COVID-19 Part IV: Where are we now?
Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act, and in that action are the seeds of new knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein
While Einstein wasn’t a physician, I believe that today he would be urging physicians trained in environmental and nutritional medicine to speak up. Our ability to survive and thrive during this viral attack has more to do with our general health—our nutritional deficiencies, our total toxic load, our stress level, and our resilience—not the virulence of the virus.
Conventional doctors recognize obvious risk factors:
- Diabetes and prediabetes (because higher blood sugar levels lower our immune defenses)
- Hypertension and cardiovascular disease (because certain drugs may compromise one’s ability to fight off the virus, and if they cannot tolerate the physical stress of the viral infection due to narrowed coronary arteries, this will increase their susceptibility to the virus)
- Older lungs, lungs diseased with emphysema, chronic bronchitis and inadequately controlled asthma all increase one’s risk of complications from SARS-CoV-2.
- People who have some cancers, especially if they have taken chemotherapy, also have lowered immunity.
I agree that these people are at increased risk. But the greater question is, “Why is this pandemic even happening?” Yes, it’s a new virus and it’s very frightening and dangerous. But, could it also be that the world in which we live has changed and so we are—all of us—at increased risk?
Environmental doctors always look at the total body burden or total load that patients have: “Why did this person, in this family, get Lyme Disease when everyone got tick bites?” “Why did this woman get breast cancer or that man get prostate cancer?”
We live in a very different world than the one in which our parents grew up, and it has a profound impact on our health.
Let’s put this coronavirus pandemic in perspective:
SARS-CoV-2 is just one of many epidemics that we are now facing because our world is changing rapidly. There are more people with autoimmune disease, more people with neurodegenerative or infectious disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s in adults and ADHD, Autism, and Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (aka PANS) in children. We have ongoing epidemics of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, prediabetes and obesity, and more chronic infections like Lyme, Bartonella, and mold.
Is this all being caused just by bad luck and an aging population? Let’s look at how our lifetime exposures have changed:
- Increased numbers of vaccinations in childhood. There were only eight in the early 1990s; now there are over 45. Most children will do OK with these, but some will not. Their immune systems may get turned on in ways that compromise their ability to fight SARS-CoV-2.
- Too much processed food. In a recent web conference Jill Carnahan, MD, a Functional Medicine practitioner, recently suggested that if you’re eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) your health is compromised—too much sugar, too many bad fats, too many calories, too many preservatives and food additives in processed food.
- Food that is lacking nutrients. Many food products today are made of, or contaminated with, Genetically Modified (GM) foods that are drenched with Roundup® or other chemical toxins that bind up minerals and damage our gut microbiome and the lining of our gut. Roundup® also binds up zinc so our bodies can’t absorb it. More on that later.
- The introduction of Xenobiotics. Dr. Carnahan went on to discuss Xenobiotics—substances that are foreign to the body or to an ecological system. Examples of xenobiotics are toxins that we are exposed to on a regular basis: pesticides in our homes to keep termites and ants out of our space, formaldehyde in new houses and wrinkle-free sheets and clothing, and other volatile organic chemicals, including fabric softeners, air fresheners like Febreze, and scented candles. All these items can have a toxic effect on our bodies.
- She also discussed exposure from electromagnetic frequency (EMF), Wi-Fi, cell phones and smart meters. 5G will only make this worse. Not everyone will be affected by it, but a lot of people will, and it will compromise their immune system, brain and/or cardiac functions.
- Heavy metals—like mercury from big fish and dental fillings and lead from contaminated tap water—contribute to our total body load. Food and environmental allergies wear us down and create an imbalance in our bodies.
- Medications contribute as well.
- Internal toxins and damage to the immune system compromise the health of those with autoimmune disease, mold illness, Lyme, or Epstein Barr Virus.
- The health of individuals with hormonal imbalances or metabolic toxins that that are not processed correctly is compromised. Any hypothyroidism contributes to significant immunocompromise, according to Dr. Thomas Levy.
So, here’s the key question: What is your total body burden?
How healthy were you before this pandemic arrived? That is what is going to determine how well you respond to the virus. Some people must be more careful to avoid the virus and take more supplements to improve their ability to fight off and limit damage from SARS-CoV-2.
Anything that you can do to clean up your environment and your body will reduce the load that your body is carrying and increase your margin and your resilience.
Do these things:
- Eat more organic foods. The Environmental Working Group (aka EWG) just released their most recent copy of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. You don’t have to obsess about this: do the best you can. If buying organic vegetables is too taxing on your wallet right now, eat from the Clean 15 list. They do not have to be organic. If you just cannot resist the toxic strawberries or toxic kale, don’t lose sleep over it; worry just compounds the damage. Eat the freshest, most colorful veggies you can afford. Two-thirds of your plate should be covered with vegetables, even at breakfast!
- Get a good night’s sleep. Turn your Wi-Fi off at night to give your brain, heart, and entire body a break from being exposed to such intense EMF. Visit the website mdsafetech.org for solid information about the dangers of EMF.
- Drink clean water. Shower in it if you can. If nothing else, buy a Brita® water filter and use it. This alone will get many drugs, toxins and pollutants out of your water. If you don’t use a filter, YOU become the filter!
- Exercise daily. Move your body. Do a variety of types of exercise: pushups, tai chi, yoga, dance, hiking or cycling on the greenways if they are still open. Exercise strengthens your immune system.
How stressed are you?
Insomnia. Isolation. Loneliness. Hostility. Fear. We now have a double-dose due to the pandemic. Here’s a newsflash: increased fear and stress compromise your immune system and make you even more of a sitting duck if you get exposed to the virus!
We get the occasional stories of heroism and generosity, but the bulk of what we see and hear may generate a lot of fear and anxiety. Yes, everyone needs to be very respectful of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and observe the recommended lifestyle modifications to mitigate its spread, but fear doesn’t help anybody.
Reduce your fears any way that works for you:
- Stop watching TV news. Choose when and where you want to get your information about SARS-CoV-2 and your communities’ response to the pandemic. Limit your exposure daily. Get information from your local paper, not TV. You can limit your exposure to scary stories by reading more easily than watching TV. Instead, use the TV to watch uplifting and funny movies and programs.
- Meditate and/or practice mindfulness. Try yoga if you can’t get your brain to calm down. Go for a meditative walk outside. Keep a gratitude journal. Connect with your higher power every day. Say grace at each meal.
- Unplug. I know it seems like it, but everything is NOT online now. When was the last time you were able to put your life on pause? How many times have you wished that you had a bit more downtime to focus on what’s important in your life? You have it right now, take advantage of it. Learn a new language, pick up an old or new hobby, be a better parent.
- Establish a routine if you are out of work. Routines are comforting. Read a book. Find a new recipe to try in the kitchen. Reacquaint yourself with that musical instrument that’s been collecting dust. Draw. Paint. Color. Work a jigsaw puzzle.
- Look for the silver linings. Realize all the wonderful things that are happening in our world as a result of this pandemic. Did you know the skies in China are clear and blue, not grey and filled with soot? Did you know conventional doctors are acknowledging the utility of IV Vitamin C in critical care units around the world? Maybe, this will be the time (finally) that the use of high dose Vitamin C will reach a critical mass, so it is no longer relegated to the status of snake oil.
- Try grounding yourself or Earthing. Grounding and Earthing serve as an energetic “reboot” and improve your immune system. Step barefoot outside in your yard, sit down on the ground or in a chair and put your feet on the ground. Wiggle your toes so you connect with dirt. This will provide profound healing for your body. It energizes your entire body through your Chinese meridians. Mother Nature’s gift to you, the earth’s ground current, is waiting for you to plug in for 20-30 minutes once a day. It takes about 20 minutes for many people to feel a gentle tingling sensation in their feet and calves, during which you can meditate or read a book. Talk with a neighbor (who stays six or more feet away).
- We need physical distancing not social distancing. Spend this at-home time with your family. Touch and hug each other. Turn “shelter at home” into a long, meaningful staycation. If you live alone, connect over the Internet. Explore apps like Zoom, Skype or Houseparty.
And be smart! Take precautions: wear your masks when going out. Don’t go out any more than you must.
What about supplements?
Dr. Thomas Levy has long been a proponent of high dose vitamins, especially vitamin C. At a recent online conference Dr. Levy suggested that everyone, as a baseline, be on magnesium, vitamin C, glutathione, vitamin D, and zinc.
Magnesium (MAG) is a calcium antagonist and a calcium channel blocker, working to keep lower levels of calcium in our cells. Too much calcium inside our cells causes those cells to die. MAG also controls the amount of Intracellular Oxidative Stress (IOS) and prevents too many intracellular free radicals. Our IOS load determines the health of our cells.
SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus that must enter our cells to reproduce itself. Our cells cannot protect themselves from the virus if they do not have several essential nutrients including MAG. If we have high levels of IOS, our cells will be damaged by the virus. Other antioxidants that are critically important to control IOS are vitamin C and glutathione.
Vitamin C enters all cells easily. It kills viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. It also keeps the cells healthy by preventing the accumulation of free radicals. It maintains a lower IOS with the help of magnesium. Intravenous vitamin C is now officially recognized by the government of Shanghai in their protocol published by the Chinese Medical Association for treatment of COVID-19.
There is also an article published in Lancet, a prestigious British journal, on March 20, 2020 titled “Treatment of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome from COVID-19” with Vitamin C. This “severe acute respiratory distress syndrome” is the frequently fatal pneumonia associated with COVID-19. The virus triggers an over-reaction of the patient’s immune system. The body produces an excessive number of inflammatory molecules called cytokines that damage our own lung tissue.
Glutathione is the most plentiful antioxidant that our bodies make. It primarily works inside the cells. It is also a superb detoxifying agent. It can be taken orally and better quality supplements achieve meaningful, effective levels inside the body.
Vitamin D has many functions in the body. Concerning viral infections, vitamin D calms down the tendency for the body to over-react to infections.
Lastly, zinc is a critical nutrient in stopping our intracellular machinery from being taken over by the RNA virus that causes COVID-19. Adequate levels of zinc block the virus from using an enzyme called reverse transcriptase (using our RNA, to make duplicate copies of the viral RNA). And remember, Roundup® compromises your immunity by binding zinc in your gut so that you never get to absorb it. In other words, it renders you zinc deficient so you can’t fight off this or any virus! In addition, there’s cadmium, lead and mercury in Roundup® so it’s a double-whammy.
Dr. Klinghardt also recommends high dose Melatonin to prevent the cytokine storm pneumonia. Lower doses added during the day if you get sick.
To increase your immunity to SARS-CoV-2, consider taking doses of these vitamins now:
- Chelated magnesium glycinate, magnesium lysinate, magnesium taurate or magnesium chloride, up to 800 mg daily in two to four divided doses with food. Start low and increase by one pill every two to three days. Cut back if you get diarrhea. If tolerated, it may be taken with or without food.
- Vitamin C 1000-5000mg two to six times a day. Work up to higher doses. Increase if you get sick. Liposomal C is more expensive, but for those who get diarrhea at a very low dose of vitamin C it can be very helpful. One teaspoon twice daily is 2000 mg total, but it is so well-absorbed that it is equivalent to 6000 mg of regular oral capsules or tablets daily. May be taken with or without food.
- Anyone with underlying brain dysfunction, chronic pain, or chronic fatigue should try oral liposomal glutathione 500 mg daily. Liposomal products are best taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before breakfast. They can be repeated if needed later in the day and will need to be repeated and increased if you get sick with SARS-CoV-2.
- Vitamin D 5000 IU daily with food.
- Chelated Zinc 30-50 mg daily or twice daily with food if you get sick. Cut back if you get a metallic taste in your mouth.
- Melatonin 20 mg x2 nightly for starters. Add smaller daytime doses if you get sick.
Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine
So, what is all the ruckus about these two drugs? Neither of these kill the virus. They are ionophores for zinc. That means that these drugs enhance the ability of zinc to go from your bloodstream across your cell walls and into your cells where they block the manufacture of new viruses.
I endorse studies to determine how well these work. We know how safe the drugs are because we’ve used them for over 50 years. We know all about potential side effects and we know about drug interactions. So yes, do the studies but don’t deny people the drug who are sick. The French and Chinese have already shown that it works, as have the Koreans. Remember though, it must be taken with zinc to have any effect.
By Elizabeth R. Vaughan, MD
Check out all the supplements Dr. Vaughan mentions in this article by visiting our featured supplements page.