Dr Mercola Speaks – on UK Flu shot policy

UK children under 5 will not be receiving the flu shot this season, thanks to a ruling by UK ministers and senior government advisers.

After canceling the immunization program for children aged 6 months to 5 years in 2010, they have decided to continue on with the no-flu-shot plan for this age group, citing that vaccination would not have any significant gains.

This was a wise government decision because flu shots are typically ineffective and can be risky for many people, including children, the elderly and virtually every age group in between.

U.S. Still Recommends Flu Shots for Kids, Despite Serious Red Flags

Physicians in America have been insisting that every child age 6 months to 18 years get an annual flu shot for several years now, but health officials have now ramped up those recommendations, telling EVERY person over the age of 6 months get a flu shot EVERY year, healthy or not, low risk or high.

What will receiving a flu shot every year every year of your life do to your immune system?

With all of those vaccinations, will you be more susceptible to influenza-related complications and death? Will children, who are already subjected to 48 doses of 14 vaccines from day of birth through age six, be at added risk for developing chronic health problems from being given a flu shot every year throughout elementary, junior high and high school?

We really don’t know.

Health officials have leapt ahead with recommendations of “flu shots for all” without safety studies — so by getting a flu shot, you are effectively offering yourself, or your child, up as a laboratory rat. In other words, YOU are the safety study!

This year’s seasonal flu shot is a combination vaccine that contains two regular strains of influenza and the new 2009 pandemic H1N1 “swine flu” vaccine — you will not be given the choice to take the seasonal and swine flu vaccines separately.

This is the same type of flu vaccine that Australia suspended during its most recent 2010/2011 flu season for use in children under the age of 5 because it caused a surprisingly high number of reports of children suffering high fevers, vomiting and febrile convulsions. By June of 2010, more than 1,000 adverse reactions in children under the age of 5 had been reported.

Flu shots are also heavily recommended to pregnant women, even though, as the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) reports:

“Influenza vaccines are Category C drugs, which means that animal reproduction studies have not been conducted and it is not known whether these vaccines can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or if they can affect reproduction capacity.”

Unfortunately, the push to vaccinate every man, woman and child in the United States is getting stronger.

New Jersey has passed a law requiring all children attending daycare or pre-school to get an annual flu shot, and some health care workers are being fired if they refuse to get an annual flu shot.

This can only be viewed as the prelude to a much larger campaign that, in the future, may end up dictating whether you will be allowed to enter a college or university to get higher education, get a job, or even travel … Simply put, this trend of mandating annual influenza vaccinations must be resisted and stopped.

Health Care Reform Bill Threatens Schoolchildren With Flu Vaccines

Making it even more difficult for parents to opt OUT of flu vaccination for their children, section 2524 of the health care reform bill includes a program called “No Child Left Unimmunized Against Influenza.”

As part of this program elementary and secondary schools across the United States will be used as “influenza vaccination centers” where kids can learn to read and get their flu shots all in one day.

You can read about the program for yourself right in the bill, starting on page 1,391, but the text reads:

“The program under this section shall be designed to adminster vaccines consistent with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the annual vaccination of all children 5 through 19 years of age.”

For now the program is voluntary, however a similar scenario that took place during the swine flu outbreak left many children vaccinated “accidentally” without their parents’ consent.

As Organic Health Advisor reported:

One woman who circled “no” on a permission slip regarding the H1N1 swine flu vaccine found out later that her 5-year-old daughter had been administered the nasal mist swine flu vaccine at school.
A 7-year-old Ohio boy, who has had problems with medications, was also vaccinated for the H1N1 swine flu at school against his parents’ wishes.
At least three children in New York City were “mistakenly” given the H1N1 swine flu vaccine without permission.
A 6-year-old girl with epilepsy was given the H1N1 swine flu vaccine without permission at school and ended up in the hospital as a result.
Another 7-year-old boy in Kentucky was also given the H1N1 swine flu vaccine at school “by accident.”
Individual schools will have a choice of whether or not they’re going to participate in the “No Child Left Unimmunized Against Influenza” program, so it’s a good idea to call your school board and find out where they stand on this issue (while sharing your concerns about turning schools into flu vaccination clinics).

Flu Shots Have Never Been Proven Effective

Flu shots simply do not work as the vaccine manufacturers would like you to believe.

For example:

Giving young children flu shots appeared to have no impact on flu-related doctor visits or hospitalizations during two recent flu seasons, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.
The flu vaccine is no more effective for children than a placebo, according to a large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
NO studies have conclusively proven that flu shots prevent flu-related deaths among the elderly.
A study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. (Many of the “flu” deaths the government claims happen each year are actually caused by diseases like pneumonia, and NOT the flu.)
Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent today.
So make no mistake, if your child gets a flu shot he can still get the flu (or flu-like symptoms). This is because it only protects against certain strains, and sometimes the type A and type B influenza strains that are selected to be in the annual flu shot do not match the strains that actually circulate. So it’s anyone’s guess about which flu viruses will be in your area.

What is known, however, is that flu shots will actively depress your immune system, which may make it even more likely that you’ll get sick.

Vaccines Suppress Your Immune System

During the peak of flu season is a time when you want your immune system functioning at its optimal level. But as soon as you get a flu shot, or any other vaccine, the effectiveness of your immune system diminishes, and may not return to normal for weeks to months. Here are just some of the ways vaccines impair and alter your immune response:

Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic and may depress your immune and brain function, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants
The lab-altered vaccine viruses themselves may further impair your immune response
Foreign DNA/RNA from animal tissues can wreak havoc in your body and trigger autoimmunity in some people
Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and make you more susceptible to chronic immune dysfunction and chronic illness
Vaccines can trigger allergies by introducing large foreign protein molecules into your body that have not been properly broken down by your digestive tract (since they are injected). Your body can respond to these foreign particles in the form of an allergic reaction
So to achieve questionable temporary immunity against a few of the many viral strains of influenza, you are lowering your defense against millions of other pathogens while exposing yourself to the vaccine side effects. These include, as NVIC reports:

“The 2009 pandemic H1N1 “swine flu” vaccine and the 2010/11 seasonal influenza vaccine containing the pandemic H1N1 component have generated increased reports of Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS), Bell’s Palsy, and idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP); convulsions and narcolepsy.”

Many flu vaccines in the U.S. also still contain the mercury preservative thimerosal in amounts above federal safety guidelines!

If You’re Hurt by Vaccines You Have Little Legal Recourse

Prior to October 1, 1988, if you or your child were injured by a vaccine you were allowed to file a lawsuit against a vaccine manufacturer to receive compensation for harm arising from the vaccine.

Since then legislation was passed stating anyone who is injured and wishes to receive compensation is required to apply through The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), the so-called “vaccine court,” prior to pursuing a lawsuit.

NVICP was “established to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines.”

But when you read between the lines, you discover what this really means is that a program has been put into place to protect vaccine manufacturers and NOT to look out for those injured by vaccines.

According to Barbara Loe Fisher of NVIC, who along with other vaccine-choice advocates is calling on Congress to revamp, and possibly even repeal, this fatally flawed program:

“… two out of three children are turned away for federal compensation.”

If a child becomes seriously injured or even dies after receiving a vaccine, the vaccine makers are completely shielded — and IF they are ever awarded compensation through NVICP, it is the taxpayers who pay, not the vaccine makers.

As the PPJ Gazette recently reported:

“A common misconception is that vaccine liability funds are supplied by the manufacturers, yet I discovered that they are financed by the consumers with a $0.75 to $3.75 surcharge per dose applied as an excise tax. The manufacturers deposit this surcharge fee to the vaccine fund and deduct it as an expense from their taxes.”

But again, most cases heard by the vaccine court are turned down for compensation. The PPJ Gazette continues:

“To apply for damages as a result of vaccines, you must first submit to the [Vaccine Liability] “fund.” Your case will then be handed over to the Vaccine Liability Court, which consists of a panel of 3 to 5 selected individuals called ‘Special Masters.’

The Special Masters may or may not lack a medical background and may or may not lack knowledge of Constitutional due process laws. This is the panel that will “hear” your case to decide whether it has any merit. There is no jury.

If your case is determined to have merit, you can receive compensation. If the Special Masters rule against you or you are not satisfied with their decision, you then have the option of filing your case with a federal or state court. You will likely be financially ruined by this time. It is rare for federal and state courts to even agree to hear vaccine cases and rarer still for them to rule against Vaccine Court.”

So, make no mistake about it. You had better be very informed about the potential risks before receiving a vaccine, or allowing one to be administered to your child, because if something goes wrong you will have a very hard time holding the vaccine manufacturers accountable.

9 Top Tips to Stay Flu-Free

Most of the “flu like” illness that people experience is not associated with type A or type B influenza strains but with other types of viruses and bacteria. Even so, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans do get influenza in the average flu season and the majority of them have uncomplicated cases and develop natural immunity to the strains they were infected with that lasts for years!

Unfortunately, if public health officials and drug companies marketing vaccines have their way, your children and grandchildren won’t be allowed the opportunity to develop this important natural immunity to type A and type B influenza strains.

Healthy children rarely suffer complications from influenza and, in fact, may rarely get it in the first place. Instead of continuing to get a flu shot that has been proven ineffective and has questionable safety, the real way to prevent the flu is through optimal lifestyle and nutrition, as follows.

Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I’ve previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu — not the influenza viruses.

One Japanese study revealed that a group of children taking vitamin D3 was 58 percent less likely to catch influenza A. That’s a higher effectiveness than any flu vaccine can claim, and doesn’t come with a barrage of potentially devastating side effects.

So I would STRONGLY urge you to have your and your children’s vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are at a therapeutic level, which is between 50-65 ng/ml.

Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.
Get enough rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
Have effective tools to address your stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness.

If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.

Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of responding to challenges that can lead to illness. You can review my exercise guidelines for some great tips on how to get started, and I also suggest learning the phenomenal Peak 8 exercises as well.
Take a good source of animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils like trans fats found in most processed foods, as it will seriously damage your immune response.
Wash your hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this — antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
Eat garlic regularly. Garlic works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria, virus, and protozoa in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up so it is an absolutely safe product to use. However, if you are allergic or don’t enjoy garlic it would be best to avoid as it will likely cause more harm than good.
Avoid hospitals and vaccines. I recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds, and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to flu bugs.

Something good for you- from Dr. Mercola- to start 2011

Funny how conventional media can make something so foundational for good health I’ve been warning my readers to avoid carbohydrates in the form of sugars and grains for well over a decade, in order to improve health and increase longevity.

Still, the fact that this is now getting some well-deserved attention is great news. As science catches up, perhaps more people will finally see the light of truth.

As the Daily Mail reports above, research confirms that insulin-like growth factor is intricately linked to various cancers, and that “raised insulin levels, triggered by high carbohydrate ­consumption, could be what ­connects many of our big killers.”

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for any amount of time, this is already a familiar fact for you.

But many still have not gotten the message. As Daily News states, this is a suggestion that “flies in the face of 30 years of health advice to have a lower fat intake and eat plenty of long-lasting complex carbo­hydrates to keep the body supplied with energy.”

Indeed. And that standard health advice is a major reason why obesity and diseases such as diabetes and cancer have reached such epidemic proportions in the US and other developed nations.

Insulin is in fact a MAJOR accelerant of the aging process, and also affects many bodily processes, all of which can impact your longevity.

For example, insulin:

Alters the expression of numerous hormones
Stimulates your sympathetic nervous system
Promotes vasoconstriction
Research Now Shows HOW Carbohydrates Shorten Your Lifespan

The research that is now turning conventional dietary advice on its ear was done by Professor Cynthia Kenyon, and it’s so revolutionary that many experts think she should get a Nobel Prize for it.

She found that carbohydrates directly affect two key genes in your body that govern longevity and youthfulness.

Daily News reports:

“This work has revolutionized our understanding of ageing, explains Jeff Holly, professor of clinical sciences at Bristol University.

‘Ten years ago we thought ageing was probably the result of a slow decay, a sort of rusting,’ he says. ‘But Professor Kenyon has shown that it’s not about wear and tear, but instead it is controlled by genes.”

I’ve previously written about how your diet can over-ride genetic predispositions to disease, and this research further strengthens those claims, as the two key genes in question can be turned on or off as a consequence of eating carbohydrates.

Now, Professor Holly goes on to say that this opens up new vistas for slowing down the aging process using drugs designed to turn these genes on or off, but come on…

The real answer is staring you right in the face!

Limit your intake of carbohydrates, primarily in the form of fructose and grains, and you’ll achieve these results without any negative drug-induced side effects!

Professor Kenyon worked with C. elegans roundworms, but her findings have been successfully repeated in other labs around the world using other animals, including rats, mice, and to some extent, monkeys. Humans also have these genes, indicating these results should apply to us as well.

One of the most interesting details of her findings is that not only did the roundworms live up to SIX TIMES longer than normal, but they kept their health and youthful vigor until the end.

Previous research has shown that you can extend your lifespan by reducing your caloric intake, and I’ve written about this technique in the past. The problem is that most people do not understand how to properly cut calories, because in order to remain healthy, you have to cut out calories from a specific source – namely, carbohydrates!

Kenyon’s research offers renewed support for this key point.

Daily News reports:

“… [W]hat Professor Kenyon found out was why ­drastically reducing calories has such a remarkable effect.

She discovered that it changed the way two crucial genes behaved. It turned down the gene that controls insulin, which in turn switched on another gene, which acted like an elixir of life.

‘We jokingly called the first gene the Grim Reaper because when it’s switched on, the lifespan is fairly short,’ she explains. The second ‘elixir’ gene seems to bring all the anti-ageing benefits — its proper name is DAF 16, but it was quickly nicknamed ‘Sweet Sixteen’ because it turned the worms into teenagers. ‘It sends out instructions to a whole range of repair and renovation genes,’ says Professor Kenyon.

… The Sweet Sixteen gene also ‘boosts compounds that make sure the skin and muscle-building ­proteins are working properly, the immune system becomes more active to fight infection and genes that are active in cancer get turned off,’ she adds.

… Discovering the Grim Reaper gene has prompted the professor to ­dramatically alter her own diet, ­cutting back on carbohydrates. That’s because carbs make your body produce more insulin (to mop up the extra blood sugar carbs ­produce); and more insulin means a more active Grim Reaper. So the vital second gene, the ‘elixir’ one, won’t get turned on.

… To test this, last year she added a tiny amount of ­sugary glucose to the normal diet of some of her worms that had had their genes engineered so they were living much longer, healthier lives.

‘The effect was remarkable,’ she says. ‘The sugary glucose blocked the “youthful” genes and they lost most of the health gains.'”

Elevated Insulin Levels — The Leading Cause of Premature Aging and Premature Death

Increased insulin and leptin receptor sensitivity have clearly become the leading candidates for premature death.

This results from two primary conditions:

Excessive amounts of sugar/grains and processed foods, combined with
Insufficient exercise
Previous studies have also found that diets high in sugar and grains are the primary culprit of obesity, and that leanness (more so than food restriction in general) is a key contributor to a long life. One such study was published in 2003 in the journal Science. This elegant study from Harvard confirms that insulin is the major mechanism through which this result is mediated.

Unfortunately, many health care practitioners are still ignorant of the profound influence that insulin has on health.

Please understand that a firm appreciation of insulin’s role is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your health and outlive the naysayers.

Fructose Wrecks Your Health and Kills You Prematurely

Aside from grains, fructose, typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is perhaps the absolute worst dietary culprit as it:

Destroys your insulin sensitivity
Metabolizes into fat far more readily than other sugars
Causes glycation and inflammation, which speeds up the aging process
We now know that fructose is a primary contributor to:

Insulin resistance and obesity
Elevated blood pressure, triglycerides, and LDL (bad cholesterol)
Cardiovascular disease
Liver disease
Fructose-Glycation-Inflammation – A Disease-Promoting Triangle

I’ve written extensively about the different ways fructose adversely affects your body and can lead to the health problems listed. However, one of the mechanisms that causes significant damage is glycation; a process in which the sugar bonds with proteins and forms so-called ‘advanced glycation end products’, or AGEs.

It’s a fitting acronym because – along with oxidation – it’s one of the major molecular mechanisms whereby damage accrues in your body, which leads to disease, aging, and eventually, death.

When sugar glycates, it creates inflammation, which activates your immune system in a defensive maneuver. Macrophages are scavenger cells that are part of your immune defense system, and as such they have special receptors for AGEs, aptly called RAGEs (think: raging inflammation). These RAGEs bind to the AGEs and get rid of them.

Unfortunately, this process can leave its fair share of battle scars. Inside your arteries, for example, the scar tissue created from this process is called plaque. This also explains why there’s such a strong connection between diabetes and heart disease.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, consuming processed foods laden with trans fats and other harmful chemical additives, along with pesticide- and other chemical exposures further add to your body’s free radical burden.

Fructose Recommendation

As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. However, most people would be wise to limit their fructose to 15 grams or less, particularly if you have elevated uric acid levels, which can be used as a predictor for fructose toxicity. (For more information on this, please see this recent article.)

This includes keeping track of your fructose intake from whole fruits. For a helpful chart showing the fructose content of many common fruits, please see this link. I recommend this lower level simply because if you consume processed foods or sweet beverages at all, you’re virtually guaranteed to consume “hidden” sources of fructose.

Limiting Carbs and Exercising are the Cornerstones of “the Fountain of Youth”

I’m glad the Daily News included exercise as a complementary way to reduce your insulin levels. Physical exercise does indeed help you regain insulin sensitivity.

In fact, exercise may in and of itself have the effect of “relative calorie restriction” as it produces many of the same benefits you get when cutting calories from your diet.

These benefits include:

Improved insulin sensitivity
Decreased fat mass
Reduced risk of cancer
Studies repeatedly show that regular, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can help prevent or delay your onset of hypertension, obesity and heart disease, just to name a few of the diseases that significantly contribute to premature death.

I’m also excited about the research showing how high-intensity, interval training like Peak 8 can increase longevity by promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is yet another important aspect of the longevity puzzle.

But What Will Actually REVERSE Aging?

Clearly, limiting carbs and avoiding fructose will be very useful in prolonging your healthy lifespan, but it will NOT reverse aging. Fortunately there are other strategies that involve lengthening your telomeres that can do that.

Last week Harvard researchers actually successfully implemented such strategies in rats. It is likely that these strategies will be available for humans in the not too distant future, so it will be KEY to stay healthy now and limit carbs so you can use these tools to actually REVERSE aging.

I list other strategies below that will help slow down the aging process so you can maximally benefit from the telomere lengthening strategies when they become available.

The Anti-Aging Lifestyle

Of all the healthy lifestyle strategies I know of that can have a significant impact on your longevity, normalizing your insulin and leptin levels is probably the most important. There is no question that this is an absolute necessity if you want to slow down your aging process, and that means modifying your diet to avoid excessive amounts of fructose, grains, and other pro-inflammatory ingredients like trans fats.

That said, longevity is the result of an overall healthy lifestyle, so in addition to curbing your carb intake and exercising, which I already discussed above, these additional strategies can further help you stay young and vibrant, longer:

Learn how to effectively cope with stress – Stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day, so developing effective coping mechanisms is a major longevity-promoting factor.

Meditation, prayer, physical activity and exercise are all viable options that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium. I also strongly believe in using energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to address deeper, oftentimes hidden emotional problems.

Eat a healthy diet based on your nutritional type – My nutrition plan, based on natural whole foods, is your first step toward increasing your chances of living a longer, healthier life. This is so important, I now offer the full nutritional typing program for FREE.
Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels to between 60 and 70 ng/ml.
Animal based omega-3 fats – Correcting the ratio of omega-3 to healthful omega-6 fats is a strong factor in helping people live longer. This typically means increasing your intake of animal based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil, while decreasing your intake of damaged omega-6 fats (think trans fats).
Get your antioxidants from foods –Good sources include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, beans, and artichokes.
Get your resveratrol naturally – Because resveratrol appears to be so effective at warding off many diseases associated with aging, it is often referred to as a “fountain of youth” that can extend lifespan. Good sources of naturally-occurring resveratrol include whole grape skins and seeds, raspberries and mulberries.
Use coconut oil – Another excellent anti-aging food is coconut oil, known to reduce your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and lower your cholesterol, among other things.
Naturally increase your glutathione levels with high quality whey protein – Another exciting anti-aging discovery is related to the process of slowing down telomere shortening, as discussed in more detail in this previous article. There’s some evidence that this can be done nutritionally, by consuming high quality whey protein.
Avoid as many chemicals, toxins, and pollutants as possible – This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.
Avoid pharmaceutical drugs – Pharmaceutical drugs kill thousands of people prematurely every year – as an expected side effect of the action of the drug. And, if you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need any of them in the first place.
Incorporating these healthy lifestyle guidelines will help set you squarely on the path to optimal health and give you the best shot at living a much longer life. For even more anti-aging information, please review the related articles listed below.