Renegade Health Radio 37: Top Ways to Overcome a Virus

Wednesday Jan 21 | BY |
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In this episode:

  • Frederic and Kevin are back after a well-deserved vacation.
  • Kevin talks about getting sick. We discuss the top ways to overcome a virus.



Fred: Renegade Health Radio. Fredric Patenaude talking with Kevin Gianni. Kevin, it’s been a while. The first pod cast in 2015—we are doing it today. How are you doing?

Kevin: I’m doing great. I want to thank everyone for waiting. I know that you guys were just sitting there, opening your pod cast app every day just saying, “Where is the next Renegade Health Radio?”

It was the holidays. We took a break. We had a daughter. She’s adorable—Basil Rose—and so we took a break. We can do that, right Fred?

Fred: Yeah, yeah. And congrats on the baby, Kevin. I mean, you can take a break. You know, I know you’re not someone who likes to take a break. You like to work a lot. You’re kind of a workaholic, right?

Kevin: I don’t know.

Fred: A little bit.

Kevin: I don’t know if I’m a workaholic, I just like doing stuff.

Fred: You don’t like taking a day off too often.

Kevin: No I don’t care to take a day off. There’s always stuff to do. I mean, this is a business where you are helping people, right? So there’s this thing in the back of your head that’s always like, “Well, you know, I got to do something.” You know what I mean? Like people are relying on me.

And then at the same time, that’s kind of a silly thing, because you know, I mean, are people are really like relying on me, or you, or anything like that? And the answer is probably no, I mean, they’re probably relying on their friends and family to give them support and love and everything. But I don’t know, there’s this like sense of urgency that I always have about it. It’s like, “I got to get this information out there. I got to do this next thing to reach more people.”

Fred: But you also have to take care of yourself. I heard you got sick, Kevin, during the holidays.

Kevin: Oh man, the health people never get sick, right? Well yes, I do get sick. And I kind of can count the number of times I’ve been sick on my hand in the last, like six or seven years. And the last time I was sick was in February 2011. It was right before the great health debate—it’s actually when the great health debate was launching. And for those of you who don’t know what the great health debate was, it was this online summit where I pitted experts against each other. So people who had, you know, vegans versus like Paleo type of people, and they were supposed to talk on the phone together. And then they weren’t able to talk on the phone together because no one wanted to talk to people who had an opposite opinion. And so then I have to record the calls before and then put them like next to each other.

But anyway, I got sick and I was sick for about two days. I had a fever. It was the first time I had a fever in a long time. And then just recently, right after New Year’s, so New Year’s Day, I started to get this sore throat and I thought I was going to be able to fight it with my normal protocol, which I think we’ll probably talk about today, Fred, and if you have any wellness, immune-bossing protocols, you know, you’ll be able to share them, we’ll share them today.

But I started to do my protocol and it just wasn’t kicking it. And I was laying on the couch and in bed for about 2-1/2 days. And that to me is a very strange, surreal experience. I don’t know, have you gotten sick like that recently, Fred?

Fred: Not recently, but I have gotten sick like that. I mean, I used to be like a hard core natural hygienist who at some point didn’t even believe that, like diseases, like viral diseases were caused by viruses. I thought it was like the body’s way of detoxification and so on. And just like you said in the intro that health people don’t get sick, right? Healthy people don’t get sick. But obviously, my views have changed, because some diseases are clearly viral in nature. And what makes a difference is more how your body reacts to it.

Now for a long time, I thought the reason I don’t get sick too often is because my diet or something like that, but I do think one of the biggest reasons why I don’t get sick as much as some people is just because I work from home. So I don’t meet as many people on the street. I don’t shake hands. I don’t live in an environment where people are coming in and I don’t have kids, so all those combine. I mean, my chances of catching a virus are much lower than maybe your chance of catching a virus now that you have an office, even though it’s 15 people or so. And then let’s say my girlfriend’s chances of catching a virus where she works in a building with hundreds of people. And so if someone catches it, then obviously if someone is spreading the disease it’s going to go pretty fast.

So I read that there was a lot of viral activity around Christmas this year, like a lot of more than in years prior, so I was kind of watching out for it, you know, making sure like my hands were clean and just, you know, keeping in mind a few basic rules.

But the last time I get seriously, seriously sick like that, it was in Costa Rica a few years ago. So where I was staying, there was a disease…it was not, it was a stomach flu, basically. And a lot of people in town started catching it. And one person had it, and I just watched people getting sick and sick. And everybody had to go through like the two or three horrible days in bed. And then at some point, it was just my turn and I got sick and then I just literally couldn’t do anything.

Kevin: Yeah, this time around is weird because Hudson has been now in preschool for maybe about a year, a little bit less than that, so we didn’t get that first hit of like you know, all the kids are getting together and like you know, licking their fingers and you know, touching all these different toys and then swapping them and putting them to their mouths and that sort of stuff.

So we didn’t get that thing, but my mom came into the town and my mom actually had an infection, like a very serious infection, and she had to go to the hospital. And so we actually, as a preventative measure, because of what that bacteria was—it’s a very strange and rare kind of bacteria. She might have gotten on a plane—we don’t know where she got it—or the hospital that she works in. It’s HIB, it’s H-I-B, and you can search it. It’s like human…or it’s not human, I don’t even know the name, but you can just search HIB and you will find out what it is. It can lead to like spinal meningitis and things like that.

So we did a preventative around all of us in the family, did the preventative round of antibiotics, because you know at 2-1/2 and that, you know, 2 months old for Basil, like you just don’t want to mess like any type of bacteria, particularly that could affect children. It usually only affects children. So we did a preventative round of antibiotics.

And I wonder if, you know, the antibiotics that I took, only four days, I wonder if that kind of, you know, unbalanced my gut flora enough to kind of influence my immune system a little bit, so I was a little bit more susceptible. Again, total theory, absolute theory, but also completely possible.

Fred: Well it seems possible to me, I mean…but you’ll never know and, I mean, I know you kind of had protocol for stopping a virus cold and its tracks. Do you think that’s even possible or…

Kevin: Are we even allowed to say that? [laughs] I guess we are not selling it so… we are not selling the protocol so I guess we can. So I do. You know, it involves some things that may or may not even work in this situation, but it’s just, it’s something that I take when I start to feel something like this, and it usually works.

You know, there’s that whole, you know, wive’s tale about “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” I don’t know how true that is, but for me, usually fasting is what works for me. You know, it’s the first thing that I do. So what I’ll do is I will get up. I’ll start to feel that tickle my throat or a little bit of runny nose and I will immediately go to either water fasting or juice fasting. Sometimes I’ll have smoothies if I feel like I need to eat anything, but that’s like the first line of defense. So I start off immediately with that.

And it’s also a good opportunity to like you know, just kind of cleanse a little bit too, because you know, your body is saying, “Hey you are sick, relax a little bit.” It’s a good time to cleanse as well. And so I’ll do that for at least 24 hours. And sometimes I’ll just keep doing it until I feel better, but usually I feel better after 24 hours, so I will stop within like 36 to 48 hours.

This time I felt like it was going to be longer, so I did it for 24 hours and then I kind of did a hibrid where I’d have one meal during the day and then I’d have some juice or some tea and some water before and after, so for breakfast and then for dinner. And I did that for about five or six days.

On the plus side, you know, I trimmed up a little bit, which is really nice after kind of the holidays, and I felt better. The other thing that I…but I didn’t feel as good as I usually do because it usually knocks it out within 24 hours. It’s just like my body just resetting within that 24-hour period.

What else I do is I almost always take oregano oil. So I went to the store and I got some oregano oil, some oregano oil extract. I love oregano oil extract. I particularly love it when I go to countries that don’t have really great water supply where you could have a risk of some sort of stomach infection. Even when I was down in Costa Rica with you, Fred, I felt that that initial kind of like bloating, sulfur-ish type burp that comes when you are about to get that like stomach sickness where you know, literally sit on the toilet for three or four days. And I took—and I’ve done this multiple times, but the last time was that—and I, you know, I mega-dosed on a oregano oil. And you know, within 24 hours, everything was gone. I didn’t have any sort of, you know, diarrhea or any sort of stomach sickness. So that was, you know, I’ve always kind of sworn by that for that. But for this—again, I don’t know if it’s the same, but I always take oregano oil and I always mega-dose on it. So I take, you know, three pills every like five or six hours. And I do that three or four times a day until it’s gone.

Definitely ginger. I take some ginger extract, as well. Garlic extract, the kyolic garlic extract is part of my protocol. I drink some sort of citrus. I always try to drink some sort of citrus. I know it’s a lower level vitamin C. And I take a higher level vitamin C like an ascorbic acid vitamin C that’s really potent, it’s a really potent immune booster. And I always take my holy basil, as well. I just make sure that I take that so my body is calm, my adrenals are calm during the experience.

And that’s kind of what I do. I mean, you know I drink teas as well, so I make sure I drink like chamomile teas. I’ll do an echinacea tea—tincture. I didn’t do it this time around. The echinacea tea doesn’t have the same active properties as…immune boosting properties as the tincture does, because it’s oil extracted. All the good immune boosting compounds are oil extracted, so you want to make sure you have the echinacea…or oil or alcohol extracted, I’m sorry. So you want to make sure you take an echinacea tincture.

But those are kind of the ones that I stick to when I’m sick. And usually it, you know, for starting to feel sick, and usually it starts to make me feel better. And again, it could be just because it, you know, this positive placebo effect, but at the same time, you know, I’m much more sure of the oregano oil with stomach sickness that I am, you know, does the whole thing work, you know, when you’re sick and does it actually decrease the amount of time you are sick, you know? That’s up for debate, but it does feel good to take all of it just to feel like I’m giving my body a little bit of an extra boost.

Fred: Yeah, I mean that’s interesting, because I think with the bacterial illnesses it’s definitely some of those things can work. With viral infections, I’m really not sure. As far as I’m concerned, I kind of stick with the idea that sort of the first part of your protocol where you either fast or juice fast or eat a very basic raw food diet, I mean, almost like a semi-fast. And then you rest a lot and you drink a lot of water. And I think, I mean, I think no matter what you do you’ll get better, eventually.

And sometimes people attribute, you know, the recovery to the agent that they took, but who knows? What if you had taken something else and, you know…for me, what’s interesting is why are there so many possible remedies for a cold when…or flu, and people swear they work? Well is it maybe that the body works in spite of all those things, or because of them? I don’t know.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both, but I don’t believe in the “Feed a cold, fast a fever.” Definitely fast a fever, but I don’t think like when you have a cold that you should necessarily avoid fasting. I think it helps, but I’ve seen instances where people, especially raw food people, can drag on a cold forever, rarely a fever, but a cold like just…So yes, you know, getting some nutrition, not being weak is important, but I think, I mean, like you experienced, everybody is going to get sick at some point. And the best thing that works is just a lot of rest and a lot of water and maybe some fasting, if you’re up for it.

Kevin: Yeah, and you know another thing that’s interesting is—and Dr. Williams talks about this in our Renegade Health Immune Program, so I’m not going to cover it in great detail. And he also covered it on a bunch of articles that he’s put out about, you know, viral infections and things like that.

And some of these super bugs that are out and around and very real, you know, some of the people who die are people who have really strong immune systems, because the immune system overreacts to whatever the infection is, whatever the virus is. And so in those instances, it’s almost like you have to have some sort of confidante or some sort of knowledge about this. And you almost…and you need to be able to take immune suppressant type support in that type of instance. So you know, you want to make sure that you don’t go so strong on immune boosters—you actually take immune suppressant type of medication, either medications or supplements.

Who’s to say in that situation, you know, if you don’t take vitamin C, I mean, is that going to you know, keep the immune systems suppressed enough, or if you take beta glucans, or you know what I mean, you take some of these things. Who’s to say if that’s actually effective or not? But it’s interesting to see the other end of the spectrum. It’s like you know, when you are sick and maybe depending on what you have, you don’t always need immune boosting type of supplements or medications in case of a dire instance. You might actually need an immune suppressant.

Fred: That’s really interesting and counterintuitive. Yeah, I mean, I’m looking forward to hearing what people think about this. I know we’re…this episode is short because Kevin you have another call in just a few minutes, but because a lot of people are listening to this on the website rather than on iTunes—which you can do, by the way—why don’t you send us your suggestions for overcoming a viral infection or preventing one in the first place? What has worked for you?

I know for me, I mean, being a loner is a good thing [laughs], and a little fasting when I get sick, it really works. Kevin, you have your protocol. Why don’t we hear from people what they have to say about this.

So thanks Kevin, I hope…you seem to be up and running right now, feeling good? Hopefully we can do a few more podcasts soon.

Kevin: Let’s do it.

Fred: Well thank you everybody, thank you so much. That’s all the time we have today, but we’re looking forward to hearing from you and your thoughts on overcoming a viral infection. Thank you Kevin. We’ll be back next week with more information.

Kevin: Bye.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Veronika says:

    – Mineral-rich herb tea (made with nettles, horsetail, rooibos, etc.) plus garlic, ginger, cayenne, clove, astralagus root, oregano, and any other antiviral and antibacterial herbs in the the kitchen. This works especially well to stop throat/chest issues coming on.

    – Lots of sleep

    – Tons of water with vitamin C and magnesium powder

    – Tons of grapefruit when my stomach can’t handle heavy food

    I actually find that eating enough calories, but from easily-digestible food is important – when I “starve” the sickness I seem to feel worse and overly tired. I read somewhere that your body burns more calories when you are sick because your immune system is more active, especially during a fever, so you’re suppose to eat more.

    • Veronika says:

      OH! And the neti pot! I always forget in the beginning, but the neti pot makes a HUGE difference when dealing with runny nose/sinus issues. Neti pot twice a day when sick, prevents sinus infection or gets rid of it (if I remembered to use it too late). I get sick VERY rarely, which is why I forget about the neti pot in the beginning.

      But yea, working from home and being a loner can keep you illness-free for a long time lol. Now that I’m around more people I’m more susceptible.

  2. Crow says:

    If we feel a cold or flu coming on we automatically eat two raw garlic cloves, add grated ginger to our tea, with
    honey and lime. We also add oregano oil until we feel we are no longer at risk.

  3. Hi Kevin & Fred
    I’ve suffered from viral infections for most of my 50+ years and in the last few years have used a protocol I heard from Bill Henderson which is to take high dose vitamin D3. Take 50 000 i.u. every half hour for 3 hours i.e. max 300 000 i.u. This must be done at the first sign of symptoms and has worked for me nearly every time clearing it up in a day or two. Beforehand I would be sick for many days and unable to work but this protocol gives me energy to continue mostly normal with mild symptoms that disappear quickly. I think there is some info on this at the vitamin D council website but you need to search for it.
    Also I’ve seen research that shows healthy people get viruses as easily as unhealthy people, the link is when stress is high your immune system is low allowing the virus to take hold. I can vouch for this as when I’m stressed I usually always get some sort of virus.
    Regards Michael

  4. Warren says:

    I used to get really sick at least 2 or 3 times a year but ever since I started taking Colostrum powder every day I don’t get sick at all. That stuff is seriously amazing and builds your immune system like nothing else can. I live with people who aren’t health nuts and basically have no immune system themselves so they catch pretty much everything that goes around. They also tend to rarely cover their mouth when they cough around me and touch a lot of things that I touch so I know they’re constantly exposing me but I STILL never catch what they have anymore. I eat mostly vegan and don’t really like using animal products but the benefits of Colostrum are just too massive not to use it.

  5. I have not had much luck once symptomatic, since symptoms are more of an “aftereffect”, but when I know I’ve been exposed to a virus, I immediately start taking Virastop by Enzymedica. I also use homemade elderberry syrup and onion/garlic honey. Oil of Oregano and Olive Leaf Extract are also great!

  6. Judy says:

    I worked at a Children’s daycare/afterschool program and I am the only one there who never got sick.
    Sick children coughed in my face and wiped their noses with their hands- then touched me or my clothes.
    Although colds may involve a virus, I don’t think that microbes are the primary cause. The immune system is what I believe determines whether one gets a cold or not . The immune system is strengthened by one’s mental state and belief system.

    If I feel a cold is trying to ‘catch’ me, I do not eat sugars. I take a healthy organic food based vitamin C,
    I use one of two tinctures. One is golden seal and echinacea. The other is called “Kick Ass Immune Activator by Wish Garden: yerba santa leaf, baptisia root, goldenseal, elder flower, yarrow, osha root and echinacea root.

    I sometimes make fresh ginger root tea- add some squeezed lemon.
    I find marshmallow root, licorice root , astragalus and a small amount of fenugreek made into a decoction helpful.

    I agree with a good amount of water and plenty of rest is key.

    A positive attitude helps tremendously- the hardest thing for me at the Children’s Day Care Center was to combat the belief system that every adult who worked there had that getting sick was inevitable because of exposure to the germs via the children. Although constant hand washing was the protocol for the children- it seemed ridiculous, because they just wiped their noses with their hands right after the handwashing.
    I can’t overemphasize the importance of one’s belief system.

  7. Sharon G says:

    Why is VITAMIN D3? not mentioned in your strategies for avoiding & treating colds, flus etc ??? It’s the most powerful preventative as well as treatment for many illnesses. It’s cheap and VERY EFFECTIVE! And because it’s not a HUGE $$$$ generator, the media and even doctors rarely mention it to their patients. My husband and I used to get colds and flus every year until we started taking higher dosages of Vitamin D3. Now we RARELY get sick. And if we sense we are ‘coming down’ with some bug, we immediately UP the dosage which cuts off the flu or cold- pronto. I take 5,000 IU per day and my husband takes 10,000 iU of Vit. D3 daily -year round and we are HAPPY and WELL. I’ve heard it said that IF everyone in our country took an ADEQUATE amount of VIt D3 every day of the year, we could virtually eliminate the cold and flu season – which NOT INCIDENTLY always occurs in winter when we have VERY LITTLE SUN EXPOSURE. The abundance of sun in the summer – is precisely why we don’t tend to get colds and flus during that season!!! Get tested to see what your current levels of Vit D are in your blood. You may be surprised how low they get in winter. I’m 70 yrs of age and my husband is in his early 60s. We take quite a few good quality food supplements year round but absolutely NO prescription drugs. Ignore the FDA recommendation – which is woefully inadequate. TRY taking LOTS more Vitamin D3 with K2 and YOU’LL NEVER REGRET IT.

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