The news has been filled with reports about SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) deaths and calling it an epidemic. This appears to be a bit sensationalized since there have been only 8,100 people who have been infected since the disease emerged in November, and the worldwide death toll is 724. So where is the big media coverage of our 20 year epidemic that has plagued America? In the U.S., an average of 36,000 people die every year from the flu and that number has been rising over the past 20 years. The CDC report actually states that the death toll in 1976-77 was 16,263 and that it rose 4-fold to 64,684 in 1998-99. It averages out to be 36,000 per year over that time period. Plus another 11,000 deaths per year from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Most of these deaths affect the elderly and those suffering from other serious diseases. The CDC recommends better flu shots and blames the fact that the population that is 85 years old and older has doubled in the past 20 years. But this is the same age group that has been heavily vaccinated against the flu for years. Is it really a lack of vaccination or is it that the shots don't work? The CDC admits that the shots work great in young people (who really don't need them) but just not in the over 65 age group who need them the most because of their weak immune systems.
To further complicate things, according to Hugh Fudenberg, MD, the world's leading immunogeneticist and 13th most quoted biologist of our times (nearly 850 papers in peer review journals): If an individual has had 5 consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied) his/her chances of getting Alzheimer's Disease is 10 times higher than if he/she had one, 2 or no shots. Dr. Fudenberg said it was so and that it was due to mercury and aluminum that is in every flu shot (and most childhood shots). The gradual mercury and aluminum buildup in the brain causes cognitive dysfunction. Flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury. One microgram is considered toxic. (http://www.mercola.com/2002/aug/14/alzheimers_eating.htm)
This is why I never recommend flu shots for anyone. If you are relatively healthy you don't need one and if you are already sick, your body doesn't need all that extra poison in it and it probably won't work for you anyway. Now they are talking about a SARS vaccine that is in development and may be available in a few years. I would not be too quick to shoot that or the pneumonia vaccine into my body either. The only real prevention of these respiratory illnesses is a strong immune system from a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the many plagues in history, no disease ever killed every person that was exposed to it. Many survived because of their body's ability to fight the disease. As you can see by the dismal results of the flu shot over the past 20 years, there is no such thing as a magic pill or shot that is going to keep you healthy. The best drugs in the world are produced right inside your own body if your immune system is strong. I would recommend sticking with a diet low in sugar and simple carbohydrates and lots of vitamins, minerals, echinacea, exercise, sunlight and adequate rest to keep your immune system strong.
Because of the overuse of antibiotics, many of the bugs we are exposed to are stronger than ever. Many of you know that I lost a younger sister recently to Necrotizing Fasciitis. In 3 short days she went from no symptoms to death. Her weak immune system and tons of antibiotics were no match for the bacteria that ravaged her body. Besides SARS, there are plenty of opportunistic infections that can infect a weak body and make it very sick in a hurry. Prevention through health, not vaccination or drugs, is your only real protection.
The other thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a "normal" cold or infection. When you start to feel bad or your mucous gets a color to it, it means you have an infection and you need to treat it immediately. The faster you treat it the faster it leaves your body. Also, get more rest drink, lots of water (not fluids) and avoid sugar, wheat and dairy products. In lab tests, sugar has been shown to reduce the white blood cell levels in a few minutes. You need these white blood cells to fight the infection. For more tips see the Info Letter, "Acute Illness" on my web site or get a copy from the office.
Another very important way to keep your immune system healthy is to eat the foods your body likes (not necessarily your mind) and that will keep you well. That is the main premise for many of the diet books we have discussed over the past few months. Some of you who read Dr. Mercola's newsletters have asked me how his Metabolic Typing stacks up against the Atkins' diet. The Metabolic Typing Diet, by Dr. William Wolcott and Trish Farley, goes over the various metabolic types you could be and even gives you a test to take to help you determine your type. In essence, there is a continum of types from a high protein type that needs 70% protein and 30% carbs past the mixed type who need 50-50 protein and carbs to the high carb type who needs 40% protein and 60% carbs. Both Atkins and Wolcott start you out on the high protein end of the diet and work you toward the high carb end. Some point along the way, you will find your ideal mix of protein to carbs that makes you feel great. The mistake most people make with Atkins is that they don't progress toward the 3rd and 4th stages of the diet and stay mostly in the Induction Phase or Ongoing Weight-loss phase. Atkins wants you to keep adding carbs until you find the carb level that is right for you. That might be 25 grams a day or 125 grams a day. Both doctors believe that it is never about calories but more the kind of food you eat. Eating the right mix of fats, proteins and carbs will get the fat off and spare the muscle loss. It may not always come off as fast toward the end but you will feel better and you won't ever be hungry. I recommend Dr. Wolcott's book as well as Atkins' and the False Fat Diet books to help you understand how eating the wrong foods can make you sick and overweight.
With the nutrition testing we perform in the office, we determine which are the best supplements for your body to take. For those who don't live near the office or if you like things determined by laboratory tests, we have a new program available to our patients that may interest you. You can send a urine sample into a lab we are affiliated with and they will use that sample to determine what supplements you should be taking. This program was extensively tested in Europe and was found to be very accurate. The medical advisor for the company was a former advisor to The Life Extension Foundation. United Medical Network is the name of the company doing the testing. This urine analysis tests the function of 12 major organs and pinpoints more than 55 key mineral elements and 8 heavy metals. Normally a test this extensive would run up to $400. The charge for the urine test is $79.95 and the supplements they prescribe start at $14 and go up to around $29 each. They ship them directly to you and you don't need to redo the urine test for another 6-12 months. If you are interested, you can order a test kit from their web site at mydiagnostics.com and enter our affiliate number 1045. They will send you the kit and you send it back to them with your urine sample. It takes about one week to get the results of your Urinary Biological Tracimetry (UBT) which creates a blueprint of your nutritional biological system. It will also have their recommendations of what supplements you should be taking. It is up to you whether you follow the recommendations or not. I will gladly go over the results with you, too.
I know it doesn't seem possible but I will be attending my 20 year Chiropractic College reunion on June 6-8 in St. Louis. Fortunately, I graduated when I was 19 so that means I'm only 39 this year! OK, so I was really 29 and you can stop doing the math! Anyway, the office will still be open Friday and Saturday June 6 &7 from 9-1 if you need anything. I will also be attending my 30 year High School reunion the first weekend in August. I will probably be out of the office for just a few days only. No long trips planned this summer but I may be out for a few long weekends. We'll keep you informed on the "Office News" section of the web site or by email if we have your email address.