Viral Immunity by J. E. Williams - Read Online
Viral Immunity
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HIV, hepatitis, influenza, the common cold, herpes, Ebola, Hantavirus, West Nile fever, dengue, TT virus--the viral world keeps posing new major challenges to human health each year. At the same time as this onslaught of emerging powerful viral infections, our antibiotic arsenals are losing ground and our immune systems are compromised. Can we handle the next viral epidemic?

Yes, says James Williams, an experienced, credentialled naturopath, acupuncturist, and expert in traditional Chinese medicine. We can shore up our immune system to handle current and any future viral infections and not be dependent on conventional vaccinations or antibiotics to insure our health.

In 10 practical steps, Dr. Williams shows how to develop unassailable viral immunity using natural approaches. If you already have a viral infection, these steps will help you reverse its effects; if you're concerned about exposure to one in the future, these steps will give you the keys to prevention. Included in these steps are the best that natural medicine offers: stress management, enzymes, nutrients, detoxification, oxygen therapy, immune modulators, hormones, natural antiviral medicines and anti-inflammatory medicines, Chinese and Western herbs, and more.

"Viral immunity is without question one of the most important health issues of this century," says Dr. Williams. "The message of this book is clear. You can improve your system in general with diet, lifestyle, and natural medicines. Here you will find natural ways of improving immune function, remedies to treat viral infections, and suggestions on how to reframe outdated concepts that could otherwise prevent you from obtaining effective treatment."

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Author J.E. Williams puts viruses in perspective, as the specter of a viral epidemic looms over us…. A brief review of the history of infectious disease and modern viral illnesses gives the reader a better understanding of this microorganism. The author says although we have progressed greatly technologically, the more we improve, the more vulnerable we become to other diseases, especially viruses.

The author of Viral Immunity has written a timely and important book for both the public and practitioners, as viral disease is proliferating at a rapid pace.

Viral Immunity is the most comprehensive book on viral illness, treatment and prevention that I have seen, and an essential resource for both practitioners and patients. It's very readable, while explaining complex systems such as our immune system and the world of viruses.

—Irene Alleger, Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients

Drawing on over 20 years of clinical experience in diagnosing and treating chronic viral illnesses, … Dr. Williams explores both viruses and viral illness and explains prevention and treatment in a manner unavailable to the public until now.

In a world in which our borders and oceans no longer provide barriers to war, terrorism and pestilence, Viral Immunity is a book that could, literally, save your life.

Total Health

In Viral Immunity, James Williams, OMD does an outstanding job of educating the reader—whether lay public or healthcare practitioner—about viruses, viral diseases, and both the conventional and natural approaches to prevention and treatment of viral illness.

This text is an important reference for individuals desiring to avoid viral infections, for patients with chronic viral diseases who would like to know more about their illness and treatment, in addition to the healthcare professional wanting more information on methods of enhancing viral immunity.

—Alan L. Miller, ND, Alternative Medicine Review

The most effective way to handle current and future viral infections, says Williams, is to strengthen your immune system naturally. In Viral Immunity, Williams lays out guidelines to create a personalized viral immunity program based on his years of research and experience.

The New Times

Other books by J. E. Williams

Prolonging Health

The Andean Codex

Beating the Flu

Copyright © 2002

by J. E. Williams, O.M.D.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work in any form whatsoever, without permission in writing from the publisher, except for brief passages in connection with a review.

Interior illustrations by Anne L. Louque

Cover design by Marjoram Productions

Cover image ©2002 Corbis Images / Picture Quest

About the cover image: Tobacco mosaic virus; the first virus to be isolated and also the first virus to be photographed by electronmicroscopy.

Interior photograph of influenza virus ©2002 Corbis Images / Picture Quest

Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.

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Charlottesville, VA 22902


fax: 434-296-5096


If you are unable to order this book from your local bookseller, you may order directly from the publisher. Call 1-800-766-8009, toll-free.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2002100967

ISBN 10: 1-57174-265-4

ISBN 13: 978-1-57174-265-0

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Printed on acid-free paper in the United States


This book is written as a source of information to educate the reader. It is not intended to replace medical advice or care, whether provided by a primary care physician, a specialist, or a licensed alternative medical professional. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new medications, diet, nutrients, or any form of health program. Dosages are given in ranges for the average adult and are to be used as guidelines only. Effects from any medication can vary a great deal from person to person, and applications must be adjusted to meet individual requirements. The author has spent a great deal of time and energy supporting the information contained in this book with published documentation; however, this research is not meant to be used as justification for any of the recommendations contained in the book.

Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any adverse effects arising from the use or application of any of the information contained herein, nor do they guarantee that everyone will benefit or be healed by these techniques, and are not responsible if they are not. The author has no financial ties to any of the products, clinics, services, or medications cited in the text.

Table of Contents



Introduction: What Viral Immunity Is, How You Can Achieve It, and Why It's So Important

Part One: Viruses, Immunity, and Evolution

1: The Virus at Our Doorstep

2: Viruses: Common and Exotic—A Review of the Key Viral Agents

3: Immunity and Viral Disease

4: Fever and Fatigue

5: Why We Get Sick and How to Get Better

Part Two: Ten Steps to Viral Immunity

Introduction to Part Two

6: Step One: Build a Strong Immune Foundation with an Immune-Enhancing Lifestyle

7: Step Two: Defend and Strengthen Your Immune System with Antioxidants and Oxidative Therapies

8: Step Three: Rejuvenate Your Immune System with Enzymes

9: Step Four: Renew Your Cells through Detoxification

10: Step Five: Restore Your Innate Immune Response and Manage Inflammation

11: Step Six: Boost Your Immunity with Natural Immune Enhancers

12: Step Seven: Target Viruses with Natural Antiviral Alternatives

13: Step Eight: Empower Your Viral Immunity Program with Chinese Medicines

14: Step Nine: Optimize Immune Performance with Hormonal Balance

15: Step Ten: Implement Your Viral Immunity Plan

Appendix A: Finding the Right Doctor to Oversee Your Viral Immunity Program

Appendix B: Useful Laboratory Tests that Support Your Viral Immunity Program

Appendix C: Physician-Administered and -Prescribed Therapies

Appendix D: A Note on Vaccinations

Appendix E: Resources

Appendix F: Additional Reading





About the Author


I grew up in a small New England farming community in the 1950s and 1960s. Second- and third-growth forests of birch, maple, and white pine blanketed a landscape dotted with green patches of pasture, orchards, and only an occasional front lawn. Streams were full of trout, deer roamed the forests, and beavers built dams and flooded hollows, creating ponds where migrating mallards rested on their way to Canada. However, all was not completely pastoral.

On the viral scene, smallpox had yet to be eradicated; the new kissing disease emerged at a time when French-kissing before marriage was still taboo. Paranoia over viruses was common. Rabies, for example, was a serious issue among farming folk, and even the favorite dog was put down if there was the slightest hint of foaming at the mouth or strange behavior. Children were forbidden to play with wild animals, and bats—common in attics and barns—also conjured up dark fears of rabies. During the hot, humid summers, swimming in the local watering holes was a pleasure; however, on several occasions these ponds were off limits. They were called polio pits, and parents scared children into avoiding them with stories of the crippling effects of poliomyelitis.

Ironically, at the same time we were allowed to swim in a river that had been chemically purified by run-off from a factory just upstream. The water was so clean that no fish, algae, or any life at all grew in it. No one questioned the effects of swimming there, not realizing that it was sterile due to toxic chemical runoff. Another river was so polluted that it turned an opaque green, and at times, small bursts of fire flickered on its surface.

Luckily, in the countryside, serious contagious infections were almost non-existent. The worst-case scenarios and parental fears never materialized, and I never caught anything more than a seasonal cold or mild flu. Those times were the beginning of the age of vaccinations that were given to all children by the local country doctor in the school gymnasium. Things have changed dramatically since then, yet the notion of viral plagues is still an ingrained part of the psyche.

It seems every generation has had its viral epidemic: in those times it was polio, while the decades between 1980–2000 belonged to AIDS. Now, chronic hepatitis may prove to be the virus of our times, and the next after that may belong to stealth viruses, a new super-flu, a previously unknown virus, or the re-emergence of smallpox through an act of bioterrorism.

My professional interest in viral diseases began early in my career. In the early 1980s I worked with AIDS support groups in San Diego, as well as with chronic Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus cases at the California Clinic of Preventive Medicine in Del Mar. My work with these viral illnesses lead me to look at other viruses, including hepatitis C in the late 1980s and later at human herpes virus-6.

In 1997, my own near-death encounter with an infectious illness brought the frightening reality of emerging disease to my doorstep. Most likely contracted during a trip to Peru where I conduct ethnomedical research, studying the medical systems of indigenous peoples, I experienced an acute episode of high fever, severe headache, and the loss of my color vision (it returned after two weeks), followed by rheumatoid arthritis three months after my return from the Amazon.

Though numerous blood tests were ordered, all attempts to determine a diagnosis were futile, leaving the most likely diagnosis to be a rare form of delayed-onset dengue. A mosquito-born virus that mimics the symptoms of malaria, it had caused an autoimmune reaction in which my body's defense system attacked itself.

Conventional medicine was useless for my condition. Since all the blood tests were inconclusive, and a name could not be assigned to my case, it was considered untreatable. I even went to the world famous Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California to consult the most prestigious infectious disease specialists—all to no avail. It was as if my illness did not exist. So when the internists, infectious disease specialists, pathologists, and immunologists threw up their hands, I became impatient with modern medicine and began treating myself with natural medicine.

For treatment, I drew upon my considerable knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, homotoxicology (a modern form of medical homeopathy discussed in part 2), and nutritional medicine, as well as with Taoist breathing exercises, meditation, and shamanic techniques.

In the process of recovery, I became determined to find out more about such conditions, so as to help others with viral diseases. This lead me to intensive study and to interviewing immunologists and virologists, as well as naturopathic physicians and doctors of Oriental medicine who had experience in treating viral diseases. I subsequently published several academic papers on the integrated management of hepatitis C, and out of all this developed the practical ideas for this book.

In the twenty-first century the specter of a viral epidemic looms over us, and in many ways our fears are justified. A brief review of the history of infectious disease and modern viral illnesses will set the stage for this book.

I find it enlightening to listen to doctors and nurses of the older generations speak about their experiences prior to World War II. At that time, infectious diseases were still common in the United States, and doctors were trained in medical school to routinely recognize and rapidly diagnosis tuberculosis, smallpox, yellow fever, malaria, scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid fever, and even cholera.

In fact, serious infectious diseases were among the most common of problems for which a physician was tasked in those days of house calls. Children still died of diarrheal diseases. Syphilis was incurable before the advent of penicillin, and among the elderly, influenza was a dreaded and often deadly disease. Patients with tuberculosis were housed to overflowing in special sanatoriums because before antibiotics, there was no specific treatment for this disease other than bed rest, fresh air, fluids, time, and prayer.

We have come a long way since then—technologically speaking—but, ironically, the more we improve, the more vulnerable we become to other diseases, especially viruses.

When, then-U.S. Surgeon General William H. Stewart,¹ announced that the war on infectious disease was won in 1969, the medical profession and the general public applauded, genuinely believing that humans had indeed permanently triumphed over nature. Stewart's pronouncements promoted a sense of false security that created a policy de-emphasizing infectious disease as a major public health issue for two decades, and as a consequence people in America and the industrialized world quickly forgot that deadly infections ever existed.

How far from the truth they were was unimaginable until only very recently.

A little more then a decade later, new threats began emerging, one after the other: AIDS, caused by the human immunodeficiency virus; genital herpes, caused by a virus in the herpes family; hepatitis C and other viral diseases, including a new strain of influenza A; and deadly hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola and hantavirus.

Other nonviral infectious agents were not sitting around quietly either. The medical world was shocked at the re-emergence of a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis; cholera epidemics in Peru killed thousands; and deadly outbreaks of food-borne Escherichia coli were found in fast-food hamburgers. Lyme disease, a spirochete bacterial infection that is still baffling doctors, has become endemic in some parts of the United States, and antibiotic-resistant infections threaten hospitalized patients with flesh-eating bacteria. Anthrax, a deadly bacterial disease once rare in the United States, re-emerged in 2001 as a consequence of bioterrorism.

Many questions arise from these facts, which I address in the first part of this book. Are these new illnesses or are they diseases that have always existed and only now are manifesting through a natural evolutionary process of which we are unaware? One of the most important questions is this: are these new illnesses strictly medical issues solvable by stronger pharmaceutical drugs and better vaccines, or are they environmental, ecological, and largely social issues of public health?

We are inclined to think of modern medicine as one unified army of gallant and heroic medical doctors and nurses marching toward a clear and steady victory over the common enemy of disease. The reality of both war and medicine is strikingly different from this romantic scenario. War moves over a terrain of rugged hills and steep valleys, though bitter, icy winters and unbearably hot, sweltering summers; it's about getting stuck in the mud, getting lost and having to retrace your steps, being wounded and sometimes losing the battle—or your life.

Our social myth of ever-victorious and all-knowing modern medicine persisted well into the 1980s, even when the mystique was fading. A brief historical sketch will help to illustrate this.

By the 1950s and early 1960s, the age of optimism in medicine had peaked. Doctors were firmly entrenched in linear, cause-and-effect thinking, riding high on earlier successes that included the first use of penicillin and the development of other, even more powerful antibiotics, the use of cortisone to treat inflammatory diseases, drugs for psychiatric illnesses, open-heart surgery, and the beginning of the smallpox eradication program that began in 1953 and ended in 1977 with the last reported case in Somalia.

By the end of the 1960s, the progress of previous decades was reaching a climax even though the decline of modern medicine was beginning. In the 1970s, the age of the specialists came into being, and by the early 1980s medicine had turned into a highly sophisticated and extremely profitable enterprise. The light of medicine that shone so brightly early in the twentieth century was growing dim. The era of medicine as big business had begun.

Ironically, during the age of the specialists and at a time when the newly emerging infectious diseases were first starting to appear, the medical specialty of infectious disease was in decline. Viewed more as an academic pursuit or a matter that affected the Third World than as an important field for modern doctors—certainly not one in which glory and money could be had—very few medical students embarked upon a career in this field. Bacteriology was considered out of date, a subject in which all the major questions had already been addressed. Antibiotics killed bacteria; end of story.

The fate of a sub-specialty such as virology was even bleaker. As recently as the 1970s, the study of viruses mainly was confined to analyzing the clinical presentation of virally caused diseases and determining symptoms. Though at one time most cancers were thought to be caused by an unknown virus, not until the AIDS crisis gripped public attention was there much interest in viruses, and even then relatively few scientists became interested in viral biology until the late 1990s.

Despite such criticism, the progress made in medicine in the last hundred years has marked one of the most impressive epochs in the history of medicine. Yet paradoxically, as we come to the end of this period, it is also now almost universally accepted that medical technology is out of hand and dangerous, health care is too expensive, public health is at risk, and incidences of infectious diseases are increasing despite the use of antibiotics and vaccines. So we are at a crossroads in modern medicine, or perhaps it is better to describe it as a standoff with the victor yet to be decided.

In a medical system that viewed itself as infallible and all-powerful, there was no motive to use any but the tried and presumed true methods. However, with the advent of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, vaccine-resistant viruses, drug-resistant parasitic diseases like malaria, and the increasing strength of viral illnesses, the conventional methods are being questioned and the accepted thinking challenged.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are so common that 10 percent of all patients hospitalized overnight, two million each year, acquire a nonviral, nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection. In intensive care, the statistics are even higher: 50 percent of patients acquire a nosocomial infection. Drugs themselves are potentially dangerous, with an estimated 100,000 deaths in the United States alone due to medications. Vaccines, once believed to be the ultimate answer for the prevention and eradication of many common viral illnesses, have their own set of problems and have been known to cause cancer, neurological disease, and even death from contaminated supplies.

How did we end up in such a frightful situation?

In a medical system that viewed itself as infallible and all-powerful, there was no motive to use any but the tried and presumed true methods. Natural methods were ridiculed as old-fashioned and worthless. However, with the advent of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, vaccine-resistant viruses, drug-resistant parasitic diseases like malaria, and the increasing strength of viral illnesses, the conventional methods are being questioned and the accepted thinking challenged.

A clear example of this outmoded thinking comes from the research and treatment of human immunodeficiency virus, the presumed cause of AIDS. Despite nearly twenty years of research and treatment, until the year 2000 the global AIDS epidemic had not made us more aware of viral diseases in all their varieties. It did not highlight the need for more effective and safer antiviral medications; nor did it stimulate more vigilance against the powerful, deadly, emerging viruses. Call it complacency, misguided use of research funds, or ignorance of deeper issues, the end results have been the same: the prospect for even good symptomatic treatment of viral diseases remains grim.

When the AIDS epidemic caught us by surprise in the late 1970s, the experts immediately followed the old model they had used for smallpox and polio: they focused on how the disease manifested in patients and began what has become an empty search for a vaccine. Dramatizing the issue, the uninformed and vicious among the medical establishment, along with conservative politicians, immediately called for more strident measures, a repetition of the combative old ways involving quarantine, high dosages of powerful toxic drugs, and blaming those who indulged in forbidden sexual practices, the blacks in Africa and Haiti, and intravenous drug users. It was a witch hunt. All of these measures and attitudes eventually proved ineffective and morally wrong.

Though researchers gathered vast amounts of information over the last two decades of the twentieth century on how AIDS manifests, they still debate its cause and they have still not provided a clue for a cure. Despite the enormous sums of money spent on AIDS research, we still have not found a vaccine that works for HIV infection, and have only partially effective drug treatments to manage viral activity, and these have a high side effect profile.

To make matters more complicated, when high dosages of the few antiviral drugs that we have are used on HIV patients, the virus mutates. The rapid turnover of HIV-1 generates extraordinary genetic diversity within the virus population, thereby rendering the drug ineffective.

Not to be outdone by AIDS, we were again caught by surprise when a previously unknown liver inflammation mysteriously appeared. At first labeled non-A, non-B type hepatitis, because neither known type of hepatitis was detectable in patients, hepatitis C virus originally appeared in individual patients in Japan in the 1970s and then was discovered in the blood supply in the United States in the late 1980s. A potentially fatal viral disease that has no effective treatment and no cure was lurking undetected in blood banks until it infected tens of thousands of victims who now have passed on the infection to thousands of others, many still not diagnosed.

In addition, ongoing outbreaks of fatal viruses such as Ebola in Africa in 1976, hantavirus in New Mexico in 1993, increasing fatalities caused by hemorrhagic dengue fever in Southeast Asia, and West Nile fever in New York in 1999, startled the medical profession and shocked the world.

Somehow we forgot that new viral strains surface regularly and that science and modern medicine are not infallible all of the time.

To make matters worse, evidence mounted and suggested that viruses were causing other diseases. At first thought to be the underlying cause of all cancers, certain viruses are now clearly linked with some types of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, Alzheimer's, and certain forms of arthritis. Also, during the same time period when AIDS and hepatitis C were first discovered and initial research into them was instigated from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, patients began complaining about conditions for which there were no medical diagnoses. Doctors were stumped and suggested to these patients that their condition did not exist, since there was no name for what they complained about, and routinely referred them for psychological therapy.

Needless to say, the profession of private practice clinical psychology boomed. Unfortunately, talk therapy did not work for the majority of these patients since they were not neurotic, but had legitimate physical conditions that defied conventional diagnoses but which did include as part of their symptom profiles mood changes and fatigue—symptoms commonly associated with depression, according to accepted medical standards.

Then a new phenomenon appeared on the medical front. With the advent of newer and safer antidepressants, doctors referred fewer patients to psychologists and began the wholesale prescribing of Prozac and other selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) under the false assumption that these patients were not merely neurotic, but clinically depressed—which of course the majority were not.²

These new illnesses included chronic fatigue, depression-like mood disorders, and unexplained, continuous muscle pain—all of which may be linked eventually to viral causes and immune system disruption. Over time, it became evident that neither psychotherapy nor psychoactive drugs were the answer for these patients, so doctors then mysteriously suggested that the cause of these new conditions could be a virus for which there was no treatment and therefore no culpability, which meant that there was nothing medicine could do.

In addition, increasing incidences of allergy-like symptoms and environmental sensitivity, menstrual complaints and menopausal symptoms, an increasing infertility rate among white women, and increasing adult onset diabetes, glucose intolerance, and obesity further confused a conventional medical profession that relied solely on a single cause-and-effect model.³ Gulf War Syndrome added another dimension and was perhaps the first medical condition taken to the floor of Congress for discussion as to whether it existed.

Then, in one of the great medical paradoxes of the twentieth century, individual patients began a gradual and silent defection that often involved a heroic quest to search for alternative solutions to their infirmities. By the late 1980s, alternative medical therapies were well established, and by the 1990s, more than two-thirds of all Americans had used some form of alternative medicine.

However, alternative practitioners, those to whom the public turns when conventional medicine fails, were in an even worse state of affairs as far as viral disease was concerned than their conventional counterparts. Nearly no one in these fields had a specific interest in viral diseases, nor had anyone studied viral illnesses in any depth or detail. Likewise, there was no organized body of information available to those few who practiced in this area.

Though patients experienced a hit-or-miss approach with alternative practitioners, they often were provided some symptomatic relief from their complaints. Such results, though not completely curative, encouraged both patients and practitioners to continue therapy. Conventional doctors were put on notice.

Thankfully, things are now starting to change on both fronts. Conventional medical practitioners recognize the benefits of alternative therapies and research is mounting on effective natural antiviral therapies.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, humanity seems caught between its own creative destructiveness on the one hand, and nature's deadly equalizers on the other, and the possibilities of nuclear destruction, unbridled pollution, and the greenhouse effect may soon be outweighed by infectious illnesses—especially by emerging viral diseases. Could it also be that these newly emerged viral diseases are not only a serious health threat to individual humans but also a harbinger of new disease patterns in a world out of balance?

This bigger picture has been largely ignored except by a few of the more enlightened researchers and alternative medicine practitioners who have dared to suggest that the new viruses might be the result of trans-species migration, microbial mutations, immune suppression, chemical toxic overload, and environmental destruction (especially in the tropical rain forests). All these concepts contradict current medical thinking and political interests. Robin Hening, the author of A Dancing Matrix says, The intrusion of humankind into the natural order of things seems to be the single most important factor in the emergence of new viruses (Henning 1994).

The good news is that though a lot of mistakes have been made, we are continuously improving our knowledge in an attempt to understand our world and the many diseases we must deal with, and we actively keep searching for alternative ways to improve our health.

While those in conventional medicine were ignoring the epidemic rise of emerging infectious disease and novel chronic illnesses, others were investigating evolutionary links to disease. Referred to as the new science of evolutionary, or Darwinian, medicine, with theories highly compatible with natural and functional medicine, this system presents a complete way of viewing disease where patterns have as much validity as cause and effect. In addition, research in nutrition, herbal medicines, and nutraceuticals—natural, standardized, nonprescription medications—has led to outstanding clinical results and numerous products that have great potential in treating the new diseases, many of which are discussed in part 2.

Though one must be wary of solutions that seem too easy, could it be that there are straightforward answers to the many complex questions that arise when we consider the importance of these new diseases in human suffering, lost productivity, and reduced quality of life?

A very real threat from emerging viruses does exist and must be taken with the utmost seriousness. The issue is of such gravity that alternative practitioners and natural healthcare consumers must not fall into the same trap as did conventional medicine, which was to become smug in its accomplishments. The possibility that the world could be thrown into a crisis of unprecedented proportions is real. The convergence of increasing immune compromise, an increasing population of older people with chronic disease, increasing antibiotic and antiviral resistance, burgeoning third world population with endemic infectious disease, and increasing environmental population and rain forest devastation—it all takes the ground zero scenario and the theorized coming biological apocalypse from the realm of fiction to that of possibility.

The main question is not if we will have a viral epidemic, but what direction is the current epidemic of microbial illnesses taking? In answering this, keep the broader view in mind, and realize that the scenario of epidemic chronic and acute infectious diseases, many of which are virally induced, is already upon us. Though no one can predict the future with absolute certainty, there are three possible scenarios.

A very real threat from emerging viruses does exist and must be taken with the utmost seriousness. The possibility that the world could be thrown into a crisis of unprecedented proportions is real. The main question is not if we will have a viral epidemic, but what direction is the current epidemic of microbial illnesses taking?

The first is of an increasing incidence of acute plagues, either drug-resistant old ones, newly emerged ones, or a combination of both.

The second is the increasing incidence of endemic chronic infections. Of these two, the most likely scenario for the wealthy countries is that of endemic chronic illness combined with immune suppression, rather than the wide-sweeping plagues of past centuries.

This, however, is not the case for the overcrowded, poorer countries in the southern hemisphere. They will likely continue to suffer from acute infections as well as the effects of environmental degradation on their homelands by their wealthy neighbors to the north. Malnutrition, the result of widening and deepening poverty in these countries, causes immune weakness and dramatically increases susceptibility to infection, setting up a vicious cycle that makes an efficient breeding ground for all forms of microbial infectious organisms, including viruses.

The third scenario is viral bioterrorism—unleashing a virus, like smallpox, for which we no longer have immunity, a limited supply of vaccine, and no effective drug with which to treat it.

From a global perspective, the most likely scenario is a combination of all three: an increasing incidence of chronic degenerative disease and infectious epidemics combined with the sporadic release of infectious microbes by agents of international terrorism. Currently this is already happening in the world's large cities, in rich and poor countries alike, where a combination of rich and poor commingle, where stress and environmental pollution are highest, and where poor and nutritionally impaired immigrants harboring viral illnesses arrive daily from China, Mexico, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean.

One question remains: will viruses finally wipe out human life on this planet?

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the media capitalized on sensational projections indicating that if unstopped, AIDS would eventually infect every person alive within one lifetime. It did not happen and will not happen, but how the bigger scenario of viruses and humans will play out is still anyone's guess. I am not betting on the germs, but neither am I waiting for science to catch up to the bugs and deliver a safe and effective cure.

In writing this book, my agenda has been straightforward and clear: to help people understand the seriousness of viral illnesses and to place at their disposal (and their doctor's) evidence-based tools for prevention and safe treatment. These methods are not infallible, but there are currently no specific or reasonably safe and effective antiviral drugs, so the medical situation is obvious. We have no choice but to use natural alternatives in the interim while the research continues. Perhaps in the process we may find them to be the best primary choice after all.


A book with the scope of this one is never the work of one person. First, clinical and laboratory researchers, as well as other authors whose work and ideas support the principles of this book, are acknowledged in the notes and listed in the bibliography. Second, I thank my editor, Richard Leviton, a medical writer himself, for his confidence, encouragement, support, and for helping me craft this work into a polished book.

Then, there are those whose energies as mentors, friends, and supportive family members lent help in a multitude of nontechnical ways: foremost among them is my companion over the years that this book was in progress, the Mexican painter, Norma Michel, for her infinite patience and depth of understanding of the creative process; and Bill Galt and Gail Weaver of LifeTime Health and Nutrition, Inc. My special thanks goes to Don Bodenbach, the host of the radio program The Nature of Health, who supported the idea of this book from its inception and encouraged my clinical work for a number of years.

Several writers gave unselfishly from their experiences, and without them the writing process would have remained a hidden mystery to me. I would especially like to thank the author Gerald Hausman for his many years of mentorship and for the quality of his friendship. Other writers who have encouraged and offered me their support and help along the way include the Ayurvedic physician Robert Svoboda; Judy Goldstein, M.D.; Michael Murray, N.D.; Arnie Lade, L.Ac.; Ralph Alan Dale, Ph.D.; and Cory J. Meachum.

A number of doctors and scientists took time from their busy schedules to review parts of the manuscript or provide inspiration along the way. Among these are James Murphy, D.O.; William Pollack, M.D., Ph.D.; Thierry Hertoghe, M.D.; Brett Jacques, N.D.; and Robert Bradford, D.Sc.

I would never have gained the experience and knowledge to write this book without having learned from my patients and from the work of those pioneers in the fields of natural and integrated medicine who have been my teachers, guides, instructors, and betters. I thank you all.


What Viral Immunity Is, How You Can Achieve It, and Why It's So Important

Viral immunity is the ability of the immune system to prevent, defend against, neutralize, and eliminate viruses from the body. You can achieve it by following the 10-step viral immunity plan outlined in this book.

The 10 steps to viral immunity are:

Build a strong immune foundation with lifestyle, diet, and nutritional supplements.

Defend your immune system with antioxidants and oxidative therapies.

Rejuvenate your immune system with phytonutrient-rich foods and enzymes.

Renew your cells and cleanse your liver and lymphatic system through detoxification.

Restore the innate immune response and manage inflammation.

Boost your immunity with natural immune enhancers.

Target viruses with natural antiviral alternatives.

Empower your viral immunity program with Chinese medicine.

Optimize immune performance with hormonal balance.

Implement the viral immunity program.

Viral immunity is without question one of the most important health issues of this century. The erosion and impending failure of our natural immunity due to ecological alterations of the environment and the consequences of viral infection will affect nearly everyone. Immune system failure also plays a leading role in all major modern diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, thyroid conditions, fungal infections, chronic bacterial infections, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Most of these conditions are also triggered by viruses.

What You Will Learn in this Book

The message of this book is clear. You can improve your immune system in general with diet, lifestyle, and natural medicines. We need viral immunity in particular because of the dramatically increasing incidence of powerful new viral infections such as human herpes virus-6, human immunodeficiency viruses, hepatitis C, dengue hemorrhagic fever, West Nile virus, new and stronger strains of influenza, the newly discovered TT virus,¹ and the possibility of the epidemics of rare viruses or re-emergence of those once thought eliminated, through acts of bioterroism.

There are 170 million cases of hepatitis C and 350 million cases of hepatitis B worldwide. More than 50 million people are infected with the AIDS virus, most in sub-Saharan Africa where one in five have AIDS. In comparison, the virus that causes dengue fever infects more than fifty million people annually, and in the United States alone 25 percent of the population will suffer from influenza-associated illnesses, which cause more than 20,000 deaths each year.

Drugs do not improve our immune systems. In fact, they often disrupt their normal functioning, and they are not the way to viral immunity. Though antiviral drugs help reduce symptoms early on in their use, eventually they cause drug resistance in the viruses. According to Sally Blower, Ph.D., an evolutionary biologist, renowned biomathematician, and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, HIV resistance to antiviral drugs will increase from 3 percent in 1997 to 42 percent by the year 2005.

Alternative solutions for the treatment of viral illnesses are available, and we can take preventive steps today by following the health-promoting and immune-enhancing measures presented in steps 1 through 4. If you already have a condition caused by a virus, you may use the specialized natural antiviral and immune-enhancing medications described in this book to strengthen your immune system.

In this book you will learn about viruses, the basic principles of immunology, and the reasons why our immune systems are breaking down. You will also learn how to prevent infection, strengthen your immune system, and manage chronic viral illness with the most effective natural medicines available. The information contained in this book is useful for all types of people, for the caregivers of viral infection victims, and for health care workers.

Some of the viruses discussed include:

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Hepatitis B (HBV)

Hepatitis C (HCV)


Viruses that cause the common cold


Herpes viruses, including human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6)

In Viral Immunity you will find natural ways of improving immune function, remedies to treat viral infections, and suggestions on how to reframe outdated concepts that could otherwise prevent you from obtaining effective treatment. The book discusses alternative therapies and looks at the new evolutionary model of medicine as well as the view of Chinese medicine on viral illnesses. I discuss pathology as well as a more holistic and integrated view of how lifestyle, habitual thought patterns, spiritual beliefs (or lack of them), and the environment in which we live all contribute to our health, well being, and the integrity of our immune systems.

Along the way in Viral Immunity, you will learn why these statements are true:

The experts are not completely in agreement about the most important health concerns of the twenty-first century. They disagree about the underlying cause of AIDS, and while doing this, HCV will kill more people in the United States than HIV.

Though chronic fatigue syndrome may not be due directly to a specific virus, this devastating illness is certainly related to immune dysfunction and is similar in many ways to AIDS and other chronic viral diseases.

Due to environmental toxins, stress, and modern lifestyle, our immune systems are becoming dysfunctional.

Fatigue is replacing fever and inflammation as the first line of immune defense.

In terms of health, the global environment is much more important than we ever imagined. Unfortunately, we may have realized this too late.

Contrary to popular fear-based fiction, viruses will not destroy the human race. However, epidemic diseases for which there are no cures will destabilize national economies and even whole continents; this has already begun in Africa and threatens to spread to India, China, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.

Stealth and chronic viral diseases coupled with immune dysfunction will cost the wealthy countries tens of billions of dollars in ineffective medical care and will rob many people of their energy and health.

Neurological diseases, like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's, as well as most forms of cancer, are increasing, and many may have causes associated with immune system dysfunction and viruses.

Conventional medicine's magic bullet model of one cause, one cure is not working for the new illnesses of chronic fatigue, immune dysfunction, and viral diseases.

Hope for a vaccine for HIV is receding into the distance, while expensive antiviral drug therapy is causing devastating side effects and the rapid emergence of drug-resistant strains.

The Viral Immunity Program

The 10-step program outlined in Viral Immunity is a comprehensive method that helps build a strong immune system, and it is a guide for preventing and treating viral diseases with natural medicines. It is unique to this book and is based on a multidisciplinary approach to mind-body healing that I have developed and used successfully with patients in my own practice for nearly twenty years. The natural medications and lifestyle approaches discussed in the book are supported by scientific research and extensive clinical evidence, and prove that natural medicines can and will play an increasing role in the treatment of viral illnesses.

The 10-step program outlined in Viral Immunity is a comprehensive method that helps build a strong immune system, and it is a guide for preventing and treating viral diseases with natural medicines. It is unique to this book and is based on a multidisciplinary approach to mind-body healing that I have developed and used successfully with patients in my own practice for nearly twenty years.

As conventional medicine falters, is dragged down by over-reliance on antibiotics and other powerful drugs that cause microbial-resistant strains, and becomes preoccupied with the spiraling cost of hospitalization and medical care, the key to successfully building viral immunity is an educated public actively involved in preventing disease and managing their own health in ways such as the 10 steps to viral immunity presented in this book.

Viral Immunity is divided into two parts. Part 1 discusses how we become ill and how we heal. It describes how the immune system functions and it introduces some of the viral agents that make us sick. I explain how a toxic environment and continuing stress contribute to the downward spiral of our immune deficiency. Part 2 presents a detailed step-by-step program to fortify your immune system and to assist it in fighting off viral infections. Following is a brief description of the 10 steps:

In the first step you will learn the elements of an immune-enhancing lifestyle including dietary suggestions that build the foundation for deeper healing, ways to reduce and manage stress, and discussion of the best dietary supplements.

In the second step you will learn the critical role of oxygen in viral immunity, and how to use immune-strengthening antioxidants like vitamin C, zinc, selenium, and the amino acid arginine. It describes in detail the evidence for their use and which dosages work best. As in all the steps, safety issues and contraindications are explained. You will also learn about medical bio-oxidation therapies like ozone, and when and how to use them to treat viral infections.

Enzymes and phytonutrient-rich foods enhance the diet, improve digestion, add specialized nutrients like carotenoids and other antioxidants, improve natural detoxification, and reduce inflammation. The third step tells you which phytonutrient-rich foods are the best for viral immunity and how to use enzymes to improve your health.

Detoxification regimes and cleansing strategies are essential and important to prevent disease and improve immune function. The fourth step emphasizes the important role of natural medications in cleansing the lymphatic system and the liver—both systems are critical for viral immunity. You will learn how to safely conduct your own viral immunity detoxification program and which natural medications and nutrients promote tissue and cellular cleansing.

Natural anti-inflammatory agents are important in building viral immunity, as is managing autoimmune-induced tissue inflammation in chronic viral diseases. In the fifth step, you will learn how to use natural anti-inflammatory medicines like curcumin extract and quercetin to reduce tissue damage caused by inflammation occurring in your tissues and organs.

The sixth step explains how to use immune-modulating substances to boost your immunity. These products are considerably more powerful than herbs and vitamins, and include beta glucan, transfer factor, and lactoferrin. Dosages are provided for each medication as well as contraindications for their use.

Natural antiviral medicines are critical for successfully treating viral illness. In the seventh step, you will learn how to use nature's most effective antivirals such as olive leaf extract and echinacea. Dosages and directions on how to use them safely and effectively are presented in detail.

Using Chinese herbal remedies can considerably increase the effectiveness of your program. No other culture provides such a rich source of knowledge about viral infections and the methods and medicines that treat them than the Chinese. In step 8, you will learn how to use powerful and effective Chinese antivirals like isatis, immune modulators including the ganoderma mushroom, energy enhancers like ginseng, and anti-inflammatory medicines like bupleurum.

Hormones play an integral role in maintaining a strong immune system. Step 9 shows you how to use natural hormonal therapies including DHEA, thymic hormones, human growth hormone, and thyroid hormone to increase your health, energy, mood, and to enhance your immunity.

In the last step, you will learn how to design your own viral immunity program and how to work with natural medicines. In this step, you will also learn how to pick the right doctor and understand which laboratory tests are most useful for viral immunity. Safe and effective treatments for selected viruses such as for the common cold, influenza, and hepatitis C are presented.

Additional Material to Help You Achieve Viral Immunity

In the appendices you will find a comprehensive list of resources, including recommended laboratories and doctors to facilitate your viral immunity goals. Notes are provided at the end of the book for each section for those wishing more explanations on certain technical points. There is a glossary of terms, and an extensive bibliography is provided as documentation for the material presented in the book.


Viruses, Immunity, and Evolution


The Virus at Our Doorstep

Viruses recognize no international borders or time zones. They have no obligations to country, race, social status, or gender. Rich and poor alike are victims of viral infections. If given the opportunity, viruses do not stay in any one place and may travel over extraordinarily long distances. In 1983, the Asian tiger mosquito, Ades albopictus, a relative of A. aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue fever virus, was found in the United States for the first time. The mosquito larvae, stowaways in accumulated rainwater inside automobile tires, were transported on a cargo ship from Southeast Asia.

In our modern world, viruses and other infectious microbes can easily hitch rides on international flights to and from any major city. A European tourist visiting Thailand can bring home a strain of immunodeficiency virus from a sexual encounter in Bangkok; a Cantonese grandmother visiting her family in San Francisco can harbor a potent influenza virus in her lungs and carry it all the way from China and pass it to her grandchildren who transmit it to other children in preschool.

Viruses do not leave fossil remains or other archeological clues. They leave only what we have found, for example, in frozen tissue samples of their victims, such as from the remains of Eskimos in the Arctic tundra, or victims of the influenza epidemic of 1918. Though there are a variety of theories, there is no way of completely knowing the origin, natural history, or evolution of viruses. Yet what we do know is fascinating.

For one, we know that viruses have been with us a long time. Archeological evidence indicates that smallpox developed along with civilization in the river basin agricultural settlements of Asia and the Middle East as early as 10,000 years ago. We also know that viral epidemic diseases were unheard of in the New World before the arrival of the Spanish. Viruses are not only the cause of many infectious diseases, ranging from the common cold to slow death of AIDS and the frightening hemorrhagic fevers, but they have dramatically influenced history as well.

Why Have Viral Infections Become So Devastating in Recent Years?

As agents of change, they have toppled dynasties, changed the outcomes of wars, and altered populations. In the twentieth century, smallpox alone killed an estimated 300 million people. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, smallpox killed the emperors of Japan and Burma, as well as kings and queens of Europe. Queen Mary of England died of smallpox in 1694; Louis XV of France, Joseph I of Germany, and Peter II of Russia also died from the same disease.

The Aztec emperor and many in his immediate household were killed by smallpox. It is a matter of historical record that the successful conquest of the Aztec empire in Mexico by Hernando Cortez and the Incan empire by Francisco Pizarro in Peru were ultimately achieved more by the enormous deaths from fatal epidemics of smallpox and measles than by superior military strategy or overwhelming firepower.

The 1918–19 epidemic of Spanish influenza killed 20–40 million people in less than a year, causing more deaths than all the massive military casualties of World War I. In the spring of 1918, the German Army's assault on Paris was halted by this flu. It not only affected Europeans, but an unbelievable 80 percent of the United States Army's death toll was from the Spanish flu that killed 43,000 American soldiers between 1917 and 1919—nearly as many as died in combat in the Korean War some thirty years later.

Viruses not only infect humans but all living things including plants, animals, birds, and sea creatures. In 1988, seal plague virus killed