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Argan Oil Benefits and Uses

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Did you know that pure argan oil, called “liquid gold”1 or “the Gold of Morocco” because of its outstanding health benefits, was once made with the help of tree goats — particularly their droppings? The fruit of the argan tree is a favorite food of tree-climbing goats. The undigested seeds, where the oil comes from, are carefully picked by locals out of the animals’ poop (more on this later).2

But that was a long time ago, and you’ll be relieved to know that most of the Moroccan argan nuts today are painstakingly picked from the trees and the oil handmade by all-female, local cooperatives.3 Although a bottle of high-quality argan oil can fetch a high price, the benefits that it offers surely make it worth every cent. Here’s everything you need to know about argan oil.

What Is Argan Oil?

Argan oil is made from the seeds of the small fruit of Argania spinosa, a slow-growing tree that’s native to Southwestern Morocco and in the Algerian province Tindouf, located in the Western Mediterranean area.4 The argan fruit appears like a shriveled golden apple, with a thick peel and a fleshy and bitter pulp. The seeds are almond-shaped, resembling a dried olive. Each seed contains one to three oil-rich kernels.5

As mentioned above, tree goats were essential in argan oil production in the past. The fruit, which accounts for as much as 84 percent of their diet,6 is eaten whole by the goats. However, the nuts are not digested, and are instead excreted in the goat’s feces. The droppings were then gathered by locals and opened to get the seeds inside. The seeds were then cracked, roasted and ground to produce the oil.7

However, local co-ops no longer rely on this method, as they seek to deliver only high-quality argan oil, good enough for export. Instead, they now collect the fruit from trees and manufacture the oil by hand, peeling the fruit to extract the seed. This method, albeit much more difficult, yields a higher quality oil for export.8

To make argan oil, locals hand-crack the nuts in between two stones, to get the raw kernels out from within the hard shell. These kernels are then hand-ground using a stone grinder, and placed in a mill with water to produce a dough-like mixture. This dough is then hand-kneaded for hours to extract the oil.9 Because of this tedious process, each worker takes as much as three days to make a single liter of argan oil — no wonder it can fetch a very high price,10 selling for around $300 or more per liter.11

The increase in demand for argan oil has led to a surge in oil-making co-ops. In 1999, there were only three argan oil co-ops; in 2010, the number had risen to 150.12 Nevertheless, this has definitely helped the economic landscape of Morocco. According to one analysis, the “argan boom” has helped increase the number of Moroccan girls attending secondary school.13

To ensure the sustainability of the oil, and to protect the eco-region on which more than 1,200 other plant and animal species thrive, UNESCO designated the argan forest in Southwestern Morocco as a biosphere reserve in 1998.14

Argan Oil’s Benefits and Uses Come From Its Many Constituents

The benefits of this amber-colored oil15 have been well-known for many centuries, going back as far as 600 BC. The Phoenicians used it not just for enhancing their appearance, but for healing as well. Today, argan oil is widely used in both cosmetic and culinary applications.16

The composition of organic argan oil is what makes it extremely beneficial. Not only is it rich in vitamins A, C and E, but it boasts of beneficial fatty acids too, including oleic, linolenic, linoleic, stearic and palmitic, to name a few. It also contains antioxidants and other constituents like tocopherols, carotenes and triterpene alcohols. All of these components work together to provide the moisturizing and rejuvenating effects that argan oil is now known for.17,18

3 Argan Oil Skin Health Benefits You’ll Love

Argan oil is one of the natural, plant-based oils that can be beneficial for your skin, as it can potentially help repair the natural skin-barrier function.19 Topical application of this oil may help boost cell production, making your skin healthier and providing ample moisture.

This oil may also protect against premature aging. Published in the Menopausal Review journal, a study conducted on postmenopausal women found that argan oil helped maintained hydration in the women’s skin by upholding its barrier function and water-holding capacity.20

You can add argan oil to your lotion or body cream to experience its restorative properties. Here are some benefits it can offer for your skin:21

  1. Helps minimize the appearance of stretch marks — One 2016 study22 observed the effects of a water-in-oil cream, which contained argan oil and emollient ingredients, against stretch marks. They found that it helped minimize the appearance of these marks by promoting skin elasticity.
  2. Alleviates and helps heal razor bumps — Using this as a shaving oil can give a soothing feeling to painful, uncomfortable and unsightly razor bumps. Argan oil can be used on the legs, bikini line or, for men, on the beard area. When applied, it may minimize ingrown hairs as well.23
  3. Softens cracked heels — If you struggle with cracked heels, try making a healing foot balm using argan oil, beeswax and honey, and essential oils like myrrh and frankincense, and slathering a good amount of argan oil all over your toes and feet. Leave the mixture on overnight for best results.24

5 Argan Oil Benefits for Your Face: How to Add It to Your Beauty Regimen

Argan oil is a popular addition to many beauty regimens today because of its moisturizing ability. This is mainly due to its smaller molecular size, which allows it to sink into the skin quicker, compared to other oils like coconut oil and olive oil. It hydrates your face but without causing acne breakouts.25

What’s more, a study26 has found that it may even reduce sebum levels in people with oily skin — meaning it can potentially help minimize the appearance of acne. MindBodyGreen offers several tips on how to use argan oil for your face:27

  1. Use as a face moisturizer — Massage a few drops of pure argan oil all over your neck and face. It’s best to do this after cleansing in the morning and at night. You can also use it as a serum, applying your night cream after the oil has been absorbed in your skin.
  2. Make a rejuvenating argan oil face mask — Mix 3 teaspoons of Greek yogurt, a tablespoon each of raw honey and lemon, and three drops of argan oil and then apply all over your face. After 10 minutes, rinse it off with warm water.
  3. Exfoliate and moisturize your lips — Massage a mixture of brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and a few drops of argan oil all over your lips to keep them smooth and moisturized. Rinse off afterward.
  4. Use as a toner — You can either add it to your facial toner or make your own by mixing a few drops of argan oil into rose or orange blossom water.
  5. Give your face a beautiful glow — Mix a few drops of argan oil into your bronzer or foundation to give you a dewy and luminous glow.

3 Argan Oil Benefits for Your Hair

Moroccan argan oil is often added to different shampoo and conditioner products, and for plenty of good reasons. For one, it coats the hair shaft and protects the hair from dryness and environmental damage. It also nourishes the hair, helps repair split ends and makes the hair less prone to breakage caused by styling and brushing, keeping it more manageable.28 Natural Living Ideas lists several ways that argan oil may help boost hair health, which include:29

  1. Eliminating dandruff and dry scalp — The fatty acids in argan oil may help keep the scalp from drying out and reduce skin inflammation. To use, simply warm five to six drops of the oil in between your palms and then massage all over your scalp. Put on a shower cap and let soak for a few hours or overnight. Apply this argan oil hair mask treatment at least twice a week for best results.
  2. Take care of frizziness and split ends — You can use it as a leave-in conditioner to give you softer, shinier and more manageable hair. According to an article in Livestrong,30 argan oil may even outshine coconut oil in terms of controlling frizzy or unruly hair. This is because its molecules are small enough to penetrate the hair’s cortex, not only giving it a shinier appearance, but also promoting repair, rejuvenation and better moisturizing benefits within the hair shaft.31
  3. Provides protection from sun damage and before swimming — Applying a few drops of argan oil may protect your locks from damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. If you’re going swimming, whether in a chlorinated pool or at the beach, applying argan oil from the roots to the tip may help retain your hair’s moisture and act as a barrier against harsh chemicals.

For men who like growing their facial hair, this oil may be helpful. In fact, argan oil is an ingredient of “beard oil” — a hydrating product that not only helps tame and soften beard hair, but works as a styling agent, too.32

Final Note: Use Argan Oil as a Great Carrier Oil

Argan oil may do wonders by itself, providing your face, body and hair with moisturizing and rejuvenating effects. However, you can also use it with your favorite essential oils, too. Many herbal oils are too concentrated to be directly applied on the skin without causing any irritation, so diluting them with a mild carrier oil like argan oil is your best course of action.

Remember, before using argan oil or any other essential oil, make sure to do a skin patch test to ensure that you have no sensitivities or allergies to this oil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Argan Oil

Q: Where does argan oil come from?

A: Argan oil is made from the seeds of the small fruit of the argan tree (Argania spinosa). It is usually produced by local, all-female cooperatives. They hand-crack the nuts in between two stones and extract the raw kernels from the hard shell. The kernels are then hand-ground with a stone grinder and mixed with water to form a dough, which is then hand-kneaded for hours and then pressed to release the oil.

Q: What is argan oil used for?

A: Argan oil is widely used in both cosmetic and culinary applications. It is often applied topically due to its moisturizing and hydrating properties.

Q: Is argan oil good for your skin?

A: Yes. Argan oil has a smaller molecular size compared to other oils, which allows it to sink into the skin quicker, providing better moisturizing and hydrating effects but without clogging the pores.33

Q: Does argan oil help with acne?

A: Yes. A study has found that argan oil may help reduce sebum levels in people with naturally oily skin, meaning it may help avoid acne from forming.34

Q: What does argan oil smell like?

A: Unrefined argan oil has a slight nutty smell, but some varieties may have a stronger nutty aroma.35

Q: Is argan oil good for your hair?

A: Yes. Argan oil coats the hair shaft and protects the hair from dryness and damage, while providing nourishment, repairing split ends and making it more resilient to withstand styling and brushing.

Q: How can you use argan oil for hair growth?

A: You can apply it directly on your hair, add it to your favorite hair product or use it as a leave-in conditioner.

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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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