one of many books that describes the incredibly healing properties of this common vitamin.

What you might not know about Vitamin C

Did you know that most animals make their own Vitamin C?  For some reason, humans and guinea pigs (and a few others) cannot. A goat, however, that is roughly the same body weight as a human, makes 13,000 milligrams per day when in good health and a supportive environment. When faced with life threatening disease or toxic challenge, goats can and do produce as much as 100,000 mg of vitamin C a day. 

“Yes, the vast majority of other mammals produce their own vitamin C, as do most birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. For all of these animals, vitamin C plays an essential role in protecting them from pathogens and toxins.

Humans, on the other hand, must satisfy their need for vitamin C through diet or supplementation. The fact that guinea pigs share in this inability to synthesize their own vitamin C is the primary reason these animals are used for research. Guinea pigs can be made sick or toxic much more easily than a vitamin C-producing animal, allowing many experiments to be performed more quickly and efficiently.”

That’s definitely something to ponder.

How does vitamin C actually work? There are thousands of published studies that demonstrate the efficacy of vitamin C in neutralizing toxins, curing infections, and acting as a strong antiviral. But how is this possible?

Dr. Levy explains it well. It seems that all toxins, including viral and bacterial infections, have something in common. They all cause damage by increasing oxidative stress. Oxidation is a process of electron exchange. When a substance loses electrons, that substance is considered to be oxidizing. Toxins and diseases cause damage by stealing or blocking electrons. Long story short, Vitamin C has an amazing capacity for readily exchanging electrons, helping neutralize harmful molecules and repair cellular damage via this amazing electron-exchanging ability.

Dr. Levy goes on to explain:

“That’s it. There is no other way in which a toxin can be toxic beyond the impairment of electron supply and flow in the biomolecules of the affected tissues. And this is precisely why properly dosed vitamin C, before the point of irreversible tissue damage, will neutralize the toxicity of any toxin exposure or poisoning encountered.”

“In the 1940s Frederick Klenner, MD pioneered the use of mega-gram intravenous doses of vitamin C to effectively treat and often cure many different infections. These included ones even now considered to be incurable, such as polio, tetanus, and encephalitis. He also led the way in demonstrating the ability of vitamin C to act as the ultimate antidote in reversing the toxicity of otherwise fatal doses of agents such as carbon monoxide, pesticides, barbiturates, and even heavy metals.”

Wow. That’s a well-kept secret.

Nourishing Ourselves = Peace of Mind

What does all of this mean for us? It means that we all have access to Vitamin C – a substance that is safe, inexpensive and incredibly effective at treating infections of all kinds. We simply need to ingest it on a regular basis at the dose that works best for our individual bodies. It means that we don’t have to live in fear of contracting viruses or influenza, because when we have antioxidants such as Vitamin C circulating in our bodies, we resist becoming ill, or can prevent an infection from reaching a critical level. And it means that we actually have some control over how much our bodies are affected by living in this toxic and stressful world.

Keeping our bodies supplied with all of the required vitamins and minerals, eating organic whole foods, and supplementing with Vitamins D and C on a daily basis – these are pre-emptive measures that will protect us from exposure to any viral or bacterial infection – West Nile, Zika, or otherwise.


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Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. How to Have a Healthier Dog: The Benefits of Vitamins and Minerals for Your Dog’s Life Cycles. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981. Print.

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Levy, Thomas E. Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins. Henderson, NV: Livon, 2002. Print.

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About Sarah Wadleigh

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Organic Gardener and Nutritional Consultant for people and companion animals. I live in Madrid, New Mexico with my wonderful husband, two little dogs and a big cat. My practice revolves around helping people create health through whole-food nutrition, nutritive herbs, lifestyle and self-awareness. With more than 20 years of experience as an animal nutritional counselor, I offer consultations to improve the health and well-being of our four-legged friends, as well as their humans. We can work together via Skype, in person,or over the phone. Let's create health for ourselves and our animal companions! Contact:
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