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Is Iodine Really Good for Brain Health?

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Perhaps the best way to determine how important iodine is to your health is to explain that not having enough — i.e., a deficiency — has been identified as the most common cause of preventable brain damage on the planet. Even more startling is research asserting that iodine deficiency is completely preventable, at least in the Western world.

In fact, even a moderate decrease in your iodine levels can cause a 10- to 15-point loss in your intelligence quotient (IQ), according to one study.1 Whether or not it’s intentional, pregnant mothers nourish their babies’ future health with their own food and lifestyle choices. Doing everything possible to ensure a child’s overall health once they’re born is important, but the brain health of developing babies before they’re born is absolutely critical.

It’s imperative for pregnant moms to get proper amounts of iodine for their unborn child’s brain development, as even small amounts through breast milk helps babies in their first critical months after they’re born, even to the point of helping to improve their IQ.2 In everyone else, upping your iodine intake may boost cognition.

Alarmingly low levels of iodine are a common problem in developing areas of the world, but it’s becoming more prevalent in Western countries as well. In fact, one study revealing this is more than 20 years old,3 and one-fifth of Europe’s population, where iodized salt is rare, is iodine deficient, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).4

Spirituality and Health notes that among the health benefits of balanced iodine levels, one of the most important is that it helps protect against toxins, and that goes for adults as well as infants. However, people in the U.S. aren’t getting enough. In addition:

“Prenatal vitamins, for example, don’t necessarily have iodine in them, and while processed foods are certainly high in sodium, they don’t usually contain iodized salt. Home-cooked food with table salt provides more iodine than a processed frozen meal. Sea salt, more popular than ever, isn’t always fortified with iodine, and another past source, bread, is no longer boosted with iodine.”5

Nootropics: Optimized Brain Health

A substance known as “nootropic,” aka, “smart drug,” means it can help repair damaged neurons and improve brain function. Nootropic can refer to compounds in foods or supplements with the ability to improve your mental abilities, such as your memory, ability to focus, motivation or even mood. Medical Daily further explains:

“Neuroscientists are acquiring a more nuanced understanding of the brain, the result being many new pharmaceutical drugs which target exact regions of the brain are in the works. The very same knowledge, though, might reveal how particular supplements might do an equally good job of improving brain function over the long haul.”6

Iodine, as an essential trace element, is a fast-acting nootropic that can help prevent brain degeneration later in life. One important aspect is that it combines with the amino acid tyrosine to form thyroid hormones T4 (thyroxine), which has four iodine atoms, and T3 (triiodothyronine), which has three. According to Nootropics Expert:

“Within your brain, T4 is converted to T3 by selenium which then affects gene expression controlling metabolism within cells, and activates the catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Malfunctioning thyroid function which is often caused by insufficient iodine results in poor cognition, difficulty learning, problems with recall, depression and anxiety.”7

One of the most important aspects of iodine is how critical it is for your brain receptors, called neurotransmitters, in regard to regulation, production and use. As just mentioned, iodine is required for the production of T4 and T3, and thyroid hormone receptors in your brain help regulate the production and use of all important neurotransmitters. When you don’t have enough iodine, symptoms of hypothyroidism may set in. These include:





Insomnia

Difficulty concentrating

Cold sensitivity

Fatigue

Depression

Joint and muscle pain

Dry skin and hair

Frequent, heavy periods for women

Iodized Salt: How It’s Helped Boost IQ

Consumers in the U.S. have been getting the benefits of iodized table salt in the form of potassium iodide since 1924 to reduce an uptick in goiters, evidenced by an enlargement of the thyroid gland. The benefits have been substantial in terms of cognitive health, which three economists found when they looked at the IQs of children born just before 1924 and those born just after.

Discover Magazine called it “a natural experiment,” as military records on about 2 million male recruits born between 1921 and 1927 supplied what they needed:

“Recruits all took a standardized intelligence test as part of their enlistment. Researchers didn’t have access to the test scores themselves, but they had a clever substitute: smarter recruits were assigned to the Air Forces while the less bright ones went to the Ground Forces. This allowed the researchers to infer test scores depending on which branch a recruit was selected for.

Intelligence data were paired with birthdate and hometown, since iodine levels in the soil and water vary significantly from place to place. To estimate which regions were naturally high-iodine and which were low, the researchers referred to nationwide statistics collected after World War I on the prevalence of goiter.”8

Interestingly, when the researchers reported their findings in the National Bureau of Economic Research, one rather disturbing statistic was the 10,000 deaths in the decades after 1924 attributed to abrupt iodine supplementation among deficient people, which, they found, can cause thyroid-related deaths.

But the trend turned, and both iodine deficiencies and related symptoms were “vanquished almost overnight.”9 In addition, the “Flynn Effect,” demonstrated by a 3-point rise in the collective IQ levels of whole populations of developed countries in the 20th century, showed that iodization of salt had been a remarkably healthy idea.

What Iodine Supplementation — or Lack Thereof — Could Do

Where foods aren’t fortified with iodine and supplements aren’t recommended by the National Health Service (NHS), even for pregnant mothers, the effects of iodine deficiency are quite evident. In fact, one symptom is cretinism, causing severely stunted physical and mental growth and deafness.

The case for supplementing with iodine is strengthened with this bit of information from a “cost effectiveness” study published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology,10 which found that augmenting the levels of iodine for pregnant women would save the NHS around £200 ($267) per woman in health costs and boost the child’s IQ by 1.22 points.

In fact, the U.K.-based study cites an overall “benefit to society” potential of approximately £4,500 ($6,008) per child over their lifetime, and also addressed the fact that during pregnancy and lactation, iodine levels need to be increased.

“Results from previous studies show that the cognitive ability of offspring might be irreversibly damaged as a result of their mother’s mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy. A reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) score has broad economic and societal cost implications because intelligence affects well-being, income and education outcomes.”11

Needless to say, it’s not how the state would benefit but the implications for each individual child, and here’s why: Fifty million people throughout the world have suffered brain damage due to an iodine deficiency, the WHO12 notes. Science Daily quotes the study authors’ sobering observation: “Iodine deficiency in pregnancy remains the leading cause of preventable retardation worldwide.

Even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy is associated with children with lower IQs.”13 Adequate iodine supplementation also helps rid your body of toxins you may be exposed to, such as heavy metals and fluoride.

How Does Your Body Assimilate Iodine?

Iodine, not to be confused with iodide, is the molecule cells absorb in your body, but it’s not readily available in food and supplements. Iodide, which is more stable, is the form usually found in supplements. In your body, the iodide molecule is converted into iodine, the active form needed by your thyroid gland.

It doesn’t take much iodine to keep your body in healthy levels, but a little bit daily is critical for keeping your organs at optimal function. As mentioned, iodine helps synthesize your thyroid hormones, which regulate nearly all your systems. Several thyroid hormones secreted by your thyroid gland even maintain energy production and metabolism.

Another way of saying it is that your whole body counts on your thyroid hormones continuing to produce and optimize the function of your thyroid gland, which is controlled by your pituitary gland. Your pituitary gland, in turn, is controlled by your hypothalamus.

As Healthline explains, your hypothalamus “governs physiologic functions such as temperature regulation, thirst, hunger, sleep, mood, sex drive and the release of other hormones within the body.”14 In essence, this “order of command,” so to speak, is necessary for low thyroid hormone levels to be identified so more will be secreted.

That’s why iodine for a healthy thyroid is so important for children even before they’re born, and continues throughout life. It makes the difference between normal, healthy growth and neurological development.

Perchlorate: New Concerns Over An Old Tradition

A 2014 study suggests fireworks may not be the harmless display we believe they are when we celebrate holidays. In fact, the fallout causes not just air pollution and residues from barium, cobalt, lead and strontium, but a little-known chemical called perchlorate, The Conversation15 reports.

Perchlorate is a concern because it may have detrimental effects on brain development, according to a study16 published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, involving 21,000 pregnant women in the U.K and Italy. Not only did all of them test for high levels of perchlorate, but also for low iodine levels. Their babies were subsequently found to have a significantly higher risk of IQ loss.

Then there’s flame retardants, which have been linked to papillary thyroid cancer, the most common type of thyroid cancer, especially among postmenopausal women. The worst flame retardants in terms of being cancer-causing are polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and organophosphate, which may lead to decreases in TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).17

Iodine-Rich Foods and Iodine Supplementation

Many countries, including the U.S., routinely fortify table salt with iodine. If you want to increase your iodine with food, a few of the most iodine-rich options include raw, organic, pastured cow’s milk, sea vegetables such as kelp and dulce seaweed, organic, grass fed yogurt, pastured, organic eggs and Celtic sea salt. Organic cranberries, strawberries and raw, unpasteurized, organic cheese also have higher amounts of iodine.18

Keep in mind that many doctors tell their patients to lower their salt intake, or even eliminate salt from their diet altogether, as a misguided strategy to lower their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. In reality, a balanced potassium-to-sodium ratio exerts far more influence, so don’t cut salt until you know the real implications.

WHO now advises adults worldwide to take 150 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per day, with 250 mcg recommended for both pregnant and breastfeeding women.19 In this fast-moving world with concerns about everything from our nutrient-depleted soil to the chemical additives in our air and water, the quest for health may seem like a challenge sometimes.

However, when research emerges to help you make informed choices about how to proceed in order to optimize your health, as well as that of your children and grandchildren, it’s an opportunity to improve on what you already know.

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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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