1. Vitamin D protects against pneumonia

    Winter bugs are no match for this hero vitamin

    The holiday season may be wrapping up, but another season is reaching its peak.

    FLU season!

    As those jingle bells and carolers quiet down, you'll start hearing a chorus of coughing, sniffling, and sneezing everywhere you go.

    That means you could easily go from the most "wonderful" time of the year... to the WORST.

    Because if you're on the older side, the flu could open the door to pneumonia, a nasty secondary infection that's likely to land you in the hospital -- or even make this holiday season your last.

    We're not going to let that happen to you, though.

    While there IS a pneumonia vaccine, it's really just a "shot" in the dark. It may not be effective for those 65 and over... and it could leave you with fever, swelling, and hives.

    But according to a new study, there's a way to ward off pneumonia naturally -- and if seafood is part of your holiday traditions, you're going to love this.

    It turns out that good ol' vitamin D -- which you can find plenty of in just one serving of salmon, mackerel, or sardines -- can slash your risk of pneumonia!

    And if you do catch the bug, vitamin D can reduce the severity of your infection.

    In the study out of Iran, researchers compared the vitamin D levels of about 75 pneumonia patients to those of about the same number of healthy folks.

    It turned out that the participants who were deficient in vitamin D were nearly FOUR TIMES more likely to have pneumonia!

    And the more deficient those pneumonia patients were, the more SEVERE their infections.

    Not only that, but those who greatly lacked vitamin D also tended to have higher risk of admission to the ICU... longer hospital stays... and even greater risk of DYING within 30 days than those patients who were least deficient.

    The theory is that vitamin D boosts your immune system AND reduces inflammation in your airways, upping your body's chances of defeating pneumonia.

    So, instead of relying on a faulty shot, give your body the hero vitamin it needs to defend itself.

    Your body naturally produces vitamin D when the sun's UV rays hit your skin -- but if cloudy skies and cold temperatures have kept you indoors lately, you're probably not getting enough of this vital "sunshine" vitamin.

    To replenish your stores, load up on D-rich foods like fish -- but make sure you choose wild-caught varieties, as they'll contain exponentially more vitamin D (and other nutrients) than their farm-raised counterparts.

    If fish isn't your thing, you can also get vitamin D from beef liver, egg yolks, and mushrooms -- although in much smaller quantities.

    To be on the safe side, I also recommend taking a high-quality supplement of vitamin D --specifically the natural vitamin D3 and not the synthetic D2.

    You can find it at your local health food store, pharmacy, or online for just pennies a day.

  2. Pneumonia is a serious, but avoidable, condition

    Stay on your feet during pneumonia season in 5 simple steps

    There's so much focus on preventing the flu that most people haven't thought much about the dangers of another winter health risk: pneumonia.

    But once a presidential candidate collapses from it while on the campaign trail, people start to pay attention.

    Although pneumonia can range from mild to severe, it can be fatal in cases when your immune system has already been weakened from fighting another infection.

    There is a pneumonia vaccine, but it can cause fever, swelling and, in some severe cases, behavioral changes, swelling and hives. And according to a 2012 study, it may not be effective if you're 65 and over.

    You can try to avoid getting sneezed on, but there are actually 30 different known causes of pneumonia -- including bacterial, viral, and fungal.

    And based on the latest research, you could catch pneumonia from your own kitchen or bathroom!

    When researchers from Tufts University combed through 100 million Medicare records, they found that more than 617,000 seniors had been hospitalized over the course of 15 years for cases of pneumonia -- mostly caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    It turns out these buggers thrive in dark, damp locations -- making your faucet and drain the perfect breeding ground for them to thrive and end up right down your gullet when you take a drink from the tap.

    But you can avoid pneumonia -- and colds and the flu, which often lead to pneumonia -- without vaccines or drugs by following these five easy steps:

    1. Install a reverse osmosis filter where the water comes into your house. You can remove a lot of microorganisms that way, but you may also need to give your pipes a good cleaning to remove all the gunk where bacteria like to hide.
    2. Load up on vitamins D (about 4,000 IUs daily, which is double what I'd recommend the rest of the year) and C (at least 3 grams every day).
    3. A daily probiotic can keep your immune system in prime condition while keeping your gut bacteria in check.
    4. Avoiding an injury or illness that could land you in a hospital or rehabilitation facility is key to avoiding "hospital-acquired" pneumonia. Previous studies have shown that yoga can improve balance and decrease the risk of falling in seniors.
    5. Eat healthy, stay active, and wash your hands often with regular soap and warm water.

    And remember that only bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. But your doc may not be able to tell whether your pneumonia has been caused by bacteria, a virus, or a fungus.

    If you've already been infected with pneumonia and are on the mend, that doesn't mean you're in the clear -- because viral pneumonia actually INCREASES your risk of getting bacterial pneumonia.

    So if you do get pneumonia, and you're not running for president, make sure stay off your feet for at least the first three to five days.

  3. Hundreds of U.S. hospitals doing nothing to prevent infections

    Filthy hospital horror show kills 100,000 a year If cleanliness is next to Godliness, my mother is playing table tennis with the Virgin Mary right now. When I was a kid, you didn't dare approach her dinner table if you had dirt behind your ears or grime under your fingernails. Mom's kitchen was so clean you could have performed surgery...
  4. Americans ditching vaccinations in droves

    The federal government is up in arms that U.S. adults are skipping vaccines for hepatitis, pneumonia and more. But their own data show that even as Americans turn their backs on vaccines, infection rates are dropping.
  5. Benzo drugs in new death risk

    Common meds given for sleep, seizures, anxiety and more can make you more likely to get pneumonia and more likely to die of it.
  6. Drop everything and read this

    If you have a loved one battling dementia in a care facility, drop what you're doing and check his or her list of meds. The word you're looking for is "haloperidol" (a.k.a. Haldol). It's an antipsychotic drug, and if it's on the list, demand that it be taken off RIGHT NOW.
  7. Mainstream admits to vaccine faults

    In the latest attempt to "prove" vaccines don't cause autism, the Institute of Medicine ended up admitting that standard childhood shots can cause just about everything else.
  8. Zinc the link for pneumonia prevention

    Vegans aren't just missing out on good health... there's now solid evidence that a meat-free lifestyle can leave seniors open to pneumonia and even death.
  9. Zinc the link for pneumonia prevention

    Vegans aren't just missing out on good health... there's now solid evidence that a meat-free lifestyle can leave seniors open to pneumonia and even death.
  10. Deadly form of pneumonia on the rise

    The next epidemic on the horizon could well be pneumonia that's powered by the so-called "super bug" Methicillin-resistant Stphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

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