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  • A must read before your annual flu vaccine

A must read before your annual flu vaccine

Do flu shots work?

Within the past decade, the flu vaccine has become one of the greatest areas of controversy in health and medical arenas. We’ve seen countless headlines and medical recommendations in support of the annual flu shot, while contradictory studies are often overlooked or pushed to the side.

do flu shots work?

THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON

One particular 2009 study is of special concern to parents whose children may receive the flu vaccine. The American Thoracic Society dubbed the inactivated flu vaccine “ineffective” in preventing influenza-related hospitalisations in children, with even worse results for kids who had asthma. That year, children who received the flu vaccine were at a higher risk for hospitalisation than their peers who did not get the shot.1 These surprising study results were contrary to the CDC’s (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention) official recommendations that everyone from the age of six months and older should receive an annual flu shot.

Fast-forward seven years later to the 2016-17 flu season, and the research doesn’t look much better. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted that the flu vaccine nasal spray, or the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), should not be given to patients in 2016 and 2017.2 The estimated efficacy for the LAIV vaccine among children aged between two and 17 years old from the previous season, in 2015-2016, was as low as 3 percent. “This 3 percent estimate means no protective benefit could be measured,” the CDC stated in a press release.

A year before, in the 2014-2015 flu season, the success rate of the influenza A H3N2 vaccine only reached as high as 18 percent.3 (This number was later adjusted by the CDC up to 23 percent.)

Scratch the surface of this medically- backed push for the flu vaccine, and you may uncover a common theme: the so-called protectiveness of the flu shot has been grossly overestimated by most researchers and physicians. Yet when the University of Michigan reviewed the efficacy of influenza vaccines in a meta- analysis and systematic review in 2011, the first published meta-analysis of its kind, researchers found influenza vaccines to provide only “moderate protection” that may be “greatly reduced or absent in some seasons”.4

“Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older is lacking. LAIVs consistently show highest efficacy in young children (aged six months to seven years),” the report went on to say. In the review
that screened 5,707 articles and pooled 31 eligible studies, LAIV efficacy was shown at 83 percent for children aged from six months to seven years, or 75 percent for nine out of 12 seasons. For young children who are building their immunity, however, three ineffective flu seasons still will not do. Remember, LAIVs were later nixed by the CDC for children in 2016.

TAKING ONE STEP FORWARD AND TWO STEPS BACK

Giving a child or an adult a flu shot without strengthening their immunity first means we are setting them up to fail. We’re taking one small step forward by putting a Band-Aid on a serious health risk, followed by two steps back when our weakened immune systems are not fully equipped to fight off illness and disease. Not only does the flu shot come with “routine” side effects, like aches and pains, fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat and the possibility of severe allergic reaction, but it can even make us sicker, in some cases. A 2013 study published in Science Translational Medicine showed an increased risk of contracting the flu after being vaccinated.5

As perplexing as this flu shot paradox may be, the solution has never been clearer – boost your immune system first before you consider “confusing” your body with a foreign flu vaccine.

We recommend using these immune- strengthening practices for the whole family, in all seasons:

1. Stop eating sugar completely. The foods that have the greatest burden on the immune system are some of our modern favourites – inflammatory grains and sugary foods and drinks, in particular. Cut out sugar from your diet altogether, and you’ll see an immediate change in your immune health. In 2015, Case Western Reserve University scientists discovered that high blood sugar in diabetics could cause immune system malfunction, increasing vulnerability to infection.6

2. Supply the essential missing nutrients. Just like the rest of the body, your immune system is directly strengthened by the nutrients you feed it. And if you’ve been eating the Western Un-Natural Foods Diet, filled with sugary, processed foods, for years, it is almost guaranteed that your immune system is deficient. Targeted nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc and elderberry extract can nourish the immune system to bring it back into balance; when super-nutrients like eXselenTM Selenium and EpiCor® are combined with a strong dose of vitamin D3, their power to protect against infection may be increased. With multiple human clinical trials to back it, EpiCor®, a whole food yeast fermentate known to strengthen immunity, has been proven beneficial to relieve cold and flu symptoms in those who are not vaccinated.7 Also required by the body for healthy immune function, eXselen, a highly bioavailable organic selenium that the body can’t produce on its own, has more than 15 years of research to back it.

3. Support the digestive process. You are what you eat, but more accurately, you are what you digest. Your body will not be able to assimilate the immune- boosting nutrients you consume each
day, in really healthy foods and high- quality supplements, without hungry and friendly soil-based probiotics in the digestive tract. Because of their ability to support immunity, researchers have called probiotics the “secret weapon” for fighting off the common cold.8

4. Relieve stress daily. In our fast-paced, high-tech world, stress may be one of our greatest modern enemies of robust immunity. Practising stress management by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, meditating and engaging in pleasurable activities can have a remarkable effect on immune health. For example, singing in a choir for just one hour has been shown to reduce stress and boost immune protein levels in patients with cancer.

It can be hard to swim upstream and question commonly accepted medical wisdom, especially when it comes to the health of you and your family. But, unfortunately, we have yet to find a study or statistic that proves the flu vaccine can do what it claims to do. Boost immunity first as your first line of defence, and then take the many warnings surrounding your yearly flu shot into consideration.

 

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Sources
1. Children who get flu vaccine have three times risk of hospitalization for flu, study suggests. 2009. American Thoracic Society.
2. The American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference, May 15-20, 2009, San Diego. “Viral Infections in Childhood Respiratory Disease,” symposium. Tuesday, May 19/1:30 PM- 4:00 PM.
3. “CDC Presents Updated Estimates of Flu Vaccine
Effectiveness for the 2014-2015 Season.” CDC.
4. Osterholm, M. T. et al. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and
meta-analysis The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 12(1) pp 36-44.
5. Khurana, S., Loving, C. L., Manischewitz, J., King, L. R., Gauger, P. C., Henningson, J., Vincent A. L., and Golding, H. 2013. Vaccine-induced anti-HA2 antibodies promote virus fusion and enhance
influenza virus respiratory disease. Science Translational Medicine 5.200: n. pag. Web.
6. Kiselar, J. G., Wang, X., Dubyak, G. R., El Sanadi, C., Ghosh, S. K., Lundberg, K., Williams, W. M. 2015.
Modification of ß-defensin-2 by dicarbonyls methylglyoxal and glyoxal inhibits antibacterial and chemotactic function in vitro. PLOS ONE, 10 (8): e0130533 DOI: 10.1371/journal. pone.0130533.
7. Moyad, M.A, Robinson, L.E., Zawada, E.T., Kittelsrud, J.M., Chen, D.G., Reeves, S.G. and Weave, S.E. 2010. Immunogenic yeast-based
fermentate for cold/flu-like symptoms in non- vaccinated individuals, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16 pp 213-21.8.
8. Smith, T. J., Rigassio-Radler, D., Denmark, 
R., Haley, T., Touger-Decker, R. 2012. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG® and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12® on health-related quality of life in college students affected by upper respiratory infections. British Journal of Nutrition, 1 DOI: 10.1017/ S0007114512004138.