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Swine Flu: What To Do?

swine flu
By Dr. Frank Lipman, Integrative Physician

Summer is over and the question I am being asked most frequently in my practice is, “what do I do about Swine flu?” My patients are wondering whether or not they should get vaccinated and the simple answer I give most of the time is ..NO!

From what you may have read, you might think that the swine flu vaccine is the answer to swine flu. Unfortunately this is not true and until we know that the vaccine is safe, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to most of my patients.

From the outset, let me say, I am not anti all vaccinations, rather I am pro vaccine safety and freedom of choice.

This is why am I not recommending the swine flu vaccine.

1) At this stage, for the most part the swine flu seems benign.

Over a million people in the US have already come down with swine flu, many of them without even knowing that they had it. The vast majority of people who get the swine flu recover after a week or so of high fever, aches, and respiratory distress. It’s not pleasant, but except in rare circumstances, it is not fatal. Most people who’ve been infected by swine flu think so little of it, they believe they just had a really bad cold or a regular flu. So unless the swine flu evolves to a much more virulent form, there’s no need for mass vaccination

2) We don’t know if the vaccine will be effective.

Vaccines are only useful against the specific viral strain that was available at the time of their manufacture. But influenza viruses mutate quickly, and as the WHO has already said, the real concern with H1N1 swine flu is that it will combine with seasonal flu in the Fall, creating a new strain that will of course be immune to all available vaccines.

3) We don’t know if the vaccine is safe.

The FDA has authorized an expedited approval process for the swine flu vaccine but we don’t know yet if it is safe. Even GlaxoSmithKline, one of the vaccine manufacturers has said, “The total population studied in clinical trials will be limited, due to the need to provide the vaccine to governments as quickly as possible. Additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available.”

In other words, the only thing that is safe, is to say that no one knows. Since it’s never been used before and they have not had time to conduct any sufficient human testing, by getting vaccinated you are being a human guinea pig.

4) Vaccine manufacturers have been insulated from liability by the government.

The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has granted legal immunity not only to the makers of the 2 drugs being used to treat swine flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, but also to the swine flu vaccine makers, for damages due to their use against swine flu. By effectively manipulating the legal system, the Pharmaceutical Industry through their powerful lobbyists have acquired almost complete and total insulation from any liability for their vaccines and adjuvants, which are additives added to generate a stronger immune response. It is believed that it is these adjuvants which often cause the problems. The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu was in 1976. Thousands filed claims for side effects such as paralysis caused by the vaccine and a number of people died. I am sure that the researchers know more now than they did last time and no one can say for certain that bad things will happen again or that you will suffer dire consequences if you get vaccinated. But this time you have no legal recourse even though this vaccine involves new factors, which makes it therefore experimental and unpredictable.

By shielding the manufacturers from any responsibility for any harm caused, the pharmaceutical firms have no financial incentive to make the safest product. In fact, they have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct.

Instead I advise my patients to build up and strengthen their immune systems to prevent viral infections.

Here are my top 10 recommendations:

1) Optimize your vit D level

Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function optimally. Unfortunately there are no significant dietary sources of Vitamin D, most of our intake comes from exposure to sunlight. If you live far from the equator, you simply don’t get enough sun through Fall and Winter to make all the vitamin D you need. So unless you supplement during this period, your innate immunity will be compromised. Vitamin D plays such a crucial role in so many aspects of your body’s functioning, that supplementing with it makes sense whether you decide to get the flu shot or not.

We know that influenza always gets worse during the winter months. Now there is good evidence to suggest that this is because as sunlight hours lessen during the winter, the people living in the northern hemisphere become vitamin D deficient and are susceptible to influenza infections of all kinds. Here’s a great article available at NIH pertaining to this topic.

There is also some evidence that supplementation with a sufficient amount of vitamin D can help to prevent the onset of a flu or cold.

The current recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine: from 200 to 600 IU/day depending on one’s age, are way too low. These values were originally chosen because they were found to prevent osteomalacia (bone softening) and rickets. It is now recognized that vitamin D has many additional physiological functions, for which these levels are totally inadequate. A number of scientists are therefore calling for the Food and Nutrition Board in the U.S. and its counterparts abroad to reassess their current recommendations.

To optimize your vit D levels, you will need to

* Take at least 2,000 IU of a Vitamin D3 supplement daily.
* Get your 25 hydroxy Vitamin D level checked by your doctor (if that is not an option, you can self test your level with ZRT labs)

Although the current normal range is between 20 and 50ng/ml, this is much too low for optimal health. You want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml. This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu!! It may require a number of months taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vit D3 daily (especially during winter) under a doctor’s supervision, to optimize your blood level. Monitor your 25 hydroxy vitamin D status every 3 months until you are in the optimal range, then cut back to a maintenance dose of at least 2,000 IU a day.

2) Get adequate sleep, this is an indispensable requirement for a strong immune system.

3) Get adequate exercise, this keeps you robust.

4) Take actions to lower your stress levels

Do breathing exercises, meditate, practice yoga, spend time doing something that makes you happy. Feeling spent, overwhelmed, and/or mentally run down has a causal relationship to your physical health.

5) Wash your hands frequently but not excessively

It decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap because of the risk of creating resistant bacteria. Rather use a simple chemical-free soap.

6) Avoid sugar and processed foods as they decrease your immune function dramatically.

7) Eat phytonutrient rich meals (lots of colorful salads and dark greens)

8 ) Eat lots of garlic, it works as a broad spectrum antibiotic.

9) Take a probiotic daily (look for one with 10-20 billion organisms).

A strong immune system relies heavily on having a strong foundation in the gut.

10) Keep a supply of antiviral herbal supplements on hand.

As opposed to antiviral drugs, antiviral herbs do not cause resistant strains because they are multifaceted and contain literally thousands of different medicinal compounds. Thus they are able to attack viruses with a full spectrum of synergistic substances. Andrographis, Olive leaf extract, Grapefruit seed extract and Elderberry extract, all have antiviral properties. Use one or a combination of some of them as a prophylactic measure, for ex.whenever you travel (airports) or enter a potentially compromised environment such as a large office, auditorium, stadium, theater etc.

And if you really want to go all out, here are 4 more tips:

11) Take 1-2 grams of fish oils daily, its beneficial for immune function.

12) Take 2 grams of Vitamin C daily, yes it does help.

13) Stock your home pharmacy with an immune building formula.

Look for one that contains Cordyceps and Astragulus. Take it throughout the flu season.

14) Keep homeopathic Oscillococcinum on hand

Take it at the earliest sign of a cold or flu. Early intervention is essential. If you are exposed to someone with the flu directly, you can take one dose twice a day for two days. You can also take one vial once a week throughout the winter, and two or three times a week during flu season, as a preventative measure.

Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC a center whose emphasis is on preventive health care and patient education. His personal blend of Western and Eastern Medicine combined with the many other complimentary modalities he has studied, has helped thousands of people recover their energy and zest for life. He is the author of the recent SPENT: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again (2009) and Total Renewal; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).

original link: www.HuffingtonPost.com

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7 Responses to “Swine Flu: What To Do?”

By David Teague - 15 October 2009 Reply

Folks, the H1N1 influenza vaccine is EXACTLY the same vaccine that we have been being offered for many years, only the specific virus has been changed. The manufacturing process and the testing has not changed. I do not understand why you are so exercised about this particular vaccine. This disease that “seems benign” tends to kill the young, 2 to 25 age group more than my age group because I had the “yellow flu” in the late 50s and that confers some immunity.

Much of the reasoning is the logical error, “Post hod, ergo propter hoc.” which means “after this therefore because of this.” PEOPLE DIE and have illness in EVERY age cohort. The vaccine is seldom the cause of these maladies.

Don’t be stupid. Take the vaccine.

By Shawn - 15 October 2009 Reply

If the adjuvant is really in the mix, the H1N1 influenza vaccine is not only unlike any vaccine we’ve been offered in the past; it is a potential train wreck. The adjuvant referred to in the article is likely a squalene mix. Squalene adjuvant secretly added to anthrax vaccine given Gulf War support troops has been solidly tied to Gulf War Illness, ultimately diagnosed as autoimmune disease, and there is no reason to think it will not have the same effect in the h1n1 vaccine. Judging from all we know about Gulf War statistics, a conservative risk estimate is that 1/5 – 20% – of recipients of injected squalene adjuvant will go on, sometimes years later, to develop lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or the like. If there is even an outside chance that this information is correct, and the adjuvant is being, or will be, added to the vaccine, we may be risking triggering serious and debilitating illness in millions of Americans.

By Dar Lostrom - 15 October 2009 Reply

In contrast to the first responder, I believe Dr. Lipman is ‘spot on’ with his medically sound purview and preventative recommendations. Plus, it is far safer to err on the side of caution and remain healthier by not submitting to any ‘flu’ vaccine. This, since all do contain one or more added contaminants; such as Thimersol [mercury [converts to neurotoxin] preservative], newer Adjuvants [a booster, squalene oil which is safely ingested orally or used topically, but causes autoimmune [ill] effects when INJECTED, like paralysis], Formaldehyde, Aluminum, and nano-particles, to name a few. So, since when have any of these ‘perceived as foreign’ agents been found to be short or long-term SAFE for our immune system and overall biology? Intuitively, there is inherent risk since even the method of injection is an unnatural way to fight colds and flu when high-dose Vitamin D-3, probiotics, immune modulators [Epicor/AHCC/Homeopathics] are all safe ingested and organically compatible. While some vaccines have been life saving in prevention of chronic viral diseases, the respiratory symptoms that come with colds and flu are intermittent and with adequate underlying immune support, there is much evidence that supports how the innate immune system will not only be strengthened by each opportunistic challenge, but so will it see the person through to wellness. Yes, there will be those who are more vulnerable, but for the most part, the HUGE fact to keep in-mind is that our biochemistry has long required appropriate NUTRITION to thrive, not vaccines. Without doubt, this latest ‘pandemic’ is being pushed by the WHO/CDC since it is designed to bolster global pHARMa’s bottom line after the WHO Director Margaret Chan has stated that the highest Level Six determination was based on H1N1’s rapid ability to ‘spread’ rather than its lethality. Thus, while they are decidedly biased with no honest education about alternative strategies for prevention [other than basic hygiene] I can only conclude that those who are pushing both the compliant and the unwitting health authorities are neither sincerely interested in protecting the long term health or in preserving the lives of the many. Therefore while not believing the hype, choose the smarter path of self-determination while doing all you can to proactively bolster your immune system [as the doctor suggests] as well as…say NO TO ALL FLU VACCINES. My heartfelt kudos to Dr. Lipman after he has provided both a critical and genuine humanitarian service to the world at large. Hear, hear.

By Tommye Rodrigues - 16 October 2009 Reply

I tried to “take action” on this site but that page, for some reason, does not respond to my mouse. Wonder if others are having that same problem. I am concerned not only about the fact that this vaccine has not received testing per the normal protocol for a vaccine that is potentially dangerous but also wonder whether the manufacturer of our vaccine has added nano particles into the mix. It would save them money, their only consideration and what nano particles do to the human body is, per testing to date, not pretty.

By Citizens For Health - 16 October 2009 Reply

Hi. A few people have had problems with taking action – but the vast majority have not. Nearly 1,000 emails have been generated in just a few days. Please try again and let us know if you are still having problems by writing to: blogcomments@citizens.org

Thanks!

By Yephora - 17 October 2009 Reply

Sensible advice until the very end. Oscillococcinum? Pul-eeze.

“Oscillococcinum is generally considered harmless. When Boiron’s spokeswoman, Gina Casey, was asked if a product made from the heart and liver of a duck was safe, she replied: “Of course it is safe. There’s nothing in it.” ” U.S. News & World Report 2/9/97 page 2.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Monica C, Cristina Proano. Cristina Proano said: Swine Flu: What To Do? – http://www.citizens.org/?p=1232 […]

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