Pregnancy

Science Mom: Everyday Items Anti-Vaxxers Should Fear Just As Much As Vaccines

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4. Aluminum

Aluminum is something called an adjuvant – a sort of molecular cheerleader that provokes your immune system into a stronger response than the virus in the vaccine could have generated alone. “Rah rah sis boom bah, sock the measles in the jaw!” While high doses of aluminum can pose a health risk, the amount in a vaccine isn’t anything to worry about, especially since you shouldn’t be getting a vaccine every day of the week. In fact, the 0.85 milligrams of aluminum in the Pediarix vaccine is equivalent to the amount of aluminum in two or three days’ worth of infant formula (or about from two to three weeks’ worth of breastfeeding) – assuming your baby drinks around 30 ounces a day. Oops!

Things to avoid: The amount of aluminum in our diet is pretty small, but just to be on the safe side, you’d better skip infant formula, high-acid canned foods (tomatoes, pineapple juice), certain antacids like Maalox and Mylanta.

5. Antibiotics

Remember how some vaccines are grown in eggs? Break an egg open into a jar and leave it on the counter for a few days, and then decide if that’s something you’d like to inject into your upper arm. Yes, some vaccines have antibacterials added to them, once again to prevent the unpleasant consequence of shooting a helpless child full of live bacteria.

If you object to this out of a sudden interest in sound antibiotic stewardship, here’s a newsflash for you: this is one of the important uses we’re supposed to be saving antibiotics for. And if you’re worried about an allergic reaction to a particular drug, don’t be: talk to your doctor if you do have an allergy, but highly reactive drugs like penicillin aren’t the ones used inside of vaccines.

Things to avoid: If sound antibiotic practices are your current jam, you’ll want to skip any mass-produced meat, milk, and dairy products that don’t specifically come with an “Antibiotics-Free” label. Sorry, but that yummy cup of Oikos probably originated in a cow crammed full of bovine growth hormone and antibiotics.

6. MSG

Not just a staple of your favorite Chinese food, MSG, (also known as monosodium glutamate; also also known as ‘that chemical that makes stuff taste real good’) is used as a stabilizer in many vaccines. It’s the molecule responsible for the the flavor umami, that meaty goodness that makes mushrooms and, well, meat taste so good. MSG is basically just a modded version of glutamate, one of the amino acids that makes up every protein in your body, and despite the bad reputation of ‘Chinese Food Syndrome’, it takes about five times more MSG to kill a lab rat than it does straight-up salt. Extrapolating to humans (which is a bit of a wild extrapolation, but it’s a fun one, so let’s go with it), it would take about two pounds of the stuff to kill someone my size, which I assume I could accomplish either by eating or by smothering myself with.

Things to avoid: Soy sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, Parmesan, and of course Chinese food.

I hope this list will help some anti-vaxxers figure out their footing at the grocery store, so that they can avoid all these terrible toxins (as well as all the inherent benefits that come along with consuming them in extremely miniscule amounts). And if you find your stomach growling, well – have you looked into breatharianism as a dietary option? It’s free, and best of all, it’s about equally as well supported by science as your anti-vaccine sentiments are.

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