Forget flu shots--you might volunteer to get sick when you hear about this one: Researchers say people who got the swine flu also got an immune system boost stronger than any vaccination.
Looks like sometimes the disease is the cure.
When researchers examined nine patients who caught the swine flu and recovered, they found five antibodies that can only be described as Super Flu Busters.
These antibodies were able to resist every single H1N1 flu strain that's appeared over the past decade--along with bird flu and even the deadly strain behind the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.
And, in case you're wondering, this generally doesn't happen to people who catch most flu strains... just the recent swine flu that had health officials pushing vaccines on everyone.
Looks like the folks who said no to the flu shot won this round, because the ones who got sick now have antibodies that are even stronger than the "best guess" flu vaccines developed each year.
They're called "best guess" shots because they're developed long before flu season actually begins by researchers trying to "guess" which strains will be dominant in the coming year.
But because it's just a guess, it's often wrong.
Naturally, the researchers aren't using their study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine to reverse years of vaccination advice and encourage people to try their luck out in the world.
Instead, they say they hope to turn those antibodies into the so-called "universal flu shot."
Good luck with that.
The fact is, swine flu wasn't nearly as rampant as the authorities wanted us to believe. For most of the people who did get it, it was a mild illness that came, went--and left behind some powerful antibodies.
Now, I know it might be tempting to try to get some of those antibodies for yourself, but don't hang around the doctor's office waiting for sick people to cough on you.
Instead, avoid illness in the first place by getting enough of the nutrients that can transform your own immune system into a virus-fighting fortress.
And you can start with vitamin D.
A study of Japanese schoolchildren published last year found that those who got 1,200 mg of vitamin D3 each day were three times less likely to get colds or the flu, and 58 percent less likely to get influenza A, than those given a placebo.
Work in vitamins A, C, and E and some fish oil, and then don't forget mom's advice: wash your hands before you eat.
You might not win any new antibodies by staying healthy... but you might not need them, either.