by Steven Horne, RH(AHG)
My oldest daughter was born thirty years ago. I remember holding her in my arms and feeling this intense desire to protect and care for this tiny person. That’s why shortly after she was born, I told my wife to take her to the doctor for her vaccinations. I was only doing what most parents in this country do, assuming that one of the best ways to protect their children’s health is to have them vaccinated.
When my wife returned from Sarah’s first round of shots, she said, “If you want her vaccinated, then take her yourself!” Her distress over the way Sarah reacted to being vaccinated brought back vivid memories of me, standing in line at the public health clinic to get my vaccines. I remember how terrified I was of getting those shots and how violated and traumatized I felt by the whole experience.
I had come to believe that children’s natural instincts are pretty dependable, and it made me wonder. I remember thinking, “Is this the only way God has provided for us to protect our children’s health?” As I reflected on the issue, a thought came to my mind and that was, that the vaccine didn’t actually make a person immune. It is the immune system itself that creates immunity.
Let me explain. The theory of vaccination is this—you take disease organisms (viruses and bacteria) and you weaken or kill them and then inject the weakened or killed organisms into the bloodstream. The body still sees these organisms as foreign invaders and mounts an immune defense against them, which means the body is now prepared with the right antibodies to defend itself if the real disease comes along.
The bottom line here is that the vaccine isn’t what makes you immune, it only challenges your immune system. It’s the immune system’s response to the vaccine that creates immunity (at least in theory). The real hero here is your own immune system.
When I reasoned this out, I made a radical decision. I decided that I was not going to vaccinate my children. Instead, I was going to focus on helping them have strong immune systems.
I want to point out, that at this time I had not done any research into the subject of vaccines. I was just acting on the fact that this decision felt right to me.
It was about four or five years later when I actually read my first articles and books about the controversies surrounding vaccinations. Gradually, I found out that both my reasoning and my intuitive feelings were very well substantiated by the scientific facts.
But, my purpose in writing this article is not to give you the reasons why I think vaccines are not a good idea. Instead, I want to tell you what I decided to do to keep my children’s immune system’s strong. (Later this month, I’ll talk about the “down side” of vaccines and give you some suggestions of materials you can read to make your own informed choice.)
For starters, nature has provided a natural way to immunize children against diseases that mom is already immune to. It’s called breast feeding. Colostrum from breastfeeding is nature’s natural vaccine, providing antibodies the baby needs to fight off infections. Children should be breastfeed for at least one year and ideally for two. Sarah was breastfeed for 18 months, the other children for a year. It makes a big difference in their health.
Second, my wife and I agreed that our children were going to have good nutrition. When people buy into the “myth” that vaccines, by themselves, are going to create a strong immune system, they don’t worry so much about things like nutrition. But, the fact is, that one can’t have a strong immune system on a modern “junk food” diet. So, whether you chose to vaccinate your children or not, you can’t ignore good nutrition.
I am appalled when I see parents putting coca cola in a baby bottle to give to young children. It shows how ignorant many people are of the importance of good nutrition.
Children should not be fed solid foods until they start to develop teeth. Feeding them before this irritates their digestive tract and contributes to the development of food allergies and intestinal problems later in life. When our children were old enough to start eating they weren’t fed baby foods from jars either. We had a baby food grinder and mashed fruits and vegetables we were eating for them, such as bananas, potatoes, carrots, etc. (Our kids never complained about eating fruits and vegetables because they grew up eating them.) Later we introduced them to some rice cereal, yoghurt and other foods.
Third, I knew that immunity is linked to our mental and emotional state. I refused to allow anything negative to be put after the words “You are…” when talking to our children. Our children had lots of hugs and affection and words of praise and encouragement. Stress causes a weakening of the immune system in children and adults and demanding, abusive, negative parents are the biggest sources of children’s stress.
Finally, deliberately boosted my children’s immune systems with herbs. Unlike vaccines which challenge the immune system, the plant kingdom actually has remedies that boost it. I called these remedies my “herbal vaccines.” My favorite one for my children was echinacea. NSP’s Ultimate Echinacea is something you can give children (starting around age two) whenever something is “going around” to boost their immune response. Fizz Active Immune is another way to boost children’s immunity. For teenagers and adults, Immune Stimulator is my favorite product.
When I think back to that intense feeling I had of wanting to protect and care for each of these young children when I held them as new-born babes, I’m very glad that my wife and I decided to build and enhance their immune systems in this way. Today, all four children we had are relatively healthy and well-adjusted young adults, so I believe we did the right thing by chosing not to vaccinate them and focus on building their immune systems.
However, as I stated earlier. Even if you do chose to vaccinate your kids, these four suggestions for boosting their immune response are still important, because it is the immune system, not the vaccine, that ultimately makes you immune.
Next issue I’ll talk about some of the controversies about vaccines and provide you with some resources you can use to make your own informed choice about vaccines.