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Intermittent Fasting Instead of Insulin for Type 2 Diabetes

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Conventional medicine still has Type 2 diabetes pegged as a blood sugar problem. In reality, it’s a disease rooted in insulin resistance1 and faulty leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels. In other words, it’s a diet-derived condition.

Unfortunately, as noted by Dr. Abhinav Diwan, associate professor of medicine, cell biology and physiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis,2 “In general, the concept of reversing or curing diabetes … is not well-accepted in the medical field. It is not even a therapeutic goal when people start to treat diabetics.”

This is why the medical community’s approach to diabetes treatment, which typically involves the administration of insulin, is not getting anywhere. Treating Type 2 diabetes with insulin is actually one of the worst things you can do, and can even lead to the development of Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes in some cases.

Conventionally trained doctors also continue to pass along seriously flawed nutritional information (such as recommending a high-carb diet and use of artificial sweeteners), which is yet another reason why Type 2 diabetes has ballooned to such epidemic proportions.

Most People Are on the Verge of Becoming Diabetic

An estimated 30.3 million Americans, nearly 1 in 10, have Type 2 diabetes.3 Another 84 million American adults — about 1 in 3 — are prediabetic. Prediabetes4 is defined as an elevation in blood glucose over 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) but lower than 125 mg/dl, at which point it formally becomes Type 2 diabetes.

However, any fasting blood sugar regularly over 90 mg/dl really suggests insulin resistance, and seminal work by the late Dr. Joseph Kraft suggests 80 percent — 8 in 10 — Americans are in fact insulin resistant,5 which means they’re already well on their way toward developing diabetes.

That’s the bad news. The good news is Type 2 diabetes is reversible, and the treatment doesn’t cost you anything. In fact, it actually saves you loads of time and money. I’m talking about fasting. Both intermittent fasting and longer water-only fasting have been shown to reverse Type 2 diabetes.

Fasting — A Therapeutic Alternative to Insulin

A recent case series paper6,7 published in BMJ Case Reports by a friend, Dr. Jason Fung, details how fasting can be used as a therapeutic alternative for Type 2 diabetes. This exciting report actually made the front page of CNN online.8 As noted by the authors, their paper:

“… [D]emonstrates the effectiveness of therapeutic fasting to reverse insulin resistance, resulting in cessation of insulin therapy while maintaining control of blood sugars. In addition, these patients were able to lose significant amounts of body weight, reduce their waist circumference and also reduce their glycated hemoglobin levels.”

A case series paper is not a controlled study; rather, it simply presents the case history of one or more patients and may propose a hypothesis for why a treatment did or did not work. In this case, three diabetic patients between the ages of 40 and 67 participated in a supervised fasting regimen to evaluate the effects on their insulin requirements. The patients had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes for 10, 20 and 25 years respectively, and were taking insulin daily.

Of the three patients, two did alternating-day 24-hour fasts, while one fasted for 24 hours three times a week over a period of several months. On fasting days, they were allowed to drink unlimited amounts of low-calorie fluids such as water, coffee, tea and bone broth, and to eat a low-calorie, low-carb dinner.

On nonfasting days, they were allowed both lunch and dinner, but all meals were low in sugar and refined carbohydrates throughout. The complete manual of the fasting regimen used is described in Fung’s book, “The Complete Guide to Fasting.”9

Two of the patients were able to discontinue all of their diabetes medications while the third was able to discontinue three of his four drugs. All three also lost between 10 and 18 percent of their body weight. As reported by the authors:

“In our study all three patients eliminated the need for insulin by initiating a therapeutic fasting regimen. All three patients succeeded within a month and one in as little as five days. Further, all patients improved in multiple other clinically significant health outcome measures, such as HbA1C, body mass index and waist circumference …

As such, patients with T2D can reverse their diseases without the worry of side effects and financial burden of many pharmaceuticals, as well as the unknown long-term risks and uncertainty of surgery, all by means of therapeutic fasting.”

In another similar trial,10 Type 2 diabetics were placed on a severely restricted calorie diet where they ate just 600 calories a day for eight weeks. By the end of their fast, all were disease-free, and three months later, having returned to their regular diet, seven of the 11 participants remained free of diabetes.

Why Fasting Is Such a Powerful Intervention for Diabetes


Fung is a nephrologist (kidney specialist) with a practice in Toronto. Two years ago, I interviewed him about fasting, which is one of the most powerful interventions for Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance I know of. Fung was also one of the experts who peer reviewed my book, “Fat for Fuel,” which integrates some of his work.

Ultimately, diabetes is just one symptom of insulin resistance, which is the underlying problem. Insulin resistance, which results in mitochondrial dysfunction, is also at the heart of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases, and it all starts because your body is unable to burn fat as a primary fuel.

When your body relies primarily on sugar, more reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated, which damage the mitochondria in your cells. Fasting massively upregulates autophagy and mitophagy, and stimulates mitochondrial biosynthesis during the refeeding phase, which allows your body to naturally regenerate.

In fact, research11 published just last year demonstrated that partial fasting actually helps your pancreas to regenerate, by promoting the generation of insulin-producing beta cells. These are cells that detect sugar in your blood and release insulin if blood sugar levels get too high.

Through this restorative effect on the pancreas, the fasting-mimicking diet also reversed diabetes symptoms in mice. Valter Longo, Ph.D., professor of gerontology and biological sciences and director of the USC Longevity Institute, led the study, and explained the results:12

“Our conclusion is by pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back — by starving them and then feeding them again —the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the part of the organ that’s no longer functioning …

Medically, these findings have the potential to be very important because we’ve shown — at least in mouse models — that you can use diet to reverse the symptoms of diabetes. Scientifically, the findings are perhaps even more important because we’ve shown you can use diet to reprogram cells without having to make any genetic alterations.”

Type 2 Diabetes Is Predicated on Excess Sugar in Your Diet 

Once you understand what insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes actually are, then you’ll understand why something so simple as abstaining from food for a period of time can be such a powerful intervention. Contrary to infectious diseases, you cannot treat metabolic disease with a pill, because metabolic diseases such as diabetes are predicated on lifestyle, primarily diet. As previously explained by Fung:13

“You have to use metabolic treatments, which is why using fat for fuel is so important … Remember, the glucose goes into the cell, and insulin resistance is when the glucose doesn’t go out of the cell. So, for years we’ve used this paradigm of lock and key.

That is, the cell is sort of gated off. Outside the cell there’s blood, and when insulin comes around it turns the key, opens the gate and glucose goes in. So, if insulin is there, why is the glucose not going in? … You can measure the insulin and the insulin level is high. You can look at the insulin receptor, the gate is completely normal.

So, [conventional medicine] said something like, ‘Well, maybe there’s something gumming up the mechanism. It’s stuck in the lock so it doesn’t open properly, therefore the glucose can’t get into the cell. There’s a huge problem with this sort of paradigm, because if that is happening, the cell has no glucose and should be starving.

You should be losing lots of weight; you’d have a very thin liver. All your fat should just melt away, because if you think about untreated Type 1 diabetes, where you don’t have enough insulin, that’s exactly what happens. The cell literally starves and everything just wastes away … But that’s not what’s happening here.

In Type 2 diabetes you see that people are generally obese, they have large abdomens … What’s happening instead is that it’s actually an overflow syndrome. The cell can’t accept any more glucose because it’s jam packed full of glucose already.

That’s the reason you have insulin resistance. Insulin is trying to move glucose into the cell but the cell is full … So, it’s really an overflow mechanism …

That’s also why your liver is full — it’s a big fatty liver. The liver is busy trying to get rid of all this glucose by turning it into fat … Now, if Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance are the same sort of thing, it’s really about too much sugar. That’s the bottom line.

And if you understand that the whole problem is too much sugar, then the solution is not to use more insulin to jam more glucose into an already full cell. The key is to get rid of it all. So, what you want to do is: 1) Don’t put more sugar into your system, because you have too much sugar in already, and 2) burn it off.”

Why Insulin Therapy May Do More Harm than Good

Now, when you take insulin, the added insulin allows your body to use more of that excess glucose, but it turns it into fat. This is why most diabetics who take insulin end up gaining weight, which is the exact opposite of a healthy development, as the more weight you gain, the worse your diabetes gets and the more insulin you require. As noted by Fung, this treatment doesn’t make sense as diabetics already have high insulin.

“[Why give] more insulin in a situation where you have too much insulin already? If you have hyperthyroidism, you don’t give more thyroid hormone.

If you have an alcoholic, you don’t give more alcohol. It’s the exact wrong thing to do. In fact, if your levels of insulin are too high and that’s your disease, you need to lower insulin. By giving insulin, you’re actually making the fundamental problem much worse,” he says.

Research14 has also confirmed that insulin therapy fails to significantly add to your life expectancy and quality of life. As reported by Medical News Today:15

“[T]hey estimate that a person with Type 2 diabetes who begins insulin therapy at age 45 and lowers their hemoglobin A1c levels by 1 percent may experience an extra 10 months of healthy life.

But for a patient who starts treatment for Type 2 diabetes at age 75, they estimate the therapy may only gain them an additional three weeks of healthy life. The researchers say this prompts the question — Is 10 to 15 years of pills or injections with possible side effects worth it?”

In Some, Insulin Treatment Can Rapidly Induce Disease Progression

One really significant potential side effect of insulin therapy is disease progression from reversible to irreversible diabetes. This was demonstrated in a 2014 study16 published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study found that giving genetically engineered recombinant insulin — which is the type typically used — to Type 2 diabetics with certain genetic susceptibility can trigger their bodies to produce antibodies that destroy their insulin producing cells (pancreatic islet cells).

Basically, it triggers an autoimmune disease response, producing a condition in which you have both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes simultaneously. The average time of Type 1 diabetes onset was 7.7 months. One study participant developed Type 1 diabetes in just over one month.

According to the authors, acute deterioration of blood glucose control after administering insulin is a warning sign of this problematic side effect. According to this study, the genes predisposing you to this autoimmune-type response to insulin are:

  • Type 1 diabetes high risk HLA class II (IDDM1), thought to play a role in about half of all Type 1 diabetes cases, and
  • VNTR genotype (IDDM2), which is believed to predispose you to Type 2 diabetes

Insulin Treatment Raises Risk of Several Health Complications

What’s more, a 2013 study17 found that treating Type 2 diabetes with insulin more than doubled patients’ risk of all-cause mortality. It also leads to:





Twice as many myocardial infarctions

1.4 times more strokes

2.1 times more neuropathy

1.4 times more cancer

1.7 times more major adverse cardiac events

3.5 times more renal complications

1.2 times more eye complications

2.2 times more deaths

A study published in Diabetologia18 in 2014 also found that diabetic cancer patients have a significantly elevated risk of death. Diabetic patients using insulin at the time of their cancer diagnosis had a four times higher mortality rate one year after cancer diagnosis compared to nondiabetic patients, or those who did not use insulin to control their diabetes. While this was an observational study, which means it cannot establish causality, the results are still noteworthy.

Other diabetic medications also have their risks. Avandia, for example, has been linked to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 64 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death, compared with other treatments.

So, it’s really important to understand that Type 2 diabetes is best controlled by restoring your insulin and leptin sensitivities, and this is what fasting helps you do. You will also dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes by:

Limiting grains and sugars in your diet and getting plenty of healthy dietary fats, including animal-based omega-3

Exercising regularly19

Getting plenty of restorative sleep — In one 10-year-long study20 of 70,000 diabetes-free women, women who slept less than five hours or more than nine hours each night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetes symptoms than those who slept seven to eight hours each night

Optimizing your vitamin D level to between 60 and 80 ng/mL

Optimizing your magnesium level — Magnesium plays an important role in glucose and insulin homeostasis21 and is required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme required for the proper function of your insulin receptors.22

One 2013 study involving prediabetics found that most had inadequate magnesium intake, and those with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by a whopping 71 percent23

Work With a Knowledgeable Physician if You’re on Any Medications

While fasting is a profoundly effective intervention for Type 2 diabetes, you do need to use caution if you’re diabetic. If you are taking medication, especially for your blood sugar, you have to make sure you talk to your doctor because there’s a risk your blood sugar may end up dipping too low.

If you’re taking insulin, and keep taking insulin while fasting, you could get into trouble. So, it’s important to closely monitor your blood sugar and adjust your medication accordingly. As previously noted by Fung:

“Remember, the fasting is going to drive your blood sugars down, and your insulin or your medications will drive your blood sugars down, so you’ve got kind of two things driving your blood sugars down.

All of a sudden you go low, you can have seizures, you can wind up in the emergency room and you could absolutely die. And that’s one of the things you have to be very careful of. So yes, you can do it, but you have to make sure you do it in a supervised setting with somebody who knows what they’re doing.”

Periodic Partial Fasting Is a Key to General Health and Wellness

By upregulating autophagy and mitophagy, stimulating mitochondrial biosynthesis and triggering the regeneration of stem cells, partial fasting (with days of 300 to 700 calories based on lean body mass) is not only beneficial for Type 2 diabetes and obesity, but also for health in general, and likely even longevity.

There’s even evidence to suggest fasting can help prevent or even reverse dementia, as it helps your body clean out toxic debris. By lowering insulin, you also increase other important hormones, including growth hormone (aka the fitness hormone), which is important for muscle development and general vitality.

As previously noted by Fung, fasting is “fundamentally one of the keys of wellness.” Other ailments that can benefit from fasting include polycystic ovaries, polycystic kidneys and fast growing cancer cells.

The reason for this is because when autophagy increases, your body starts breaking down old protein, including fast growing cells. Then, during the refeeding phase, growth hormone increases, boosting the rebuilding of new proteins and cells. In other words, it reactivates and speeds up your body’s natural renewal cycle.

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Sweet! Here are 7 reasons to eat sweet potatoes

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(Natural News) Sweet potatoes may not be as popular as regular potatoes, which is too bad — since they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. One cup of sweet potatoes can provide more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. It’s also rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Both purple and orange varieties contain antioxidants that can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Eating sweet potatoes is beneficial for your health

Sweet potatoes are brimming with micronutrients and antioxidants —  making them useful to your health. Below is a list of reasons why you should incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet.

They improve brain function

The purple variety of sweet potato contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have revealed that anthocyanins are effective at improving cognitive function. Moreover, the results suggest that purple yams can help protect against memory loss. Antioxidants from the purple variety safeguard the brain against damage from free radicals and inflammation.

They aid digestion

Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber. This macronutrient prevents constipation, diarrhea, and bloating by adding bulk and drawing water to the stool. In addition, fiber keeps a healthy balance in the gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria.

They slow down aging

The beta-carotene in orange sweet potatoes can help reduce damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. This is especially true for people diagnosed with erythropoietic protoporphyria and other photosensitive diseases. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. Free radicals are not only linked to diseases but also premature aging.

They boost the immune system

Orange and purple sweet potatoes are loaded with a good number of antioxidants that help protect the body from harmful molecules that cause inflammation and damage DNA. This, in turn, protects the body from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

They can prevent cancer

Eating sweet potatoes can help protect against various types of cancers. The compounds in sweet potatoes restrict the development of cancer cells. Test tube studies have shown that anthocyanins can prevent cancers in the bladder, breast, colon, and stomach.

They lower blood sugar

Despite its relatively high glycemic index, studies have shown that the regular intake of sweet potatoes can help lower blood sugar, thanks to the presence of dietary fiber. While fiber falls under carbohydrates, it is digested differently, compared to starchy and sugary forms of carbohydrates. Interestingly, insulin doesn’t process fiber (unlike other types which get turned into glucose), and it only passes through the digestive tract.

They promote healthy vision

Orange sweet potatoes are rich in a compound called beta-carotene, an antioxidant which transforms into vitamin A in the body. Adequate intake of vitamin A promotes eye health. Conversely, deficiencies in vitamin A have been linked to a particular type of blindness called xerophthalmia.

Sweet potatoes are easy to incorporate into your everyday meals. They are best prepared boiled but can also be baked, roasted, or steamed — they can even replace other carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and toast. (Related: Understanding the phytochemical and nutrient content of sweet potato flours from Vietnam.)

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Frostbite: What it is and how to identify, treat it

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Manitoba’s temperature has plummeted to its coldest level this season, triggering warnings about the extreme risk of frostbite.

Oh, we know it’s cold. We can feel Jack Frost nipping at our noses. But what about when he gnaws a little harder — what exactly does “frostbite” mean?

People tend to underestimate the potential for severe injuries in the cold, says the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. We laugh off the sting of the deep freeze, rub our hands back from the brink of numbness and wear our survival proudly like a badge.

That’s because, in most cases, frostbite can be treated fairly easily, with no long-term effects.

But it can also lead to serious injury, including permanent numbness or tingling, joint stiffness, or muscle weakness. In extreme cases, it can lead to amputation.

Bitter cold can cause frostbite in just minutes. Here’s how to recognize the warning signs and treat them. 0:59

Here’s a guide to identifying the first signs, how to treat them, and when to seek medical help.

What is frostbite and frostnip?

Frostbite is defined as bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and colour in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes — those areas most often exposed to the air.

Cooling of the body causes a narrowing of the blood vessels, slowing blood flow. In temperatures below –4 C, ice crystals can form in the skin and the tissue just below it.

Frostnip most commonly affects the hands and feet. It initially causes cold, burning pain, with the area affected becoming blanched. It is easy to treat and with rewarming, the area becomes reddened.

Frostbite is the acute version of frostnip, when the soft tissue actually freezes. The risk is particularly dangerous on days with a high wind chill factor. If not quickly and properly treated, it can lead to the loss of tissues or even limbs. 

Signs of frostbite

Health officials call them the four P’s:

  • Pink: Skin appears reddish in colour, and this is usually the first sign.
  • Pain: The cold becomes painful on skin.
  • Patches: White, waxy-feeling patches show when skin is dying.
  • Prickles: Affected areas feel numb or have reduced sensation.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Reduced body temperature.
  • Swelling.
  • Blisters.
  • Areas that are initially cold, hard to the touch.

Take quick action

If you do get frostbite, it is important to take quick action.

  • Most cases of frostbite can be treated by heating the exposed area in warm (not hot) water.
  • Immersion in warm water should continue for 20-30 minutes until the exposed area starts to turn pink, indicating the return of blood circulation.
  • Use a warm, wet washcloth on frostbitten nose or earlobes.
  • If you don’t have access to warm water, underarms are a good place to warm frostbitten fingers. For feet, put them against a warm person’s skin.
  • Drink hot fluids such as hot chocolate, coffee or tea when warming.
  • Rest affected limbs and avoid irritation to the skin.
  • E​levate the affected limb once it is rewarmed.

Rewarming can take up to an hour and can be painful, especially near the end of the process as circulation returns. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help with the discomfort.

Do not …

There are a number of things you should avoid:

  • Do not warm the area with dry heat, such as a heating pad, heat lamp or electric heater, because frostbitten skin is easily burned.
  • Do not rub or massage affected areas. This can cause more damage.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not walk on your feet or toes if they are frozen.
  • Do not break blisters.

Seek immediate medical attention

While you can treat frostbite yourself if the symptoms are minor — the skin is red, there is tingling — you should seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department if:

  • The exposed skin is blackened.
  • You see white-coloured or grey-coloured patches.
  • There is severe pain or the area is completely numb.
  • The skin feels unusually firm and is not sensitive to touch after one hour of rewarming.
  • There are large areas of blistering.
  • There is a bluish discolouration that does not resolve with rewarming.

Be prepared

The best way to avoid frostbite is to be prepared for the weather in the first place.

Wear several loose layers of clothing rather than a single, thick layer to provide good insulation and keep moisture away from your skin.

The outer garment should breathe but be waterproof and windproof, with an inner thermal layer. Retain body heat with a hat and scarf. Mittens are warmer than gloves because they keep the fingers together.

Be sure your clothing protects your head, ears, nose, hands and feet, especially for children.

Wind chill and frostbite rates

Wind chill: 0 to –9.
Frostbite risk: Low.

Wind chill: –28 to –39.
Frostbite risk: Moderate.

Exposed skin can freeze in 10-30 minutes

Wind chill: –40 to –47.
Frostbite risk: High.

Exposed skin can freeze in five to 10 minutes.

Wind chill: –48 to –54.
Frostbite risk: Very High.

Exposed skin can freeze in two to five minutes.

Wind chill: –55 and lower.
Frostbite risk: Extremely High.

Exposed skin can freeze in less than two minutes.
 

NOTE: In sustained winds over 50 km/h, frostbite can occur faster than indicated.

Source: Environment Canada

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Awkward Flu Jabs Attempted at Golden Globes

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In what can only be described as a new level of propaganda, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh featured a flu shot stunt during the 76th Golden Globe Awards ceremony. They told the audience to roll up their sleeves, as they would all be getting flu shots, while people in white coats stormed down the aisles, syringes in hand.

Most of the audience looked thoroughly uneasy at the prospect of having a stranger stick them with a needle in the middle of an awards show. But perhaps the worst part of the scene was when Samberg added that anti-vaxxers could put a napkin over their head if they wanted to be skipped, basically suggesting that anyone opposed to a flu shot deserved to be branded with a proverbial scarlet letter.

The flu shots, for the record, were reportedly fake,1 nothing more than a bizarre gag that left many people stunned by the Globe’s poor taste in turning a serious medical choice into a publicity gimmick.

Flu Shot Stunt Reeks of Desperation

Whoever came up with the idea to turn the Golden Globes into a platform for a public health message probably thought it was ingenious, but the stunt only serves as a seemingly desperate attempt to make flu shots relevant and in vogue. During the 2017 to 2018 flu season, only 37 percent of U.S. adults received a flu shot, a 6 percent drop from the prior season.2

“To improve flu vaccination coverage for the 2018-19 flu season, health care providers are encouraged to strongly recommend and offer flu vaccination to all of their patients,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote. “People not visiting a provider during the flu season have many convenient places they can go for a flu vaccination.”3

Yet, perhaps the decline in people choosing to get vaccinated has nothing to do with convenience and everything to do with their dismal rates of efficacy. In the decade between 2005 and 2015, the influenza vaccine was less than 50 percent effective more than half of the time.4

The 2017/2018 flu vaccine was a perfect example of this trend. The overall adjusted vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B virus infection was just 36 percent.5

Health officials blamed the flu season’s severity on the dip in vaccination rates, but as Dr. Paul Auwaerter, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told USA Today, “[I]t is also true that the vaccine was not as well matched against the strains that circulated.”6

But bringing flu shots to the Golden Globes, and calling out “anti-vaxxers,” is nothing more than “medical care, by shame,” noted Dr. Don Harte, a chiropractic activist in California. “But it was entertaining, in a very weird way, including the shock and disgust of some of the intended victims, notably [Willem Dafoe],” he said, adding:7

“This Hollywood publicity stunt for the flu vaccine is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen from celebrities. But it does go with the flu shot itself, which is, perhaps, the stupidest of all the vaccines available.”

Did 80,000 People Really Die From the Flu Last Year?

The CDC reported that 79,400 people died from influenza during the 2017/2018 season, which they said “serves as a reminder of how severe seasonal influenza can be.”8 It’s important to remember, however, that the 80,000 deaths figure being widely reported in the media is not actually all “flu deaths.”

According to the CDC, “We look at death certificates that have pneumonia or influenza causes (P&I), other respiratory and circulatory causes (R&C), or other nonrespiratory, noncirculatory causes of death, because deaths related to flu may not have influenza listed as a cause of death.”9

As for why the CDC doesn’t base flu mortality estimates only on death certificates that list influenza, they noted, “Seasonal influenza may lead to death from other causes, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease … Additionally, some deaths — particularly among the elderly — are associated with secondary complications of seasonal influenza (including bacterial pneumonias).”10

In other words, “flu deaths” are not just deaths directly caused by the influenza virus, but also secondary infections such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, as well as sepsis.11

According to the CDC, most of the deaths occurred among those aged 65 years and over, a population that may already have preexisting conditions that makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases. As Harte said of annual flu deaths, “[M]ost if not all, I would assume, are of people who are already in very bad shape.12

CDC Claims Flu Vaccine Reduces Flu Deaths in the Elderly — But Does It?

Since people aged 65 and over are those most at risk from flu complications and death, the CDC has been vocal in their claims that the flu shot significantly reduces flu-related deaths among this population. The research, however, says otherwise.

Research published in 2005 found no correlation between increased vaccination rates among the elderly and reduced mortality. According to the authors, “Because fewer than 10 percent of all winter deaths were attributable to influenza in any season, we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit.”13

A 2006 study also showed that even though seniors vaccinated against influenza had a 44 percent reduced risk of dying during flu season than unvaccinated seniors, those who were vaccinated were also 61 percent less like to die before the flu season ever started.14

This finding has since been attributed to a “healthy user effect,” which suggests that older people who get vaccinated against influenza are already healthier and, therefore, less likely to die anyway, whereas those who do not get the shot have suffered a decline in health in recent months.

Journalist Jeremy Hammond summed up the CDC’s continued spreading of misinformation regarding the flu vaccine’s effectiveness in the elderly, as they continue to claim it’s the best way to prevent the flu:15

[T]here is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC’s claim that the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations or deaths among the elderly.

The types of studies the CDC has relied on to support this claim have been thoroughly discredited due to their systemic ‘healthy user’ selection bias, and the mortality rate has observably increased along with the increase in vaccine uptake — which the CDC has encouraged with its unevidenced claims about the vaccine’s benefits, downplaying of its risks, and a marketing strategy of trying to frighten people into getting the flu shot for themselves and their family.”

Death of Vaccinated Child Blamed on Not Getting Second Dose

In January 2019, the state of Colorado reported the first child flu death of the 2018/2019 flu season — a child who had received influenza vaccination. But instead of highlighting the vaccine’s failure and clear limitations, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment blamed the death on the child being only “partially vaccinated.”

“It’s an unfortunate but important reminder of the importance of two doses of influenza vaccine for young children who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, who is the state communicable disease epidemiologist, said in a news release.16 For those who aren’t aware, the CDC notes that one dose of flu shot may not be enough to protect against the flu. Instead, they state:17

“Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season …

The first dose ‘primes’ the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine.”

Not only may the flu vaccine fail to provide protection against the flu, but many people are not aware that other types of viruses are responsible for about 80 percent of all respiratory infections during any given flu season.18 The flu vaccine does not protect against or prevent any of these other types of respiratory infections causing influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.

The chance of contracting actual type A or B influenza, caused by one of the three or four influenza virus strains included in the vaccine, is much lower compared to getting sick with another type of viral or bacterial infection during the flu season.

Does Flu Vaccine Increase the Risk of Influenza Infection, Contribute to Vaccine Shedding?

There are serious adverse effects that can come along with annual flu vaccination, including potentially lifelong side effects such as Guillain Barré syndrome and chronic shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). They may also increase your risk of contracting more serious flu infections, as research suggests those who have been vaccinated annually may be less protected than those with no prior flu vaccination history.19

Research presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego also revealed that children who get seasonal flu shots are more at risk of hospitalization than children who do not. Children who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization as children who had not. Among children with asthma, the risk was even higher.20

There’s also the potential for vaccine shedding, which has taken on renewed importance with the reintroduction of the live virus vaccine FluMist during the 2018/2019 season. While the CDC states that the live flu virus in FluMist is too weak to actually give recipients the flu, research has raised some serious doubts that this is the case.

One recent study revealed not only that influenza virus may be spread via simple breathing (i.e., no sneezing or coughing required) but also that repeated vaccination increases the amount of virus released into the air.21

MedImmune, the company that developed FluMist, is aware that the vaccine sheds vaccine-strain virus. In its prescribing information, they describe a study on the transmission of vaccine-strain viruses from vaccinated children to nonvaccinated children in a day care setting.

In 80 percent of the FluMist recipients, at least one vaccine-strain virus was isolated anywhere from one to 21 days following vaccination. They further noted, “One placebo subject had mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a transmitted vaccine virus by a FluMist recipient in the same playgroup.”22

Are There Other Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season?

Contrary to the CDC’s and Golden Globe’s claims that flu vaccinations are a great way to prevent flu, other methods exist to help you stay healthy during the flu season and all year, and they’re far safer than annual flu vaccination. Vitamin D testing and optimization have been shown to cut your risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu, in half if you are vitamin D deficient, for instance.23,24

In my view, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best respiratory illness prevention and optimal health strategies available. Influenza has also been treated with high-dose vitamin C,25 and taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of respiratory illness can also be helpful.

Following other basic tenets of health, like eating right, getting sound sleep, exercising and addressing stress are also important, as is regularly washing your hands.

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