Natural Health | Life Hacks | Things I like

Friday, December 03, 2010

Flu vaccinations: do they make a difference?

Anyone who has had flu, proper flu, knows how nasty it is.  I once heard that the difference between having flu and having a cold is that if you're lying in bed and the doctor rings at the doorbell, if you've got flu you're too ill to get up and let him in.

So being vaccinated against flu is the answer, right?  Well not necessarily.  I have heard of many people who actually get ill after being vaccinated.  Not life threateningly ill, but ill nonetheless.  And one of the things that makes the flu virus so hard to treat is that it mutates into different forms, so you you may be vaccinated but fall victim to another mutation of the virus.

From my naturopathic viewpoint, vaccinations of any kind are contrary to the natural working of the body.  If you think about what happens when you get naturally infected by the flu virus, the virus will encounter many layers of our natural immune defences (the lining of our nose and mouth, mucus, hairs etc) and each time will trigger a specific part of our immune systems to fight back.

When we are vaccinated, the virus is introduced directly into the bloodstream.  The vaccination contains a form of the virus that has been made safe and non-infectious, but it has the right molecules to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to protect against infection from a live virus.  So although the end point may be the same, this method of producing immunity is totally unnatural when compared to what would happen during a normal infection.  Large parts of the immune system are left out of the process.

There is no doubt that vaccines can be helpful for life threatening illnesses in parts of the world where hygiene and nutrition are poor, but I believe that they are unnecessary for illnesses that we recover from fairly easily.  I also personally believe that the use of vaccines is in part related to the increase in allergies that we have seen over the past thirty years; such an unnatural 'assault' on the immune system is unlikely to be without consequences.

Dr John Briffa is a qualified medical doctor with a special interest in nutrition and natural health.  He has recently written two articles on his blog on the lack of efficacy of the flu vaccination: 'Flu vaccination is largely ineffective, despite what your government may have you believe' and 'More unscientific claims made for the 'benefits' of flu vaccination'.

There is plenty of other reading available for anyone with an interest in this subject.  These books are useful (mainly about childrens' vaccinations though):

If you would like any advice about how to keep yourself and your immune system as robust as possible (which in my opinion is the best way to avoid getting ill), then please get in touch.

What is Krill Oil?

No, it's not something used in the automotive industry, it's a type of very healthy omega 3 oil similar to the more well known fish oils.

But it seems to be even more beneficial for health than the fish oils that so many people are already taking.  It has been found that Krill Oil is 22 times more effective than marine fish oil in reducing the fat around the heart, and also better at reducing fat around the liver than fish oil.  Other Krill Oil benefits include showing an improvement in the symptoms of ADHD in affected children.  Plus all the other benefits attributed to the omega-3 essential fatty acids: immune health, heart health, reduction in blood pressure, anti-inflammatory, the list goes on...

What are 'Krill' though? Well, Krill are small invertebrates, a bit like prawns, that live in the Antarctic ocean.  Krill Oil has been around for a while, but one of my most trusted suppliers (Nutrigold) have just started to offer this fantastic product.

To read more about the science around this product, you can read this informative report here.
Nutrigold Antarctic Krill Oil
Or if you want to try some for yourself, you can get it from the Nutrigold website here.

And as Nutrigold mention on their website, if you are prescribed medication and have concerns about possible drug interactions, do always consult your GP before using this product.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Purple Potatoes

Last week I bought some purple potatoes from Sainsbury's, and very interesting they are indeed!

They taste just like normal white potatoes, but they really are very purple.  I had mine mashed, and it looked a bit like someone had put food colouring into it.

But there is nothing artificial about the colour.  The potatoes are a naturally occurring variety, and the purple colour actually gives the potatoes extra health benefits.  Most people are aware that fruits and vegetables with a blue or purple hue are good for you (eg. blueberries, blackberries) and these are no different.  The colour is due to anthocyanins which are naturally occurring antioxidants which will help protect your cells from damage.  Similarly, red onions are also slightly more healthier than white onions.

Why not give them a go?  The ones in Sainsbury's are called Albert Bartlett Purple Majesty.  It's always nice to try something new!
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