Archive for the ‘Build your immune response’ Category

Vaccine Questions

May 16, 2018

I recently learned that since over 10 years had elapsed, I was due for a Tetanus shot. Initially, I did not plan to update the Tetanus, but in an Oh Well Moment, I made the appointment to have a “Tetanus toxoid vaccine” booster.

At the appointment, I learned that Tetanus toxoid vaccine is no longer given as a stand-alone vaccine for adults. It is paired with either Diphtheria (Td) or Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap). This seemed odd but I was advised that diphtheria was on the rise among older people in developing countries, and was given the Td shot.

Early morning the day after the Td vaccine was given, my throat signaled it was dealing with an intruder. A few days later, despite regular hot salt water gargles, I was clearly dealing with an upper respiratory infection. This one clearly meant business as it coated my bronchial tree with a thick yellowish coat that my body used a persistent hacking cough to rip off in painful chunks for the next week and a half, along with copious sinus drainage. Because I exercise regularly and include minimal refined sugar in my diet, I was able to fight off this infection. Otherwise, I would probably have ended up in the hospital.

Curious, I checked the incidence of Tetanus and Diphtheria in the US. I learned that five people died of Diphtheria in the US in the last 10 years.  And since 1947, the incidence of Tetanus has decreased 99%.  Why is the CDC messing with the adult Tetanus vaccine, throwing more so-called immunizations at us for non-existent problems?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website says we have all the vaccines to thank for the decreased incidence of Diptheria and Tetanus. Other research claims that increased sanitation and wound care improvements during the same timeframe gave us the respite. Susanne Humphries, MD, a nephrologist, sums up the findings of researchers who question the widespread use of vaccines in her Youtube Lecture on Vaccines and Health.

We each have to decide where our confidence lies. I simply urge you to review both websites for yourselves to make an informed decision.

Whatever we choose, when respiratory illness strikes, fresh fruits (especially melons and citrus) and vegetables (especially greens) are easiest for our bodies to digest, along with plenty of water to keep everything moving OUT while we regain our health and strength, and gear up for a great summer. Now is a great time to get out and exercise, gardening, walking, hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, playing tennis, badminton and anything else that keeps everything moveable moving!

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Let’s Put an End to the Flu!

February 13, 2018

Flu infections continue to plague NH folks. We know that new viruses will continue to be passed around as world travel increases. Our best defense is a strong immune system. Vitamin C has long been credited as an important defense against viruses. The best way to build up Vitamin C in our cells is not to run out and buy megadoses of Vitamin C at the health counter. Our best protection is to limit our sugar consumption. Here’s why.

In the 1970’s, John T. A. Ely, a professor of orthomolecular medicine, UW, discovered the ‘Glucose Ascorbate Antagonism Theory’ (Googlable). He found that elevated glucose levels restrict Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) from entering cells. Yet, white blood cells need Vitamin C to oxidize and destroy pathogens. This is the prime reason we need to limit consumption of sugar when we have colds or flu, or if we have any hope of strengthening our immune systems.

It makes no sense to simply eat lots of leafy greens, bright vegetables and fruits or Vitamin pills if the Vitamin C they carry can’t make it into our cells because we are taking in so much added sugar.

Sodas, ice cream, juices with sugar added will simply open the highway for flu to proliferate. It is annoying to have to constantly read labels, especially when sugar has so many names. If you google, ‘other names for sugar’, you’ll bring up 56 other names. Water is our best drink.

Another problem with added sugar is that it lacks the other vitamins and minerals that whole foods contain. You do not have to be a gourmet cook to put together delicious and nourishing meals. A meal can be as simple as slicing up a variety of vegetables according to density: carrots, potato, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, squash, garlic, (and any bright vegetables you have on hand), sprinkle them with a little olive oil, rosemary or other herbs, salt and pepper, and bake it at 375 for 40 minutes.

You may want to adjust cooking time or size of cut-up vegetables. The internet has plenty of ideas and your household will have preferences. Healthy eating does not need to be complicated. The simpler, the better. Soups, when dealing with flu, can be as simple as lightly cooked zucchini and string beans put through the blender with a little nutmeg, salt and pepper.

The idea is for us to add something new that is rich in Vitamin C without added sugar, so that our bodies can absorb it and build up our immune system defenses.

As we are exposed or predisposed to the variety of illnesses around, those illnesses can provide us with momentum to clean up our sugar act, protect our water supply, and discover delicious whole healing foods, and put an end to the flu.

Funding Effects of Sugar Research

February 10, 2018

A reader, who states he is a professional in the food industry, questioned my competence to speak forthrightly about sugar in my most recent column, ‘Shape Up and Beat the Flu!’

My credentials began to accrue as a child when my farm-raised mother announced, “Our family cannot afford to be sick!” Therefore, we had to eat what was put in front of us and clean our plates. At the first sign of a sore throat we were to up our consumption of water and gargle with warm salt water. If we needed a day or two in bed, we were plied with plenty of vegetable soup. I raise my 3 children with the same philosophy. Soda was something we had on picnics.

I am a retired psychiatric nurse practitioner with additional graduate studies in Eastern Philosophy which included the Ayurvedic Medical System. Ayurveda considers the digestive tract the root of health or illness, depending on what we eat.

There have been studies on the effect of sugar consumption on our health. The earliest one I read was John Rudkins 1972 book, Pure, White, and Deadly. Rudkins was a British Medical Doctor and Nutritional Scientist. The food industry trashed his book, but the book has survived. A 1973 study at Loma Linda University looked at why simple sugars but not complex carbohydrates (found in fruits and vegetables) adversely affected the immune system.

Marion Nestle, NYU professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, and Cristin Kearns, assistant professor UCSF School of Dentistry both have documented research on the subject.

Anyone can Google, ‘Funding Effects of Sugar Research’ and read the sad history of researchers paid by the sugar industry to suppress bona fide research and blame fats for the rise in cardiac disease and to promote sugar consumption.

The reason more research has not been published to warn the general public is that traditionally, Land Grant universities funded such research. Currently, food and chemical companies fund university research with the stipulation that they review and reject studies adverse to their industry. Only recently have other sources stepped forward to fund needed research, with no strings attached to the outcomes.

There is something to that farm-raised fresh food that we yearn for today as we look for farm stands to reopen this year.

Shape Up and Beat the Flu

January 30, 2018

Flu vaccine is not the #1 prevention, despite media claims. At best, it may offer protection from the three most prevalent strains of flu. However, with the tremendous influx of world travelers, new strains of flu are presented to us daily.

Flu doesn’t mess around. Flu virus has a strong addiction to sugar. It absolutely thrives on ice cream, sodas, sweetened juices, candy, fries, and processed foods. Flu virus just can’t survive when people drink plenty of tap water or lemon water, eat plenty of whole foods, intact as nature made them, and log in eight hours of sleep each night. This routine is the #1 prevention.

It’s that simple. We do not have to have a nasty bout with the flu. It’s up to us.

 Flu vaccine may be 60 percent effective. Flu vaccine may tend to make people feel protected and therefore impervious to the three strains of flu included in the vaccine. People may ignore early signals of sore throat and the general feeling of “I’m coming down with something.”

Each of us must take responsibility not to pass the flu around. Flu virus thrives on sugar. The reason flu gets a stronghold is because as a civilization, we have increased our sugar consumption to outrageous amounts in the last 70 years alone. Sugar has gradually, stealthily, been added to just about everything we put in our mouths. Even when there was a sugar bowl on every kitchen table, we did not consume the huge quantity of sugar that has spawned so many conditions, in addition to leaving us in a weakened state to fight flu viruses.

Pharmacies have become the new sub-clinics. As a nation, we seem to be accepting chronic illness as a way of life instead of as a wake-up call to shape up and deal with our addiction to sugar. We lead the world with poor health as a result of our addiction. Over 1600 years ago, Hippocrates advised people to “Let your food be your medicine.” Imagine how different our lives could be if we followed that sage advice.

Massive changes begin with small steps; sugar was added in small steps; pharmacies expanded in small steps. Our bodies do need natural forms of glucose for energy. Small steps toward healthier forms of glucose might begin with including one piece of fresh fruit each day and one fresh vegetable eaten raw or cooked. Habits change by adding something new, not by taking away the old. The new makes change possible, is more inviting. With every small new step, a bit of the old sloughs off and change happens.

Here’s to shaping up with lots of small steps!

Updating Perspectives on Vaccines

April 22, 2017

This month, “The Truth About Vaccines”, a series of seven videos on Youtube, continued the discussion begun in February to put the administration of vaccines in clearer perspective.

Historically, communicable disease was pretty much under control in the US following WWII for three reasons: better water with improved sanitation, better food supply, and improved living conditions. The polio epidemic was in tandem with our use of DDT and declined when DDT was banned.

The round of childhood diseases has been credited with building strong immune systems for the rest of our lives. Most of the diseases were not lethal and just meant children happily missed a few days of school while they acquired a strong immune system.

However, today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols include 46 doses of vaccine by the age of 5, 26 doses in the first 18 months, 69 doses from birth to age 18. This protocol is mandatory for entrance to schools and some forms of employment.

At issue today is the fact that the vaccines carry substances such as thymerisol (mercury), aluminum, formaldehyde, and other substances to stimulate an immune response. Many of these substances cross the blood brain barrier and result in neurogenitive diseases like autism, Lyme disease, bowel disease, ADHD, Shaken Baby Syndrome , vision and hearing problems, and more.

In 1986 congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). Subsequently, pharmaceutical companies used scare tactics to convince the public that we were in for big epidemics if we didn’t vaccinate against potential threats. Pharmaceutical companies had been sued for years and threatened to stop making vaccines unless the government didn’t intervene. In 2011, the Supreme Court overturned that law (the only dissenters were Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor). The Pharmaceutical companies can no longer be sued for vaccine caused injury.

The CDC owns over 50 patents to vaccines – a major conflict of interest when establishing protocols. Top officials in the CDC continually move to executive positions in pharmaceutical companies and back again to work at the CDC. Sounds a lot like the fox minding the henhouse.

What can we do to inform ourselves? There will be more video presentations as more physicians come forward with the results they are seeing in their practice and more research is finding ways to be published. Unfortunately, physicians risk losing their license to practice, researchers have difficulty getting their findings published, and both groups may lose teaching positions/livelihood.

However, the tide is turning, the public is becoming more informed and actively demanding to have competent research on the safety and efficacy of every vaccine, and parental rights to decide what goes into and stays out of our bodies. We can support physicians and research that honor scientific inquiry.

Vaccines Revisited

January 26, 2017

This month, “Vaccines Revealed”, a series of nine videos on Youtube, unravels the damage done by promoting, and even demanding as a requirement to attend school, that our children succumb to potentially life challenging or lethal vaccines.

Most researchers and physicians who presented had no problem with the vaccines themselves. The problem lies with the medium in which they are preserved. Pharmaceutical companies find it cheaper to put the vaccines in mediums containing thimerosol (mercury) and/or aluminum which cause brain damage and are responsible for the dramatic rise of autism in our children. Safer, more expensive vaccine mediums are available but one must know enough to ask for them.

General consensus was that vaccines are potentially healthy but they need to be given one at a time, they must not contain aluminum or mercury, and they must not be given too early. Researchers and physicians cited newborns receiving their first vaccine before they left the hospital. It appears that the practice of giving too many at a time and at too young an age, is what has fed autism rates.

In 1989, the schedule for administering vaccines changed. Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine MMR (3 in one) was introduced and we began to see the rise in children with autism. Physicians who questioned the schedule were categorically considered quacks. Many lost their license to practice or their teaching positions.

In the 1950s, one in 1000 children came down with autism in the U.S. By 2000, the ratio was 1:250. By 2014, the ratio was 1: 68. By 2032, if the rise continues, 1:2 children born will be autistic, including every male child born.

The presenters also drew a link between vaccines and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). Parents are often blamed rather than the recently given vaccine.

Also interesting was the possible link between Chickenpox vaccine and the rising incidence of Shingles in adults. Formerly, when children contracted chickenpox naturally (a benign disease), they also provided adults around them with a natural booster of chickenpox and protection against shingles. Without the natural exposure, adults become vulnerable to Shingles, a more serious disease.

Frequently cited was the fact that in the years before vaccines were introduced, people woke up to the effects that general hygiene, water sanitation, sanitized food handling, etc., that had reduced disease before vaccines were even produced. So, there is question as to how much vaccines have eliminated and how much illness and death they have caused.

Because controlled, peer reviewed studies have been suppressed; only recently have they begun to be revealed. More studies of Amish children and Home Schooled children who have not received a battery of vaccines need to be encouraged and made openly available to the public.

Sobering news. For many of us, this is a clear wake up call.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

December 16, 2015

This week, many people focused on the art of being happy and its effect on our health. At church, the whole service was on the importance of laughter, whatever the internal or external circumstances. Hymns continued the theme. We sang all four verses of, “If you’re happy and you know it,” and, “We Gather Together.” Thanksgiving is another important ingredient.

We had a “Laughing Meditation,” and the sermon drew on Norman Cousins’ 1974 recovery from a normally incurable illness by watching hilarious movies and literally laughing himself well. He spent the rest of his life writing books, including, Anatomy of an Illness, and lecturing at Medical Schools on the benefits of laughter to healing.

When the pianist played as a postlude, Mozart’s “Alleluia,” her fingers danced over the keys in a bright staccato variation that I am sure Mozart himself would have cheered and laughed right along with all of us.

Later in the day, PBS interviewed our Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy and asked him what advice he would give us to be healthy. His spontaneous reply was, “Be happy, Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and Exercise” – in that order!

In Yoga, one of the breathing practices is the Laughing Breath. It is probably one of the most robust of practices and has the effect of relaxing the whole body so that we can move into more demanding postures. In yoga, we emphasize lengthening exhalations. The laughing breath is one people usually can extend for a long time. By emptying the lungs fully, we make room for a big inhalation of oxygenated air that fully charges and relaxes our body.

I scanned through the research literature on the effects of laughter on health. It does matter whether we do it solo or with other people. Even laughing with one other person promotes relationship well being, a sense of belonging that promotes longer, healthier lives. Studies have been done that show group laughter triggers the release of endorphins (pain killers), improves sleep, enhances memory and creativity, improves cardiac health, lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, and more….

Caution: avoid unhealthy laughter that enhances self or group at the expense of others. Despite the tenuous world situation in this century of escalating greed and refusal to address climate change, perhaps the best thing we can do is continue to look for the bright angle of each moment, alert to ferret out the humor and joy that helps us to bond with and encourage each other. What innovative solutions might we then enact that enable people of the world and all life forms to share the joy of living?

Here’s to a Well Watered Year!

January 9, 2015

Water may be our best protection against the new viruses reported daily. People often avoid water and claim that it makes them pee at all the wrong times. However, the same folks drink coffee, a dehydrator, and never question the trip to the restroom, which follows the charge of energy.

Our digestive tract, the 28 foot long pipeline that runs from mouth to anus can protect us from unwelcome invaders. Like any plumbing system, it works best with a reliable supply of water.

Fully hydrated, our cells cook up enzymes to digest every type of food, and hormones to regulate the opening and closing of the tract’s valves at each junction to keep everything moving.

Digestion begins in the mouth where water dilutes the acid on any remaining foods around our teeth that might irritate gums and burrow into tooth enamel. Salivary enzymes begin breaking down starches. Enthusiastic chewing stimulates our bodies to continue to pump out more enzymes further on down the line.

We continue mixing chewed food with sips of water to ease it down the esophagus to the stomach through the finicky lower esophageal sphincter, the LES valve, the most famous of all the valves. It leads to Hiatal Hernia and GERD when it doesn’t close properly.

When well hydrated, the mucus membrane that lines the stomach secretes necessary digestive juices: hydrochloric acid and enzymes to pulverize foods in the stomach and bicarbonate of soda to keep acid from digesting the stomach lining.

The slurry moves on to the small intestine. There, the gall bladder squirts the bolus of food with detergent (bile) to break up fats, and the pancreas squirts bicarbonate of soda to neutralize acids, plus more enzymes to work on proteins and carbs. The goal is to break food down to particles that are tiny enough to pass through the wall of the intestines.

As the slurry of food moves through the rest of the small intestine, more enzymes do their best to finalize breakdown and absorption IF we swallow enough water.

The intestines look like a jumble of tubes but are structured more like a big umbrella. If you took them out, you could stretch them in a rough circle like the rim of an umbrella. A thick membrane (mesentery) forms the dome. It contains several veins (like spokes) that funnel into a big vein, represented by the umbrella handle.

Well chewed food with plenty of water sends ultrafine nutrients right through the intestinal wall to the smaller veins in the mesentery and on to the big portal vein that goes to the liver. The liver then decides what nutrients to send where and our circulation takes care of that delivery system.

We must drink enough water. Otherwise, undigested food continues on to the large intestine. A well hydrated stool (feces) is a homogenized mass of fiber, easily evacuated through the last valve, the anus.

Want to give water a try? Start your day with a slow cup of hot lemon water. This acid effectively opens the valve to the intestines, clears the stomach of any leftovers, and stimulates the bowels to move. Unwanted bacteria and viruses don’t get a chance to establish themselves on stagnant sweet foods. Drink a glass of water between meals and take sips with meals. Trade sodas and juice for water and whole fruits and enjoy winter!

To a Well Watered New Year! Skol!

Healthy Happiness Needs Your Vote

October 23, 2014

For several years now, Denmark has been at the top of the World Happiness Index. Since US rates number 12 on the list, behind Scandinavia, Canada and Australia, I wondered how much happiness effects general health and found an interesting study by R. Veenhoven of Erasmus Univ. Rotterdam., “Healthy Happiness: effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care”. Veenhoven analyzed 30 follow-up studies on happiness and longevity (including several from US states).

Perhaps we can learn something from Denmark. Three rights that Danes choose to provide for all citizens are free education, childcare and healthcare. Preschool education is provided in daycare facilities. Education continues up through vocational education and college.

Higher education is seen as a basic right and funded with tax dollars. By comparison, college graduates in the US are often saddled with decades of college tuition debt and have difficulty finding employment in their field. Such milestones as marriage, home-ownership and child-rearing are compromised.

Veenhoven notes that while happiness has not been found to be a cure for illness, happiness appears to protect us against falling ill, in some way. We have a better immune response, lower blood pressure, make better choices in life, are motivated to keep fit, more inclined to watch our weight, are more perceptive of symptoms of illness, cope better with threatening information, and facilitate creation and maintenance of supportive social networks.

US Healthcare has become a political football, distorted by the for-profit health care industry. Denmark’s healthcare represents 11 percent of its GDP. US healthcare sucks up 18 percent.

Denmark’s $21 an hour minimum wage also guarantees that people can support their families. McDonald’s gets away with paying employees $7.50 an hour in the US, while paying $21 an hour in Denmark. When parents have to work 2 or 3 low paying jobs to support their families, they are hardly in a position to spend quality time as a family. Many single people struggle to survive here.

Carl Gibson, in “How Voting in Large Numbers Dramatically Improves Society”( Reader Supported News 10/21/14), noted that the last election in Denmark brought out 87 percent of the population, compared to 57 percent registered voter turnout in the US.

Happiest countries value basic rights for all citizens. Politicians bent on creating more money for affluent backers do threaten Denmark’s happiness. But, thus far, Danish citizens have gotten out to vote and maintained their rights to health.

It’s time to listen up to what our politicians plan to do and to vote for those who value basic rights for all citizens. When we value basic rights for everyone, we all benefit. Our general health improves along with our happiness index.

Flora, Fauna, and Flossing

July 17, 2014

While the challenge to see that the food we eat is free of mercury, pesticides, hormones, and whatever else threatens rather than supports robust health, we sometimes need reminders to be sure that we toss our food into a clean mouth bowl after going to all that trouble to check the food out.

It may help to visualize how perfectly arranged the mouth bowl is to house a variety of bacteria, not all of them friendly. Bacteria love dark, moist places and a steady diet of sugar. Any pockets in the gums surrounding our teeth are a housing bonanza for bacteria, depending on how welcome we make them. Unchecked, bacteria create gum disease, get into the blood stream, and create plaques in our arteries that lead to heart disease.

While we deplore the amount of sugar degenerating our diet, this is not really a new phenomenon. I was raised in the penny candy days and there was a regular stash at the corner store in my neighborhood. There was a sugar bowl on every kitchen table and plenty of home baked cookies and bars. Cakes had an inch of frosting on them and fruit pies were common desserts. However, carbonated drinks were only had on special occasions. They took up a minor section of an aisle in the grocery store, not the whole aisle. Orange juice was only had by squeezing oranges so it was consumed in small glasses.

The problem with today’s soda is that it is sipped throughout the day, along with snacks providing bacteria with a steady diet of sugar and setting off just as steady a stream of bacterial plaque and tooth decay. Hygienists patiently demonstrate flossing technique and the necessity of routing out the bacteria before they form plaques and start eroding the enamel on our teeth. It is not enough to slide the floss up and down between each tooth. We need to wrap it around the base of every side of every tooth to rout out any bacteria in residence. If you then rinse your mouth with about a tablespoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide– brace yourself– you will immediately see the spots you missed.

Food is meant to be digested standing up. Anyone who regularly takes a nap directly after a meal is in for a foul awakening as remnants of the meal shift into reverse, travel back up the esophagus, and start over again in the mouth, definitely not as tasty the second time around.

Step one is to remain in an upright position for 3-4 hours after eating to give the meal a fair chance to enter the relay race through the digestive tract, at least to make it beyond the second gate, the pyloric valve, at the entrance to the small intestine. Water we swish and swallow between meals also keeps nutrients moving easily in the right direction.

So, on any visit to a dental hygienist for a cleaning, listen up for a longer, healthier life.

PS: The most effective toothpaste I know is a tsp. of baking soda with a squirt of lemon juice. Watch it foam and load up your brush!