Paula Owens seems to indicate that flu vaccines are “unnatural” and harmful in her Dec. 5 column (“Boost your immune system naturally,” AFN). Unfortunately, what is “natural” in our world is vaccine-preventable diseases killing many adults and children. I doubt that Ms. Owens has cared for children, pregnant women or elderly folks on a ventilator with the flu, or watched someone die from this preventable illness. A “natural” case of the flu carries a many times higher risk of Guillain Barre syndrome than taking the vaccine.
Expensive supplements that have no supporting evidence behind them except for “studies” listed on the product ads are likewise a problem. These are not FDA regulated, and may contain toxic metals or other harmful substances (http://news.consumerreports.org/safety/2010/06/consumer-reports-protein-drink-investigation-.html).
A good diet is always a good idea, but it will not deter pathogens that have adapted over millennia to defeat even the healthiest immune system. Owen’s assertions about immunosuppression following ingestion of sugar/wheat and white blood cell counts falling after eating sugar are totally without basis (it has been known for years that diabetics have an increase in WBC’s after meals. The increase in inflammation associated may lead to higher risk of heart attacks and strokes for them: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/2/491.full).
Steven Oscherwitz, MD