Category Archives: COVID19

COVID 19: Masks and Distance not enough, where we have faltered and failed

  1. Test
  2. Trace
  3. Isolate

That is where we have failed. Those countries that rapidly instituted masks, social distance, frequent hand washing, PLUS Test/Trace/Isolate succeeded in limiting the speed of spread, protected the Medical Care (hospital) system from being over-run, and protected it’s citizens and economy. Those countries bought time to learn enough about the virus to lower the mortality rates by developing treatments that decrease risk of death AND probably disability and to ramp up the hospital care system and PPE.

The US has failed to meet the challenge.

Death may not be the worst outcome, depending on one’s views relative to the balance between longevity and quality of life. Chronic disability (such as congestive heart failure, severe pulmonary insufficiency, kidney failure requiring dialysis, stroke, etc.) can be lifelong and devastating following this infection. Some may consider that shortness of breath after walking 100 feet, requiring a rest before moving on, or kidney dialysis 3 times per week the price one must pay to survive a serious infection. Others may think this sort of severe disability is not acceptable. Many in our society are clueless about these potential outcomes (usually that means they are in denial, a very common defense mechanism used to deal with a terrible threat).

This did not have to be our present state, but it is.

In December US intelligence agencies (including the CIA) and the US military intelligence were already issuing reports about an emerging deadly respiratory virus in China. This went up the chain of command but was ignored by the Whitehouse. In January, Doctor Fauci, at the annual BIOTHREATS CONFERENCE in Washington DC, announced to the bio-tech industry representatives in attendance that this virus was already “beyond containment” and stated that aggressive biomedical development (drugs, vaccines, etc.) would be required. He told attendees that the NIH would “find the money” to support these efforts and that this was a national and global emergency.

Undoubtedly, this was reported to the Whitehouse. These early warnings were not only ignored, they were also widely denied publicly by our highest public official. (The warnings issued in senatorial and congressional committee meetings however, prompted many privileged senators and congress people to sell pandemic-sensitive stocks very early in the “denial phase”).

It is clear that masks and social distancing are effective in limiting spread. Super-spreader cases, case studies of spread in restaurants (China) , call centers (South Korea), and choir rehearsals (Washington State) suggest that both droplet and aerosol transmission occur in non-medical procedure settings.

We already knew that aerosol spread occurred in operating rooms when nasopharyngeal surgery and similar aerosol generating medical procedures were performed. In one operating room event, all 11 doctors and nurses who spent any amount of time in that operating room (despite everyone wearing N95 masks) became infected and the surgeon died from the infection (he had the most exposure). This was reported early on documenting aerosol spread in medical settings.

For those who have not read my previous discussion of aerosol vs droplet spread:

Aerosol = very small lighter-than-air particles containing infectious virus that float in the air and can be recirculated through air-conditioning vents or linger suspended in the air, especially indoors where the air is still.

Droplets = larger particles that fall quickly onto surfaces but can also with a cough, sneeze, scream or singing be transmitted to someone in very close proximity before falling .

Then we learned that carriers/transmitters of the virus can either remain completely without symptoms or develop symptoms as late as 10 days after initial exposure, all the while transmitting the virus to others around them. Assymptomatic transmission makes COVID 19 different from and more dangerous than most other viruses that infect humans.

Let me say that again.

Aerosol transmission makes this virus more dangerous than most other viruses.

Asymptomatic transmission makes this virus more dangerous than most other viruses.

And finally we have learned that this virus is more lethal than most other viruses. For example, COVID 19 is 25 times more lethal than the H1N1 influenza pandemic (references provided in previous post).

https://practical-evolutionary-health.com/2020/07/12/covid-19-update-what-have-we-learned/

To summarize, the combination of easy transmission, asymptomatic transmission, and high mortality rate make this virus exceptionally dangerous and difficult to control.

How did the US respond?

Instead of rapidly ramping up PPE, testing, tracing, and isolation public health capability we instead had national leadership that said this was just like “another flu” virus and would “go away”. The narrative constantly shifted, but more importantly, effective action was not taken, and still has not been taken.

Testing remains woefully inadequate.

In many areas of our country it can take 5 days to schedule a test and 10 days to get the results. Such tests are useless. To effectively implement TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE we need rapid and widespread testing, rapid reporting, and a system to then trace contacts and isolate infected and exposed individuals. The US still shamefully lacks these essential services.

John’s Hopkins University early on developed an on-line contact tracing training program. But public funding to hire such trained individuals has been inadequate.

Isolation requires facilities in which exposed or infected individuals have their own bathroom and bedroom, have food provided, and are medically supervised until they are no longer infectious.

The US does not have such facilities. Individuals, unless they are financially very secure, do not have access to a home or other environment where this is possible. Worse, those essential workers (meat packers, food delivery, nursing aids, etc.) who earn the least, usually live in cramped housing conditions with multi-generation households in which isolation is impossible. Such individuals often live from paycheck to paycheck, so staying home from work means the family does not eat or the rent is not paid. So they go to work infecting others.

The result has been not just death and disability but horrible economic consequences.

Our shutdowns could have been shorter had we acted quickly and effectively.

Had we responded rapidly and appropriately, we would not be in our present economic predicament. So ironically and tragically, those that complain that shutdowns “were not necessary” and masks “are not necessary” contribute to the worsening economic consequences. As the virus surges following relaxation of restrictions, further restrictions and economic consequences become necessary.

Compounding this situation is the denial on the part of many individuals regarding the science and facts about this virus. Part of this denial is the result of our con-artist in chief, (and some governors) misrepresenting the facts to the public and displaying inappropriate behavior (such as refusal to wear a mask until most recently).

The other component of this denial is based on the natural tendency of humans to ignore data that is threatening and not consistent with personal ideology and beliefs. Beliefs such as “the government lies, the government is not to be trusted, the government cannot tell me what to do” presents obstacles to social behavior that would protect not just oneself and family, but the community (and economy) in general.

Contact tracers have reported that sometimes people hang up on them, refuse to cooperate, sometimes saying that it is an “invasion of privacy” or a “government hoax”.

Such beliefs and behaviors are encouraged by misinformation in the social media, shock-jocks such as Rush Limbaugh, conspiracy theories, and supported by dangerous politicians who have placed party over country, ideology over science, the next election over the good of the country.

The best way to mitigate the dire health and ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES of this pandemic include all those components that have worked in other countries:

  • MASKS4ALL
  • SOCIAL DISTANCE
  • FREQUENT HAND WASHING
  • SOCIAL BUBBLE

TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE

This is a sad state. In the meantime what can you do?

In the context of the COVID 19 pandemic I will close with the usual summary.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.
  9. Eliminate refined-inflammatory “vegetable oils” from your diet, instead eat healthy fat.
  10. Clean up your home environment and minimize your family’s exposure to environmental toxins by following recommendations at EWG.org with regards to household products, personal care products, and organic foods. (https://www.ewg.org/)

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

COVID 19: Can you get it twice?

There have been some case reports of individuals who have developed symptomatic COVID-19, tested positive, then negative, then several weeks later positive again. Does this mean they were re-infected? Probably not (but we are not certain).

For a great, short interview on science Friday that addresses this topic listen here.

https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/coronavirus-antibodies/

This is an interview with Columbia University Virologist Angela Rasmussen.

Quick summary:

Some studies have demonstrated that “neutralizing antibodies” initially detected in recovered COVID 19 patients can disappear (not measurable) after several weeks. But this does not mean those patients do not have immunity.

The immune response involves several cell types including B memory cells, T memory cells, and T helper cells. When a previously infected patient no longer has detectable antibodies they can still have memory cells of both types as well as T helper cells. When challenged (exposed) to the virus again those memory cells can become activated. They can then proliferate and respond to the virus. The B memory cells produce antibodies and the T memory cells become “killer cells” which can kill infected cells, stopping replication of the virus and controlling infection.

A T helper cell is a type of immune cell that stimulates killer T cells, macrophages, and B cells to make immune responses. A helper T cell is a type of white blood cell and a type of lymphocyte. Also called CD4-positive T lymphocyte.

A study in South Korea looked at 300 patients who were infected, cleared the virus (symptoms resolved and PCR test turned negative) but then subsequently tested positive again (nasal PCR). All of the contacts for these patients were traced and there was no evidence of virus transmission from any of the 300 patients, suggesting that the positive PCR nasal swab represented non-infectious residual virus remnant particles. In addition, cell culture tests in all of these patients was negative for infectious virus, further pointing to false positive repeat tests in all 300 patients.

One study found that some patients with no symptoms of Covid-19 had T-cells that recognized the virus — even when they had no detectable antibodies. 

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells will likely prove critical for long-term immune protection against COVID-19. We systematically mapped the functional and phenotypic landscape of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses in a large cohort of unexposed individuals as well as exposed family members and individuals with acute or convalescent COVID-19. Acute phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells displayed a highly activated cytotoxic phenotype that correlated with various clinical markers of disease severity, whereas convalescent phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were polyfunctional and displayed a stem-like memory phenotype. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detectable in antibody-seronegative family members and individuals with a history of asymptomatic or mild COVID-19. Our collective dataset shows that SARS-CoV-2 elicits robust memory T cell responses akin to those observed in the context of successful vaccines, suggesting that natural exposure or infection may prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19 also in seronegative individuals.

The last sentence is good news, supporting immunity after infection or exposure with COVID-19 specific memory T cells in the absence of measurable antibodies. Future studies will tell us more about whether the presence of these T cells can prevent re-infection or at least limit the degree of illness.

There is also the possibility that there is some cross reactivity between one of the four common cold Corona viruses and the COVID 19 virus, as suggested by the low incidence of COVID 19 infection on an Island off the coast of Tuscany despite infected travelers from the mainland bringing the virus across to the island. The previous year the island had experienced a particularly bad bout of the common cold.

Another study of COVID-19 specific T cells in Sweden has recently supported sustained memory T cells in previously infected patients and their contacts in the absence of antibodies . It also demonstrated antibodies against COVID 19 in unexposed individuals suggesting cross reactive antibodies from previous infection with other corona viruses.

Targets of T Cell Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus in Humans with COVID-19 Disease and Unexposed Individuals

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867420306103?via%3Dihub

Using HLA class I and II predicted peptide “megapools,” circulating SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells were identified in ∼70% and 100% of COVID-19 convalescent patients, respectively. CD4+ T cell responses to spike, the main target of most vaccine efforts, were robust and correlated with the magnitude of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA titers. The M, spike, and N proteins each accounted for 11%–27% of the total CD4+ response, with additional responses commonly targeting nsp3, nsp4, ORF3a, and ORF8, among others. For CD8+ T cells, spike and M were recognized, with at least eight SARS-CoV-2 ORFs targeted. Importantly, we detected SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ T cells in ∼40%–60% of unexposed individuals, suggesting cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating “common cold” coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.”

There is much more to learn about this novel virus. Because of it’s high lethal rate (25 times greater than the previous H1N1 flu virus pandemic) and it’s greater transmission capability (from asymptomatic as well as symptomatic patients, both droplet and aerosol transmission) intensive and unprecedented research efforts are being made.

There are 100 different vaccines under early study. Two vaccines (Oxford University and Moderna) have completed phase 1/2 and phase 1 studies respectively, demonstrating safety and anti-body responses. Phase 3 studies will determine whether and how effective they might be and provide more data on safety.

In the context of the COVID 19 pandemic I will close with the usual summary.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.
  9. Eliminate refined-inflammatory “vegetable oils” from your diet, instead eat healthy fat.
  10. Clean up your home environment and minimize your family’s exposure to environmental toxins by following recommendations at EWG.org with regards to household products, personal care products, and organic foods. (https://www.ewg.org/)

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

Three Major Threats to Global Health

Our world faces three major threats.

  1. Global Warming
  2. Daily loss of nutrient rich top soil with desertification of arable land
  3. COVID-19 pandemic

The first two threats are intimately related to each other. As the climate and our oceans warm and seas rise, the ecologic and economic consequences will be profound. Species are threatened and become extinct, biodiversity which sustains the global ecology and global economy diminishes on a daily basis. Loss of trees and native plants accelerates global warming. Melting of the polar ice caps and mountain glaciers results in less reflectance of solar energy back into space and more absorption of solar energy by the planet, producing a positive feedback loop that is cooking our planet.

Warming climate combined with loss of habitat (especially loss of rainforests) has produced a non-sustainable advance that has already caused tens of thousands of insect species to become extinct. Loss of insects, at the base of the food chain, and loss of essential microbes in our soil, threaten all species on earth, including humans.

Mono-agriculture has produced quantitative and qualitative loss of topsoil and arable land. Soil is a living organism. Arable land requires not just nutrient rich topsoil but also a diverse abundance of microorganisms that support agriculture, native plants, and the entire food chain. Ditto the effects on the health of our oceans, seas, rivers, streams and lakes.

There has been a pseudo-scientific movement away from raising animals as a food source. We have been told that only a vegetarian or vegan diet can sustain the planet. Nothing can be further from the truth!

Creation rather than destruction of arable land requires animal waste. Feeding the world with health-supporting food will require animal and plant foods. Sustainable agriculture requires animals and their poop.

To be blunt, the future of the world’s food supply and arable fertile land depends upon the poop of wild and domestic animals, the elimination of Monoagriculture, GMOs, Roundup-ready crops, and deforestation as well as addressing the threat of global warming.

How many news headlines, films, books and friends of yours say that beef is the unhealthiest and environmentally destructive foods you could be eating? Have you cut down on your meat consumption or feel frustrated about the vilification of meat, something humans have eaten for millions of years?

The most pivotal food and environment book of 2020 is coming soon!

My friends Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf have been trying to get the word out for years about the importance of sustainability when it comes to diet, and have just finished a new book (due out July 14) and documentary film (slated for Fall release) that addresses this complex, yet critically important topic.

What is Sacred Cow? 

Beef is framed as the most environmentally destructive and least healthy of foods, but while many argue that greatly reducing, or even eliminating it from our diets, Sacred Cow takes a more critical look at the assumptions and misinformation presented about meat – and has the science to back it up!

Where can you get it? 

Sacred Cow is available now for pre-order everywhere books are sold. They’re also offering over $200 in pre-order incentives, including a free sneak peek preview link to the film Sacred Cow! Click here for more info.

After spending years analyzing the science, the book presents a solid case that: 

  • Meat and animal fat are essential for our bodies 
  • A sustainable food system cannot exist without animals 
  • A vegan diet may destroy more life than sustainable cattle farming 
  • Regenerative cattle ranching is one of our best tools at mitigating climate change 

Sacred Cow proposes a new way to look at sustainable diets. The book takes a deep dive into the nutritional claims against meat, why cattle raised well are actually good for the environment, and address the ethical considerations surrounding killing animals for food. The truth is, you cannot have life without death, and eliminating animals from our food system could cause more harm than good.  

But even if this way of raising animals is better than our current system, surely you can’t feed the world this way, right? Yep, they tackle that too!

Order it today and get all of your questions about the impacts of eating and raising meat answered in one place.   

Have a great week! 

PS – Don’t forget to order Sacred Cow today to take advantage of their valuable pre-order incentives and the preview link to the film. Receipts must be submitted to sacredcow.info/book by July 14th!

In the context of the COVID 19 pandemic I will close with the usual summary.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.
  9. Eliminate refined-inflammatory “vegetable oils” from your diet, instead eat healthy fat.
  10. Clean up your home environment and minimize your family’s exposure to environmental toxins by following recommendations at EWG.org with regards to household products, personal care products, and organic foods. (https://www.ewg.org/)

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

COVID 19 UPDATE: What have we learned?

I was recently interviewed by a health blogger, Dmitri Konash, with specific questions about COVID 19. The podcast link is below.

Here are the questions and answer notes from the podcast.

QUESTION #1: It has been almost 4 months since Covid19 was declared a global pandemic. What are the main things which we have learned about the virus over these 4 months?

Very contagious, spread by droplet AND aerosol as well as fomites (CLOTHING, surfaces, pillows, blankets, etc). Aerosols are tiny particles suspended in the air for hours following a sneeze or cough or possibly yelling or singing. Droplets are larger particles that fall to the ground or onto surfaces. Depending on the surface the virus can remain infectious for up to 72 hours following droplet spread.

Individuals without symptoms can transmit disease (unlike most viruses) so this in combination with degree of contagion is very dangerous.

The average time from exposure to develop symptoms is 5 DAYS, 97.5% of people who develop symptoms do so within 11.5 days.

Some individuals never develop symptoms but can transmit disease for 2 or more weeks.

Infected individuals can carry the virus for up to 36 days (but we do not know how long an individual can transmit the disease) Average time to clear the virus is 14 days. (nasal PCR test)

Cough and sneeze can project 26 feet through the air, that is why masks can decrease risk but decreasing projection distance and viral load.

Masks Work, they decrease risk of disease transmission and probably decrease viral load, so if transmitted the recipient is probably less likely to develop severe complications (not proven but likely true).

Most infections are transmitted in closed spaces where many people are congregated and socializing such as parties, social gatherings, meetings, bars and restaurants.

Outdoor activity is safer.

The longer the contact between individuals the greater the risk.

The closer the contact the greater the risk.

Anyone can die from the virus but risk increases with age, diabetes, pre-diabetes, obesity, heart and lung disease, immune-compromise.

Any organ can be affected, lungs, brain, heart, kidneys, blood vessels.

Hyper-coaguable state can cause blood clots in the legs, lungs, heart and brain, any organ.

After recovering from infection individuals can suffer permanent damage to these organs.

We do not know how many people who recover will be immune or how long immunity could last. Already one case of re-infection has been reported.

The infection fatality rate (IFR) for COVID-19 IS 25 times greater than the H1N1 FLU pandemic.

A recent analysis comparing the 2009 H1N1 influenza A pandemic to COVID 19 suggested this:

 Case Fatality RateInfection Fatality Rate
2009 H1N1 Virus (flu)0.1% to 0.2%0.02%
COVID-19 New York8%0.50%
CFR is # deaths/#cases identified by nasal PCR, IFR is # deaths/actual # cases in a given population, estimated by antibody testing of a large population

For a discussion on the difference between CFR (case fatality rate) and IFR (infection fatality rate) see my previous post.

https://practical-evolutionary-health.com/2020/04/25/stanford-study-on-santa-clara-county-very-questionable-conclusions/

QUESTION #2: We reached the new high of newly diagnosed cases on June 28th. It looks like the virus is not subsiding. What is the status re drug and vaccine development?

Vaccine will likely take at least a year to develop, test, then manufacture and distribute.

Initially most vulnerable will probably take priority for vaccination. Massive vaccination will take longer.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A SUCCESSFUL CORONA VIRUS Vaccine. There are many corona viruses. They mutate quickly and a vaccine that works initially may become ineffective if/when new strains emerge.

Decadron (dexamethasone) IV decreases mortality rates in very sick patients.

Remdesivir shortens illness and might decrease mortality rate (the reduction compared to placebo fell short of statistical significance, p=0.059, cut-off for statistical significance is usually P=0.050)

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have failed to show any benefit. A prevention trial remains underway.

There is no “cure”, just risk reduction.

QUESTION #3: What are the latest recommendations on prevention?

Social distance

Mask

Frequent hand washing

Get adequate sleep, sleep deprivation impairs immunity

Avoid alcohol which suppresses the immune system.

Get sunshine (vitamin D)

Develop a social “bubble”, limit contacts to close, reliable (responsible behavior) individuals

Exercise out of doors.

If overweight or obese, LOSE WEIGHT (Low Carb High Fat diet is MOST EFFECTIVE in combination with time restricted eating)

IF diabetes or pre-diabetes, carbohydrate restriction can rapidly achieve better blood sugar control, which is linked to risk reduction. Regular exercise can also improve insulin sensitivity, as can improved sleep habits.

QUESTION #4: There was some information recently about potential long-term impact on vital body organs for patients who had only mild symptoms. What actions do people who were tested positive for COVID19 should take to minimize long term impact to their health?

Follow general principles of healthy living (visit my website)

Sleep

Nutrition-anti-inflammatory diet

Exercise

Sunshine

Stress reduction

Social-community support

Minimize environmental toxin exposure (organic foods, safe personal and home-care products, visit EWG.org)

QUESTION #5: What actions should be taken by people who have been tested negative for COVID19 ? 

Same answer as question #4 above, lifestyle changes to enhance immune function and reduce systemic inflammation.

On July 10, a review article on COVID 19 was published in JAMA.

Pathophysiology, Transmission, Diagnosis, and Treatment
of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19
)

Here is the link.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2768391

The case-fatality rate for COVID-19 varies markedly by age, ranging from 0.3 deaths per 1000 cases among patients aged 5 to 17 years to 304.9 deaths per 1000 cases among patients aged 85 years or older in the US. Among patients hospitalized in the intensive care unit, the case fatality is up to 40%

And here is a link to the JAMA patient information page for COVID 19.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2768390

In the context of the COVID 19 pandemic I will close with the usual summary.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.
  9. Eliminate refined-inflammatory “vegetable oils” from your diet, instead eat healthy fat.
  10. Clean up your home environment and minimize your family’s exposure to environmental toxins by following recommendations at EWG.org with regards to household products, personal care products, and organic foods. (https://www.ewg.org/)

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

USDA Dietary Guidelines Flawed

The NUTRITION COALITION is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing science to dietary recommendations in the US. The COALITION recently called upon the USDA to hold off on publishing it’s updated Dietary Guidelines for US Citizens because of reported improprieties in the process of scientific review.

https://www.nutritioncoalition.us/news/usda-members-blow-whistle-flaws-in-process

The guidelines since their inception have been biased and flawed, ignoring much of the dissenting scientific opinion in testimony before the committee and cherry picking studies without a balanced approach to the scientific literature.

The confluence of the Covid-19 pandemic with the epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the US have created a perfect public health storm, as discussed in my last post. The USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee chose to ignore more than 50 studies that confirm the benefits of a Very Low Carbohydrate nutritional approach to address obesity and diabetes.

Because of the importance of the guidelines influencing US dietary choices in the context of COVID-19 I have copied the informative letter from the NUTRITION COALITION below. There is a link in the letter that will allow you to send emails to your senators, congressman, and the Secretary of Agriculture, supporting the recommendations of the NUTRITION COALITION.

Here is the letter.

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

In a remarkable development, one or more member(s) of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently came forth and blew the whistle, identifying serious flaws in the Dietary Guidelines process. I write to you today to ask that you contribute your voice to our effort to have these allegations taken seriously by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services (USDA-HHS). We are specifically asking these federal agencies to delay the Committee’s report, which is due out in just a matter of weeks, until the allegations can be investigated and addressed.  

The Dietary Guidelines are considered the “gold standard” of science and are a powerful lever on government feeding programs, military rations, professional medical associations, and much more—including nutrition guidelines around the world. It is imperative that they be based on good science.  

However, the current 2020 process is clearly flawed. We know, for instance, that almost all studies on weight loss have been excluded from consideration. We also know that virtually all studies on carbohydrate restriction have been excluded. Some USDA reviews of the science include the science only up to 2016, despite a Congressional mandate that the Dietary Guidelines include a comprehensive review of the science “that is current at the time.” It’s clear that the expert committee, in addition to excluding crucial science, has not been given enough time to do its work and has, essentially, had to cut corners.  

Moreover, the Advisory Committee, in its draft conclusions, indicated that the cap on saturated fats is likely to stay firmly in place. The evidence linking saturated fats to heart disease was judged to be “strong,” not only for adults, but also, for the first time, children. Yet scientific justification for a continuation of these caps is lacking, and the Subcommittee presented weak evidence to make its case. The past decade has seen a thorough reconsideration of saturated fats, and now, there are close to 20 review papers reexamining the evidence—which have near-universally concluded that saturated fats have no effect on cardiovascular or total mortality.  

Delaying the report will give time for a thorough investigation into these allegations. 

By signing this letter, you are helping to push for Dietary Guidelines that are based on a comprehensive review of the science and are therefore more likely to help the public regain its health. Thank you for any contribution to this effort!  

Click here to sign a physicians’ letter of support. In addition, it would be extremely helpful if you could also take time here to contact your representatives in Congress and let them know the importance of getting the Guidelines right. As an expert in the field, your voice will be able to resonate more than most, I hope you will take some time to try to help generate change to our far-reaching nutrition policy. 

Thank you,  

Nina Teicholz 

Executive Director 

The Nutrition Coalition  

Read more about the allegations in our press release and letter to USDA-HHS. 

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

COVID-19, Lifestyle interventions more effective than drugs.

So far drug intervention trials for treating COVID-19 have been disappointing. No studies have shown benefit for hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin. This topic has been covered in previous posts. Remdesivir has been FDA approved based upon one study that showed reduction in duration of symptoms. The mortality rate with Remdesivir, however, did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference when compared to “usual care”. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/news-events/nih-clinical-trial-shows-remdesivir-accelerates-recovery-advanced-covid-19

Another study published in Lancet failed to show any clinical benefit from Remdesivir.

“No statistically significant benefits were observed for remdesivir treatment beyond those of standard of care treatment. Our trial did not attain the predetermined sample size because the outbreak of COVID-19 was brought under control in China. Future studies of remdesivir, including earlier treatment in patients with COVID-19 and higher-dose regimens or in combination with other antivirals or SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies in those with severe COVID-19 are needed to better understand its potential effectiveness.”

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31022-9/fulltext

But we do know that certain underlying conditions such as obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes (insulin resistance) and hypertension significantly increase risk of DEATH AND COMPLICATIONS with COVID-19. Since there are lifestyle interventions that can quickly and effectively mitigate these problems (diet, exercise, sleep, stress reduction….) now would seem like a good time to take our epidemics of obesity and diabetes in hand with aggressive lifestyle interventions to decrease the mortality rate of COVID-19 infection. Such measures do not require expensive drugs or expensive drug trials, they simply require knowledge, guidelines and the will to implement change in our daily habits. Yet there has been little discussion about this in the media or on the part of public health officials.

Lets look at obesity in the US.

From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity increased from

30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.

The most effective tool for addressing obesity and diabetes is a very low carbohydrate diet.

Effects of the Low Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet on Glycemic Control and Body Weight in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: Experience From a Community-Based Cohort

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32193200/

This study was a done in a community-based program, not an academic practice setting. That is significant since it demonstrates feasibility outside of academic centers with standard community resources. The results of this study confirmed the results of many previous studies done in academic settings including better blood sugar control, reduction or elimination of diabetic medications, and significant weight loss.

All patients following the LCHF diet who initially took
insulin had either a reduction or discontinuation of
this therapy by their healthcare provider when clinically
indicated, compared with less than a quarter of
those receiving usual care.

In another study done in Italy, significant weight reduction (7 kg), waistline reduction (7 cm.), fat mass reduction (3.8%) and systolic blood pressure reduction (10.5 mmHg) were achieved in 3 months with a Very Low Carbohydrate diet.

Middle and Long-Term Impact of a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet on Cardiometabolic Factors: A Multi-Center, Cross-Sectional, Clinical Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25986079/

Nina Teicholz had an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal on May 30, discussing the USDA dietary guidelines that have largely ignored a massive body of evidence supporting a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet for obesity and diabetes. She cites many studies that have been ignored by the USDA dietary guidelines committee. Here is here opening statement.

“Americans with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related diseases are about three times more likely to suffer worsened outcomes from Covid-19, including death. Had we flattened the still-rising curves of these conditions, it’s quite possible that our fight against the virus would today look very different.”

You can read the full article here:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-low-carb-strategy-for-fighting-the-pandemics-toll-11590811260

But think about that simple statement, THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER WORSENED OUTCOMES FROM COVID-19. Yet these conditions are highly responsive to lifestyle interventions that not only mitigate obesity, insulin resistance and high blood pressure, but also enhance immune function.

More from Teicholz’s opinion piece:

Other studies have found that dietary changes can rapidly and substantially improve cardiovascular risk factors, including conditions like hypertension that are major risk factors for worsened Covid-19 outcomes. A 2011 study in the journal Obesity on 300 clinic patients eating a very low-carbohydrate diet saw blood pressure quickly drop and remain low for years. And a 2014 trial on 148 subjects, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found a low-carb diet to be “more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction” than a low-fat control diet at the end of the 1-year experiment.

In a recent letter to the editor published in the journal METABOLISM, Dr. Casey Means points out:

A diagnosis of diabetes has been a key indicator of the severity of
COVID-19, and in this regard, the virus has relentlessly highlighted our
global Achilles heel of metabolic dysfunction, and points to a prime opportunity
to fight back.
That fight, however, is not going to be won with Clorox, Purell,
masks, or anti-IL-6 drugs. The fight will only be won through a serious
commitment to improving everyone’s foundational metabolic health,
starting with the lowest hanging evidence-based fruit: dietary and lifestyle
interventions.

Read the full letter here: https://www.metabolismjournal.com/article/S0026-0495(20)30118-9/pdf

In 2 pages the letter describes multiple benefits of better glucose control relative to COVID -19 infection and the immune system as well as reduction of factors that lead to cytokine storm (terminal event for many COVID-19 patients). The letter also discusses the benefit of reducing environmental toxins (discussed in previous posts about COVID-19 and other health problems) that would likely benefit COVID-19 patients.

Research published April 18th, 2020 found that patients exposed to
highest amount of environmental nitrogen dioxide (NO2) had increased
risk of death fromCOVID-19, and that long-term exposure to this pollutant
may be one of the most important contributors to fatality by
compounding lung inflammation [20].

Minimizing exposure to environmental
pollutants may serve a role in quelling the underlying pro-inflammatory
state that characterizes metabolic disease and COVID-19 associated
cytokine storms
.

Other environmental toxins, including persistent organic pollutants
(POPs) found in air, water, and food generated from pesticides
and industrial chemicals, are also strongly implicated in the pathogenesis
of metabolic syndrome; promoting “clean living,” toxin-avoidant
strategies for patients as simple as emphasizing organic foods, home
air purification, and non-toxic home supplies could be considered, although
the clinical utility of these measures in the acute setting is unknown
[21].

In discussing the white elephant in the room he states:

What is starkly missing is the clear, simple, and strong recommendation for no added
sugar or ultra-refined carbohydrates, both of which are known drivers
of postprandial hyperglycemia and inflammation. As a medical community, we must not miss the opportunity to serve patients with straightforward, evidence-based nutritional and lifestyle strategies to assist in glycemic control.

I would encourage you to follow the link and read the 2 pages supported by multiple peer-reviewed references.

Evidence based nutritional and lifestyle strategies, so often discussed on this website include:

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.
  9. Clean up your home environment and minimize your family’s exposure to environmental toxins by following recommendations at EWG.org with regards to household products, personal care products, and organic foods. (https://www.ewg.org/)

If you have obesity, diabetes or pre-diabetes the Very Low Carbohydrate version of the anti-inflammatory diet linked above would be the fastest and most effective intervention you can immediately employ to reduce your risk of succumbing to COVID-19. (Of course wear a mask, follow good hygiene with hand-washing frequently, and practice social distancing)

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

COVID-19: Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine, BAD NEWS.

The most comprehensive study on the use of these 2 drugs, including 96,032 patients in multiple hospitals and multiple countries shows increased risk of death with either of these two drugs in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. This was a retrospective study but offers the most amount of data to date on the issue of clinical efficacy and risk. You can read the full article https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31180-6/fulltext.

TreatmentDeath rateventricular arrhythmia
No drug9.30%0.30%
Hydroxychloroquine18%6.10%
Hydroxychloroquine plus Macrolide23.80%8.10%
Chloroquine16.40%4.30%
Chloroquine plus Macrolide22.20%6.50%
Macrolide is an antibiotic like Zithromax.
Differences between no drug and all drug treatment categories statistically significant.

This was not a randomized prospective controlled clinical trial. However the data were adjusted for:

age, sex, race or ethnicity, body-mass index, underlying cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, diabetes, underlying lung disease, smoking, immunosuppressed condition, and baseline disease severity.

So far it is the best information we have available.

There have been many physicians who have supported the use of these drugs without randomized controlled trials based on anecdotal reports in the medical literature. Given the desparate situation without a known effective drug that is understandable.

The authors note:

The absence of an effective treatment against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has led clinicians to redirect drugs that are known to be effective for other medical conditions to the treatment of COVID-19. Key among these repurposed therapeutic agents are the antimalarial drug chloroquine and its analogue hydroxychloroquine, which is used for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

However, the use of this class of drugs for COVID-19 is based on a small number of anecdotal experiences that have shown variable responses in uncontrolled observational analyses, and small, open-label, randomised trials that have largely been inconclusive.

 The combination of hydroxychloroquine with a second-generation macrolide, such as azithromycin (or clarithromycin), has also been advocated, despite limited evidence for its effectiveness.

This study is an important milestone, disappointing but illustrative of a common phenomenon in medicine.

Previous warnings about potential lethal heart rhythm issues were viewed with skepticism by armchair pundits claiming that there was not much data on sudden death related to use of these widely used drugs. Those pundits failed to understand that sudden death caused by prolonged QT interval (effect of these and many other drugs) cannot be diagnosed without an EKG during the event. When this occurs outside the hospital setting, or even in the hospital without a continuous EKG monitor on the patient, it goes unrecognized.

An important dictum in medicine is “first do no harm” (primum non nocere).

In the meantime, we do know what reduces risk:

Test/Trace/Isolate, social distance, MASKS4ALL, wash hands frequently, disinfect surfaces, show consideration for others. To understand why and how these measures can make a big difference you can go to this website. https://www.erinbromage.com/

In addition you can read a great article about the same topic here. https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/amid-the-coronavirus-crisis-a-regimen-for-reentry

I will close with the sermon on lifestyle and COVID-19.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. You must follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

COVID-19 Sweden vs Other Countries

5/21/2020 deaths/ million 7 day running average doubling time
cumulative deaths/million/day days
SWEDEN 379 3.3 46
Norway 43.6 0.13 241
Finland 54.9 0.52 138
Denmark 95.6 0.49 120
USA 282 4.02 49
NZ 4.3 0 598
stay home test-trace leadership
isolate example
SWEDEN no yes ?
Norway yes yes good
Finland yes yes good
Denmark yes yes good
USA late/variable POOR poor
New Zealand yes excellent excellent

Sweden was a source of controversy for the choice against instituting a stay-home policy. As you compare Sweden with other Scandinavian countries above you will see a dramatic difference in deaths per million (cumulative), running 7 day average deaths per million per day, and doubling time. The higher the doubling time (in days) the more a country has slowed the spread. New Zealand is the obvious winner. Early and aggressive action, effective test/trace/isolate, excellent leadership and example by the president are the hallmarks of success in New Zealand. Of course New Zealand is a small island with minimal international business and tourism so the comparison is not fair. HOWEVER, their success and strategy are obvious.

The US failed (and continues to fail) on test/trace/isolate despite the bluster and misrepresentations from the Whitehouse. California and Washington instituted early measures with respect to stay-home but without adequate test kits all of US states have been unable to execute the test/trace/isolate strategy proven effective in other countries. President Trump promised California 100,000 nasal swabs per week three weeks ago. They have not arrived. (California Department of Public Health)

Thus comparing USA to Sweden we see that with adequate social distancing, test/trace/isolate, Sweden did almost as well (or as poorly) as the US where stay at home was employed on a variable time line and to different degrees between the states.

You can review worldwide data, download spreadsheets, choose countries for comparison here.

Test/Trace/Isolate + Social distance + Masks4all + cooperation = SUCCESS

Had the US responded early and effectively, stay-home could have ended very quickly and safely with much less economic disruption.

Poor Management = inadequate Test/Trace/Isolate and other measures.

The New England Journal of Medicine published an article discussing the failure of the
USA relative to Test/Trace/Isolate.

Failing the Test — The Tragic Data Gap Undermining the U.S. Pandemic Response

 

The importance of  Reviving the US CDC after annual cuts by the Trump Administration is discussed here.

On March 25 the NEJM published an editorial on responding to the pandemic.

We did not follow the recommendations.

The AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, a conservative think-tank, published a comprehensive Roadmap to Reopening.

Unfortunately we have not followed that roadmap.

So boost your immune system and meet the challenge with your personal behavior. Be smart.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. You must follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

 

COVID-19: ARDS, CYTOKINE STORM, and GLUTATHIONE

My good friend Dr. Deborah Gordon recently sent me a terrific article on an Integrative Medicine Approach to Covid-19. It confirmed much of what I have discussed about COVID-19 and provides 383 scientific references (many of which were cited in my previous posts). Thank you Dr. Deborah!

In my last post I promised to write about glutathione and cytokine storm.

Cytokines are proteins made by our immune system. When our body suffers an infection, cytokines act as essential signaling proteins that produce a defensive inflammatory response. In a cytokine storm the usual regulatory process that helps resolve inflammation becomes disturbed and self destruction can occur.

With COVID-19 this can happen in any organ of the body but frequently starts in the lungs, resulting in ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).

In most clinical contexts the mortality rate of ARDS is 40-45%. In the context of COVID-19 it is 80-90 % lethal in most clinical reports (twice the usual mortality rate for ARDS). However, the ICU doctors in the Northwell Hospital system in NYC have been using NAC (n-Acetylcysteine).

While using NAC as part of their treatment protocol of COVID-19 associated ARDS, they are getting 50% of patients off the ventilator with a significant reduction in mortality rates compared to previous reports (personal communication with a Northwell physician and also mentioned in the Review Article cited above.)

This drug (also available as a dietary supplement) has been used for decades to treat acetaminophen (APAP) overdose (Tylenol brand name, also called paracetamol in Europe). If not treated early APAP overdose commonly causes death from liver failure.

Chronic acetaminophen toxicity is the most common cause of liver failure leading to liver transplant in the US.

How does this treatment  with NAC work in the setting of APAP overdose?

“When paracetamol is taken in large quantities, a minor metabolite called N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI) accumulates within the body. It is normally conjugated by glutathione, but when taken in excess, the body’s glutathione reserves are not sufficient to deactivate the toxic NAPQI. This metabolite is then free to react with key hepatic enzymes, thereby damaging liver cells. This may lead to severe liver damage and even death by acute liver failure.”

NAC (n-acetylcysteine) provides cysteine, one of the three amino acids that make up glutathione.

“glutathione synthesis is primarily controlled by the cellular level of the amino acid cysteine, the availability of which is the rate-limiting step.”

So by providing a source of cysteine, the body produces more glutathione which can detoxify the liver damaging metabolites of APAP.

Glutathione is our MASTER ANTI-OXIDANT. Since a cytokine storm involves an overwhelming amount of oxidative stress, glutathione is obviously important.

Clinical research in the 1990s established that the lungs of patients with ARDS are very deficient in glutathione.

A profound 20 fold reduction was confirmed in this study.

“Glutathione is a tripeptide that is able to react with and effectively neutralize oxidants, such as hydrogen peroxide. The present study found that the alveolar epithelial lining fluid of patients with ARDS was deficient in total glutathione compared with that of normal subjects (31.5 ± 8.4 versus 651.0 ± 103.1 µM, p = 0.0001) and patients with cardiogenic pulmonary edema (31.5 ± 8.4 versus 154.1 ± 52.4 µM, p = 0.001). In addition, a greater percentage of total glutathione was in the oxidized form in patients with ARDS compared with normal subjects (30.6 ± 6.1 versus 6.4 ± 2.9%, p = 0.03). This deficiency of reduced glutathione in the alveolar fluid may predispose these patients to enhanced lung cell injury.

Subsequent studies of humans with ARDS on ventilators showed clinical benefit by increasing glutathione levels with NAC.

“In our controlled clinical trials with NAC we found that patients with ARDS have depressed plasma and red cell glutathione concentrations, that these levels are substantially increased by therapy with intravenous NAC and there are measurable clinical responses to treatment with regard to increased oxygen delivery, improved lung compliance and resolution of pulmonary edema.”

Despite these findings decades ago, the use of NAC for ARDS has not been widely adopted. But it would make sense to employ this inexpensive medication, widely used for APAP overdose, for ARDS and in particular for cytokine storm caused by COVID-19.

Oxidative stress decreases glutathione levels and if these levels reach a critically  low level in tissues, organ damage can ensue rapidly. Cytokine storm is the extreme example.

Chronic alcohol abuse also decreases protective glutathione levels in the lung.

In my recent posts on COVID-19 I have pointed out that alcohol (even 2 drinks) suppresses the immune system for at least a few days. Alcohol consumption is a double hit, first as an immune suppressant, then as a major source of oxidative stress and reduction in protective glutathione levels. Two glasses of wine tonight followed by a COVID-19 sneeze in your face the next day could be the difference between an effective immune response (mild symptoms) versus an overwhelming life threatening infection!

Likewise, one night of inadequate sleep (which immediately suppresses immunity) followed by a COVID sneeze in your face the next day could have the same deleterious effect.

Below is a chart from the review article mentioned at the start of this post. Notice the top line states “ADDRESS SLEEP, STRESS, DIET, SUGAR, ALCOHOL

If you have been reading my posts on COVID-19, you have heard this before.

integrative medicine chart

Notice the second row in the chart with escalating doses of NAC as intensity of disease increases. When cytokine storm hits NAC dose recommendations peak and glutathione (available for IV administration) is recommended. IV glutathione surprisingly is not part of most hospital formularies and I have never seen it used in a hospital setting. Functional medicine physicians sometimes use it outside of the hospital setting. IV glutathione has become a sexy and lucrative office procedure in some functional medicine practices.

NAC has high bioavailability, meaning it is absorbed well in our gut. So oral supplementation can rapidly and effectively increase levels of glutathione in the body. IN FACT, treatment of acetaminophen overdose in the ER typically begins with oral NAC (often administered through a naso-gastric feeding tube, passed through the nose and into the stomach) Doses are often calculated by the regional poison control center (available by phone 24/7/365) and subsequent doses follow a standard protocol based on weight.

I would encourage you to read through this COVID-19 INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE review article.

It is thick with science but you might be surprised by how much you understand and learn.

In the chart above there is specific mention of Vitamin C supplementation in escalating doses as degree of illness increases. Vitamin C is an important anti-oxidant and in that sense is a glutathione sparing agent helping to mitigate glutathione depletion.

Other important factors mentioned in the article and the chart above include items mentioned here in previous posts: ZINC, ZINC IONOPHORES, phytochemicals (quercitin, EGCg, curcumin), Vitamin D, exercise, sleep, stress reduction, sunshine.

So I will close this post the way I have closed on many posts related to COVID-19.

Support your immune system.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8.  Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet, sugar increases inflammation, contributes to metabolic dysfunction and impairs immunity.

In a future post I will describe my PERSONAL approach to dietary supplements in the context of COVID-19. I will also discuss the issue of an ADVANCED DIRECTIVE, in case you are hospitalized.

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

Glutathione review links are below:

Glutathione!

Mitochondrial Glutathione, a key survival antioxidant

Glutathione: overview of its protective roles, measurement, and biosynthesis

 

 

 

COVIDS 19: Drugs vs Food and Supplements, Part II

Today we discuss the many ways curcumin might defend us against COVID-19.

A Google Scholar Search for  “curcumin and virus” will yield over 43,000 results.

Narrow that down to a search for  “curcumin and corona virus” and you will get 1500 results.

Here is a picture of the many ways curcumin has been shown to interfere with various kinds of viruses:

curcumin anti viral multiple effects

This review article discusses (in-vitro and animal in-vivo) studies that show the following targets for curcumin interfering with one or more kinds of viruses:

  1. viral attachment to the cell
  2. viral penetration of the cell
  3. viral replication inside the cell
  4. viral activation of inflammatory genes
  5. direct anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin

Blocking any one or combination of steps 1 through 4 would attenuate damage to the host (us) by limiting spread and replication of the virus within our body (steps 1-3) and by limiting the virus ability to induce inflammatory damage (steps 4 and 5). From the review article:

“Accumulated evidence indicated curcumin plays an inhibitory role against infection of numerous viruses. These mechanisms involve either a direct interference of viral replication machinery or suppression of cellular signaling pathways essential for viral replication, such as PI3K/Akt, NF-κB.”

Curcumin has been studied and found to be effective in vitro against:

  • COVID-19
  • SARS VIRUS
  • INFLUENZA A VIRUS
  • HIV
  •  Hepatitis C virus
  •  Respiratory Syncytial Virus
  •  Hemorrhagic Fever
  •  Rift Valley Fever
  •  Dengue Virus
  •  Japanese Encephalitis
  • Epstein Barr Virus
  •  Human Papilloma Virus
  •  Coxsackie Virus

Links to articles related to all of these viruses appear below.

The multiple anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin (blocking chemical and gene signaling pathways of inflammation) would be expected to help mitigate the frequently lethal cytokine storm. 

A cytokine storm occurs when an excessive inflammatory response by the immune system causes self-destruction of the human host, mediated by chemicals called cytokines, produced by our immune cells. Although the human body has feedback systems designed to regulate our immune response, those systems do not always work adequately. The result can be severe organ damage and eventually death. This often begins in the lungs, presenting as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS but then spreads to other organs creating multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (also referred to as multi-organ failure).

Of all the phytochemicals derived from our foods and spices, curcumin is arguably the most studied relative to a variety of disease categories.

 

.curcumin clinical studies

Here we are interested in Corona Viruses (in general, since they share many commonalities) and COVID 19 in particular.

In my last post I presented data on how strongly EGCg, quercitin, curcumin, and other phytochemicals bind to the COVID-19 spike protein, which attaches to the ACE-2 receptor on human cells as the first step in gaining entry into the cell. EGCg in one study had the greatest binding strength, exceeding that of both Remdesivir and Chloroquine (prescription drugs now being studied for COVID-19). CURCUMIN was second only to EGCg in binding strength in that study.

By attaching to the spike protein on the outer membrane of the virus, it prevents the virus from attaching (or docking) to the human cell, thus blocking the first step of entry into the cell. The virus must enter the cell to replicate, no entry = no replication = no infection.

In studies of the Influenza A virus (IAV) in mice:

“The results showed that curcumin could directly inactivate IAV, blocked IAV adsorption and inhibited IAV proliferation.”

Curcumin worked through several mechanisms, blocking not only viral entry and replication but also reducing  oxidative stress (which contributes to cytokine storm). It increased the survival rate of mice, reduced levels of virus and inflammatory cytokines in the lungs, and reduced lung injury.

Curcumin had similar effects against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in human nasal epithelial cells (the same place that COVID-19 first strikes).

curcumin inhibits RSV in human nasal cells

The red lines show the many places curcumin was found to interfere with the RSV infection of human nasal (nose) cells.

Their have been multiple studies that have demonstrated that curcumin (and other phytochemicals) specifically interfere with the docking/binding of COVID-19 by binding to and therefore disabling the effects of, the crucial Spike Protein.

In fact  this study demonstrated that Curcumin and Catechin (EGCg mentioned in the last post) bind not only to the spike protein on the COVID-19 virus, but they also bind to the ACE-2 receptor on the cell surface that receives the virus (like a lock and key), blocking both the lock and the key.

 “Here, through computational approaches we have reported two polyphenols, Catechin and Curcumin which have dual binding affinity i.e both the molecule binds to viral S-protein and as well as ACE2.”

curcumin AND catechin bind COVID19 S protein and ACE-2

In my series of posts on COVID-19 I have discussed the importance of Vitamin D3, zinc, zinc ionophores (such as quercetin and EGCg), Curcumin, and other phytochemicals.  The authors of  this article present multiple lines of evidence and study supporting the notion that supplementation with Vitamin D3, Curcumin and Vitamin C in combination would be beneficial in fighting COVID-19.

Curcumin has a very low absorption rate in the gut. Used as a spice with food, any form of fat in the meal will enhance the absorption of turmeric and it’s phytochemical curcumin (which includes various curcuminoids). Various supplement forms add other substances or encapsulate the curcumin in a manner that increases the absorption rate. Some preparations add Piperine, a black pepper extract. Piperine increases intestinal permeability, thereby enhancing absorption of curcumin. Meriva is a licensed brand of curcumin supplement that uses a phospholipid to enhance absorption of the curcumin. It has been studied to treat osteoarthritis of the knee in humans, effectively reducing pain by an amount equivalent to a prescription dose of ibuprofen. Many other brands are available with enhanced absorption and good safety profiles.

Unfortunately there have been no human randomized controlled trials of curcumin or any other phytochemical or micronutrient in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. There likely will never be such a study because of our medical system’s orientation to drugs.

Yet, a great deal of scientific evidence has described multiple mechanisms through which vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and other micronutrients found in foods, beverages, spices and supplements can be beneficial in fighting COVID-19.

Examples discussed so far have included

  • Zinc in combination with Zinc ionophores (which open up channels so that zinc can enter the cell where it is known to block virus replication),
  • Vitamin D3 (which supports immune function and immune regulation in addition to numerous other vital physiologic functions),
  •  curcumin, which blocks viral entry, replication, and the inflammatory response
  • quercitin, which blocks viral entry, replication, the inflammatory response and also functions as a zinc ionophore
  • EGCg, which blocks viral entry, replication, inflammation, and also functions as a zinc ionophore

Vitamin C has not been discussed much here but there is mounting evidence that high doses of Vitamin C (which have been used by some ICU doctors for COVID 19 patients) may have beneficial effects by scavenging free radicals, reducing oxidative stress, and mitigating against depletion of GLUTATHIONE, the master anti-oxidant in the human body.

Glutathione, Vitamin C, and supplements that increase the production of glutathione in the human body will be discussed in the next post, Part III of this series on supplements/foods and COVID-19.

REMEMBER THE BASICS. SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system

THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.

Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Below you will find links to multiple scientific studies on curcumin and protection against many kinds of virus.

Doctor Bob

A cost-effective preventative approach to potentially save lives in the coronavirus pandemic, jointly using Vitamin D, Curcumin, and Vitamin C,(with updated dosage …

Destabilizing the Structural Integrity of SARS-CoV2 Receptor Proteins by Curcumin Along with Hydroxychloroquine: An Insilco Approach for a Combination Therapy

Identification of potent COVID-19 Main Protease (Mpro) inhibitors from Curcumin analogues by Molecular Docking Analysis

Virtual Screening of Curcumin and Its Analogs Against the Spike Surface Glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV

Catechin and Curcumin interact with corona (2019-nCoV/SARS-CoV2) viral S protein and ACE2 of human cell membrane: insights from Computational study and …

 Molecular Docking Study of the Structural Disruption of the Viral 3CL-Protease of COVID19 Induced by Binding of Capsaicin, Piperine and Curcumin Part 1: A …

Effects of Vitamin C, Curcumin and Glycyrrhizic Acid Potentially Regulates Immune and Inflammatory Response Associated with Coronavirus Infections: A Perspective from …

Specific plant terpenoids and lignoids possess potent antiviral activities against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Antiviral potential of curcumin

Inhibition of curcumin on influenza A virus infection and influenzal pneumonia via oxidative stress, TLR2/4, p38/JNK MAPK and NF-κB pathways

Curcumin prevents replication of respiratory syncytial virus and the epithelial responses to it in human nasal epithelial cells

Curcumin alleviates macrophage activation and lung inflammation induced by influenza virus infection through inhibiting the NF‐κB signaling pathway

Inhibition of curcumin on influenza A virus infection and influenzal pneumonia via oxidative stress, TLR2/4, p38/JNK MAPK and NF-κB pathways

Synergic effect of curcumin and its structural analogue (Monoacetylcurcumin) on anti-influenza virus infection

Identification of regulators of the early stage of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus infection during curcumin treatment

Synergistic antiviral effect of curcumin functionalized graphene oxide against respiratory syncytial virus infection

Inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 integrase by curcumin

Curcumin inhibits influenza virus infection and haemagglutination activity

Curcumin and curcumin derivatives inhibit Tat-mediated transactivation of type 1 human immunodeficiency virus long terminal repeat

Curcumin inhibits herpes simplex virus immediate-early gene expression by a mechanism independent of p300/CBP histone acetyltransferase activity

Curcumin inhibits Zika and chikungunya virus infection by inhibiting cell binding

Curcumin inhibits hepatitis C virus replication via suppressing the Akt‐SREBP‐1 pathway

An in vitro study of liposomal curcumin: stability, toxicity and biological activity in human lymphocytes and Epstein-Barr virus-transformed human B-cells

Turmeric curcumin inhibits entry of all hepatitis C virus genotypes into human liver cells

Curcumin inhibits ultraviolet light induced human immunodeficiency virus gene expression

Curcumin inhibits hepatitis B virus via down‐regulation of the metabolic coactivator PGC‐

Curcumin inhibits Rift Valley fever virus replication in human cells

Inhibitory effects of curcumin on dengue virus type 2-infected cells in vitro

Curcumin protects neuronal cells from Japanese encephalitis virus-mediated cell death and also inhibits infective viral particle formation by dysregulation of ubiquitin …

Curcumin modified silver nanoparticles for highly efficient inhibition of respiratory syncytial virus infection

The chemopreventive compound curcumin is an efficient inhibitor of Epstein‐Barr virus BZLF1 transcription in Raji DR‐LUC cells

Structure–activity relationship analysis of curcumin analogues on anti‐influenza virus activity

Effect of antioxidant (turmeric, turmerin and curcumin) on human immunodeficiency virus

Curcumin as a multifaceted compound against human papilloma virus infection and cervical cancers: A review of chemistry, cellular, molecular, and preclinical …

Dysregulation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system by curcumin suppresses coxsackievirus B3 replication