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Respiratory Infections

Colds & Flu


Now here is a well traveled highway: 


sniffle > cold > flu > pneumonia 


Vitamin C can help stop this series before it starts. 


The further you've gone down the path of sickness, the more "C" it will take to heal. The faster a locomotive is going, the more braking power it takes to stop it. Dr. Linus Pauling says to start taking more C at the very first sniffle. Good idea. 


It is common for people to raise their eyebrows when many therapeutic claims are made for a single vitamin. "Vitamin C for colds, maybe. But pneumonia?  C'mon!"


My central thesis may help explain it: The reason one vitamin can CURE so many conditions is that a deficiency of one vitamin can CAUSE many conditions.  Disease is often the aggravated result of vitamin deficiency. If this seems to be too much emphasis on nutrition and not enough on microbes, we must remember that we live with viruses and bacteria all about us, all the time. Yet everyone is not sick all of the time. Differing nutritional status is at least as important a consideration as any other. A deficiency of any one vitamin can eventually cause death. Still, the aggressive use of vitamins to cure disease is seldom advocated. 


Take vitamin C, for example. Because it is so good for so many illnesses, to the medical profession it is seen as TOO good for TOO MANY conditions. What a nice problem to have. This substance is too useful. Mmm. Can't have that, now, can we! 


Of course, doctors use the same antibiotic for dozens of different infectious diseases. Their argument is that there is cause (pathogenic bacteria) that must be stopped. Antibiotics kill bacteria like an A-bomb. Vitamin C stops bacteria in a different way: it works through the body's immune system, like the French Resistance. You can probably win the war either way, but I'd rather avoid the negative effects of both the Bomb and the antibiotics. 


A discussion of bacteria here is not entirely off-topic. Doctors (including a board-certified internist friend of mine who treated me, long ago) will give antibiotics for viral illnesses, such as pneumonia, to treat or prevent a secondary infection.


Robert F. Cathcart III, M.D., writes:


“Massive doses of ascorbate assist the immune system to kill bacteria within the body but also have the ability to kill bacteria by some mechanism, which does not seem to involve the immune system. These bacteria and L-forms of bacteria hide out in cells, especially when antibiotics are used, and explain some of the resistance acquired by bacteria against antibiotics. I have yet to see bacteria that can become resistant to massive doses of ascorbate in combination with first and second-generation antibiotics. Admittedly in a private practice, I do not see the most resistant bacteria, but this combination has been impressive and deserves to be tried against the most resistant bacteria. It may solve the impending problem of increasingly resistant bacteria.”



Dr. Robert Cathcart says vitamin C works exceptionally well as an antiviral (and antibiotic) if you take enough. "Enough" is called "saturation," and is indicated by loose bowels and/or intestinal gas. Try taking vitamin C until saturation is reached. 


Additional suggestions:

20,000 IU of Vitamin A daily and a few grams of bioflavonoid supplements will also help. When sick, I drink lots of carrot juice and don't need to take extra vitamin A. During illness, if you eat almost entirely fruits and vegetables, you won't need the bioflavonoid supplement either. 


The biggest difference you will find in treating influenza is that your saturation level of vitamin C will be higher (perhaps MUCH higher) than with the common cold. Dr. Linus Pauling has been saying this for decades, starting with his classic book, Vitamin C, The Common Cold and The Flu (Freeman, 1970). His more recent book, How To Live Longer and Feel Better (1986, revised 2006 and reviewed at ), is even better. It is practical, clear, and contains hundreds of supporting scientific references. 


Preventing is obviously easier than treating severe illness. Immediate use of hourly gram doses of vitamin C up to saturation will usually stop bronchitis or pneumonia from ever starting. But if they have, treat serious illness seriously: in the very young or the very old, pneumonia can kill. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention. 

Here is a second opinion. Dr. Cathcart advocates treating pneumonia with up to 200,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily, often intravenously. You and I can simulate a 24 hour IV of Vitamin C by taking it by mouth very, very often. When I had pneumonia, it took 2,000 mg of vitamin C every six minutes to get me to saturation. My oral daily dose was over 100,000 mg. Fever, cough and other symptoms were reduced in hours; complete recovery took just a few days. Bronchitis clears up even faster. That is performance at least as good as any antibiotic will give, and the vitamin is both safer and cheaper. 

May I suggest consulting the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine for additional support for mega-vitamin therapies? The research is done, the write-ups are out there, and you can read hundreds of papers free of charge right now at

Treating respiratory infections with massive amounts of vitamin C is not a new idea at all. Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. and William J. McCormick, M.D. used this approach successfully for decades beginning back in the 1940's. You will want to consult their works, listed in the Bibliography under "Vitamin C," or do a website search for their names. Doctors who think that vitamin C generally has merit, but that massive doses are ineffective or somehow harmful will do well to read the original papers for themselves. Clinical evidence confirms the powerful antibiotic effect of vitamin C when used in sufficient quantity. 

Speaking as a parent, I can confirm that vitamin C works as well as antibiotics since our children have never needed antibiotics, not even once. That is not because we did nothing; we used vitamin C instead. 

Vitamin C can be used alone or right along with medicines if one so chooses. Prescription drugs are not doing the job. 75,000 Americans die from pneumonia each year (Vital Statistics of the U.S., Department of Health and Human Services, Vol. 2, 1989). There is no question that aggressive use of vitamin C would lower that figure a great deal. There is no excuse for excluding it.


by Andrew W. Saul

(The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER, Vol. 5, No. 14, Nov. 2005)


My daughter's parakeet is in grave danger.


Need you ask why? Because the Bird Flu is coming!


With all this terrifying talk about bird flu, I have a lingering question: Has anyone thought about protecting the birds? Living near Lake Ontario, I regularly feed entirely too many seagulls. They come inland as well.  Just this weekend, I fed a characteristically ravenous flock of them at an interstate highway parking lot. The gulls encircled me like a Hitchcock movie. Another time, I was ungraciously harassed by a renegade herd of emus that I was, perhaps unwisely, attempting to feed. I had to climb up onto some boulders to get out of range.


Nice ol' birds; they just wanted a nosh.  


Too bad they are all going to die. And soon, too.


Yes, every one of them. There will not be a gull (or at the lake, a bouy) left standing. Surely, now, if bird flu is truly dangerous, the birds are at terrible risk. All of them. No more starlings. No more pigeons. Goodbye, Mr. Hawk. Goodbye, Mrs. Robin. No more Woody; no more "Beep-Beeps"; Donald is doomed.


And then there's all the gorgeous song birds, all those tiny little dickie birds, like the ones I've held in my hand while they were being banded: they are all dead meat.


What's that you say? That I'm exaggerating? That all the world's bird species are NOT condemned to get Bird Flu? Then I say, Ask yourself how that can be.


After all, no shots means no chance. Or at least that is the gist of our pharmaphilic government's and media's clanging presentations to the public.


Truth be told, this is nothing new. They've tried this before with the colossal Swine Flu panic some thirty years ago. Remember?


The U.S. Government cannot say without qualification that flu shots are either safe or essential. 


Here is what the government of the United States said about the infamous Swine Flu vaccine, in a 1976 mass-distributed FDA Consumer Memo on the subject: 


"Some minor side effects - tenderness in the arm, low fever, tiredness - will occur in less than 4% of (vaccinated) adults.  Serious reactions from flu vaccines are very rare." 


So much for blanket claims of safety, for many persons well remember the very numerous and very serious side effects of Swine Flu vaccine that forced the federal immunization program to a halt.


As far as being essential, in the same memo the FDA said this of the same vaccine:


"Question: What can be done to prevent an epidemic?  Answer: The only preventive action we can take is to develop a vaccine to immunize the public against the virus.  This will prevent the virus from spreading."


This was seen to be totally false; after all; the public immunization program was abruptly halted and still there was no epidemic of Swine Flu.  If vaccination were the only defense, literally tens of millions of Americans should have been struck down with the Swine Flu, for a large percentage of the population of the U.S. was not vaccinated.


Surely there are other factors involved in prevention of illness or epidemic.  But try telling that to allopathically-oriented health commissioners and doctors. You'd think that monks and nuns who work with the sick would have to get their patients' diseases... but they seldom do. Did the elderly and diminutive Mother Theresa die from leprosy? From AIDS?


If germs or viruses are all around us, why aren't we all dead, or at least deathly ill?  And how come crows and vultures regularly eat diseased and decaying road kill, pressing their faces into a maggoty mess, and then fly happily away?


And, as my friends and I used to so energetically search railroad underpasses for sick and injured pigeons to take to our treehouse and nurse back to health, well, I now wonder how we survived at all.


But as for you, you non-bird you, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the medical media say that without a shot, you are a sitting duck for bird flu.


It seems to me, by logical extension, that without vaccinations for all birds, all birds are goners. Ducks included, sitting or otherwise. Without flu shots for birds, there will be no birds. Silent spring.


Birds are seemingly such frail little creatures. Their permanently feverish bodies are already around 104 degrees Fahrenheit every day. A bird with a real fever must be one hot little number indeed. Yet, every year, tiny little chickadees spend entire frigid winters in my backyard. Gale force subzero winds and our typical eight to ten feet of snowfall do not stop them. And they do not have vaccinations. Not a one. They don't even have heated socks. How on earth do they do it?


So: Shall I have my daughter's little green budgie vaccinated? All the more reason, really, since the parakeet is also at risk from all the human flu strains. Yes, Virginia, all those zillions of Human Flu viruses are out there, just waiting to kill your 'keet. And you with it.


Influenza is a serious disease, and historically, has been the Reaper's scythe. About 10 million soldiers were killed in World War I, charging machine guns and getting mowed down month after month.  There were nearly a million casualties at the Somme and another million at Verdun.  A terrible slaughter went on for four years.  Yet, in just the two years following the war, over 20 million people died from influenza.  That is more than twice as many deaths from the flu in one-half the time it took the machine guns. There is no way to make light of that.


On the other hand, there is ample reason to now, finally, end our wishful belief that flu shots stop the flu, because generally they don't, not even in the elderly, their target audience.


NBC and the Associated Press ( reported on Sept 22, 2005 that


"A new analysis of 40 years of research provides more evidence that flu shots are not as effective in the elderly as commonly believed. But health officials said older people should still be vaccinated. . . The findings are similar to those of a study done by U.S. National Institutes of Health that found flu shots for the elderly in the United States had not saved lives."


And then they add: "Flu shots may be required in all nursing homes. Federal officials urging flu shots for all this year."


Will Rogers sure was right: with stuff like this in the papers, who needs a comedy writer? Congress writes farce so very well, and the news obligingly tosses it straight into to our living rooms.


But wait: there's more!


An interesting if not downright revealing article at (1) says, in part:


"According to a study appearing in the Sept. 22 online issue of The Lancet, vaccines against influenza are only "modestly effective" in people in long-term care facilities and even less effective for elderly people still living in the community. . . "The vaccine doesn't work very well at all," said study author Dr. Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the Cochrane Vaccines Field in Rome. "Vaccines are being used as an ideological weapon. What you see every year as the flu is caused by 200 or 300 different agents with a vaccine against two of them. That is simply nonsense." Dr. Marc Siegel, author of "False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear," agreed. "We have set up a situation where a fear is created, and then we try to create the treatment for this fear. The public gets the idea that the flu is going to kill them and the vaccine will save them. Neither is true," he said."


For the record, both these critics are medical doctors.


With our century's worth of accumulated scientific hindsight, we must today ask this: Was a lack of vaccinations really the cause of those flu deaths, or was it really wartime stress,  and especially war-induced malnutrition, that set the stage in 1918? And now, once again, we have an alarming and rather similar scenario: between nutrient-poor processed convenience foods, McNothing meals and TV news scare stories, we have the basic ingredients for an epidemic.


But we now also have a simple, safe and effective answer. First, the nutrition solution: eat a good, healthy, whole foods natural diet, and take lots and lots of vitamin C. And second: relax! De-stress your life, take it easy, and cheer up. It has been very well said that you are of much more value than any number of birds. You are factory-equipped with a kick-ass mammalian immune system that is a true marvel of nature. To maximize your resistance to any viral disease, including any strain of flu, I think you would do well to stop eating processed junk food, and load up on ascorbate.


You too can be chipper and chirping away, ignoring swine flu hype, SARS scares, bird flu panics, or any other viral bogeymen being used to scare you into a coerced relationship with a flu shot.



1. Gardner A. Flu vaccine only mildly effective in elderly. HealthDay Reporter, Sept 21, 2005.



The best presentation I have ever seen on just how vitamin C megadoses prevent and cure avian influenza is posted for free reading at the website of Robert F. Cathcart, M.D.:


These online articles may also be of interest:


Flu vaccines are largely ineffective:


Bird Flu Background and Relation to Vitamin C:

Bird Flu Dangers Greatly Exaggerated:



Copyright  C  2008, 2004 and prior years Andrew W. Saul. 


Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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