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It is the dreaded cold and flu season and with that comes the inevitable question; "Should I get a flu shot"? Every year I ponder this and wonder what's the best thing to do? In the past I used to faithfully get the flu shot. The first year with Fibromyalgia, I got one, and the next day had a flare up of symptoms. There is evidence that with Fibromyalgia comes a state of 'chronic activation'. It is possible that any kind of immunization could push the immune system "over the cliff" into overdrive and increase symptoms of Fibromyalgia. I am concerned also about the preservatives used in the vaccines. Thimerisol, Mercury and aluminum have been used to preserve vaccines, and all are toxic and linked to many different diseases. 
In a normal flu season, about 1,500 people die of the flu and most deaths are most likely from pneumonia. I think I will take my chances with the flu and skip the shot again this year.

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I have been doing some more research on how to boost immunity and here is what I have found: 

Vitamin D play a critical role in immunity. An international team of researchers found that vitamin D, which is a natural hormone, is linked to human immune reactions and might also help protect against cancer and autoimmune diseases. In conducting the study, the investigators examined how the body manages to kill or stop the growth of pathogens such as M. tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB. They found the white blood cells, or T-cells, that 
are critical to the body's ability to fight off infections cannot function properly without adequate levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D also plays an important role in supporting both the innate immune system (the immunity humans are born with) as well as adaptive immunity (immunity acquired over time following exposure to various pathogens), the study showed Most people aged 1 through 70 only need 600 international units of vitamin D a day.

Healthy people who had a drink with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri (also found in Stonyfield Farms yogurt) daily for 12 weeks called in sick for respiratory or stomach problems 60 percent fewer times than those who didn’t consume it, notes the journal Environmental Health.

Enjoying white-button mushrooms may strengthen your body's defenses against the common cold and even cancer. A report in The Journal of Nutrition shows that mushrooms enhanced the activity of immune system cells. Eat some mushrooms! It's the perfect excuse to order a pizza!

And this is my favorite bit of research!

Spending time in nature, or “Forest Bathing” has been proven to lower blood pressure and pulse rate, reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and boosts your immune systems too. In a study in Japan, healthy men between the ages of 37 and 55 took a 3 day, two night trip to the forest.  They spent 2 hours walking in the forest each day. Blood samples tested on days 2 and 3 showed that there was a 50% increase in natural killer cells. These cells are one of the main components of the immune system, and they play a central role in fighting tumors and viruses. Further studies have shown that immune benefits can last up to a month after a visit to the woods.  In Japan, “Forest Bathing” has become so popular that the government is creating official “Forest therapy sites” and companies are adding “Forest Therapy” to their health plans.

Have a healthy weekend! 

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