MOOD ALERT July 28th-29th, 2010

28th – 29th July 2010

As mentioned in previous alerts we are now coming to one of the years most concentrated periods of planetary alignments. Indeed just two days after the Full  Moon we are in the midst of a massive conjunction featuring Venus, Mars, Saturn, Earth, Jupiter and Uranus. In addition we are at the peak of the alignment featuring Mercury, Earth and Neptune.

Essentially it means that all of the major planets of the Solar System are now in alignment with the Earth – an exceedingly rare event, that is a first since Mood Alert began. Indeed the first mentioned alignment above is the most enormous we have ever reported on and gives some indication of the uniqueness of this current period.

With regard to moods and emotions this will inevitably be a period of the utmost complexity. The lingering effects of the Full Moon will still be evident contributing to tense, nervous restlessness with heightened awareness,  perception and also raised apprehensions and anxiety.

As with any Full Moon situation there will also be more belligerent, aggressive and confrontational moods with the potential for arguments and contentious encounters. Strong feelings are likely though these will to some extent be moderated by the influence of Venus. This may introduce more sympathetic and understanding emotions with affectionate and caring inclinations that will help to calm the harsher elements of this alert period. Inevitably with such an enormously complex celestial situation there will be a wide contrast of moods and inclinations some of which may tend to cancel each other out. In reality however the interpretation of this unique celestial  situation could run to book length.

A summary of likely emotions (already published) is included below, but certain to say this  mood environment is bound to evoke some degree of confusion, chaos, and frustration. Negatives include a hesitant, uncertain and vague outlook with poor concentration, whereas the positives see a more imaginative, powerful, resourceful and inventive disposition that may see solutions to problems that may not otherwise have been possible.

Whatever the case this is a unique mood atmosphere that will offer substantial challenges as well as rewards and will be of pivotal importance (for better or worse) in framing ones future course of development.

Alert is 8.5. Moon 96% illuminated.

Disturbances likely

Times of heightened planetary alignment almost inevitably lead to a corresponding rise in natural disasters, social turmoil and headline events the world over. As such this current celestial situation is likely to be no exception and its sheer magnitude means that for the next month or so there is the likelihood of extreme events and happenings that will add significant colour to news bulletins everywhere.

Massive alignment.

Currently we are influenced a massive alignment featuring Mars, Saturn, Earth, Jupiter and Uranus. In the next 24 hours this will be joined by Venus and constitutes one of the biggest alignments witnessed since Mood Alert first began. Predicting likely moods from this gathering is far from easy

Certain to say there will be a confusion of moods and feelings with contrasting inclinations and competing emotions that are likely to represent a roller coaster of feeling that will range between various extremes. For example Mars is now coming into alignment with Saturn and this is likely to create self- assertive but disciplined emotions with practical, controlled, or limited feelings. However there may also be a severe or ambitious edge to inclinations with unscrupulous, selfish, cruel or even violent behavioural patterns.

In the next 24 hours this will be balanced by the gentler more affectionate feelings of Venus. At the same time Jupiter may offer a more affable , generous and fun loving mood environment, though, as mentioned many times here the planet is in long term alignment with Uranus. This is creating strong deviation from the norm that although capable of inventive and highly innovative thought, is also prone to drastic anti-social compensation for personal inadequacies.

To complicate matters further we are now coming to the height of the alignment between Neptune, Earth and Mercury. This will continue to active for at least the next week or so and is likely to result in sensitive mental expression with vague, idealistic and imaginative emotional impulses. In addition there may be confused, absent-minded, dishonest, and chaotic feelings interspersed with vague fears and imaginings.


Mercury limits suspended for H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine to improve access


OLYMPIA – State health officials are taking steps to ensure Washington residents at highest risk for H1N1 (swine flu) infection have broad access to the new vaccine when its available. Secretary of Health Mary Selecky is temporarily suspending Washingtons limit on the amount of mercury (thimerosal) allowed in H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine given to pregnant women and children under three.

Its vital to be sure everyone in a high risk group has the choice to be vaccinated when swine flu vaccine becomes available, said Secretary Selecky. Mercury-free H1N1 vaccine may not always be in stock, and we want to be sure there are no barriers to protecting people.

The six-month suspension is effective through March 23, 2010 and applies only to H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines now being developed. As a precaution, Washington state law limits the amount of mercury that can be in vaccines for pregnant women and children under three. The secretary of health can suspend the law when theres a shortage of vaccine or during a disease outbreak both criteria apply to the H1N1 (swine flu)
vaccine. Supplies of mercury-free vaccine will be limited, which may stop people in these groups who want the vaccine from getting it.

H1N1 vaccination is voluntary. Pregnant women and children under three are at the top of the list to get the vaccine because theyre at high risk for serious complications from swine flu.

We believe suspending the law allows health care providers to offer their patients as many choices as possible to protect themselves against H1N1,” said Cindy Markus, MD, President of the Washington State Medical Association.

When the limits are suspended, the law requires that pregnant or lactating women and parents or guardians of children under 18 be told theyre getting a vaccine containing more mercury than is usually permitted. There is no specific notification method required; most patients will get a handout to read.

The mercury in vaccines is in a preservative called thimerosal. Its been used safely for years to prevent contamination of vaccines in vials that contain more than one dose. Except for some types of flu vaccines, all vaccines routinely recommended for children under six years of age are thimerosal-free, or contain only
trace amounts. While some people are concerned about the safety of thimerosal, many large, thorough studies have shown no harm caused by thimerosal in vaccines.

Federal health officials expect H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine to be available in early October. Although there will eventually be enough vaccine for everyone, supplies will be limited at first and will likely be reserved for high risk people. People are encouraged to check with their private health care provider, public health clinics, retail pharmacies, and community vaccination event organizers on locations to get the vaccine. State and local health partners are working together to identify these locations and will share that information when vaccine is available.

More information is available on the Department of Health H1N1 (swine flu) Web site (


Swine flu vaccine manufacturers may be allowed to use experimental additives in the vaccines!?
Is the claim that they have not done this before legitimate?
The most common adjuvants presently allowed are Mercury (Thimerosol) and Aluminum Hydroxide. So, are these entirely new adjuvants? Is fast tracking these vaccines with experimental adjuvants a good idea?

In the U.S. an emergency declaration to use experimental additives made by GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Novartis AG to boost a limited supply of shots that will be available to fight the pandemic.
The ingredients, known as adjuvants, may be added for the first time to flu shots in the U.S.

“The question is, do you really feel comfortable throwing this new thing into the mix and do you really need to?” said Treanor, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at the school in Rochester, New York. “I myself, if I had to do it, would really wrestle with that decision.”


As swine flu vaccine becomes available in coming months, boosting compounds known as adjuvants may stretch out limited supplies. But they also pose special challenges for vaccine regulatory agencies in places like Canada and the United States. Neither country has licensed flu vaccines with adjuvants in them before.

Mercury in HFCS

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) — Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies.

In the first study, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. The study was published in current issue of Environmental Health.

In the second study, the agriculture group found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was most common in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.

“The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients,” Wallinga said.

More on Gardasil

*A friend wanted me to pass this information on. She tried to post it, but had some difficulty.*

Ok Heidi, I’ve tried to post the following info on Gardisil on your blog & a white page keeps coming saying “discarded”. I don’t know what is going on, so I’ll past it here & maybe you can paste on your blog if you want to. :)

The Gardisil vaccine is doing more harm than good. It is causing pre-cancerous tissues & infertility in girls who are getting this vaccine.

You can NOT trust the medical community to give you all of the info you need on vaccines. Dr.’s are given very little info on vaccines. They trust the pharmaceutical companies to inform them on new drugs. How do I know this? I used to work for a medical clinic. The reps would come in & give elaborate lunches & push the newest & greatest drugs on the market to give to the patients.
Vicky Debold with NVIC-health policy analyst says this – “Vaccine studies are using increasingly complex statistical techniques rather than time tested research design. There are so many limitations & exclusions in the study design this it is nearly impossible to interpret or replicate the findings.” The FDA & CDC are pushing out vaccines before they can be truly tested to know if they are safe or not.
The FDA has known for 4 years that HPV does NOT cause cervical cancer.
For those of you who got your children all of their vaccines, a lot of vaccines have animal products in them. They can be integrated into your DNA.
There is NO scientific evidence that vaccines provide ANY immunity at all.
If a Dr. tells you that a vaccine contains no mercury, ask to see the insert, the CDC considers a vaccine that has less than 3 mcg of Themerosal “mercury free”. (scroll to the bottom of page 3)
I’ve been doing research on vaccines for 20+ years. Do your homework before getting any more vaccines yourself or giving them to your children. You’ll happy later that you did.

Have a good week!

Avoid Flu Shots, Take Vitamin D Instead

Another influenza season is beginning in the northern temperate zone, and our government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu shot. Health officials will say that every winter 5–20 percent of the population catches the flu, 200,000 people are hospitalized, and 36,000 people will die from it.

The CDC’s 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations each year on who should be vaccinated. Ten years ago, for the 1999–2000 season, the committee recommended that people over age 65 and children with medical conditions have a flu shot. Seventy-four million people were vaccinated. Next season (2000–01) the committee lowered the age for universal vaccination from 65 to 50 years old, adding 41 million people to the list. For the 2002–03 season, the ACIP added healthy children 6 months to 23 months old, and for 2004–05, children up to 5 years old. For the 2008–09 season the committee has advised that healthy children 6 months to 18 years old have a flu shot each year. Its recommendations for influenza vaccination now covers 256 million Americans – 84 percent of the U.S. population. Only healthy people ages 19–49 not involved in some aspect of health care remain exempt. Pharmaceutical companies have made 146 million influenza vaccines for the U.S. market this flu season.

Almost all the ACIP members who make these recommendations have financial ties to the vaccine industry. The CDC therefore must grant each member a conflict-of-interest waiver.

The CDC mounts a well-orchestrated campaign each season to generate interest and demand for flu shots. Along with posters for the public, flyers, and health care provider materials, it encourages doctors to “recommend/urge flu shots.” Medical groups, nonmedical organizations (like the YMCA), and the media trumpet CDC-released messages on influenza, notably: “Flu kills 36,000 per year,” “This could be a bad/serious flu year,” and “Flu vaccine is the best defense against flu.” The government promotes National Vaccination Week, which this year is December 8–14. This year, however, rather than uniformly following the government’s “Seven-Step Recipe” for generating demand for flu shots, the mainstream media has questioned their benefits.

The New York Times had an article in the September 2, 2008 issue titled “Doubts Grow Over Flu Vaccine in Elderly,” which says, “The influenza vaccine, which has been strongly recommended for people over 65 for more than four decades, is losing its reputation as an effective way to ward off the virus in the elderly. A growing number of immunologists and epidemiologists say the vaccine probably does not work very well for people over 70, the group that accounts for three-fourths of all flu deaths.” The article refers to a study done by the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle on 3,500 people, age 65–94, to determine if flu vaccines are effective in protecting older people against developing pneumonia (Lancet 2008;372:398–405).

The National Vital Statistics Reports compiled by the CDC show that only 1,138 deaths a year occur due to influenza alone (257 in 2001, 727 in 2002, 1,792 in 2003, 1,100 in 2004, and 1,812 in 2005). Bacterial pneumonia causes some 60,000 deaths each year, mainly in the winter, when surveillance data show increased prevalence of the flu virus. Using a mathematical (Poisson) regression model, officials estimate that the flu virus triggers some of the winter-time deaths from pneumonia, along with deaths in people with cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. More than 34,000 of those “36,000″ flu deaths are what officials estimate are “influenza-associated” pneumonic and cardiovascular deaths.

The Group Health study reported in the New York Times and other newspapers around the country found that flu shots do not protect elderly people against developing pneumonia. Pneumonia occurs with equal frequency in people over age 65 with or without a flu shot. Earlier studies, biased by the “healthy user effect,” over-estimated the vaccine’s effect on pneumonia because they did not adjust for the presence and severity of other diseases in unvaccinated people. As the Group Health authors point out, “The study found that people who were healthy and conscientious about staying well were the most likely to get an annual flu shot. Those who are frail may have trouble bathing or dressing on their own and are less likely to get to their doctor’s office or a clinic to receive the vaccine. They are also more likely to be closer to death.” Other investigators question that there is a mortality benefit with influenza vaccination. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15% in 1980 to 65% now, but there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia (Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008;178:527–33). As one vaccine researcher puts it, “I think the evidence base [for mortality benefits from flu shots] we have leaned on is not valid” (Lancet Infect Dis 2007;7:658–66).

There is also a lack of evidence that young children benefit from flu shots. A systematic 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 a placebo (Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;1:CD004879).

Randomized controlled trials are the most reliable way to determine the efficacy – and safety – of a given treatment. No randomized trials show that flu shots reduce mortality from influenza or flu-related pneumonia. Some do show that the flu vaccine is somewhat effective in preventing influenza. In one widely quoted study, 1838 volunteers age 60 and over were randomized to receive a flu shot or placebo (a shot of saline). The flu shot reduced the relative risk of contracting (serologically confirmed, clinical) influenza by a seemingly impressive 50%. The incidence of influenza in the unvaccinated people in this study was 3%. In the vaccinated group it was 2% (JAMA 1994;272:1661–5). Flu shots reduced the absolute risk of contracting influenza by a meager 1% (not 50%, as the “relative risk” portrays it). In actuality, for every 100 people that have a flu shot only one will benefit from it – this, in medical parlance, is the “number needed to treat” (NNT) in order to achieve any benefit from the treatment. A flu shot provides no benefit for the other 99 people – 2 of them will get influenza anyway – and all 100 risk being harmed by the vaccine.

Another randomized trial by Zaman and coworkers published recently (NEJM 2008;359: published online September 17, in print October 9) found that the incidence of influenza in infants whose mothers had a flu shot during their pregnancy was 4% (6/159). The incidence of flu in infants whose mothers did not have a flu shot was 10% (16/157). In this study (done in Bangladesh and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, and others) flu shots reduced the relative risk of influenza illness in infants by a seemingly impressive 63%. But only 6 out of 100 infants benefited from the shot. The other 94 received no benefit – 4 got influenza anyway – and all are at risk from being harmed by the vaccine, particularly from the mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde in it.

After officials select the three strains of flu virus that they think are most likely to be circulating during the next winter season (they picked the wrong ones last year), vaccine makers grow the viruses in fertilized chicken eggs, with 500,000 eggs per day (each examined by hand) for up to eight months. Formaldehyde is used to inactivate the virus. It is a known cancer-causing agent. Aluminum is added to promote an antibody response. It is a neurotoxin that may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Other additives and adjuvants in the flu vaccine include Triton X-100 (a detergent), Polysorbate 80, carbolic acid, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), gelatin, and various antibiotics – neomycin, streptomycin, and gentamicin – that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Two-thirds of the vaccines made for the 2008–09 flu season, 100 million of them, contain full-dose thimerosal, an organomercury compound, which is 49% mercury by weight. (An unidentified number of the other 50 million vaccines contain either “no” or “trace” amounts of thimerosal.) It is used to disinfect the vaccine. Each one of these 100 million flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury, a mercury content that is 50,000 part per billion, 250 times more than the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit. Mercury is a neurotoxin, which has a toxicity level 1,000 times that of lead.

There is some evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease. This most likely is a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde, which renders them much more toxic together through a synergistic effect than each would be alone. One investigator has 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 (Int J Clin Invest 2005;1:1–4). (The brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease display three pathologic hallmarks: neurofibillary tangles, amyloid plaques, and phosphorylation of tau protein. Brain cells grown in test tubes develop these changes when exposed to nanomolar doses of mercury, doses similar to the amount of mercury a person gets from a flu shot.)

Mercury in vaccines has also been implicated as a cause of autism. Vaccine makers have now removed thimerosal from all childhood vaccines, except flu shots. For more on this subject see my article “Mercury on the Mind,” with its recommended reading list, and Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy by David Kirby.

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. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a paralytic autoimmune disease that fells people several weeks after their flu shot. One woman with post-vaccination GBS writes:

“I had a flu shot in November, and by December I became weak and continued to get weaker until I collapsed and was taken to the hospital… I was helpless, totally paralyzed with Guillain-Barré syndrome… I was in ICU for three weeks and then transferred to a rehabilitation center. Three months later I was released to come home because I could ambulate approximately 100 feet with a walker. I continued rehabilitation as an outpatient for the next three months until I could walk with hand crutches. Today, I need a cane. I was not forewarned of any possible hazard when they gave me the flu shot.”


“I have a friend, now in a wheelchair, who took the flu shot, got Guillain-Barré and now cannot walk.”

Another woman, diagnosed with GBS after a flu shot, spent 16 months in the hospital paralyzed on a ventilator and life support. After several subsequent multi-month hospitalizations she writes:

“On my last visit to my neurologist I was able to walk about 6 feet holding his hand, not much but it took years to be able to do that. I scratch my head when I hear them promoting flu shots… Most people that I come into contact with – in the hospital and out (nurses, doctors, and regular people) – after hearing my story, feel that it is better to chance the flu and not get the shot.” (These statements are in Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners: Guide to Immunizations Risks and Protection by Neil Miller [no relation], pages 84–86.)

The package inserts that come with the flu vaccine note that GBS is a potential complication. There are 1 to 2 cases of GBS per 1 million vaccinated persons. (There were 10 times that many cases of GBS in 1976 with the flu vaccine used that year). Taking a flu shot is essentially the same as buying a lottery ticket for acquiring Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Seventy percent of doctors do not get a flu shot.

Flu virus exists in people year-round, and new strains seed a population during the “off-season.” In the northern and southern temperate zones, flu epidemics occur in the cold part of the year, October–March and April–September respectively. Flu epidemics occur in the tropics during the rainy season.

Explanations for why flu epidemics occur in the winter when it is cold – people being indoors in close contact, drier air dehydrating mucus and preventing the body from expelling virus particles, the virus lingering longer on exposed surfaces, like doorknobs, with colder temperatures – do not explain why flu epidemics occur in the tropics.

Something that can explain why flu epidemics also occur both in warm and cold climates is this: During a flu epidemic, wherever it may be, the atmosphere blocks ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the Sun. In the temperate zones above latitude 35 degrees North and South, the sun is at a low enough angle in the winter that the ozone layer in the atmosphere absorbs and blocks the short-wavelength (280–315 nanometers) UVB rays. In the tropics during the wet season, thick rain clouds block UVB rays.

Skin contains a cholesterol derivative, 7-dehydrocholesterol. UVB radiation on skin breaks open one of the carbon rings in this molecule to form vitamin D. The activated form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) attaches to receptors on genes that control their expression, which turn protein production on or off. Vitamin D regulates the expression of more than 1,000 genes throughout the body. They include ones in macrophages, cells in the immune system that, among other things, attack and destroy viruses. Vitamin D switches on genes in macrophages that make antimicrobial peptides, antibiotics the body produces. Like antibiotics, these peptides attack and destroy bacteria; but unlike antibiotics, they also attack and destroy viruses.

Vitamin D also expresses genes that stop macrophages from overreacting to an infection and releasing too many inflammatory agents – cytokines – that can damage infected tissue. Vitamin D, for example, down regulates genes that produce interleukin-2 and interferon gamma, two cytokines that prime macrophages and cytotoxic T cells to attack the body’s tissues. In the 1918–19 Spanish flu pandemic that killed 500,000 Americans, young healthy adults would wake up in the morning feeling well, start drowning in their own inflammation as the day wore on, and be dead by midnight, as happened to my 22-year-old grandmother and my wife’s 24-year-old grandmother. Autopsies showed complete destruction of the epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract resulting, researchers now know, from a macrophage-induced severe inflammatory reaction to the virus. In a terribly misguided way, these victims’ own immune system attacked and killed them, not the virus, something in future pandemics vitamin D, in appropriate doses, can prevent.

A creditable hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease. Cannell and colleagues offer this hypothesis in “Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D” (Epidemiol Infect 2006;134:1129–40). They quote Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.), who said, “Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year.” Vitamin D levels in the blood fall to there lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that this gene-expresser engineers, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections (e.g., respiratory syncytial virus).

Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections; and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. Given vitamin D’s wide-ranging effects on gene expression, other studies, for example, show that people diagnosed with cancer in the summer have an improved survival compared with those diagnosed in the winter (Int J Cancer 2006;119:1530–36).

A growing body of evidence indicates that rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (both a softening of bones due to defective bone mineralization) are just the tip of a vitamin D-deficiency iceberg. Tuberculosis and various autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and type I diabetes have a causal association with low vitamin D blood levels. Vitamin D deficiency plays a causal role in hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke. It is also a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes, chronic fatigue, seasonal affective disorder, depression, cataracts, infertility, and osteoporosis. At the bottom of the vitamin D iceberg lies cancer. There is good evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a causal factor in some 15 different common cancers. (NEJM 2007;357:266–81.)

The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are much more likely due to vitamin D deficiency than to an increased prevalence of serologically-positive influenza virus (which also results from vitamin D deficiency).

Experts reckon that an optimum blood level of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is 50–99 ng/ml. (Children need a blood level >8 ng/ml to prevent rickets. It takes a concentration >20 to maintain parathyroid hormone levels in a normal range. A level >34 is needed for peak intestinal calcium absorption. And in elderly people neuromuscular performance steadily improves as vitamin D blood levels rise to 50 ng/ml.) The government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 400 IU (international units) a day, an amount sufficient to prevent rickets and osteomalacia but not vitamin D’s other gene-regulating benefits. To achieve all of vitamin D’s benefits one has to take an amount ten times the government’s RDA – 4,000 to 5,000 IU a day.

A light-skinned person will synthesize 20,000 IU of vitamin D in 20 minutes sunbathing on a tropical beach, at which point vitamin D synthesis shuts down for the day (it takes a dark-skinned person 6 to 10 times longer to make this amount). Human breast milk does not contain vitamin D, since, from an evolutionary standpoint, our African ancestors’ infants, reared near the equator, could readily synthesize this gene regulator from sunlight in their skin. Food contains very little vitamin D. (The highest concentrations are in wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, and cod liver oil.) Federal regulations now require that some foods, like milk, be fortified with vitamin D. But one would have to drink 200 glasses of milk to obtain the amount of vitamin D a light-skinned person can make in 20 minutes sunbathing.

The majority of Americans are vitamin D deficient, with a 25-hydroxy D blood level <20 ng/ml, or insufficient, with a level of 20–<30 ng/ml. Cheap vitamin D supplements (D3, not D2) provide the only way most of us can maintain a year-round vitamin D blood levels greater than 50 ng/ml. That requires taking 4–5,000 IU of vitamin D a day (50,000 IU every ten days or 150,000 IU a month).

Taking vitamin D in these doses is safe, far safer than a flu shot with all the bad chemicals it contains. Concerns about vitamin D toxicity are overblown. One can take a 10,000 IU vitamin D supplement on a daily basis without any adverse effects. In healthy persons, long-term consumption of more than 40,000 IU a day is necessary to cause an elevation in the blood calcium level (hypercalcemia), the first manifestation of vitamin D toxicity (Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:694–97). Check your vitamin D (25-hydroxy D) blood level. People with granulomatous diseases like sarcoidosis should also check their blood level of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, the active form.

Can a shot (or tablets) of vitamin D prevent influenza better than a flu shot? There is good reason to believe that it can.

Doctors in India and Canada give people a once-yearly injection of 600,000 IU of vitamin D (MJA 2005;183:10–12). That would be better, and safer, than having a flu shot. Daily, weekly, or monthly vitamin D tablets work just as well. For more on this subject see my article “Vitamin D in a New Light” and visit Dr. Cannell’s Vitamin D Council website.

Investigators have completed one double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that shows vitamin D prevents colds and influenza significantly better (P <0.002) than a placebo pill (Epidemiol Infection 2007;135:1095–6). A large multi-center randomized trial conducted over multiple flu seasons comparing vitamin D to a flu shot can show conclusively which is better, and safer. But given the financial stakes underpinning flu shots, and unpatentable vitamin D, who will fund it?

In the meantime, considering what is most likely to be the outcome of such a trial, if it is ever conducted, I recommend that you avoid flu shots and take vitamin D instead.


Influenza virus Flu viruses are classified into types A, B, and C. Type A viruses cause most influenza epidemics. They exist, replicate, and mutate in swine and horses; seals, dolphins, and whales; migratory water birds, geese and ducks; domestic birds chicken and turkeys; and humans. Type B and C viruses exist only in humans and only type B causes (relatively mild) infections. Influenza A viruses are further categorized into subtypes on the basis of two surface antigens (proteins): hemaglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). There are 15 different H and 9 different N antigens. The 1918–19 Spanish flu pandemic was caused by an H1NI Type A virus. Subtypes of influenza viruses are further classified by the names of cities, states or countries, along with the year they were discovered. For the 2008–09 (northern temperate zone) season, officials predict and have directed vaccines to be made against A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1), A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2), and B/Florida/4/2006. In an unusual departure, they are all different from the previous season, which missed the strains that caused influenza that season. What doctors diagnose as “influenza” is often an influenza-like illness caused by a respiratory virus other than the flu. Serologic tests are necessary to prove that one’s respiratory illness is actually caused by the flu virus.

Other things to do to prevent the flu Avoid sugar. It suppresses immunity. Avoid Omega-6 vegetable oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, canola, and soybean oil). Americans consume 50 times more of these oils than are necessary for good health. In this amount they are powerful immune suppressants. Take a well-balanced multivitamin/mineral capsule on a daily basis. Eat garlic. Manage stress. Exercise. Get enough rest. And wash your hands. Viruses spread most often from touching contaminated objects, like doorknobs, phones, shared computer keyboards, and shaking hands.