The Health Sciences Institute

October 30, 2002

There is no doubt that many thousands of the people who receive flu shots this season will make it from Labor Day to Memorial Day without coming down with a case of influenza. So taken at face value: if it works, it works – enough said. But you should stop reading now if you’d like to remain unaware of the complete contents of a flu shot. I’ll tell you this: it’s not pretty.

Each year the flu vaccine is newly redesigned, using several strains from different types of flu that were common the season before. So basically you’re getting a vaccine that is, in theory, ideal for protecting you from last year’s primary flu types. Meanwhile, vaccine developers cross their fingers and hope that whatever new flu mutation comes our way this season is not much different than last year’s flu.

But that shot at your doctor’s office contains much more than just flu strains. The vaccine is prepared with chicken embryo fluid, inoculated with the living flu strains. The fluid is then treated with formaldehyde to inactivate the virus. Thimerosal, a mercury derivative, is injected to help preserve the mixture. Ethylene glycol (better known as antifreeze) and another chemical called phenol are added to disinfect. And because animal cells are used for this process, animal viruses are sometimes introduced into the vaccine, undetected. This has happened as recently as 1995.

Now ask yourself: If you were intending to purchase a dietary supplement, and the label offered this warning: “May contain traces of formaldehyde, thimerosal, phenol, ethylene glycol, and animal cells,” would you buy it?

If you pick up a flu virus, you won’t necessarily come down with the flu. Whether or not you become ill will depend on how well your immune system deals with the virus. So you might say that a virus doesn’t give you the flu – an immune system that doesn’t defeat the virus is what gives you the flu. The key is immunity.

So eat right, insure optimum intake of pure water, get enough rest and take your supplements.