Another flu season is upon us, and it’s time to look into some natural preventative measures for you and your family. Surprisingly, taking daily doses of vitamin D is one of the best ways to prevent disease- and you can do it easily & cost-effectively.
Why Vitamin D?
Flu virus exists in people year-round, and new strains seed a population during the “off-season.” In the northern and southern temperate zones, flu epidemics occur in the cold part of the year, and occur in the tropics during the rainy season.
Explanations for why flu epidemics occur in the winter when it’s cold – people being indoors in close contact, drier air dehydrating mucus and preventing the body from expelling virus particles, etc – do not explain why they occur in the tropics. What can explain it though is this: During a flu epidemic, wherever it may be, the atmosphere blocks ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun.
Skin contains a cholesterol derivative, which when UVB radiation interacts with, forms vitamin D. The activated form of vitamin D attaches to receptors on the genes that control their expression, which turn protein production on or off. Vitamin D regulates the expression of more than 1,000 genes throughout the body including cells in the immune system that attack and destroy viruses. Vitamin D also switches on genes in macrophages that make antimicrobial peptides- antibiotics that the body naturally produces. In this way, a good hypothesis for the seasonal nature of the flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease. Vitamin D levels in blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons (which are when the body is unable to naturally create vitamin D from sunlight). Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics that this gene-expresser engineers, a person with low vitamin D blood level becomes more vulnerable to contracting viruses.
Why Not the Flu Shot?
In a study that is widely quoted by people in favor of the flu shot, 1838 volunteers were randomized to receive a flu shot or placebo (a shot of saline). The flu shot reduced the relative risk of contracting influenza by a seemingly impressive 50%. Only 3% of unvaccinated people contracted the flu though, and 2% of the vaccinated group. So although it was reduced by almost 50%, Flu shots reduced the absolute risk of contracting influenza by a meager 1% (not 50%, as the “relative risk” portrays it). In actuality, for every 100 people that have a flu shot only one will benefit from it. A flu shot provides no benefit for the other 99 people- 2 of them will get influenza anyway – and all 100 risk being harmed by the vaccine (risks included in last month’s newsletter).
What’s the Proof?
In a study done by the Jikei University School of Medicine Minato-Ku in Tokyo, vitamin D was looked at as a preventative measure for the flu. The results are from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 334 children, half of which were given 1200 IUs per day of vitamin D3. During the study, 31 of the 167 children in the placebo group contracted influenza over the four month period, but only 18 of the 168 children in the vitamin D group did. This means the vitamin D was responsible for an absolute reduction of nearly 8%. Flu vaccines, according to the latest scientific evidence (referenced above) achieve a 1 percent absolute reduction. That means vitamin D appears to be 800% more effective than vaccines in preventing influenza infections.
Many studies have shown that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections; and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. A growing body of evidence indicates that rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (both a softening of bones due to defective bone mineralization) are just the tip of a vitamin-D deficiency iceberg, and that increased levels of vitamin D could help prevent all sorts of problems.
How Much do You Need to Take?
A light-skinned person will synthesize 20,000 IU of vitamin D in 20 minutes sunbathing on a warm beach, at which point vitamin D synthesis shuts down for the day (it takes a darker-skinned person 6-10 times longer to make this amount). Other than the sunlight, it is incredibly hard to get enough vitamin D without taking supplements for it, which is why most people become vitamin D-deficient when it is cold, and then get sick. Food contains very little vitamin D. The highest concentrations are in wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, and cod liver oil. Even with milk that has been fortified with vitamin D, one would have to drink 200 glasses of milk to obtain the amount of vitamin D a person can make in 20 minutes of sunbathing.
Experts say that an optimum blood level of vitamin D is 50-99 ng/ml. The government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 400 IU per day, an amount sufficient to prevent rickets and osteomalacia but not enough to see 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 per day.
Cheap vitamin D supplements provide the only way most of us can maintain a year-round vitamin D blood level greater than 50ng/ml. This high dosage is safe, and far safer than a flu shot with all the bad chemicals it contains. One can take a 10,000 IU vitamin D supplement on a daily basis without any adverse effects. In healthy persons, long-term consumption of more than 40,000 IU per day is necessary to cause an elevation in the blood calcium level, which is the first manifestation of vitamin D toxicity.
So, can a daily dosage of vitamin D prevent influenza better than a flu shot? There is good reason to believe that it can, as well as overwhelming evidence of its benefits in prevention of other diseases. And the best part- you don’t have to worry about poisoning your body with the mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde found in flu shots.
*Original article written by Donald Miller, professor of surgery at University of Washington and © LewRocwell.com
Cover your Mouth & Use a Tissue!
A cough releases an explosive charge of air that moves at speeds up to 60mph. A sneeze can exceed speeds of 100mph. That’s a fast-moving virus if someone is sick! Cover your mouth when you cough and use a tissue when you sneeze to avoid spreading germs.
One Warm Coat
One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that supports and encourages coat drives. It helps individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country collect coats and deliver them to local agencies that distribute the coats free to people in need. More than one million coats have been provided to those in need at no cost since its inception in 1992.
We have decided to collaborate with One Warm Coat this winter, and do a coat drive for them ourselves. We’ve made it really simple- just bring your clean, gently used coats and jackets into our office now through December 21st, and as a thank-you we will give you $10 off of your visit. All donated coats will be given to one of their agencies in Portland for distribution to local people in need. Help us keep Tigard & Portland area warm this winter!
|Wed. 14 November
6:30pm at our Clinic
Dinner Discussion with Dr. Beebe
Call the Office to RegisterThurs. 15 November
Flu Prevention in the Office
Lecture @ PERS
|Thurs. 22 November
Office will be CLOSED
ThanksgivingFri. 23 November
Office will be CLOSED
Call Beebe Chiropractic today at 503.620.1280
to schedule your initial consultation!