Sunday, September 27, 2009

Avoid Flu Shots, Take Vitamin D Instead

by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

Another influenza season is beginning in the northern temperate zone, and our government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu shot. Health officials will say that every winter 5–20 percent of the population catches the flu, 200,000 people are hospitalized, and 36,000 people will die from it.

The CDC’s 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations each year on who should be vaccinated. Ten years ago, for the 1999–2000 season, the committee recommended that people over age 65 and children with medical conditions have a flu shot. Seventy-four million people were vaccinated. Next season (2000–01) the committee lowered the age for universal vaccination from 65 to 50 years old, adding 41 million people to the list. For the 2002–03 season, the ACIP added healthy children 6 months to 23 months old, and for 2004–05, children up to 5 years old. For the 2008–09 season the committee has advised that healthy children 6 months to 18 years old have a flu shot each year. Its recommendations for influenza vaccination now covers 256 million Americans – 84 percent of the U.S. population. Only healthy people ages 19–49 not involved in some aspect of health care remain exempt. Pharmaceutical companies have made 146 million influenza vaccines for the U.S. market this flu season.

Almost all the ACIP members who make these recommendations have financial ties to the vaccine industry. The CDC therefore must grant each member a conflict-of-interest waiver.

The government promotes National Vaccination Week, which this year is December 8–14. This year, however, rather than uniformly following the government’s "Seven-Step Recipe" for generating demand for flu shots, the mainstream media has questioned their benefits.

The New York Times had an article in the September 2, 2008 issue titled "Doubts Grow Over Flu Vaccine in Elderly," which says, "The influenza vaccine, which has been strongly recommended for people over 65 for more than four decades, is losing its reputation as an effective way to ward off the virus in the elderly.

Two-thirds of the vaccines made for the 2008–09 flu season, 100 million of them, contain full-dose thimerosal, an organomercury compound, which is 49% mercury by weight. (An unidentified number of the other 50 million vaccines contain either "no" or "trace" amounts of thimerosal.) It is used to disinfect the vaccine. Each one of these 100 million flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury, a mercury content that is 50,000 part per billion, 250 times more than the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit. Mercury is a neurotoxin, which has a toxicity level 1,000 times that of lead.

There is some evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease. This most likely is a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde, which renders them much more toxic together through a synergistic effect than each would be alone. One investigator has reported that people who received the flu vaccine each year for 3 to 5 years had a ten-fold greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease than people who did not have any flu shots (Int J Clin Invest 2005;1:1–4). (The brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease display three pathologic hallmarks: neurofibillary tangles, amyloid plaques, and phosphorylation of tau protein. Brain cells grown in test tubes develop these changes when exposed to nanomolar doses of mercury, doses similar to the amount of mercury a person gets from a flu shot.)

Mercury in vaccines has also been implicated as a cause of autism. Vaccine makers have now removed thimerosal from all childhood vaccines, except flu shots. For more on this subject see my article "Mercury on the Mind," with its recommended reading list, and Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy by David Kirby.
Three serious, acknowledged adverse reactions to the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a paralytic autoimmune disease that fells people several weeks after their flu shot. One woman with post-vaccination GBS writes:
"I had a flu shot in November, and by December I became weak and continued to get weaker until I collapsed and was taken to the hospital… I was helpless, totally paralyzed with Guillain-Barré syndrome… I was in ICU for three weeks and then transferred to a rehabilitation center. Three months later I was released to come home because I could ambulate approximately 100 feet with a walker. I continued rehabilitation as an outpatient for the next three months until I could walk with hand crutches. Today, I need a cane. I was not forewarned of any possible hazard when they gave me the flu shot."
"I have a friend, now in a wheelchair, who took the flu shot, got Guillain-Barré and now cannot walk."
Another woman, diagnosed with GBS after a flu shot, spent 16 months in the hospital paralyzed on a ventilator and life support. After several subsequent multi-month hospitalizations she writes:

"On my last visit to my neurologist I was able to walk about 6 feet holding his hand, not much but it took years to be able to do that. I scratch my head when I hear them promoting flu shots… Most people that I come into contact with – in the hospital and out (nurses, doctors, and regular people) – after hearing my story, feel that it is better to chance the flu and not get the shot." (These statements are in Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners: Guide to Immunizations Risks and Protection by Neil Miller [no relation], pages 84–86.)

The package inserts that come with the flu vaccine note that GBS is a potential complication. There are 1 to 2 cases of GBS per 1 million vaccinated persons. (There were 10 times that many cases of GBS in 1976 with the flu vaccine used that year). Taking a flu shot is essentially the same as buying a lottery ticket for acquiring Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Seventy percent of doctors do not get a flu shot.

A creditable hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease. Cannell and colleagues offer this hypothesis in "Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D" (Epidemiol Infect 2006;134:1129–40). They quote Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.), who said, "Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year." Vitamin D levels in the blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that this gene-expresser engineers, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections (e.g., respiratory syncytial virus).

Experts reckon that an optimum blood level of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is 50–99 ng/ml. (Children need a blood level >8 ng/ml to prevent rickets. It takes a concentration >20 to maintain parathyroid hormone levels in a normal range. A level >34 is needed for peak intestinal calcium absorption. And in elderly people neuromuscular performance steadily improves as vitamin D blood levels rise to 50 ng/ml.) The government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 400 IU (international units) a day, an amount sufficient to prevent rickets and osteomalacia but not vitamin D’s other gene-regulating benefits. To achieve all of vitamin D’s benefits one has to take an amount ten times the government’s RDA – 4,000 to 5,000 IU a day.

The majority of Americans are vitamin D deficient, with a 25-hydroxy D blood level <20 href="">Vitamin D in a New Light and visit Dr. Cannell’s Vitamin D Council website.

Other things to do to prevent the flu Avoid sugar. It suppresses immunity. Avoid Omega-6 vegetable oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, canola, and soybean oil). Americans consume 50 times more of these oils than are necessary for good health. In this amount they are powerful immune suppressants. Take a well-balanced multivitamin/mineral capsule on a daily basis. Eat garlic. Manage stress. Exercise. Get enough rest. And wash your hands. Viruses spread most often from touching contaminated objects, like doorknobs, phones, shared computer keyboards, and shaking hands.

Donald Miller (send him mail) is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles on a variety of subjects for His web site is

Abridged for E.A. read the entire article here=>>

1 comment:

TedHutchinson said...

Probably the most effective way of keeping older people healthy is to maintain their vitamin D3 status.
There is huge amounts of evidence detailing how low vitamin D status is linked to increased mortality.
When you consider $15 buys 360 x 5000iu oilbased gel caps of Vitamin D3, sufficient to keep most adults around 50ng~70ng/ml the level associated with least chronic illness and peak muscle performance.
After 3 months use of effective strength supplementing a 25(OH)D test either from your doctor or by post from
Grassrootshealth D Action should confirm you are taking sufficient.
In order to have a reserve of D3 available to deal with the flu properly we must aim for levels above 50ng and ideally around 60ng/ml. We only meet our vitamin D3 daily needs above 40ng and our reserves of D3 in muscle and fat and circulating as 25(OH)D are only significant around 55ng/ml.
Up to 10,000iu/daily is safe even in sunny places so no one should be worried about toxicity. It simply isn't possible at levels below 10,000iu/daily and only a few people will require more and then only for a limited period.