Mercola Natural Health Articles
While the United States halted funding to the World Health Organization mid-April 2020,1 and terminated its relationship altogether at the end of May,2 the WHO is still seeking to influence Americans about pandemic responses to COVID-19.
In the Corbett Report3 above, investigative journalist James Corbett discusses Event 201, a pandemic tabletop exercise to illustrate preparedness hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2019.
At the time, they discussed ways to limit and counter the spread of expected “misinformation” about the pandemic. In addition to outright censorship, this also included the use of “soft power.”
Soft Power Plays for Hard-to-Swallow Dictates
Soft power is a term that refers to stealth influencing using celebrities and other social media influencers. Corbett presents the case of Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, who both reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 early on in the pandemic.
They dutifully “modeled” the desired behavior to get tested, self-quarantine and submit to continued observation for as long as necessary to ensure they didn’t spread it to anyone else. That’s one example of soft power.
Celebrities also put on a virtual “One World Together at Home” benefit concert to raise money for the WHO and rally the citizens of the world around the idea that we can get through this if we all just follow instructions and stay home.
In May, celebrities and social media influencers agreed to “pass the mic” by allowing the WHO and other pandemic response leaders, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, to use their social media accounts to share their messages.
If you thought all of these things occurred more or less organically, you’d be wrong. The Daily Caller spilled the beans in the July 17, 2020, article4 “World Health Organization Hired PR Firm to Identify Celebrity ‘Influencers’ to Amplify Virus Messaging.” According to The Daily Caller:5
“The World Health Organization hired a high-powered public relations firm to seek out so-called influencers to help build trust in the organization’s coronavirus response.
WHO paid $135,000 to the firm Hill and Knowlton Strategies, according to documents6 filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act … The contract earmarked $30,000 for ‘influencer identification,’ $65,000 for ‘message testing,’ and $40,000 for a ‘campaign plan framework.’
Hill and Knowlton … proposed identifying three tiers of influencers: celebrities with large social media followings, individuals with smaller but more engaged followings, and ‘hidden heroes,’ those users with slight followings but who ‘nevertheless shape and guide conversations.’”
Hill and Knowlton Has Sold Us Other Lies
As noted by Corbett, Hill and Knowlton Strategies was also the PR company responsible for crafting a powerful enough campaign to get Americans to rally together in support of the war against Iraq.
The ensuing propaganda campaign even included the fake testimony of “Nayirah” before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, October 10, 1990, in which she claimed she’d witnessed Iraqi soldiers coming into the Kuwaiti hospital where she was volunteering and taking babies out of the incubators, leaving them to die on the floor.
As noted by Corbett, “It’s difficult today to understand just how important this testimony was in setting the tone of the debate about whether America should commit military forces in Kuwait.”
What we do know is that in the lead-up to the war, her testimony, which was eventually revealed to be entirely untrue, was repeated on the evening news, in presidential speeches, and by Congressional and Senatorial leaders.
In 1992, it was revealed Nayirah’s gut-wrenching speech had been written for her by Hill and Knowlton Strategies, which had been hired by Citizens for a Free Kuwait, a Kuwaiti government astroturf organization, to help them sell the Gulf War and enlist American support. Even the “Congressional Human Rights Caucus” was found to be a Hill and Knowlton creation.
Hill and Knowlton Connection With the Tobacco Industry
As early as the 1950s, there was a powerful consolidation of scientific evidence showing smoking led to serious respiratory and cardiac diseases. Yet it took 50 years before health concerns about smoking became pervasive enough for smoking rates to drop significantly. How did we stay in the dark for so long?
The tobacco companies’ guiding light through it all was the very same public relations firm they hired in the 1950s: Hill and Knowlton Strategies. Rather than play the losing game of simply denying facts, Hill and Knowlton proposed brilliant strategies. It is revealing to review the bullet points below from a leaked document outlining the objectives of tobacco company Brown & Williamson at the time:
- Objective No. 1 — To set aside in the minds of millions the false conviction that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases; a conviction based on fanatical assumptions, fallacious rumors, unsupported claims, and the unscientific statements and conjectures of publicity-seeking opportunists.
- Objective No. 2 — To lift the cigarette from the cancer identification as quickly as possible and restore it to its proper place of dignity and acceptance in the minds of men and women in the marketplace of American free enterprise.
- Objective No. 3 — To expose the incredible, unprecedented and nefarious attack against the cigarette, constituting the greatest libel and slander ever perpetrated against any product in the history of free enterprise.
- Objective No. 4 — To unveil the insidious and developing pattern of attack against the American free enterprise system, a sinister formula that is slowly eroding American business with the cigarette obviously selected as one of the trial targets.
Do People Actually Care What Celebs Think?
So, the PR company that sold us the lie about babies being ripped from incubators in order to get us to back Kuwait’s war against Iraq, and convinced us smoking was harmless, is also responsible for the WHO’s celebrity-backed COVID-19 fear-mongering campaign. And, this is likely only a small portion of the propaganda machine.
There are bound to be many other PR contracts and campaigns that we’ve not become privy to as of yet. We can also be sure that these types of propaganda campaigns will get even “bigger and better” once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
The silver lining, if there is one, is that people are starting to get wise to the fact that they’re being manipulated, and by whom. For example, Gal Gadot’s A-List-packed viral video in which everyone sang “Imagine,” experienced a surprising backlash.7
Social media followers branded the celebs as “out of touch” with reality, singing about “no possessions” from their multimillion-dollar mansions while millions of hard-working Americans were losing their jobs and family businesses.
The hypocrisy did not go over well. Sure, it’s easy to tell people to “just stay home” when you have a financial safety net that allows you to be out of work for years on end without putting a significant dent in your quality of life.
Not All Voices Are Equal
The Hill and Knowlton prospectus points out that while the pandemic has dominated discussions, “not all voices are equal and not all are cutting through and being listened to.” The question is, who should be listened to? And, have we been listening to the best, most knowledgeable voices?
Of course, it’s become abundantly clear that the WHO thinks it should be the final arbiter of “facts” as far as the pandemic response is concerned, and social media platforms have dutifully obliged by banning, “fact-checking,” removing and deplatforming anyone presenting a different view.
I believe an argument can be made that we have not been hearing from many who truly deserve to be heard from — front-line doctors, nurses, researchers, virologists and scientists who have tried to present important data and feedback about the novel illness, its treatment, and the world’s response to it.
Many conventional doctors have gotten a rude wake-up call, as they’ve had their views and work censored and banned from the web, simply because it does not conform to the WHO’s messaging.
One recent example is that of Sen. Scott Jensen, a medical doctor. In a July 6, 2020, video, Jensen said he is being investigated and is facing disciplinary action and, possibly, loss of his medical license after an anonymous individual or individuals filed a complaint against him with the Minnesota medical board, accusing him of “spreading misinformation” and “giving reckless advice” about COVID-19. “My God, if this can happen to me, it can happen to anybody,” he says.
UN Enlists Army of Internet Trolls to Control Discussions
WHO isn’t the only organization trying to control the narrative, of course. Many other organizations are involved, all working toward the same end. The United Nations, for example, recently enlisted 10,000 “digital volunteers” to rid the internet of what they consider “false” information about COVID-19 and to disseminate what they say is “U.N.-verified, science-based content.”
The campaign, dubbed the Verified initiative,8 amounts to an army of internet trolls engaging in censorship in an attempt to shut down opposition and opinions that run counter to the status quo.
The major red flag to the U.N.’s campaign is a lack of detail about what constitutes a “conspiracy theory” or “cure with no evidence to back it up.” Some of the information Verified is aiming to share simply states, “If you come across a post online that makes you really angry or frightened, it’s a sign you might be looking at misinformation.”
In a statement released by the Republic of Latvia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, countries are called on to step up and support the U.N.’s mission to counter the “infodemic” that they claim is “as dangerous to human health and security as the pandemic itself:”9
“Among other negative consequences, COVID-19 has created conditions that enable the spread of disinformation, fake news and doctored videos to foment violence and divide communities.
It is critical states counter misinformation as a toxic driver of secondary impacts of the pandemic that can heighten the risk of conflict, violence, human rights violations and mass atrocities.”
Ironically, in outlining the “crucial need for access to free, reliable, trustworthy, factual, multilingual, targeted, accurate, clear and science-based information,” they call on countries to take steps to stop the spread of information they deem to be false and to spread information from “trustworthy sources,” which is the U.N.’s Verified campaign.
Who’s in Charge of Truth?
The U.N.’s verified campaign is reminiscent of another self-appointed internet watchdog, NewsGuard, which claims to rate information as “reliable” or “fake” news, supplying you with a color-coded rating system next to Google and Bing searches, as well as on articles displayed on social media.
If you rely on NewsGuard’s ratings, you may decide to entirely skip by those with a low “red” rating in favor of the so-called “more trustworthy” green-rated articles — and therein lies the problem. NewsGuard is in itself fraught with conflict of interest, as it’s largely funded by Publicis, a global communications giant that’s partnered with Big Pharma, such that it may be viewed more as a censorship tool than an internet watchdog.
For example, NewsGuard announced that my site has been classified as fake news because we have reported the SARS-CoV-2 virus as potentially having been leaked from the biosafety level 4 (BSL4) laboratory in Wuhan City, China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. But NewsGuard’s position is in direct conflict with published scientific evidence suggesting this virus was created in a lab and not zoonotically transmitted.
By slapping a “fake news” label on this site, they’re not only doing a disservice to people looking for trustworthy information, but they also spread misinformation themselves. By enlisting an army of trolls to spread their own rhetoric, the concern is that the U.N.’s Verified campaign will do more of the same.
Ultimately, most adults are fully capable of choosing what information they deem credible to share with their social networks, family and friends, without the need for an overreaching Big Brother telling them what’s credible and what’s not.
Poor air quality and the use of face masks have been a daily fact of life for many living in China. Since the 1950s, some in Japan, China and Taiwan have worn masks as a means of protecting themselves against air pollution. They also wear them for other reasons, specific to culture.1
In Japan, people wear masks when they feel sick and women wear them when they go out without makeup. Bradley Sutton is an American who lived in Japan. He told a reporter from VOA News that wearing a mask in Asia is ingrained in their culture, so doing it for reasons other than air pollution is easier.2
Despite the problem with air quality before the first SARS outbreak in China in 2002, masks were not a regular part of every Asian’s life. It was only after SARS that they were used consistently. Manufacturers in East Asia are now producing up to 20 million masks each month. Before SARS, people living in Taiwan believed masks marked them as being severely ill.
Since then, the Taiwanese have embraced the use of a mask. In a commentary in China Under the Radar, the writer believes young Chinese are wearing them to build a “social firewall” and avoid being approached by others, “just as sunglasses or headphones would.”3 While real-world testing indicates that masks used for air pollution vary widely in their effectiveness, they have become a staple in Asian life.4
After the World Health Organization declared SARS-CoV-2 a global pandemic, masks have become more commonplace around the world. Since science and testing has not yet caught up, many are choosing to wear a mask in public to allay others’ fears. Whether or not they are effective, it’s important to recognize the communication problems they introduce and to know how to address those problems.
Decoding Facial Actions Helps Categorize Emotion
Masks have removed a crucial way in which people use visual cues to communicate and understand each other. Smiles, cheek twitches and lip movements are all lost under a mask. These visual perceptions of expression are part of how people recognize and understand communication.
In a paper published in Current Opinions in Psychology, one professor from The Ohio State University hypothesized that to interpret emotion, the visual system, including the eyes and brain, attempts to identify muscle activation in the face.5
Based on computational, behavioral and imaging evidence, he believes humans are able to effortlessly infer an emotional state by reading facial expressions. This is different from the categorical model that proposes there are six distinct and universal emotions that are communicated across cultures. These are happiness, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise and fear.6
The second theory is related to a dimensional model that suggests there are varying dimensions across emotions that are not distinct. Researchers have found evidence that supports the use of more than one way to categorize expression. While this may be highly interesting to psychological researchers, what does it mean in terms of our ability to communicate, when we can’t see most facial expressions?
When adults were tested, they did not have to acknowledge they had seen a face for their brain to recognize the expression.7 While this is a good indication of how quickly the visual system communicates with the brain, when facial expressions are not fully visible, this recognition is hampered.
Rebecca Brewer from the Royal Holloway University of London points out that humans process a person's whole face rather than paying attention to a singular feature, such as the eyes, nose or mouth. “When we cannot see the whole face, such holistic processing is disrupted,” she says.8
Brewer adds that this happens even in countries where the women wear veils in public. Children and adults learn to interpret information from the whole face; expressions on others’ faces, even furrowed brows, are used in several cognitive processes.9
Your Face Is an Effective Communication Tool
Aleix Martinez is the researcher from The Ohio State University. He has been studying the recognition of facial expressions while programming machine learning algorithms.
He believes that relying on facial expressions can also be misleading and explains that the key to interpretation is the study of the entire body posture, motion and context.10 Yet, your face communicates more than what’s coming out of your mouth. The authors of one paper described it this way:11
“One of the richest and most powerful tools in social communication is the face, from which observers can quickly and easily make a number of inferences — about identity, gender, sex, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical health, attractiveness, emotional state, personality traits, pain or physical pleasure, deception, and even social status.”
In countries where facial coverings are new, many are struggling with the ability to communicate and find it hard to breathe. While this may be difficult for lots of people, it can be overwhelming for those with communication difficulties or psychological trauma. For example, people who are deaf can no longer read lips, which severely hinders communications with a person who doesn't know sign language.12
Masks Can Trigger a PTSD Episode
Yet another concern with widespread mask-wearing is related to people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those who may be traumatized from the pandemic. Yuval Neria of the New York State Psychiatric Institute runs the institute’s PTSD program and told the American Heart Association that mental health professionals are in uncharted territory in predicting the effects of this pandemic:13
"I don't think the mental health consequences will be limited to PTSD only. In fact, I think we should expect other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and potentially increase in suicide. They are already there and kind of showing themselves.
Disasters are usually limited to space and time. And there is an onset of a disaster – which may take some time – but there is an end. But I think viruses have their own way to inflict adversities on us. The threat is ambiguous. (It) is everywhere and nowhere. It's ongoing. It may take a long time."
There is concern that the pandemic is also affecting those who have a history of trauma. PTSD is not limited to people who served in the armed services. Men and women who are victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault may have significant difficulty wearing masks.
In 2018, the number of self-reported rapes or sexual assaults of people older than 12 doubled from 2017.14 In 2015, 1 in 5 U.S. women reported having experienced a completed or attempted rape at some time in their life. Physical violence from an intimate partner has affected 33% of women and 25% of men, and 14.3% of women have been injured.15
When these experiences involve choking, smothering or the attacker wearing a mask, it can be even worse. Psychiatric nurse practitioner Adam Barkeloo spoke with Channel 9 News, expressing concern about how this can trigger a PTSD episode:16
"The one we worry about the most is trauma. Sexual trauma, an attack. What might not seem like a big deal to you or I might be a really big deal to a kid or an older person or a female.”
Dawn Nau told her story to a reporter from the Altoona Mirror. She had been a bank teller during a robbery during which a man wearing a bandana pointed a gun in her face. The reporter wrote:17
"Last week, Dawn Nau of Williamsport went to the grocery store for the first time since wearing a mask became mandatory in her state. For someone with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, this was a huge task.
‘To be honest, I thought I was being brave,’ she said. ‘The first time I came up an aisle, there was a man there with a mask on.’ Dawn had to tell herself to breathe. She went into the next aisle and took her mask off.
‘I was in the store maybe five minutes before I had to take my mask off,’ she said. ‘It feels like I’m suffocating, like I can’t breathe. It panics me.’ She wasn’t in the store long, but by the time she left, she was soaked from sweat."
Dawn’s story is not unique. It is similar to that of Lori Perkins18 and thousands of others who live with anxiety related to PTSD that was caused by traumatic events in their lives.
Still Face Experiment Demonstrates Early Facial Recognition
Children are also experiencing distress from adults wearing masks. This short video demonstrates the role that facial expression plays in infant interaction. It’s called the “Still Face” experiment, which was first performed in 1975 by Edward Tronick, Ph.D., who continues to conduct research on how a mother's stressful behavior may affect the emotional development of infants and children.19
The study may be one of the most often-cited in developmental psychology. Further investigations into infants’ abilities to differentiate emotional expressions have revealed that within the first six months, babies learn to recognize emotion and distinguish physical characteristics associated with those emotions.20
In one study, scientists found that babies spend more time looking at the mouth of an angry face just after hearing a happy voice. The researchers believe this is a reaction to hearing something different from what they're seeing and that it may demonstrate the ability at an early age to understand emotional information based on what is heard and seen.21
Educators have long known that many young children have difficulty when masks are worn. At some elementary schools masks aren’t allowed during Halloween, as the children become stressed. Kang Lee, Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, says that children don’t have full facial recognition abilities until they’re about 14 years old.22,23
Until that time, children see individual features rather than the entire face. When adults and children use masks, it becomes more difficult for children to recognize individuals and understand emotional signals. This is especially difficult for children on the autism spectrum who often have trouble understanding and reading nonverbal cues.
Young children also look to their parents and caregivers to interpret new situations. This reliance on facial expressions and even tone of voice is distorted by a mask, and may make it challenging for them to regulate their response. Psychologists call this “social referencing” and it develops in children through the early preschool years.24
How Can You Adjust to Public Communication?
Interpreting nonverbal cues and communicating while wearing a mask in public can be challenging. However, there are several strategies you can use to help yourself and your children. Consider these tips from Brookings:25
• Introductions — Before going into a public place, show your children a face mask. Allow them to handle it and play with it. Explain that you’ll be wearing a mask in public and others will be wearing them too. Put it on your face in front of your child. Children may have less anxiety when they can anticipate events.
• Games — Play “peek-a-boo” by covering and uncovering your mouth with your hand and mask. Tell them you’ll be smiling under the mask, even if they can’t see it. Use “guess-my-expression” to help them look for clues for expressions. Wearing a mask, ask them to watch your eyes and eyebrows and guess what expression you’re making. Take off the mask to let them see if they got it right.
• Talking — Talk with your child through the mask at home. Adjust your tone and pitch so they can hear you.
Many adults are having difficulty wearing a mask in public. While simple strategies may not be useful to completely allay anxiety, there are some things you can do to improve the situation:26,27,28
• Nonverbal cues — Since facial expressions are much more difficult to read, using other cues, such as a hand wave, laughing when you smile and showing more of your emotions can help others understand what you’re saying. Making eye contact and being more expressive than normal can also help.
• Voice volume — The mask will muffle your voice somewhat, so be sure you are speaking loud enough for the other person to hear you. They may stop asking you to repeat yourself after several times and just give up.
• Relaxation techniques — Since your nervous system doesn’t often listen to reason, it’s helpful to have a few techniques you can use in public if you feel anxious while wearing a mask.
Breathing deeply, listening to music or adding a few drops of lavender to the front of your mask may help. You can activate the vagus nerve, which helps calm the nervous system, by using your facial muscles to chew gum, sing or hum.
It's an unfortunate fact that health officials and pandemic response authorities, by and large, are completely ignoring the role a healthy lifestyle plays in the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing instead, almost exclusively, on the necessity for a vaccine.
According to Reuters,1 the U.S. government is planning to launch an "overwhelming" COVID-19 vaccine campaign come November. An unnamed "senior White House administration official" is quoted saying:2
"The fine line we are walking is getting the American people very excited about vaccines and missing expectations versus having a bunch of vaccines in the warehouse and not as many people want to get it. You may not hear a lot about promoting vaccines over the airwaves in August and September but you'll be overwhelmed by it come November."
But is a vaccine really going to be the answer people are hoping for? For example, many have bought into the mainstream narrative that masks are here to stay until or unless there's a vaccine, and getting vaccinated would mean the end to mask mandates.
Considering the fact that neither masks nor vaccines offer significant protection against the virus, chances are such hopes will get dashed. Maria Elena Bottazzi, a COVID-19 vaccine developer at Baylor College of Medicine, recently warned3 that social distancing and face masks will likely still be required even after a vaccine becomes available, as the vaccine will not offer 100% protection against infection.
So, don't be fooled. Vaccines will be in addition to what we are told to do now, not a replacement. Even Moderna's CEO Stéphane Bancel stated4 that if the vaccine reaches 90% effectiveness, which is a beyond overly optimistic projection, people with high-risk health conditions will need to continue wearing masks.
In addition to not necessarily removing the "need" for masks and social distancing mandates in the future, the novel mRNA vaccines being developed against COVID-19 may also be an autoimmune disorder disaster in the making, as explained in "The Well-Known Hazards of Coronavirus Vaccines" and "Gates Tries to Justify Side Effects of Fast-Tracked Vaccine."
SARS-CoV-2 Is Here to Stay
The Atlantic succinctly stated the truth of the matter in the August 4, 2020, article, "The Coronavirus Is Never Going Away":5
"If there was ever a time when this coronavirus could be contained, it has probably passed. One outcome is now looking almost certain: This virus is never going away … We will probably be living with this virus for the rest of our lives …
What does the future of COVID-19 look like? That will depend, says Yonatan Grad, on the strength and duration of immunity against the virus. Grad, an infectious-disease researcher at Harvard, and his colleagues have modeled6 a few possible trajectories.
If immunity lasts only a few months, there could be a big pandemic followed by smaller outbreaks every year. If immunity lasts closer to two years, COVID-19 could peak every other year …
In SARS, antibodies … wane after two years. Antibodies to a handful of other coronaviruses that cause common colds fade in just a year. 'The faster protection goes away, the more difficult for any project to try to move toward eradication,' Grad told me."
Many who have steadfastly isolated themselves for months on end and dutifully wear a mask everywhere they go probably do not want to hear this. If the virus isn't going away no matter what we do, then there are only two choices: Continue social distancing and mask-wearing for the remainder of our days, or return to life as it was pre-COVID, when influenza seasons were met with blasé equanimity.
Post-COVID World Needs to Focus on Health
For many, neither of these options is satisfactory. They are, however, reality. COVID-19 is unlikely to be eradicated, and if you haven't contracted it already, you likely will at some point.
At present, it's still unclear whether you can contract it more than once, but if that's the case, then flu season will likely include the possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks as well.
Facing reality head-on is the best way forward, if you ask me, and that means your best bet is to get yourself into good shape through diet and exercise. You simply cannot hide from this virus, for the simple reason that you cannot stop breathing.
At this point, it may be worth reminding yourself that life involves the risk of illness and death. Every day of every year of your life, you face the possibility of illness, be it an infectious disease or chronic illness.
Each year of your life you've faced the possibility of influenza, for example. Maybe a mild case, maybe a really serious one. Regardless, you've probably never considered isolating yourself for months each year and giving up on doing the things you love for fear you might get the flu and die.
Despite the fact that uptake of seasonal influenza vaccines has seen an uptick thanks to various mandates, the flu continues to circulate and affects large numbers of vaccinated individuals every year. Influenza has not been eradicated, and the flu vaccine has consistently been shown to provide very little in terms of protection against it.
In all likelihood, that's where we'll be with COVID-19 as well. The good news is that, much like with influenza, your chances of staying well, or only getting a mild case, are primarily dependent on your immune function, and this is something you can do something about.
Obesity Is a Significant Risk Factor for Severe COVID-19
We now have a significant amount of data showing that certain comorbidities raise your risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Among the top ones is obesity, so addressing excess weight will go a long way toward lowering your risk.
In the U.K., obesity is now being targeted as part of the country's coronavirus prevention strategy.7 In a recent announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he intends to ban TV junk food advertising before 9 p.m. and limit in-store promotions. Online ads for unhealthy foods may also be banned.8
Johnson's decision was in large part influenced by his own bout with COVID-19, which he believes was made more serious by his excess weight. Several studies support his suspicion. As noted in the July 13, 2020, issue of the Journal of Virology:9
"Over the years, humans have adopted sedentary lifestyles and dietary patterns have shifted to excessive food consumption and poor nutrition. Overnutrition has led to the constellation of metabolic abnormalities that not only contributes to metabolic reprogramming but also limits host innate and adaptive immunity.
Impaired immune responses and chronic inflammation in metabolically diseased microenvironments provide the ideal conditions for viral exploitation of host cells and enhanced viral pathogenesis."
Huntington Officials Urge Residents to Lose Weight
In the U.S., few officials have addressed the proverbial elephant in the room. The town of Huntington in New York stands out as a rare exception. As reported by Bill Maher in the featured video, Huntington officials have urged all 200,000 residents to "go on a diet because [with] COVID-19, you're twice as likely to have a poor outcome if you're obese."
As noted by Maher, obesity has always killed us, albeit slowly. "Mixed with COVID, it kills you fast," he says, adding:
"Why not an all-out campaign to educate the public on the dangers of a diet of sugary, chemical-laden crap? … Why not campaign to get decent food into poorer neighborhoods? Why not for every PSA for masks, a PSA for a recipe of a healthy meal?
I think so many lives could have been saved if at the very beginning of this crisis the medical establishment had made a more concerted effort to tell Americans, 'While you're in lockdown, getting free money for not working, you need to do something too.' Even the poorest person could switch out soda at meals for water …
A national campaign to improve health could have improved our chances against this disease [and] made us feel better about ourselves to boot. But it was never even mentioned … We cannot have body positivity be a third rail anymore … This issue is too fundamental to who lives and who dies."
Food Industry Needs to Do Better Moving Forward
Hopefully, the U.S. will eventually follow in the U.K.'s footsteps and take action against junk food advertisements. Clearly, advertising works, and it's not helping anyone make the right choices for their health. In the meantime, you'd be wise to take matters into your own hands.
There's little doubt that processed foods, junky snacks and soft drinks are key culprits in the rise of obesity and chronic diseases that also inflate the risk of death from COVID-19. As such, they should be the first to be eliminated from your diet moving forward.
If anything good is to come of this pandemic, it would be the widespread recognition of the impact obesity has not just on chronic diseases, but also on viral contagions such as SARS-CoV-2. A recent editorial published in the BMJ highlights the importance of diet and the significant yet hidden influence the processed food industry has had in the COVID-19 pandemic:10
"It is now clear that the food industry shares the blame not only for the obesity pandemic but also for the severity of COVID-19 disease and its devastating consequences.
During the COVID-19 pandemic an increase in food poverty, disruptions to supply chains, and panic buying may have limited access to fresh foods, thus tilting the balance towards a greater consumption of highly processed foods and those with long shelf lives that are usually high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
Moreover, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the food industry has launched campaigns and corporate social responsibility initiatives, often with thinly veiled tactics using the outbreak as a marketing opportunity (for example, by offering half a million 'smiles' in the form of doughnuts to NHS staff)."
They not only call on the food industry to immediately stop promoting unhealthy food and drinks, but also call on governments to force reformulation of junk foods to better support health. With research showing that being obese doubles the risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19,11,12 the authors noted:13
"These findings suggest that modification of lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and could be a useful adjunct to other interventions, such as social distancing and shielding of high risk."
Johns Hopkins University researchers have also suggested obesity might eventually shift the burden of COVID-19 onto younger patients, as a dataset of 265 COVID-19 patients showed younger individuals admitted to the hospital were more likely to be obese.14
Even Mild Obesity Raises COVID-19 Risks
According to recent research, even mild obesity can influence COVID-19 severity. Researchers from the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna in Italy analyzed 482 COVID-19 patients hospitalized between March 1 and April 20, 2020,15 concluding "Obesity is a strong, independent risk factor for respiratory failure, admission to the ICU and death among COVID-19 patients."
Using body mass index (BMI) to define obesity, the researchers found an increased risk for more severe COVID-19 infection started at a BMI of 30, which is considered "mild" obesity (a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight). Lead study author Dr. Matteo Rottoli said in a news release:16
"Health care practitioners should be aware that people with any grade of obesity, not just the severely obese, are a population at risk. Extra caution should be used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients with obesity, as they are likely to experience a quick deterioration towards respiratory failure, and to require intensive care admission."
Specifically, patients with mild obesity had a 2.5 times greater risk of respiratory failure and a five times greater risk of being admitted to an ICU compared to nonobese patients. But get this, those with a BMI of over 35 were 12 times more likely to die from COVID-19.17
"Whereas a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 identifies a population of patients at high risk for severe illness, a BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 dramatically increases the risk of death," the researchers explained.18
Risk of Death Increases Along With Weight
A July 2020 report19 by Public Health England also reviews research demonstrating how excess weight affects COVID-19 outcomes. For example, one systematic review found that, compared to healthy weight patients, patients with a BMI above 25 were:
- 3.68 times more likely to die
- 6.98 times more likely to need respiratory support
- 2.03 times more likely to suffer critical illness
The report also highlights data showing the risk of hospitalization, intensive care treatment and death progressively increase as your BMI goes up. As for how obesity raises risks during viral infections, the chronic, low-grade inflammation it causes is a likely factor.
Inflammation triggered by obesity is also thought to be responsible for the threefold greater risk of pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs) seen in obese COVID-19 patients.20,21 Obesity-related dysregulation of lipid synthesis can also aggravate lung inflammation, thereby contributing to increased disease severity in viral respiratory infections specifically.22
In addition to that, excess body weight and fat deposition around the internal organs put pressure on your diaphragm, which makes it more difficult to breathe when you have a respiratory infection.23 Other mechanisms by which obesity may increase COVID-19 severity, include:24
- Increasing leptin resistance and lipotoxicity, as the accumulation of lipids may be exploited by viruses to enhance viral entry and replication
- A combined effect of chronic systemic inflammation and the induction of a cytokine storm
Losing Weight Will Lower Your COVID-19 Risk
The take-home message here is that if you are obese, even if only mildly so, focusing on getting down to a healthy weight may help you ward off viral illnesses, including COVID-19. Losing weight will also help you avoid other obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease — all of which, by the way, raise your risk of COVID-19 complications and death.
According to a study by The Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy's national health authority,25 more than 99% of fatalities from COVID-19 occurred among people who had underlying medical conditions. Among that 99%, 76.1% had high blood pressure, 35.5% had diabetes and 33% had heart disease either alone or as comorbidities.26
One of the most powerful strategies to optimize your weight is to restrict your eating window to six to eight hours each day, making sure to eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime. This is known as time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting, and is a powerful intervention to reduce insulin resistance and restore metabolic flexibility.
With respect to diet recommendations, my experience is consistent with a cyclical ketogenic diet being highly effective to restore metabolic flexibility and reduce insulin resistance.
This involves radically limiting carbs (replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein) until you're close to or at your ideal weight, as this will allow your body to start burning fat as its primary fuel and to increase the sensitivity of your insulin receptors.
Most people use carbs as their primary fuel source (thanks to excessive and frequent carb intake). They have lost the ability to effectively burn fat for fuel, which in turn leads to metabolic dysfunction, insulin resistance and weight gain. Once you have regained your ideal body weight, then you can cycle carbs back in a few times a week.
One of the best books written on this subject is my classic "Fat for Fuel." If you haven't read it, then you are in for a treat, as COVID-19 is the catalyst that will motivate you to not only read the book but apply its radical metabolic benefits.
Additionally, get regular exercise each week and increase physical movement throughout your waking hours, with the goal of sitting less than three hours a day. Making sure you're getting sufficient sleep (typically eight hours for most adults) and tending to your emotional health are also important factors that can influence your weight, general health and immune function.
Chronic stress, for instance, may increase your risk for visceral fat gain over time,27 which means addressing your stress levels is imperative for maintaining your ideal weight. Taking steps to lead a healthy lifestyle overall will have a snowball effect, helping you to reach a healthy weight while also bolstering your resilience against infection and disease.
Article updated to reflect correct spelling of Stéphane Bancel's name.
Coronaviruses were identified in the mid-1960s and so named for the crown-like spikes on the surface of the cell. Until the first SARS-CoV arrived in 2003, there were four common coronaviruses.1 The CDC’s list of symptoms for these viruses shows that they are the same as those of the common cold.2 They include a runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever and cough.
However, from what scientists have discovered since the start of the global pandemic, the symptoms and long-term effects are far different for SARS-CoV-2. Initial symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and loss of taste or smell.3 However, unlike a natural coronavirus, the additional complications can affect the cardiovascular system, kidney, liver and lungs.4
One of the identified underlying dysfunctions that trigger shortness of breath and severe lung complications is hypercoagulability. In one study, patients who were admitted to Padova University Hospital in Italy for acute respiratory failure showed "markedly hypercoagulable thromboelastometry profiles." The researchers said:5
"In conclusion, COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure present a severe hypercoagulability rather than consumptive coagulopathy. Fibrin formation and polymerization may predispose to thrombosis and correlate with a worse outcome."
Clot formations throughout the body may be associated with other complications arising after the illness has resolved. It appears that the difference between people who have a mild or severe illness may be related to the body’s ability to reduce the hypercoagulability and the hyperimmune response that leads to a cytokine storm.
How Glutathione Works — A ‘Master Antioxidant?’
An antioxidant is a molecule that keeps other molecules from oxidizing. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that may play a significant role in the COVID-19 illness process. There are 20 amino acids that can bind together in different formations to create a protein molecule.6
However, glutathione is a tripeptide, which means there are only three amino acids that line up to form a glutathione molecule. These are cystine, glycine and glutamate. Together they help use and recycle other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and CoQ10.7,8
This means your body uses glutathione to increase the effectiveness of these antioxidants and it helps to recycle the molecules. Without glutathione, the antioxidant capacity is significantly reduced. This function may be what earned glutathione the nickname “master antioxidant.”9
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) plays a role as a precursor to glutathione.10 Clinical evidence has also demonstrated the effects NAC has, independent of its role with glutathione, including a thrombolytic effect. It also improves oxidative stress and the inflammatory response.11,12,13,14
In late March 2020, one medical student put this theory to the test when his mother, 48-year-old Josephine Bruzzese, was diagnosed with pneumonia at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn. Without an available COVID-19 test, they sent her home as a suspected case. She was prescribed hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, which helped improve some symptoms, but not her breathing.
When she was unable to stand, and had severe respiratory problems,15 her son contacted Dr. Richard Horowitz, a specialist who was treating his sister for Lyme disease, who suggested using glutathione to help reduce the inflammation and protect Bruzzese's lung tissue. The results were dramatic.
Within one hour after receiving a 2,000 mg dose of glutathione, her breathing was better, and she could stand. She continued to take glutathione for five days and has not had a relapse. Speaking to a reporter from the New York Post, Horowitz shared that he is working to design an extensive clinical trial to prove the effectiveness of what he calls "an easy treatment that is not expensive."
May 5, 2020, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center posted a trial to Clinicaltrials.gov announcing a study involving the use of NAC in patients with COVID-19. In this first-of-its-kind research, the study team plans to enroll patients with severe disease: One group in the study will receive 6 grams of NAC intravenously each day in addition to other treatments.16
Scientists Propose Deficiency Is Linked to Severe COVID-19
About the same time the study was announced by Memorial Sloan Kettering, a Russian scientist published papers proposing that glutathione plays a crucial role in a person's ability to respond to a COVID-19 infection and the resulting severity of disease.17,18,19 In this short video, Dr. Roger Seheult explains the science.
Additionally, Dr. Alexey Polonikov, from Kursk State Medical University, theorizes glutathione can be used as a preventive against, and treatment of, the illness. Polonikov studies human molecular genetics and oxidative stress.20
Based on the exhaustive literature analysis he conducted, he later said he believes glutathione deficiency is a plausible reason for serious illness with COVID-19:21
“(1) oxidative stress contributes to hyper-inflammation of the lung leading to adverse disease outcomes such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure and death;
(2) poor antioxidant defense due to endogenous glutathione deficiency as a result of decreased biosynthesis and/or increased depletion of GSH is the most probable cause of increased oxidative damage of the lung, regardless which of the factors aging, chronic disease comorbidity, smoking or some others were responsible for this deficit.”
As Polonikov writes22 and Seheult describes in the video, oxidative damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays a significant role in severe disease with COVID-19. In another video, Seheult explains how COVID-19 sets the stage for significantly increasing oxidative stress by increasing superoxide, a damaging ROS.23
Importantly, this raises superoxide in people who start with high levels due to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. As the virus uses the ACE2 enzyme, it generates angiotensin II, which in turn generates more superoxide.
The virus also attracts a type of neutrophil (polymorphonuclear leukocytes) that can also raise the production of superoxide. The superoxide then produces other hydroxyl radicals, including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).
These ROSs, which cause cellular damage, can be reduced with glutathione peroxidase as it oxidizes glutathione in the process of reducing H2O2 to water. As you can see, a deficiency of glutathione would create a build-up for ROS as Polonikov describes.
Comorbid Risk Factors Linked to Glutathione Deficiency
Antioxidant defense against ROS damage is crucial for whole body homeostasis. Polonikov believes a higher rate of severe illness from the virus in older adults and those with comorbidities suggests there are related biological processes that make these specific individuals more sensitive. He writes:24
“Specifically, impaired redox homeostasis and associated oxidative stress appear to be important biological processes that may account for increased individual susceptibility to diverse environmental insults.”
In one evaluation of COVID-19 patients from six hospitals in Atlanta, researchers found independent factors that raised the risk of hospitalization. These included smoking, having Type 2 diabetes, being male, being Black, being of advanced age and being obese.25 Polonikov found evidence that a glutathione deficiency may be implicated in these comorbidities.
In his paper he identifies the progressive reduction in endogenous glutathione with aging. This, he believes, makes “the elderly more susceptible to oxidative damage caused by different environmental factors compared to younger individuals.”26 He points out that deficiencies in endogenous glutathione are also found in people who have other comorbid conditions.
He proposes these decreased levels with chronic disease could begin a shift toward oxidative stress and exacerbate pulmonary inflammation, ultimately leading “to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiorgan failure and death.”27 Some men and some smokers also have lower levels of glutathione, which increases their risk.
In another ongoing study on the genetics of redox homeostasis and Type 2 diabetes, four patients from the control group contracted COVID-19. Blood samples were collected and used to measure ROS and glutathione levels.28
All four were female nonsmokers without chronic disease who had a confirmed positive PCR test. In cases of individuals who recovered quickly, the ROS-to-glutathione ratio was 2.075-to-0.712 or less.
In patients with more significant disease, the ratio was 3.677-to-0.531 in one patient and as high as 2.73-to-0.079 in the second. In the first patient with significant disease the ratio was more than double that in patients who recovered quickly. In the second patient the ratio was more than 11 times greater.
Glutathione and Vitamin D Relationship
In terms of vitamin D, Polonikov proposes the relationship between vitamin D and severe disease may have more to do with a glutathione deficiency. He points to several studies that correlate glutathione levels with vitamin D29,30 and another in which scientists found that lower levels of l-cysteine, a glutathione precursor, correlated with lower vitamin D levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.31
In a recent animal study researchers also looked at whether glutathione deficiency could induce changes that impaired the metabolism of vitamin D.32 They found the deficiency could alter the biosynthesis and explained the mechanism for vitamin D deficiency that occurs with a glutathione deficiency.
The researchers suggest there's a potential benefit to supplementing with glutathione in order to reduce vitamin D deficiency. Polonikov writes that this study supplies information on the importance glutathione plays in the control of endogenous vitamin D biosynthesis and demonstrates the benefits of treatment in reducing vitamin D deficiency.
I believe both nutrients are vital for protection against severe disease. While a glutathione deficiency may impact your ability to synthesize vitamin D, this is applicable only when you have enough sun exposure or supplements to raise your vitamin D level.
However, we know it is difficult to get enough sun in the Northern Hemisphere, especially during the winter months. Additionally, most people use copious amounts of sunscreen or avoid the sun altogether, which can make the deficiency problem worse.
Strategies to Support Optimal Glutathione Levels
Your glutathione levels can be optimized using food, supplements and exercise. Polonikov believes that NAC taken orally may be a preventive strategy to help support your levels. In his paper he concluded:33
“Therefore, oral administration of N-acetylcysteine as a preventive measure against viral infections, as well as intravenous injection of NAC or reduced glutathione (GSH is highly bioavailable) in patients with serious illness may be effective options against novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infection."
As he discusses in the video, Seheult believes there is more to the damage by COVID-19 than oxidative stress.34 He points out that the clots removed from patients with confirmed COVID are rich with platelets, indicating another mechanism involving disulfide bonds. He goes on to explain:35
“And, as we've already talked about N-acetylcysteine and reduced glutathione will break these disulfide bonds and cause them to lyse and potentially relieve the obstruction and the hypoxemia with COVID-19. Again, this is all a hypothesis, but it looks as though it's fitting together."
Foods that have had a positive impact on glutathione production include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, green tea, curcumin, rosemary and milk thistle.36 Getting quality sleep may also help.37,38
Different types of exercise can influence your levels. In one study researchers enrolled 80 healthy but sedentary volunteers to measure the type of exercise that may have the greatest effect.39 They found that aerobic training in combination with circuit weight training showed the greatest benefit.
In 1817, Johan August Arfwedson discovered lithium in the mineral petalite. It is also found in several different types of ore and makes up about 0.002% of the Earth's crust. Up until the 1990s, the U.S. produced most of the lithium on the global market.1
The primary way the metal is used in industry is to refine iron, copper, zinc and nickel. Lithium is also absorbed by plants from groundwater and soil, which allows the metal to be distributed to animals and humans. Historically, lithium salts and mineral water have been used to treat depression and gout.2
Lithium was revived in modern medicine in 1949 in a veteran's hospital in Melbourne, Australia, where John Cade hypothesized it may help treat his manic patients.
Although some responded successfully, it came on the heels of a failed experiment to substitute sodium chloride with lithium chloride in people with congestive heart failure. In 2007, psychiatrist Gin Malhi of Melbourne characterized Cade's research, saying:3
“John Cade’s discovery demonstrates the importance of clinical observation, the significance of reporting case findings, the value of being patient centered and the scientific benefit of an open and inquiring mind.”
Before Cade’s discovery in 1949, the makers of 7-Up added lithium citrate to their original recipe, which they called "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda." This was back in 1929; the drug remained a part of the soda until 1948 when the FDA put a stop to it.4 Interestingly, the drink was inaccurately marketed as "slenderizing," since weight gain is a side effect of long-term use.
Lithium in the Water May Lower Rates of Suicide
In 2014, a psychiatrist from Weill Cornell Medical College wrote an article for The New York Times suggesting that lithium might be an essential trace element and public health may benefit by the addition of small amounts added to commonly consumed drinks such as soda and water. She wrote, “For the public health issue of suicide prevention alone, it seems imperative that such studies be conducted.”5
Hers was not the only suggestion. In 2015, a paper published in the journal International Clinical Psychopharmacology suggested something nearly identical. The researchers commented that “a substantial amount of data show that lithium significantly reduces mortality in patients with mood disorders.”6
After a review of the literature, they found “higher lithium levels in drinking water may be associated with reduced risk of suicide in the general population.”7 In a more recent study conducted at the University of Sussex, scientists found that “Naturally occurring lithium in public drinking water may have an antisuicidal effect …”8
The researchers collated data from around the world and compared suicide rates to the level of lithium in public drinking water.9 Because it's a naturally occurring element and is extracted by weathering into the soil — and subsequently the groundwater — it can reach the public water supply.
The results from recent studies have also been used to associate lithium with a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative dementias. The study team was encouraged by the analysis of data that confirmed a relationship between lithium and drinking water and lower suicide rates.
Professor Alan Young from King's College London commented on the level of lithium, pointing out that concentrations in drinking water are far lower than those used in medication. However, the “duration of exposure may be far longer, potentially starting at conception.”10 Professor Anjum Memon, lead author of the study from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, is suggesting whole community testing, saying:11
“Next steps might include testing this hypothesis by randomised community trials of lithium supplementation of the water supply, particularly in communities (or settings) with demonstrated high prevalence of mental health conditions, violent criminal behaviour, chronic substance abuse and risk of suicide.
This may provide further evidence to support the hypothesis that lithium could be used at the community level to reduce or combat the risk of these conditions."
While naturally occurring lithium in public water supplies may be beneficial, artificially altering the composition of public drinking water more than is currently being done, may ultimately not have the desired outcome researchers and scientists anticipate or hope for. Added to which, it begs the question of how a team can get informed consent from an entire community.
Lithium: One Drug Used for Bipolar Disorders
Bipolar disorder was once known as manic depressive disorder or illness.12 All three types of bipolar disorder are marked by significant changes in energy and mood. Moods can swing from an extremely elevated or energized behavior which characterizes the manic episodes, to moods that are indifferent or hopeless that characterize depression.
Although most think of bipolar disorder as a condition in which a person experiences both manic and depressive periods, bipolar II disorder has a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic periods. This is a milder form of a manic episode. The third type is called cyclothymic disorder and is characterized by hypomania and periods of depression lasting for at least two years.
With proper diagnosis and treatment many people go on to live productive lives. However, bipolar disorder is often a lifelong illness and while many can be free of mood changes, others may suffer from lingering symptoms.
Professionals from the National Alliance on Mental Illness believe lithium may be helpful for people suffering with depression when it is prescribed off-label along with antidepressant medications.13 Lithium is a long-term treatment with some common side effects that include:
Nausea and vomiting
Changes in appetite
Increased thirst and urination
Long-term use has been linked with hypothyroidism and weight gain. Lithium does interact with other medications including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, certain blood pressure drugs, antidepressants and diuretics.
Although a popular medication, it works in only one-third of all patients. It wasn’t until 2017 that scientists reported they might have identified the mechanism responsible for lithium’s effectiveness.14
The hope is that by identifying the process lithium uses to reduce symptoms, researchers may be able to screen patients who have a higher potential for use and find other effective drugs for the two-thirds who don’t get relief from lithium.
In studying the individual's response and mapping the pathway using pluripotent stem cells taken from bipolar patients, the researchers found a protein called CRMP2 that was inactive and associated with nerve cell communication. In patients who responded to lithium, the protein reactivated and returned to normal.
The researchers believe this suggests the mechanism is not necessarily genetic but may be a function of how the protein is regulated. Evan Snyder was the lead researcher on this study from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. He commented:15
"We realised that studying the lithium response could be used as a 'molecular can-opener' to unravel the molecular pathway of this complex disorder, that turns out not to be caused by a defect in a gene, but rather by the post-translational regulation (phosphorylation) of the product of a gene - in this case, CRMP2, an intracellular protein that regulates neural networks.
This 'molecular can-opener' approach - using a drug known to have a useful action without exactly knowing why - allowed us to examine and understand an underlying pathogenesis of bipolar disorder."
Nearly One-Fifth Were Depressed or Anxious Pre-COVID-19
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1% of the U.S. population suffer from anxiety disorders.16 People with such a disorder are likely to also have depression.
In 2014, 6.7% of all adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode.17 This is a clinical diagnosis that goes well beyond feeling sad. In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic morphed into something greater than a viral illness, waves of fear, uncertainty, social isolation and financial devastation have created the perfect storm for mental health issues.
A pandemic-triggered mental health crisis is expected. Data collected from late April 2020 forward are being used to analyze symptoms that happened in a person's life over the previous seven days. From May 7 to May 12, 2020, 34.4% of 30- to 39-year-old adults reported having symptoms of anxiety or depression.18
In the 2020 American Psychological Association Stress in America survey, stress levels in adults rose a full point from 2019.19 This is the first significant rise since the association started collecting statistics in 2007.
Memon expressed concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a significant effect on public mental health. He was encouraged by the results of the lithium study in light of current concerns:20
"The prevalence of mental health conditions and national suicide rates are increasing in many countries. Worldwide, over 800,000 people die by suicide every year, and suicide is the leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years.
In these unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent increase in the incidence of mental health conditions, accessing ways to improve community mental health and reduce the incidence of anxiety, depression and suicide is ever more important."
Take Care With Mental Health
The results of the studies evaluating the effectiveness of lithium in public health water to reduce suicide rates lends further evidence that lithium may be an overlooked micronutrient many people do not consume enough of in their food. In low doses, lithium is important in many different biochemical processes in humans and animals.21
It helps regulate brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor, both crucial in neuronal function. In high doses, lithium is a medication and brings with it a long list of potential side effects. Since it is found in ground water and taken up by plants, it is important you get plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
Seek out vegetables grown locally using regenerative farming techniques that potentially increase the number of nutrients in the plants and reduce or eliminate the amount of pesticides and toxins to which you're exposed.
If you're feeling depressed or anxious, it's important to recognize these are normal reactions to the pandemic and you're not alone. Research has suggested the novel threat of this pandemic may raise anxiety levels more than familiar threats, simply because the less familiar is shrouded in uncertainty.22
Fear is often perpetuated by misinformation that can feed panic, so it's important to balance negative news with positive news and include information that helps you to take positive action. Make it a point to limit the amount of negative news you consume each day.
Another important strategy to reduce anxiety and control your thoughts is to use Emotional Freedom techniques (EFT). In the video below, Julie Schiffman demonstrates techniques to address anxiety about COVID-19.
Your physical health is also essential to supporting sound mental health. However, if you feel severely depressed or anxious, or if you’re feeling suicidal, reach out to family, friends or any of the available following suicide prevention services:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) — Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor
- Lifeline Crisis Chat — Chat online with a specialist who can provide emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services at www.crisischat.org
By the looks of it, we are about to face one of the most aggressive vaccine campaigns ever created. According to Reuters,1 the U.S. government is planning to launch an "overwhelming" COVID-19 vaccine campaign come November, provided the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives one or more vaccine candidates the green light.
Considering former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb2 is now on Pfizer's board of directors,3 and Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is one of the lead candidates, jaded minds might assume the FDA isn't going to put up any significant roadblocks.
According to Reuters, the COVID-19 vaccine campaign "will likely be compressed into a short period of time, around four to six weeks, to eliminate any lag between when Americans are alerted to the vaccine and then they can get vaccinated." An unnamed "senior White House administration official" is quoted saying:4
"The fine line we are walking is getting the American people very excited about vaccines and missing expectations versus having a bunch of vaccines in the warehouse and not as many people want to get it. You may not hear a lot about promoting vaccines over the airwaves in August and September but you'll be overwhelmed by it come November."
It's still unclear exactly when a vaccine will be available, but it could be as early as October, or as late as January 2021. According to the administration official, the advertising campaign for the vaccine will be tailored to specific subsets of the population, depending on the people the vaccine is likely to benefit the most. Such details are expected to be teased out during ongoing clinical trials.
Study Underway to Identify Most Effective Messaging
The idea that the vaccine promotion might be more "overwhelming" than what we're used to is further supported by a clinical study5 on ClinicalTrials.gov, the aim of which is to identify the most "persuasive messages for COVID-19 vaccine uptake."
The study, conducted by Yale University, will test "different messages about vaccinating against COVID-19 once the vaccine becomes available."
A total of 4,000 participants will be randomized to receive one of 12 different messages (10 messaging variations, one control message and one baseline message), after which they will "compare the reported willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine at three and six months of it becoming available." The messaging slants under investigation include:6
Personal freedom message — A message about how COVID-19 is limiting people's personal freedom, and how society, by working together to get enough people vaccinated, can preserve its personal freedom.
Economic freedom message — A message about how COVID-19 is limiting people's economic freedom, and how society, by working together to get enough people vaccinated, can preserve its economic freedom.
Self-interest message — A message that COVID-19 presents a real danger to one's health, even if one is young and healthy, and how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to prevent oneself from getting sick.
Community interest message — A message about the dangers of COVID-19 to the health of loved ones: The more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, the lower the risk that one's loved ones will get sick. Society must work together and all get vaccinated.
Economic benefit message — A message about how COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the economy and the only way to strengthen the economy is to work together to get enough people vaccinated.
Guilt message — A message is about the danger that COVID-19 presents to the health of one's family and community. Therefore, the best way to protect them is not only by getting vaccinated, but to get society to work together to get enough people vaccinated. Then a test question asks the participant to imagine the guilt they will feel if they don't get vaccinated and then spread the disease.
Embarrassment message — A message is about the danger that COVID-19 presents to the health of one's family and community: The best way to protect them is by getting vaccinated and by working together to make sure that enough people get vaccinated. Then it asks the participant to imagine the embarrassment they will feel if they don't get vaccinated and spread the disease.
Anger message — The message is about the danger that COVID-19 presents to the health of one's family and community. The best way to protect them is by getting vaccinated and by working together to make sure that enough people get vaccinated. It then asks the participant to imagine the anger they will feel if they don't get vaccinated and spread the disease.
Trust in science message — A message about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way of protecting one's community, that vaccination is backed by science: If one doesn't get vaccinated that means that one doesn't understand how infections are spread or you are one who ignores science.
Not brave message — A message which describes how firefighters, doctors and front line medical workers are brave: Those who choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are not brave.
While the study was completed July 8, 2020, results have yet to be publicly posted. Clearly, this is not the first time researchers have investigated the most effective propaganda angles, but the types of messages listed above really demonstrate just how insidious these types of campaigns can be.
It's really all about manipulation — pushing the right mental and emotional hot-buttons to fire up a desired response, all while overriding more logical thought processes.
The propaganda push has already started, it seems, with USA Today publishing an article7 titled “Defeat COVID-19 by Requiring Vaccination for All. It’s Not Un-American, It’s Patriotic.” This is precisely the kind of PR we can expect more of in the months to come.
The manipulation aspect is equally if not more evident in the listed secondary outcome measures, which include:
- Participants' confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine
- Participants' willingness to persuade others to get vaccinated
- Their fear of those who have not been vaccinated
- The social judgment of those who choose not to vaccinate
Effective Totalitarianism Relies on You Enjoying Servitude
A quote from Aldous Huxley's dystopian 1932 book, "Brave New World," reads:
"A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude."
Huxley's quote starts off a thought-provoking article8 on The Burning Platform that reviews the rise of totalitarianism and parallels presented in popular works of fiction. The author notes Huxley's book came on the heels of Edward Bernays' 1928 book, "Propaganda" — a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the historical foundations of modern public relations. The article points out that, in his book, Bernays:9
"… revealed the existence of an invisible government who used propaganda to manipulate the minds of the public to insure those controlling the levers of power were able to engineer their desired outcomes."
A contemporary to Huxley and Bernays was George Orwell, who wrote the cult classic "1984." In 1949, Huxley reportedly wrote to Orwell, stating he believed the world's rulers would soon "discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient as instruments of government than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience."10
Huxley believed the nightmarish existence presented in "1984" was "destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in 'Brave New World'" and that this transition would be the result of "a felt need for increased efficiency." While Huxley did not use the word "technocracy," that's essentially what he was talking about.
Technocracy is an economic and social engineering system that got started in the 1930s during the height of the Great Depression, when scientists and engineers got together to solve the nation's economic problems.
The Trilateral Commission's co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Columbia University professor, brought the concept of technocracy into the Commission in 1973, with the financial support of David Rockefeller. Technocrats have silently and relentlessly pushed forward ever since, and their agenda is now becoming increasingly visible.
At its heart, technocracy is an economic system, not a political one. It actually calls for, indeed demands, the total dismantling of the political system, which includes the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the Constitution is the only thing that has kept technocracy at bay this long in the U.S.
The system also hinges on the skillful implementation of social engineering. Once fully implemented, people won't have the ability to effectively fight it, but until then, through peaceful civil disobedience, the sharing of information and the exercise of political power, we still have a chance to prevent it.
Time is running short, however. As noted by The Burning Platform,11 "Since 9/11, the United States has unequivocally moved in the direction of Orwell's 1984 vision," and "We are now experiencing a dystopian amalgamation of the worst of both novels," referring to "1984" and "Brave New World."
Unfortunately, many still cannot see the full picture, nor understand the ultimate real-world danger of unquestioning compliance with ever-more illogical and freedom-quenching recommendations and mandates.
Technocracy Demands the Abolishment of Political Systems
Under technocratic rule, nations are to be led by unelected leaders who decide which resources companies can use to make certain products, and which products consumers are ultimately allowed to buy. Technocracy is essentially a resource-based economic system in which energy and social engineering run the economy rather than pricing mechanisms such as supply and demand.
Patrick Wood — an economist, financial analyst and American constitutionalist — has devoted a lifetime to uncovering the mystery of what is controlling most of the craziness we're currently seeing, and which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I go into more details on technocracy in my interview with Patrick Wood.
His two books, "Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation" and "Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order" delve into this new world order in greater depth. You can listen to our interview below.
Science Has Been Misused for Decades
Importantly, science is a primary tool used to manipulate society and keep the economic engine running under the technocratic system. As explained by Wood, technocracy uses science to issue suggestions, to start. But those suggestions rapidly turn into mandates, which is precisely what we've been seeing during this pandemic. We've also seen this with vaccines in general.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed there's a much larger plan that includes implantable digital identifications, medical records and vaccine passports, digital currency and banking — all of which will ultimately be tied together so that algorithms and automation will be able to keep everyone in line, everywhere, all the time.
Rule by Algorithm
An important tool used to drive the technocratic agenda forward is what Huxley pointed out, namely efficiency. In the name of efficiency and convenience, we are being inundated with an ever-increasing amount of "smart" technology that tracks everything everyone says and does, and artificial intelligence that sorts, interprets and spits out recommendations based on all that data.
This technological infrastructure is crucial for the technocracy, as the ultimate goal is to essentially automate slavery. The idea is that society will be ruled by automated algorithms, thus rendering a political structure irrelevant. Everyone will be automatically kept in line by technology.
For example, you might be told via text message that it's time to get your annual vaccination. You go there, get the shot, and receive a digital vaccine certificate. Should you get the bright idea to refuse, your bank accounts get automatically frozen, the electronic door pass to your office won't work, and you won't be allowed to pass through the electronic check point at the grocery store.
No human authority is required in that system. There won't be anyone to complain to or debate with. You're herded into compliance by the fact that you have to do certain things in order to be allowed to participate in society. It sounds crazy, but if you look around, you'll see clear evidence that this system has been slowly implemented all around us, for decades.
And, when you look at the statements from people like Bill Gates, in conjunction with the technologies he and others are implementing in various parts of the world (such as digital identification, currency, vaccine certificates and medical records, along with implantable chips to track employee attendance, smart appliances and entire smart cities, just to name a few), you can begin to see how the control loop is closing in around us.
In her book, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," professor Shoshana Zuboff exposes the stunning capacities currently available to surveil, analyze and manipulate our behavior. It's crucial to realize that as bad as it is today, the predictive power of technology is advancing at an exponential rate, which means their ability to manipulate behavior is increasing at a pace we cannot fully comprehend.
Regaining Control of Local Government Is Key
Importantly, technocrats are currently making an end run around national sovereignty. Rather than a frontal assault on the system, which has never been successful, they've simply eroded national sovereignty piece by piece. What can we can do to thwart the steady march of technocracy?
As explained by Wood, the most effective way is through local activism. The technocratic system was built from the bottom up, so we cannot tear it down from the top down. They're already far too powerful for that. So, to begin the dismantling process, we must regain control of our local governments, and work our way up from there.
One of the most important elected local officials that you should concern yourself with is your sheriff. Sheriffs are responsible for enforcing tyrannical edicts from local, state and federal government, and if they choose not to, government has no power. City councils also have a lot of power. They can pass binding resolutions to protect citizens against the technocratic agenda.
1 Person in 40 Is Injured by Vaccines
Getting back to the issue of the COVID-19 vaccine, I urge you to keep a cool head once the PR machine gains speed. Read through the propaganda messages again (above) and familiarize yourself with them so you can identify the buttons they're trying to push.
Remember, the COVID-19 vaccines currently leading in development have never before been licensed for human use, and there's no possible way to ascertain what the long-term ramifications might be when you turn your body into a viral protein factory. I've discussed the theory behind mRNA vaccines in several previous articles, including "Gates Tries to Justify Side Effects of Fast-Tracked Vaccine."
Coronavirus vaccine efforts gained speed in early 2002, following three SARS epidemics. However, such efforts have proven highly problematic as coronavirus vaccines have a stubborn tendency to trigger paradoxical immune responses.
In my interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who chairs the board of directors of the Children's Health Defense,12 he reviewed some of the failed efforts to produce a viable coronavirus vaccine and highlighted the dangers of vaccine exaggeration of the immune response:
"The Chinese, the Americans, the Europeans all got together and said, 'We need to develop a vaccine against coronavirus.' Around 2012, they had about 30 vaccines that looked promising. They took the four best of those and … gave those vaccines to ferrets, which are the closest analogy when you're looking at lung infections in human beings.
The ferrets had an extraordinarily good antibody response, and that is the metric by which FDA licenses vaccines … The ferrets developed very strong antibodies, so they thought, 'We hit the jackpot.' All four of these vaccines ... worked like a charm.
Then something terrible happened. Those ferrets were then exposed to the wild virus, and they all died. [They developed] inflammation in all their organs, their lungs stopped functioning and they died."
So please, review ALL the vaccine studies BEFORE you get the COVID vaccine because as far as I have read, this essential part of the study — ensuring that no paradoxical immune enhancement will occur — has not yet been done.
Even with conventionally manufactured vaccines, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research Quality suggests vaccine damage occurs in 2.6% of all vaccinations. This means 1 in 40 people — not 1 in 1 million, which is what we've been repeatedly told — is injured by vaccines. Kennedy Jr. reviewed this data in a recent online vaccine debate13 with attorney and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz.
The U.S. Vaccine Court has also paid out $4 billion to patients permanently damaged or killed by vaccines, and that's just a small portion of all the cases filed. According to Kennedy, less than 1% of people who are injured ever get to court, due to the high bar set for proving causation.
Will the novel mRNA COVID-19 vaccines be more dangerous than conventional vaccines, or will they be safer? Considering these vaccines are being fast-tracked and are forgoing all traditional animal testing and long-term evaluation, I suspect they may end up having far more unanticipated complications.
So, as the vaccine campaign rolls out, remember to weigh whatever potential risks and benefits that might apply in your particular situation, and avoid falling for emotional triggers.
Regardless of what you decide, also try to accept the personal decisions of others. The PR campaign will clearly try to manipulate you into fearing those who chose not to vaccinate, and trigger you into condemning them. Hopefully, knowing that you are being manipulated will help ease these tendencies.
As if universal mask recommendations weren’t enough, the last week of July 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci started flouting the recommendation to wear goggles and full face shields as well, as the mucous membranes of your eyes can also serve as entryways for viruses. Fauci is also urging everyone to get their flu shots as soon as they become available.1 As reported by The Hill:2
“During an interview with ABC News medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton, Fauci was asked whether the U.S. would one day recommend eye protection due to the pandemic. ‘You know, it might,’ Fauci said, noting that it would offer an added layer of protection.
‘You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,’ he added. ‘Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces.’
Fauci went on to say that if you have ‘goggles or an eye shield, you should use it.’ While it's not universally recommended, both goggles and a face covering would provide ‘complete’ protection from the coronavirus, he said.”
Fauci’s support of universal masking and goggle-wearing is in stark contrast to comments he made back in March 2020, when he stated that “people should not be walking around with masks” because “it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And often there are unintended consequences: People keep fiddling with their mask and they keep touching their face.”3
Ocular Transmission Is Possible but Unlikely
Just how big of a risk do your eyes pose, when it comes to contracting COVID-19? In all likelihood, the risk is not that great.
According to a March 31, 2020, report4 in JAMA Ophthalmology, while ocular abnormalities were common in COVID-19 patients, only 5.2% actually had SARS-CoV-2-positive conjunctival specimens, i.e., specimens taken from the eye. According to the authors, “Although there is a low prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears, it is possible to transmit via the eyes.”
Put another way, while it’s possible SARS-CoV-2 could transmit via your eyes, the likelihood of this happening appears to be very low, seeing how only 5.2% of confirmed COVID-19 patients actually had SARS-CoV-2 in their eyes. Personally, I do not believe adding goggles and plastic face shields would significantly reduce your risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.
Remember, the virus is aerosolized and spreads through the air. Aerosolized viruses — especially SARS-CoV-2, which is about half the size of influenza viruses — cannot be blocked by a mask, as explained in my interview with Denis Rancourt, who has conducted a thorough review of the published science on masks and viral transmission.
According to Rancourt, “NONE of these well-designed studies that are intended to remove observational bias found a statistically significant advantage of wearing a mask versus not wearing a mask.”
What’s more, contamination of the eyes is likely primarily the result of touching your eyes with contaminated fingers. If you wear goggles or a face shield, you may actually be more prone to touch your eyes to rub away sweat, condensation and/or scratch an itch.
Just as there’s no scientific basis for universal mask wearing, there’s no scientific basis for the wearing of goggles and face shields either.
Even CNN recently cited the opinion of Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, who said that while it’s possible for the virus to end up in your eye — either due to exposure to contaminated air or touching your eyes with contaminated fingers — contracting the disease via your eyes is “probably less likely, however, than getting it through your nose or mouth or from inhaling it.”5
Steinemann also pointed out that the virus would have to go through a “rather circuitous route” before it can do any significant harm. First it would have to infect your eye, then “be carried to your nose through your tears,” and then from there to your mouth, throat and lungs.
Mask Wearing Required Even After Vaccine Becomes Available?
In related news, Maria Elena Bottazzi, a COVID-19 vaccine developer at Baylor College of Medicine, claims6 social distancing and face masks will likely still be required even after a vaccine becomes available, as the vaccine will not offer 100% protection against infection.
For example, Moderna is hoping to achieve a 60% effectiveness rate in its Phase 3 trials. Even if the vaccine reaches 90% effectiveness, people with high-risk health conditions will need to continue wearing masks, Moderna’s CEO Stephanie Bancel said.7
In what appears to be an effort to back up the mask mandates for COVID-19, Fauci is now also endorsing the wearing of masks during every influenza season going forward. As reported by Life Site News, July 31, 2020:8
“Fauci … suggested that masking should morph from a temporary emergency measure to a permanent seasonal practice: ‘It is inevitable that we're going to have some degree of flu. I'm hoping that the wearing of masks and other coverings are going to not only protect us against COVID-19, but also help protect us against influenza.’"
Guidance Should Be Based in Science, Not Unsupported Belief
Public health recommendations such as universal mask wearing, which also has its risks, should not be pinned on hope alone, however — which is what Fauci is doing. If we are to follow the science, then universal mask-wearing should not be implemented for either influenza or COVID-19 reduction. As noted by Dr. Andrew Bostom of Brown University in a July 11, 2020, Medium post:9
“… limited, immediate-term experimental observations10 — equivocal at best — provide no rational, evidence-based justification for daily, prolonged mask usage by the general public to prevent infection with COVID-19.
Moreover, a subsequent pooled (so-called ‘meta-‘) analysis11 of 10 controlled trials assessing extended, real-world, non-health-care-setting mask usage revealed that masking did not reduce the rate of laboratory-proven infections with the respiratory virus influenza.
The findings from this unique report — published May 2020 by the CDC’s own ‘house journal’ ‘Emerging Infectious Diseases’ — are directly germane to the question of masking to prevent COVID-19 infection and merit some elaboration.
Ten randomized, controlled trials reporting estimates of facemask effectiveness in lowering rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza within the community, published between 2008 and 2016, were analyzed and pooled, applying a rigorous, standardized methodology.
One study evaluated mask usage by Hajj pilgrims to Mecca, two university-setting studies assessed the efficacy of face masks for prevention of confirmed influenza among student campus residents over five months of surveillance, and seven household studies examined the impact of masking infected persons only (one), household contacts of infected persons only (one), or both groups (five).
None of these studies, individually, or their aggregated, pooled analysis, which enhanced the overall ‘statistical power’ to detect smaller effects, demonstrated a significant benefit of masking for the reduction of confirmed influenza infection … The authors further concluded with a caution that using face masks improperly might ‘increase the risk for (viral) transmission.’”
Masking ‘Is a Reflexive Reaction to Anxiety’ NEJM Says
Other studies have come to the same conclusions. For example, a paper in the April 2020 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine pointed out:12
“We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes).
The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic …
More compelling is the possibility that wearing a mask may reduce the likelihood of transmission from asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic health care workers with COVID-19 to other providers and patients …
Masking all providers might limit transmission from these sources by stopping asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic health care workers from spreading virus-laden oral and nasal droplets.
What is clear, however, is that universal masking alone is not a panacea. A mask will not protect providers caring for a patient with active Covid-19 if it’s not accompanied by meticulous hand hygiene, eye protection, gloves, and a gown.
A mask alone will not prevent health care workers with early Covid-19 from contaminating their hands and spreading the virus to patients and colleagues.
Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of Covid-19 if it diverts attention from implementing more fundamental infection-control measures.”
Gas Mask Developer Invents COVID-19 Mask
In an apparent attempt to address the ineffectiveness of standard medical and cloth masks against airborne viruses, Noam Gavriely, an Israeli gas mask innovator, is now promoting ViriMASK, a new type of mask said to block 99.25% of particles with a diameter of at least 0.087 microns.
SARS-CoV-2 is a beta-coronavirus with a diameter between 0.06 to 0.14 microns.13 The device looks like a cross between a diver’s mask and a square gas mask. So far, the company has sold about 10,000 of these masks. As reported by Times of Israel:14
“Gavriely, ViriMASK CEO, told The Times of Israel: ‘Unlike other products, this is sealed all around the face, like gas masks and diving masks. And the filter is much more dense than the N95 mask and surgical masks, meaning that fewer particles penetrate.’
He said this can give peace of mind to hospital workers and other medical professionals, including dentists, and others who are at a higher risk of being exposed to the coronavirus.
The mask straps around the head and covers the eyes, nose and mouth, meaning that all points currently believed to be channels for coronavirus infection are protected. ‘In this sense, you’re covering yourself completely and also protecting the environment around you from any infection you may have,’ said Gavriely …”
Health Officials Weigh in on Pandemic Sex Practices
To go along with the masks, goggles and clear face shield, health officials are now also starting to issue recommendations for “safer sex.” In New York City, health officials suggest couples who do not reside in the same residence on a permanent basis should wear a mask during sex and avoiding kissing.
According to the New York City health department’s “Safer Sex and COVID-19” fact sheet,15 “Decisions about sex and sexuality need to be balanced with personal and public health,” although they do note that “sex is not likely a common way that COVID-19 spreads.”
To “enjoy safer sex and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19,” the health department suggests avoiding orgies, restricting sexual activity to masturbation whenever possible, and washing your hands (and any toys) for at least 20 seconds before and afterward.
If hooking up with someone outside your household, discuss COVID-19 risk factors such as symptoms within the last two weeks and any positive COVID-19 test results. They also recommend having alcohol-based sanitizer on hand, and having sex in “larger, more open, and well-ventilated spaces.”
Other suggestions include getting “creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.” In plain English, consider having sex through a hole in the wall (“glory hole”) or other physical barrier to avoid close physical contact.
British Columbia’s Centre for Disease Control has issued near-identical guidelines,16 as has the Irish Health Services and the Irish Pharmacy Union.17 Several Scandinavian countries have also issued pandemic safe sex guidance, although the Danish health chief explicitly excluded all forms of sex from its social distancing rules saying “sex is good, sex is healthy.”18
Online Sex Can Have Unwanted Consequences
If the idea of rubbing genitals through a hole in the wall doesn’t strike your fancy, health officials suggest getting busy online instead. What all of them fail to address is the privacy issue. They’re basically asking everyone to have sex online where big tech surveillance capitalists can record your every video encounter and capture every lurid text message and photo.
That data is stored indefinitely, along with everything else you do online, and may be accessed by any number of individuals, now or in the future, including hackers that may use the recordings for all sorts of nefarious purposes.
I’m not going to tell you what you should or should not do here, but I will remind you that many lives and careers have been ruined by the involuntary release of intimate photos and videos. So, be mindful of the privacy risks involved.
I guess at the end of the day, you’ll have to weigh the risk of infection against personal risks that have nothing to do with infectious disease. As for the wearing of gogles and face shields, there’s no evidence to suggest these measures actually prevent the spread of viral infection when worn in public any more than face masks do.
In the mid-20th century, a group of complex, man-made chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) were first produced.1 Experts estimate there may be up to 10,000 of these “forever” chemicals in this family, whose full effects are not yet known.
The most widely recognized are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), both having associations with kidney cancer and testicular cancer.2 The chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption and a host of other health problems in people who live in communities that have heavily contaminated drinking water.
In 2002, 3M agreed to stop making PFOS and in 2005, DuPont began the phase-out of PFOA.3 However, with a little chemical tweak, DuPont and other companies are marketing a new generation with similar structures. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that studies on these new chemicals also show they have the potential for serious health risks.
The unique chemical properties of PFAS give other structures the ability to repel oil and water, reduce friction and confer temperature resistance.4 The chemicals have been used in aerospace technology, photography, construction, electronics and aviation. They are also found in everyday items like textiles, paper products and nonstick cookware.
Ubiquitous use, delays in reducing use and the known bioaccumulative and persistent effects of the chemicals have produced an environmental problem, largely because some of them can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.5
3 Manufacturers Announce Voluntarily Withdrawals of PFAS
July 31, 2020, the FDA announced that three companies would voluntarily phase out specific short-chain PFAS that are used in food packaging.6 The chemicals are used in fast food wrappers, pizza boxes and to-go boxes.
The announcement followed a literature review by FDA scientists that raised questions of the persistence of 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (6:2 FTOH). As noted in the press release, a representative from the FDA said:7
“While the findings were from studies in rodents, and at higher doses than we would expect in humans, the data suggest the potential of 6:2 FTOH to also persist in humans from chronic dietary exposure. Further scientific studies are needed to better understand the potential human health risks from dietary exposure to food contact substances that contain 6:2 FTOH.”
Information about the problem is carefully worded, as shown in a portion of the FAQs:8
“The levels of PFAS that have been found in foods from the general food supply, however, are very low and based on the best available current science, the FDA has no indication that these present a human health concern.”
As Fox 10 points out, the phase-out could take several years.9 It will begin January 2021 when manufacturers start a three-year program to reduce and ultimately eliminate sales of all products that contain 6:2 FTOH.10
Once this is completed, they estimate it could take nearly 18 months to sell existing paper products that contain the substances. In other words, the manufacturer has up to 4.5 years to phase it out of production, but it is difficult to predict when the products on the market will no longer be used.
After the products are disposed of, many reach a landfill where the chemicals do not degrade but, rather, can seep into the ground and reach groundwater supplies. Eventually, as the EWG found, this gets into the drinking water.11
Forever Chemical Is Found in Tap Water and Rainwater
Unlike plastic pollution that often visibly creates damage to marine life, PFAS molecules cannot be seen spreading throughout the environment. Data have suggested that PFASs may be rising in remote areas of the Arctic.
In a study from 2010, researchers reported that PFOAs were found in high concentrations in seawater, while PFOSs were clearly evident in wildlife.12 Polar bears and ringed seals in Greenland have shown increasing amounts of the chemicals in their bodies. One of the researchers was on a subsequent team who published an update nine years later, describing their findings of a series of compounds in Arctic wildlife and seawater.13
Dangers in the environment are also reaching your home. The EWG commissioned drinking water tests in dozens of U.S. cities, including rural and major metropolitan areas.14
The results showed that contamination had been recorded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and that both the EPA and the EWG had dramatically underestimated the problem. EWG scientists believe the family of PFAS chemicals may be:15
“… in all major water supplies in the U.S., almost certainly in all that use surface water. EWG’s tests also found chemicals from the PFAS family that are not commonly tested for in drinking water.”
The team collected 44 samples from 31 states. In only one place did the water not contain PFASs. In two other test samples, the level was below that which is believed to pose a risk to human health. PFASs were found in water from Philadelphia, New Orleans, cities in northern New Jersey, New York City suburbs and many other places.
Since PFASs are not regulated by the EPA, water utility companies that independently test for the chemical do not have to publish the results or even report them. Areas with the highest levels in the EWG data set included Brunswick County, North Carolina; Quad Cities, Iowa; Miami, Florida; and Bergen County, New Jersey.
The EWG reports that the EPA was notified of the problem in 2001 and that the agency still has not set an “enforceable, nationwide legal limit.”16
In another water study, scientists analyzed 37 rainwater samples from 30 locations across the U.S. They found at least one of the compounds they were looking for in each of the samples. Although concentrations were low, they were higher than some states had proposed limiting in their drinking water. This highly contaminated rainwater irrigates crops, pollutes lakes and seeps into the groundwater supply.17
Is the Safe Drinking Water Act Broken?
The Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted in 1974 and amended in 1986 and 1996.18 It was supposed to ensure drinking water quality and was used to set national standards to prevent exposure to man-made contaminants.
A recent report in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) tells the story of drinking water contamination with PFAS through the eyes of Andrea Amico and her family who live in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.19 In 2014, a local paper reported that one of the town's drinking wells was shut down after contamination had been detected.
The area of town serviced by the well had been built over Pease Air Force Base, where her husband worked and her two children attended day care. In 2015, she and two others co-founded an activist group to help the community get blood tests; they were instrumental in starting a federal health study for people who have been exposed to PFAS.
The blood results revealed her husband and children had high levels of contaminants in their system. Sadly, this is not an isolated event or a new problem. The struggle to regulate water and protect citizens against persistent chemicals began with the presidency of George W. Bush and continues with Donald Trump.
Melanie Benesh is a legislative attorney working with EWG, and since the early 2000s the group has called for limiting two PFAS chemicals. She spoke to a C&EN reporter, saying:20
“This is a multi-administration failure to take action on PFOA and PFOS and on the broader class of PFAS chemicals that may pose health effects. It has taken EPA an extraordinarily long time to do anything.”
In 2018, C&EN reported that the Trump administration had promised to make a decision on the need to control PFOA and PFOS as drinking water pollutants. However, historically, the administration has not been environmentally friendly. If a regulatory determination is made, it would involve another four years of legal steps before the EPA could place a regulatory limit on safe drinking water.
When the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended in 1986, the EPA was required to regulate 25 contaminants every two years. C&EN reports they currently have 90 contaminants being regulated, but they haven't set any limits since the revision of the Act in 1996.
An investigative report from 2017 published in Politico calls the Act “broken,” listing several reasons it no longer protects citizens.21 The latest update to the Act added a requirement for “complex economic analyses to prove that the benefits of a new regulation justify the costs.” Under the original Act from 1974, “the burden of proof is especially high.”22
The reporter highlights the battle over perchlorate, “the only new chemical the federal government has even attempted to regulate in the past 20 years.”23 Regulation efforts that began under President Bush have not yet been successful.
Is Voluntary Phase-Out a Corporate Accountability Sidestep?
As the FDA applauds the efforts of manufacturers to voluntarily phase out a chemical with “potential human health risks from chronic dietary exposure,”24 the EPA has criminal inquiries under way for the same chemical.25
DuPont was a long-time manufacturer of PFAS and has been accused of creating a fraudulent spin-off company, Chemours, in their effort to sidestep their environmental cleanup liability caused by the manufacturing of Teflon.26 In 2019, Chemours notified the FDA they no longer were selling packaging with 6:2 FTOH. Chemours lawyers spoke to a Bloomberg reporter, saying:27
“The separation agreement was the product of a one-sided process that lacked any of the hallmarks of arm’s-length bargaining. DuPont unilaterally dictated the terms of the separation agreement and imposed them on Chemours.”
Some U.S. states are not waiting for a federal ruling but are taking matters into their own hands. Michigan is planning to start regulating certain PFAS chemicals and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is setting its sights on corporate accountability. Commissioner Catherine McCabe told Think Progress:28
“New Jersey believes that the manufacturers … should be held responsible to the public for the costs and damages of the drinking water contamination and other harmful consequences of their actions and negligence.”
Based on actions large chemical corporations have historically used, could a voluntary phase-out of dangerous and damaging chemicals with a 4.5-year timeline be one way of avoiding or delaying their environmental and health liabilities?
How to Avoid PFAS Chemicals
In May 2015, more than 200 scientists from 40 countries signed a consensus statement called the Madrid Statement. Their focus was on PFAS and they warned about its potentially harmful effects, including associations with liver toxicity, adverse neurobehavioral effects, hypothyroidism and obesity.
The group recommended avoiding any and all products containing PFAS. The EWG “Guide to Avoiding PFCS” lists helpful tips you can follow to avoid these chemicals.29
Consider avoiding clothing pretreated with stain repellant or flame-retardant chemicals and avoid nonstick cookware and treated kitchen utensils. For a list of further suggestions and more information about PFAS, see “Warning: Biodegradable Bowls Contain Toxic Chemicals.”
When your body is infected with a disease-causing virus such as influenza, the virus is “shed” into the environment, via your saliva and other bodily fluids and skin lesions. If someone comes in contact with that shed virus, it’s possible that they, too, will become infected with the virus.
There’s still a lot of unknowns when it comes to viral shedding. How long a person sheds a virus, when shedding occurs and whether it occurs at the onset of symptoms or prior to symptoms, varies by virus and are influenced by a person’s age, health status and even weight.1
That viruses are shed from their hosts is common knowledge. However, the topic of viral shedding isn’t one you’ll hear about often when it comes to live attenuated viral vaccines, examples of which include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), vaccinia (smallpox), varicella, zoster (which contains the same virus as varicella vaccine but in much higher amount), yellow fever, rotavirus and influenza (intranasal).2
Live viral vaccines use a weakened (or attenuated) version of the virus, which is typically passed through a living cell culture or other host, such as chicken embryo, many times over until it becomes weakened to a point that it’s not likely to make you sick when it’s injected, swallowed or inhaled.
That being said, it’s still a live vaccine-strain virus — one that can be shed like any virus — and research suggests that vaccination may increase viral shedding in the case of influenza.3
Flu Vaccine Recipients Shed 6.3 Times More Virus Into the Air
In a study published in PNAS, University of Maryland researchers revealed not only that influenza virus may be spread via simple breathing (i.e., no sneezing or coughing required) but also that repeated vaccination increases the amount of influenza virus released into the air.4
“Little is known about the amount and infectiousness of influenza virus shed into exhaled breath. This contributes to uncertainty about the importance of airborne influenza transmission,” the researchers noted. “We show that sneezing is rare and not important for — and that coughing is not required for — influenza virus aerosolization.”5
This is important, as it means that even someone who’s not actively sneezing or coughing can still potentially transmit the influenza virus to others.
Further, someone who’s recently received the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) may also potentially actively shed and transmit the virus. According to the study, in fact, people who were vaccinated for influenza shed more than six times more virus into the air than those who were not:6
“Self-reported vaccination for the current season was associated with a trend toward higher viral shedding in fine-aerosol samples; vaccination with both the current and previous year’s seasonal vaccines, however, was significantly associated with greater fine-aerosol shedding in unadjusted and adjusted models.
In adjusted models, we observed 6.3 times more aerosol shedding among cases with vaccination in the current and previous season compared with having no vaccination in those two seasons.”
Annual Vaccination May Actually Reduce Your Protection
Receiving a flu vaccination to prevent type A or B influenza is not nearly as cut-and-dry as health officials would have you believe. There are many unanswered questions that deserve further research, like the possibility that getting repeated annual flu shots may increase your susceptibility to influenza. In a 2013 study, it was found that those who received the influenza vaccine two years in a row got no significant protection during the current flu season.7,8
Another finding revealed by the study was that vaccination failed to prevent household transmission once influenza was introduced, with adults being particularly at risk despite vaccination.9 Again in 2019, researchers found that vaccine effectiveness was lower against certain types of flu (H3N2 and B) for those vaccinated during two consecutive flu seasons compared to those vaccinated in the current season only.10
The possibility that repeated vaccination may reduce effectiveness, and that annual vaccination may increase aerosol viral shedding, demands more investigation. According to the featured study researchers:11
“The association of current and prior year vaccination with increased shedding of influenza A might lead one to speculate that certain types of prior immunity promote lung inflammation, airway closure, and aerosol generation. This first observation of the phenomenon needs confirmation.
If confirmed, this observation, together with recent literature suggesting reduced protection with annual vaccination, would have implications for influenza vaccination recommendations and policies.”
It’s possible, for instance, that after vaccination, you may become a contagious silent carrier of disease. A person with influenza who fully expresses symptoms of fever, body aches, cough and other signs of respiratory illness would likely stay at home.
However, a vaccinated individual, who is silently contagious, would go to work and into stores and other public places and be unaware they are spreading infection, which can be done even via regular breathing.
This is an especially important fact for vaccinated health care workers, who move freely among patients in hospitals and other medical facilities because everyone assumes vaccinated medical personnel are "immune" to influenza if they get a flu shot every year, even though they could potentially be transmitting influenza to hospital patients, including those in the ICU.
CDC: Virus Shedding ‘Common’ After Receipt of LAIV
Although you may be surprised to learn that virus shedding occurs after certain vaccinations, even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in their “Safety of Influenza Vaccines” report for professionals,12 states that shedding of the live attenuated vaccine virus is “common” after receipt of LAIV. They cite numerous studies confirming as such, including:
- Among 345 LAIV3 recipients, 29% had detectable virus in their nasal secretions, with maximal shedding occurring within two days of vaccination13
- In a study of 200 children aged 6 months through 59 months, 79% shed at least one vaccine virus; shedding was most common among younger children, with 89% of 6- to 23-month-olds shedding at least one vaccine virus14
The live influenza vaccine is FluMist, which is approved for nonpregnant women as well as anyone aged 2 to 49 years. It’s administered in the form of a nasal spray.
While the CDC states that the live type A and B vaccine strain influenza viruses in FluMist are too weak to actually give recipients influenza, according to the CDC, “transmission of shed LAIV vaccine viruses from vaccine recipients to unvaccinated persons has been documented …”15
MedImmune, the company that developed FluMist, is also aware that the vaccine sheds vaccine-strain virus. In its prescribing information, they describe a study on the transmission of vaccine-strain influenza viruses from vaccinated children to nonvaccinated children in a day care setting.
In 80% of the FluMist recipients, at least one vaccine-strain influenza virus was isolated anywhere from one to 21 days following vaccination. They further noted, “One placebo subject had mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a transmitted vaccine virus by a FluMist recipient in the same playgroup.”16
How Often Does Vaccine Virus Transmission Occur?
According to the CDC, “The estimated probability of transmission of vaccine virus within a contact group with a single LAIV recipient in this population [a child care center] was 0.58%,” however in a child care setting it’s likely that multiple children would have received LAIV at any given time.17
However, there’s no way to know for sure how often vaccine-strain live virus shedding and disease transmission actually occurs, since it’s not being actively monitored or tested for.
Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), wrote a special report, “The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Viral Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine Strain Virus Infection, Shedding and Transmission,” which contains over 200 references and delves into virus shedding and vaccine virus shedding. She noted:18
“There is no active surveillance and testing for evidence of vaccine strain live virus shedding, transmission and infection among populations routinely being given multiple doses of live virus vaccines, including measles vaccine. Therefore, it is unknown exactly how many vaccinated children and adults in the U.S. or other countries are shedding and transmitting vaccine strain live viruses.
Whether or not vaccine strain live virus shedding, transmission and infection is causing undiagnosed or misdiagnosed health problems, especially among people with severe immune deficiencies or autoimmune and other immune system disorders, is an open question.”
A Live Attenuated COVID-19 Vaccine Is Being Produced
The featured study has implications for COVID-19, which is still a mystery in terms of transmission and treatment. It’s unknown, for instance, if Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has airborne transmission potential in addition to being spread by more direct contact or droplets.
Airborne transmission appears likely,19 however, raising even more concerns considering the development of a live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine has begun.
In June 2020, biotechnology company Meissa Vaccines announced that it has initiated preclinical studies and manufacturing of a live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine,20 which was derived by modifying the company’s live attenuated RSV vaccine candidate.
Whether a live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine will end up causing recipients to shed vaccine-strain virus into the air remains to be seen, but there are inherent risks. Even Martin Moore, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Meissa Vaccines, told BioSpace about the potential for virus shedding. BioSpace reported:21
“Moore explained that if a virus is attenuated based on one or two gene mutations, the virus could revert to being infectious in the vaccine recipient and they can shed live virus, spreading it to others. This is the worst-case scenario and why there are such strict safety standards for vaccines, especially LAVs [live attenuated vaccines].
‘Safety is critical, there are no cutting corners with safety,’ explained Moore. ‘Coronaviruses, in particular, are prone to genetic recombination, so using a live attenuated coronavirus in a vaccine would run the risk of becoming infectious again.’”
In terms of both influenza and any novel COVID-19 vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the CDC, it’s important to be aware of the differences between attenuated live virus vaccines and inactivated vaccines, especially if you’re in a vulnerable population, such as very young children, the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with acute or chronic health problems or a compromised immune system.
There remain many unanswered questions regarding live virus vaccines and their ultimate impact on public health.
You know I have been passionate about how useful optimal levels of vitamin D can be in lowering your COVID-19 risk. For the last few months I have been working on a campaign that I really need your help on. The new site is StopCOVIDCold and you can reach it by clicking the button below.
New Campaign to Spread the Word About Vitamin D
Once you are on the site, there is a quiz you can take that will help you determine your risk for getting COVID-19 by answering a few questions that will only take you a few minutes. There is also an opportunity to upload a Facebook frame to your Facebook profile picture to help spread the word.
The media has failed miserably in educating the public on how to improve their immune system and has instead relied on the false hope of drugs, vaccines, social distancing and masks, all of which do nothing to improve your immune system.
We need your help in sharing this information with the elderly, and Blacks, who are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
The goal is to get this information out to tens, if not hundreds of millions of people. I simply can’t do it without your help. We plan on launching this information to 50-100 sites and I am giving readers of this site the first opportunity to participate in this process. I would deeply appreciate it if you could provide your feedback in the comment section below.
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to More Severe COVID-19
Vitamin D, in particular, has emerged as an essential nutrient in the fight against COVID-19. In a letter to the editor published by Clinical Endocrinology, Dr. Grigorios Panagiotou, a clinical fellow in endocrinology and diabetes at the U.K.’s Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals, found that COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive treatment units (ITUs) were more likely to be vitamin D deficient than those who were managed in medical wards.
Specifically, “only 19% of the ITU COVID-19 patients had 25(OH)D (vitamin D) levels greater than 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL) versus 39.1% of non-ITU patients.”1
“Vitamin D receptors are highly expressed in B- and T-lymphocytes, suggesting a role in modulating innate and adaptive immune responses,” Panagiotou said in a news release. “[Vitamin D] levels reach their nadir at the end of winter, and low levels are associated with increased risk of acute respiratory tract infections during winter [and are] mitigated by vitamin D supplementation.”2
While this study did not find an association between vitamin D and COVID-19 fatality, it could be due to the small sample size and quick diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency.3 In fact, other research has linked vitamin D to increased death rates.
Researchers in Indonesia, who looked at data from 780 COVID-19 patients, found those with a vitamin D level between 21 ng/mL (52.5 nmol/L) and 29 ng/mL (72.5 nmol/L) had a 12.55 times higher risk of death than those with a level above 30 ng/mL.4 Having a level below 20 ng/mL was associated with a 19.12 times higher risk of death.
Even the French National Academy of Medicine released a press release in May 2020 detailing the importance of vitamin D for COVID-19.5 For COVID-19 patients over 60, they recommend vitamin D testing and if deficiency is found, a bolus dose of 50,000 to 100,000 IU. For anyone under the age of 60 who receives a positive COVID-19 test, they advise taking 800 IUs to 1,000 IUs of vitamin D per day.
A vitamin D review paper published in the journal Nutrients in April 2020 recommends higher amounts, stating:6
"To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d.
The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful."
The best way to know how much vitamin D you need is to have your levels tested. Data from GrassrootsHealth's D*Action studies suggest the optimal level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL, while the cutoff for sufficiency appears to be around 40 ng/mL. In Europe, the measurements you're looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively.
I recently published a comprehensive vitamin D report in which I detail vitamin D's mechanisms of action and how to ensure optimal levels. I recommend downloading and sharing that report with everyone you know, as the time to optimize your vitamin D level is now — before the fall and winter.
Additional Nutrient Strategies to Combat COVID-19
As with many viral infections, COVID-19 appears to have a nutritional component, by which you may lower your risk of severe outcomes by using vitamins and minerals therapeutically. Considering that current COVID-19 treatments are few and far between, and even “standard” therapies like mechanical ventilation appear to be backfiring,7 the use of natural solutions has caught the eye of numerous researchers.
Among them are researchers with the Singapore General Hospital and Duke-NUS Medical School, who set out to determine if a combination of vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 would improve outcomes among COVID-19 patients aged 50 and older. Their basis was to attack the inflammatory component of the infection, noting:8
“A broad theme of immune hyper-inflammation has emerged as a key determinant of patient outcome with uncontrolled immune response postulated as a pathophysiologic factor in disease severity. Intuitively, immunomodulation becomes an attractive potential treatment strategy.”
Vitamin D, Magnesium, B12 Combo Improves COVID Outcomes
The cohort study involved 43 COVID-19 patents who were admitted to the Singapore General Hospital between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020. Seventeen of the patients received oral vitamin D3 (1,000 IU), magnesium (150 milligrams (mg)) and vitamin B12 (500 mcg) — together known as DMB — upon admission for a median of five days while 26 patients who did not receive DMB served as the control group.9
Significant benefits were seen among the DMB group, with only 17.6% requiring initiation of oxygen therapy during their hospitalization, compared to 61.5% of those in the control group. The requirement for oxygen is associated with an increased risk of needing intensive care, and the DMB group also benefited in this area.
Among those in the DMB group who required supplemental oxygen (three out of the 17 patients), two required ICU admission while one did not. Among the control group, all of those who needed supplemental oxygen required further ICU support. Nine of the DMB patients were given the combination within the first week of the onset of symptoms, and only one among them required oxygen therapy.
Overall, only three of the DMB patients deteriorated, two of whom deteriorated within 24 hours and may not have had enough time for the combo to work. The third case was started on DMB after seven days from onset of symptoms, and the researchers believe starting earlier in the course of the infection may be important.10
Further, DMB was protective even after accounting for other risk factors, including age and high blood pressure:11
“On univariate analysis, increasing age and hypertension demonstrated significantly higher odds ratio for oxygen therapy, while exposure to DMB therapy was associated with a significantly improved odds ratio. Multivariate analysis showed that DMB remained a significant protective factor against clinical deterioration after adjusting for age or hypertension separately.”
Combo Targets the Inflammatory Response
The researchers noted that many current therapeutics are focused on viral elimination instead of modulating the hyper-inflammation often seen in the disease. In fact, uncontrolled immune response has been suggested as a factor in disease severing, making immunomodulation “an attractive potential treatment strategy.”12
For example, cytokines are a group of proteins that your body uses to control inflammation. If you have an infection, your body will release cytokines to help combat inflammation, but sometimes it releases more than it should.
If the cytokine release spirals out of control, the resulting “cytokine storm” becomes dangerous and is closely tied to sepsis, which may be an important contributor to the death of COVID-19 patients.13
“COVID-19 is therefore a multi-organ phenomenon and it is becoming evident that appropriate systemic inflammatory control is necessary for overall survival benefit,” the researchers explained, writing how vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 present a unique three-pronged approach for tackling COVID-19:14
“Vitamin D, through its effect on NFkB and other pathways, can attenuate various proinflammatory cytokine mediating the uncontrolled cytokine storm seen in severe COVID-19 with deficiency associated with severe COVID-19.
Magnesium is critical in the synthesis and activation of vitamin D, acting as a cofactor in many of the enzymes involved in vitamin D metabolism. Vitamin B12 is essential in supporting a healthy gut microbiome which has an important role in the development and function of both innate and adaptive immune systems.
This could be pivotal in preventing excessive immune reaction especially in COVID-19 patients with microbiota dysbiosis which were associated with severe disease.”
No side effects or adverse events occurred after DMB administration, which also provides an inexpensive, readily available solution that could be easily administered in doctor’s offices at the first onset of symptoms or even taken prophylactically among high-risk populations during outbreaks. There may even be benefit against other viral infections:15
“As all agents in this combination are readily available, safe and inexpensive, DMB can benefit a large swath of the world population especially in economically-challenged countries with limited or late access to vaccines and other therapies. DMB may also exhibit a generic efficacy against other viral infections with similar pathological mechanism.”
Magnesium Works in Concert With Vitamin D
Magnesium, which is required for the conversion of vitamin D into its active form, is important to ensure you’re properly utilizing the vitamin D you’re taking.
Research by GrassrootsHealth, based on data from nearly 3,000 individuals, reveals you need 244% more oral vitamin D if you’re not also taking magnesium and vitamin K2, which also works synergistically with vitamin D and helps prevent complications associated with excessive calcification in your arteries.16
What this means in practical terms is that if you take all three supplements in combination, you need far less oral vitamin D in order to achieve a healthy vitamin D level. This is also part of the success of the featured study’s DMB combination, which combines vitamin D with magnesium.
Importantly, a study published in October 2019 in the online issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice also linked to low magnesium levels with both diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes.17
Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of magnesium, and juicing your greens is an excellent way to boost your intake, although supplementation may also be necessary for some people.
If your magnesium intake from food is lacking, it would certainly be wise to supplement, either orally or topically. For oral supplementation, my personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier.
As a general rule, I recommend starting out on a dose of 200 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day, gradually increasing your dose until you develop slightly loose stools. To use this method, you need to use magnesium citrate, as it's known for having a laxative effect. Once you know your cutoff, you can switch to other forms if you like. These include:
- Magnesium glycinate, a powder with low solubility. Glycine is an important amino acid and precursor for glutathione.
- Ionic magnesium found in molecular hydrogen tablets. Each water-soluble tablet has about 80 mg of highly bioavailable unbound magnesium ions, which is about 20% of the recommended daily allowance.
- Magnesium threonate is another excellent choice as it seems it can efficiently penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
- Magnesium malate, which dissolves very well in water. Malate is an intermediary in the Krebs cycle, so it likely contributes to ATP production.
- Magnesium bisglycinate, which has high bioavailability.
As for vitamin B12, the third component of DMB, increasing B12-rich foods, such as grass fed beef liver, wild rainbow trout and wild sockeye salmon, in your diet can help, but for more serious deficiency you may need weekly shots of vitamin B12 or daily high-dose B12 supplements.
It’s encouraging, however, that simple and readily available nutrients such as these are showing such significant promise against COVID-19, and highlights the importance of optimizing your nutrient intake year-round to stay healthy and help ward off infectious disease.
1 Which of the following statements is factually accurate?
2 How many of the healthy volunteers in Moderna's Phase 1 clinical COVID-19 vaccine trial suffered side effects in the moderate-dose group (100 mcg) after two doses, and the high-dose group (250 mcg) after the first dose?
3 Which of the following may have played a role in the mysterious decline of premature births and sudden infant deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic?
4 Which of the following appears to impact COVID-19 mortality rates, according to German researchers?
5 If you're mildly obese, you have a greater risk of the following COVID-19 complications:
6 Which of the following was, as early as 2005, shown to be an effective prophylactic and treatment for SARS coronavirus?
7 What is technocracy?
It’s been 23 years since I launched Mercola.com, and I am tremendously excited and grateful to be celebrating this momentous milestone with you! When I started this website in 1997, my goal was to teach people simple, inexpensive natural alternatives to drugs and surgery.
Thankfully, we’ve been able to reach hundreds of millions of people throughout the years. And although we’ve made improvements to the functionality and design of the site, its goal remains the same: to offer practical health solutions and tools that will help people take control of their health.
Our operations have changed as well and, in 2018, we made the strategic move to relocate from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, to Cape Coral, Florida. Aside from being in process to utilizing all-solar energy for our office building, we will also be adding a greenhouse where we will grow our own plants. We also plan to have a retail shop that’s open to the public.
I never imagined that we would be able to achieve all the milestones that we’ve accomplished so far — and yet now I’m confident that there’s still more we can do. With that said, here are the key initiatives that I’m proud to highlight this year.
Coming in 2021: The Herbal Immunity Recipe Book
You may fondly remember renowned Australian chef Pete Evans, who I collaborated with on the “Fat for Fuel Cookbook” in 2017. It’s the perfect companion book to “Fat for Fuel,” and it features essential information that I couldn’t fit in my book, to help you get started on your ketogenic journey. Then in 2019, Pete and I collaborated again to write the “KetoFast Cookbook,” which offers nourishing recipes to help you successfully implement the KetoFast eating strategy.
Now I’m happy to announce that Pete and I will be co-writing an Herbal Immunity Recipe book, which will feature immune-boosting recipes using herbs and spices, some of which you may already have growing in your garden.
I really couldn’t ask for a better co-author, because Pete shares my passion for eating nourishing foods, and knows how to take these foods and transform them into recipes that are as enticing and delicious as they are nutritious. Herbs and spices are some of the healthiest foods out there, and I am excited to share with you these recipes to maximize their healing potential.
This cookbook will come out in 2021, so please standby for updates. With the need to bolster optimal immune function becoming more important especially in these times, I highly recommend having this valuable resource on your bookshelves.
From ‘Forget Facebook’ to ‘Goodbye Google’
Last year, I made the decision to leave Facebook, because it had grown into a censoring surveillance platform that incessantly preys on people’s personal data and violates their rights to privacy. This year, I am taking another giant leap by blocking Google from indexing Mercola.com.
Google is the largest monopoly the world has ever seen, and it’s absurd just how it has deeply infiltrated our everyday lives. It collects data on every move you make and eavesdrops on each conversation you have, whether you’re online or out in the real world.
This power poses threats to our society, such as being able to manipulate the information that the public sees through their ability to restrict or block access to websites, and manipulating public opinion through search rankings and other means.
And did you know that Google can track your movements even if you’re offline? Android cellphones, which are a Google-owned operating system, can track you even when you're not connected to the internet, whether you have geo tracking enabled or not. And as soon as you go online, Google gets access to all the information stored in your phone.
But Google’s monopoly now goes beyond web search, as it now has a potentially dangerous monopoly on online advertising, which it has acquired by buying DoubleClick, an internet ad serving company that has already dominated the digital advertising market.
And with its recent acquisition of Fitbit, it’s clear that Google is also after your health data. Through Fitbit, Google will have access to all your physiological information and activity levels. In fact, Google, Amazon and Microsoft also collect data entered into health and diagnostic sites, which is then shared with hundreds of third parties, without your knowledge or consent.
Knowing these facts, it is now absolutely crucial for you to take steps to protect your privacy. Harvard-trained psychologist Robert Epstein recommends simple steps to do this, such as using a virtual private network (VPN) such as Nord and clearing your cache and cookies. You can learn more by clicking on the article below.
I strongly suggest simply avoiding Google products, as they account for the greatest personal data leaks in your life. I am proud to say that Mercola.com is now Google-free — we no longer use Google Analytics, or Google search for internal searches and have never used Google ads.
The Billion Agave Project
Mercola.com has supported multiple anti-GMO campaigns over the years, and has partnered with organizations that push for regenerative practices, one of which is the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). Together with OCA, we have been making positive impacts to the farming system one step at the time, helping mitigate the climate crisis and problems with food sustainability.
Recently, Ronnie Cummins, co-founder and international director of OCA, helped launched the Billion Agave Project, which involves the use of a new agave-based agroforestry and livestock-feeding model to help small farmer livestock production while sequestering carbon above and below ground.
This method was developed in Guanajuanato, Mexico, and has already been successfully adopted by several innovative Mexican farms, but it’s also applicable to many other regions, even on degraded, semi-arid lands.
This strategy makes use of agave plants as well as nitrogen-fixing companion tree species, mesquite, huizache, desert ironwood, wattle and varieties of acacia. When densely intercropped and cultivated together, these plants can help draw down massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and yield large amounts of biomass that can be used as fodder for the animals that will rotationally graze these farms.
The goal of the Billion Agave Project is to spread this strategy to other regions and eventually plant one billion agaves globally, which will help put more carbon into the soil where it belongs. Most importantly, the Billion Agave Project is funded by donations and investments from public and private sectors, so if you want to support this brilliant campaign, I urge you to donate by clicking the button below.
Continuing the Fight Against Water Fluoridation
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) has been instrumental in reducing fluoride exposure in North America and in many countries throughout the world over the past 20 years, and although we’ve had many victories, the battle is far from over. During our 2020 Fluoride Awareness Week, Dr. Paul Connett, founder of FAN, has given us an overview on where we stand in the fight against water fluoridation.
A coalition that includes FAN, OCA, Food & Water Watch, American Academy of Environmental Medicine, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Moms Against Fluoridation and several individuals, filed a petition for EPA to ban the addition of fluoridating chemicals to the U.S. drinking water on November 22, 2016.
The EPA denied the petition February 27, 2017, claiming that the coalition failed to provide “a scientifically defensible basis” to show that people have suffered neurotoxic harm due to fluoride exposure. This, despite the fact that it presented more than 2,500 pages of scientific documents that back up these health risks, which include lower IQ levels in children and higher ADHD risk. In response, FAN has filed a lawsuit to legally challenge EPA’s denial.
FAN was scheduled to begin arguments in front of a judge and explain the neurotoxicity of fluoride June 8, 2020. Connett said:
“I am very optimistic. [The EPA] doesn’t have the science. We do. And not only do we have the science, but we have some of the world's best experts testifying for us … I think we'll have no trouble in demonstrating three things: One, that the preponderance of evidence that fluoride is neurotoxic is overwhelming. Second, that it is a risk at the levels at which we add fluoride to the water. And thirdly, it's an unreasonable risk.”
If FAN wins this lawsuit, the EPA will most likely appeal as a part of the government’s classic stall tactic. But no matter how long they drag it, Connett is certain that the end of water fluoridation is inevitable. He says:
“I do believe that if a federal court, having heard both sides, declares that fluoride poses an unnecessary risk, an unreasonable risk to the developing brain of our children, that that news will ricochet around the fluoridating world … t's going to have a huge impact.
And I think the citizens will be able to use this as ammunition to say to their health departments, ‘Come on. Why are you doing this? Why on earth would you continue this practice when you know that if you want fluoride, you can simply brush it on your teeth and spit it out. What is your rationale for continuing this?”
If you’re also concerned about the health effects of fluoride and want to eliminate it from your drinking water, please help spread the word about its toxicity and consider supporting FAN with a donation.
NVIC Warns Against the Fast-Tracked COVID-19 Vaccine
The government and pharmaceutical industry are rapidly moving toward mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19, along with tracking and tracing vaccinated individuals. Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), warns that not only will this endanger your right to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccine risk-taking, but it will also put your health and safety at risk.
This fast-tracked vaccine will be using novel vaccine delivery methods, such as the microneedle array injection, which is funded and promoted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Unlike conventional injections, microneedles have fluorescent quantum dot tags, which leaves an invisible mark that can be read by a smartphone equipped with a special sensor.
According to Fisher, Bill Gates has not only been pushing to vaccinate everyone in the world, but he’s also intent on being able to track vaccination records in our bodies. She says:
“Certainly, this type of administration of a vaccine is a double bubble because not only do you get the vaccine in the person, but you also are able to track them … They're determined to somehow implant, or in some way have our bodies carry our vaccination records …”
Moreover, the mRNA vaccines being developed against COVID-19 are designed to alter your RNA and DNA to turn your body into a protein manufacturing plant. This is a tremendous concern because if your immune system is hypersensitive, it could overreact and result in autoimmune diseases.
Do not give up your health autonomy for the false security that a fast-tracked vaccine can offer, as it could potentially put your health and safety at a greater risk. If you want objective and accurate information so you can make well-informed choices about your vaccinations, visit the NVIC website and consider supporting them through a donation.
Marking Significant Victories for Mercury-Free Dentistry
Over the past years, we’ve made big leaps toward a mercury-free future for dentistry, but last year’s developments were particularly significant to this cause. In November 2019, Consumers for Dental Choice presented FDA with scientific evidence that shows the toxicity of dental amalgam, successfully pushing it to reconsider its outdated and unscientific stance on mercury fillings.
FDA’s scientific advisory committee members recommended that the agency break its silence and provide information to patients about health risks of dental amalgam, then take additional concrete steps to protect vulnerable populations. The scientists recommended a transition away from amalgam; some advocated a complete phase out.
Consumers for Dental Choice was also able to turn the tables on pro-mercury dentists at a state-level. In Maine, a rule requiring pro-mercury dentists to disclose the risks of “silver fillings” and the availability of mercury-free fillings was passed. This rule also required them to obtain written consent from the patient or their parent or guardian before implanting mercury fillings. This campaign has now expanded to other state dental boards.
Charlie Brown, executive director of Consumers for Dental Choice, also addressed the issue of toxic amalgam at the Minamata Convention on Mercury and succeeded in urging countries to take accelerated steps to quickly phase down the use of amalgam.
Many countries have taken steps to phase out amalgam fillings in the past year. In summer 2019, Finland, Ireland, Czech Republic and Slovakia announced plans to phase out amalgam use. Nepal banned amalgam use in children under 15, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and announced a five-year plan to phase it out completely.
These may seem like minor achievements, but considering how bad the situation of dental mercury was, I see this as a momentous victory for the dental mercury-free movement, and I commend Charlie’s team on the wonderful work they do.
In your own way, you can help eliminate mercury from dentistry, by spreading the word about mercury-free alternatives. Please consider donating to Consumers for Dental Choice as well to support and carry forward their campaign.
23 Years of Transforming People’s Lives — All Thanks to You!
In my 20 years of medical practice I was able to help over 20,000 patients but decided I could reach hundreds of millions on the web and help promote natural medicine more effectively. Of course, Mercola.com would not be what it is today without your continuous patronage. There are simply no words to express my overflowing gratitude for the steadfast support that you’ve given us through the years.
2020 marks new levels of threats to your health and I remain committed to help you and your family navigate this treacherous landscape. Your loyal support helps our site continue to be the platform that will help shield you and your family from mainstream medical misinformation and guide you on the path of natural healing without sacrificing your privacy or health freedom. Hope to have at least another 23 years of helping you Take Control of Your health!
You may have considered the microbiome of your gut an important part of your immune system, but have you thought about the bacteria living in your nose as friend or foe? In recent years, with advances in laboratory technology and testing, the important role of microbiota in support of your immune system is becoming clearer.
The recent pandemic, with the ongoing debate over the efficacy of using masks to cover your nose and mouth, may be driving rising interest in the bacterial reservoir of your nose. Many types of viral or bacterial infections can enter through the nose, such as the common cold, flu, SARS-CoV-2 and acute bacterial rhinosinusitis, which often starts as a viral infection.1
Viruses that enter the body through the nose can trigger an upper respiratory infection and may bring about a runny nose, fever, chills and coughing. As the mucosa becomes inflamed, it creates an environment where bacteria can thrive.
Research has shown that the microbiota in your nose change as you age and have an immunomodulatory effect.2 This implies there may be a role for probiotic supplementation to help support your nasal microbiota and therefore bolster your immune response to airborne pathogens.
Chronic Sinusitis Has Significant Impact on Daily Living
The reported incidence of chronic rhinosinusitis fluctuates from 1%3 of the population to 11.5%, depending upon the severity of symptoms being measured.4 In one sample of 10,336 U.S. adults, data were collected using a questionnaire to determine symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis, the impact of the symptoms on the individual's life, how long they lasted and the treatment used.
The researchers found that 11.5% of those who responded reported symptoms and duration that met the criteria for chronic rhinosinusitis. Interestingly, about 10% of those with the condition also reported having a diagnosis of nasal polyps.
An acute infection will last less than four weeks, but chronic sinusitis will last at least 12 weeks with several episodes of acute infection before moving into the chronic stage. Typical symptoms include:5,6
Thick yellow to green nasal discharge and postnasal drip
Pain, tenderness and swelling around facial structures such as the eyes, nose and forehead
Pain in the face that gets worse when you lean forward
Pain in the upper jaw or teeth
Reduced sense of smell and taste
Cough or throat clearing
Although the symptoms are similar, there are different types of sinusitis including acute, chronic and recurrent.7 Acute sinusitis lasts up to four weeks and can go away with little, if any, treatment. Recurrent sinusitis can happen four or more times in one year with periods of time without symptoms. With chronic sinusitis the symptoms are there almost all the time.
The mother of Sarah Lebeer, a microbiologist and microbiome researcher, suffered from chronic sinusitis. Lebeer is from the University of Antwerp and became interested after her mother had surgery to treat headaches and chronic rhinosinusitis. She commented on the inspiration for the team's current study:8
"My mother had tried many different treatments, but none worked. I was thinking it's a pity that I could not advise her some good bacteria or probiotics for the nose. No one had ever really studied it."
Nasal Bacteria in Healthy People Are Different
Before this study, Lebeer had been studying the use of probiotics for the gut and vagina to improve health. However, her focus changed as she contemplated the potential use for probiotics to help treat chronic rhinosinusitis.
The study began by comparing the bacteria found in 100 healthy people to 225 people with chronic rhinosinusitis.9 They chose 30 different families of bacteria and discovered the healthy group of individuals had up to 10 times more lactobacilli in some parts of the nose than did those with chronic rhinosinusitis.
Lactobacilli are an important part of a balanced gut microbiome. You may have heard this class of bacteria advertised as the beneficial bacteria in yogurt, lactobacillus acidophilus.10 The group found the most abundant lactobacilli in the healthy group of individuals belonged to the Lactobacillus casei group, which had been given a new genus name: Lacticaseibacillus.11
Following the discovery, the team sought to cultivate the species. After isolation and genome sequencing, they found the bacteria appeared to be similar to available probiotics for oral consumption found in food. However, there were indications that they were distinctive and had developed adaptations to the upper respiratory tract.
Most lactobacilli prefer the relatively low oxygen environment in the gut, but this genus appeared to have adapted to higher oxygen levels, oxidative stress and high airflow in the nasal cavity.12 Another adaptation the team found was the ability of the bacteria to adhere to the nasal epithelium and therefore prevent the body from clearing it.13
The bacteria had "flexible, hair-like tubes called fimbriae, which allow them to adhere to the surface cells in the nose, indicating an interaction between the bacteria and host."14
In their analysis they found Lactobacillus casei inhibited the growth of pathogens found in the nasal cavity and the respiratory epithelium tolerated the bacteria as they produced fewer interleukin and tumor necrosis factors in comparison to the pathogens.15
Probiotic Nasal Spray Is Proof of Concept
The next step for the team was to evaluate their findings in vivo, meaning, outside the lab in an actual plant or animal. As described in Cell Reports, animal studies are usually the step in between lab-based testing and human trials. However, in this case, using an animal model would have been difficult since most have different upper respiratory anatomy, physiology and pathogens than humans.16
The team applied for and was granted approval for human testing based on the history and safety of lactobacillus in the nose of healthy and ill individuals. They engaged 20 healthy volunteers who used the nasal probiotic twice a day for two weeks.
The primary outcome measurement in this part of the study was the fitness of the bacteria in the nasopharynx of the participants and to demonstrate the potential of a probiotic supplement administered through the nose. Nasal samples were taken at five minutes, 10 to 16 hours and two weeks after administration of the spray.
The researchers demonstrated temporary colonization in many and it could still be detected in two of the participants after two weeks.17 Lebeer was encouraged by the results, which they called a "proof-of-concept nasal spray," saying:18
"Sinusitis patients don't have a lot of treatment options. We think that certain patients would benefit from remodeling their microbiome and introducing beneficial bacteria in their nose to reduce certain symptoms. But we still have a long way to go with clinical and further mechanistic studies."
Healthy Nasal Microbiome May Offer Infection Protection
Bacterial diversity in individuals with chronic rhinosinusitis has been analyzed as scientists have searched for treatment options. In one study, researchers compared the sinus microbiota in six healthy participants and nine patients with chronic rhinosinusitis.19
They found bacterial variation was explained by personal differences rather than disease: Some were smokers; others had Staphylococcus and/or a variety of microbiota, compared to relatively few types in the healthy individuals.
In another paper, scientists hypothesized there was an association between the dysbiosis found in the nasal cavities of people with chronic rhinosinusitis and alterations in their immune system.20
In a third study, researchers looked at the microbial colonization of the upper respiratory tract as it related to an individual's age, lifestyle, diseases and immune responses.21 They found that the microbiome of adults is different from that of children. Children have a denser and higher bacterial load that is less diverse than that of adults.
Alterations in the nasal microbiome begin to change in middle age with bacteria often being found in the oropharyngeal area. This may have an impact on the increased risk of COVID-19 for older individuals. In their review of studies, they found that cigarette smoking changes the airway microbiome, raising the number of potential pathogens and reducing the robust composition of beneficial bacteria over time.
Additionally, there may be a link with nasal microbiome and neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.
Medications and other therapies administered inside the nose may alter the microbial activity in your upper respiratory tract. These can include corticosteroids, rinses, antibiotics and antihistamines. The study team said that nasal rinses using isotonic saline or hypertonic saline can rid the nasal mucosa of inflammatory compounds and pollutants.
However, tap or well water are of concern because they can contain bacteria or parasites. The authors reported that distilled water is what's currently recommended. The study was published six months before Lebeer's study, and the team also suggested:22
"The next logical step would be the application of probiotics nasally, although a potential risk of inflammation in the lower airways due to aspiration into the lung might exist."
More Steps to Reduce Severe Disease From COVID-19
While it appears that administering probiotics intranasally may be an option in the future, it's important to take action on the strategies you can use today to reduce your risk of infectious disease, including COVID-19. As I've written, I believe one of the simplest and easiest ways preventing severe disease is to optimize vitamin D.
Unfortunately, many people across the world are vitamin D deficient, which can have a significant impact on your risk of testing positive for COVID-19, severe infection and death from it. To improve your immune function and lower your risk, you'll want to raise your vitamin D to a level between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL.
For a quick summary of the key steps to raise your vitamin D level and a short discussion of the data, see "Vitamin D in the Prevention of COVID-19." As important as vitamin D is to your immune and overall health, there are other strategies you may consider that lower your risk of severe disease.
In "How to Fix the COVID-19 Crisis in 30 Days," I discuss some of these using recent scientific evidence and experts. Dietary strategies, quercetin and zinc supplementation and the MATH protocol are just some of the information you'll find.
I encourage you to share this with your friends and relatives. By working together to share health information the media is not willing to publicize, you can make a real difference in the number of people who may stay healthy and enjoy their best life.
Patrick Wood — an economist, financial analyst and American constitutionalist — has devoted a lifetime to uncovering the mystery of what is controlling most of the craziness we're currently seeing, and which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He's written two books on this topic: "Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation" and "Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order." I was intrigued by his work as my own approach is to seek to understand the foundational cause of any given problem.
"I think that's a really important takeaway for listeners," Wood says. "Don't just confine your view to the microcosm, like what's in front of you. Always try and look for the big picture … Once you have the big picture, it's hard to unsee it. Once you see it, it's hard to not see it. It guides everything else you do within your life at that point, and that's really important.
It's certainly important in medicine, because if a doctor or researcher doesn't really understand the whole picture, how can he understand a little part of the picture when you get right down into some nitty-gritty detail? It's very difficult."
Wood's foray into the ideology of technocracy began with a chance meeting with Anthony Sutton at a gold conference in the early 1970s. Sutton has written several books about political science, primarily about the Trilateral Commission, which Wood had studied from a financial angle.
They developed a relationship and eventually wound up collaborating on a newsletter and two books, "Trilaterals Over Washington: Volumes 1 and 2," which have recently been re-released.
"Having been mentored by somebody like Anthony Sutton, who was a world-class researcher, left indelible marks on my life. I couldn't do what I do today without his coaching, instruction, watching him do things, watching his mind work," Wood says.
"He would sit down every morning and spend his two or three hours just flipping through the newspapers. Looking for stories in the front page, back page, middle page, classifieds, whatever. He was really intent on keeping his mind focused on his subject, and digging in the right places and stuff. So that's helped me today, to do what I do."
Definition of Technocracy
So, what is "technocracy"? As explained by Wood, technocracy is a movement that got started in the 1930s during the height of the Great Depression, when scientists and engineers got together to solve the nation's economic problems. It looked like capitalism and free enterprise was going to die, so they decided to invent a new economic system from scratch.
They called this system "technocracy." It was to be a resource-based economic system. Rather than basing the economic system on pricing mechanisms such as supply and demand, this system is instead based on energy resources and social engineering. In a nutshell, under this system, companies would be told what resources they're allowed to use, when, and for what, and consumers would be told what to buy.
"They actually proposed to use an energy script instead of money, and let energy be the determining factor on what was produced, bought and sold, and consumed, and so on. But being engineers and scientists, in 1938 when this definition came out, which I'm going to read, they had capsulized what they viewed as the scientific method and the scientific approach.
It's important to see that today, because we see the same subtleties, the same mindsets, the same thinking processes that they had back then. I will contend that's a very dangerous thing. It's a dangerous thinking process. But here's what they concluded in 1938:
'Technocracy is the science of social engineering. The scientific operation of the entire social mechanism, to produce and distribute goods and services to the entire population.'
First off, you'll see that it's the science of social engineering. That ought to be enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your head, because who wants to be scientifically engineered by somebody that you don't know, somebody that doesn't know you, but rather has this idea that they can reform you, remake you?
But most importantly, you see the economic aspect that they had in mind, the scientific operation of the entire social mechanism — that's all the people in society — to produce and distribute goods and services to the entire population.
This was an economic system from the get go, not a political system. And what's really important to see in that — the big takeaway here — is that technocracy viewed politics and politicians as an unnecessary, irrelevant, and even just a stumbling block to getting on down the road with society.
They proposed to get rid of all the politicians. Just dismiss them. Dismiss the Senate, the Congress, all the elected officials. They basically wanted to set up an organization chart, like a corporation would have today, where you have the president and you have vice-presidents doing different things. Then you have directors over certain departments and so on.
And they would just disappear the political system per se, leaving no citizen representation of government. Of course, that means the Constitution [is] immaterial, too, because that defines the political structure.
In fact, they openly called on FDR to declare himself dictator, so that he could just implement technocracy. He didn't take them up on it. We can thank God for that. We only got the New Deal instead. By comparison, it's much better … So, this was the genesis of technocracy and technocrats."
Scientists Stand Above All Other Individuals
As explained by Wood, the technocrats "had this crazy idea that they were better than everybody else." This philosophy and mindset can be traced back to Henri de Saint-Simon, a French philosopher from around 1800. Saint-Simon is considered the father of scientism, social sciences, transhumanism and technocracy.
He said in one of his essays, "A scientist … is a man who foresees. It is because science provides the means to predict, that it is useful, and the scientists are superior to all other men." This was the mindset of technocrats in the 1930s, and it's the same today. In essence, science is used to manipulate society and keep the economic engine running.
Top Technocrats Rescued Through Operation Paperclip
While technocracy began in the U.S., the first country to ever implement it was Nazi Germany under Hitler. However, it's important to realize that technocracy is not Republican or Democrat. It's not Marxist or Capitalist. It's not a Nazi philosophy. It's an independent ideology.
When technocracy first began in the U.S., it was a membership organization. At its peak, there were more than 500,000 card-carrying, dues-paying members in the United States and Canada. Incidentally, the head of technocracy in Canada was the grandfather of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Around the same time, a technocratic organization also got started in Germany.
"As Hitler rose to power, he realized that the technocrats, as an organization, would be competitive with him becoming a dictator. So, he outlawed the Technocratic party in Germany. At about the same time, technocracy was outlawed in Canada [for two years]. For a number of reasons, they thought that somehow the two were connected and that technocracy in Canada would be supporting Hitler …
It was discovered later by historians that these technocrats, who were banned from meeting, were actually very active during the course of World War II, during Hitler's reign. They were the statisticians, the mathematicians, the physicists, the engineers for business and so on; that really enabled Hitler's expansion and dictatorship.
That's not to say that they were all in lockstep with his goals, but they had a good time supporting all those things, because they were highly prized by Hitler and his leadership.
During the war, they found out also that these technocrats were communicating between the columns of power in Nazi, Germany. Hitler was rather paranoid about keeping all of those different areas separate so they would not communicate, but they did communicate during the war.
After the war … a top-secret operation [took place] in the United States … called Operation Paperclip, which brought some 1,200 of these top scientists and engineers from Germany to the United States. They sanitized their resumes and installed them into positions of scientific prowess in the United States, like at the national technology agencies.
So, the very same people that were helping Hitler do what he did, completely bypassed the Nuremberg trial. Some of them should have been there, I'm sure. But they were brought to the United States and given high positions of prestige, to continue to practice their science and engineering."
Beauty and the Beast
The Trilateral Commission's co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Columbia University professor, brought the concept of technocracy into the Commission in 1973, with the financial support of David Rockefeller.
"Brzezinski wrote this book called 'Between Two Ages — America's Role in the Technetronic Era.' It caught Rockefeller's eye. And so, Rockefeller and Brzezinski became like the beauty and the beast. They went on to form the Trilateral Commission, which declared, from Day 1, that they wanted to foster a new international economic order.
They said that repeatedly in their literature, and this is what got Sutton excited, and me too. What is this new international economic order you're talking about? What do you mean? We have an economic order. It seems to be working. Why do you want to change everything? What is your idea here?"
The Trilateral Commission more or less took over the Jimmy Carter administration, and has dominated the political structure ever since. Regardless of their party affiliations, U.S. presidents have been members of the Trilateral Commission.
Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all members. Within two weeks of his inauguration, Barack Obama appointed 11 Trilateral Commission members to top-level positions in his administration, equivalent to 12% of the Commission's entire U.S. membership.1 The ramifications of this are described in Wood's article,2 "Obama: Trilateral Commission Endgame."
"What happened here is that they were after the mechanism, because America was the greatest economic engine in the world at that time," Wood explains. "They wanted to get control of the economic engine of the world so that they could manipulate it for their own benefit and convert it, transform it if you will, into technocracy …"
Personal Freedom Is the Enemy of Technocracy
It's important to realize we're fighting an enemy that has literally spent the last several generations compiling their power base. They've done it progressively, slowly and very consistently over time with the endgame in mind at all times. They engineered circumstances that allow them to amass more and more power.
Their last great power grab in the U.S. was the 9/11 tragedy. It allowed them to push through the Patriot Act, which sacrificed many of our freedoms in one fell swoop. They're in the process of doing it again with the current pandemic. It's quite clear the pandemic is being used to move us toward an authoritarian tyranny.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a platform that will dwarf their 9/11 power-grab and radically increase their ability to continue to erode our civil liberties and control our society. If you find this line of reasoning interesting, I think you will enjoy the video below from Really Graceful, which reviews whether or not you'd even notice if you were living under tyranny.
It's also crucial to understand that the only reason they've not yet been able to overtake the U.S. is because of our Constitution. We're the biggest barrier worldwide to implementing technocracy, which is why there's been so much focus on dismantling the freedoms of Americans.
"The strategy has been to build infrastructure for their system. Infrastructure is the schematic diagram that makes things work. For instance, we have roads in our country. We have railroads. We have physical roads. We have freeways. We have telecommunications systems. We have telephone lines. We have airports and things that connect everything together.
The concept of infrastructure is basic to any economic system. You have to have some type of infrastructure, so that the whole system will work. And so, today when the government passes a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, you and I will think, 'Oh, finally, we're going to get those potholes fixed on our street or something.'
In the technocrat mind, in the larger scheme, setting up the infrastructure involves so many more things today than it ever did.
For instance, the infrastructure of technocracy now has to do with anything called smart: smart growth, smart cities, smart phones, smart devices, the internet of things that ties everything together, all of the sensors and the cameras. This is the new infrastructure of the digital era. It's all technology based, I might add.
So, infrastructure started way back when the Trilateral Commission was first started. A case in point: One of the early founding members of the commission was [the late] Caspar Weinberger, who happened to be the president of Bechtel Engineering. That's the largest private engineering company in the world. They're huge. They're are private. Nobody knows much about them. But they were part of the Trilateral Commission group …
They've always realized that without building this infrastructure, they have nothing. They can get nowhere. They must have it in order to move on down the road. We've seen this emphasis on infrastructure ever since 1973 in ways that people hardly can understand anymore, because it's so technological.
But the infrastructure being laid today includes such things as the internet of things, where sensors and everything connect together to feed data back to, who knows, some mainframe somewhere.
All of the financial transactions, all of the data transactions [get sent] back to some computer somewhere where artificial intelligence is sitting on top of it all to make sense of all the data coming in.
The same artificial intelligence programs now are taking that data, working it, getting some sense of meaning out of it, then turning around and issuing things that we should do in response. In other words, how it should change us.
This is the science of social engineering. It's engineering by algorithm. They saw this even back in the 1930s, even though there was no such thing as artificial intelligence back then.
They realized that science eventually would be to the point where their algorithms could be automated to the point where they would be able to replace the political structure, to keep everything in line, to keep everything working.
Rule by algorithm. Operation by algorithm. This is the big predominant thing we see today. When something doesn't fit into the algorithm, you'll hear the term 'Science says.' We should do that thing."
To give you just one rather hilarious real-world example of the technocratic "science says" strategy, here's a sentence from a recent article in The Sun:3 "People who refuse to wear a face mask to reduce the risk of coronavirus have lower cognitive ability, new research has found."
Not only is it laughable because it's illogical, it's also completely irrelevant, since there's not a single well-designed study showing that mask wearing lowers the spread of viral infections. For the scoop on this, see my interview with Denis Rancourt.
Rule by Algorithm
Initially, science is used to issue suggestions, but those suggestions rapidly turn into mandates. We've repeatedly seen that with vaccines, for example. But the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed there's a much larger plan that includes implantable digital identifications, medical records and vaccine passports, digital currency and banking — all of which will ultimately be tied together so that algorithms and automation will be able to keep everyone in line, everywhere, all the time.
"People who buck the system won't be able to participate in all the things in society that other people do who got the vaccines and just took the program without questioning. The algorithm will control everybody, will manipulate everybody.
So, it goes from, 'Science says' to the algorithm, and then it becomes automated. Then they don't have to say 'Science says' anymore. They just push the button. The algorithm takes care of it and you get the shot and that's the end of it.
This business of infrastructure is very sophisticated. Today it's called supply chain, by the way. That's a big term you'll hear, too. The supply chain, moving goods and services to get just in the right place, just in time.
No warehouse is necessary. Just kind of ship it and it's there exactly the day you need it. This has all been automated as well. It's part of the infrastructure they need to implement technocracy one day."
Data Is the New Oil
In her book, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," professor Shoshana Zuboff exposes the stunning capacities currently available to surveil, analyze and manipulate our behavior. It's crucial to realize that as bad as it is today, the predictive power of technology is advancing at an exponential rate, which means their ability to manipulate behavior is increasing at a pace we cannot fully comprehend.
"Data is the new oil of the 21st century," Wood says. "We said that for years now, and it's really true. Whoever owns the data, controls the system. Data is more valuable to technocracy than any other commodity that you could conceivably imagine. And Google has been collecting this data for a long time.
They've been analyzing it for a long time, and they have a number of techniques now where they can use that data, weaponize it in a sense, turn it back on us and cause it to modify our behavior. And this is right in line with the scientific social engineering concept.
Several years ago, Eric Schmidt [former long-time Google CEO and, later, chairman of Alphabet,] was invited to be a member of the Trilateral commission. He's also hobnobbing with our government to create systems for surveillance and data collection. Google now has been in a position to weaponize that data … Google does this in several ways.
Not only do they condition the feed that you see when you search for a certain term, but also … when you start to type in a search, it will give you the answers [and] you pick one. It won't give you the ones that you might really be looking for, but it'll give you what they think you should pick. This has a huge, psychological impact on people. Just huge."
What's the Ultimate Goal?
For instance, years ago, if you searched for a holistic medicine topic, many of my articles would appear at the top of your search. In June 2019, Google quietly started to eliminate Mercola.com from search results. I discussed this in "Google Buries Mercola in Their Latest Search Engine Update, Part 1 and Part 2."
"You haven't done anything different. You're still doing exactly what you did, but Google is treating you as a non-person now," Wood says. "It reminds you a little bit of '1984,' where Winston worked in the ministry of information and his business half the time was scratching out people from history. They just ceased to exist.
Every record, even their birth record was erased and nobody would ever hear that person's name again. If they went to look, they couldn't find him. And then people started thinking 'Maybe it was just my imagination. I never really knew somebody like that.'
Google has this power to present information that it wants you to hear or see, and they can manipulate minds and mindsets. It's just amazing. They even said, internally, that they believe they have the power to take the 2020 election away from Trump because of this very feature. Well, wait a minute.
If any person or organization sets themselves up intentionally to overthrow the government of the United States, I think there's a term for that. It's called sedition. It might give way to insurrection as well, but that doesn't bother these people. There's no ethical guide whatsoever that tells them this is wrong and don't do it. They feel this is perfectly normal. They've got the data, they make the rules.
So, they're influencing people, they're nudging people in one direction or another direction. And it's extremely dangerous because those who are susceptible to that kind of manipulation, once they are in that manipulation channel, they can get them to do anything.
Once it gets a hold of a person and really starts messing with their mind, then they can feed all kinds of stuff into it and get them to do all kinds of things they would not have otherwise done.
And that's true for Facebook and Twitter and other entities like that as well. But you can't look at Google, Facebook and Twitter and say these are communists. You can't do that. They're technocrats. They march to a different tune completely and they could care less about the political ideology behind it.
I don't care who you are, what your political persuasion is, but if you start writing against vaccines, for instance … you'll find yourself censored just right along with everybody else and your stories will disappear. There'll be shadow banned. There'll be pushed down the stack where they don't appear in the searches anymore.
It doesn't really have to do with a class of people that they're censoring, it has to do with the topics that are being censored. That's the key thing here to understand. One of the key topics today that they are so in love with is this idea of global manipulation of the human [gene] pool, to get the medical hooks into your body.
This is social engineering at its extreme, where they're not only engineering the society around you, the environment around you, they also want to engineer you personally. This is their mindset right now. We've seen evidence of this all over the place. I don't want to go into it and confuse this conversation, but this is where it's going."
Sustainable Development Isn't What You Think
Wood also explains why "sustainable development" goals, which sound like a good thing, really aren't. The United Nations has declared that sustainable development is going to be the new economic system of the future. It's a resource-based economic system based on energy.
"A couple of years ago, the head of climate change at the UN, Christiana Figueres, gave a press conference in Europe and she said, 'This is the first time in the history of mankind that we're setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years since the Industrial Revolution.'
That's a direct quote from her lips. I dedicated a chapter in my book to demonstrate that sustainable development is technocracy from the 1930s. It has all the same markers. It has all the same elements in it. It was brought to the United Nation by members of The Trilateral Commission, by the way …
Their vision for the future of society is this sustainable future where they will control all the resources and all the consumption. In other words, they will tell businesses what they're allowed to build and they will tell consumers what they're allowed to consume. Period, end of subject. You don't need to be involved in this. They figure this all out for you in advance.
This is the science of social engineering here. They have the science, you just have to follow and do what they tell you to do. It's very insidious. Of course, they have nice platitudes like we're going to eliminate poverty, we're going to have education for all, we're going to have jobs with dignity.
That's all wonderful stuff, but when you get down to the bottom of their so-called sustainable development [and green deal] goals, you see [that] all you have to do to get those things is let us have all the control over the resources and the management of those resources on a global basis."
Taking Back Local Government Is Key
Importantly, what the technocrats are doing is making an end run around national sovereignty. Rather than a frontal assault on the system, which has never been successful, they've simply eroded national sovereignty piece by piece. Wood also reviews what we can do to save our republic and thwart the steady march of technocracy:
"I believe very strongly that local activism is the only way to rebuild our country, if there is going to be any rebuilding at all. Local activism — because this is how they got us. They built [the technocratic system] from the bottom up. We cannot tear their house down from the top down. It's simply is just not going to happen. They're too powerful," Wood says.
"There is no national government or any element of national government that's going to save us from these technocrats and technocracy. There's no state government, either, or local government, the way it stands now, unless that local government gets influenced and populated by people who know better and who are willing to tell these others:
'Go away, you don't belong here. This is not the way we're going to run our community, our town, our city,' whatever it is, and we have access to those people."
One of the most important elected local officials that you should concern yourself with is your sheriff. They are responsible for enforcing tyrannical edicts from local, state and federal government, and if they choose not to, government has no power. City councils also have a lot of power. They can pass binding resolutions to protect citizens against the technocratic agenda.
"There was a city in California, I can't remember the name right now, but somebody got to the city council and educated every one of them. The city council held a referendum and passed a binding resolution that says there will be no agency of the city or any other activity of the city that will support Agenda 21. They banned Agenda 21 from their city, lock, stock and barrel. It was just a small city, but I thought, 'Yeah!'"
What is Agenda 21? It is the keystone document for Sustainable Development. It was developed in 1992 at the Rio de Janeiro conference of the United Nations' first Earth summit. This became the agenda for the 21st century. The doctrine that came to be known as Agenda 21 came from a book written by Trilateral Commission member Gro Harlem Brundtland, called "Our Common Future."
Citizens for Free Speech
We cover a lot of information in this interview, so be sure to listen to it in its entirety, or read through the transcript for more. Also consider picking up one or both of his books, "Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation" and "Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order."
Wood's nonprofit organization, Citizens for Free Speech, is another excellent resource where you can learn more about your constitutional rights and how to communicate your ideas to others. For a small donation, Citizens for Free Speech also offers a laminated No Mask Card that you can wear on a lanyard, explaining your First Amendment Right to disobey local mask mandates.
"I started Citizens for Free Speech with the idea that technocracy is attacking the First Amendment," Wood says. "It's censoring our ability to communicate. It's keeping us from communicating with each other and with our government and with our adversaries, those who may not agree with us fully.
Our ability to communicate has been completely decimated in America. We're so dysfunctional. Everybody's at everybody else's throat all the time. There's no patience, there's no civil discourse anymore. And I believe that what people really have to learn, if they're going to be local activists, they need to learn how to communicate their ideas.
Once they get ideas, they need to learn how to communicate those ideas to other people. Maybe those people agree with them, maybe they don't, but nevertheless, they need to be able to express their ideas in a way that everybody in the room doesn't get triggered and start hammering on you.
This concept of appropriate communication is what restoring the First Amendment at this point is all about … The First Amendment is under an intense attack by these people. That's part of their strategy. Get rid of the First Amendment effectively, and what else do you have? Well, you have the Second Amendment. That's the first thing you see.
I don't even want to talk about the Second Amendment. I support it totally, don't get me wrong, but if we lose the First Amendment, the Second Amendment was put there to take care of the loss of the first. And that's the strategy that the enemy has, to break America down.
[Once you] get rid of the First Amendment, they figure America will fall into chaos, probably armed conflict, and that will make it just right for them to sweep in and take over when people then beg for anybody to put government back together, put the country back together.
So, the idea of supporting and defending the First Amendment is critical right now. People can get the issues, but if they cannot communicate those issues effectively, what's the point? Why just sit on your couch and know everything there is to know if you have no ability to communicate that to somebody else? …
People … understand the value now, or maybe the necessity, of civil disobedience. This is a very touchy subject. I don't want to go down the road too much. But we have reached a point where technocracy has pushed us into a corner …
If we do not resist and say, 'We're not going along with your program,' then they will continue to push us into the corner until we simply cannot get out of that corner. The time has come for people to do what they know is right, and to protect themselves first — not to think about 'the greater good' all the time …
Once people see through the pseudoscience of face mask and social distancing, contact tracing, and all these mechanisms that are being thrown down at us, once they start to see through the statistical models being totally erroneous, they're beginning to understand we just need to stop this behavior and not obey them …
We must restore our Constitution, which is the framework for everything else in our nation. We must restore the effective application of the constitution to our society …
There's public shaming, the cancel culture, it all comes to bear on this right now. This is part of the communication process that we need to overcome. We need to push this line of thinking back and restore personal individual liberty to America."
Dr. Mercola Interviews the Experts
This article is part of a weekly series in which Dr. Mercola interviews various experts on a variety of health issues. To see more expert interviews, click here.
Barbara Loe Fisher is the co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), which is the oldest and largest consumer-led nonprofit organization in the U.S. providing accurate and objective information to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and help people make informed health choices.
As noted by Fisher, the rapid movement by governments and the pharmaceutical industry toward mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19 and the proposed tracking and tracing of all individuals under the guise of public health is a culmination of everything we have been talking about for decades.
“Back in 1993, I started to predict that the day would come when Americans would not be able to participate in society without showing proof they've been vaccinated with whatever the government says they have to be vaccinated with,” Fisher says.
Utilitarianism Demands Sacrifice ‘for the Greater Good’
Legal proponents such as Alan Dershowitz, who has represented the notorious sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and other prominent individuals, is now using a 1905 Supreme Court ruling to justify government officials literally detaining Americans and forcibly vaccinating them if they do not agree to get vaccinated voluntarily. Fisher explains:
“Dershowitz … was quite reckless in the language he used. He basically said that the Supreme Court in 1905 (Jacobson v. Massachusetts), [gives] the right of state governments to come in and forcibly inject you with a vaccine. That's not really what Jacobson v. Massachusetts said ...
In that case, it was smallpox, because that was the only vaccine they had in 1905, but you have to read the Supreme Court decision very carefully to understand everything that the justices said.
They basically concluded — and I think wrongly so, because utilitarianism … is based on a mathematical equation that some can be inconvenienced or sacrificed for the greater good of a majority of people — that people [who] opposed smallpox vaccination could be required to be vaccinated during epidemics.
Even religious objections could be overridden. But there's also language in that decision that says that the court is not to be interpreted as meaning that if an individual was at risk for being harmed by the vaccination, they were not meant to [have concluded] that “cruel and inhuman to the last degree” would be the standard that would be used.
I think Dershowitz overstated the opinion, although it is a utilitarian opinion. It gives authority to the states to mandate vaccines because anything that is not defined in the Constitution as a federal activity is reserved for the states.
Public health laws, by and large in this country, are written by the states, and the federal authority is requiring vaccination for people crossing territorial borders of the United States [and the federal government] could mandate vaccines for interstate travel, crossing state borders. But most public health laws that legislatures make are for the residents of the states, which is why we have a patchwork of [vaccine] laws in this country …
I'm very worried that some attorney is going to try to challenge the Jacobson [ruling] in the 21st century. I think that, probably, in any court right now, you're going to get that ruling upheld and you're going to get it strengthened. I would advise against [challenging] that one in the Supreme Court.”
Enforcement Will Become a Hot Issue
If the worst-case scenario occurs and your state decides to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, the practical question will be how they’re going to enforce it. They’ll most probably rely on local police and/or the county sheriff.
Thankfully, county sheriffs are elected by the people and are directly accountable to the citizens in their county, the state Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution, and have the legal authority to deny what they consider to be an unlawful governmental order.
For this reason, I believe it is important to know who your county sheriff is. Get to know and develop a relationship with them. Educate them about why it is important to defend the human right to make informed, voluntary decisions about medical risk taking, including vaccine risk-taking.
It is important to remember that, although the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts affirmed the constitutional authority of elected representatives in state legislatures to pass public health laws requiring vaccination, state legislators also have the constitutional authority to choose NOT to mandate vaccines and/or to include flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions in state public health laws.
This is why, in 2010, the National Vaccine Information Center created the NVIC Advocacy Portal, an online communications tool that monitors vaccine-related state legislation and alerts residents when proposed bills are moving in their state. They also provide fact-based talking points you can share when contacting your legislators.
The bottom line is that we need, as a nation, to start developing personal relationships with the elected legislators and officials, including our county sheriff. They need to know we will not accept tyranny in America.
“Let's hope that what has happened this year is a lesson to the people that [they must] elect legislators who are going to reflect their values and beliefs — traditional values and beliefs that have been respected in this country for 245 years. If we don’t elect good people, we're not going to have good laws,” Fisher says.
“The millennials and the Gen Xers have got to start running for office if they want to have a future where they're going to be able to enjoy freedom of speech and conscience, freedom of religion and the right to assembly.
All of these things [are] protected in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights. We have to elect people at the state and federal level who are not going to sell out, who are not going to sacrifice their integrity for money.
We know the pharmaceutical industry is the biggest lobby on Capitol Hill … we've got to build a firewall between government and industry that has been completely broken down in the last 40 years.”
H.R. 6666 Violates Several Constitutional Amendments
For example, H.R.6666, the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act, introduced in the House of Representatives May 1, 2020, has 64 co-sponsors1 (all Democrats; one Republican has withdrawn his name) and that bill would give $100 billion to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hire people to go door-to-door to test the population for COVID-19 for fiscal year 2020, with more funds to follow, as needed, in subsequent fiscal years.
If you test positive, they’ll trace all your contacts and demand that you quarantine in your home or in a mobile unit. Children could be taken into child services if parents are quarantined.
“This is a violation of a number of amendments in the Constitution that protect our right to life and liberty, that protect our right to be free in our homes, and not be taken out of our homes and put somewhere the government wants to put us,” Fisher says.
“If we do not start to become aware of these laws that are being passed by legislators on Capitol Hill and [in] our state legislatures, we are going to be a captive people who don't have civil liberties anymore ...
We're seeing this erosion of civil liberties because, unless you take liberty from the people — and they're doing it in the name of safety — you cannot do the kinds of things that we've been talking about [such as restricting work, education, travel and social engagement unless you are vaccinated and implementing biometric tracking of the population] …
Having sat here for almost 40 years watching this vaccine empire unfold, I know that Bill Gates … has changed everything. He was a big proponent of public-private partnerships because he's a businessman … He is a big believer in vaccinating the world and Gavi [the Gates-funded Vaccine Alliance] … is all about pharma.
All these companies are involved in vaccinating the world, and COVID-19 vaccines are being fast-tracked to licensure with additional funding from governments like the U.S. government — half a billion dollars to one company and half a billion dollars to another.
Moderna is an NIAID-supported vaccine. A lot of money has been given to these companies to fast-track these COVID-19 vaccines using technology that's never been licensed before — DNA, messenger RNA [and] nanoparticle [vaccines].”
Operation Warp Speed
The fast-tracking of a COVID-19 vaccine to licensure and subsequent widespread use has been termed Operation Warp Speed. What we must remember here is that vaccine manufacturers are not liable for any damage their vaccines do. Since 2011, drug companies making and selling vaccines are even shielded from design defect lawsuits, which means they have absolutely no incentive for making vaccines less harmful.
The 2006 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act also indemnifies all drug companies making vaccines used during a public health emergency or a pandemic. So, vaccine companies, as well as any person who administers, mandates or enforces vaccine mandates, does not face any liability whatsoever if a new coronavirus vaccine turns out to be a catastrophe.
What’s more, when a COVID-19 vaccine does come out, there likely will be little or no information about its side effects, particularly long-term side effects. Moderna, which is a top contender in the race to be the first to get a licensed COVID-19 vaccine on the market, began human trials of its experimental mRNA vaccine in March 2020.
According to a May 18, 2020, press release,2 “After two doses, all participants evaluated to date across the 25 microgram and 100 mcg dose cohorts seroconverted with binding antibody levels at or above levels seen in convalescent sera.” The vaccine also “elicited neutralizing antibody titer levels in all eight initial participants ..."
The words are important here, as high-binding antibodies are associated with paradoxical immune enhancement.
As explained in “Fast-Tracked COVID-19 Vaccine — What Could Go Wrong?” previous attempts to create coronavirus vaccines have failed due to coronaviruses triggering production of two different types of antibodies: one that fights disease, and one that triggers paradoxical immune enhancement that often results in very serious disease and/or death when the vaccinated person is exposed to the wild coronavirus.
Based on the historical coronavirus vaccine failures, this could become one of the biggest public health disasters in history. And, no one involved will be accountable or face any repercussions. Instead, they will all profit.
It’s also important to realize that only healthy people are enrolled in these human trials, yet only 4 in 10 Americans are actually free of chronic disease.3 What’s more, according to recent NHANES data,4 87.8% of Americans are metabolically inflexible, which impairs their immune function.
The NHANES data is over 4 years old and our metabolic health has only declined since 2016, so the number is likely higher than 90%, or 9 in 10 Americans are unhealthy to some degree.
On top of that, vitamin D deficiency is rampant, yet public health authorities are not stressing the importance of optimizing your vitamin D levels to reduce your risk of infection. If you do nothing else, make sure you raise your vitamin D level above 40 nanograms per milliliter, at bare minimum, and ideally 60 ng/mL, before this fall, when another predicted “second” wave of COVID-19 may hit.
COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery
Now, aside from using entirely novel manufacturing methods like messenger RNA (mRNA), DNA and nanoparticle genetic engineering technology, some of the COVID-19 vaccines being fast tracked to licensure also will be using novel vaccine delivery methods.
One new type of vaccine delivery, which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded and promoted, uses a microneedle array rather than conventional injection. The microneedles are equipped with fluorescent quantum dot tags. The resulting invisible mark can then be read by a smartphone equipped with a special sensor.
“This is definitely something that Bill Gates has been pushing,” Fisher says. “He has been pushing not only that everybody in the world has to get all these vaccines, but also that governments need to be able to track [people’s vaccination status].
Certainly, this type of administration of a vaccine is a double bubble because not only do you get the vaccine in the person, but you also are able to track them … They're determined to somehow implant, or in some way have our bodies carry our vaccination records …
They're going for it all right now … the American people are going to have to really take a look and figure out, do they want to give up their civil liberties for an illusion of safety? It's really an illusion of safety.”
COVID-19 Vaccine Will Alter Your RNA and DNA
As noted by Fisher, the mRNA vaccines being developed against COVID-19 will alter your RNA and DNA, which is of tremendous concern. The idea behind them is to turn your body into a protein manufacturing plant, and if your immune system is hypersensitive, it could overreact, causing severe problems. Considering how many people have autoimmune diseases and allergies, these vaccines could have devastating effects for many.
“When you try to stimulate strong inflammatory responses in the body through the use of genetic manipulation, squalene oil-based adjuvants and nanoparticle technology — one vaccine is even using electricity to try to hyperstimulate an immune response — what is this going to do to people who don't resolve inflammation in the body and become chronically inflamed and chronically ill and disabled?
This is what vaccines do. They stimulate inflammation in the body. They have to in order to provoke an antibody response, but this is atypical. When you're trying to do this in the body, this is not a normal way that the body mounts an inflammatory response to a microbe.
They've turned everything upside down and we are just accepting it. Why are we not thinking critically? Why do people think that they shouldn't really do the research and look at the science and look at what's being done before they take a pharmaceutical product or a vaccine? This is what I don't understand. We've totally given up our critical thinking ability and said the experts are going to do it for us …
I think that what people need to do — and I've been advocating this for 40 years — is you need to get educated, you need to get the accurate facts. Mercola.com and NVIC.org, we do our research.
We reference all of our information because we want you to have accurate information, and you need to share that information with your family, friends, community leaders and legislators because the only way that we're going to be able to change government is by electing people who are going to reflect our values and beliefs — people who understand that we have a right, a human right, to make voluntary decisions about medical interventions — any medical procedure that can injure or kill us or our children.
It's basic. It's not hard. We're governed by the laws that are made by the people we elect, and those people also appoint judges at the state and federal level. It all depends upon who we elect. At the end of the day, if … people are going to tyrannize us [and] violate our human rights, then we have to make a decision.
Everyone has to make a decision. The police, the sheriffs, every American is going to have to decide: Am I going to be somebody who is going to violate the civil rights and the human rights of my fellow citizens, or am I going to be somebody who follows my conscience and who understands the cultural values and beliefs that have guided this country for more than two centuries? …
I am praying that most Americans understand that we have got to fight for our freedom and for our civil liberties. It's what has kept this country free for two centuries.”
Be Prepared to Protect State Authority
Fisher is particularly concerned about the precedent set in Virginia in 2019, when the state legislature, which is now dominated by one political party, decided to eliminate the ability of duly elected legislators to decide which vaccines are mandated for children to attend school.
The legislature voted to immediately codify into Virginia law the CDC’s recommended childhood vaccine schedule. In the future, every new vaccine the CDC recommends for children (such as a COVID-19 vaccine) will be automatically mandated in Virginia for school attendance without public hearings and input from citizens and without a vote by legislators.
“This is very dangerous,” she says. “Why? Because Jacobson v. Massachusetts affirmed the authority of the state legislatures to make vaccine laws. What Virginia has done is they've handed over that power. They've given away that power to the CDC and made the CDC a de facto law-making body for the state of Virginia.
Now they are going to try to do this in every state, so that basically there will be no more hearings on proposed vaccine additions … This is extremely dangerous. I urge everyone to sign up for our free [NVIC Advocacy] Portal because it's a public service we provide, and we want you to be informed.
We give fact-based talking points you can use with your legislators. This issue is going to become more and more important because of the power grab that has occurred in the last few months over this pandemic. Please be prepared. Please stand up for your right to make voluntary vaccine decisions.”
Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination in October 2020
October 16 through 18, 2020, NVIC will sponsor the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination. The theme is “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st century.” The conference will bring together well-known speakers from around the world presenting information on vaccine science, policy, law, ethics and civil liberties and will feature formal presentations, panel discussions and live chat rooms.
NVIC has held four previous hotel-based conferences in the Washington, D.C., area but, this time around, the conference will be held online due to the unpredictability of government regulations related to COVID-19, including travel and social distancing restrictions that may still be in play in October.
So, mark your calendars and check NVIC.org for more information that will be posted soon about the conference.
In the meantime, be sure to sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal. It’s free, and you will stay informed about proposed vaccine-related legislation happening in your state that could further restrict or eliminate your legal right to make voluntary vaccine decisions for yourself and your children.
If you thought the publication of positive hydroxychloroquine studies would stop the blatant and reprehensible censorship of this COVID-19 remedy, you were wrong. It’s only getting worse.
July 27, 2020, America’s Frontline Doctors, a group of physicians who have organized to counteract the false narrative that hydroxychloroquine is dangerous and shouldn’t be used for COVID-19, held a press conference outside the Supreme Court of the United States.
After The New York Times filed a complaint with Facebook,1 the video was quickly scrubbed from YouTube and social media platforms, but you can find an archived copy of the transcript2 here. Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s son, even had his Twitter account suspended for 12 hours after posting the video.3
During the hours it was available, the video garnered more than 14 million views and in excess of 600,000 shares. Speaking for the group were the founder, Dr. Simone Gold, and Drs. Bob Hamilton, Stella Immanuel, Dan Erickson, Joe Ladapo and James Todaro.
Frontline Doctors Speak Out, Crushing the Fear Narrative
After their first press conference was censored, the group held a second press conference4 the following day, blasting Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for their unwarranted censorship of medical information that can save lives and provide relief from the fear gripping the nation.
The group believes it is crucial we begin to balance the fear of the virus against what we know about its progression, treatment and survivability. The physicians that are part of this group first and foremost want everyone to have hope, and to realize that effective treatment is available and that very few people need to die, even if they are infected and develop symptoms.
“We implore you to hear this because this message has been silenced. There are many thousands of physicians who have been silenced for telling the American people the good news about the situation — that we can manage the virus carefully and intelligently. But we cannot live with this spider web of fear that’s constricting our country,” Gold said in the first press conference.
Immanuel, a primary care physician in Houston, Texas, reviewed her personal successes with the hydroxychloroquine regimen, saying she’s treated more than 350 patients with COVID-19, including patients with comorbidities that place them at increased risk for severe illness, complications and death. None has died.
“The result has been the same. I put them on hydroxychloroquine, I put them on zinc, I put them on Zithromax, and they’re all well,” Immanuel said.
Prophylactic Use of Hydroxychloroquine
They also stress that hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc — just one 200 milligram tablet of hydroxychloroquine every other week with daily zinc — is an effective prophylactic that could be given to anyone at high risk of infection. Immanuel noted:
“I’ve put myself, my staff, and many doctors that I know, on hydroxychloroquine for prevention, because by the very mechanism of action, it works early and as a prophylaxis. We see 10 to 15 COVID patients every day. We give them breathing treatments. We only wear surgical mask. None of us has gotten sick. It works.”
People that might benefit from prophylactic use would include high-risk individuals such as teachers and the elderly. This could facilitate the safe reopening of schools and businesses everywhere.
Children, they point out, are at extremely low risk from the infection, rarely display symptoms, and are very inefficient transmission vectors. Parents rarely contract the infection from their children.
Hydroxychloroquine Is NOT a Magic Bullet
It is also very important to understand that while hydroxychloroquine is a useful tool, it must be used very early in the course of the illness, ideally immediately after exposure, because it works on slowing down viral replication. If the virus has already multiplied, the horse is out of the barn and hydroxychloroquine will likely be ineffective later in the course of the illness.
It’s also worth noting that in areas where hydroxychloroquine is hard to get a hold of, quercetin is likely a more effective and less expensive alternative, as its primary mechanism of action is identical to that of the drug, in addition to having many other anti-inflammatory benefits.
Both are zinc ionophores, meaning they shuttle zinc into the cell. There’s compelling evidence to suggest the primary benefit of this protocol comes from the zinc, which effectively inhibits viral replication. The problem is that zinc does not readily enter cells, which is why a zinc ionophore is needed.
You can learn more about all of this in “Is Quercetin a Safer Alternative to Hydroxychloroquine?” “Quercetin Boosts Interferon Response to Viruses and COVID-19” and “How to Improve Zinc Uptake with Quercetin to Boost Immune Health.”
Molecular hydrogen is another simple remedy that could have excellent therapeutic potential against SARS-CoV-2 infection, as explained by Tyler LeBaron in “How Molecular Hydrogen Can Help Your Immune System.”
And please, remember nebulized peroxide. I recently treated the 40-year-old nephew of my gardening consultant that came down with serious pre-terminal COVID-19. He was already on hydroxychloroquine, zinc, quercetin and prednisone and was getting worse until he started the nebulized peroxide. He miraculously improved immediately after this treatment.
I will share his story and video in an upcoming article. The cost of the treatment was less than one penny and it has virtually no side effects if used at the very low 0.1% concentration.
Attacks Heat Up After Second Press Conference
Apparently, the technocrats making the rules disagree with the group’s message of hope and call for return to normalcy, because the attack on America’s Frontline Doctors quickly escalated from scrubbing online platforms of their video to actually taking down their website, americasfrontlinedoctors.com.
In a July 28, 2020, Twitter post, Dr. James Todaro wrote:5
“Wow. It appears Squarespace took down our website today americasfrontlinedoctors.com. We are reaching a new level of censorship. Do people agree with this?”
According to Todaro,6 Squarespace claims the website violated the company’s Acceptable Use policy “regarding activity that’s false, fraudulent, inaccurate or deceiving.” A new website, americasfrontlinedoctorsummit.com7 was created a couple of days later.
But that’s not all. In a July 30, 2020, Twitter post, Gold stated PayPal had temporarily “limited” the group’s ability to receive donations shortly after the new website was announced. However, it seems the problem has been resolved.
That same day, Gold, an emergency room doctor, announced she’d been fired from her job “for appearing in an embarrassing video.” In a Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson, Gold said she’s hired the libel law firm L. Lin Wood to represent her in potential defamation suits, as media efforts are currently underway to smear her professional reputation.
Yale Professor Agrees: Cure for COVID-19 Already Exists
Dr. Harvey A. Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, is also trying to get the message out about hydroxychloroquine. In a July 23, 2020, Newsweek op-ed, he wrote:8
“I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals.
I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines.
As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily … I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine.
When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.”
Risch goes on to cite evidence presented in his May 27, 2020, article9 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, which bears the instructive title: "Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis."
In it, he reviews five hydroxychloroquine studies that demonstrate “clear-cut and significant benefits to treated patients.” Since the publication of that paper, another seven studies have been published that support hydroxychloroquine’s use against COVID-19. This includes a study led by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, which involved 400 high-risk COVID-19 patients, all of whom successfully recovered, as well as:10
“… four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk,” Risch writes.
Hydroxychloroquine Has a Proven Safety Profile
Risch’s American Journal of Epidemiology paper also reviews large-scale studies demonstrating the safety of the medication.
In his Newsweek article,11 he points out that the adverse event reports cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when it warned hydroxychloroquine might cause cardiac arrhythmia, especially when administered with azithromycin, were generated from tens of millions of patient uses of hydroxychloroquine for long periods of time, often for the chronic treatment of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
“Even if the true rates of arrhythmia are tenfold higher than those reported, the harms would be minuscule compared to the mortality occurring right now in inadequately treated high-risk COVID-19 patients,” Risch writes.12
“This fact is proven by an Oxford University study of more than 320,000 older patients taking both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, who had arrhythmia excess death rates of less than 9/100,000 users … A new paper in the American Journal of Medicine by established cardiologists around the world fully agrees with this.”
Negative Studies Used Toxic Doses
Risch also highlights the fact that all of the studies used to claim hydroxychloroquine is dangerous were actually using toxic doses.
While doctors reporting success with the drug are using standard doses around 200 mg per day for either a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, studies such as the Bill & Melinda Gates-funded13 Recovery Trial used 2,400 mg of hydroxychloroquine during the first 24 hours — three to six times higher than the daily dosage recommended14 — followed by 400 mg every 12 hours for nine more days for a cumulative dose of 9,200 mg over 10 days.
Similarly, the Solidarity Trial,15 led by the World Health Organization, used 2,000 mg on the first day, and a cumulative dose of 8,800 mg over 10 days. These doses are simply too high. More is not necessarily better. Too much, and guess what? You might kill the patient. It’s really unclear as to why these studies used such enormous doses, seeing how the dosages this drug is normally prescribed in, for a range of conditions, never go that high.
Appropriate Dosage Renders Positive Results
Meanwhile, a July 1, 2020, retrospective analysis16,17,18 of 2,541 patients in Michigan found use of hydroxychloroquine alone cut mortality by more than half, from 26.4% to 13.5%. Patients received 400 mg of hydroxychloroquine twice on day 1, followed by 200 mg twice a day for the next four days.
No adverse heart-related events were observed. Hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin had a mortality rate of 20.1%, and azithromycin alone had a mortality rate of 22.4%. The azithromycin was dosed as 500 mg on day 1, followed by 250 mg once a day for the next four days.
According to the authors,19 “The combination of hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin was reserved for selected patients with severe COVID-19 and with minimal cardiac risk factors.” Unfortunately, zinc was not included in this trial. A majority of doctors using a hydroxycholoroquine regimen do use zinc, plus an antibiotic to stifle secondary bacterial infections.
“Physicians who have been using these medications in the face of widespread skepticism have been truly heroic,” Risch writes.20 “They have done what the science shows is best for their patients, often at great personal risk.
I myself know of two doctors who have saved the lives of hundreds of patients with these medications, but are now fighting state medical boards to save their licenses and reputations. The cases against them are completely without scientific merit …
As all know, the medication has become highly politicized. For many, it is viewed as a marker of political identity, on both sides of the political spectrum. Nobody needs me to remind them that this is not how medicine should proceed.
We must judge this medication strictly on the science. When doctors graduate from medical school, they formally promise to make the health and life of the patient their first consideration, without biases of race, religion, nationality, social standing — or political affiliation. Lives must come first …
Reality demands a clear, scientific eye on the evidence and where it points. For the sake of high-risk patients, for the sake of our parents and grandparents, for the sake of the unemployed, for our economy and for our polity, especially those disproportionally affected, we must start treating immediately.”
Many Countries Have Successfully Quelled COVID-19
If you want to review more studies on hydroxychloroquine, check out c19study.com,21 which at the time of this writing included the following graphic showing the adjusted death toll in countries that adopted the use of hydroxychloroquine early on, compared to those that did or have not.
As indicated above, a number of countries have successfully relied on hydroxychloroquine to quell the COVID-19 pandemic, including Dharavi, India, one of the densest slums in the world. As reported by Life Site News:22
“Reports credit the huge turnaround to various factors. Most focused on Dharavi's use of widespread testing and contact tracing … But they ignored the policy most responsible. Indian doctors used hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for prophylaxis (preventive) treatment — the same drug the American media have politicized.
Dharavi's COVID-19 infection rate dropped drastically from April through June. In July, new infections were very low, almost reaching zero on July 9. Officials have credited23 this turnaround to ‘[a] combination of hydroxychloroquine, vitamin D, and zinc tablets along with homeopathic medicines.’"
In one international poll24,25 of 6,227 doctors in 30 countries, 37% rated the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as “the most effective therapy” for COVID-19. The poll was done by Sermo, the world’s largest healthcare data collection company and social platform for physicians.
In Spain, where the drug was used by 72% of doctors, it was rated “the most effective therapy” by 75% of them. The typical dose used by a majority of doctors was 400 mg per day.
In the May, 2020, issue of Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, French microbiologist and infectious disease expert Didier Raoult, founder and director of the research hospital Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection,26 reported27,28 that a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, administered immediately upon diagnosis, led to recovery and “virological cure” in 91.7% of patients.
According to Raoult, the drug combination “avoids worsening and clears virus persistence and contagiosity in most cases.” No cardiac toxicity was observed using a dose of 200 mg three times a day for 10 days, along with 500 mg of azithromycin on day 1 followed by 250 mg daily for the next four days.
Chloroquine Inhibits SARS — Known Since 2005
Remarkably, evidence that hydroxychloroquine could be useful against SARS-CoV-2 goes as far back as 2005, when the article29 “Chloroquine Is a Potent Inhibitor of SARS Coronavirus Infection and Spread” was published in the Virology Journal.
Did Dr. Anthony Fauci, appointed to lead the White House Pandemic Response Team, know about this? One could argue he should have. And, if he did, why didn’t he say something? According to this study:30
“… chloroquine has strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV infection of primate cells. These inhibitory effects are observed when the cells are treated with the drug either before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage.”
In other words, chloroquine functions as both a prophylactic (prevention) and a treatment against SARS coronavirus. This is precisely what many doctors have found with hydroxychloroquine as well, a drug that is very similar to chloroquine but has a safer profile, when used against SARS-CoV-2.
Other early evidence has been highlighted by Raoult. In its April 13, 2020, issue, the German magazine Blauer Bote31,32 lists a collection of 75 expert opinions about the COVID-19 threat. Among them is Raoult, who said (translated from German):
“I did a scientific study on chloroquine and viruses that was published thirteen years ago. Since then, four other studies by other authors have shown that the coronavirus responds to chloroquine. None of this is new.
It takes my breath away that the group of decision-makers doesn't even know about the latest science. We knew about the possible effect of chloroquine on cultured virus samples. It was known to be an effective antiviral.”
A Coordinated Effort to Inhibit Use of an Effective Drug?
The wildly divergent views on hydroxychloroquine appear to have little to do with its safety and effectiveness against COVID-19, and more to do with a concerted and coordinated effort to prevent its use.
There are several reasons for why certain individuals and companies might want to discourage the use of an inexpensive generic drug to work against this pandemic illness.
One of the most obvious reasons is because it might eliminate the need for a vaccine or other antiviral medication currently under development.33 Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been invested, and vaccine makers are hoping for a payday in the billions if not trillions of dollars. In a June 27, 2020, blog post, Dr. Meryl Nass points out:34
“It is remarkable that a series of events taking place over the past three months produced a unified message about hydroxychloroquine … Hydroxychloroquine has been used safely for 65 years in many millions of patients.
And so the message was crafted that the drug is safe for its other uses, but dangerous when used for COVID-19. It doesn’t make sense, but it seems to have worked. Were these acts carefully orchestrated? You decide.
Might these events have been planned to keep the pandemic going? To sell expensive drugs and vaccines to a captive population? Could these acts result in prolonged economic and social hardship, eventually transferring wealth from the middle class to the very rich?”
The fight over hydroxychloroquine may also have political underpinnings, as noted not only by Risch but also by investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. In a May 18, 2020, Full Measure report (above), she states that “never before has a discussion about choices of medicine been so laced with political overtones.”
As cautioned by Risch, medicine must not become politicized, especially not during a pandemic. We cannot afford such folly. By politicizing it, the media has taken on a role that can readily be likened to agents of genocide. Naturally, those of us in the holistic field have been aware of how censorship lead people astray, health wise, for a very long time. Conventional doctors are just now getting a taste of what it’s like, and clearly, many are absolutely floored by it.
It’s certainly understandable, because to censor potentially lifesaving medical treatment during a global pandemic really brings it to a whole new level. To so thoroughly demonize a medication that has been used for decades, and could have saved thousands, if not tens of thousands, is as inexcusable as it is inappropriate. Time will tell whether we’ll ever see a time where science is allowed to take its rightful place in medicine again.
Vitamin C has always been vital to immune function, but COVID-19 has shone the spotlight on the vitamin in a big way. While everyone is scurrying to stock up on citrus fruits, there’s actually another fruit that contains more vitamin C than any other: red bell peppers.
Yes, you read that right. Red bell peppers are often categorized, and cooked, as a vegetable, but because they contain seeds, they’re botanically classified as a fruit. Of course, you might not be as concerned with that as much as how they can contribute to your vitamin C intake and what other health benefits red bell peppers have to offer.
Vitamin C in Red Bell Peppers
Although you might immediately think of oranges or orange juice when you hear the term “vitamin C,” bell peppers — specifically sweet red bell peppers — are a far better source.
One cup of sliced raw red bell pepper contains 117 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C,1 which actually exceeds the current RDA for the entire day. For comparison, the same amount of green bell peppers contains around 74 mg.2 According to a comparative study in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture,3 those numbers increase even more if you choose organic bell peppers.
The researchers analyzed the amounts of bioactive compounds in organically grown bell peppers and conventionally grown bell peppers and found that the organically grown peppers contained significantly more vitamin C and higher amounts of carotenoids, like beta carotene, phenolic acids and flavonoids, such as quercetin.
Health Benefits of Red Bell Peppers
Many of the health benefits of red bell peppers can be attributed to the combination of bioactive compounds found within them. A single red bell pepper contains 30 different antioxidants,4 making them one of the most nutrient-dense fruits you can eat.
Antioxidants have been shown to help fight heart disease,5 prevent cancer,6 protect against liver disease and combat oxidative stress and inflammation.7 One of the notable compounds in red bell peppers is quercetin, which is known to have a wide range of health benefits. Quercetin has been shown to help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain,8 lower blood pressure9 and improve learning and memory.10
Of course, some of the health benefits of red bell peppers are also a result of its high vitamin C content. Although vitamin C is often hailed for its powerful immune-boosting properties, it has a protective effect against heart disease and early death, too.
Researchers who published a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June 2015 looked at the diet and health of 97,203 people. They found those who consumed the largest amount of fruits and vegetables had a lower risk of developing heart disease and lower risk of early death when compared with those with the lowest intakes.11
The researchers concluded that this benefit may be driven by the high vitamin C concentration in fruits and vegetables, since those with the highest plasma vitamin C levels seemed to experience the greatest effect.
Vitamin C has also been linked to better eye health. Oxidative stress is connected to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, two of the leading causes of blindness in older adults.
In one cohort study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2005, researchers found that a high intake of vitamin C, combined with an above average intake of beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc, could reduce the risk of developing AMD by 35%.12
Vitamin C is also heavily involved in your nervous system. It supports your neurons, modulates the transmission of nerve impulses and helps your body make catecholamines13 or the hormones dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine that help control your stress levels.
A February 2018 study published in the Journal of Critical Care found preliminary evidence that administering vitamin C in addition to standard therapy may help combat inflammation and stabilize heart rate in those with sepsis and septic shock14 — an emergency situation that accounts for 30% to 50% of all in-hospital deaths15 and believed to be the underlying cause of some serious complications and death in severe COVID-19 infections. Vitamin C may also be useful for16:
Protecting against UV damage
Preventing wrinkles and loss of collagen
Healing burns and wounds
Alleviating dry skin
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means it dissolves in water and is carried throughout the body to your cells for immediate use. Your cells take what they need and anything left over gets excreted from your body through your urine. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, your body doesn’t store any extra for later. Your body also can’t make vitamin C on its own. That means it’s extra important that you get sufficient amounts from your diet every day.
The current recommendation for vitamin C is 75 mg per day for adult women and 90 mg per day for adult men.18 While daily doses of several hundred mg per day makes sense for many, there’s evidence that higher doses, meaning those over 1,000 mg per day, may be better for combating viruses like the common cold19 and Epstein-Barr20 and as part of the treatment for cancer.21
Other Sources of Vitamin C
One cup of sliced red bell peppers provides more than the current RDA for vitamin C, but if you want to increase your intake even more, there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of vitamin C as well.
One of the most vitamin C-rich fruits available is the acerola or Barbados cherry,22 which provides 1,644 mg of vitamin C per cup.23 Compare that to a medium orange, which contains about 69.7 mg of vitamin C.24 Other fruits and vegetables that are particularly rich in the vitamin include25:
Vitamin C Supplements
Supplementation is an option too, but it’s best to get what you need from a variety of fruits and vegetables. When you eat fruits and vegetables, you’re not only getting natural, easily absorbed vitamin C, you’re also getting dozens of other super nutrients, like antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help fight chronic disease, reduce inflammation and help eliminate carcinogens.
However, if you’re having trouble meeting your needs with diet alone, you can supplement a healthy diet with liposomal vitamin C, which has enhanced bioavailability when compared to other oral forms of the vitamin.
In one small study published in Nutrition and Metabolic Insights in June 2016, researchers compared liposomal vitamin C supplements to other types of oral vitamin C,26 finding liposomal supplements raised the amount of vitamin C in the blood more effectively than the other unencapsulated types.
That’s because the liposomes encapsulate, or surround, the vitamin C, which protects it from the harsh environment of your digestive tract, according to a July 2019 report in the Journal of Liposome Research.27 This helps slows down the release of the vitamin from the supplement and improves absorption.
Obesity and overweight have been called out as risk factors for COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic, and research continues to suggest that carrying excess weight could raise your risk of COVID complications and death. Even mild obesity may raise the risk of COVID-19 severity, calling into question current United Kingdom guidelines that only classify severe obesity as a risk factor.
The new finding was revealed by researchers from the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna in Italy, who analyzed 482 COVID-19 patients hospitalized between March 1 and April 20, 2020.1 "Obesity is a strong, independent risk factor for respiratory failure, admission to the ICU and death among COVID-19 patients," they wrote, and the extent of risk was tied to a person's level of obesity.
'Mild' Obesity Increases Risk of Severe COVID-19 Illness
The researchers used body mass index (BMI) to define obesity in the study, and although BMI can be misleading in determining whether or not you're at a healthy body weight, in part because it does not take muscle mass into account. It's the most commonly used measurement for defining obesity.
If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are considered overweight and anything over 30 is considered obese. However, obesity is often divided into categories, with class 1 defined as a BMI of 30 to < 35, class 2 as a BMI of 35 to < 40 and class 3 defined as a BMI of 40 or higher, and considered "extreme" or "severe" obesity.2
The U.K.'s National Health Service states that you may be at moderate risk from coronavirus if you are "very obese" with a BMI of 40 or above,3 but the featured study found increased risks started at a BMI of 30, or "mild" obesity.
"Health care practitioners should be aware that people with any grade of obesity, not just the severely obese, are a population at risk," lead study author Dr. Matteo Rottoli said in a news release. "Extra caution should be used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients with obesity, as they are likely to experience a quick deterioration towards respiratory failure, and to require intensive care admission."4
Specifically, patients with mild obesity had a 2.5 times greater risk of respiratory failure and a five times greater risk of being admitted to an ICU compared to nonobese patients. Those with a BMI of 35 and over were also 12 times more likely to die from COVID-19.5
"Whereas a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 identifies a population of patients at high risk for severe illness, a BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 dramatically increases the risk of death," the researchers explained.6
A July 2020 report7 by Public Health England also describes the results of two systematic reviews,8 one of which showed that excess weight worsened COVID-19 severity, and the other that obese patients were more likely to die from the disease compared to non-obese patients.
Compared to healthy weight patients, patients with a BMI above 25 kg/m2 were 3.68 times more likely to die, 6.98 times more likely to need respiratory support and 2.03 times more likely to suffer critical illness. The report also highlights data showing the risk of hospitalization, intensive care treatment and death progressively increases as your BMI goes up.
Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Severe COVID-19, Flu
Additional research has also tied obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions including excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and lipid abnormalities that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes — with more severe viral infections.9
Obesity is known to double the risk of influenza,10 for instance, and increases the duration of stay in the ICU along with the need for invasive mechanical ventilation during such infections.11 And obesity is one of the primary causes of metabolic syndrome. According to an article published in the Journal of Virology:12
"Viruses can metabolically engineer host cells by manipulating gene expression and lipid metabolism to enhance viral replication and progeny release while enabling the virus to evade host immune responses. Because metabolic disorders impair immune responses at homeostasis, viral infection further compromises these responses and potentiates metabolic disease severity."
As for how obesity raises risks during viral infections, the chronic, low-grade inflammation it causes is a likely factor. In fact, inflammation triggered by obesity may be responsible for a threefold greater risk of pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs) in COVID-19 patients who are obese,13,14 according to separate research.
The Journal of Virology researchers also suggested that dysregulated lipid synthesis triggered by obesity may aggravate inflammation in the lungs, contributing to increased disease severity during respiratory viral infections.15 As for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, they cited one study that found nearly 50% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were obese and admitted into ICU in need of mechanical ventilation.
"This is not surprising because excess body weight and fat deposition apply pressure to the diaphragm, which further increases the difficulty of breathing during a viral infection," they wrote.16 Additional mechanisms are also suggested for how obesity increases COVID-19 severity, including:17
- Increasing leptin resistance and lipotoxicity, as the accumulation of lipids may be exploited by viruses to enhance viral entry and replication
- A combined effect of chronic systemic inflammation and the induction of a cytokine storm
Boris Johnson Takes on Obesity to Target COVID-19
After spending time in the hospital due to COVID-19, prime minister Boris Johnson announced a new strategy to target obesity in the fight against coronavirus.18 Johnson believes that his weight made his COVID-19 infection more severe, and reportedly plans to implement bans on TV junk food advertising before 9 p.m., as well as targeting junk food ads online and in stores.19
Indeed, processed foods, junk foods and soft drinks are key culprits in the rise of obesity and chronic diseases that have a key role to play in COVID-19 deaths. London-based cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra is among those warning that poor diet can increase your risk of dying from COVID-19.
He tweeted, "The government and Public Health England are ignorant and grossly negligent for not telling the public they need to change their diet now."20
He told BBC that ultraprocessed foods make up more than half of the calories consumed by the British, and if you suffer from obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure — all of which are linked to poor diet — your risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases 10fold. The Journal of Virology researchers agreed, writing:21
"Over the years, humans have adopted sedentary lifestyles and dietary patterns have shifted to excessive food consumption and poor nutrition. Overnutrition has led to the constellation of metabolic abnormalities that not only contributes to metabolic reprogramming but also limits host innate and adaptive immunity.
Impaired immune responses and chronic inflammation in metabolically diseased microenvironments provide the ideal conditions for viral exploitation of host cells and enhanced viral pathogenesis."
Researchers Say Food Industry Shares Blame for COVID-19
In an editorial published in the BMJ,22 three researchers cited the role of the food industry in driving up rates of obesity and ultimately causing more COVID-19 deaths:23
"It is now clear that the food industry shares the blame not only for the obesity pandemic but also for the severity of covid-19 disease and its devastating consequences.
During the COVID-19 pandemic an increase in food poverty, disruptions to supply chains, and panic buying may have limited access to fresh foods, thus tilting the balance towards a greater consumption of highly processed foods and those with long shelf lives that are usually high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
Moreover, since the start of the COVID--19 pandemic the food industry has launched campaigns and corporate social responsibility initiatives, often with thinly veiled tactics using the outbreak as a marketing opportunity (for example, by offering half a million "smiles" in the form of doughnuts to NHS staff)."
They not only called on the food industry to stop promoting unhealthy food and drinks immediately, but also called on governments to force reformulation of junk foods to better support health.
With research showing that being obese doubles the risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19,24,25 researchers noted, "These findings suggest that modification of lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and could be a useful adjunct to other interventions, such as social distancing and shielding of high risk."26
Johns Hopkins University researchers suggested obesity could also shift the burden of COVID-19 onto younger patients, finding in a dataset of 265 COVID-19 patients that younger individuals admitted to the hospital were more likely to be obese.27
Losing Weight May Lower COVID-19 Risk
If you're obese, focusing on healthy weight loss may help to ward off viral illnesses, including COVID-19. "In the mid- and long-term, weight loss is the definitive answer to reduce the risks in people with obesity," Rottoli said.28 Losing weight will also help you avoid obesity-related health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
According to a study by The Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy's national health authority,29 more than 99% of fatalities from COVID-19 occurred among people who had underlying medical conditions. Among the fatalities, 76.1% had high blood pressure, 35.5% had diabetes and 33% had heart disease.30
One of the most powerful strategies to optimize your weight is simply restrict your eating window to 6 to 8 hours with not eating at least three hours before bedtime. This is known as time-restricted eating and a powerful intervention to reduce insulin resistance and restore metabolic flexibility.
Nutrition-wise, I recommend adopting a cyclical ketogenic diet, which involves radically limiting carbs (replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein) until you're close to or at your ideal weight, ultimately allowing your body to burn fat — not carbohydrates — as its primary fuel.
Once you have regained your ideal body weight than you can cycle carbs back in a few times a week.
It will also be wise to avoid all processed foods and also limit added sugars to a maximum of 25 grams per day (15 grams a day if you're insulin resistant or diabetic). KetoFasting, the program I developed and detail in my book, "KetoFast: A Step-By-Step Guide to Timing Your Ketogenic Meals," combines a cyclical ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting with cyclical partial fasting to optimize weight, health and longevity.
In addition, get regular exercise each week and increase physical movement throughout your waking hours, with the goal of sitting down less than three hours a day, while also getting sufficient sleep and tending to your emotional health.
Chronic stress, for instance, may increase your risk for visceral fat gain over time,31 which means addressing your stress levels is imperative for maintaining your ideal weight. Taking steps to lead a healthy lifestyle overall will have a snowball effect, helping you to reach a healthy weight while also bolstering your resilience against infection and disease.
Researchers have long known that healthy habits can lengthen your life,1,2 while unhealthy ones can increase your risk for disease and illness. Sometimes an unhealthy habit is the result of trying to do the right thing — like avoiding the sun — and other habits may be the result of a hectic lifestyle — such as lack of exercise and movement.
Worldometers records life expectancy in 191 countries, which ranges from 54.36 to 85.29 years.3 There are 39 countries where the life expectancy is greater than 80 years, and the United States is not one of them. In fact, the U.S. ranks 46th with an overall life expectancy of 79.11 years.
This was one observation of an international team of researchers in 2018, when they used data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study to determine the impact that lifestyle factors have on premature mortality and life expectancy of people in the U.S.4
The factors included never smoking, body mass index, physical activity, moderate alcohol intake and a healthy diet. Using the data, they estimated that those who did not adopt any of the identified healthy lifestyle factors would live an additional 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men, beginning at age 50.
However, those who adopted all lifestyle factors might enjoy a life expectancy of an additional 43.1 years for women and 37.6 years for men over age 50. This represented an additional 14 years for women and 12.2 years for men over the average lifespan.
Healthy Habits Lengthen Disease-Free Life
You may be familiar with the quote, “And in the end it's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years." This is what researchers from Harvard University were interested in determining. If healthy habits could extend the number of years in your life, could they also extend the number of healthy years in your life?
The same international team, led by a scientist from Harvard, later expanded their study to determine whether the same lifestyle factors could increase the potential for a person to enjoy more years of good health.5 They analyzed 34 years of data from 73,196 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study (all females) and 28 years of data from 38,366 participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (all males). They defined the five lifestyle parameters as:6
- Diet — A high score on the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI)
- Exercise — At least 30 minutes each day of at least moderate activity
- Body weight — BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2
- Alcohol — Up to one serving for women and two for men per day
- Smoking — Never smoked
The researchers used the AHEI to determine whether a person’s dietary habits were healthy.7 It was developed by researchers as an alternative to the Healthy Eating Index based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:8
“Higher scores of dietary quality based on AHEI are strongly associated with lower risks of chronic diseases, cancer, and all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality.”9
The objective of the study was to determine how these five lifestyle factors could relate to living free of major chronic diseases, which they defined as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.10 These chronic diseases are related to five of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., including Alzheimer’s and stroke.11
The data showed that women who maintained four or five healthy lifestyle habits by age 50 had an average of 34.4 years free of the chronic diseases in the outcome measurement. This is more than 11 years greater than the 23.7 healthy years for the women who maintained none of the habits.
Men had 31.1 chronic disease-free years when they maintained the five healthy habits by age 50, as compared to 23.5 years in those who did not practice any. Additionally, the researchers found that men and women who were obese had the “lowest disease-free life expectancy.”12 One of the authors commented:13
“Previous studies have found that following a healthy lifestyle improves overall life expectancy and reduces risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, but few studies have looked at the effects of lifestyle factors on life expectancy free from such diseases. This study provides strong evidence that following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free.”
Healthy Food Choices Often Lead to Healthy Weight
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2014 showed that one-third of all the people in the U.S. were obese, and 1 of every 13 adults was extremely obese.14 Data from the NHANES in 2016 showed the number was rising, having reached 39.8%.15 By 2018, the most recent year for which the statistics have been published, the rate had reached 42.4%.16
This means that in four short years, another 4.7% of the population in the U.S. had made the leap from being overweight to being obese. As I’ve written before, you’ll never be able to out-exercise the food you eat, so maintaining a healthy weight is highly dependent on eating healthy foods.
Many of the processed foods in the grocery store are loaded with endocrine-disrupting chemicals, also known as obesogens, which can trigger permanent changes to fat cells. It’s important to eat highly nutritious foods you’ll find at local farmers markets or around the outside aisle of your grocery store. Produce at farmers markets is fresher and often lasts longer than what you’ll find at the grocer.
You may also find local dairy and egg distributors who use regenerative farming practices, without GMO feed or antibiotics. London-based cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra is the latest in a line of doctors (including myself) who warn of the dangers associated with processed and ultra-processed foods.
He tweeted, "The government and public health England are ignorant and grossly negligent for not telling the public they need to change their diet now."17 During an interview with the BBC, Malhotra further defined the risks associated with the cluster of conditions in metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance, obesity and high blood pressure, saying:18
"It goes way beyond obesity. Essentially all of the conditions we call part of the metabolic syndrome … all of these are linked to poor diet. And the increased mortality — from a cluster of these conditions we call metabolic syndrome — from COVID-19 is 10-fold higher."
He went on to discuss how even people with a normal BMI can have metabolic disease, yet just a few weeks of eating well can help start to reverse many of these conditions.
His argument to change your diet is related to reducing your immediate risk of severe infectious disease. However, as the Harvard-led research shows, embracing healthy habits can also reduce your risk of chronic disease and extend your life span.
Consider Using a Variety of Exercise for Overall Benefits
A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise was designed to investigate how to reduce the risk of stiff arteries and high blood pressure in older adults.19 While past researchers have shown regular exercise can make an impact on these outcomes, the question the researchers asked was, what type of exercise is best?20
Scientists from Nova Scotia compared the data from observing six weeks of exercise three times per week in older adults using “continuous moderate-intensity cycling, high-intensity (sprint) interval cycling or whole-body weight training.”21 The participants' average age was 67 and none of them had high blood pressure.
The outcomes suggested that high-intensity interval training, used regularly, may help prevent high blood pressure and other types of cardiovascular disease. However, it is important to remember that while interval training may have a positive impact on high blood pressure, a variety of types of exercise will benefit your overall health and wellness.
As you may remember, the Harvard researchers’ criteria was 30 minutes of at least moderate activity each day. Developing a well-rounded exercise routine can contribute to other health benefits. For example, in one animal study, researchers found that resistance training improved the cognitive ability of rats with mild cognitive impairment.22 In a human study, researchers proposed:23
"After a long period of strength training, the oxidative stress can be reduced, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and insulin-like growth factor I serum concentrations enhance, and the cognitive performance improves. Considering these results, we can infer that strength training can be related to increased neurogenesis, neuroplasticity and, consequently, counteracts aging effects on the brain."
Muscle mass and strength are needed for mobility, balance and the ability to live independently. Having sufficient muscle mass also increases your potential for survival during illness and hospitalization. Research has demonstrated that the strongest one-third of the population over age 60 have a 50% lower death rate than the weakest.24
When aerobic exercise is combined with strength training, it reduces your all-cause mortality by 29%.25 One method of strength training that takes less time and uses lighter weight is Blood Flow Restriction training. This involves slightly restricting arterial inflow to allow moderation of venous outflow at the top of the arm or leg.
The process requires the use of low weights with high repetitions, until the point of failure. This makes Blood Flow Restriction training safer than conventional strength training and available to a broader range of people, including the elderly and those with disabilities or injuries. You can read more at “What You Need to Know About Blood Flow Restriction Training.”
Include Movement in Your Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Yet another option you can easily fit into four or five minutes a couple to three times a day is using the Nitric Oxide Dump. This exercise stimulates the release of nitric oxide stored in the lining of your blood vessels.
It helps to reduce your blood pressure and is a time-efficient workout that can help boost your sense of well-being. Read more about it, and watch a short video demonstration at “Fitness Checkup: Why You Need to Try the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout.”
While it's important to exercise at least 30 minutes each day, in one study it was demonstrated that sitting for prolonged periods of time, even for those who exercise heavily, can increase the risk of death.26
To maintain health, you need mild but consistent movement throughout your waking hours. One strategy that has a positive impact is to simply stand up more throughout the day and increase your daily walking. Several scholars have looked at the difference between the numbers of steps taken throughout the day and the intensity of exercise. Read more about the results at “Aiming for 10,000 Steps? Here's Your New Target.”
Smoking Adds Risk to Brain Health
The dangers of smoking have long been researched. Smoking can damage nearly every organ and affects more than 16 million Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, “For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.”27
Conditions include heart disease, cancer, diabetes and lung diseases, which includes all the parameters the Harvard team used for chronic disease. One of the vascular conditions smoking may trigger is stroke, which has a damaging effect on the neurological center of the body.
Cigarette smoking is also associated with other neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.28 In animal studies, scientists have shown that cigarette smoke triggers oxidative damage to the brain. Researchers have also linked lung disease to cognitive decline and impairment.29 That means smoking can affect your brain in more than one way.
Alcohol Is Associated With Neurological Damage
Alcohol also increases the risk for neurological and cognitive disease. Impairment is not limited to just when a person is drinking, since deficits may persist long after a person becomes sober.30 The damage can range from simple forgetfulness to permanent debilitation that requires custodial care.
A lot of people minimize the risks of alcohol, though, and public health experts believe there are two reasons for this. One is that the alcohol lobby has purchased favorable media coverage and the other is that a rising problem with illegal drugs usually gets the brunt of bad publicity, even when alcohol may do more damage.
Making Small Changes May Reap Big Rewards
If you’re someone who needs to put a few more good health habits in place, don’t despair. As Molhotra said in his BBC interview, the benefits of making dietary changes can start to show in just weeks.
It’s important to identify the areas that may benefit from changes, such as more movement during the day, exercise or dietary habits you’d like to change. Try not to get overwhelmed if the list is longer than you’d hoped. Make one change and commit to make it a habit. Once you’ve accomplished this, move on to the next.
Making too many changes at once can get overwhelming and may even end poorly. Instead, making small changes over time can reap some big rewards when it comes to your health, wellness and reducing your risk of chronic disease.
Over the past several months the CDC has created a list of health conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.1 These include Type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, serious heart conditions and chronic kidney disease.
To reduce your risk, it would make sense to address the health issues that raise it. But some are not easily or quickly changed. However, you can make a significant difference by making one change to your daily routine: optimizing your vitamin D level.
Getting the right amount of Vitamin D is likely a beneficial strategy that is the easiest and least expensive of most options in minimizing the risk of any infectious disease in the coming months, including COVID-19 and the flu.
Vitamin D deficiency affects men and women of all age groups and races,2,3,4 including areas of the world where there is abundant sunshine, such as in the Mediterranean.5 This is vital since vitamin D deficiency has been identified in numerous studies as a risk factor for COVID-19 and related complications,6 including severe disease7 and death.8
Vitamin D Level Predictive of Disease Severity
Dr. Grigorios Panagiotou, from Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals in the U.K., has released data from yet another study demonstrating people who required intensive care were more often deficient in vitamin D than those who were not admitted to the ITU (intensive therapy unit).9
The data were collected from a single center, and Panagiotou and his team analyzed the inpatient information from 134 patients who had a positive COVID-19 test; he also looked at each person’s serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level taken on admission to the hospital. The researchers were interested in the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in relationship to COVID-19 severity and mortality.10
While the mean vitamin D levels were comparable between those in the intensive care unit and those in the medical unit, only 19% of the patients in the intensive care had levels over 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL), compared to 39.1% of those in the medical unit. Essentially, they discovered that patients in the ITU were more likely to have a Vitamin D deficiency than those in the medical unit, even though they were younger.
Once patients were identified as having insufficient levels of vitamin D, they were immediately treated with Colecalciferol, a vitamin D supplement.11 The researchers theorize the lower mortality rates in their study may have been related to the rapid treatment for deficiency.12 Endocrine Today reports that the researchers wrote:13
“Vitamin D receptors are highly expressed in B- and T-lymphocytes, suggesting a role in modulating innate and adaptive immune responses. [Vitamin D] levels reach their nadir at the end of winter, and low levels are associated with increased risk of acute respiratory tract infections during winter [and are] mitigated by vitamin D supplementation.
Clinical trials involving vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19 are ongoing but may not report within the time frame of this pandemic.”
There are numerous other multinational studies with results that have demonstrated a strong association between vitamin D levels and disease severity. On the strength of that evidence, France, Scotland and the U.K. are taking supplementation and optimization of vitamin D seriously.14,15,16
Many of the past studies were observational and could not be used to make links to causation based on the design of the study. However, studies that can demonstrate causation are currently underway. For a discussion of the past, current and some of the planned studies, see “Vitamin D in the Prevention of COVID-19.”
New Study Focused on Question of Genetic Link
Data are being gathered from 628 health care workers from Nottingham University hospitals as scientists look for a genetic link that may explain why “blacks, Asians and minority ethnic people (referred to as BAME populations in Britain)”17 have a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. U.S. News reports this population makes up approximately one-third of those in critical care units, but only 13% of the general U.K. population.
The authors of other studies have realized various outcomes. In one, data were gathered from February 1, 2020, to April 25, 2020. Scientists used the data to analyze deaths in hospitals from confirmed cases of COVID-19.18 The researchers concluded:
“We have quantified a range of clinical risk factors for death from COVID-19, some of which were not previously well characterised, in the largest cohort study conducted by any country to date. People from Asian and black groups are at markedly increased risk of in-hospital death from COVID-19, and contrary to some prior speculation this is only partially attributable to pre-existing clinical risk factors or deprivation …"
In the past, some experts have identified differing socioeconomic and cultural reasons for the increased rates of disease and death. However, Ana Valdes, Ph.D., who is leading the Nottingham study, believes these reasons cannot completely explain the different infection rates. She is quoted in US News as saying:19
"… some of the people we had in our (Nottingham) hospitals who had the worst cases, really serious issues, were consultants and surgeons … exposure in the hospitals is really the same for Asians, blacks and whites. They are in the same wards. And at the same level of exposure, we see our Asian colleagues had a much higher prevalence of the symptomatic disease."
Vitamin D Levels Also Being Assessed
Some experts are skeptical that a genetic link might be found. Winston Morgan, Ph.D. from the University of East London, makes the argument that:20
"There are certain genetic mutations that can be found among specific ethnic groups that can play a role in the body’s immune response. But because of the loose definition of race (primarily based on genes for skin colour) and recent population movements, these should be seen as unreliable indicators when it comes to susceptibility to viral infections. Indeed, race is a social construct with no scientific basis."
Valdes admits that the critics of the hypothesis may be correct, but the way to find that out is through testing. She anticipates that if a link is established, it could lead to health recommendations involving dietary changes to help support a person's immune response. A link between people of color and low vitamin D levels may lead to a recommendation for vitamin D supplementation.
Despite current evidence to the contrary,21,22 Morgan is also skeptical that vitamin D deficiencies increase the risk for darker-skinned people to experience serious COVID-19. In his article in The Guardian, he wrote:23
"Another target that has come in for speculation is vitamin D deficiency … In terms of a link to susceptibility to Covid-19, this has not been proven. But very little work on this has been done and the pandemic should prompt more research on the medical consequences of vitamin D deficiency generally."
Vitamin D Works Beyond the Immune System
Although raising your vitamin D levels is an important step in protecting yourself from infectious disease, it also plays an important role in other areas of health. This means that while the threat of COVID-19 may have prompted you to take action to raise your vitamin D levels, you’ll also likely experience additional health benefits from doing so.
For example, vitamin D has a positive effect on Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by dysbiosis. The results from one study with vitamin D supplements showed that vitamin D influenced the gut bacteria in those with Crohn's disease but not in the healthy control group.24 The study team said they believed vitamin D may be able to modulate the composition of the bacteria and increase beneficial strains.
Vitamin D insufficiency has been associated with an increased inflammatory response in the body, leading to depression, pain and cancer. In one paper the writers addressed the need for effective treatment of depression and concluded:25
"Effective detection and treatment of inadequate vitamin D levels in persons with depression and other mental disorders may be an easy and cost-effective therapy which could improve patients’ long-term health outcomes as well as their quality of life."
Researchers have also made an association between vitamin D levels and cancer. Based on a PubMed database search in 2006, researchers believe they found evidence that "The majority of studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D status and lower risk of cancer."26
In 2018, a prospective study of several thousand participants in Japan produced results indicating that those with higher vitamin D levels had lower risks of all types of cancer.27 Other scientists have associated it with breast cancer tumor aggressiveness.28
In 2020, one team reported that based on a review of the research, there was evidence for the assertion that adequate vitamin D levels could prevent and improve the prognosis in some cancers, including colon cancer and blood cancers.29 Vitamin D is essential for maintaining a healthy skeleton because it regulates the metabolism of both calcium and phosphate.30 This helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis, frailty, falls and subsequent loss of independence.
Test First, Calculate and Then Supplement
I believe vitamin D is vital to improving immune function so that your body can resist viral infections. In “Vitamin D Combats Viral Infections and Boosts Immune System,” you’ll find an interview with three vitamin D experts and more information about how this simple step can reduce mortality risk from infectious disease, including COVID-19.
During the last part of winter, most people’s serum vitamin D levels drop to their lowest point. As I’ve written before, experts believe there will be a potential rise in the number of people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 this fall, which they are calling a “second wave.” It’s important to raise your vitamin D level to between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL before that happens.
The only way to know your level is to do a simple blood test, which you can take at home. One of the easiest ways to do this is to participate in the GrassrootsHealth nutrition project, which includes a vitamin D test kit. Once you have your current level, you can calculate the supplemental dose you might need to raise your level.
You’ll find an explanation of how to interpret your vitamin D results and calculate the dose of vitamin D3 needed to raise the measurement to your desired level in “Your Vitamin D Level Must Reach 60 ng/mL Before the Second Wave.” You’ll find more help on how to time your supplements at GrassrootsHealth.
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