Flu influenza spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics which slows down our busy lives and results in 250,000 and 500,000 deaths every year! Typically occurring between October–March (for our area), the flu outbreak typically coincides with flu vaccinations being pushed at us from all angles. I’ve always been a bit skeptical about getting the flu vaccination and have often gotten sick from the shot. After doing a bit of research, a key vitamin (one of our favorite here at Compass) has proven to be more effective than the flu shot.

Flu shots were originally recommended only for the elderly and youngest children, but each year, the recommended age range grows. Though those groups are at more risk, the flu shot shouldn’t be the only strategy recommended against the flu. In fact, there is a lack of evidence for it being beneficial, receiving the vaccination poses great risk to the consumer, and you might not even be protected from the correct strain of flu! Because there are so many strains of the virus, officials must select the 3 strains they think are most likely to circulate. The vaccines are then grown in fertilized chicken eggs for up to eight months. Formaldehyde (a known cancer-causing agent) is used to inactivate the virus. Aluminum (a neurotoxin that may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease) is added to promote an antibody response. Other additives in the flu vaccine include Triton X-100 (a detergent), Polysorbate 80, carbolic acid, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), gelatin, and various antibiotics that some are allergic to! I was stunned when I saw this list of chemicals!

In an article titled Avoid Flu Shots, Take Vitamin D, by Dr. Donald Miller, he states that there is some evidence that flu shots have caused Alzheimer’s and the mercury levels in the vaccination has also been implicated as a cause of Autism. In addition, he states that “Three serious, acknowledged adverse reactions to the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome.” Guillian- Barré syndrome is a paralytic autoimmune disease. It is rare that something as severe as these reactions would happen to you, but I would rather risk getting the flu or using something else much more trustworthy than risking Alzheimer’s, arthritis, paralysis, or other reactions!

So what is a recommended, healthy, and safe alternative to the flu shot? Vitamin D. As the sun shines down on you, UVB rays interact with the skin, and particles of a cholesterol derivative open to form vitamin D! Amazing, isn’t it?! Vitamin D regulates many processes in your body, acts as an antiviral, makes natural antibiotics, and keeps inflammation down. In twenty minutes of sun exposure for a fair skinned person (more for those with darker skin), 20,000 IU of vitamin D are produced at which the body stops synthesizing it for the day.

Depending on what you read, daily vitamin dosage recommendations can range from under 1,000 IU to over 20,000 IU.  Personally I feel that 5,000 units per day is sufficient unless you’re fighting off an infection in which case I recommend 15,000-20,000 IU.  There have been no cases of Vitamin D toxicity in the literature and Vitamin D can be found in prescription form with up to 50,000 IU.

In the winter months sun can be hard to come by especially when you’re covered head to toe.  If you are unable to get in the sun each day, look to supplements or foods rich in vitamin D, including wild Alaskan salmon and mackerel.  For a list of foods high is Vitamin D click here.