CDC Reports Flu Shot Is Only 9% Effective–Here’s How to Really Protect Yourself
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) recently issued its interim adjusted estimates of seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness for the US. The CDC report states that for seniors the 2012-2013 flu vaccine was only 9% effective for the most common and virulent strain of influenza virus. The senior population let down by this news in North America and Europe is over 120 million people. (PRNewswire)
So how can you best protect yourself?
When given the opportunity, the human body has an amazing capacity to thwart many diseases and illnesses, including the common cold and influenza. When you provide your immune system with the necessary tools to fight bacteria and viruses, vibrant health will always be the natural result. Yet many people are grossly deficient in the basic nutrients the body needs to be able to mount an efficient defensive immune response.
The typical processed food diet is void of the critical vitamins and minerals our cells require to fortify our immune system and over time, we become a magnet for a host of circulating pathogens that cause suffering for millions each year. Proper diet and targeted natural immune nutrients will help you and your family avoid colds and the flu by boosting your adaptive immune response.
1. Eat natural foods and avoid sugar to boost immunity.
Diet is the single most important lifestyle process that is within your control to help your immune system. Simply put, sugar suppresses our immune system by inhibiting the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacterial and viral invaders. Sugary treats, high glycemic processed carbohydrates and sweetened beverages blunt our response to pathogens and open the door to disease.
The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates that the amount of sugar in two sweetened beverages lowers immune response by 50% for up to five hours after drinking or eating. Conversely, a diet filled with complex carbohydrates has no detrimental effect on immunity, and the high nutritional content of fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds provide the building blocks required to mount a healthy defensive attack when needed.
2. Take vitamin D to activate killer T cells.
Health conscious individuals who ensure proper blood levels of vitamin D appear to have the ultimate protection against the cold and flu. The journal, Nature Immunology provides details on the synergy between the sunshine vitamin and our adaptive immune killer T cells. Vitamin D is shown to provide the activation key that stimulates T cells into action when invaders are detected.
Virtually every cell in our body has a vitamin D receptor that is only filled when sufficient amounts are circulating in the blood. A deficiency in this essential compound leaves the cellular receptor open and available for viral hijacking. A separate AJCN study shows that vitamin D is far superior to vaccines at warding off the flu. Maintain your vitamin D blood levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml for optimal protection by requesting a 25(OH)D blood test.
3. Take vitamin C to prepare immune cells for action.
Vitamin C has been shown to increase the number of infection-fighting white blood cells and stimulates the production of interferon. Interferon provides a protective coating on the surface of cells that prevents penetration by viruses. Research published in the Journal of Immunology explains that up to 5 grams of vitamin C are needed daily to activate the production of interferon for general health and up to 1 gram every hour should be used when fighting a cold or the flu.
The importance of a strong immune response cannot be underestimated. Follow the common sense practices of thorough hand washing and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough to limit exposure to bacterial and viral agents. Eliminate sugar and processed carbohydrates from your diet to boost your front line response. Finally, add natural nutrients including vitamins C and D for top notch natural protection against the common cold and flu virus.
John Phillip is a diet, health and nutrition researcher and writer with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
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Article updated on: February 28th, 2013