The Friend Within

The Friend Within

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of
Walt Kelly, in one of the most famous cartoons of all time, has his hero, Pogo, proclaim, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” Conversely, an old African proverb says, “If there is no enemy within, the enemy without can do you no harm.”

I have been asked many questions about bioterrorism since the announcement that a postal worker had died of anthrax. Some have asked how real the threat is, others whether vaccines are available, most what they can do to protect themselves from attack.

Beginning in 1998 the Working Group on Civilian Biodefense, a panel selected from academic medical centers, civilian and military governmental agencies, and other public health and emergency management institutions and agencies began meeting to develop recommendations for measures to be taken by medical and public health professionals if biological weapons were unleashed against a civilian population. To date the panel has published recommendations regarding five potential biological agents: anthrax, smallpox, plague, botulinum toxin, and tularemia.

The threat is real. During the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union developed sophisticated biological weapons. The United States’ program was terminated in 1970, and stockpiles of biological agents were destroyed in 1973. The Soviet program continued, however, and other countries, including Iraq, as well as various terrorist groups are known to have experimented with biological agents.

The Soviet program was massive in scope. The smallpox division, for example, was capable of manufacturing several tons of smallpox annually. Accountability of the Soviet laboratories was lost during the period of instability accompanying the break-up of the Soviet Union, and portions of the arsenal may have fallen into the hands of terrorist organizations.

The potential impact of an attack upon a population center is much greater than is generally being reported today. For example, a 1993 report by the US Congressional Office of Technology Assessment estimated that between 130,000 and 3 million deaths could follow the aerosolized release of 100 kg of anthrax spores upwind of the Washington, DC, area, a toll matching or exceeding that of a hydrogen bomb.

Following the Gulf War Iraq admitted that it had produced 19,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 3 times the amount needed to wipe out the entire population of the earth. 10,000 liters had been loaded into weapons, but the much of the remainder is unaccounted for.

Vaccines are, for the most part, unavailable. When the World Health Organization’s program to eradicate smallpox was successful smallpox vaccines became obsolete. No one has been vaccinated against smallpox for approximately 25 years, and current supplies of the vaccine are outdated and limited. It is estimated that 3 years will be required to develop an effective smallpox vaccination program.

Vaccines against the other organisms are relatively ineffective. This is due in part to the manner in which they are disseminated when used as a weapon. The biological organisms are generally produced in an aerosol form for use as a weapon. This means that the organisms are not contracted by skin contact or ingested in food, as is the usual case. Rather they are inhaled and go directly to the lungs causing a much more severe form of the disease, against which vaccines are less effective.

The current antrax agent is susceptible to antibiotics, but biological weapons laboratories have concentrated on developing agents that are antibiotic resistant. The degree to which they have been successful and the availability of these agents to terrorist organizations are largely unknown.

A strong immune system is the best defense against a biological attack. This is not a new concept. It is just common sense. People who drink adequate amounts of pure water, eat wholesome foods, are physically active, and who support their body’s nutritional needs with optimum quantities of vitamins and minerals rarely succumb to the colds and flus that plague the rest of the population, and when they are hit with an infection in is typically much milder and of shorter duration.

I do not advocate taking an antibiotic “just in case.” Antibiotic use can actually weaken the body’s immune system by destroying the body’s normal flora, the bacteria that are designed to protect it from harmful organisms.

No antibiotic is capable of clearing an infection if the body’s immune system is compromised. The only thing an antibiotic can do is slow the growth of bacteria enough for the body’s immune system to destroy them. An active and healthy immune system has a much greater chance of not only clearing infections, whether naturally occurring or introduced by a bioterrorist, but of limiting the severity of the infection so that it will be more amenable to antibiotic therapy.

Smallpox, being a virus rather than a bacterium, is not affected by antibiotics. There are a number of simple measures that, instituted at the first sign of a viral illness, can dramatically limit the severity of a viral infection. I recommend that every family have an emergency supply of the needed supports on hand, since viral infections generally appear quickly and without warning, regardless of the source.

Vitamin A or beta-carotene is needed in large amounts to support the body’s war on viruses. 25,000 to 50,000 IU twice daily should be started at the onset of symptoms, such as fever, aching, or chilling, and continued for 10 to 14 days.

Vitamin C intake should also be increased. While 1000 mg. daily is adequate under normal circumstances, 4,000 to 6,000 mg. may be needed when the body is under attack. 500 to 1000 mg. should be taken every 4 hours until symptoms subside. Reduce the amount if stools become loose.

Sambucol is an incredibly effective aid. It is comprised of several compounds that are extracted from elderberry. It must not be confused with other elderberry juices or elixirs. Viruses rely upon their ability to invade cells and use the cell’s manufacturing processes to replicate themselves. Discovered several years ago by an Israeli biochemist, Sambucol effectively coats viruses so that they are unable to penetrate human cells. This means that an infected individual needs to contend only with the first wave of the virus rather than multiple generations. I have recommended it’s use in may types of viral illness, including influenza and chickenpox, which generally affect people for at least ten to fourteen days and are commonly associated with secondary complications. Invariably, children and adults alike recover within 36 to 48 hours when Sambucol is administered at the onset of symptoms. Rarely do more than half a dozen pox lesions appear. It should be taken four times daily for two days.

Supplements that support the body’s immune system are helpful in limiting the severity and duration of viral and bacterial infections. Examples include Beta-Glucan, colostrum, Cat’s Claw (una de gato), Taheebo (pau d’arco), aloe vera, Echinacea and goldenseal.

We live in a hostile world. We are exposed regularly to naturally occurring threats to our survival. The new biological weapons are only the latest additions to the long list of potential invaders. We are not defenseless. We have within us a masterfully designed system that is capable of effectively countering almost any attack, provided that we give it the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Most people are Pogos. They are their own worst enemy in that they not only fail to provide nutritional supports for their immune system, they habitually weaken it by drinking chlorinated water, eating junk food laden with refined sugars, and failing to get adequate rest.

We need not live in constant fear of succumbing to an infectious disease, either naturally occurring or weaponized. When we support the friend within, the enemy without can do us no harm.
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