Every year at this time, whether at work, on the news, Facebook, mistruths crop up regarding flu season in general and the ‘flu shot’ in particular.
You hear it on the radio, and everywhere you drive you see the signs at the ubiquitous drug stores: FLU SHOT – NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY. What are you supposed to do? More importantly, what does the science say?
1) Flu shots don’t work.1
2) You’re more likely to get the flu this winter from getting a flu shot than if you choose not to get one.2
3) You can more easily and more effectively avoid the flu with health-promoting lifestyle choices.
Not only do flu shots NOT provide increased immune function/protection (“…inactivated influenza virus vaccines have not been correlated with protection from influenza virus infection.” 1), but flu shots have been shown to INCREASE YOUR CHANCES of getting the flu.2
I know, those statements seem to fly in the face of conventional wisdom (similar to the uncommon but true concept that eating fat is healthy and cholesterol is good for you), but the truth is that our bodies are genetically programmed to resist ‘bugs’ such as cold and flu viruses and as history continues to demonstrate and the scientific research supports, when man tries to manipulate the body’s sophisticated, intelligent, refined-over-eons-of-time immune response through chemical drug intervention, it rarely produces a successful outcome. And flu shots have been consistently shown to not work as they’re advertised3 – and boy are they advertised. The latest and greatest flu shot is the Fluzone High-Dose Vaccine. It’s now in your medical doctor’s office and on the shelves of your local pharmacy. This ‘new and improved’ toxic injection is being marketed to adults 65 and older (toxic meaning, like all vaccines, the flu shot is formulated with toxic chemicals such as aluminum, formaldehyde and octylphenol ethoxylate, which should never enter the human body, along with adjuvant ingredients such as gelatin and egg protein which, when introduced directly into the bloodstream versus the normal pathway of digestion, pose a serious risk of allergic to anaphylactic reactions4). By the way, neither regular Fluzone or Fluzone High-Dose have NOT been evaluated for their ability to cause cancer.5 This new pharmaceutical creation has four times the concentration of a ‘regular’ flu shot (hence the High-Dose name). So that’s four times the potential for depressed total immune function. However, there’s “… no data demonstrating clinically relevant prevention … using a higher dose”.6
Here’s the best way to avoid getting the flu. The following strategies will bolster your body’s immune system and realistically decrease your chances of getting the flu (or a cold for that manner):
- Take 3,000 – 5,000 units of Vitamin D every day. Vitamin D deficiency, common in our modern culture, especially in winter and more so in northern climes, is one of the most agreed upon “weak links” we can reconcile with supplementation (the others being omega-3 and probiotics).7-9
- Exercise five to six days every week. Exercise simply makes you healthier, which includes your immune system and improving your body’s ability to fight off everything from colds, flu viruses, even cancer.10, 11
- Eat five servings of vegetables every day (broccoli, purple cabbage, carrots, red leaf lettuce, spinach, celery, squash … you get the idea). From cancer to colds, veggies are THE KEY – the phytonutrients and antioxidants contained in vegetables are the building blocks for a healthy immune system.12
- Avoid Eating Sugar – when we eat sugar, the body’s immune function drops 50% almost instantly (and eating sugar will undermine your health like very few other foods).
- Reduce your stress – studies show that stress plays a major role in decreased immune function AND get at least seven hours of sleep every night(more if you’re feeling run down or if you feel like you’re ‘coming down’ with something).13-15
UPDATE: Pharma company Roche comes under fire for biased data [fraudulent?] regarding the efficacy and safety of Tamiflu, its blockbuster flu treatment drug. In an open letter from Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the prestigious British Medical Journal, Roche gets called on the carpet because
“…eight of the 10 randomised controlled trials on which effectiveness claims were based were never published and because the only two that had been published were funded by Roche and authored by Roche employees and external experts paid by Roche, the evidence could not be relied on”.16 Then, to emphasize the deep concern over this break in integrity, the BMJ announced that “…as part of its ongoing open data campaign, has launched a dedicated website aimed at persuading Roche to give doctors and patients access to the full data on oseltamivir (Tamiflu).” (Did you catch that, “a dedicated website” – how often does the British Medial Journal take that type of action?)
“The new site, www.bmj.com/tamiflu, displays emails and letters dating back to September 2009, when researcher Tom Jefferson first asked the company for the unpublished dataset used in a Roche supported analysis, published in 2003″17
Remember, if you happen to get the flu, it’s not the end of the world; yes, it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, but contrary to medical propaganda, it’s extraordinarily rare for a person to suffer serious consequences from having the flu. Getting colds and the flu are part of life.
Yes, you should fight like hell to strengthen your immune system and certainly not resign to ‘getting the flu’, but flu shots come with enormous risk and absolutely no benefit to you (only to the drug companies who manufacture them and the drug stores who promote them). Don’t succumb to the propaganda – your health, your life hangs in the balance!
1Fluzone Vaccine literature, page 16 [FDA documentation];
2Association between the 2008–09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness during Spring–Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies from Canada – Read “What Do These Findings Mean” in the Editor’s Summary [PLoS Medicine journal article]
3Effectiveness of 2008–09 Trivalent Influenza Vaccine Against 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) — United States, May–June 2009 [CDC analysis]
4Fluzone Vaccine literature, pages 7-12
5Fluzone Vaccine literature, page 17
6Fluzone Vaccine literature, page 2
7Epidemic influenza and vitamin D [Epidemiology and Infection journal article];
8On the epidemiology of influenza [Virology Journal article]
9Triple that vitamin D intake, panel prescribes [Wall Street Journal article] 10Moderate exercise protects mice from death due to influenza virus. [Brain, Behavior, and Immunity journal article];
11Exercise increases inflammatory macrophage antitumor cytotoxicity [Journal of Applied Physiology article]
12Suppression of microtubule dynamic instability and turnover in MCF7 breast cancer cells by sulforaphane. [Carcinogenesis journal article]
13Sleeping to fuel the immune system: mammalian sleep and resistance to parasites. [BMC Evolutionary Biology journal article]
14Brain-immune interactions in sleep [International Review of Neurobiology journal article]
15How (and why) the immune system makes us sleep. [Nature Reviews. Neuroscience]
16Open Letter to Roche about osetamivir trial data. [British Medical Journal 2012;345:e7305]
17Tamiflu: the battle for secret drug data. [British Medical Journal 2012;345:e7303]