By Ray Hinish, Pharm.D., CPT, LWMC
www.illnessisoptional.com | 410-356-2169
What you will learn:
- Why colds and flu seem to strike during cold weather. (Hint: The cold weather doesn’t cause cold!)
- Why you should NOT get the flu vaccine.
- What the New York Garbage Strike has to do with the flu.
- A powerful herbal supplement that can safeguard you against the negative effects of stress.
- The most important flu preventing supplement on the market (Hint: It costs pennies a day)
- Why regular old vitamin C won’t do and which form of vitamin C to choose!
- My Top supplement picks for preventing the flu.
- What you can do in the next 60 seconds that may dramatically improve your primary defenses and prevent cold and flu.
As you know, the newspapers and government health agencies have begun pushing the theoretical benefits of the flu vaccine. These organizations suggest that the flu vaccine is completely safe and wildly effective without offering a shred of proof to either argument. They suggest that this super villain, called the flu, mysteriously rears its ugly head during the months of October through January and supposedly kills 10,000 people every year. Sure enough, people herd like “sheeple” to the local Wal-Mart where nurses poke away at people’s arms and send them on their way with a false sense of security.
Is all of this true?
Do the influenza viruses really take a nap through the spring and summer months only to wake up with the dastardly intention to make us all sick in October through January? Does it really kill 10,000 people every year? Is the flu vaccine really helpful?
The simple answer is “No” on all counts. The influenza virus does not take a nap, it does not kill 10,000 people every year and the flu vaccine is generally not helpful. We will talk about why the flu hits during these months in the paragraphs below. As to the 10,000 per year death rate, the CDC lumps flu and pneumonia into the same statistic, one that is quoted by newspapers all over the United States. What this means is that 10,000 people per year die from flu and pneumonia together and the majority of these people perish from pneumonia, which is labeled as a “complication” of flu. In addition, those people who die are usually people who may be nearing death anyway. They include those with other severe and chronic illnesses, people with poor immune function, as well as unhealthy seniors who reside in nursing homes. If you are in this group, then you may need to worry about catching the flu and subsequently developing pneumonia. If you are not in this group then the flu will likely mean a few days of discomfort and a few days off from work; not ideal, but a whole lot better than impending death! You should also know that this year’s vaccine combines the standard influenza vaccine with the H1N1 vaccine.
The second question is, “does the flu vaccine work?” and the answer is “we don’t know for sure” but probably NOT! Because the flu vaccine is a “best guess” medication, there is a bit of a gamble on whether or not we will vaccinate against the right bugs. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong but you can rest assured that the cards are stacked against us.
Let me reiterate an important point, the influenza virus exists in the population year round while influenza (the flu) seems to rear its symptomatic little head during the months of October through January. Now, let me tell you a true story.
RECAP: The flu vaccine is a “best guess” medicine – meaning we can never say for sure that it will be beneficial. Recent research shows that there is little if any benefit to getting the annual flu vaccine. In addition, the flu vaccine contains a significant amount of mercury that can cause nerve and brain problems that may not show up until years or even decades later. Some research suggests that those who get a yearly vaccine are at increased risk of Alzheimers.
The New York Garbage Strike and the Flu
Years ago, garbage men and women went on strike in New York. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the trash piled up. The city looked like a wasteland with mountains of trash appearing on practically every corner. Shortly thereafter, the rats arrived. Big, fat, hairy rats took over the city, seemingly invading as though they had been patiently building an occupying force underneath the streets over the years, waiting for the day that the garbage people would go on strike. So, here is the million-dollar question…
Did the rats bring the trash?
Of course not! The trash brought the rats. The rats were a symptom of poor trash management. Allow me to challenge you with another question; would it be a successful course of action to try exterminating the rats? The answer again is “no” (by the way, they tried without success) because as long as there is trash on the streets then rats will come much faster than we can get rid of them. The solution is to get rid of the trash and the rats will go shortly thereafter! So how does this apply to the cold and flu? Simple, don’t fill your body and life with trash and the bugs that cause sickness will not be able to grow!
Stress: The Great Immune System Poison and What to do About It
Stress is perhaps one of the most important factors in health and is not given nearly the attention it deserves in a balanced lifestyle. Chronic stress causes the immune system to shut down, which opens the door for infection. Stress begins with the Halloween season where we choke down enough sugar and artificial colors and flavors to send a horse into diabetic shock. We know that sugar poisons the immune system and this may be a reason why the cold and flu season begins in October.
If you make it through the Halloween period without getting sick we are greeted at October’s exit by the Thanksgiving season, which again involves stuffing our faces with high sugar and high fat foods. Then after we are fattened up like turkeys for the Thanksgiving season, in rolls the Christmas/Hanukkah season full of more stress and sugary treats. And finally, let’s top off this triple layered stress season with the cherry on top… New Year’s. Is it any wonder why the flu season peaks in January? Maybe this isn’t the whole story, but you can rest assured it certainly sets the table and invites the flu in for dinner!
Stress acidifies the system and poisons the immune system. It depletes the body of vital nutrients, kills the good bacteria in your gut, ruins digestion and fills your body with stress hormones that turn immune system off. I realize that you cannot always get away from the stress, however, you can learn to cope with stress in a different way and there are supplements that will help your body adapt to stress in a much healthier way. Herbs, called adaptogens, help to balance the biochemistry of the body during stressful times. Vital Adapt is an herbal liquid tincture that combines some of the most powerful adaptogens on the market. An adaptogen is an herbal complex that works within the body to normalize the stress hormones and bring the body back into balance. This means that you will respond better, feel more focused, have a stronger immune system and sleep better at night even though you may have an excessive amount of stress in your life. The recommended dosage is 2 droppersful two to three times daily. You can increase the dose to 3 droppersful three times daily during heavy stress. If you enjoy a good book, I would recommend the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. This book is one of my favorites on the subject of stress and worry.
Bottom Line: Stress poisons the immune system. To decrease the impact of stress on your life use the tools taught in the book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie, use Vital Adapt herbal tincture daily (2 droppersful twice daily).
Now let’s discuss products that will work to keep the rest of the body healthy during the cold and flu season. First, vitamin C plays an important role in keeping the white blood cells healthy (white blood cells contain more vitamin C than any other cell in the body). Whole-food vitamin C is preferred over ascorbic acid supplements. Sources of whole food vitamin C include rose hips and a rainforest herb called camu camu. I recommend a whole food formula called Pure Radiance C by The Synergy Company; each capsule contains 120 mg of true whole food vitamin C complex. The term “vitamin C” and “ascorbic acid” are often used interchangeably; however, in nature vitamin C is much more complex than just a molecule of ascorbic acid. In fact, ascorbic acid is a small fraction of the true vitamin C molecule. Whole food vitamin C is much more potent and requires smaller quantities to obtain an equal or better result than ascorbic acid supplements. The recommended dose is 2 capsules twice daily year round.
The Most Important Flu-Preventing Supplement on the Market
Starting in October, sun exposure drops significantly which depletes vitamin D levels. The levels are likely at their lowest near the end of December. Vitamin D is most popular for its role in keeping bones strong; however, a lesser-known role of vitamin D is in the immune system. When vitamin D levels are low your risk of infection increases significantly! This considerable drop in vitamin D during these cold and flu months may be a significant cause to the higher rate of viral infection and recent research confirms this link. One paper published in a recent issue of Journal of Hygiene suggests that the vitamin D/influenza connection explains the following observations:
1. Flu rates are highest after the winter solstice and virtually disappear after the summer solstice
2. Children who are exposed to sunlight have lower incidence of influenza
3. Influenza is most common in peoples of the tropics during the rainy season
4. The colder the temperature outside the higher the rate of influenza infection
5. The elderly who live in areas of highest vitamin D intake are less likely to die in the winter
6. Why cod liver oil (a source of vitamin D) protects against respiratory infection
7. Why African Americans are more likely to die of influenza and pneumonia than Caucasians. (African Americans produce less vitamin D due to the higher pigment in skin)
The recommended dose of vitamin D is 2,000 – 4,000 iu during the winter season. Our goal is to increase blood levels to 50-80 micrograms per deciliter.
Top Supplements for Preventing the Cold and Flu
There are three specialty supplements that can be added to your arsenal of cold and flu fighting tools. They are especially good for prevention of cold and flu. The first is a homeopathic flu vaccine called Influenzinum. This homeopathic product uses the flu vaccine to make an extremely dilute formula, which can convey all of the benefits of the vaccine without the side effects. By gently nudging the immune system into action against the flu virus, Influenzinum keeps the body’s defenses mobilized. We have used this formula for many years and have received a lot of positive feedback regarding its efficacy.
The second product is a brand new version of a very old remedy for cold and flu. The product, called Immunity Take Care, is produced by New Chapter and is used to protect the body from all enveloped viruses such as the influenza virus. By binding to and inactivating the influenza virus, this nasty bug is unable to enter the cell for reproduction. This halts the infection and allows the immune system plenty of time to scoop up the neutralized the influenza bugs for disposal. Immunity Take Care uses a special extract of the Elderberry herb in a lozenge form. The recommended dosage is 1 -2 lozenges daily for prevention and 2-4 tablets daily for active flu infection.
The final product, which is especially for people who have a stubborn immune system, I recommend a formula called Pure Defense with NAC by Pure Encapsulations. This product combines some very powerful supplements for supporting immune function and respiratory health. The ingredients of this formula include:
- Vitamin D 2,000 iu: One of nature’s most important vitamins for immune function and respiratory defense
- Epicor: A fermented yeast product that stimulates immune function. Research suggests that this product can decrease the onset of cold and shorten its duration.
- Elderberry: Acts as a first line of defense against infection from enveloped viruses.
- Zinc: A deficiency of this vital mineral can prevent the immune cells from functioning on all cylinders.
The recommended dose for this formula is 2 capsules twice daily throughout the season. I personally feel that this formula offers the most comprehensive support to the immune system during the cold and flu season.
How to Shore Up Your Primary Defenses in the Next 60 Seconds
Your mucous membranes make up your primary defenses against invading organisms. These mucous secretions contain many different defense factors that bind to and inactivate viruses and bacteria that are trying to sneak in through the nose, mouth or eyes. Unfortunately, these mucous membranes are the first to dry up when the body’s water supplies are low. We have discovered that most people do not drink enough to keep this primary defense functioning optimally. To add insult to injury, we turn on the heaters in our home, which produces dry heat that further dries up the mucous membranes and inhibits proper mucous flow. The one thing that you can do in the next 60 seconds to significantly improve your primary defenses is drink a couple glasses of water and maintain this hydration by sipping at it throughout the day!
1. The flu is not as dangerous as the press and the medical community makes you think.
2. The flu vaccine is not nearly as effective as you are led to believe and may even cause significant side effects.
3. How healthy you are, your internal terrain, determines your risk of cold or flu. The bug (virus or bacteria) is the least of your worries. They cannot thrive in a healthy system.
4. Control stress because stress is a potent poison to the immune system. If stress is a big problem, take Vital Adapt, 2 capsules twice daily.
5. Use whole food vitamin C such as Pure Radiance C by The Synergy Company. Two capsules two to three times daily.
6. For further protection use Immune System Take Care by New Chapter (1 tablet dissolved in mouth one to two times daily) to add an additional level of defense against viruses.
7. Pure Defense with NAC is a great way to stimulate immune function throughout the season. This formula is the most comprehensive and is taken 2 capsules twice daily.
8. Drink plenty of water to keep your mucous membranes healthy. These membranes are your primary defenses against offending organisms.
The bottom line is that cold and flu is optional this season! There are many things that we can do to promote health and ward off disease. By eating healthy, exercising, controlling stress and supplementing properly it is entirely possible to get through this season without using even one sick day!
For more tips and articles, visit us at www.illnessisoptional.com. Visit our wellness center, Your Prescription for Health at 10210 S. Dolfield Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117. 410-356-2169
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