H1N1 vaccine: Discussions and debates

You can't avoid H1N1 media coverage. It's front-page news on the web, the presses, the airways. Vaccine details, or lack of, are spurring discussion and debate. And a lot of people are in a quandary about whether or not to have the H1N1 shot based on their personal views and the information disseminated for public knowledge.

Vaccine or no vaccine, modern (allopathic) medicine versus traditional medicine - why must it be one or the other? Why is it necessary to limit sound, beneficial therapies and place all our proverbial "eggs in one basket"? Our immune system is not specific to one organ, but rather a complex network of biological parts and processes that protect against disease by identifying and killing microscopic organisms that cause illness. It only makes sense to use all available adjunct therapies and supplements for additional support and maintenance of overall good health.

For instance, research has found that individuals with lowered levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to infectious disease and chronic inflammation, as well as other illnesses. And, it is well documented that Canadians tend to be deficient in vitamin D levels, particularly during the winter months. Depleted levels of this key nutrient, due to insufficient sun exposure and low dietary intake, continue to be a concern for researchers. Studies show vitamin D has the ability to catalyze the immune response by increasing the body's production of naturally occurring antibiotics known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Antimicrobial peptides are produced in numerous cells in the human body. Studies from UCLA suggest that AMPs' broad spectrum antimicrobial activity helps to directly and rapidly destroy the cell walls of viruses and bacteria.

Another effective means to enhance the body's ability to fight infections is through the regular use of proven supplements. Echinacea is a well-researched, popular herbal medicine often used for treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. According to Health Canada's Natural Health Products website, Echinacea purpurea is "...used in Herbal Medicine to help fight off infections especially of the upper respiratory tract, supportive therapy in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections, and helps to relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration of upper respiratory tract infections."

Olive leaf from the olive tree has been used since ancient times for its healing properties. The chemical compound oleuropein and its derivative, calcium elenolate, are the main antimicrobial ingredients identified in olive leaves. In-vitro studies reveal that oleuropein and its derivatives possess strong antimicrobial properties against viruses and bacteria.

It goes without saying that a healthy lifestyle is important for the prevention of any illness. Plenty of rest, and a well-balanced diet filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean quality protein are vitally important. Additionally, the daily use of a reputable multivitamin helps ensure that you are obtaining maximum levels of all essential vitamins and minerals. Of course, avoid alcohol and smoking which can heavily contribute to depleting the immune system. Also, don't forget some form of physical activity, as regular exercise appears to help activate the immune system. And, the tried-and-true basic - keep your hands and shared surfaces clean.

After all, it's the responsibility of each and every one of us to stay informed, in shape, and in tune with our own health and well-being.






The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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