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Measles vaccinations & boosting immunity

With the UK Health Security Agency and World Health Organisation appealing to parents in the UK and Western Europe to vaccinate their children for measles, we share why we feel immunisation is important and look back in our newsletters for some tips to boost immunity to help fight infections.

New article and edited excerpts from various articles in Breakspear Medical Bulletin Issue 49:

Immunisation is important

Cases of measles are on the rise in the UK right now, particularly in the West Midlands and London.

At the start of 2024, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) declared a national incident, and urged parents to get their children vaccinated against measles, if they weren’t already.  The World Health Organization (WHO) also issued an urgent warning over the very large increase in measles cases across Europe.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly infectious disease which is caused by a virus. It is spread either through droplets or the air when an infected person breathes, sneezes or coughs. It can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).  It is currently estimated that in Western Europe, measles causes death in about 1 in 5000 cases.

Measles infection also damages and suppresses the whole immune system, so people who have had measles are more likely to catch other infectious diseases. This effect can last for as many as three years after they recover from measles.

Two doses of vaccine are highly effective in preventing infection. MMR vaccines are readily available through the NHS.  As an alternative to the MMR vaccine, Breakspear Medical offers single measles vaccinations and combined measles and rubella vaccines. (Visit Immunisations for more information.)

Boost your immune system

In addition to the various social distancing measures and getting a flu vaccination before the flu season, one should consider boosting one’s immune system to be able to cope better with any infection. It would be wise to improve one’s nutrition and supplement vitamins that are known to help fight off infections.

The Breakspear Medical Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) regime includes many supplements that help with infections. The key vitamins to boost the immune system are:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin B12
  • folinic acid
  • flavonoids

These vitamins are available over the counter and from Breakspear Medical’s online shop without a prescription. (More detail on the benefits of these vitamins and references are presented in the Breakspear Medical URTI paper, which is available upon request).

Increasing immunity with mushrooms

Natural killer (NK) cells are critical to the immune system. They provide rapid responses to viruses, bacteria and protozoa (single cell organisms, which can transmit fatal infectious diseases). Studies have shown that mushroom supplements can increase NK cell activity and increase white blood cells.

NK cells’ specific function is to kill infected and cancerous cells. Viruses lack the apparatus for self-renewal so it is essential for them to penetrate the cells of the infected host in order to take over its replicative machinery. It is clearly in the interest of the host to find a way to kill such infected cells before the virus has had a chance to reproduce. NK cells appear to do just that when studied in vitro.

The connection between mushroom nutrition and the immune system is developing and several studies have been published. Mushrooms contain immunostimulants (β-glucans, lipopolysaccharide, and polyinosinic: polycytidylic acid) that can strengthen and increase immune system activity.

Mycology Research Laboratories Ltd. (MRL) markets mushroom nutrition products that are cultivated in accordance with both the California Organic Food Act of 1990 and the EU organic regulation (EEC 2092/91). All MRL products are manufactured to food grade GMP standards in Holland.

In 2014,  a published trial demonstrated that Coriolus-MRL increases NK cell activity by 35% over six weeks in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

In 2013, John Tindall, Grazia Rotolo and Marikje Pfeiffer published a small study which showed that they were able to increase white blood cell count in HIV-positive patients with supplementation of Coriolus-MRL. White blood cells are the cells of the immune system that help to protect the body against infectious diseases and foreign invaders.

Medicinal mushrooms

Immune support  
Cardiac support?
Lowers blood
Lowers cholesterol

Providing top quality supplements

Our online shop provides all the high quality supplements to help fight infections.  For a complete list of the recommended products to help boost immunity, visit: supplements to help fight winter infections.

Breakspear Medical’s online shop also offers a variety of MRL mushroom products.



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