Vaccination ControversyDr. Zoltan P. Rona, MD, M.Sc. October 1, 2009
Drugs You Don’t Need – And the Best Natural Alternatives
Media hype surrounding the impending swine influenza pandemic of 2009 has frightened many Canadians into desperately seeking flu vaccines and other potentially harmful prescriptions for protection from this perceived threat.
However, I do not recommend any flu shot and have never done so. I most certainly do not recommend the swine flu (the new H1N1 flu) vaccine. This vaccine will very soon be broadly available and the mainstream media will be pushing hard to encourage one and all to line up and roll up their sleeves. With the World Health Organization declaring a swine flu pandemic (Phase 6 Pandemic) this year, the swine flu vaccine (Baxter Pharmaceuticals) has been fast-tracked and should be available to reap the profits ($50 billion a year) as early as September 2009.
It should be noted that the word pandemic refers to the fact that a new virus is spreading around the world, but says nothing about its level of danger to one’s health. Although the H1N1 vaccine is untested, no safety evaluations will be performed on it due to the “urgency” of this pandemic situation. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/04/Warning-Swine-Flu-Vaccine-Coming-Soon.aspx).
Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of viruses. Unlike the common cold (a respiratory infection also caused by viruses), the flu can cause fevers, headaches or extreme exhaustion. Body aches, especially in the muscles, joints and ligaments, can be severe enough to force complete bed rest. Other flu symptoms are chills, a dry cough, body aches, stuffy nose and sore throat. Secondary bacterial infections in young children, immune suppressed adults, and the elderly can lead to pneumonias, septicemias and death. The flu, however, does not manifest itself equally in all people. In the majority of cases, symptoms are mild and a generally healthy individual recovers quickly.
First, let’s put things into perspective. The swine flu pandemic to date has been said to have claimed 322 lives worldwide (116 in Mexico) since early April. The regular (unswine or non-swine) flu has purportedly claimed the lives of 13,000 people in the U.S. since January 2009. How is it, then, that there is such hysterical panic about this killer swine flu? Where are all the dead bodies?
It is estimated that at least 50 million people in North America contract the flu each season (November through March). Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu. More than 100,000 people are hospitalized, and at least 20,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.
Many consider the flu as an inevitable fact of winter, but this is not necessarily the case. Although our lifestyles may not always allow it, the best way to prevent this viral illness is to keep our health at its optimum. This can be done by getting enough rest, limiting stress and by eating a nutritious diet.
NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE FOR INFLUENZA PREVENTION
One way of maintaining good health is to ensure the body has an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. Nutrient requirements vary from one individual to the next, but any formula for the immune system should contain vitamin A, beta carotene (provitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6 and zinc.
Rethink that annual flu shot – there have been a number of very good scientific studies proving the flu shot is no better than a placebo. On the other hand, vitamin D appears to be far more important. Vitamin D has strong antibiotic properties and some studies indicate that optimal blood levels will prevent the flu far better than those toxic flu shots.
Ever wonder why some people are more prone to colds and flus? One study indicates that the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections is inversely correlated with vitamin D blood levels. The lower the vitamin D blood level, the higher the likelihood of infection. This confirms an observation that I have made on numerous occasions with my private practice patients. Each year I see the infection rates rise during the winter as vitamin D levels plummet, and each summer the exact opposite occurs.
I have definitely found that those of my patients who have 25 (OH) vitamin D levels of 175 nmol/L or higher get few, if any, colds or flus during the winter. I have also found that I need to bump up the supplement recommendations to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day in both the winter and summer to achieve such levels in the majority of the people that supplement with vitamin D.
In the past decade, I have recommended that people ease off the oral supplements during the summer months, but not any more. This is because I have found that an overwhelmingly high percentage of these individuals end up with 25 (OH) vitamin D blood levels lower than 100 nmol/L and a significant number below 75 nmol/L. I therefore now recommend that people supplement with 10,000 IU daily all year-round. To verify safety, I test both the 25 (OH) vitamin D and the ionized calcium blood levels every three to six months. To date, I have not found anyone to have a toxicity issue, even after a whole year of supplementing with 10,000 IU per day. That’s basically the dose I recommend people take to prevent the H1N1 (swine) flu.
HIGH DOSE VITAMIN D THERAPY
You might be shocked to know that there are many physicians in both Canada and the United States who prescribe as much as 50,000 IU of vitamin D daily as a treatment for a long list of chronic diseases.
I first learned about high dose vitamin D therapy from one of Dr. Norm Shealy’s newsletters (www.normshealy.com). Dr. Shealy is the author of several books and the founder of the American Holistic Medical Association.
As Dr. Shealy relates, “Recently I had the good fortune to spend a couple of hours with Dr. Joe Prendergast, an endocrinologist / diabetologist (www.uncommondoctor.com; www.endocrinemetabolic.com). He has managed over 1500 diabetic patients, and in the last decade not one of his patients has had a stroke or heart attack. Only one has even been hospitalized! His secret – 50,000 units of Vitamin D3 daily. Dr. Joe further reports:
• Reversal of advanced coronary disease
• Reversal of advanced lung disease, avoiding a lung transplant
• Cure of multiple sclerosis
• Cure of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
• Regression of rheumatoid arthritis
• Improvement in allergies
• Control of many cancers including prostate, breast, colon, brain tumours, leukemia, myeloma, etc
• Reversal of osteoporosis
• Prevention of influenza
• Cure of depression and many other mental disorders
• Cure of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Dr. John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council, recommends such high doses for quickly getting rid of a cold or flu, but has not advocated such high doses for regular daily use. One of the problems with taking such high doses of vitamin D is the effect it may have on calcium, namely the deposition of calcium in the arteries and organs. Apparently, this is not such a problem if you aren’t also taking high calcium doses as a supplement. In any event, if any reader decides to do this, make sure that blood tests are done every three months to check calcium levels. One thing you don’t want is kidney stones or hardening of the arteries.
Dr. Norm Shealy says: “Most of you know that I personally take 50,000 units of D3 daily and have for 18 months, I recommend it to most people who weigh at least 140 pounds or more and take NO calcium supplements. One member of my audience informed me that he developed a very high blood calcium level which affected his kidneys. I have not been able to learn whether he took calcium supplements. But, if you do the daily D3, I would advise a blood calcium level test at three months and at six-month intervals. I have not seen this in hundreds of others but be advised.”
Dr. John Cannell, MD, suggests high-dose vitamin D (50,000 IU) be consumed for three days at the first sign of a cold or the flu. If you have an infection, the truth is you need more vitamin D. That’s a given. In other words, vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic. It works against every type of microbe (viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites).
Vitamin D deficiency is common during the winter months, especially in countries far north of the equator. Vitamin D acts as an immune system modulator, preventing excessive production of inflammatory cytokines and increasing macrophage (a type of white cell) activity. Vitamin D also stimulates the production of potent anti-microbial peptides in other white blood cells and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract, protecting the lungs from infection.
According to Dr. Cannell, what we all really need to do is increase our blood levels of vitamin D. He says: “Influenza kills around 35,000 Americans every year and similar viruses cause additional mortality and untold morbidity…most influenza deaths and many other respiratory infections, like the common cold, could be prevented if Americans, and their doctors, understood some simple facts:
· Vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a steroid hormone precursor, which has profound effects on innate immunity.
· The amount of vitamin D in most food and nearly all multivitamins is literally inconsequential.
· The correct daily dose of vitamin D for adults is approximately 5,000 IU/day, not the 200 to 600 IU recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Medicine and the FDA.
· The only blood test to determine vitamin D adequacy is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, not the 1,25-di-hydroxy-vitamin D test many physicians now order.
· Healthy vitamin D blood levels are between 70 and 90 ng/ml, levels obtained by fewer than 5% of Americans.
· The mechanism of action of vitamin D in infection, dramatically increasing the body’s production of broad-spectrum natural antibiotics (anti-microbial peptides or AMP), suggests pharmaceutical doses of vitamin D (1,000 IU per pound of body weight per day for several days) will effectively treat not only influenza and the common cold, but help treat a host of other seasonal infections, including meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia, in both children and adults.
· In 1997, when the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) set the current guidelines for vitamin D intake, they forgot to correct for the widespread sun avoidance that began in the late 1980s when the AMA’s Council of Scientific Affairs warned against sun-exposure (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2661872?dopt=AbstractPlus), recommending that all Americans make every effort to never let a photon of sunlight strike their skin. The failure of the 1997 FNB to compensate for sun-avoidance has led to millions of deaths around the world.”
(http://www.vitamindcouncil.org. The Vitamin D Council, 9100 San Gregorio Road, Atascadero, CA 93422)
TOXIC CONSTITUENTS OF INFLUENZA VACCINE
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, MD: “GlaxoSmithKline has actually stated, ‘Clinical trials will be limited, due to the need to provide the vaccine to governments as quickly as possible. Additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available.’ [Emphasis mine]. Folks, how could this be anything but a prescription for potentially massive disaster? Unfortunately, many people will not realize that when they line up for this vaccine, they are in fact accepting their role as TEST SUBJECTS. They are likely NOT receiving a drug that has any proof of being safe.”
Do not get the flu shot. Proponents of the flu vaccine boast a 70% effectiveness rate, but clinical experience proves otherwise. For example, in British Columbia in 2000, it was reported that of 32 individuals in a nursing home who received a flu shot, 30 had contracted the flu. Nursing homes throughout B.C. were reporting a much higher death rate from the flu in 2000 than what would be expected despite an almost 100% vaccination rate.
A 1993 Dutch article about a home for the elderly reported that 50% of the vaccinated population caught the flu compared to 48% of the unvaccinated group. The excuses used for such failures were that the wrong virus was predicted for use in the flu vaccine. The truth is that if the flu shot prevents the flu, it’s purely on a placebo basis.
In both the 1992-93 and the 1994-95 flu season, the isolated influenza samples for the predominant virus were not similar to that found in the flu vaccine. The actual composition of the flu vaccine is based on an educated guess made by a consensus of about 30 public-health experts. These experts meet annually with the FDA in the U.S. to predict which specific strains of influenza will invade the country in the coming year. If this sounds unscientific to you, it’s because it is. At best, keeping in mind factors such as mistakes in production, transport and storage, the flu vaccine effectiveness rate is only about 20%. Placebo shots are at least 30% effective.
The flu vaccine, consumed faithfully by the public without question each year, has a disturbing history of potential toxicity. The vaccine contains formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing agent. It also contains the preservative thimerosal, a derivative of mercury (known neurotoxin linked to brain damage and autoimmune diseases).
Aluminum is another flu vaccine ingredient. When mercury is not in the vaccine, it is replaced by equivalent amounts of aluminum, which can eventually be deposited in the brain. Mercury and aluminum are two toxic heavy metals that have been associated with an increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and possibly other neuro-degenerative illnesses.
In 1976, 565 cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) paralysis, as well as other neurological problems and many unexplained deaths among recently vaccinated elderly were reported. This paralytic disease occurred as a direct result of the first swine flu scare vaccine. With only a 10% or less reporting of adverse vaccine reactions by doctors in both the U.S. and Canada, the true flu vaccine damage figures are grossly underestimated. Claims totalling $1.3 billion were filed by victims of the flu vaccine. The vaccine was also found responsible for 25 deaths.
Vaccine manufacturers counter this concern by saying today’s vaccines do not carry the same risk of GBS. This may be true, but many cases of GBS as well as other neurological problems are still occurring after administration of flu vaccines. Additionally, product inserts still state that individuals who have a history of GBS have a much greater likelihood of subsequently developing GBS after the flu shot.
Other side effects reported with the flu vaccine are fever, general malaise, myalgia (muscle pain), hives, allergic asthma, systemic anaphylaxis, encephalitis, optic neuritis, brachial plexus neuropathy, polyneuritis, ataxia, respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal problems, eye problems, allergic thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), abnormal blood pressure and other circulatory abnormalities. Those with a severe allergy to eggs are advised against the flu shot because of its chicken egg content.
THE RIGHT OF REFUSAL
I have always been an advocate of freedom of choice in health care. In other words, no one should be able to force any treatment on you without your informed consent. For example, if you are an adult with Type 2 diabetes, you can refuse insulin and other drugs and treat yourself with diet and nutritional supplements. It’s really your choice and no one is legally allowed to force you to do otherwise. The story is the same for vaccines.
You have the legal right in Canada to refuse. Provincial governments have a one-page form that, when signed and notarized, exempts anyone from receiving vaccines. In Ontario, one can download this form from http://vran.org/legacy/docs/form-2.pdf. If anyone dares to force you to have any vaccine, just show them this affidavit and watch them disappear for good.
For more credible information on the flu and other vaccines, the best web site to consult is www.nvic.org.
Also see “Vaccination is not Immunization” at http://www.healthwisdom.org/vaccineimmunization.htm.
• Aloia JF, Li-Ng M. Re: epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Oct;135(7):1095-6; http://list.netatlantic.com/t/45249172/77825509/111066/0/
• Deluca HF, Cantorna MT. Vitamin D: its role and uses in immunology. FASEB J 2001;15:2579–85
• World Health Organization. Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response: Influenza A (H1N1), Situation Update and Maps. June 15, 2009 (Update 49). http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_06_15/en/index.html
• Centers for Disease Control. Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update (June 12, 2009). http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm
• Fisher, BL. The Vaccine Reaction. Flu Vaccine: Missing the Mark. Spring 2005. http://www.nvic.org/Downloads/3770Reaction.aspx
• CDC. Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and You. June 16, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/qa.htm
• Swine Flu Vaccine Makers to Profit 50 Billion dollars per Year. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/13/Swine-Flu-Vaccine-Makers-to-Profit-50-Billion-a-Year.aspx
• J J Cannell, R Vieth, J C Umhau, M F Holick, W B Grant, S. Madronich, C F Garland, E Giorvannucci “Epidemic influenza and vitamin D”
• Epidemiology and infection (2006, 134: 1129-1140 Cambridge University Press 2006 doi:10.1017/s0950268806007175
• A J Crowle, E J Ross, M H May “Inhibition by 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 of the multiplication of virulent tubercles bacilli in cultured human macrophages”
• Infect Immun. 1987 December, 55(12): 2945-2950
Dr. Zoltan P. Rona practises Complementary Medicine in Toronto and is the medical editor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. He has also published several Canadian best-selling books, including Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin. Visit his website at: http://www.highlevelwellness.ca For appointments, call (905) 764-8700; Office: 390 Steeles Ave. W. Unit 19, Thornhill, ON