Conventional health authorities claim getting a flu shot each year is the best way to ward off influenza. But where's the actual science backing up that claim? If you've repeatedly fallen for this annual propaganda campaign, you may be surprised to find the medical literature suggests vitamin D may actually be a FAR more effective strategy, and the evidence for this goes back at least a decade. Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, was one of the first to introduce the idea that vitamin D deficiency may actually be an underlying CAUSE of influenza. His hypothesis was initially published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006. It was subsequently followed up with another study published in the Virology Journal in 2008. The following year, the largest nationally representative study of its kind to date discovered that people with the lowest vitamin D levels indeed reported having significantly more colds or cases of the flu. In conclusion, lead author Dr. Adit Ginde stated: "The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu. Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency." Since then, a number of studies have come to similar conclusions. Most recently, a scientific review of 25 randomized controlled trials confirmed that vitamin D supplementation boosts immunity and cuts rates of cold and flu. Overall, the studies included nearly 11,000 individuals from more than a dozen countries.
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone produced in your body with the help of cholesterol molecules when you expose significant amounts of skin to the sun. It is an essential vitamin that interacts with a number of different systems in your body. One of the best ways to optimize your vitamin D blood levels is to get sensible sun exposure, taking great care never to get burned. Deficiency is very common in the U.S. but many Americans mistakenly believe they are not at risk simply because they eat foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk. Before 2000, many physicians had not considered the possibility you could be deficient in vitamin D. A recent paper in Dermato-Endocrinology reviewed the current science for the risks and benefits of sun exposure and found insufficient exposure in the U.S. has become a major public health problem.
Over the past 40+ years, dermatologists have promoted the idea that you should never be exposed to direct sunlight because it will damage your skin and cause skin cancer. You might wonder, well what about vitamin D? No problem, as according to the American Academy of Dermatology, vitamin D deficiency can easily be addressed with vitamin D supplements. What they fail to acknowledge and appreciate is that when you’re exposed to sunlight, many important biological processes occur in your skin, not just vitamin D production. This is separate from swallowing oral vitamin D, which is an important but, according to many experts, clearly inferior alternative. While it will improve your vitamin D status, you forgo the many benefits sunlight offers aside from vitamin D production. Unfortunately, the entire focus of most dermatologists is preventing skin damage, which means ignoring the other side—the benefits—of the sun exposure equation. This includes heightened protection against a number of internal cancers and other chronic diseases, including heart disease, which kills far more people than melanoma does. Ironically, recent research shows that vitamin D also improves survival outcomes for melanoma patients. It’s also important for cognitive health, immune function, healthy pregnancy and infant development, and strong, healthy bones, just to name a few.
This is the time of year that many folks—especially women, get the blues, get mildly depressed, or officially are said to be suffering from S.A.D., “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” This article is intended to shed some light on this issue and will first explain some of the causes of S.A.D. and then will provide some practical solutions. Interestingly, S.A.D. afflicts three times as many women as men, in other words, 75 percent of those suffering are women, so women out there should pay particular attention to this.
With the Ebola virus in the news, I thought it might be time to comment on what steps you can take to prevent becoming ill. Keep in mind that conventional medicine has no effective treatments for the Ebola virus. Due to a slow international response, Ebola has spread rapidly. It is a scary infection as the death rate is very high—from 50-90%. Initially, the Ebola infection can mimic the symptoms from the flu or other upper respiratory infection. However, as it progresses, it can lead to very severe muscle aches, liver and kidney failure along with bleeding out of various areas of the body. Needless to say, Ebola is something to be taken very seriously. As I previously stated, there is no conventional treatment for the Ebola virus. That does not mean that you are powerless to do anything to combat it. There are many effective natural anti-viral therapies that may prove effective against Ebola. It would be nice if the Powers-That-Be would begin testing these therapies. But, that would make common sense. Instead the Powers-That-Be are actively discouraging the use of alternative therapies even though they have nothing to offer. It is a sad situation. Keep in mind that Ebola, like any viral infection, can only be cured by a strong immune system. We are designed with a powerful immune system that should mount a response to an infectious agent. However, the immune system can only mount a vigorous defense if it has the raw materials available to it. For over 20 years, I have been checking every patient for their nutrient status. Unfortunately, most are deficient in the basic raw materials that the immune system needs to function optimally. I say, if you become ill with a viral illness, do the basics to help optimize your immune system. I will show you the four most important items you can use to aid your immune system to fight any illness.
You do need cholesterol. This soft, waxy substance is found not only in your bloodstream but also in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help you digest fat. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function.
Increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could potentially prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year. Incidence of several types of cancer could also be slashed in half. Vitamin D fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Feeling tired and achy is a frequent complaint. While many are misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, these are classic signs of vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia. The remedy is a combination of vitamin D and calcium. Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. Among school aged children, that percentage may be as high as 70 percent.
The risk of children suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D, doctors in Japan have found. The finding has implications for flu epidemics since vitamin D, which is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight, has no significant side effects, costs little and can be several times more effective than anti-viral drugs or vaccines according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Sensible Sun Exposure Can Help Prevent Melanoma, Breast Cancer, and Hundreds of Other Health Problems
Exposure to sunlight increases nitric oxide production in your body, which lowers blood pressure and benefits your cardiovascular system. According to researchers, this benefit alone may outweigh the potential skin cancer risk. Vitamin D from sensible sun exposure appears essential in preventing 16 different types of cancer, including melanoma, and a host of other health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, fractures, and infections.
By Dr. Mercola
The cold and flu season got off to an early start this year in the US, and everywhere you turn, you’ve undoubtedly seen ads and media reports urging you to get the flu vaccine.
Meanwhile, scientific reviews by the independent Cochrane Database published last fall again refuted pervasive “expert” health and media claims that […]