By Dr. Mercola
Undercover videos filmed by animal rights groups have exposed some of the most inhumane and unsanitary agricultural conditions imaginable, being passed off as “concentrated animal feeding operations” (CAFOs).
At one egg producer, they saw overcrowding with up to 11 birds per cage, dead birds apparently left untended, and a severe fly infestation capable of spreading salmonella across the chicken population.
Another video showed “egregious violations” of federal animal care regulations by a meat packing company. The company allowed cattle that were too weak or sick to stand on their own to be slaughtered anyway … this led to the largest meat recall in US history.
In 2011, McDonald’s and Target said they would no longer purchase eggs from Sparboe Farms due to potentially unhealthy conditions discovered at Sparboe’s egg laying facilities by an ABC News “20/20” investigation.
This is just a short list of the abuses revealed – and the swift enforcement actions that often follow – by undercover footage.
The videos have given both lawmakers and the public a glimpse into an otherwise secretive world, and now the agricultural industry, rather than pledging to clean up their acts, is trying to make it illegal for undercover videos to be filmed at their industrial farms.
Ag-Gag Bills Seek to Keep You in the Dark About Where Your Food Comes From
Five states have so-called ag-gag laws in place, and another 10 have introduced their own anti-whistleblower laws this year. The laws, which are being heavily promoted by lobbyists for the meat, egg and dairy industries, would essentially prevent anyone from exposing animal cruelty and food-safety issues at CAFOs by:
- Making it illegal to take undercover photos or videos
- Requiring anyone applying for a job at a CAFO to disclose affiliations with animal rights groups
- Requiring activists to hand over undercover videos immediately
- Requiring mandatory reporting with extremely short timelines so patterns of abuse cannot be documented
These undercover videos and revelations by whistleblowers are often the only glimpse that Americans get into the world of industrialized agriculture. But the industry knows that the more they see, the more uncomfortable people will become with supporting this broken system.
They could simply change their “farming” methods to those that do not abuse and neglect animals, and create extreme food-safety risks. Instead, they’re fighting to protect their cloak of secrecy. The Huffington Post reported:1
“In short, they're working to prevent Americans from finding out about animal abuse, rather than working to prevent the abuse. They may not be literally shooting the messenger, but they do want to imprison her.”
Big Agriculture Wants to Trick You by Sugar-Coating Their Image
It’s very common for industrialized agriculture to pawn off their modern-day torture chambers as idyllic family farms. Last year, for instance, the Pork Producers Council released a cartoon that made CAFOs look like wonderful places for animals and workers.
They say they put up "modern" barns to protect animals from harsh weather, illness and predators … which when translated to reality means the pigs never get to see the light of day, are packed in so tightly, living in their own feces, that illness runs rampant, and as for predators, well, the farm workers themselves are often caught in acts of abuse.
The Huffington Post2 recently highlighted a column by a pork industry veteran,3 which similarly advises pork producers to simply change the words they use to describe their horrific practices. For instance, he encourages calling gestation crates – two-foot-wide cages where breeding pigs spend nearly their entire lives, unable to even turn around – “individual maternity pens.” Other examples include “harvesting” animals rather than “slaughtering” and “environmentally controlled housing” in lieu of the confinement barns they really are.
It’s because of measures like these that even though most food comes from facilities that resemble factories rather than farms, many Americans still believe their food is grown on small family farms where animals are treated like living creatures instead of commodities. This is exactly what the pork producers and other industrial agribusiness giants want you to believe.
Because if you really knew where your pork, chicken, eggs or beef had come from, there's a very strong chance you would not only refuse to eat it, but would be incredibly appalled at the very thought. The Huffington Post continued:4
“Big Ag is trying to do everything it can to keep Americans in the dark about how it abuses animals. Whether through ag-gag laws to prevent videos of animal abuse from surfacing or through playing the name game, this is an industry that knows it has a lot to hide.
After all, "one of the best things modern animal agriculture has going for it is that most people...haven't a clue how animals are raised and processed," wrote an editor of the Journal of Animal Science in an animal agriculture textbook. He aptly concluded, "For modern animal agriculture, the less the consumer knows about what's happening before the meat hits the plate, the better."
Agribusiness Uses Intensive Lobbying, Strong-Arm Tactics to Control Government
You might be wondering how ag-gag laws could ever be signed into law, given their implications for public health and animal welfare, not to mention truthful journalism and the First Amendment. The fact of the matter is, like many other industries, agribusiness uses intensive lobbying, strong-arm tactics and other abuses of power to keep regulations well in their favor. As reported by Occupy for Animals:5
“Federal legislature currently forbids animal waste from being categorized as hazardous. In addition, on the economic level, many corporations are multi-state and can simply move to another state if local laws become too restrictive for their tastes.
Other strong-arm tactics include abuse of power at the highest levels, industry lobby money poured into political campaigns in exchange for less restrictive laws, control of academic resources, and delaying tactics. Perhaps the most damning example of political abuse is the ability of certain corporations to claim immunity to the federal Clean Air Act.”
The end result of these strong-arm tactics is an industry that releases more greenhouse gases into the environment than the entire global transportation industry, as well as produces significant drinking water contamination from the massive amounts of animal waste generated.
Yet, despite their destructive impacts on the environment, animal welfare and human health, the US government is continuing their history of supporting these industrial CAFO operations, both by looking the other way when abuse or contamination occurs, and by directly subsidizing cheaply produced beef, and corn and soy used for feed. As it stands, 2 percent of US livestock facilities produce 40 percent of farm animals,6 and these large, corporate-owned CAFOs have been highly promoted as the best way to produce food for the masses.
The only reason CAFOs are able to remain so "efficient," bringing in massive profits while selling their food for bottom-barrel prices, is because they substitute subsidized crops for pasture grazing. Corporations primarily use the CAFO system because efficiency and profits are valued above all else, even though this frequently violates natural laws and increase the risk to people eating the food they produce. The environmental assaults that follow are considered a cost of doing business, but as the documentary film River of Waste poignantly shared, we should perhaps be heeding this Native American Cree prophecy before it is too late …
“Only after the last tree is cut down, the last of the water poisoned, the last animal destroyed … only then will you realize you cannot eat money.”
Support the Food Producers Who Truly Have Nothing to Hide
You vote three times a day when you choose the foods you eat for your meals. Will you vote for the system that is systematically destroying your health, animal welfare and the planet ... or will you support those who are changing the world for the better, one meal at a time? There are basically two different models of food production today, and there's growing conflict between them. The first, and most prevalent, is the CAFO model that takes a very mechanistic view toward life, whereas the other — the local, sustainable farm model — has a biological and holistic view.
I encourage you to support the small family farms in your area, particularly organic farms that respect the laws of nature and use the relationships between animals, plants, insects, soil, water and habitat to create synergistic, self-supporting, non-polluting, GMO-free ecosystems. Whereas industrial agriculturists want to hide their practices from you, traditional farmers will welcome you onto their land, as they have nothing to hide.
Whether you do so for ethical, environmental or health reasons — or all of the above – the closer you can get to the "backyard barnyard," the better. You'll want to get your meat, chickens and eggs from smaller community farms with free-ranging animals, organically fed and locally marketed. This is the way food has been raised and distributed for centuries ... before it was corrupted by politics, corporate greed and the blaring arrogance of the food industry.
You can do this not only by visiting the farm directly, if you have one nearby, but also by taking part in farmer's markets and community-supported agriculture programs. The following organizations can also help you locate farm-fresh foods in your local area, raised in a humane, sustainable manner.
Should Factory-Farmed Foods Be Labeled?
The Truth About Eggs – What Commercial Egg Farmers Don’t Want You to Know
By Dr. Mercola
As recently reported, a hardier than normal type of flu has spread around the US, and much earlier than normal, causing some states to declare public health emergencies.
To speed up flu vaccine production, the US FDA has approved a new insect-based, genetically engineered flu vaccine, as well as vaccines grown in cultures of dog kidney cells rather than eggs.
And while mainstream media claims the flu vaccine is working well this year, a recent review of published research shows flu vaccines are ineffective at best, and produce neurological complications at worst, while having no effect at all on hospitalizations or working days lost.
Flu Outbreak Showing Signs of Waning
In response to the flu outbreak, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued an executive order allowing pharmacists to give flu vaccine injections to minors. If you believe this is a good thing, you’re still in the dark about the side effects of flu vaccines — some of which can be fatal — which makes getting it at a neighborhood pharmacy risky business.
Besides, all vaccinations should be carefully recorded in your child’s medical file, which will not happen when you pop into a pharmacy. They’re also unlikely to be properly trained to ascertain and/or address any acute side effects that may occur.
On January 11, media outlets such as ABC News1 reported the outbreak was waning in some parts of the nation, claiming the flu shots appeared to be doing a good job in curbing the outbreak. However, in the same article, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden points out that the flu tends to ebb and flow throughout the season.
Furthermore, this year’s flu vaccine contains a very good match to the circulating strains, yet the reported efficacy of the vaccine is still only slightly over 60 percent — a point made by Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota2. According to Osterholm:
"A match doesn't tell us how well a vaccine is going to work. It's almost meaningless."
Perhaps the headlines are best explained as counter-propaganda to the latest scientific review that, yet again, found that the flu vaccine offers minimal, if any, protection against the flu, and that it comes at some risk. One of the most recent examples is the devastating side effects of the 2009-2010 flu vaccine, which caused some 800+ cases of narcolepsy in Sweden and other European countries3.
Flu Vaccine Doesn’t Work, According to Recent Research Review
If you’re thinking about vaccinating yourself or your infant against the flu, I highly recommend reading the independent study review from the Cochrane Collaboration first. As Tom Jefferson, a researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration, recently told Northwestern.edu4:
“The [Center for Disease Control] is making policy based on weak evidence and it is refusing to answer questions. There is no evidence that vaccines can prevent deaths or prevent person-to-person spread of infection.”
According to these independent research reviewers5:
“At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10 percent of all circulating viruses. Authors of this review assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions (vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration) 33 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.
Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost but caused one case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations.
Fifteen of the 36 trials were funded by vaccine companies and four had no funding declaration. Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited.”
As you may recall, Piers Morgan recently got the flu vaccine on the air on the Dr. Oz show, "and within 10 days I've been struck down," he now reports. "Don't ever take a flu shot again," Yoakam tells him, in this January 23 interview. Good advice, I'd say. While health agencies deny the possibility of getting the flu from the flu vaccine, many still do experience flu-like symptoms and/or get ill to some degree or another after getting the vaccine.
Regulators Approve New Genetically Engineered Insect-Based Flu Vaccine
This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.
Despite evidence to the contrary, the conventional view is that getting inoculated is the best way to protect yourself against the flu, and to make more flu vaccines available faster, the FDA recently approved a number of novel flu vaccines.
The first, Flublok, is produced by programming insect cells to produce hemagglutinin, a flu virus protein essential for entry of the virus into your body’s cells. Flublok is “the first the first trivalent influenza vaccine made using an insect virus (baculovirus) expression system and recombinant DNA technology6,” and is approved for use in adults only, ages 18-49. This kind of genetically engineered vaccine technology, while you may never have heard of it before, has already been used in the production of vaccines against other infectious diseases. According to CNN7:
“This method allows for more rapid production, making more of the vaccine available more quickly in the event of a pandemic... Flublok will be available in limited supply this winter and widely available during the next flu season, said Protein Sciences, which is based in Meriden, Connecticut.
Flublok contains the elements necessary to help fend off three different flu strains, including H1N1 and H3N2, the regulator said. And it proved 44.6% effective against all influenza strains in circulation, not just those that matched the strains included in the vaccine, according to the FDA.”
Other Novel Flu Vaccines Being Unleashed
Last November, the FDA also approved a new flu vaccine by Novartis called Flucelvax, which is grown in cultures of dog kidney cells rather than chicken eggs8 . This too allows for speedier vaccine production, should another pandemic erupt. But does speedier production equate to safer products? If history offers any clues, the answer is no. But, as demand for vaccines of all kinds increases, the relationship between the US government and Big Pharma keeps getting cozier. As reported by Reuters9:
“In 2006, HHS [US Department of Health and Human Services] provided more than $1 billion in contracts to six manufacturers to develop cell-based flu vaccine technology in the United States... In 2009, spurred by difficulties in growing vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, HHS provided Novartis with nearly $500 million to build the first U.S. facility capable of producing cell-based vaccine for seasonal and pandemic flu in the United States.”
The newly approved Flublok vaccine also received financial backing from the US government. The HHS bailed out the small manufacturer, Protein Sciences, with a $147million investment, allowing it to create the first gene-based flu vaccine to win FDA approval. It certainly won’t be the last however. Two other genetically engineered flu vaccines are under development. According to Reuters, one of them, created by Novavax, will use “bits of genetic material grown in caterpillar cells called "virus-like particles" that mimic a flu virus.”
I for one am not looking forward to finding out what the side effects might be from this new generation of genetically engineered flu vaccines... Even worse, the HHS also has its eye on a “universal” flu vaccine that would cover any and all flu strains, and only require one dose every five to 10 years. As reported by Reuters:
“Work by Fauci and Dr. Gary Nabel, former head of NIH's Vaccine Research Center who just joined Sanofi as chief science officer, showed that a portion of the flu virus that is usually hidden from the immune system may be the key.
Fauci describes the hemagluttinin part of the flu virus as bulb-shaped with a stem on one end, sort of like a dandelion that has gone to seed or a lollipop on a stick. Most vaccines target proteins on the bulb portion of the virus, which mutates from year to year, but Fauci says the stem contains proteins that don't change much from virus to virus. The problem is that when the flu virus is presented to the body, these stem proteins are structurally hidden from the immune system. A genetically engineered vaccine could overcome that by only presenting these stem proteins to the immune system.”
According to Robin Robinson, director of the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a part of the HHS, it’s “a good hypothesis” that will hopefully work. The HHS is “keeping fingers crossed.” What could possibly go wrong by making your body attack genetically engineered virus structures that are normally hidden from immune system detection, right?
Irresponsible Flu Vaccine Recommendations Reach a New Low
In related news, while a new breed of genetically engineered flu vaccines are hitting the market, some experts are now actually proclaiming the conventional egg-based flu vaccine safe for those with severe egg allergies. According to a recent article in the New York Times10:
“Amid an unusually widespread outbreak of the flu, a medical association of allergy specialists said Friday that even children with severe egg allergies should get flu shots. Because the vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, manufacturers recommend that the roughly 2 percent of all children who have egg allergies not get them. But flu hospitalizes 21,000 young children a year, said Dr. James L. Sublett, chair of the public relations committee of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Because only trace amounts of egg protein remain in the vaccine, “we now know administration is safe,” he said. “'The benefits of the flu vaccination far outweigh the risks.” Even children who have gone into anaphylactic shock from eating eggs should get flu shots, but from an allergist trained to handle emergencies, the association recommended.”
I really cannot believe how far they will go to endanger your health — especially when you consider that, for an industry that claims to be science-based, flu vaccine recommendations go AGAINST the hard evidence. Worse yet, while studies show flu vaccination is ineffective, when it comes to safety, which is the other and more important factor (especially for infants), the evidence is basically non-existent! According to an independent study review from the Cochrane Collaboration11 published August 15, 2012, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine is similar to placebo in children under the age of two. Furthermore:
“Influenza vaccines were associated with serious harms such as narcolepsy and febrile convulsions [in children]. It was surprising to find only one study of inactivated vaccine in children under two years, given current recommendations to vaccinate healthy children from six months of age.”
Vaccine Damaged Child Awarded $1 Million
A lot of people still believe vaccines are safe, not realizing that children are being permanently harmed each and every day by mandated childhood vaccinations. Sadly, once that happens, the family is left ‘holding the bag,’ with no recourse.
In December last year, a family won a nearly $1 million settlement12 from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, but this is a rarity. Severe flaws in the system results in the majority of vaccine injured children not receiving any compensation at all for the harm inflicted on them. According to the court’s decision13:
“Petitioners alleged that as a result of “all the vaccinations administered to [Ryan] from March 25, 2003, through February 22, 2005, and more specifically, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccinations administered to him on December 19, 2003 and May 10, 2004,” Ryan suffered “a severe and debilitating injury to his brain, described as Autism Spectrum Disorder (‘ASD’)...
Petitioners specifically asserted that Ryan “suffered a Vaccine Table Injury, namely, an encephalopathy” as a result of his receipt of the MMR vaccination on December 19, 2003. Id. In the alternative, petitioners asserted that “as a cumulative result of his receipt of each and every vaccination between March 25, 2003 and February 22, 2005, Ryan has suffered . . . neuroimmunologically mediated dysfunctions in the form of asthma and ASD.”
In this case, while the MMR vaccine was indicated as a possible culprit, the primary cause was believed to be the sheer number of vaccinations. The cumulative effect of multiple vaccinations simply cannot be underestimated, and now they’re asking you to vaccinate your children against the seasonal flu, each and every year, starting from the age of six months! And they’re recommending this without ANY proof whatsoever that this is indeed safe. Safety is “assumed.” Not tested and verified. Please do remember this.
One way to evaluate your child’s potential for vaccine damage is to get his or her gut flora checked prior to getting any vaccine. For more information about this novel but promising way to prevent vaccine damage, please see my interview with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
How to Protect Yourself During the Flu Season
Avoiding a serious case of influenza is not about vaccination but more about maintaining a healthy, well functioning immune system. By following these simple guidelines, you can help keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with or, if you do get sick with the flu, you are better prepared to move through it without complications and soon return to good health.
- Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is to avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, processed foods and most grains should be limited and replaced with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, butter, eggs and nuts. Once you change your diet than regular use of fermented foods can radically optimize the function of your immune response.
- 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 may actually be the true culprit behind the seasonality of the flu – not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.
Ideally, you'll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, but as a last resort you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly (Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU's a day. Be sure to take vitamin K2 if you are taking high dose oral vitamin D as it has a powerful synergy and will help prevent any D toxicity.
- Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the quality of your immune response almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. It also can decimate your beneficial bacteria and feed the pathogenic yeast and viruses. Be aware that sugar (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice. If you are healthy then sugar can be consumed but the LAST thing you should be eating when you are sick is sugar. Avoid it like poison while you are sick.
- Get Plenty of 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 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.
- Get Regular 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 finding an illness before it spreads. Be sure to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids, especially water. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick. No Peak 8s until you are better.
- Take a High Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. 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 that are trans fats and in 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.
- Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those, who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
- Avoid Hospitals. I'd recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you're having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Vaccine Exemptions
With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it's critical to protect your right to informed consent to vaccination and fight to protect and expand vaccine exemptions in state public health laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.
Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choices and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips..
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One that Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.
Latest Cold and Flu News
Latest Vaccine News
By Dr. Mercola
Over the past couple of years, we’ve learned the unsavory truth about “pink slime,” reconstituted meat, and how the use of meat glue cheats you out of your hard-earned money at the grocery store and threatens your health.
We’ve also learned that fast food fare such as McDonald’s hamburgers contain so many chemicals and so few real food ingredients that a burger fails to show signs of decomposition after more than a decade...
The famous McDonald’s McRib also came under closer scrutiny, and turned out to be something less than mouthwatering. The McRib sandwich is a non-standard item on the fast food restaurant’s menu;1 its annual return is always advertised with great fanfare — last year it even made the headlines on ABC News.2
The pork sandwich is described as a tasty fan favorite slathered in tangy barbecue sauce, slivered onions and tart pickles, served on a hoagie style bun. Sounds perfectly normal, but what’s it made of, really? In a November 2011 article, CBS Chicago news3 spilled the beans on this seasonal favorite:
“More than 70 ingredients make up the McRib and, yes, one of them is pork. But as CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, there’s also an ingredient that can be found in shoes... [Registered dietician Cassie] Vanderwall gave the McRib a closer look and found the McRib has azodicarbonamide, which is used to bleach the flour in bread. It has other uses. 'It could be on your yoga mat, in your gym shoes, in your anything that’s rubbery,' Vanderwall said...
Then there’s the pork – which is really restructured meat product. In other words, it’s made from all the less expensive innards and castoffs from the pig... Vanderwall said the McRib ingredient list 'reminds me of a chemistry lab.'”
To see pictures of a ‘deconstructed’ McRib sandwich, check out foodfacts.info’s McRib page.4 It sure doesn’t look so appetizing anymore once the sauce is washed off and the meat sliced in half. In fact, it can barely pass meat, which was the point CBS news tried to make in the first place.
What is "Food" Anyway?
Two years ago, the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine singled out McDonald's in their advertisement against obesity-related deaths. As the ad claimed, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart attacks are hallmark diseases associated with a fast food diet – a clear indication that it does not provide the appropriate nutrition for your body.
So, is McDonald's fare really food?
When you consider the fact that a large number of the ingredients in a fast food meal exist nowhere in nature, but are rather concocted in a lab, the answer would have to be 'no.' Unfortunately, and to our severe detriment, ever since the advent of the so-called TV dinner back in the 1950's, the concept of "food" has expanded from meat, vegetables, raw dairy products, fruit and other such natural items to include the highly processed, preserved, artificially flavored and often brightly colored chemical concoctions. But man simply was NOT designed to thrive on man-made chemicals.
Sadly, store-bought foods you might not recognize as processed, such as ground beef, are oftentimes no better. As reported last year, approximately 70 percent of the ground beef sold in U.S. supermarkets contains "pink slime" added in as a cheap filler.
The Pepto-Bismol-colored concoction consists of beef scraps and cow connective tissues, which has been treated with ammonium hydroxide (basically a solution of ammonia in water). It can legally make up 15 percent of any given beef product, which shaves about three cents off the cost for a pound of ground beef. The trimmings used come from parts of the cow that are most likely to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria like E. coli — which is why it must be treated with ammonia to kill off the pathogens in the first place. It’s really industrial food practices like this that pose very real threats to your health, not raw unpasteurized dairy products and other non-processed whole foods...
Russia Throws Poisonous Meat Back to U.S.
In related “questionable food” news, Russia has recently banned U.S. meat supplies after discovering it contains ractopamine — a beta agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat. As reported by Pravda,5 Russia is the fourth largest importer of US meats, purchasing about $500 million-worth of beef and pork annually.
The drug is banned for use in 160 countries, including China and Russia, but allowed in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States. According to the New York Times,6 the ban took effect as of December 7, 2012, and Russian health regulators stated that while they will initially conduct their own testing, foreign countries will soon be required to certify their meat as ractopamine-free if they want to export it to Russia. While the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers ractopamine safe and doesn’t test for it, Russia’s chief health inspector, Gennady Onishchenko, claims there are “serious questions” about the safety of the drug. He told the New York Times:
“For instance, use of ractopamine is accompanied by a reduction in body mass, suppression of reproductive function, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, which leads to a steep decline in the quality and safety of milk.”
Ractopamine is also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and may cause food poisoning, according to Pravda.7 It’s also thought to be responsible for hyperactivity, muscle breakdown, and increased death and disability in livestock. While other drugs require a clearance period of around two weeks to help ensure the compounds are flushed from the meat prior to slaughter (and therefore reduce residues leftover for human consumption), there is no clearance period for ractopamine. In fact, livestock growers intentionally use the drug in the last days before slaughter in order to increase its effectiveness.
According to veterinarian Michael W. Fox, as much as 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket. Despite potential health risks, the drug is used in 45 percent of U.S. pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys.
Mexico and Brazil have announced that they will comply with Russia’s demand for ractopamine-free meats.8 The US has shown no sign of coming to an agreement, however. Instead the US has accused Russia of violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules — an accusation Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has dismissed as being part of business as usual, since “all WTO members break these rules.”
How to Identify REAL Food
There are major incentives to center your diet on real foods as opposed to “food-like” products, the primary one being that real food is essential for optimal health. Real foods also taste delicious, and when bought from sustainable sources help to protect the environment. But with all the sneaky tricks being employed, how can you tell the difference? Here’s a listing of the characteristics and traits of real food versus processed “food products.”
Real Food Processed Food-Like Products It’s grown, and sold “whole” Produced, manufactured in a factory, and sold in neat, convenient packages Variable quality Always the same (no quality or taste variance) Spoils fast Stays “fresh” for extended periods of time Requires preparation No preparation required, just heat and serve Vibrant colors and rich textures Contains fillers, additives and preservatives to make otherwise dull and bland mixtures appetizing Authentically flavorful Artificially flavorful Strong connection to land and culture No connection to land or culture
Shopping Guidelines for Real, Health-Promoting Food
As the U.S. agriculture industry now stands, antibiotics, pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients, hormones and countless drugs are fair game for inclusion in your food. So if you purchase your food from a typical supermarket, you’re taking the chance that your food is teeming with chemicals and drugs — even those that have been banned in other countries due to adverse health effects.
So please do your health a favor and support the small family farms in your area. You’ll receive nutritious food from a source that you can trust, and you’ll be supporting the honest work of a real family farm.
It all boils down to this: if you want to optimize your health, you must return to the basics of healthy food choices. Put your focus on WHOLE foods — foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state — food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, drugs, hormones, pesticides, fertilizers, and “mystery concoctions” of discarded scrap parts.
It’s really as simple as that!
And it’s not nearly as daunting a task as it may seem to find a local farmer that can supply your family with healthy, humanely raised animal products and produce. At LocalHarvest.org, for instance, you can enter your zip code and find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, all with the click of a button. Once you make the switch from supermarket to local farmer, the choice will seem natural, and you can have peace of mind that the food you’re feeding your family is naturally wholesome. That said, regardless of where you do your grocery shopping, these are the signs of high-quality, health-promoting foods you want to look for:
- It's grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
- It's not genetically modified
- It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
- It does not contain any artificial ingredients, including chemical preservatives
- It is fresh (keep in mind that if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may actually be the better option)
- It did not come from a factory farm
- It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
- It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)
If the food meets these criteria, it is most likely a wise choice, and would fall under the designation of "real food." Keep in mind that reclaiming your kitchen is part and parcel of healthful living, so you know exactly what you're putting in your body. If you need help to get started, see Colleen Huber's helpful tips on how to eat healthier organic food on a budget. And if you're "hooked" on fast food and other processed foods, please review my article How to Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps. It's one of the absolute most positive life changes you could make!
The Meat You Should Never, Ever Eat...
The Ominous Beef Cover Up: The Hidden Truth Behind the Meat on Your Plate
By Dr. Mercola
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in diet soda and over 6,000 other sugar-free or "diet" products. New research1 linking aspartame to cancer in some individuals has sparked a flurry of commentary, including an "apology" from Brigham and Women's Hospital, a Harvard University teaching facility, for promoting the results2.
I first found out about the study when ABC News contacted me and requested that I provide them with a comprehensive analysis of this 40-page study within an hour. Fortunately, I have extensively reviewed this topic and was able to provide their requested review.
Funding was provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The Harvard hospital originally sent out a press release with the headline: "The truth isn't sweet when it comes to artificial sweeteners." Alas, just half an hour before the release of the study, the hospital suddenly got cold feet, issuing the following statement:
"Upon review of the findings, the consensus of our scientific leaders is that the data is weak, and that BWH Media Relations was premature in the promotion of this work. We apologize for the time you have invested in this story."
According to Erin McDonough3, senior vice president of communication and public affairs, this was "the first time something like this had ever happened in her 25 years of working in media relations."
NBC News stated4:
"Not all science deserves publicity. Some is not done well. Some comes to equivocal conclusions and serves solely to alert other researchers of the need for further study. The research... about a potential cancer from aspartame falls squarely in that second category. If such a study does get attention, it can often increase the confusion and anger that many people feel about science in general – and the study of possible risks and benefits of our diet, in particular."
None of this surprises me. After all, can you imagine the liability the food and beverage industries, not to mention virtually every public health agency in the US, would face were there convincing evidence that aspartame is carcinogenic? They simply cannot afford such evidence to be accepted.
But make no mistake about it, this study is of great importance because it's the most comprehensive and longest human study — spanning 22 years — that has ever looked at aspartame toxicity. The study evaluates the effect between aspartame intake and cancer, and they found a clear association between aspartame consumption and non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and leukemia.
Ignoring First Long-Term Human Study Would Be a MAJOR Mistake
This is the first large-scale observational human study to report an association between aspartame consumption and blood cancers. The long-term nature of this study is really crucial because one of the primary tricks companies use to hide the toxicity of their products is short-term tests.
As the study mentions, the longest study prior to this one was only four and half months, far too short to reveal any toxicity from chronic exposure. Unfortunately, because there are so many of these short-term trials, they get away with saying that aspartame is one of the most studied food additives ever made and no health concerns have ever been discovered. The beverage industry was quick to respond5 to the study saying aspartame has been "deemed safe for decades by the world's leading toxicologists."
Well, they simply didn't look long enough! But the average person does not realize that all those industry-funded studies were so pathetically short, and the media doesn't inform them of this fact either. Hence, people are easily misled.
A number of animal studies have clearly documented the association between aspartame and cancer, as the study points out. But what most researchers do not appreciate is that humans are the only animals that do NOT have the protective mechanism to compensate for methanol toxicity. So evaluating methanol toxicity in animals is a flawed model for testing human toxicity.
This is due to alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). In humans, methanol is allowed to be transported in the body to susceptible tissues where this enzyme, ADH, then converts it to formaldehyde, which damages protein and DNA that lead to the increased risk of cancer and autoimmune disease.
Interestingly, the previous AARP Diet and Health Study, which did not find an association with aspartame and cancer, used fruit juice as the control. Most are unaware that canned or bottled fruit juice is loaded with methanol that dissociates from the pectin over time and can actually cause similar problems as aspartame. This does not occur in freshly consumed fruits and vegetables, only ones that are bottled or canned. Hence no major difference could be discerned between the aspartame and the control group.
Why Was Aspartame More Toxic in Men than Women?
The health statistics for nearly 48,000 men and over 77,000 women over the age of 20 were reviewed for the featured study. They found that men who consumed more than one diet soda per day had an increased risk of developing multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Interestingly enough, this association was not found in women.
Leukemia was associated with diet soda intake in both sexes.
One hypothesis for the difference between the sexes is that men have a higher activity of the enzyme ADH, as I mentioned earlier, which metabolizes methanol and converts it to formaldehyde. More formaldehyde circulating in your blood would naturally have more opportunity to cause greater damage.
While the findings from this study add credible evidence that consuming aspartame over a long period of time can pose significant health risks, it also demonstrates that our understanding of the precise mechanism of harm is still lacking and needs to be investigated further, as it's unclear why the women in this study didn't experience the same increased rates of cancer.
It's possible that there is some hormonally mediated protection against the adverse effects of aspartame in women, in addition to men having higher ADH activity, but the study was not designed to answer that question.
All in all however, I believe the study offers significant supporting evidence of the danger that "diet" drinks and foods pose. Many have indeed been injured by aspartame — there are more adverse reports to the FDA on aspartame than all other food additives combined. It's also widely known how massive industry and government collusion at the FDA was ultimately responsible for its approval after it failed to be approved for many years.
Although the authors' summary conclusion mentions they do not rule out the possibility of chance for this association, it's worth noting that this is because they could not offer a conclusive explanation for the difference between the sexes.
I carefully reviewed this study in its entirety, and found it to be extremely well executed. While the mechanism responsible for the difference between the sexes for certain cancers need to be studied further, a biological mechanism for cancer from aspartame does exist, which I'll review in a moment. Furthermore, it was the reviewers of the study that pushed back during the editing process, insisting that it should be made clear that chance was a plausible explanation for the findings6.
Lead researcher Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH stated in the original press release (which has since been removed):
"The sex difference we observed deserves consideration. There are many possible explanations in this, one being chance, however these differences could be related to a yet-to-be-discovered risk factor for lymphoma and leukemia, which are associated with soda consumption in men, but not women."
Methyl Alcohol — The Root of the Problem with Aspartame
Aspartame is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol. This is in sharp contrast to naturally-occurring methanol found in certain fruits and vegetables, where it is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing the methanol to be safely passed through your digestive tract.
If the methyl alcohol is broken off from the phenylalanine, as easily happens when drinks sweetened with it are exposed to higher temperatures, it no longer tastes sweet. This is precisely what happened to most of the diet soda sent to the Middle East for US troops. They received non-sweet sodas that were loaded with dangerous levels of methanol, which can be toxic when it's in this already broken down state.
Methanol acts as a Trojan horse; it's carried into susceptible tissues in your body, like your brain and bone marrow, where the ADH enzyme converts it into formaldehyde, which wreaks havoc with sensitive proteins and DNA. All other animals, on the other hand, have a protective mechanism that allows methanol to be broken down into harmless formic acid...
According to aspartame expert Dr. Woodrow Monte, there's a major biochemical problem with methanol in humans, because of the difference in how it's metabolized, compared to all other animals. This is why toxicology testing on animals is a flawed model. It doesn't fully apply to humans.
Both animals and humans have small structures called peroxisomes in each cell. There are a couple of hundred in every cell of your body, which are designed to detoxify a variety of chemicals. Peroxisome contains catalase, which help detoxify methanol. Other chemicals in the peroxisome convert the formaldehyde to formic acid, which is harmless, but this last step occurs only in animals.
When methanol enters the peroxisome of every animal except humans, it gets into that mechanism. Humans do have the same number of peroxisomes in comparable cells as animals, but human peroxisomes cannot convert the toxic formaldehyde into harmless formic acid.
So again, to recap: In humans, the methyl alcohol travels through your blood vessels into sensitive areas, such as your brain, that are loaded with alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which converts methanol to formaldehyde, and since there's no catalase present, the formaldehyde is free to cause enormous damage in your tissues.
Saccharin and Aspartame Cause Greater Weight Gain than Sugar
In related news, a study published on October 19 in the journal Appetite7, found that compared with sucrose (regular table sugar), saccharin and aspartame caused greater weight gain in adult rats, and this weight gain was unrelated to caloric intake. The underlying mechanism was not determined.
However, a number of studies have already shown that consuming artificial sweeteners breaks the connection between a sweet sensation and a high-calorie food, thereby changing your body's ability to regulate intake naturally. In a similar 2008 study8, rats that ate yogurt sweetened with an artificial sweetener consumed more calories, gained more weight, and put on more body fat than rats that ate yogurt sweetened with sugar. Other studies, too, have shown that eating artificial sweeteners might hinder your body's ability to estimate calorie intake, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge.
The fact that aspartame is NOT a dieter's best friend has been known by scientists for some time. The problem is this news has not received the necessary traction in the media...
For example, a study from 19869, which included nearly 80,000 women, found that those who used artificial sweeteners were significantly more likely than non-users to gain weight over time, regardless of initial weight. According to the authors, the results "were not explicable by differences in food consumption patterns," and concluded that:
" The data do not support the hypothesis that long-term artificial sweetener use either helps weight loss or prevents weight gain."
Another more recent study with the telling title of Gain Weight by "Going Diet?" Artificial Sweeteners and the Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings, published in 201010, found that epidemiologic data suggest artificially sweetened foods and beverages do not reduce weight. Quite the contrary:
"Several large scale prospective cohort studies found positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain. The San Antonio Heart Study examined 3,682 adults over a seven- to eight-year period in the 1980s.
When matched for initial body mass index (BMI), gender, ethnicity, and diet, drinkers of artificially sweetened beverages consistently had higher BMIs at the follow-up, with dose dependence on the amount of consumption... Saccharin use was also associated with eight-year weight gain in 31,940 women from the Nurses' Health Study conducted in the 1970s.
Similar observations have been reported in children.
A two-year prospective study involving 166 school children found that increased diet soda consumption was associated with higher BMI Z-scores at follow-up, indicating weight gain. The Growing Up Today Study, involving 11,654 children aged 9 to 14 also reported positive association between diet soda and weight gain for boys. For each daily serving of diet beverage, BMI increased by 0.16 kg/m2... A cross-sectional study looking at 3,111 children and youth found diet soda drinkers had significantly elevated BMI."
Are Your Health Problems Related to Artificial Sweeteners?
Many people belatedly realize they've been suffering reactions to one artificial sweetener or another. If you suspect an artificial sweetener might be to blame for a symptom you're having, a good way to help you weed out the culprit is to do an elimination challenge. It's easy to do, but you must read the ingredient labels for everything you put in your mouth to make sure you're avoiding ALL artificial sweeteners. To determine if you're having a reaction to artificial sweeteners, take the following steps:
- Eliminate all artificial sweeteners from your diet for two weeks.
- After two weeks of being artificial sweetener-free, reintroduce your artificial sweetener of choice in a significant quantity (about three servings daily). Avoid other artificial sweeteners during this period.
- Do this for one to three days and notice how you feel, especially as compared to when you were consuming no artificial sweeteners.
- If you don't notice a difference in how you feel after re-introducing your primary artificial sweetener for a few days, it's a safe bet you're able to tolerate it acutely, meaning your body doesn't have an immediate, adverse response. However, this doesn't mean your health won't be damaged in the long run.
- If you've been consuming more than one type of artificial sweetener, you can repeat steps 2 through 4 with the next one on your list.
Let me make it abundantly clear that even though you may not show immediate signs of any noticeable reaction after consuming artificial sweeteners, please don't make the mistake of telling yourself "they must be OK for me". I strongly urge you to avoid them at all costs. They are toxic to all humans and will not help you in any way, shape, or form.
Also, if you do experience side effects from aspartame, please report it to the FDA (if you live in the United States) without delay. It's easy to make a report — just go to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page, find the phone number for your state, and make a call reporting your reaction. There's no telling just how many reports they might need to receive before taking another look at aspartame's safety and reconsidering their stance. But I CAN tell you, the more reports they get, the more likely that is to happen. So if you suspect you have experienced an adverse reaction from aspartame (or any other drug or food additive), please take a moment to make this important call.
Are there ANY Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Sugar?
The best strategy is to lower your use of sugar and eat right for your nutritional type and make sure you have enough high quality fats. Once your body has the proper fuel, your sweet cravings will radically diminish and you will be satisfied without them. If you still have cravings it is a strong suggestion you need to further refine your attempt to identify the right fuel for your body. My free Nutritional Plan can help you do this in a step by step fashion.
If you need a sweetener you could use stevia or Lo Han, both of which are safe natural sweeteners. Remember, if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would benefit from avoiding ALL sweeteners.
If you're having trouble weaning yourself off soda, try Turbo Tapping. Turbo Tapping is a clever use of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), specifically designed to resolve many aspects of an addiction in a concentrated period of time.
Aspartame is, by Far, the Most Dangerous Substance on the Market that is Added To Foods
Self-Funded Study Found HUGE Tumors from This Everyday Food
By Dr. Mercola
The Canadian press recently broke the story that new research confirms initial findings that the flu vaccine appeared to actually increase people's risk of getting sick with H1N1, and cause more serious bouts of illness to boot.
According to the Vancouver Sun:1
"Researchers, led by Vancouver's Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, noticed in the early weeks of the [2009 H1N1] pandemic that people who got a flu shot for the 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received a flu shot. Five studies done in several provinces showed the same unsettling results."
New Study Confirms: Flu Vaccine Really Does Increase Your Risk of Serious Pandemic Flu Illness
In March last year, ABC News reported:2
"There is renewed controversy surrounding influenza vaccines, with some studies showing people immunised against the seasonal flu might have been at greater risk during the swine flu outbreak...
'What was a bit surprising when we looked at some of the data from Canada and Hong Kong in the last year is that people who have been vaccinated in 2008 with the seasonal or ordinary vaccine seemed to have twice the risk of getting swine flu compared to the people who hadn't received that vaccine,' [Professor Collignon from the Australian National University] said.
ANU microbiologists say it is the opposite of what vaccines should do.
Professor Collignon says the findings of the study also highlight the benefits for healthy people who are exposed to some illnesses. 'Some interesting data has become available which suggests that if you get immunised with the seasonal vaccine, you get less broad protection than if you get a natural infection,' he said.
'It is particularly relevant for children because it is a condition they call original antigenic sin, which basically means if you get infected with a natural virus, that gives you not only protection against that virus but similar viruses or even in fact quite different flu viruses in the next year.'
'We may be perversely setting ourselves up that if something really new and nasty comes along, that people who have been vaccinated may in fact be more susceptible compared to getting this natural infection.'" [Emphasis mine]
Truer words are hard to find in mainstream media. This is, after all, the fundamental basics of immunity against disease. Vaccine-induced immunity to disease is trying to mimic this natural mechanism, but failing miserably in doing so...
Case in point: research published in the Journal of Virology3 in November of last year also confirmed that the seasonal flu vaccine may actually weaken children's immune systems and increase their chances of getting sick from influenza viruses not included in the vaccine. Further, when blood samples from 27 healthy, unvaccinated children and 14 children who had received an annual flu shot were compared, the former unvaccinated group naturally built up more antibodies across a wider variety of influenza strains compared to the latter vaccinated group – which is exactly what Professor Collignon referred to in the quote above.
While the initial reports of increased pandemic disease risk associated with flu vaccination were downplayed and widely dismissed as some odd Canadian phenomenon, a new study suggests this was no fluke. According to the featured article:4
"Skowronski and a group of researchers have recreated the event in ferrets. Their findings were presented... at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a major international infectious diseases conference taking place in San Francisco. Skowronski... worked with 32 ferrets, giving half the 2008 seasonal flu shot and the rest a placebo injection. The work was blinded, meaning the researchers didn't know which ferrets received which shot. Later, all the ferrets were infected with the pandemic H1N1 virus.
The ferrets in the vaccine group became significantly sicker than the other animals, though all recovered. 'The findings are consistent with the increased risk that we saw in the human studies,' Skowronski said." [Emphasis mine]
Proof Positive – Vaccine Industry Really Does Not Know What it's Doing...
According to the Canadian MetroNews5, researchers in other countries have also reported similar interactions between the 2008-09 flu vaccine and increased risk for more serious H1N1 illness. Remarkably, even though no one understands the reasons for this paradoxical effect, Dr. Skowronski "insisted the findings should not deter people from getting seasonal flu shots."6
"Two theories exist about what might have been behind the effect, said Skowronski, who favors the first. That theory relates to the fact that the 2008 vaccine protected against an H1N1 virus that was related to – but not similar enough to – the pandemic virus to generate antibodies that would neutralize it. The thinking is that might actually have facilitated infection with the pandemic virus," MetroNews reports.7
"Skowronski likened the mechanism to what happens with dengue viruses. People who have been infected with one subtype of dengue don't develop immunity to the other three. In fact, they are more at risk of developing a life-threatening form of dengue if they are infected with one of the other strains.
Skowronski called the second theory the infection block hypothesis. Having a bout of the flu gives the infected person antibodies that may be able, for a time, to fend off other strains; flu shots only protect against the strains they contain. So under this theory, people who didn't have flu in 2008 because they got a flu shot may have been less well armed against the pandemic virus."
It's important to realize that these are only theories, and researchers still don't know if either of them is correct. However, IF the first theory is correct, then this troubling effect is believed to be limited to pandemics in which the pandemic virus is related to a human flu virus in circulation. According to this theory, a virus with a hemagglutinin protein that humans haven't been previously exposed to would probably not trigger increased infection risk. However, as stated by Dr. Skowronski:8
"My own opinion, my own feeling would be that if you have a completely different hemagglutinin like H5 or H7... you may not see that... But who knows, frankly? The wise man knows he knows nothing when it comes to influenza, so you always have to be cautious in speculating."
That statement about sums up what the CDC and vaccine industry really know about what they are doing! Yet you're expected to just take their word, again and again, that vaccines are safe and the most effective form of disease prevention...
Flu Shots for All (Science Optional)
For the past several years, physicians in America have been insisting that every child age 6 months to 18 years must get an annual flu shot. Making matters worse, health officials have now ramped up those recommendations, telling EVERY person over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, healthy or not, low risk or high.
With all of those vaccinations, will you become more susceptible to influenza-related complications and death?
We really don't know, but if the interaction between the 2008-09 flu vaccine and H1N1 is any indication, the answer is likely to be yes. Health officials have leapt ahead with recommendations of "flu shots for all" without safety studies – so by getting a flu vaccine, you are effectively offering yourself up as a laboratory rat. In other words, YOU are the safety study!
To get a preview of the potential risks you take every time you accept a seasonal flu vaccine, listen to the following interview with a Connecticut artist and her mother, a former professor of nursing, who developed Guillaine-Barre syndrome after getting a seasonal flu shot in 2008 and today is permanently disabled with total body paralysis. This family has chosen to share their heartbreaking story to help those who have had the same experience feel less alone, and to educate others about what it means to be vaccine injured. What happened to this family is a tragic reminder of just how important it is to make well-informed decisions about vaccinations.
All Vaccines Compromise Natural Immunity
The more vaccines are studied, the more apparent it becomes that safety studies are sorely lacking, as vaccine expert and pediatrician Larry Palevsky explains. For example, those that have been done compare vaccinated populations only to other vaccinated populations, and only follow vaccinated kids for 4-6 weeks.
As mentioned earlier, there are major differences between naturally-acquired immunity and vaccine-induced immunity – and science does confirm this. Those who disagree are simply ignoring the evidence and perpetuating ignorance. Unfortunately, while obtaining natural immunity has far greater benefits, this fact seems to be completely overlooked in the United States, considering it's recommended that U.S. babies receive 26 doses of vaccines within the first 12 months of life (which, incidentally, is twice as many vaccinations as are given to babies in Sweden and Japan).
When children are born, they develop natural immunity to a large variety of microorganisms that they breathe, eat, and touch. The immune responses initiated by cells lining their airways, skin and intestines are very important in creating "memory" and protection against the microorganisms they naturally come into contact with every day. That primary line of defense is a very important step in the maturation of your child's immune system – and it's bypassed when he/she gets a vaccine.
With vaccination, you are merely creating an antibody, but as the Journal of Virology study9 showed, the unvaccinated children actually built up more antibodies against a wider variety of flu virus strains than the vaccinated children!
Vaccines usually do not impart long-term immunity because they don't create the kind of memory that occurs when you go through the process of a natural immune response. Natural exposure does not necessarily lead to symptoms of infection – it is possible for your immune system to respond and for you to obtain natural immunity without actually getting sick, if your immune system is functioning well. In fact, vaccines do NOT strengthen the healthy functioning of your immune system, but actually weaken it. Here are just some of the ways vaccines can impair and alter your immune response:
- Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic and may depress your immune response or cause brain and immune dysfunction, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives (thimerosal) and aluminum adjuvants
- The lab altered vaccine viruses themselves may also affect your immune response in a negative way
- Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and lead you to become chronically ill
- Vaccines can trigger allergies or autoimmune disorders. Vaccines introduce large foreign protein molecules into your body. Your body can respond to these foreign particles in a way that causes an allergic reaction or triggers autoimmunty, especially in persons genetically or biologically vulnerable to allergy and autoimmunity
Getting a flu shot can affect your cardiovascular system because vaccination stimulates an acute inflammatory response in your body, which also could become chronic. One 2007 study published in the Annals of Medicine10 concluded that:
"Abnormalities in arterial function and LDL oxidation may persist for at least two weeks after a slight inflammatory reaction induced by influenza vaccination. These could explain in part the earlier reported increase in cardiovascular risk during the first weeks after an acute inflammatory disorder."
What You Need to Know about Informed Consent
Informed consent is especially important when it comes to vaccination because no one can predict whether you or your child will suffer a devastating vaccine reaction. Furthermore, doctors have been notoriously lax when it comes to providing patients with full disclosure of potential serious vaccine side effects.
All Americans should know that if your doctor does not provide the CDC Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) sheet, or directly discuss the potential symptoms of side effects of the vaccination you or your child is about to receive BEFORE vaccination takes place, it is a violation of federal law. Remember, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 requires doctors and other vaccine providers to:
- Give written vaccine benefit and risk information to the person or guardian of the person before vaccination takes place (and, ethically, a doctor should be willing to discuss and answer all questions the patient or parent has about vaccination)
- Keep a permanent record of all vaccines given and the manufacturer's name and lot number
- Enter serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that occur after vaccination in the patient's permanent medical record
- File an official report of all serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)
If a vaccine provider fails to inform, record or report, it is a violation of federal law, and I would encourage anyone who is injured from a vaccine, who did not receive the proper warnings, to use the legal system to hold the physician responsible. For more information about the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and your rights under that law, go to the website of the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) at www.NVIC.org, where you also can find referenced information on diseases and vaccines to help you make well educated vaccine choices. You can also sign up to be a user of the NVIC Advocacy Portal to work to protect the legal right to make vaccine choices in your state.
How to Protect Yourself Against Influenza
So the question is, why do we continue doing something that has been proven ineffective and risky? As Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This certainly could be said to apply to the practice of getting a flu shot every year and expecting to be protected against the flu without taking a health risk.
While the media is sure to continue hyping potential pandemic influenzas, remember that a healthy immune system is your best and primary defense against any viral threat. The following simple guidelines will help you keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire influenza or other respiratory infections to begin with or, if you do, your immune system will deal with it without complications:
- 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. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. I would STRONGLY urge you to have your vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are therapeutic at 50-70 ng/ml year-round.
An inexpensive option to get your vitamin D levels checked on a regular basis is to join the GrassrootsHealth D*action Project.
- Avoid Sugar, Fructose and Processed Foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately. 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 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 finding an illness before it spreads.
- Take a Good Source of High Quality Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. 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 that are trans fats and in 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. Remember that antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary and cause more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
- Avoid Hospitals. I'd recommend avoiding 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 any new bug. Also keep in mind that virtually all vaccinations have the potential to reduce the effective functioning of your immune system, NOT make it stronger!
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