Immunizations, Multivitamins and Sunscreen

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My Texas independent school district requires every child to provide a wellness note from a doctor’s office. Since I don’t take my children to the doctor’s office, it’s their one time per year to get a window into our American medical system.

And that window is our friendly smiling doctor harassing their dad for about two minutes on a familiar set of topics: I need to have them immunized, they should be on multivitamins, and why am I not applying sunscreen?

I smile and heartily agree with her. Then I sign the forms to exempt my kids from immunizations, collect the note the school system requires, go outside hand-in-hand with child to the wellness courtyard where we say a short prayer of thanks to God by the fountain, and then we depart the clean, beautiful medical complex.

I don’t consider it worth my short time on the planet to raise my blood pressure fighting with doctors. But it does bring me pleasure to lay the facts out for those who seek health for their children.

First, let’s cover immunizations. Based on my research, I’m no longer afraid immunizations cause autism. But that doesn’t mean they get a free pass either.

The basic case against immunizations is a simple business risk-reward analysis. It is well-established that a certain percentage of immunizations cause brain injuries to children. There’s an entire government program to help support immunization-injured children.

Considering the known risk of child brain injury, there must be a substantial benefit for me to want to take the risk. I simply don’t fear measles, mumps, rubella, or the flu, enough to take the risk of a permanent brain injury to my children.

On top of this, viruses are healthy for people. We’ve always lived with viruses in a symbiotic agreement. They help us weed out cancer cells that would otherwise multiply and become pernicious. Immunizations are an expression of our short-term, “feel no pain” approach in which we lose an essential long-term symbiotic benefit.

Let’s move on to multivitamins. In countless adult studies, multivitamins do not provide a health benefit, and generally are harmful to our health. Regular multivitamin use increases our mortality.

So, when they increase all-cause mortality in adults, where’s the medical research that shows regular multivitamins are good for kids? There is no such research; and if it existed I would immediately check to see if it was funded by a multivitamin multinational.

Multivitamins appeal to a cognitive bias—a flaw—in our human thinking. We mystically think we need a rare victual prescribed only by a medicine man before we are allowed to be well (think placebo effect). I suspect this bias is buried somewhere deep in our brainstem, like needing to make sacrifices at altars. It’s probably right next to the bias that allows us to conveniently ignore the mass extinction of species outside our houses.

Finally, let’s cover sunscreen. Despite social customs that severely limit my children’s access to sun, as well as rampant vitamin D deficiency across our society, according to my doctor I should always be using sunscreen on my kids.

The 60,000 pound absurdity here is blocking cutaneous vitamin D production and then taking multivitamins to get vitamin D. I simply can’t trust a medical system or government that recommends this to parents.

Let’s use cancer stats to talk about how vital cutaneous vitamin D is to our health. The American Cancer Society estimates 45,220 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2013.

That’s a lot of pancreatic cancer. But according to research, 49% of that pancreatic cancer would be prevented by sunlight. That effectively means over 19,200 Americans die every year from lack of access to sunlight on their skin. It’s shocking.

And honestly it’s a lot higher than 19,200. Because the pancreas is the proverbial canary in the coal mine…of our gut. If something is making the pancreas sick, it’s making all the rest of the gut sick as well. This is illustrated by the Japanese study which showed that sunlight exposure offers protection against cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, wrecked them, gallbladder and bile ducts.

Not only do I refuse sunscreen for my kids, I have to fight the social stigma of allowing them to have exposed skin around the neighborhood for their basic health. I guess it turns out I’m not just weird in the doctor’s office; I’m weird everywhere I go.

If being weird gives my children a longer, healthier life; okay. As such, my weirdness becomes another item for me to pray in thankfulness for.

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