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Alkaline Water or Hydrogen Water

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Alkaline water is experiencing a resurgence in popularity with sales jumping from $47 million in 2014 to $427 million in 2017.1 Marketers claim alkaline water can correct excess acidity in your tissues, which can then prevent or reverse cancer, arthritis and other degenerative diseases.2

However, there’s virtually no good evidence to support such claims, and I warned people about drinking alkaline water on a regular basis over eight years ago. Molecular hydrogen, on the other hand, does have a number of health benefits, some of which mirror the claims made for alkaline water — and there’s a really good reason for that.

So, here, I’ll review these two types of waters, and the scientific support (or lack thereof) for each of them, and how the benefits of molecular hydrogen were inappropriately transferred over to alkaline water — primarily due to ignorance.

What Is Alkaline Water?

Alkaline water is water that has gone through electrolysis that separates it into alkaline and acid fractions. The theory behind alkaline water is that alkaline (ionized) water is a powerful antioxidant with surplus electrons that can “mop up” dangerous free radicals. As reported by Arwa Mahdawi in The Guardian:3

“Dr. Tanis Fenton, an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary and an evidence analyst for Dietitians of Canada, told me that the marketing claims behind alkaline water are based on an old idea called the acid-ash hypothesis.

This posits that eating certain food like meat, dairy and eggs results in something called acid ash in your body, which increases your acid levels and causes adverse health effects including osteoporosis.

In 2002, an alternative medicine practitioner called Robert O. Young4 spun the acid-ash hypothesis into a fad alkaline diet, with a popular series of books called the pH Miracle.

According to these books, an alkaline diet could treat all manner of woes, from poor digestion to cancer. Young, by the way, was sentenced to three years in jail in 2017 for practicing medicine without a license.”

According to Fenton — author of a systematic review5 of the association between alkaline water and cancer — the few studies showing positive results with alkaline water are poorly designed, leading him to conclude that “there is no rigorous evidence” showing that alkaline water produces health benefits.

This view is shared by Randy Johnson6 — who has a master of science degree in molecular genetics — whose evaluation of the evidence can be found on his Cyber Nook website page, “Drinking Water Resources: A Review of the Evidence Alleged to Support Health Benefits of Alkaline Water.”7

Why Alkaline Water Doesn’t Work

One of the key reasons why the consumption of alkaline water cannot confer the health benefits associated with alkalinity is because you cannot alter the pH of your blood and body this way. As noted by Fenton:8

“Your body regulates its [blood] pH in a very narrow range because all our enzymes are designed to work at pH 7.4. If our pH varied too much we wouldn’t survive.”

Your diet, including the water you drink, can however alter the pH of your urine. Urine is typically acidic, with a pH around 6, and this is actually a sign that your kidneys are working properly. As for the benefits people report when drinking alkaline water, Fenton suggests the placebo effect may be at play.

Initial improvement can also be attributed to detoxification and/or improved hydration in general, simply from drinking more water. Lastly, alkaline water is often correlated with having a higher mineral concentration, which is known to have beneficial effects, particularly when dietary intake from food is low.9

Understanding pH

The concept of the acidity or alkalinity of your body — or of water — is based on the pH scale. What is pH? It’s simply a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions.10 In fact, the acronym “pH” is short for “potential of hydrogen.”

The higher a liquid’s pH, the fewer free hydrogen ions (H+) it has; the lower its pH, the more free hydrogen ions (H+) it has. One pH unit reflects a tenfold change in ion concentration, so there are 10 times as many hydrogen ions available at a pH of 7 than at a pH of 8.11

The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, and a pH of 7 is neutral. Anything with a pH below 7 is considered acidic, and anything with a pH above 7 is alkaline (or basic).12

But the real reason why alkaline water is a scam is that it has no buffers to maintain its pH. The instant the alkaline water hits your very acidic stomach, the pH is neutralized as there are no buffers. Truly alkaline water would have an alkaline buffer like baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), which is also our body’s natural alkaline buffer.

Some have claimed that as the stomach acid neutralizes the alkaline water, the bicarbonate ions are released into the blood and thus it has an alkalizing effect. This would be true if the alkaline water effectively neutralized all the stomach acid (like baking soda would), but alkaline water doesn’t neutralize any significant quantity of stomach acid; the stomach acid completely neutralizes the alkaline water. So, there is no “net alkalizing effect.”

Natural water on our planet ranges in pH from around 6.5 to 8.5, depending on surrounding soil and vegetation, seasonal variations and weather, and even time of day responses to sunlight. Human activities further influence the pH of our water, from the barrage of toxic industrial pollutants.

Most aquatic animals and plants have adapted to life in water with a very specific pH and will die from even slight changes. For example, Michigan State University found that when the pH of greenhouse media is too high (greater than 6.5), it increases the chances of micronutrient deficiencies in the plants, and too low of a pH (less than 5.3) results in calcium and/or magnesium and/or manganese toxicity.13

Similarly, Ohio State University Extension Service reports that alkaline water affects a plant’s ability to obtain nutrients from the soil and can alter the soil’s pH over time.14 Your body also requires a relatively stable pH, or else you’ll run into problems. This was demonstrated in a Swedish well water study,15 which found both pH extremes to be problematic.

Notably, pH appears to have a major influence on your mitochondria.16 Research has shown normal cells die under extremely alkaline conditions, as a result of altering mitochondrial function.17

So, as noted by Fenton, “alkaline water is a solution to a problem that doesn’t need solving.” Indeed, it makes sense that you are designed to drink water that occurs naturally, which excludes alkaline water with pH levels of 9.5 and above.

Early Days of Hydrogen Water Production Shed Light on Alkaline Water Myth

Interestingly, aside from Young taking the acid-ash hypothesis and running with it, there’s another piece of history that helps explain why the alkaline water myth gained hold. The Molecular Hydrogen Institute explains the history of electrolyzed reduced water or ERW (the most common term used for alkaline water in the scientific literature):18

“Studies on ERW began in the 1930s in Japan, and in 1965 the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare approved ERW as a medical substance with potential to improve gastrointestinal symptoms …

Over the ensuing decades, anecdotal and scientific evidence accumulated substantiating many other benefits of ERW such as: protecting DNA from radical damage, increasing glucose uptake, improving diabetes, preventing premature cell death, offering liver protection, preventing lipid oxidation and others. However, it was uncertain as to how ERW was producing these benefits.”

Unfortunately, this is how the misunderstanding about pH came about. However, as noted by the Institute, “It is now well-recognized that the primary agent responsible for the benefits is attributed to the dissolved molecular hydrogen gas.” So, in a nutshell, the benefits, when there are any, are actually due to the presence of molecular hydrogen, and has nothing to do with the pH of the water. Dr. Kyu-Jae Lee, a hydrogen gas researcher, says:19

“In the 1990s I began studying alkaline ionized water and published scientific articles on its antioxidant, anticancer and antidiabetic effects, but did not really understand why the water worked. It was difficult to believe. Upon further investigation, I have now confirmed that the benefits from the alkaline ionized water are attributed to the hydrogen gas produced during electrolysis.

Another researcher, Mami Noda, Ph.D., adds:20

“[B]y testing every variable of the water (e.g., minerals, pH, H2, etc.), it was clear that only H2 was exerting the benefit … Our 2009 publication of an MPTP-induced mouse model of Parkinson’s disease also showed beneficial effects from H2.

We later discovered that the benefits in this model were mediated by H2-induced gastric ghrelin secretion via a ß1 adrenergic receptor-dependent pathway. Although hydrogen’s effect in Parkinson’s disease has now been confirmed in a human clinical trial, more research is necessary to reveal the molecular mechanisms responsible for the therapeutic benefits of H2.

Because of hydrogen’s high safety profile, ease of administration and its promising medical effects, I feel obligated as a pharmacologist to continue my investigations of H2 as a novel medical gas.”

What Is Molecular Hydrogen?

Molecular hydrogen (H2) — two hydrogen atoms combined together — is a gas with very unique and selective antioxidant effects that specifically target the most harmful free radicals. It works primarily by improving and optimizing the redox status of the cell when needed.

As a result, you see improvements in superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione levels, for example. Not only does hydrogen selectively reduce the most toxic radicals, but it can help prevent an excess (which becomes toxic) of the free radicals from being produced in the first place. This is a very powerful prevention mechanism.

H2 also activates the Nrf2 pathway when needed. Nrf2 is a transcription factor that, when activated, goes into the cell’s nucleus and binds to the antioxidant response element in the DNA. It then induces the transcription of further cytoprotective enzymes such as glutathione, superoxide dismutase catalase, glutathione peroxidase, phase II enzymes, heme-1 oxygenase and many others.

A landmark paper21 on molecular hydrogen came out in Nature Medicine in 2007, showing 2 percent hydrogen gas was effective at preventing brain damage from ischemia reperfusion and, as an antioxidant, has powerful therapeutic applications.

Hydrogen is the smallest molecule in the universe, and is neutral and nonpolar, which is why its bioavailability is so great. It does not dissociate into its electrons and protons when dissolved in water, so it will not alter the pH of water or your body and has nothing to do with the alkaline water concept.

More than 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications have collectively demonstrated that H2 has therapeutic potential in over 170 different human and animal disease models. In fact, hydrogen is shown to benefit virtually every organ of the human body, and the reason for this is because hydrogen actually targets and mitigates the root causes of inflammation and oxidation.

To learn more about the details of how molecular hydrogen works, see “The Remarkable Benefits of Molecular Hydrogen,”22 in which I interview a world-class expert and researcher in this field, Tyler W. LeBaron. I’ve also included that interview below for your convenience.


Hydrogen Water Versus Hydrogen Peroxide

Due to the similarity in names, many confuse hydrogen water with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and I often get asked if one can get the benefits of molecular hydrogen by drinking hydrogen peroxide in water. This is a dangerous mistake to make, so let me make this point abundantly clear:

Never ingest hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution).

Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution) — the stuff you use to disinfect wounds — is not the same as molecular hydrogen or hydrogen (H2) water. Hydrogen peroxide is for topical use only. You could potentially use it is as a mouth rinse for gingivitis, provided you spit it out and do not swallow, and you can pour a few drops into your ear canal as a remedy to combat cold and flu symptoms. But you should never ingest hydrogen peroxide.

Another common misconception is that adding hydrogen to water will form hydrogen peroxide. As explained by the Molecular Hydrogen Institute:23

“Water has the chemical formula H2O, and hydrogen peroxide has the chemical formula H2O2, which by comparison contains an extra oxygen, not hydrogen. So, it does not, indeed it cannot, form hydrogen peroxide.

The fact is, hydrogen gas does not bond to or react with the water molecules, it just dissolves into the water. It does not create some novel molecule like H4O, which would in fact be chemically impossible to form.

Therefore, hydrogen water and hydrogen peroxide are completely different substances. Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide cannot be used to generate H2 gas or make hydrogen-rich water.”

Alkaline Versus Alkalinity

Yet another source of confusion is the issue of alkaline versus alkalinity. These two words are not interchangeable, as from a scientific standpoint as they refer to different things. This too may be part of why people have placed such undue value on alkaline water. As explained by Mark Timmons, CEO of U.S. Water Systems:24

“To alkalize your body means that you give the body the ability to maintain a proper pH, but in order to do that you need water with alkalinity not alkaline water. pH merely measures the degree of acidity or alkalinity, not the capacity to neutralize acid … You also don’t alkalize your body based upon pH, but rather on alkalinity.

Alkalinity measures the ability to neutralize acid with buffers which are the sum of bicarbonates. Alkalinity is measured in mg/L (milligrams per liter). Alkaline mineral compounds include … calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, manganese [and] iron. So, you need to add alkalinity to your body, but you need to realize that pH has no relation to that alkalinity.

Case in point: Spinach juice has a pH of 6.4 but alkalinity of 2,250 mg/L … If you put one-half teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water, you would have 1,500 mg/L of alkalinity. Compare that to one of the many alkaline filters on the market. Most add just a few mg/L of alkalinity and then it only lasts a few gallons.”

Alkaline Water Is an Unlikely Cancer Preventive

One of the purported health benefits of drinking alkaline water is cancer prevention. However, much of the research really argues against alkalinity when it comes to treating cancer.

According to Robert Gillies, who has studied tumor formation and acidity at the Moffitt Cancer Center,25 tumors make their own acidity by their very nature, and they do this even in an alkaline cellular structure.

Scientists developing anticancer agent prototypes that selectively kill tumor cells by interfering with the regulation of intracellular pH also report that alkaline treatments do not have the desired effect, whereas strongly acidic treatments do!26

Even more interesting is a 2005 study27 by the National Cancer Institute, which revisits the use of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to treat cancer. They found that, in pharmacologic doses administered intravenously, ascorbic acid successfully killed cancer cells without harming normal cells.

This is yet another example of cancer cells being vulnerable to acidity, as opposed to alkalinity. So, it seems clear that the relationship between alkalinity and cancer has been grossly oversimplified by those jumping to premature conclusions.

Molecular Hydrogen, Not High pH, Is Highly Beneficial for Your Health

In summary, it’s unlikely that drinking alkaline water will do you much good. You’re probably just wasting your money. Hydrogen water, on the other hand, when consumed on a daily basis, has wide-ranging health benefits. I use it myself regularly.

Hydrogen can be obtained from various inhalation devices, hydrogen-producing tablets and ready-to-drink hydrogen beverages in cans (not plastic). For more ins and outs of molecular hydrogen, its actions and therapeutic potential, and information on how to ensure you’re getting a quality product, see my interview with LeBaron.

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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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