Although flu shots are promoted as safe, that's not true, says holistic family physician Dr. David Brownstein. Flu shots contain several suspect ingredients, including the carcinogen formaldehyde, and many contain mercury in the form of thimerosal.
"Mercury is one of the most poisonous substances known to mankind," Dr. Brownstein tells Newsmax Health. "It is a potent neurotoxin and is associated with a host of neurological and immune system problems. Mercury should never be injected into any living human being."
A study published by the National Institutes of Health stated: "Mercury is a highly toxic element; there is no known safe level of exposure. Ideally, neither children nor adults should have any mercury in their bodies because it provides no physiological benefit." Yet, the FDA allows it to be put in flu shots given to pregnant women, children, and the elderly — all known to be most at risk for neurological damage, says Dr. Brownstein, editor of the newsletter Dr. David Brownstein's Natural Way to Health,
Thimerosal, a preservative found in many flu shots, is 50 percent mercury. It's different, and much more harmful, than the type of mercury found in fish. While the FDA warns against eating more than two servings of fish weekly because of the danger of mercury, it allows this more toxic form to be added to flu shots (and other vaccines). The only reason thimerosal is added is as a preservative in multi-dose vials.
Known as ethylmercury, this type of mercury in flu shots depresses the immune system and damages the brain. Much of ethylmercury is converted in the body to a form of mercury that accumulates in the brain with every annual flu shot and is very difficult to remove. Ethylmercury is much more harmful than methylmercury, the form of mercury found in fish, and is much more likely to stay in the brain.
For years, thimerosal has been associated with an increase in autism, but one of the most troubling connections is with Alzheimer's. "There's no doubt that the flu vaccine can lead to Alzheimer's, because many flu shots are preserved with mercury and it's a known brain toxin," says Dr. Brownstein. "You give enough brain toxins and people are going to develop memory issues."
One report by world-renowned immunogeneticist Dr. Hugh Fudenberg found that people 55 years of age and older who got a flu vaccine for five years straight increased their risk of Alzheimer's by 10 times. Another connection between flu shots and Alzheimer's was made by Dr. Boyd Haley of the University of Kentucky. He wrote: "Seven of the characteristic markers that we look for to distinguish Alzheimer's disease can be produced in normal brain tissues, or cultures of neurons, by the addition of extremely low levels of mercury."
Still, the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends flu shots for pregnant women calling it "essential."
"The flu vaccine has not been properly studied in pregnant women," says Dr. Brownstein. "In fact, in the package insert for the FluLaval quadrivalent vaccine it states, 'There are … no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women and FluLaval quadrivalent should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.'"
Not only can flu shots contain harmful ingredients but many experts, including Dr. Brownstein, believe they don't prevent flu. "Those promoting flu shots promise they'll cut your risk of getting flu by more than 50 percent, but that's simply not true. When you dissect the studies, you'll find the FluLaval vaccine is 97 percent ineffective."
If you decide to take a flu shot, however, you can lessen your chances of harm by choosing a vaccine that doesn't contain mercury. Since thimerosal is used only as a preservative in multi-dose vials, avoid it by asking for a single-dose vial. Or ask for the flu nasal-spray vaccine. It doesn't contain thimerosal.
If you decide not to take the flu shot, Dr. Brownstein suggests protecting yourself with the following steps:
1. Eat a healthy diet. Avoid refined foods, especially sugar. "Refined sugar has been shown to disrupt the functioning of the white blood cells responsible for fighting off viruses," he says.
2. Keep hydrated. A rule of thumb for adequate hydration is to take your weight and divide by two. The result will tell you how many ounces of water to drink every day.
3. Take vitamin C. Dr. Brownstein suggests taking 3,000 to 5,000 mg every day and upping the amount to perhaps 10,000 mg if you become ill. Vitamins A and D, iodine, and alpha lipoic acid are also helpful.
4. Wash your hands. "Simple hand-washing and avoiding sick people can greatly lessen your chances of getting the flu."
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