by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.

A lady wrote:

One thing I am concerned about is the new swine flu and flu vaccines in general. I’ve heard that they contain a lot of mercury. Do these vaccines have a negative effect on hearing? I have not ever had any kind of flu shot and will not if there is any question of damaging my hearing further. I already have lost almost all hearing in my right ear and some in the other one.

The other problem is that I’m allergic to egg yolks, according to the doctor who did the blood allergy test for me. My internist doesn’t think this is a true allergy. I only have five foods that came up as problems, but avoiding them has improved my health; eating them does cause problems. So I am not anxious to ingest even a flu shot because it is made from egg yolk. I am most concerned about the effect on my hearing though.

What is your take on vaccines?

I have been asked a number of times recently for my opinion on flu shots—whether they are ototoxic, or even necessary.

In general, I’m against vaccines. Apart from the fact that they have a number of side effects—some as serious as death, they seem to mess up the immune system so it can’t do its job properly. This may be one reason for the proliferation of immune system diseases that are so prevalent today.

A number of vaccines can be ototoxic, including the influenza vaccines. I have two anecdotal reports in my files of children having significant hearing losses after getting flu shots.

I wouldn’t take a flu shot unless the situation was life-threatening, and there weren’t any alternatives available. The good news is that there are alternatives.

I was just reading Dr. David Williams newsletter (1) and he addressed this issue. He says keep your immune system robust by doing two things to help prevent yourself from getting the flu—whether the swine flu or any other strain.

First, he suggests taking Vitamin D supplements (adult dose at 4,000 to 5,000 IU a day). You see, adequate amounts of Vitamin D are essential for your immune system to function properly. In the wintertime, when colds and the flu are common, we typically don’t get adequate Vitamin D through our skin from the sun. Therefore, we need to take Vitamin D supplements.

Second, make sure your beneficial gastrointestinal (GI) flora are present and healthy. In fact, the beneficial bacterial flora in your GI tract are so important they are often called your second immune system.

If your GI flora are depleted from taking antibiotics for example, you are much more vulnerable to all sorts of “bugs” including flu bugs. Therefore, eat fermented foods with live cultures such as live yogurt and kindred foods, and/or take probiotic supplements containing bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus to maintain adequate numbers of the beneficial bacterial flora in your intestinal tract.

Dr. Williams ends his article with this admonition. “If you want to avoid the flu and other epidemics, live longer, stay healthier, and minimize the chronic problems associated with aging, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D, start taking probiotics, and routinely add fermented food to your diet.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself! When you do this, you likely won’t have any problems with the swine flu or any other similar infections.

(1) “Keeping Up With the Flu”. Dr. David Williams. October, 2009. In: Alternatives, Vol. 13, No. 4.