Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vitamin D, Nutrition, Exercise, and Rest - Not the Flu Shot

It's that time of year again – fall is finishing its course as we shift to winter and many people are experiencing increased illness. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the sun's angle is reaching its lowest point, temperatures are dropping, the air is getting drier, and people are spending even more time indoors than they normally do. It is also about the time we begin hearing the coercive drumbeat to “get your flu shot” because it is “flu season” and you've gotta protect yourself.

Despite what is commonly accepted concerning the nature of influenza, you don't have to participate in flu season by getting the flu and preventing it does not require a dangerous, ineffective flu shot in order to avoid its prolonged ill effects. But before delving in to some of the reasons why the flu shot is dangerous and ineffective, I would like to first talk about the flu itself and why people get it.

The flu is commonly described as an infectious disease, a virus to be specific, yet there are several characteristics of it that are peculiar including its seasonal and coincidental outbreak pattern in various populations around the world of similar latitudes at specific times of the year. Even in the days before we had airplanes and rapid transit, why is it that populations around the world witnessed the outbreak of a disease at around the same seasonal increments, year after year, when they were not all in contact with one another? The ambiguity surrounding the flu “virus” has led many researchers to a logical explanation, mainly that it is a dormant "virus", a condition that arises from nutritional and vitamin deficiency, particularly at certain times of the year.

During the summer months, the sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which are the short-wavelength rays, are able to penetrate the ozone layer most easily and directly. The UVB rays are the ones responsible for causing your skin to produce vitamin D – in fact about 80% of the vitamin D in your body comes from the sun's UVB rays. Despite the scare frenzy over the “dangers” of sunlight, our bodies need proper sunlight as it is one of the primary sources of fuel that our bodies use to produce much-needed vitamin D. Unfortunately, during the winter months, sun exposure is limited because it is cold outside in most places and, even if you were to go outside, most of the UVB rays that are present during the summer are filtered out by the ozone layer due to the sun's lowered angle (although you can still get some).

How does the sun cause our bodies to produce the vitamin D we need to prevent and fight illness? Our skin contains a cholesterol derivative called 7-dehydrocholesterol. When the UVB rays from the sun impact the skin, they break open one of the carbon rings in this molecule to form vitamin D. This activated form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) attaches to gene receptors that control their expression, controlling protein production by turning it on or off. Vitamin D regulates the expression of more than 1,000 genes throughout the body including the ones in macrophages, cells in the immune system that attack and destroy viruses, among other things. Vitamin D is responsible for switching on the genes in the macrophages that make antimicrobial peptides, the body's natural antibiotics that attack and destroy both bad bacteria and viruses. The beauty of this natural process is that vitamin D also expresses the genes that stop the macrophages from overreacting to infections and releasing too many inflammatory agents – cytokines – that can damage the infected tissue. Autopsies from the Spanish flu pandemic show that macrophage-induced inflammation reacted so severely to the virus that it completely destroyed the epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract. In other words, the victims' own immune systems attacked and killed them rather than the virus, a reaction that would not have occurred had vitamin D levels remained at an optimum level.

“Flu season” is generally during the seasons of the year when vitamin D levels in the average person are at their lowest, usually around 15-18 ng/ml; the optimum level is between 50-99 ng/ml. 15-18 ng/ml is enough to prevent getting rickets, but it is not enough to achieve the other gene-regulating benefits of vitamin D, including its protective power against infection and the flu.

Another unit of measure for vitamin D is IU, or international units. The government's recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 400 IU, yet it takes between 2,000 – 5,000 IU of vitamin D a day to achieve its illness-fighting benefits and protection. To put this into perspective concerning sun exposure as the primary means of vitamin D synthesis, a light-skinned person will synthesize about 20,000 IU of vitamin D laying out in the sun on a tropical beach for only 20 minutes during the summer months, after which the body will automatically shut down synthesis for the day (don't you love God's natural, built-in mechanisms for bodily function?) This means that, during the summer months, being out in the sun for just a short period of time will elevate the synthesis of vitamin D in the body, bolstering the immune systems of people during this season. In the winter, however, this is not the case, causing many to become ill, especially the weak and immuno-compromised.

Vitamin D also works as a treatment for the flu. According to Dr. John Cannel of the Vitamin D Council, a 2,000 UI dose of vitamin D per kilogram of body weight (one pound is 0.45 kg) taken once a day for three days is effective at wiping out the flu. Vitamin D is available as a supplement (be sure it is natural and not synthetic vitamin D). It is also contained in high levels in cod liver oil, fish, raw milk (vitamin D-enhanced pasteurized milk is usually synthetic vitamin D and is actually harmful), cheese, and eggs, to name just a few. Tanning beds are also a good option, but it is important to use ones that contain electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts because magnetic ballasts emit harmful radiation. (Many vitamin D-enhanced foods, including pasteurized milk, do not contain nearly the amount of daily vitamin D needed to prevent disease – it would literally take hundreds of glasses of milk a day to achieve the levels I have mentioned. Not only this, but many of these fortifications use synthetic vitamin D which is not the same and is actually harmful to the body.)

In addition to natural vitamin D as a preventative, and therapeutic treatment, for the flu (as well as for all other illness), there are other healthful steps that can be taken including getting a proper amount of restful sleep, exercising, getting whatever sunlight you can (even if it is cold outside), cutting out refined sugar (since it greatly suppresses the immune system and causes disease), and eating immune-boosting foods that are whole and nutritious. Hydrosol silver (nano-particles of silver mixed with water) is also a powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial solution that is highly effective at maintaining health. It even differentiates between the good bacteria and the bad bacteria in your system, targeting only the bad (unlike most common antibiotics that destroy all the flora in your intestines where your immune system is maintained). There are many methods to staying healthy and vitamin D is a crucial, foundational component.

So where does the flu shot fit in with all of this? Well, that is a good question since there is absolutely no concrete evidence that the flu shot is even effective. Aside from the fact that the correct strain is usually not chosen when formulating the vaccine, it is not even the flu that is generally responsible for the thousands of deaths that occur each year in correlation with the flu. The CDC claims that 36,000 people die every year from the flu, but more than 34,000 of these deaths are “influenza-associated” pneumonic and cardiovascular deaths. Also, the majority of the people who die from flu-related illness (mostly pneumonia) are over age 65 and many studies, including one done by The Group Health (as reported in the New York Times) found that pneumonia occurred with equal frequency in people over age 65 with or without a flu shot. In kids, a review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than placebo.

A few studies do claim that the flu shot is effective at preventing the flu with one showing a 1% reduction in the absolute risk of contracting it and another a 6% reduction. In these same studies, 99% and 94% of the people, respectively, received no benefit at all, and 2% and 4% of those who received the shot, respectively, got the flu anyway. These are dismal numbers that clearly illustrate the flu shot as a failure.

The flu shot doesn't stop at being ineffective; it is also dangerous. To make the vaccine, drug companies grow the viruses in fertilized chicken eggs for up to eight months. Once complete, formaldehyde, also known as rat poison (a known cancer-causing agent), is used to inactivate the virus. Aluminum, a neurotoxin that is believe to play a role in Alzheimer's disease, is then added to promote an antibody response. Other additives include Triton X-100 (a detergent), Polysorbate 80 (a highly toxic agent that damages the immune system, causes reproductive problems, and cancer), carbolic acid, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), and various antibiotics including neomycin, streptomycin, and gentamicin. Two-thirds of the vaccines made for the 2008-09 flu season, about 100 million of them, contain full-dose thimerosal, an organomercury compound, which is 49% mercury by weight. Each dose contains 25 micrograms of mercury, equal to 50,000 parts per billion, which is 250 times more than the EPA's safety limit. Mercury is a neurotoxin with a toxicity level 1,000 times that of lead.

If that wasn't bad enough, the combination of mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde renders them even more toxic than if they were alone because of a synergistic effect. One study reported that people who received the flu vaccine each year for 3 to 5 years had a ten-fold greater chance of developing Alzheimer's disease than people who did not have any flu shots. Mercury is also implicated in the development of autism.

Other reactions from the flu shot include joint inflammation, arthritis, anaphylactic shock, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease that can inflict a person a few weeks after getting the shot, rendering him paralyzed and debilitated. Perhaps this is why 70% or more of doctors do not get flu shots themselves (and probably more would not if it weren't mandatory for many health care workers at certain hospitals).

The evidence is overwhelming and conclusive that the flu vaccine is useless and ineffective in dealing with the flu. It is also dangerous and harmful since it is full of a host of highly toxic components. There is no reason to get it unless you want to further damage your immune system and risk obtaining some very serious disorders and conditions. There are a whole host of effective, natural, safe ways by which we can maintain health and prevent illness. They all involve using God-given means and methods to give our bodies what they need to fight off illness on their own. Nutrients, vitamins, sleep, exercise – these are what the body needs to stay physically healthy, not a flu shot.

Sources include information gathered from:
Dr. Donald W. Miller, Jr. MD
Dr. Mercola
Natural News

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

David vs. Goliath

Modern American society is increasingly being overrun by corporate fascism. Rather than individual rights, freedom of speech, and freedom to spread information, (all guaranteed to us by our Constitution), we are now under the control of tyrannical regulatory bodies with strong ties to corporate interests who tell us what we can and cannot say.

Particularly as it relates to health freedom, the medical-industrial complex and the pharmaceutical drug lords have positioned themselves and their allies within the government and within unelected regulatory agencies such as the FDA and FTC in order to ensure that they have a monopoly on "health". When it gets in their way, they trump the rule of law and trample our freedoms in their quest for complete domination over what is allowed to treat disease.

With the recent crusade being undertaken by the FTC to attack and destroy all companies with natural cancer treatment and prevention alternatives, this case brought to my attention against Daniel Chapter One comes on the heals of this terrorist attack by the FTC. Please take a moment to read the statement below and support Daniel Chapter One in protecting the rights of free citizens to speak freely about natural solutions to health problems.

Daniel Chapter One®, our national Christian radio program and natural healing ministry, may head to court against the Federal Trade Commission in a fight to uphold its rights under the United States Constitution. The battle ensued when the FTC demanded we immediately desist from providing the public with information on natural alternatives for sickness, especially cancer. If successful, the Federal Trade Commission attack on Daniel Chapter One will limit health care consumers' rights.

The American consumer has rights to information, choice, safety and redress (the right to be heard). Presented to Congress as the Consumer Bill of Rights by President Kennedy in March of 1962, these rights form the backbone of wellbeing for individual consumers and for success of the American market economy.

In terms of free-flowing information, the FTC mandates that consumers may only receive health information from producers and sellers that the FTC has determined is proven by the 'science' it selects. No historical knowledge, consumer experience, or traditional practice satisfies FTC demands. The FTC recognizes only expensive double blind 'studies' as support for health claims. Daniel Chapter One has asked its lawyers, and its lawyers have agreed, to challenge this policy as violating Daniel Chapter One's rights under the U.S. Constitution.

By depriving consumer choice and the right to hear sellers' knowledge about health aspects of their products, the one-size-fits-all FTC health information standard deprives consumer access to alternative health approaches. If the FTC had enforced this standard against Daniel Chapter One® over the past thirty years, hundreds of people who provide testimony that Daniel Chapter One products improved or even saved their lives may not have survived.

With regard to safety, the FTC standard forces individual consumers to use highly toxic chemical products whose benefits, according to its 'science,' outweigh their toxicity. The FTC sets this standard despite the fact that regulators acknowledge they routinely reverse approvals for many of these dangerous products. The FTC, with no staff scientists or science capability, relies on old, selective science. From both old and new science, including genetics, the truth is that biochemical individuality makes one person's potential poison another's possible cure.

The Constitution allows individuals to make potentially risky choices for themselves. The FTC does not. Instead, the FTC makes highly risky choices for consumers who have no way to object. Government and business fight the consumer rights battle between themselves. Consumers have no voice. Most businesses sign an agreement to say only what the FTC permits because their overriding goal is to sell products. Daniel Chapter One's goal is to help people honestly and the help of consumers will be crucial to take this historic stand.

If the FTC has its way with Daniel Chapter One, consumers will be denied useful information, blocked from possibly lifesaving choices, forced to use dangerous products and have nowhere to complain about their treatment. This outcome stems from well intentioned regulators attempting a Herculean job – making people's decisions for them – with minuscule resources. It is time to bring the government back into line with the Constitution and the Consumer Bill of Rights.

With your permission, we would urge your readers to join Daniel Chapter One in its journey to preserve healthcare freedom. Contributions may be to the Daniel Chapter One Legal Defense Fund at www.danielchapteronefreedom.com.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quinoa Risotto with White Beans, Arugula, and Parmesan

Borrowed from a book by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., called "The Healthiest Meals on Earth", this delicious, wholesome recipe makes a tasty vegetarian meal that is highly balanced and nutritious. I am not a vegetarian, but I tried this today and loved it.

One of the primary ingredients in the dish is quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), an amino-acid rich seed that is high in protein; in fact, it is called a "complete protein", indicating that it contains all nine essential amino acids. One of these amino acids is lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Once called "the gold of the Incas", quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach rather than the grain in which it appears to be. There is much more to be said about quinoa, and I will elaborate more specifically in another post.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth*
1/4 cup pint nuts
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 carrot, finely grated
2 1/2 cups arugula, stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt**
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*I used an entire 4-cup package of vegetable broth in mine because it dried out rather quickly.
**I prefer to use sea salt for its complex flavors and health benefits.

Cooking instructions:
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and quinoa and cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. (Don't let the garlic brown.) Add the broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is almost tender to the bite, but slightly hard in the center, about 12 minutes. (The mixture will be brothy.)

While the mixture is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat until they release their oils and fragrance, about 3 to 4 minutes.

After the quinoa has cooked 12 minutes, stir in the beans, mushrooms, carrot, and arugula and simmer until the quinoa grains have turned from white to translucent and their tails have popped, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Serves 4.

Per serving: 379 calories, 14 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 50 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 682 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Thanks to Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and Mother's Market & Kitchen for this recipe.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome to Wholesome Herald!

Wholesome Herald is your source for health and wellness news. It will cover topics such as food and nutrition, homeopathy, and herbal remedies, as well as provide you with interesting stories, current events, and important alerts that pertain to health freedom. Our mission is to dig deep for the truth in order to provide you with news, information, and resources you may not find in mainstream news outlets.

We look forward to launching this site as a resource to individuals across the globe that share our belief in a natural approach to healthy living. It is our conviction that God’s ways are infinitely greater than man’s ways. This extends into healthy living. Unadulterated, pure foods - the way God made them! - contain what is needed for the human body to live well and defend itself. Toxic chemicals, modifications, food engineering, and other errant practices are destroying people’s physical health. Today we face an unprecedented level of health problems, particularly here in America, much of which can be traced back to improper nutrition. It is our hope that we can provide a valuable resource, both physically and spiritually, to people seeking it.