Flumageddon – just how bad is the 2018 flu virus?

If the media was to be believed, this year’s flu virus is one of the most dire we’ve faced to date. We’re being strongly urged to get a flu ‘shot’ to help us stay healthy. In the UK, there are calls to make flu vaccination mandatory for workers in the NHS and the UK Department of Health has authorised prescription of anti-virals. But is there more that we should be told in order to make an informed choice on vaccination? A recent article from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service would suggest there is. The article poses that we are not being told that the flu vaccine is largely ineffective against this year’s strain of influenza. This year, influenza A (H3N3), the predominate strain, proved to be only 10% affected by the vaccine. Yet there is still significant push from the pharmaceutical companies, and from government health agencies, for us to have the flu jab and take antivirals like Tamiflu. Studies of serious side-effects from this class of drugs were made in 2009, but were largely put aside or covered up. The best the antiviral drugs can offer is reducing symptoms by one day. There is nothing in the media or from doctors that let people know that flu can be treated and prevented with excellent nutrition and targeted supplementation, particularly botanical. Getting excellent nutrition, with lots of raw vegetables and fruits along with supplements throughout the flu season can greatly reduce the risk or entirely prevent infection.

NHS Hospital bans sugar

It’s taken time, but the UK’s NHS is finally taking a stand against sugar by removing sugary drinks from hospital canteens, shops and vending machines in 2018. Tameside Hospital will be the first in the UK to swap sugary sweets, snacks and drinks with healthier options in their restaurant. This follows a successful weight loss, health and wellbeing programme, in which 100 staff members took part. On the face of it, the actions being taken are extremely positive. But the downside is that conventional sugar reduction leads to a large increase in the consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS), which bring with them their own health dangers. Non-nutritive sweeteners allow manufacturers to reformulate to avoid the UK’s sugar tax, but don’t do much for your health and lead to more hunger and cravings for sweet carbohydrates.

GMO’s in disguise

Where have all the GM foods gone? Through the backdoor it seems! In the EU, despite the ban on growing GM crops, the EU Commission continue to quietly grant authorisations for the import of GM crops. There are attempts being made through Codex Alimentarius to include recombinant technology (GM under a different name) under the term ‘biofortification’. Originally meaning plants enhanced through traditional cross-breeding methods, it would appear that it has aleady been broadened to include plants enhanced through modern biotechnology. Yet another new term being used to disguise and hide GM modified foods from unaware consumers is ‘New Plant Breeding Techniques’. It seems Big Agra will stop at nothing to push these technologies on an unsuspecting world regardless of the damage they may cause to both human health and the health of the environment.

Waitrose trial in-store Nutritionists

Leading UK supermarket, Waitrose, has announced its launch of a new personal nutrition service at their Kingston and Canary Wharf stores for those wanting advice on, “how to eat and live well to achieve your personal goals”. For a limited period shoppers can book a 1.5 hour consultation with an Association for Nutrition registered nutritionist (whose training and recommendations may differ significantly from either a nutritional therapist or registered dietician), which includes advice on planning healthy meals, improving your food choices and an accompanied store walk. If the service proves successful and demand is established, there is the potential for this to be rolled out across the nation. Waitrose have long been the leader when it comes to organic produce, fair trade for farmers, higher animal husbandry standards and support for its staff. It’s no surprise that it would also lead the charge in instituting healthy shopping programmes. If you’re not in the Kingston or Canary Wharf area, but would like some advice you can look for a qualified practitioner near you via the Institute for Functional Medicine’s practitioner search or via the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy.