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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November 2016. It was edited and republished in October 2018.
Every autumn, we’re bombarded by a big push from the media, hospitals, our kid’s schools… It seems like everyone around us is telling us that we need to get a flu shot. But are they effective? Are they safe?
The annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. It claims to boost the immune system and help prevent coming down with the seasonal flu. Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with autoimmune complications are especially targeted as needing to receive a flu shot.
Conventional medicine says that the human body is unable to naturally support immune defenses and prevent threatening environmental agents. But this is untrue. In fact, flu vaccines are increasingly shown to be ineffective and even hazardous to our health.
The Vaccination Theory
The first vaccine was developed by Edward Jenner in 1796 to combat smallpox. Since then, pharmaceutical companies have developed a multitude of vaccines combating a number of illnesses.
Vaccines involve injecting a person with a partial material of an infectious agent. Substances called adjuvants are added to stimulate the body’s immune response to the infection so that antibodies can be created to defend against future attacks.
The Scare of Epidemics
Before modern science, there was very little knowledge regarding the spread of infection or other serious health threats.
Today we understand that the human body must be equipped with the lifestyle tools to build its immune system, which can protect us from life-threatening pathogens. Nevertheless, informational pamphlets, free vaccine programs, and the threats of medical providers have convinced us that vaccination is the answer to preventing illness. If the government and your trusted family doctor encourage the flu vaccine, why would you question them?
In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to provide financial compensation to individuals who have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine. The VICP received over 3,000 claims related to the influenza vaccine over a 28-year span. Of these claims 2,928 were associated with serious injuries and 114 included fatalities linked to the influenza vaccine.
What’s in the Flu Vaccine?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) releases new vaccination recommendations annually dependent on the type of viruses they are predicting will be most common that year. A variety of flu shots are available based on a person’s age and the location of injection. For the 2016-2017 flu season the CDC recommended either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV).
The following ingredients found in the flu vaccine:
- Formaldehyde: The intended purpose of formaldehyde is to inhibit bacterial contamination during vaccine manufacturing process. This preservative is listed as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC). It’s known to devastate the immune system and cause cancer.
- Thimerosal/Mercury: Thimerosal is a mercury-containing compound used as a preservative. Its intended purpose is to inhibit bacterial contamination. Exposure to mercury causes damage to the kidneys and brain and is associated with inflammatory diseases like autoimmune disorders.
- Egg Protein: Residual materials from the cell cultures used to produce the virus in egg is left behind. Foreign proteins such as egg protein are metabolized into amino acids and may cause severe allergic reactions.
- Sucrose and Gelatin: Sugars and gelatin are used as stabilizers to protect the vaccine throughout transport and storage. Like egg protein, gelatin is a protein that can cause allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.
- Aluminum salts: Salts like aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, and other mixed salts are added to the flu vaccine to stimulate the body’s immune response produce antigens against the virus. Aluminum has been clinically shown to cause autoimmunity, neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis, and local adverse effects to the site of injection including fatigue and muscle pain.
- Neomycin: Another residual agent, neomycin is an antibiotic that is added during the manufacturing of the vaccine to inhibit bacterial contamination. Like any other antibiotic, neomycin reduces bacteria in the gut and is associated with weakened immunity. Neomycin is also associated with causing allergic reaction, impairing hearing and nerve function, and is kidney damage.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): A common substance found in all vaccines, MSG acts as a stabilizer to prevent degradation against light, heat, humidity, and acidity. MSG may trigger an allergic response in some individuals and is associated with cell damage and cognitive decline.
- Polysorbate 80: This ingredient has often been added to flu shots to help ingredients dissolve together. Polysorbate 80 is known to cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and the respiratory and digestive tracts. It has also been associated with metabolic dysfunction and a weakened immune response. Its toxic effects on humans when chronically exposed have not been established.
What are the Potential Dangers of Getting a Flu Shot?
Dangers of receiving the flu vaccine include the following:
- Local reactions including swelling, pain, and redness
- Nasal congestion
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Severe conditions of brain inflammation
- Bell’s palsy
- Limb paralysis
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Is There an Increased Risk for Neurological Dysfunction After Getting a Flu Shot?
One of the greatest biologists and immunologists to date, Dr. Hugh Fudenberg was ridiculed for his speech given at the International Public Conference on Vaccination in 1997. In his comments, he stated that receiving the flu vaccine five years in a row had a tenfold increase on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. He had found in his research that mercury and aluminum accumulates in the brain leading to cognitive impairment.
Many researchers today believe that our exposure to environmental toxins, including the heavy metal exposure we receive from vaccines, is causing the increasing rise in neurological degenerative diseases. These diseases include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Having a Flu Shot Offers No Guarantee You Won’t Get the Flu
There is no single virus that causes the flu and there is no single flu vaccine that protects against all strains. Scientists have to make their best assumption as to which they think will be the most common threat each flu season. More than 3,000 various strains of the virus are narrowed down to 3 viruses to create vaccines.
In other words, the flu vaccine does not protect you against all influenza viruses which you may fall ill from. Each flu vaccine contains components from the 3 predicted viruses so that the human body can increase its production of antibodies. Not a reliable science − this assumption also does not take into account the fact that viruses are constantly adapting to the environment. This decreases the likelihood that your flu vaccine guarantees you protection.
Even if you are fortunate enough to receive a vaccine for the proper strain, it will be useless if your body hasn’t produced a full response (which takes 2 weeks) or if there is too much time (over 3 months) between the vaccine and viral exposure. The virus may have adapted over time to create a structure the body fails to recognize. This means that your body may fail to equip itself in the initial 2 week vaccination period and the antibodies your immune system has produced may no longer recognize the changed virus or viruses 3 months following vaccination.
9 Natural Ways to Protect Yourself From Getting the Flu (Without a Flu Shot)
Relying on an annual flu vaccine to protect you and those around you from the flu does not benefit your health or offer your best chance of protection. The immune system can become damaged from a vaccine, especially if it is weakened from low vitamin D3 levels, gut dysbiosis, subluxation, and an inflammatory diet.
Follow the steps below to maximize your likelihood of staying healthy and free of the flu this season:
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can make symptoms like congestion worse. Drink plenty of purified water throughout the day so that your detoxification pathways are able to function properly. Give your water an antiviral and antibacterial boost by adding natural disinfectant liquids like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Add variety by sipping herbal teas and nutrient-rich bone broth to feed your cells supportive antioxidants.
- Get adequate sun exposure: Without the sun, your body cannot synthesize the immune boosting component vitamin D3. This biologically active component is converted in a reaction beneath the skin during exposure to UVB rays. If you are unable to get the proper amount of sun exposure recommended for your skin color daily, supplement with 1,000 IU vitamin D3 for every 25 pounds of body weight.
- Supplement with vitamin C: Without healthy levels of vitamin C, your body is forced to use up its stores of glutathione to recycle old vitamin C. Vitamin C is critical for preventing oxidative stress and repairing tissue. Add foods that are rich in vitamin C to your bone broths and soups by including kale, chives, and other green vegetables. Consider supplementing with 2 grams of vitamin C every hour until your symptoms subside. The next day, restore your levels with 1 gram of vitamin C every hour that you are awake.
- Supplement with zinc: Zinc stimulates the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) to defend the body against pathogenic activity, including viral infections like influenza. Zinc also works to reduce inflammation and support antioxidants. Consider adding the following zinc-rich foods to your diet throughout flu season to give your immune system a boost. If you are already overcome with flu symptoms, supplement with a 20mg zinc supplement every 3 hours while you are awake until symptoms are gone.
- Grass-fed dairy
- Almonds and cashews
- Grass-fed beef
- Organic, pastured chicken
- Asparagus and spinach
- Wild-caught salmon
- Eat probiotic foods: Your body is working overtime to fight off infection and repair inflammatory damage. If you find yourself hungry while dealing with the flu, avoid the temptation to eat processed crackers and other foods high in sugar and carbs. The majority of the immune system is in the gut, which means that your gut health is partly responsible for your total health. Eat probiotic and prebiotic foods to improve your gut flora and nourish those communication pathways for an optimal immune system. Squeeze citrus fruits into your water throughout the day and add leeks and Jerusalem artichokes to your soups.
- Utilize essential oils: Essential oils have been used for centuries and have been supported in research to reduce inflammation, calm anxiety, increase immune response, and lower circulating stress hormones. Try diffusing citrus oil to improve your mood and reduce symptoms of fatigue. Inhale eucalyptus oil in a bath to clear up stuffy noses and find relief from chest congestion, or rub peppermint oil on to sore muscles.
- Consume herbs: Herbs have been a powerful healing tool recorded in Egyptian scripture writing and remain the primary tool to combat flu symptoms in Europe. Ginger, oregano, Echinacea, and thyme have powerful anti-inflammatory responses in the body and as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties. Crush a clove of garlic between your teeth before swallowing to help reduce respiratory symptoms associated with the flu. Garlic and onion contain a sulfur-containing compound that boost your body’s natural antioxidant defenses and should be added to your diet daily.
- Practice grounding: The world around us contains electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs). One way to counter the harmful effects of EMFs is walking barefoot on the ground. Grounding allows the body’s electrical energy to balance with the Earth’s rhythms. This exercise has been shown to help build a strong immune response to improve healing and recovery time by decreasing cortisol levels and reducing fatigue. Take a book outside and sit on the grass to catch those necessary rays from the sun while helping to boost your mood through grounding.
- See a chiropractor: Removing subluxation or interference from the nervous system through chiropractic care has been shown to increase quality of life. Chiropractors seek to remove any abnormal pressures on the spine that may be causing an abnormal immune response. Seeing a chiropractor while battling the flu can stimulate your immune defenses by increasing leukocytes, or circulating blood cells called polymorphonuclear neutrophils. These biological agents help fight against viruses that cause influenza.