PHS-II: Vitamins E, C, Beta Carotene, and Cancer

Date: 11/24/2008
Click here to read full article: Posted By: Jon Barron

What is it about vitamin E that seems to bring out the worst in medical researchers? Once again, I find myself compelled to defend it — for the umpteenth time. My goodness, there have been three studies in the last month alone "proving" that vitamin E offers no health benefits. First, health findings from the Physician’s Health Study II (PHS-II) on vitamin E and vitamin C in terms of preventing cardiovascular disease were released last week. In case you missed the news, which was widely promoted in the media, according to the study, neither vitamin E nor vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events, and that there was no support for the use of these supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older men. These results are, of course, nonsense, and I dealt with them in my blog last week.

Then there was the SELECT study on vitamin E and prostate cancer released earlier this month that my good friend, Mike Adams at Natural News, did a great job of eviscerating.

Which leaves the third study (actually, the PHS-II study once again but involving different data, a different conclusion, and a brand new release), which found that the use of vitamin E or C supplementation provides no benefit in terms of cancer prevention. What is it about vitamin E that brings out the worst in so called intelligent people? In any case, this conclusion, too, is nonsense — and for many of the same reasons as the other two studies. But since the media has promoted this nonsense on three separate occasions in the last month, I will deal with it once again in some detail in this newsletter.

The Physicians’ Health Study-II (PHS-II)

Let’s begin by taking a look at PHS-II. ThePhysicians’ Health Study-II was designed to test four popular nutrients — vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and a multivitamin — primarily for their effectiveness in preventing cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, and total cancer. Certainly, this was an admirable goal that no reasonable person could quibble with. Participants were recruited from physicians who had already participated in PHS-I, which was used to determine if aspirin and beta carotene could prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. The reason physicians were chosen for these studies is that it was reasoned that, as a group, physicians would report their medical histories and health status more accurately than participants drawn from a general population. Also, it was determined that they would be more likely to identify possible side effects of the study agents. Incidentally, the results of PHS-I were that aspirin significantly reduced the risk of a first heart attack and that beta carotene had no effect.

The first warning sign that PHS-II was designed to fail

So far, nothing to complain about. PHS-II sounds like a reasonable attempt to determine a reasonable health benefit for some natural supplements. As if! The first warning sign was listed in the study recruitment guidelines . "To take part in PHS-II, men who were taking individual supplements containing more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, or a multivitamin had to forego the use of such supplements for the course of the trial." This requirement is utter nonsense. RDAs are set increbibly low. They are actually estimates, based on surprisingly limited studies, often involving small numbers of people and incomplete data. They are designed to prevent the immediate onset of disease (scurvey, rickets, etc.); they play no role in maintaining long term health and preventing long term chronic illness. Yes, I understand why medical researchers keep insisting on it — but it absolutely turns the concept of alternative health treatments on its head and pretty much negates any positive results before you even start. Why?

I’ve actually covered this issue many times before, but since it involves one of my favorite metaphors, let me repeat.

In almost all cases, alternative therapies for cancer are administered as part of a comprehensive program or protocol. Nevertheless, when members of the medical community decide to test the validity of a particular treatment, they insist on separating out the pieces from the whole and testing them in isolation. Thus they feel the need, as in PHS-II, to stop the test subjects from using any other supplements at anything beyond ridiculously low RDA levels so those other nutrients would have no impact on the study results.

Although this may at first appear to be reasonable and "scientific," it is not. In fact, it is akin to deciding to test a prospective football quarterback by putting him on the field with no one else playing offense. The "alternative approach," of course, would be to put him on the field with an entire team and see how he plays. If he scores, if he leads the team to victory, if he wins the Super Bowl, we would say he is a good quarterback. To many people, that would seem to make sense — unfortunately, not to anyone in the medical community.

The "medical approach," on the other hand, is quite different. "How can we really tell if he’s any good if there are other players on the field? Great receivers could catch lousy passes, and we’d never know. A great offensive line could make our quarterback look good by blocking so well that he has all the time in the world to find his receivers. No! The only way to truly tell if he’s any good is to put him on the field alone against an entire all-pro defensive team, and then see how he does." And, of course, the moment the ball is hiked, he’s swarmed over and killed.

So far, so good; but we have a hanging chad that needs to be dealt with. And that is that drugs pass this kind of testing. How do they do it? Quite simply, drugs are "magic bullets." Returning to our football analogy, we can indeed put our quarterback out on the field all alone to test his skills — but this time armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Of course, as soon as the ball is hiked, he shoots the entire defensive team and walks across the goal line. He wins! Unfortunately, although he scores, there are side effects. The other team is dead, and the game is over — but he did score.

Look, just like football is a team game (with the team only as strong as its weakest link) so too is alternative therapy when it comes to treating cancer. On occasion, you may get good results using just one component or another, but overall you will get the best results when you run the program as a whole. To isolate components of a program from the whole is to treat them as drugs. That’s not what they are, and they will fail that test by definition.

Another point to keep in mind is that alternative therapies are not subtractive. They are "additive." An alternative treatment that would be dismissed as ineffective because testing showed it to be only 10% effective in isolation might nevertheless be an invaluable part of a comprehensive program that contained seven 10% components — giving you a 70% chance of overcoming your cancer. But the medical establishment deliberately chooses not to test alternative therapies in this way — thus condemning all seven components with the "quackery" label. So the only way you hear about effective alternatives is by word of mouth or anecdotal evidence. Clinical studies are almost designed to fail alternative therapies by definition.

And that’s why the requirement that physician’s in PHS-II who were using any supplements (such as any multivitamins they were taking) beyond RDA levels had to forego those supplements for the course of the trial was a deal killer even before the study started.

So how do you test alternative protocols? You test the entire protocol as it is being used in the alternative health community to see if you get the same results. Then, if you do, you can start pulling out pieces of the protocol one at a time to see if anything changes. If you pull a piece and nothing changes, you can conclude that particular piece was not important. But you start with the complete protocol to see if you can match the claimed result and set a benchmark. You don’t arbitrarily strip the program down according to your best guess and then trash the entire protocol because your limited version didn’t work.

But it gets even worse!

Scientists chose to test the wrong supplements

As was done in PHS-I, the physicians were sent calendar packs containing either placebos or 16 possible combinations of the four supplements. Each participant was assigned one of those combinations of vitamin E (400 IU of synthetic alpha-tocopherol), beta-carotene (50 mg Lurotin), vitamin C (500 mg synthetic ascorbic acid), a multivitamin (Centrum Silver), or their placebos. (Not to be too sarcastic, but when you look at the actual supplements participants received as indicated by the bold type above, I’m not sure what the difference was between the supplements and the placebos.) It should be noted that an additional part of the protocol was that the Vitamin C and the multivitamin (and their placebos) were taken daily, whereas the vitamin E and beta-carotene (and their placebos) were taken every other day. Excuse me, but who takes their vitamin E or beta carotene supplements every otherday? That would be like having surgery to remove a tumor and having the doctor decide to only remove half the tumor. Do we actually have to do a study to figure out how effective that would be? But I digress. The key point here is that the researchers’ selection of supplements was fundamentally flawed and guaranteed to fail from the outset. Specifically:

400 IU of synthetic alpha-tocopherols

Synthetic vitamins can be derived from either natural or chemical sources. What makes them synthetic is that they undergo a process of "conversion," either as a result of the extraction process or as the result of pure chemical buildup. Synthetics are at best about 50% as effective as natural vitamins and, in many cases, actually suppress the body’s ability to absorb the natural portion of the vitamin. Note: light passing through a natural vitamin always bends to the right due to its molecular rotation. Synthetic vitamins behave differently. That same ray of light splits into two parts when passing through a synthetic — one part bending to the right (d for dexorotary), the other to the left (l for levorotary). A natural vitamin E fraction, for example, is easily identified then by the "d" in "d-alpha-tocopherol." the synthetic by the "dl" in "dl-alpha-tocopherol." But does this matter in terms of efficacy?

Most definitely! Synthetic alpha tocopherol, as I mentioned above, is already proven to be at best, only 50% as effective as the natural form — and in some studies actually harmful, this is not an unimportant distinction. For more on the differences between natural and synthetic vitamin E, check out:

But there’s more!

You see, neither synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol nor its "natural" form, d-alpha tocopherol are actually vitamin E. Vitamin E, as are most vitamins, is a naturally occurring "complex" that never exists in isolation in nature. (Why is this concept so difficult for medical researchers to understand?) Vitamin E consists of at least 4 tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) and 4 tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta)…

…50 mg Lurotin

What the heck is Lurotin? It is a synthetic form of beta carotene made by extracting benzene rings from acetylene gas, and then attaching the benzene rings together to form 100% all-trans-beta-carotene. There is no natural food source in the world that contains 100% all-trans-beta-carotene. As it turns out, natural beta-carotene is made of two molecules — all trans beta carotene and 9-cis beta carotene. In sources such as Dunaliella salina, the trans and cis forms of beta carotene are split approximately 50/50…

…500 mg synthetic ascorbic acid

The question of synthetic VS natural ascorbic acid aside, the key issue here is dosage at 500 mg. The problem is that all significant studies on vitamin C — particularly those done by Linus Pauling — were done at 4,000 mg a day administered intravenously. Let me make this brain-dead simple. If you’re trying to evaluate a health protocol, you actually have to use the protocol in question if you wish to assess it. You can’t arbitrarily cut doses by 87% and conclude the protocol doesn’t work.

This study is akin to trying to determine whether you can lose weight on a low calorie diet of 1,000 calories a day by feeding people 8,000 calories a day! That’s just plain stupid!

And Pauling studies are hardly isolated. The results have been duplicated in other models, both animal and human.

Centrum Silver

Not to pick on Centrum Silver, but let’s be honest here — Centrum Silver is the quintessential low-end, grocery-store multi-vitamin in the world. It never met a synthetic vitamin isolate it didn’t like and has incorporated them wherever possible in its formula — as in synthetic E, synthetic beta carotene, polysorbate 80, FD&C Blue 2 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow 6 Aluminum Lake, and synthetic sodium selenate. With all the vitamin supplements in the world to choose from in testing efficacy for preventing cancer, why in the world would you choose Centrum Silver unless you were looking to guarantee that your test would fail from the outset?…

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Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  

The cholesterol – heart disease scam


November 22, 2008

The cholesterol – heart disease scam: How the medical-industrial complex is raking in billions at our expense

By Richard Clark

Although a staggering amount of money has been spent on research to conclusively prove the link between saturated fat, cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), there exists a massive volume of scientific evidence published in peer-reviewed journals that completely absolves dietary cholesterol, saturated fat and elevated blood cholesterol of any harmful role in CHD.

Despite the fact that this research, contradicting the orthodox hypothesis, has been published in prestigious journals for decades, and despite the complete failure of the massive low-fat, anti-cholesterol campaign to lower the overall incidence of CHD, the cholesterol/saturated fat theory of CHD enjoys almost unanimous acceptance among health authorities. And yet the amount of cholesterol formed by the liver is controlled according to the needs of the body. If dietary cholesterol is increased, a healthy liver responds by making less cholesterol. However, if the cholesterol in the diet is decreased, the liver makes more. In this way the body regulates how much cholesterol is produced for its needs.

Yet at the drop of a hat, no few cardiologists will convince unsuspecting patients that because they have "high cholesterol" they should be subjected to an angiogram — a very expensive and not completely safe procedure in which a catheter is injected into an artery in the groin and then pushed all the way up through the aorta into the region of the heart, where dye is injected into the blood so that an X-ray machine can see if there might be any blood flow blockages (blockages that are caused by excessive homocysteine in the blood). Evidence suggests that high levels of homocysteine in the blood promotes atherosclerosis (fatty-cholesterol-plaque deposits in blood vessels) by damaging the inner lining of arteries thereby causing plaque build up at various points inside arteries, often near the heart. Fortunately, folic acid, in combination with vitamins B-6 and B-12, helps break down homocysteine in the body, as shown in several studies.  Other studies show that low blood levels of folic acid are linked with a higher risk of fatal coronary heart disease and stroke.


The cholesterol – heart disease myth and why it is promulgated

All the clinical studies cited below are referenced here.

Already in 1936, Kurt Lande and Walter Sperry concluded "After thorough and methodical post-mortem investigation in victims of heart attacks, it was clear that no relationship was evident. It is concluded that the incidence and severity of atherosclerosis are not directly affected by the level of cholesterol in the blood serum. (Archives of Pathology 1936;22)

In 1961, researchers studied the levels of cholesterol and the degree of atherosclerosis seen at autopsy. No correlation could be observed between the blood cholesterol levels and the amount or severity of atherosclerotic plaque within the arteries – cholesterol levels, whether high or low, had no impact on the growth of atherosclerotic plaque, the major cause of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). (Mathur et al 1961;Circulation: 23)

In 1962 autopsy studies by Polish researchers found that 2/3 of those who died from confirmed CAD, had serum cholesterol in normal to low ranges. They could find no correlation between blood cholesterol content and the cholesterol content of arterial plaque. (Marek et al 1962; American Heart Journal). Subsequent autopsy studies from the USA and Gautemala confirmed these findings.

Utilising EBCT technology, researchers at the Beth Israel Medical Centre in New York set out to determine if increased cholesterol levels, specifically LDL cholesterol, led to plaque build up. Looking at 182 individuals who may develop CAD, over 1-2 years of treatment with cholesterol lowering drugs, it was discovered that despite lower cholesterol levels there were ZERO differences in the development of atherosclerotic plaque. The researchers concluded "with respect to LDL cholesterol-lowering, ‘lower is better’ is not supported by changes in calcified plague progression." (American J. of Cardiology 2003; 92:3)

Human atherosclerotic plaque has all the hallmarks of an inflammatory response to infection, and there is considerable evidence to support such an etiology. For many years scientists have suspected that viruses and bacteria, in particular cytomegalovirus and Clamydia pneumonia participate in the development of artherosclerosis. A protein secreted by the liver during infection, named C-reactive protein, is a much stronger risk factor for CHD than cholesterol. Research within this area has exploded during the last decade, and by 2004, at least 200 reviews of this issue have been published in medical journals…

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Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Health Risks of GM Foods: Summary and Debate

This section summarizes the health risks of genetically modified foods and serves as a forum for a global discussion and debate. It is organized around the 65 main point summaries presented on the left side of the two-page spreads in Part 1 of Genetic Roulette. Each section linked below offers the opportunity for people to submit updates, corrections, challenges and responses. Before making a submittal, please review the full content in that section of the book.

Contents at a Glance:

Part 1: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods

Section 1: Evidence of reactions in animals and humans.

1.1 GM Potatoes Damages Rats (see full content)

1.2 Rats Fed GMO Tomatoes got bleeding stomachs, several died

1.3 Rats Fed Bt Corn had multiple health problems

1.4 Mice Fed GM Bt Potatoes had intestinal damage

1.5 Workers exposed to Bt cotton developed allergies

1.6 Sheep died after grazing in Bt cotton fields

1.7 Inhaled Bt corn pollen may have triggered disease in humans

1.8 Farmers report pigs and cows became sterile from GM corn

1.9 Twelve cows in Germany died mysteriously when fed Bt corn

1.10 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had liver cell problems

1.11 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had problems with the pancreas

1.12 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had unexplained changes in testicular cells

1.13 Roundup Ready Soy Changed Cell Metabolism in Rabbit Organs

1.14 Most offspring of rats fed Roundup Ready soy died within three weeks(see full content)

1.15 Soy allergies skyrocketed in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced

1.16 Rats fed Roundup Ready canola had heavier livers

1.17 Twice the number of chickens died when fed Liberty Link corn

1.18 GM peas generated an allergic-type inflammatory response in mice

1.19 Eyewitness reports: Animals avoid GMOs

1.20 A GM food supplement killed about 100 people

Section 2: Gene insertion disrupts the DNA and can create unpredictable health problems.

2.1 Foreign genes disrupt the DNA at the insertion site.

2.2 Growing GM crops using tissue culture can create hundreds or thousands of DNA mutations.

2.3 Gene insertion creates genome-wide changes in gene expression.

2.4 The promoter may accidentally switch on harmful genes.

2.5 The promoter might switch on a dormant virus in plants.

2.6 The promoter might create genetic instability and mutations.

2.7 Genetic engineering activates mobile DNA, called transposons, which generate mutations.

2.8 Novel RNA may be harmful to humans and their offspring.

2.9 Roundup Ready soybeans produce unintentional RNA variations.

2.10 Changes in proteins can alter thousands of natural chemicals in plants, increasing toxins or reducing phytonutrients

2.11 GM crops have altered levels of nutrients and toxins.

Section 3: The protein produced by the inserted gene may create problems.

3.1 A gene from a Brazil nut carried allergies into soybeans.

3.2 GM proteins in soy, corn and papaya may be allergens.

3.3 Bt crops may create allergies and illness.

3.4 The Bt in crops is more toxic than the Bt spray.

3.5 StarLink corn’s built-in pesticide has a “medium likelihood” of being an allergen.

3.6 Pollen-sterilizing barnase in GM crops may cause kidney damage.

3.7 High lysine corn contains increased toxins and may retard growth.

3.8 Cooking high lysine corn may create disease-promoting toxins.

3.9 Disease-resistant crops may promote human viruses and other diseases.

Section 4: The foreign protein may be different than what is intended.

4.1 GM proteins may be misfolded or have added molecules.

4.2 Transgenes may be altered during insertion.

4.3 Transgenes may be unstable, and rearrange over time.

4.4 Transgenes may create more than one protein.

4.5 Weather, environmental stress and genetic disposition can significantly change gene expression.

4.6 Genetic engineering can disrupt the complex relationships governing gene expression.

Section 5: Transfer of genes to gut bacteria, internal organs, or viruses.

5.1 In spite of industry claims, transgenes survive the digestion system and can wander.

5.2 Transgene design facilitates transfer into gut bacteria.

5.3 Transgenes may proliferate in gut bacteria over the long-term.

5.4 Transgene transfer to human gut bacteria is confirmed.

5.5 GM foods might create antibiotic-resistant diseases.

5.6 The promoter can also transfer, and may switch on random genes or viruses.

5.7 If Bt genes transfer, they could turn our gut bacteria into living pesticide factories.

5.8 Genes may transfer to bacteria in the mouth or throat.

5.9 Transfer of viral genes into gut microorganisms may create toxins and weaken peoples’ viral defenses.

Section 6: GM crops may increase environmental toxins and bioaccumulate toxins in the food chain.

6.1 Glufosinate-tolerant crops may produce herbicide “inside” our intestines.

6.2 Herbicide-tolerant crops increase herbicide use and residues in food.

6.3 Tiny amounts of herbicide may act as endocrine disruptors.

6.4 GM crops may accumulate environmental toxins or concentrate toxins in milk and meat of GM-fed animals.

6.5 Disease-resistant crops may promote new plant viruses, which carry risks for humans.

Section 7: Other types of GM foods carry risks.

7.1 Milk from rbGH treated cows may increase risk of cancer and other diseases.

7.2 Milk from rbGH-treated cows likely increases the rate of twin births.

7.3 Food additives created from GM microorganisms pose health risks.

Section 8: Risks are greater for children and newborns.

8.1 Pregnant mothers eating GM foods may endanger offspring.

8.2 GM foods are more dangerous for children than adults.


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Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Peppermint oil ‘better than drugs at treating IBS’

Peppermint oil can be better than some drugs at treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a new study has found.

By Kate Devlin Medical Correspondent  13 Nov 2008

Researchers found that almost half of all sufferers of the crippling stomach disorder found their symptoms disappeared after taking the natural remedy.

By contrast, only one in five patients found relief after using anti-spasmodic drugs and just one in eleven using fibre, the findings, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) show.

Around eight million people in Britain are thought to have IBS, although diagnosis is difficult.

Symptoms usually include severe pain and constipation or diarrhoea.

Because the exact cause of the syndrome is not understood it is often difficult to treat.

The researchers looked at 38 trials involving 2,500 patients, and concluded that while peppermint oil was probably the most useful all three treatments could be used to treat IBS. Led by Dr Alex Ford, from McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada, they call for guidelines on easing IBS to be updated to include the three treatments.

The results of this study should "reawaken interest in the pharmacotherapy of irritable bowel syndrome and stimulate further research", said Professor Roger Jones from King’s College London.

However, he warned that doctors should also still take account of the physical, psychological and social factors which could lead to patients suffering from IBS

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Big Pharma’s New Mass-Drugging Agenda

Big Pharma’s New Mass-Drugging Agenda Pushes Statin Drugs for Healthy People

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by: Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) Drug companies used to sell products for the treatment of disease. But it didn’t take long for Big Pharma to figure out that the number of diseased people is limited, and therefore so are drug profits. To bypass this problem, they began inventing diseases and marketing them to the public as a way to create new demand for high-profit pharmaceuticals. This is how "bi-polar" came into existence, for example. Same story for ADHD, social anxiety disorder and even high cholesterol (which isn’t adisease in the first place).
But even this disease mongering strategy had its limits. Only a limited number of gullible doctors and consumers can be convincingly deluded into believing in fictitious diseases and psychiatric disorders. To really expand its profits, Big Pharma was going to have to do something revolutionary: They were going to have to figure out a wayto sell drugs to people who weren’t sick at all.
Or, put another way: They needed a way to sell drugs tohealthy people.

AstraZeneca, Crestor and the new era of mass-drugging

The American Medical Association, not surprisingly, came to the rescue. A study called "Jupiter" was presented at an AMA conference last Sunday. It was funded by Crestor maker Astrazeneca, and it claims that statin drugs save lives when given to healthy people who show no signs ofhigh cholesterol!
Physicians and Big Pharma reps were practically falling over each other Sunday in a mad stampede to the stage in order to out-do each other on making the most outrageous claims surrounding statin drugs. One doctor said the drugs are so useful at saving lives that governments around the world should start prescribing them to practically everyone. Another said that tens of millions of adults should now be put on what he called "statin therapy." (It’s therapy now, folks, not medicine!) Not to be outdone, a third doctor suggested the drugs be dripped into the public water supply in order to dose everyone!
(Fluoridation isn’t enough, it seems. Now they want to drip drugs into the water supply. Don’t they realize the water supply is already contaminated with pharmaceuticals?)
The AMA convention was so heated with the proclamations of the pharmaceutical faithful that an uninformed onlooker might have mistaken it for a Southern Baptist Revival event. Except it wasn’t faith in God that was being praised here; it was faith in chemicals to conquer nature and dominate human biology.
The new position of the pharmaceutical industry, you see, is that the human body is born deficient in pharmaceuticals. Human biology must now be "corrected" with "therapeutic doses" of these patented chemicals. Oh, and don’t forget to leave your wallet at the door, too, because these drugs aren’t free…

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Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Flu Shots For The Elderly Are Ineffective

By Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

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October 23, 2008

Have the elderly people in your family missed their flu shot? If so, they may have made the right decision. The New York Times recently reported that "A growing number of immunologists and epidemiologists say the vaccine probably does not work very well for people over 70," and that previous studies may have shown "not any actual protection against the flu virus but a fundamental difference between the kinds of people who get vaccines and those who do not . . . simply because they went to the doctor more often." (1)
Influenza vaccination has been widely touted even though evidence of effectiveness is lacking. One large scientific review looked at 40 years’ worth of influenza vaccine studies. It found that flu shots were ineffective for elderly persons living in the community, and flu shots were "non-significant against influenza" for elderly living in group homes. (2) The authors of another major review "found no correlation between vaccine coverage and influenza-like-illness attack rate." (3) Author Dr. Thomas Jefferson said, "The vaccine doesn’t work very well at all. Vaccines are being used as an ideological weapon. What you see every year as the flu is caused by 200 or 300 different agents with a vaccine against two of them. That is simply nonsense." (4) Indeed, he commented, "What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth." (5)
Some still claim that flu vaccinations, even though they do not prevent the flu, may help prevent more serious complications such as pneumonia, so dreaded and so often deadly for the elderly. But the authors of the study discussed in the NY Times article specifically noted that "influenza vaccination was not associated with a reduced risk of community-acquired pneumonia." (6)
As with all immunizations, flu shots can have harmful side effects. Vaccines may contain, among other things, ingredients such as mercury and aluminum, which are widely regarded as toxic. The elderly are more likely to be injured by, or even die from, flu vaccine side effects. Such incidents may remain unreported by hospitals or physicians. One man, aged 76, had a flu shot and immediately had to be hospitalized for a week. When family members suggested to the hospital staff and physicians that it was probably a reaction to the shot, their views were disregarded. Two years later the man had another flu shot, and was promptly hospitalized a second time. Family members once again said it was a reaction to the flu shot. The hospital said it was a low-grade infection, probably a bladder infection. The man died.
There are indications that vaccination side effects are underreported. The US Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System receives around 11,000 serious adverse reaction reports each year, mostly from doctors. (7) FDA states that "VAERS tracks serious vaccine reactions, not common fevers and soreness from shots. Serious reactions include death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization, and disability resulting from a vaccine." (8) However, FDA admits that they probably receive reports for only about 10 percent of all adverse vaccine reactions. (9) The National Vaccine Information Center estimates the reporting percentage to be far lower, perhaps under 3 percent. (10)
The exact contents of each year’s flu shot is an educated guess. Sometimes this guess is wrong, as it was for 2008, where the vaccine "doesn’t match two of the three main types of flu bugs now in circulation. . . . The predominant type A flu virus this year is the H3N2 strain; 87% are the "Brisbane" strain. And 93% of this year’s type B flu bugs are from the "Yamagata" lineage. The current flu vaccine’s H3N2 component is the "Wisconsin" strain; the type B component is from the "Victoria" lineage." (11) Even when the guess is correct, flu viruses frequently mutate and become resistant all over again.
The flu vaccine, notes the NY Times, has not been double-blind, placebo-control tested. Faith in vaccination appears to be greater than the scientific evidence to justify vaccination. Senior citizens already take far more medications than any other segment of the population. The elderly have weaker immune systems. The risk of immunization adverse effects rises accordingly. Increased side effect danger, along with low effectiveness, is a bad combination.
Is their an available alternative? Yes, there may be: give the elderly more nutrients, rather than more needles. Older people often have inadequate diets. With ageing and illness, their bodies’ need for vital nutrients goes up, yet frequently their intake actually goes down.
Nutritional supplements help fight the flu. Vitamins and minerals have been shown to significantly reduce incidence and duration of influenza. This was already known back when many of today’s elderly were still middle-aged. 32 years ago, twice Nobel-Prize winner Linus Pauling reviewed the nutritional literature and determined that high doses of vitamin C reduce the frequency and shorten the severity of influenza. (12) Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians have repeatedly confirmed this. Robert F. Cathcart, MD, successfully treated thousands of viral-illness patients with massive doses of vitamin C. (13) Vitamin D also increases resistance to influenza (14), as do the minerals selenium and zinc. (15)
With good nutrition bolstered with supplemental vitamin and mineral intake, the human body’s natural defenses are strengthened and can rapidly adapt to resist new flu strains. Clinical evidence indicates that nutrition is more significant that vaccination. Malnutrition is far more dangerous than not getting vaccinated.
No, there is not a vaccination for every illness. It might be nice if there were, but no shot can make up for poor nutrition.
Over-reliance on vaccinating the elderly ignores their fundamental problems of poor diet and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. These are underlying reasons for a susceptible immune system. Supplemental nutrition is the "other" immune system booster. It is time to use it.
(1) Goodman B. Doubts grow over flu vaccine in elderly. September 2, 2008.
(2) Rivetti D, Jefferson T, Thomas R et al. Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jul 19;3:CD004876.
(3) Jefferson T, Rivetti D, Rivetti A et al. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in elderly people: a systematic review. Lancet. 2005 Oct 1;366(9492):1165-74.
(4) Gardner A. Flu vaccine only mildly effective in elderly. HealthDay Reporter, Sept 21, 2005.
(5) Rosenthal E. Flu vaccination and treatment fall far short. International Herald Tribune, September 22, 2005.
(6) Jackson ML, Nelson JC, Weiss NS, Neuzil KM, Barlow W, Jackson LA. Influenza vaccination and risk of community-acquired pneumonia in immunocompetent elderly people: a population-based, nested case-control study. Lancet. 2008 Aug 2;372(9636):398-405.
(7) National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161, 703-487-4650, 703-487-4600.
(8) Kids’ Vaccinations
(9) KM Severyn in the Dayton Daily News, May 28, 1993 cited HERE
(10) "Investigative Report on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System." National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), 512 Maple Ave. W. #206, Vienna, VA 22180.
(11) DeNoon DJ. Most influenza strains do not match current vaccine. February 11, 2008. Also: Joe Bresee, MD, chief, epidemiology and prevention branch, CDC Influenza Division, Atlanta. CDC news conference, Feb. 8, 2008.
(12) Pauling L. Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu. Freeman, 1976.
(13) Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titrating to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy. Med Hypotheses. 1981 Nov;7(11):1359-76.
(14) Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, Giovannucci E. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006. Dec;134(6):1129-40.
(15) Girodon F, Galan P, Monget AL et al. Impact of trace elements and vitamin supplementation on immunity and infections in institutionalized elderly patients: a randomized controlled trial. MIN. VIT. AOX. geriatric network. Arch Intern Med. 1999 Apr 12;159(7):748-54.
For more information:
Video questioning influenza vaccine
A humorous look at flu vaccine
For further reading:
Miller NZ. Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners: Guide to Immunization Risks and Protection. New Atlantean Press, 2008. ISBN-10: 1881217353; ISBN-13: 978-1881217350. Also: Miller NZ. Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective. New Atlantean Press; Revised Updated Edition, 2008. ISBN-10: 1881217302; ISBN-13: 978-1881217305.

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment