At the turn of every winter season, we begin to see advertisements and promotions for the dreaded flu vaccination. While most of us shudder at the thought of an injection, past experiences of piping-hot fevers, bone-rattling chills and blinding headaches makes us think twice. This leads us to question whether the vaccination is necessary, or if we can hope to build up our immune system naturally to ward off those nasty bugs during flu season. Fact or fiction: A vaccination is necessary to prevent the flu.
Fact oR Fiction: Fiction. The flu vaccination is not necessary to prevent the flu, and based on research studies, it may be ineffective.
For the Record: The flu is brought on by the influenza virus, which is constantly mutating and changing. Therefore, in February of each year, the WHO (World Health Organization) collects data from around the world to see what viral strains are circulating. Based on their findings, the vaccination for the year is created. However, the strains circulating the globe are usually not the same strains that will circulate in America that following winter. The flu vaccination is based on speculation, not confirmed evidence.Â As a result, it’s possible the vaccination cannot properly protect against the influenza virus.
In addition to the fact that the vaccination is based on speculation, there are many research studies indicating its possible ineffectiveness against flu prevention. In fact, many medical doctors and nurses are apprehensive about its efficacy as well.
The Damage: Other than the possibility of the flu vaccination actually giving you flu-like symptoms, what else does the vaccination cocktail have in store?
The CDC lists many potentially harmful ingredients that are in the influenza vaccination such as formaldehyde (known carcinogen), thimerosol (mercury), polysorbate 80 (causative agent for the anaphylactoid reaction), monosodium glutamate (MSG – a known neurotoxin), and hydrolyzed porcine gelatin (causative agent for allergic reactions). These ingredients may cause a multitude of known side effects, depending on the recipient, including allergic reactions, from anaphylaxis, to abdominal pain. What is not known are the long-term side effects of these additives, since all studies completed were based on low dosages, not on the cumulative dosage levels after multiple injections.
Take Charge: Building up the immune system is not as complicated as you may believe, and can be as simple as adding in a couple key nutrients into your health regime. Research indicates that the onset of the flu may be prevented by proper levels of vitamin D and vitamin C. Another recommendation that proves to be effective clinically is the use of colostrum and olive leaf. Colostrum acts as a stand-in immune system and olive leaf is a powerful natural antiviral, making the combination ideal for flu prevention.
How TCM does it: Since integrating therapeutic nutrition into the diet is always a fun challenge for us here at the Chalkboard, we look for the easiest, most efficient ways to do it. Our solution? We add a drop of Barlean’s Olive Leaf Oil into Pressed Juicery’s Citrus 1 (which is loaded with vitamin C), giving it an extra double-punch (faint-of-heart beware!), and then we add Surthrival’s Colostrum Powder into Pressed Juicery’s Vanilla Almond Milk (hello malt milkshake!). As for ramping up our vitamin D levels, we are loving the simplicity of Premier Research Labs’ D3 Serum. It comes in a purse-size dropper bottle, making it extremely accessible for our busy on-the-go lifestyles. A drop or two a day does the trick, and since it is in a olive-oil base, it tastes great too!
The Skinny: While there is much controversy about vaccinations, we encourage you to do the research and make a decision that is right for you this flu season. If you decide to go the natural route, start your supplement regime and healthy eating habits early. The immune system does not build itself up overnight, so giving it a month or two head start is always advised.