"The Formula"
Brian Fraser, HCC-130, Due 10-21-04
Copyright 2004 by Brian Fraser
Updated 11-16-2004c

I was a young student at the local university. When flu season came along, I would always get sick with influenza, usually for a solid week. I was taking a heavy class load in chemical engineering, and, of all times, I did not want to get sick just before final exams. I also did not have the money to see a doctor, nor did I like going to the infirmary and sitting around with the other sick kids only to be told by the doctor, "There is nothing I can do for you. You just need a lot of rest until this passes." I did not have time to rest and I HATED BEING MISERABLE! I needed to find a way to get rid of the flu quickly.

In those days there was a lot of talk about vitamin C, and how it could help fight off the flu. I decided to look into it. I got some nutrition books by Adelle Davis and started reading. I found that vitamin C was necessary to make the antibody complement (among other things) and that the need for it skyrocketed during an illness. But that was only part of the story. Pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and magnesium were needed too. These nutrients were in especially high demand by the body during a viral illness.

I finally developed a protocol that I felt would help me recover from the flu. It went like this:

When sick with the flu, take the following, without fail, every four hours for about 24 hours:

1. Vitamin C, 1000-2000 mg

2. Pantothenic acid, 200-400 mg

3. Vitamin B6, 25 mg

4. Magnesium, 200 mg

5. Vitamin A palmitate (or vitamin A from fish oil) 10,000 I.U.


6. Stay somewhat uncomfortably warm. Avoid taking antipyretic drugs like aspirin unless the fever is getting really high (104 F)

7. If possible, eat something nutritious, even if it is only a bowl of vegetable soup.

8. Take a quality multivitamin a few times during the 24 hours.

This was the "bare bones" student version of the protocol. The dosages were approximately what I would take when I was already very sick with the flu. Milder cases did not require as much.

When I was utterly sick and miserable, the formula was hard to take.  I knew missing a dose would be problematic. The need for vitamin C skyrockets to about 70 times normal during such an illness. And pantothenic acid is needed to form some thirty-odd adrenal hormones and for the production of antibodies and gamma globulins. If I missed a dose, I would quickly become deficient in these nutrients for which there was such an extreme demand. So I had to set an alarm clock to make sure I got up every four hours to take each dose.

I also learned how to fine tune the formula to my particular needs. If I took more vitamin C than my intestines could absorb, I would get temporary diarrhea (timed-release vitamin C seemed to mitigate this problem). If I took more than my body needed, it would act as a diuretic. And staying warm was not enough; I had to be slightly uncomfortably warm to get well. This little nuance seemed to make a big difference. Sometimes, due to circumstances, I would not have one of the ingredients, usually pantothenic acid or B6. I would not run a temperature or get well quickly until I supplied the missing ingredient.

The response to "the formula," as I called it, was very predictable. During the first 1-8 hours, absolutely nothing would happen. No improvement, no change . . . nothing. After about 8-12 hours I would see hints that I might be getting better, but I was still very sick. At about 12-16 hours I would feel that I was definitely getting better. After 16 hours I was sure the illness was coming under control rapidly. After 24 hours, and almost to the exact hour, I would be essentially over the "active disease" portion of the illness and into the "clean up" phase. I would be well enough to go back to school, or to work, but I would still be blowing my nose, maybe taking an occasional antihistamine, and massaging a few stiff muscles. And my need for the formula would continue, but at a much reduced level, for another two or three weeks.

Eventually I realized that I did not need to get sick first in order to get well. At the first sign of the flu I would take a scaled-down version of the formula. I would run a temperature for a few hours, but not get sick. Or I would feel inexplicably tired, but not get ill (or even run a temperature) when half the office was out with the flu. This realization seems silly now, looking back on it. But modern "healthcare" is really "sickness care" not "wellness care." We still suffer from the same misconceptions today!

Years later, I was working at an engineering job at an international company. We continually had people flying back and forth to the Far East. They would bring back every edition of the flu imaginable. And, it seemed that people in the office did not know anything about healthcare. They would sneeze openly into the room without covering their mouth. Or if they covered their mouth, they would not wash their hands. As they subsequently handled common objects like door knobs, microwave ovens, file cabinets, phones, paper cutters, staplers, etc., the flu would rapidly spread. I finally got tired of this. Maybe I should let my work mates know about my formulanow thirty years old.

I convinced one lady, a "cubemate" to try it. She said that it worked well and began calling it "the recipe". When her husband got sick, he tried it and it worked for him too. I wish I could have pursued this little experiment further, and had been able to test the various enhancements I developed over the years beyond the original student version. But the economy took a dive and we all got laid off. And that was the end of that.

Now I am changing professions and am pursuing a career in Nuclear Medicine. Ironically, I probably won't be allowed to talk about "the formula" with my future patients. It will be "outside the scope of my profession."

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Note from Brian Fraser: The article above was written as a student paper for a healthcare class I was taking at Gateway Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.  I am placing it on the Internet because this season (2004-2005) there is a shortage of flu shots and people may want to explore alternatives which have been very effective for some people.

Note that the above paper only deals with ordinary bouts of the flu. People who are extremely ill will likely be hospitalized and under the immediate care of a physician. In such a case I recommend that the equivalent of these nutrients be given by injection or in an IV. I have no experience with these situations however, nor have I received any reports of such.

There are several issues that I did not address in this short paper that are addressed below in the Addendum.



Control of vomiting
Control of diarrhea
Control of irregular heart beat
Control of sore throat
Maintaining a healthy fever

Control of vomiting: One problem I had to confront when using a nutritional treatment for the flu was how to take the formula if I were so nauseated I could not eat anything. My experience with this problem is limited, and my solution to it is only for the so-called "stomach flu."  The remedy was simple. I reasoned that I felt like vomiting because my stomach wanted to get rid of something it did not like. I decided to just help it along on its natural course.  I drank a  large cup of water and then sat myself in front of the toilet. After about 10 minutes, I threw up rather forcefully. Then I drank more water. This time it stayed down for twenty minutes. I threw up again, but the fluid was much clearer.  I drank more water, and after it had stayed down for about 30 minutes, I decided that my stomach was "rinsed out enough" to tolerate a little of my formula. I mashed all the pills with a spoon so if I vomited again, I would not be choking on a half-dissolved tablet. The procedure worked fine and I got well quickly.

I was not so fortunate with my second encounter with this problem years later. I was in a hotel and was very tired.  I kept throwing up about every 45 minutes throughout the night.  I would sleep and throw up, sleep a little more and throw up. . .  After what seemed like a half-dozen cycles of this, I decided to use my Drastic Solution:  I put two drops of tincture of iodine in a cup of water and drank it.  The water tasted terrible, but I felt that whatever "bug" was causing me this problem was going to DIE! and the revenge tasted sweet.  It worked, and I never threw up again that night.

Control of diarrhea: My remedy for diarrhea adopts the same reasoning: diarrhea is caused by the body wanting to rid itself of something it does not like. I just drink water and let it run its course, which is usually just a couple of hours. For a more persistent case, I drink a large glass of water with about a tablespoon of activated charcoal stirred into it.  The charcoal will adsorb any toxins and nutrients that may remain in the intestine. Afterwards, I try to wait about 12 to 24 hours before eating any food, although I continue to drink water as desired.

Activated charcoal can be purchased at many drugstores, although some charge an outrageous price for it.  It is available in dry powder form, which is often dusty and messy to use, or as a small bottle containing activated charcoal premixed with water (just shake and drink the whole thing).  Note that the label must specifically say activated charcoal, not just "charcoal". Activated charcoal will soak up many types of organic poisons, but it will also combine just as easily with food and medicine.  Use it only with water. Save the food and medicine for later.  (Caution: persistent diarrhea could be serious and may require medical intervention. Also, glutamine, an amino acid, is believed to be useful for treating certain types of diarrhea.)

Control of irregular heart beat:   Sometimes when I get a little sick, my heartbeat will get slightly irregular. This usually occurs either during flu season, or when I do something nutritionally stupid like eat half a can of cashew nuts all at once. I found that a large capsule of perilla oil (about a gram) will set my heart rhythm back to normal in about 20 minutes. For this particular purpose perilla oil seems to work better than fish oil, although in the long run, fish oil is probably better for the cardiovascular system. (If fish oil upsets your stomach or smells "fishy",  it may be slightly rancid; try a different brand). Magnesium and taurine can also be helpful nutrients for an irregular heatbeat.

Control of sore throat: My experience with a sore throat is very limited. I hate getting sore throats so much that, at the first sign I am about to get one, I take 50,000 I.U. of Vitamin A (from fish oil or vitamin A palmitate) and 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D3. Then I wait an hour and see what happens. Typically, the symptoms will quickly subside, but then return several hours later.  This usually means that I am about to get sick with the flu, and so I also start taking some vitamin C and pantothenic acid as well. But I  never get a fully-developed "clinical" sore throat. As long as my potential sore throat seems to be a "simple" one that is associated with the flu season, I'll continue taking massive doses of vitamin A until I think the threat has passed (which is usually a day or two). After that, I'll drop back to lower doses. Also, most drug stores sell a "sore throat spray" containing 1.4% phenol that is helpful in controlling sore throat pain. (Caution: Sore throats can be serious and may require medical intervention)

Maintaining a healthy fever: In the above paper I mentioned that a person with the flu needs to stay "somewhat uncomfortably warm."  This point needs some elaboration. Steven E. Langer, M.D., points out some experiments on how the body uses fever to fight an infection:

"Experiments by G. W. Duff and S. K. Durum showed that at two degrees centigrade of fever, certain immune system defendersT cells and antibodiesincreased by 2000 percent over their number at normal body temperature. Similar findings were reported by another research team. Antibody production in the spleen cells has been found to increase dramatically during a fever. Scientists have concluded that the hormone-like substances, called interleukin-1, set off body defense cells to fight infection and also send the brain signals to increase body temperature to provide an ideal climate for the multiplication of defense cells. Many physiologists believe that human beings are equipped with a temperature regulation system which puts a ceiling on fever at approximately 41.11 degrees centigrade (106 degrees Fahrenheit). In heat stroke and malignant hyperthermia, temperature breaks through to killing levels."  (Solved: The Riddle of Illness, Stephen E. Langer, 1984, p. 37-38)

He also mentions the studies done on infected lizards. Lizards are cold blooded, meaning they cannot maintain their body heat independently of the environment.  What does a lizard do when it gets sick?  We find out in the studies of M. J. Kluger:

"Lizards do not have a built-in fever-generating system such as ours and must find fever-inducing sources on the outside. The Kluger team learned that sick lizards have an instinct which makes them seek hot environments in order to raise their body temperatures to fever level when they are sick. Infected fish, too, swim to warmer water to raise their temperatures and combat illness." (ibid., p.37-38)

Modern physiology text books also acknowledge this concept:

"Elevated body temperature due to fever offers powerful protection. Higher body temperature causes the liver and spleen to sequester iron, which reduces the level of iron in the blood. Since bacteria and fungi require more iron as temperature rises, their growth and reproduction in a fever-ridden body slow and may cease. Also, phagocytic cells attack more vigorously when the temperature rises. For these reasons, low-grade fever of short duration may be a desired response, not something to be treated aggressively with medications."  (Hole's Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology, D. Shier, J. Butler, and R. Lewis, 8th ed., (2003) p. 374)

When I get sick, I know I am not going to get well until I start running a fever, or a least a temperature. If I get "the chills" and I am in a warm room, I know my body is trying to generate heat and that I am probably in the early stages of getting sick. I take the formula, and then promptly do something to get warm. Depending on the circumstances, it might be taking a hot shower, putting on more clothes and coats, turning up the thermostat, jumping into bed and piling on the blankets, or eating some hot soup.  But being comfortably warm does not seem to be quite enough. Once, I got comfortably warm in bed, but then I turned on the electric blanket. After that, I felt hot, but I was still comfortable. I got the impression that my body needed a lot more heat than I thought it did. So in the early stages of fighting off the flu, I try to stay just a little bit uncomfortably warm.

After several hours, I just seem to know when I am "done" and the illness, what of it there was, has run its course. All the extra clothes and blankets start coming off. After that stage passes, I just try to stay normally warm and comfortable.

Enhancements to The Formula

I have been reluctant to write about enhancements to The Formula. Although I use some of the enhancements listed below, their efficacy is hard to prove because I just don't get sick anymore. Still, they are worth mentioning, and might even be crucial in some cases. Hence, I'll cite some of the literature references about nutrients that I think are useful in treating influenza and other diseases.

Vitamin D3:

This inexpensive vitamin is apparently useful in treating or preventing influenza. Please read the following article in full, a quotation from which follows:

"Epidemic Influenza And Vitamin D", Dr. J. J. Cannell, 15 Sep 2006,  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=51913

Although our paper discusses the possibility that physiological doses of vitamin D (5,000 units a day) may prevent colds and the flu, and that physicians might find pharmacological doses of vitamin D (2,000 units per kilogram of body weight per day for three days) useful in treating some of the one million people who die in the world every year from influenza, we remind readers that it is only a theory. Like all theories, our theory must withstand attempts to be disproved with dispassionately conducted and well-controlled scientific experiments.

However, as vitamin D deficiency has repeatedly been associated with many of the diseases of civilization, we point out that it is not too early for physicians to aggressively diagnose and adequately treat vitamin D deficiency. We recommend that enough vitamin D be taken daily to maintain 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels at levels normally achieved through summertime sun exposure (50 ng/ml). For many persons, such as African Americans and the elderly, this will require up to 5,000 units daily in the winter and less, or none, in the summer, depending on summertime sun exposure.

For a 150 pound man (68 kg) "2000 units per kilogram of body weight" equates to about 136,000 I.U. each day for three days (during the illness). The D3 form (colecalciferol) is the most effective.

Other articles about Vitamin D:

"The Antibiotic Vitamin: Deficiency in vitamin D may predispose people to infection", Janet Raloff, Science News,  http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20061111/bob9.asp

"Epidemic influenza and vitamin D",  http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=469543

"The Miracle Vitamin: New evidence shows that getting enough D may be the most important thing you can do for your health", Reader's Digest,  Sept, 2006, Paula Dranov, p. 163+ http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=28654&trkid=rdmagkw_0609

"Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy: an ongoing epidemic", Bruce W Hollis and Carol L Wagner, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 2, 273, August 2006, http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/84/2/273

Articles about Pandemic Influenza and H5N1 Bird Flu:

"Why Pandemic Influenza Is So Frightening: A Look Back at 1918 in the Hope of Inspiring Informed Concern for the Present and Future", Howard Markel, MD, PhD, Posted 11/16/2006,   http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/546865?src=mp

"Key Facts About Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus" http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/facts.htm

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