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What Are the Benefits of Vitamin B1, Thiamine?

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You’ve probably heard of thiamine, another name for vitamin B1, possibly in relation to “fortified” foods like cereals and breads. As one of eight essential B vitamins, thiamine is considered “essential” because your body can’t produce it on its own; it must come from an outside source.

Mostly concentrated in the skeletal muscles, but also found in your brain, liver, kidneys and heart, it’s excreted by the kidneys1 and performs several important functions in your body. More than one study has suggested it to be the primary “B” needed on a day-to-day basis.

Thiamine is used by nearly all your cells, metabolizing the carbohydrates and lipids in the foods you eat, helping to convert food into energy and boosting the flow of electrolytes in and out of the cells of your nerves and muscles.2 There are different forms of thiamine, each with individual functions:

  • Thiamine hydrochloride — The salt structure of thiamine, “essential for aerobic metabolism, cell growth, transmission of nerve impulses and acetylcholine synthesis,” is also responsible for forming thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) needed for several enzymatic activities involving fatty and amino acids and carbohydrate metabolism.3
  • Thiamine pyrophosphate — The biologically active form in your body functions as a coenzyme in carbohydrate metabolism4
  • Thiamine mononitrate — The type typically used to make supplements

Organic Facts5 lists a number of health benefits that are often overlooked in regard to having healthy levels of vitamin B1 in your system, such as:

  • The oxidation of sugar due to a combination of enzymes known as pyruvate dehydrogenase complex
  • The proper development of protective myelin sheaths around nerves
  • The delay or prevention of cataracts
  • The secretion of hydrochloric acid for optimal digestion
  • Improved appetite

It’s sometimes called the “antistress” vitamin for its positive influence on your central nervous system.

What Happens When You Don’t Have Adequate Thiamine?

According to a study in 2013,6 a long list of problems can occur when your body either doesn’t produce enough or doesn’t get enough nutritional benefit from food or through supplementation, and that includes thiamine. Constipation is something people with a thiamine deficiency often experience, but conversely, increasing their thiamine levels reduces the problem.

Thiamine is extremely important for cognitive function, as well as your nervous system and red blood cell formation, so it only stands to reason that it’s vital for brain health. When thiamine is missing or low, a whole string of such functions can be damaged in a sort of domino effect.

For example, enzymes (such as pyruvate dehydrogenase complex) needed as a cofactor in the Kreb’s cycle and for synthesizing and breaking down excess levels of dopamine, can lead to diminished brain function. Impaired neurotransmitters such as gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) can initiate problems like hallucinations, delusions and severe cognitive impairment.7 The study explains:

“GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and a decrease in the levels of this neurotransmitter and an increase in its amino acid precursor, glutamine, leads to neuronal excitation and hence delirium.”8

Although eating foods containing thiamine may be the best way to support your system, sometimes supplying it more quickly may be in order. The cognitive dysfunction noted earlier in relation to a vitamin B1 deficiency can be remedied with supplementation, as noted in one study9 in which 120 young adult females, whose levels were “adequate,” were given either the vitamin or a placebo daily for 60 days.

Beforehand, the participants’ mood, memory and reaction times were monitored; afterward, those who received B1 reported being “more clearheaded, composed and energetic,” and their reaction times were faster.

Thiamine Deficiency and Life-Threatening Results

Although it’s not seen as often today as it has been in the past, a disorder known as beriberi is caused by low levels of vitamin B1. There are two types: “wet” beriberi, which damages the circulatory system and can cause heart failure, and “dry” beriberi, which results in nerve damage, diminished muscle strength and eventual muscle paralysis. Needless to say, it can be a life-threatening condition.

Beriberi is sometimes linked to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, an amalgamation of Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome, which, according to HealthLine,10 are two forms of brain damage in the thalamus and hypothalamus regions that are directly related to thiamine deficiency.

Wernicke encephalopathy can bring about confusion, memory loss, reduced muscle coordination and vision problems like rapid eye movement and double vision. Korsakoff syndrome is a sign of permanent damage in the memory-storage areas of the brain; symptoms can include both memory loss and an inability to form new memories, as well as hallucinations.

Again, while the cause of this condition is a diet low in thiamine, it’s very rare in areas where people have access to fortified foods. It’s most common in regions of the world where the typical diet includes unenriched, processed white rice, as it has only a tenth of the thiamine in brown rice. (Like other foods, rice has both good and not-so-good elements; wild rice is the variety with more nutrients, fewer calories and fewer carbs, compared to white rice.)

One extensive review asserts, “Several risk factors can contribute to thiamine deficiency in patients with and without heart failure, such as inadequate dietary intake, excess alcohol ingestion, malabsorption syndromes and medications.”11 The medications include diuretics, penicillins, tetracyclines (for infections), sulfonamides (antibiotics or for treating ulcerative colitis12) and trimethoprim (used for bladder infections, middle ear infections and travelers’ diarrhea13).

The review also shows that patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), numbering around 5 million people in the U.S. alone, can benefit dramatically from thiamine supplementation, especially since deficiency ranges from between 21 percent and 98 percent, plus, the usual treatment alternatives are problematic:

“Although therapies for CHF — including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, loop diuretics and omega-3 fatty acids — have improved morbidity and mortality, mortality rates in patients with CHF remain high … A 1995 trial indicated that thiamine supplementation in patients with CHF significantly improved left ventricular ejection fraction.”14

Best Sources of Thiamine in Foods — With Caveats

Fortunately, thiamine is found in a variety of foods. Omitting the many packaged foods thiamine is used in, such as crackers, cereals and bread, “real” foods with the highest amounts include macadamia and pistachio nuts, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds, raw, organic, grass fed milk, vegetables like eggplant, asparagus and bell peppers, grass fed beef, watermelon and oranges.

According to the George Mateljan Foundation,15 a nonprofit organization focusing on nutrition and the healthiest ways to cook for optimal health, around 20 percent of people in the U.S. over age 2 are deficient in vitamin B1. The site also lists crimini mushrooms, oats, garlic, parsley, cumin and sea vegetables as being sources of thiamine, as are kidney, black, pinto, navy and lima beans.

However, beans also contain sugar-binding proteins called lectins known to be a factor in leaky gut syndrome, which, among other problems, prevents the nutrients in the foods you eat from being adequately absorbed. For that reason, measures to keep lectins from ruining your gut, but still getting their nutritional benefits, involves a few important steps:

  1. Soak the dry beans for 12 hours prior to cooking, adding baking soda to the water
  2. Drain the water and rinse the beans thoroughly
  3. Add fresh water and cook the beans on high heat for a minimum of 15 minutes, as low heat can increase the lectin toxicity as much as five times over

How a Thiamine Supplement Can Help Alleviate Diseases and Disorders


There’s plenty of evidence showing the wide array of benefits that come from this vitamin. On the other hand, certain diseases, including diabetes, gastrointestinal ailments and heart failure, bring with them an increased risk of vitamin B1 deficiency.

Interestingly, increasing your thiamine intake to optimal amounts can prevent some of the worst symptoms and complications that are common consequences. Verywell Health16 and University of Michigan Health17 list several disorders and diseases this supplement may help treat:





Back pain

Anxiety

Depression

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetes

Thyroid and Hashimoto’s disease

Advanced glycation end products, aka AGEs, are glycotoxins in high-fat meats that can trigger inflammation and speed up the damage done by degenerative, age-related diseases.

One study18 indicates that benfotiamine (a fat-soluble form of thiamine) supplements were given to 13 participants with Type 2 diabetes, and after three days, they were given a meal high in AGEs (54 grams of protein and 48 grams of carbs). Subsequent tests showed that the supplement appeared to protect the study subjects from oxidative stress.

Additionally, in two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of thiamine supplementation in patients with congestive heart failure, thiamine supplements compared to the placebo resulted in significant improvement.

As another study shows, thiamine deficiency was once a widespread problem in many Asian countries due to the nearly exclusive use of polished rice (i.e., white rice) as a staple diet, but once this was discovered, it was “somewhat controlled,” until recently:

“However, it is now realized that a large number of certain populations may be at high risk for developing this deficiency, including (heart failure); therefore, the interest in thiamine and thiamine deficiency has recently been reemerging …

Patients with (heart failure) may be at risk for developing certain micronutrient deficiencies, including thiamine deficiency. The focus of management of (heart failure) may need to be broadened to include the normalization of these nutritional abnormalities. Patients with (heart failure), especially those in advanced stages, may benefit from regular thiamine supplementation.”19

Thiamine and Alcohol Consumption

Something else to take into consideration, especially for anyone who drinks alcohol, is that alcoholic beverage consumption is one of the leading causes of thiamin deficiency. What does a person’s alcohol intake have to do with their thiamine levels? On one hand, treatment with thiamine can help restore normal body function, but abuse is a slippery slope. According to the George Mateljan Foundation:

“Perhaps the most important and well-known inhibitor of vitamin B1 nutrition in humans, however, is alcohol abuse. Alcoholics use more vitamin B1 in the detoxification of alcohol, often eat less vitamin B1 due to poor dietary habits, have trouble absorbing vitamin B1 in the intestine, and urinate out more of the vitamin. This is an almost perfect scenario for increasing deficiency risk.”20

The American Academy of Neurology reported in 2003 that individuals with certain “deficiencies in the hippocampus,” including thiamine, may result in Korsakoff syndrome, a memory disorder often found in alcoholism with symptoms comparable to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, “Greater hippocampal damage was correlated to a higher memory deterioration index score for the Korsakoff’s patients.”21

Study author Edith V. Sullivan, of Stanford University School of Medicine in California, noted both clinical and radiological similarities between the two disorders. In spite of the controversy involved, she believes that while their overall profiles are different, the nature of the impairments are the same. She notes:

“Resulting from a lack of thiamine (vitamin B1), Korsakoff’s syndrome is typically a consequence of chronic alcohol dependence. Individuals at risk include those with nutritional deficiency disorders like anorexia. The nutrient thiamine helps restore certain brain functions like recalling past events and storing new information.

Current treatment of Korsakoff’s patients includes thiamine and other B-complex vitamins. If treated early enough, Korsakoff’s patients may have at least partial recovery.”

In addition, Sullivan stated in the study that clinicians who diagnose and treat patients with dementia should consider Korsakoff syndrome as they’re dialing in on a diagnosis.

Questions, Answers and Discussions Regarding Thiamine

If you think you may have a thiamine deficiency but you love to eat raw fish and shellfish, it’s important to note that both contain chemicals that can destroy the presence of thiamine in your body, so both should be avoided. However, cooked seafood dishes are not a problem in this regard.

Additionally, the tannins in tea and coffee may prevent your body from absorbing vitamin B1 properly. Also, it might be helpful to know that overcooking and refrigerating thiamine-containing foods for long periods can diminish or destroy the benefits of the vitamin.

What’s the difference between thiamine and the dietary supplement benfotiamine?23 Benfotiamine is fat-soluble, as opposed to the water-soluble thiamine form, and therefore raises thiamine levels in your blood up to five times better, maintains those levels much longer and has both greater bioavailability and absorption by the body than water-soluble thiamine.

As is true with many good things, too much thiamine can cause problems, too,24 starting with symptoms like blue lips, excessive sweating, restlessness, nausea and a mild rash or itching. More serious side effects from too much of this vitamin can fast-track to chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, and/or black, tarry stools.25

How much thiamine do people need? According to Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, the daily recommended thiamine intake for adult women is 1.1 milligrams (mg), and 1.2 mg for adult men. Children, typically having lower requirements, should get 0.5 to 1.2 mg per day, depending on their age and gender. Slightly higher levels of 1.4 mg per day are recommended for pregnant and/or breast-feeding women.26

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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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