Another influenza season is beginning, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu shot. In fact, the CDC mounts a well-orchestrated campaign each season to generate interest and demand for flu shots.
But a recent study published in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu appeared to have no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.
At first glance, the data did suggest that children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years derived some protection from vaccination in these years. But after adjusting for potentially relevant variables, the researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.
Additionally, a Group Health study found that flu shots do not protect elderly people against developing pneumonia -- the primary cause of death resulting as a complication of the flu. Others have questioned whether there is any mortality benefit with influenza vaccination. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now, but there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia.
There is some evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease, most likely as a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury in vaccines has also been implicated as a cause of autism.
Three other serious adverse reactions to the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease.
One credible hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease.
Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are most likely due to vitamin D deficiency.
At least five studies show an inverse association betweenlower respiratory tract infections and 25(OH)D levels. That is, thehigher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, andother respiratory tract infections:Unfortunately, now, for the first time, flu vaccination is also being pushed for virtually all children -- not just those under 5.
This is a huge change. Previously, flu vaccine was recommended only for youngsters under 5, who can become dangerously ill from influenza. This year, the government is recommending that children from age 6 months to 18 years be vaccinated, expanding inoculations to 30 million more school-age children.
The government argues that while older children seldom get as sick as the younger ones, it's a bigger population that catches flu at higher rates, so the change should cut missed school, and parents' missed work when they catch the illness from their children.
Of course, this policy ignores the fact that a systematic review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo.
|Vitamin D Dose Recommendations|
|Below 5||35 units per pound per day|
|Age 5 - 10||2500 units|
|Pregnant Women||5000 units|
There is no way to know if the above recommendations are correct. The ONLY way to know is to test your blood. You might need 4-5 times the amount recommended above. Ideally your blood level of 25 OH D should be 60ng/ml.
Back in 2005, The Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that all children between 6 months and 5 years old receive flu shots each year. Now they have expanded their guidelines to include children up to 18 years, which means everyone except those between the ages of 19-49, who are in good health, are urged to get a flu shot.
It should come as no surprise to find out that a majority of the ACIP members who came up with these guidelines have financial ties to the vaccine industry, and stand to gain personally for every additional person getting a yearly injection. It’s actually the only explanation that makes any sense for recommendations as insane as these.
Three Reasons to Reconsider Flu Shots
There are three major reasons why this government push to vaccinate 84 percent of the U.S. population with a yearly flu vaccine is so incomprehensible:
1. The majority of flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury; an amount considered unsafe for anyone weighing less than 550 pounds! And which groups are most sensitive to the neurological damage that has been associated with mercury? Infants, children, and the elderly.
2. No studies have conclusively proven that flu shots prevent flu-related deaths among the elderly, yet this is one of the key groups to which they’re pushed.
3. If you get a flu shot, you can still get the flu (or flu-like symptoms). This is because it only protects against certain strains, and it’s anyone’s guess which flu viruses will be in your area.
So why would you take a flu shot – EVERY YEAR -- that has NEVER been proven to be effective, that can give you the very illness you’re trying to prevent, and has potential long-term side effects that are far worse than the flu itself?
The powers that be have done an excellent job of instilling fear into the population so they believe that they must get a shot to stay healthy, but the simple reality is it’s doing you more harm than good.
And, even if the flu vaccine could effectively prevent the flu, there have been several examples in past years where government health officials have chosen the incorrect influenza strains for that year’s vaccine. In 2004, the National Vaccine Information Center described how CDC officials told everyone to line up for a flu shot that didn't even contain the influenza strain causing most of the flu that year.
Two-Thirds of This Year’s Flu Vaccines Contain a Full-Dose of Mercury
According to Dr. Donald Miller, MD, two-thirds of this year’s flu vaccines contain 25 micrograms of thimerosal. Thimerosal is 49 percent mercury by weight.
Each dose of these flu vaccines contains more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit for mercury.
By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.
In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:
- Formaldehyde -- a known cancer-causing agent
- Aluminum -- a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease
- Triton X-100 -- a detergent
- Phenol (carbolic acid)
- Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
- Various antibiotics: neomycin, streptomycin, gentamicin – which can cause allergic reactions in some people
The Evidence Against Flu Vaccines
For those of you who are still unconvinced, know that there’s plenty of scientific evidence available to back up the recommendation to avoid flu vaccines – if nothing else, then for the simple reason that they don’t work, and don’t offer any real benefit to offset their inherent health risks. For example:
- A brand new study published in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons. The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.
- A study published in the Lancet just two months ago found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. This supports a study done five years ago, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
- Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine last month also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.
- Last year, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”
- A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children under 2. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
Might Influenza be Little More Than a Symptom of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” may very well be one of the most beneficial vitamins there is for disease prevention. Unfortunately it’s also one of the vitamins that a vast majority of people across the world are deficient in due to lack of regular exposure to sunshine.
They raise the possibility that influenza is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency!
The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.
At least five studies show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and 25(OH)D levels. That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections:
1. A 2007 study suggests higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity to microbial infections. They found that subjects with vitamin D deficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due to respiratory infection than did control subjects.
2. A 2009 study on vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) confirmed a strong, positive correlation between newborns’ and mother’s vitamin D levels. Over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state.
Newborns with vitamin D deficiency appear to have an increased risk of developing ALRI, and since the child’s vitamin D level strongly correlates withits mother’s, the researchers recommend that all mothers’ optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their baby’s health.
3. A similar Indian study published in 2004 also reported that vitamin D deficiency in infants significantly raised their odds ratio for having severe ALRI.
4. A 2009 analysis of the Third National Health andNutrition Examination Survey examined the association between vitamin D levelsand recent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in nearly 19,000 subjectsover the age of 12.
Recent URTI was reported by:
·17 percent of participants with vitamin D levels of 30ng/ml or higher
·20 percent of participants with vitamin D levels between 10-30 ng/ml.
·24 percent of participants with vitamin D levels below 10ng/ml
The positive correlation between lower vitamin D levels and increased risk of URTI was even stronger inindividuals with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
5. Another 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Researchstated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather thanbacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. And that, based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.
How to Prepare For Flu Season Without Getting a Flu Shot
I often find that some of the simplest explanations are the truest, and this sounds about as simple as it gets. And, getting appropriate amounts of sunshine (or taking a vitamin D supplement when you can’t get healthy amounts of sun exposure) is one of my KEY preventive strategies against the cold and flu, as it has such a strengthening effect on your immune system.
Interestingly, last week the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommended dose of vitamin D. Unfortunately this is still a woefully inadequate recommendation as the dose should be TEN times larger. Rather than going from 200 to 400 units per day, it should have increased to about 2,000 units per day.
For most of you reading this it is “vitamin D winter,” which means there simply isn’t enough sunshine to make significant amounts of vitamin D, so you will need to use a tanning bed or take oral supplements.
Although supplements are clearly inferior to sunlight or safe tanning beds, I am becoming more convinced of the value of vitamin D supplements as they are less potentially toxic than my initial impression, and they are certainly more convenient and less expensive than a tanning bed.
For those in the winter with no or very limited exposure to sunshine, 4,000-5,000 units per day would seem appropriate for most adults. If you are very heavy you may need to double that dose, and for children the dose can be half that.
The key though is to make sure you monitor your vitamin D levels by blood testing, to make sure your levels are therapeutic and not toxic.
I advocate getting your vitamin D levels tested regularly, but as I reported recently, you now need to beware of where you’re getting your test done. For an in-depth explanation of what you MUST know before you get tested, please read my updated article Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.
You can also use vitamin D therapeutically to TREAT the flu. But please understand that if you are taking the above doses of vitamin D the odds of you getting the flu are VERY remote. The dose of vitamin D you can use would be 2,000 units per kilogram of body weight (one pound is 0.45 kg). The dose would be taken once a day for three days.
This could be a very large dose if you were very heavy (2-300,000 units per day) This is the dose that Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, has been using very successfully for a number of years.
I have not received a flu shot nor had the flu in over 20 years. Here are the other “secrets” I use to keep the flu (and other illnesses) at bay:
- Eat right for your nutritional type, including avoiding sugar
- Eliminate sugar from your diet
- Eat garlic regularly
- Consume a high-quality krill oil daily
- Get adequate sleep
- Address emotional stress
- Wash your hands regularly (but not excessively)
Another useful supplement you could try, should you come down with a case of the flu, is olive leaf extract, which you can find in most any health food store.
Olive leaf extract has been found to be a potent broad-spectrum antiviral agent, active against all viruses tested, including numerous strains of influenza and para-influenza viruses.