Why Flu Shots Don’t Work
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 23, 2008
Flu Shots For The Elderly Are Ineffective
(OMNS, October 23, 2008) Have the elderly people in your family missed their flu shot? If so, they may have made the right decision. The New York Times recently reported that "A growing number of immunologists and epidemiologists say the vaccine probably does not work very well for people over 70," and that previous studies may have shown "not any actual protection against the flu virus but a fundamental difference between the kinds of people who get vaccines and those who do not . . . simply because they went to the doctor more often." (1)
Influenza vaccination has been widely touted even though evidence of effectiveness is lacking. One large scientific review looked at 40 years' worth of influenza vaccine studies. It found that flu shots were ineffective for elderly persons living in the community, and flu shots were "non-significant against influenza" for elderly living in group homes. (2) The authors of another major review "found no correlation between vaccine coverage and influenza-like-illness attack rate." (3) Author Dr. Thomas Jefferson said, "The vaccine doesn't work very well at all. Vaccines are being used as an ideological weapon. What you see every year as the flu is caused by 200 or 300 different agents with a vaccine against two of them. That is simply nonsense." (4) Indeed, he commented, "What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth." (5)
Some still claim that flu vaccinations, even though they do not prevent the flu, may help prevent more serious complications such as pneumonia, so dreaded and so often deadly for the elderly. But the authors of the study discussed in the NY Times article specifically noted that "influenza vaccination was not associated with a reduced risk of community-acquired pneumonia." (6)
As with all immunizations, flu shots can have harmful side effects. Vaccines may contain, among other things, ingredients such as mercury and aluminum, which are widely regarded as toxic. The elderly are more likely to be injured by, or even die from, flu vaccine side effects. Such incidents may remain unreported by hospitals or physicians. One man, aged 76, had a flu shot and immediately had to be hospitalized for a week. When family members suggested to the hospital staff and physicians that it was probably a reaction to the shot, their views were disregarded. Two years later the man had another flu shot, and was promptly hospitalized a second time. Family members once again said it was a reaction to the flu shot. The hospital said it was a low-grade infection, probably a bladder infection. The man died.
There are indications that vaccination side effects are underreported. The
The exact contents of each year's flu shot is an educated guess. Sometimes
this guess is wrong, as it was for 2008, where the vaccine "doesn't
match two of the three main types of flu bugs now in circulation. . . . The
predominant type A flu virus this year is the H3N2 strain; 87% are the "
The flu vaccine, notes the NY Times, has not been double-blind, placebo-control tested. Faith in vaccination appears to be greater than the scientific evidence to justify vaccination. Senior citizens already take far more medications than any other segment of the population. The elderly have weaker immune systems. The risk of immunization adverse effects rises accordingly. Increased side effect danger, along with low effectiveness, is a bad combination.
Is their an available alternative? Yes, there may be: give the elderly more nutrients, rather than more needles. Older people often have inadequate diets. With ageing and illness, their bodies' need for vital nutrients goes up, yet frequently their intake actually goes down.
Nutritional supplements help fight the flu. Vitamins and minerals have been shown to significantly reduce incidence and duration of influenza. This was already known back when many of today's elderly were still middle-aged. 32 years ago, twice Nobel-Prize winner Linus Pauling reviewed the nutritional literature and determined that high doses of vitamin C reduce the frequency and shorten the severity of influenza. (12) Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians have repeatedly confirmed this. Robert F. Cathcart, MD, successfully treated thousands of viral-illness patients with massive doses of vitamin C. (13) Vitamin D also increases resistance to influenza (14), as do the minerals selenium and zinc. (15)
With good nutrition bolstered with supplemental vitamin and mineral intake, the human body's natural defenses are strengthened and can rapidly adapt to resist new flu strains. Clinical evidence indicates that nutrition is more significant that vaccination. Malnutrition is far more dangerous than not getting vaccinated.
No, there is not a vaccination for every illness. It might be nice if there were, but no shot can make up for poor nutrition.
Over-reliance on vaccinating the elderly ignores their fundamental problems of poor diet and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. These are underlying reasons for a susceptible immune system. Supplemental nutrition is the "other" immune system booster. It is time to use it.
(1) Goodman B. Doubts grow over flu vaccine in elderly. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/health/02flu.html September
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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, March 19, 2008
Vitamins Reduce the Duration and Severity of Influenza
(OMNS, March 19, 2008) Vitamins fight the flu by boosting the body’s own immune response and by accelerating healing. Individuals can be better prepared for an influenza epidemic by learning how to use vitamin supplements to fight off ordinary respiratory infections. The most important vitamins are vitamins C, D, niacin, and thiamine.
During a viral infection, the body can draw on vitamin D stored in the body to supply the increased needs of the immune system. The withdrawn supplies of vitamin D are quickly replenished with 4,000 to 10,000 IU/day doses for a few days. Due to biochemical individuality, we recommend vitamin D blood testing as a routine part of a yearly physical exam.
Niacin’s effectiveness fighting viruses may have to do with accelerating wound healing as well as improving immunity. Accelerating tissue repair limits collateral damage and minimizes the risk of secondary infection. Niacin has been proven to promote healing of damaged skin in double-blind trials.  Other recent findings (niacin reduces injury to the brain after strokes and reduces inflammation in general) also provide evidence of healing. [14,15]
Niacin, 500 to 2,000 mg/day in divided doses, is generally well tolerated during periods when the immune system is fighting viral infections. One takes such doses for several days starting at the onset of a viral infection. Dividing the dose reduces flushing. Using "no-flush" form niacin (inositol hexaniacinate) eliminates the flushing side effect.
Extraordinary quantities of vitamin C, between 20,000 and 100,000 mg/day, are surprisingly well tolerated during periods when the immune system is fighting viral infections. These large daily amounts are best taken divided up into as many doses per day as possible, beginning immediately at the first sign of a viral infection. To achieve maximum effect it is necessary to maintain high concentrations of vitamin C in the body. Large, very frequent oral intake of vitamin C can maintain much higher blood plasma concentrations of vitamin C than is generally believed. [16, 19, 20]
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Influenza killed more people in the two years following World War I than all soldiers killed on both sides in four years of machine-gun warfare. Influenza has been and remains a serious threat to human health. There is a great deal of public concern about the possibility of a repeat of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Vitamin C, niacin, vitamin D, and thiamine act together to strengthen the immune system, and to optimize health. Intelligent, high-dose vitamin supplement use can do much to eliminate the risk of death and disability for individuals with average health, and dramatically reduce the hospitalization and death rates amongst the most vulnerable members of the population.
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