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In the video podcast above, Dr. Paul Saladino and science journalist and author, Nina Teicholz — who is also an adjunct professor at NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the executive director of The Nutrition Coalition — review the evidence against chicken, and why saturated fat really qualifies as a health food.
Teicholz' book, "The Big Fat Surprise," challenged the conventional wisdom on dietary fats, especially saturated fat. Saladino, meanwhile, is releasing the second edition of his book, "The Carnivore Code," August 4, 2020.
Why Conventional Chicken May Contribute to Poor Health
As noted by Saladino, while consumption of red meat is on the decline, thanks to the vilification of red meat and saturated fat, people are eating more and more chicken.
Long thought of as a healthier type of meat, primarily because it's leaner than red meat, the problem with conventional chicken is that they're fed corn — typically GMO varieties that are farmed with glyphosate.
Increasingly, we're finding that trans fats and polyunsaturated fat from vegetable oils are far worse for your health, and a greater contributor to chronic disease, than added sugar even. And what happens when chicken is fed corn? The meat becomes high in omega-6 linoleic acid, as corn is high in this type of fat.1
As Saladino points out, high chicken consumption actually adds to your vegetable oil consumption. While you need some omega-6, the amounts obtained from a standard American diet high in processed foods are far too high for health. High omega-6 intake also skews your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which ideally would be close to 1-to-1.
As noted by Saladino and Teicholz, 60% of the U.S. population has chronic disease, nearly 70% are overweight or obese, and recent NHANES data2 reveal 87.8% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy, based on five parameters. That data is over four years old now, so the figure is clearly greater than 90% of the population today.
That means virtually everyone is at risk for Type 2 diabetes and all the chronic diseases associated with insulin resistance, which run the gamut from cancer to Alzheimer's. Simply assuming you are one of the 12.2% (from the 4-year-old figures) that are metabolically healthy would be risky business.
Will Saturated Fat Myth Soon Be Upended?
Part of why chronic ill health is so widespread is this persistent idea that saturated animal fats are unhealthy, and should be replaced with industrial vegetable oils.3
On the upside, Teicholz reviews a recent paper4 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online June 17, 2020, which actually admits the long-standing nutritional guideline to limit saturated fat has been incorrect. This is a rather stunning admission, and a huge step forward. As noted in the abstract:
"The recommendation to limit dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has persisted despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Most recent meta-analyses of randomized trials and observational studies found no beneficial effects of reducing SFA intake on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and total mortality, and instead found protective effects against stroke.
Although SFAs increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, in most individuals, this is not due to increasing levels of small, dense LDL particles, but rather larger LDL which are much less strongly related to CVD risk.
It is also apparent that the health effects of foods cannot be predicted by their content in any nutrient group, without considering the overall macronutrient distribution.
Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, eggs and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of CVD. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods."
How Did We Go so Wrong?
In the podcast, Saladino and Teicholz review the history of the demonization of saturated fat and cholesterol, starting with Ancel Keys' flawed hypothesis5 that saturated fat causes heart disease in 1960-1961, and how the introduction of the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980 (which recommended limiting saturated fat and cholesterol) coincided with a rapid rise in obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease.
They also discuss the reasons why this myth has been allowed to persist, despite the scientific evidence against it. In short, the low-fat, low-cholesterol myths promulgated by Keys in the '60s rapidly led to dramatic changes in the food and drug industries, and these behemoths are incredibly reluctant to relinquish what have become highly profitable businesses.
Acknowledging that saturated animal fats are healthy, and processed industrial vegetable oils and grains are not, would decimate the processed food industry, as it relies on vegetable oils and grains. The healthy alternative is real food, and there's no big industry profits to be made from that.
Vegetable Oils Undermine Your Health
Saladino and Knobbe are both equally convinced that the massive increase in linoleic acid (omega-6 polyunsaturated fat found in industrial vegetable oils) is a key metabolic driver of obesity, heart disease, cancer and other chronic disease. They review several studies6,7,8,9,10,11,12 demonstrating the truth of this.
Historically, humans got an estimated 2% polyunsaturated fat from their diet. Today, that percentage is between 10% and 20% — and conventional poultry is a hidden source of harmful polyunsaturated fat as well.
Importantly, they also review the incorrect belief that high LDL is a risk factor for heart disease, and that by lowering your LDL, you lower your risk of a heart attack. The science simply doesn't bear this out, and the reason for this is because not all LDL particles are the same.
By cutting down on red meat and saturated fat and eating more vegetable oil and chicken for example (which again will count toward your vegetable oil or polyunsaturated fat intake), your LDL may go down, but those LDLs are now going to be oxidized, and no one is testing for oxidation. Oxidized LDL, Saladino explains, will in turn trigger insulin resistance and related problems, including heart disease.
Eating saturated fat, on the other hand, may raise your LDL, but those LDL particles will be large and "fluffy," and do not cause any arterial damage. Many studies have demonstrated that high LDL has nothing to do with heart disease. High LDL does not raise your risk of heart disease per se, but oxidized LDL do.
Teicholz also makes another important point, in that the saturated fat myth has been one of the most thoroughly and comprehensive hypotheses in the history of nutritional science, and it has failed miserably.
She also details how avoiding saturated animal fats causes you to end up with nutritional deficiencies, as animal foods and fats are also rich in micronutrients. Industrially processed vegetable oils are not. As noted by Teicholz, "foods high in saturated fats are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet." These nutrients are also highly bioavailable.
Meanwhile, the diet recommended by our Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not actually meet nutritional goals. As a result, the most disadvantaged among us — impoverished school children who rely on school meals, hospital patients and the elderly who are in long-term care facilities for example — are being disproportionally harmed, as they have few if any options to make healthier food choices.
The Benefits of Carnosine
In addition to saturated fat and the vitamins and minerals it contains, red meat is also an important source of carnosine, a dipeptide (two amino acids put together) made up of beta-alanine and histidine. Carnosine is only found animal products. It serves as a scavenger or sink for reactive carbonyl groups — intermediaries that go on to form advanced lipoxidation end-products.
If you can grab these carbonyls before they attack proteins and fats, you can essentially stop the vicious cycle resulting in catastrophic peroxidation. Diets that exclude animal products and meat will lower your carnosine level, and carnosine is a really important nutrient to limit the damage from oxidation products. It's also important for mitochondrial function.
Summary of Why Saturated Fats Are so Crucial
Toward the end of his podcast, around one hour and 44 minutes in, Saladino offers a comprehensive summary of the entire discussion. Here's a quick review of his key points:
- The insulin sensitivity of your adipose fat cells is inverse to the rest of your body. In other words, you want your fat cells to be insulin resistant, because this makes the rest of your body insulin sensitive (i.e., not insulin resistant). If your adipose fat cells are insulin sensitive, the rest of your body will be insulin resistant. The factor that determines the insulin sensitivity of your adipocytes is the fats you eat.
- Linoleic acid "breaks the sensitivity for insulin at the level of your fat cells" — it makes them more insulin sensitive — and, since your fat cells control the insulin sensitivity of the rest of your body by releasing free fatty acids, you end up with insulin resistance.
- Conversely, when you eat saturated fat, because of the way it's beta-oxidized in your mitochondria, your fat cells become insulin resistant. As a result, they do not grow and they do not release free fatty acids. Thus, the insulin sensitivity in the rest of your body improves, and insulin resistance goes down.
Vegetable Oils Are Toxic
As discussed in my recent interview with Knobbe (above), the polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils, seed oils and trans fats are mostly stored in your fat cells (opposed to being used for fuel), and have a half-life of 600 to 680 days.13
They also get incorporated into tissues, including your heart and brain. Who in their right mind would want a highly oxidizable oil saturating their organs for years? One result of this could be memory impairment and increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, which is exactly what they found with canola oil.14 As reported in one 2017 study:15
"Our findings do not support a beneficial effect of chronic canola oil consumption on two important aspects of AD pathophysiology which includes memory impairments as well as synaptic integrity. While more studies are needed, our data do not justify the current trend aimed at replacing olive oil with canola oil."
In the interview above, Knobbe explains the harms of vegetable oils and, like Saladino and Teicholz, reviews why they are a root cause behind virtually all chronic diseases.
New Study Tells Why Chicken Is Killing You and Saturated Fat Is Your Friend
According to the featured BBC Documentary “The Power of Meditation,”1,2 originally aired in 2008, more than 10 million Westerners practice daily meditation. More recent statistics3 suggest people are turning to meditation in droves, with the number of practitioners tripling since 2012. As of 2019, an estimated 200 million to 500 million people meditate regularly around the globe.
Considering its many psychological and physical benefits, this is good news, especially in light on the pandemic we are all going through. There is a large body of evidence demonstrating the mind-body connection is real, and that your mind has a direct impact on your physical health.
Meditation Changes Your Brain and Body for the Better
For example, brain imaging has revealed meditation alters your brain in a number of beneficial ways — such as increasing gray matter volume in brain regions involved in the regulation of emotions, memory, learning and self-referential processes4 — and studies show meditative practices even alter your genetic expression.5,6,7,8
Indeed, one study9 found meditation practice altered the expression of no less than 2,209 different genes. Examples of genetic effects include the down-regulation of genes involved in inflammation and stress.10,11
According to a study in PLOS ONE,12 many of these genetic changes — such as reduced oxidative stress and increased antioxidant production and telomerase stability — are the result of activating the body’s relaxation response. The relaxation response also influences your energy metabolism, which can have bodywide benefits. As explained by the authors:13
“Upregulating ATP synthase — with its central role in mitochondrial energy mechanics, oxidative phosphorylation and cell aging — RR [the relaxation response] may act to buffer against cellular overactivation with overexpenditure of mitochondrial energy that results in excess reactive oxygen species production.
We thus postulate that upregulation of the ATP synthase pathway may play an important role in translating the beneficial effects of the RR.”
Meditation Improves Wellness by Promoting Balance
Findings such as these prove you cannot separate your health from your emotional well-being, and if you want to prevent chronic illness, you’d be wise to incorporate this knowledge.
Clinically, mindfulness-based meditation practice has been demonstrated in randomized trials to improve depressive symptoms in women with fibromyalgia14 and to have lasting anti-anxiety effects after only eight weeks of group practice.15
In “The Power of Meditation,” professor Kathy Sykes begins her investigation of meditation by visiting a Buddhist monk in Nepal, who teaches her basic Buddhist meditation, which involves sitting comfortably, with your spine straight, concentrating on a single focal point, such as your breath.
When a thought arises, you simply refocus your attention on your breath. Over time, this kind of meditation fosters inner calm, happiness, relaxation and emotional equanimity, although results can often be felt rather quickly. “Meditation is not just a hobby,” the monk says. “It’s something that is going to change the very way you experience every moment of your life.”
The Science of Meditation
I’ve already mentioned a number of studies demonstrating the benefits of meditation. “The Power of Meditation” cites16 additional evidence showing it can help a wide range of health problems, including cardiac arrhythmias, bronchial asthma, cold sores, cough, ulcers, diabetes, constipation, infertility, high blood pressure, psoriasis, pain and much more.
Research17 even suggests total medical costs for primary care could be drastically reduced simply by practicing meditation and other relaxation techniques.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed data from 4,452 people who received eight weeks of relaxation response training and 13,149 controls who did not meditate. The intervention group also worked on building resiliency using social support, cognitive skills training and positive psychology. Results showed:
“At one year, total [health care] utilization for the intervention group decreased by 43%. Clinical encounters decreased by 41.9%, imaging by 50.3%, lab encounters by 43.5%, and procedures by 21.4% … The intervention group’s Emergency department (ED) visits decreased from 3.6 to 1.7/year and Hospital and Urgent care visits converged with the controls.
Subgroup analysis (identically matched initial utilization rates—Intervention group: high utilizing controls) showed the intervention group significantly reduced utilization relative to the control group by: 18.3% across all functional categories, 24.7% across all site categories and 25.3% across all clinical categories.
Conclusion: Mind body interventions such as 3RP [relaxation response resiliency program] have the potential to substantially reduce healthcare utilization at relatively low cost and thus can serve as key components in any population health and health care delivery system.”
The researchers estimate the average patient could save between $640 and $25,500 a year in health care costs by implementing this kind of relaxation response training.
Meditation Guidelines for Heart Disease
While the mind-body connection has long been ignored by conventional medicine, the American Heart Association in 2017 issued its first scientific statement and guidelines on seated meditation,18 suggesting it can be a valuable adjunctive intervention for cardiovascular disease. As noted in the AHA’s scientific statement:19
“Novel and inexpensive interventions that can contribute to the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease are of interest. Numerous studies have reported on the benefits of meditation.
Meditation instruction and practice is widely accessible and inexpensive and may thus be a potential attractive cost‐effective adjunct to more traditional medical therapies …
Neurophysiological and neuroanatomical studies demonstrate that meditation can have long-standing effects on the brain, which provide some biological plausibility for beneficial consequences on the physiological basal state and on cardiovascular risk …
Overall, studies of meditation suggest a possible benefit on cardiovascular risk … Given the low costs and low risks of this intervention, meditation may be considered as an adjunct to guideline‐directed cardiovascular risk reduction by those interested in this lifestyle modification …”
There Are Many Types of Meditation
As noted in “The Power of Meditation,” there are many different kinds of meditation techniques. Common forms of seated meditation suggested in the AHA’s guidelines include:20
Samatha (focused attention technique)
Vipassana (insight meditation; an “open monitoring” technique that encourages a broader awareness of your environment or train of thought, allowing feelings you might normally suppress to rise to the surface)
Zazen (Zen meditation)
Metta (loving-kindness meditation)
Transcendental meditation (TM)
Relaxation response practice
“The Power of Meditation” interviews Dr. Robert Schneider, a medical doctor who conducts research on the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation.21 According to Schneider, there are several hundred studies showing TM “evokes a deep state of rest and an orderliness of the brain and nervous system, and this results in improved mental health, physical health and even improved social health.”
He goes on to discuss the scientifically demonstrated benefits of TM on cardiovascular diseases specifically. This includes lowering high blood pressure and reducing death rates from heart attacks and strokes.
Meditation Relaxes Yet Invigorates
In the 2014 Talks at Google video above, meditation expert Emily Fletcher22 explains the differences between two popular styles of meditation, directed attention (mindfulness) meditation and nondirected attention meditation (which she refers to as “self-induced transcendence” meditation), and explains how each meditation style affects your brain.
She also discusses the similarities between meditation and caffeine. Both have the effect of energizing you and boosting your productivity, but meditation accomplishes this without any adverse effects.
Caffeine stimulates neural activity in your brain that triggers the release adrenaline, a stress chemical involved in the fight-or-flight state. Meditation, on the other hand, energizes you and makes you more productive without triggering an adrenaline rush.
The reason for this is because meditation de-excites your nervous system rather than exciting it further. This makes it more orderly, thereby making it easier for your system to release pent-up stress. It also makes you more productive. In fact, she notes that many are now starting to recognize meditation as a powerful productivity tool.
Contrary to popular belief, taking the time to meditate can actually help you gain more time through boosted productivity than what you put into it.23 According to Fletcher, meditating for just 20 minutes equates to taking a 1.5-hour nap, and provides your body with rest that is two to five times deeper than sleep. This is why even a short period of meditation each day can help you feel more refreshed and awake.
How Different Types of Meditation Affect Your Brain
So, just how does different types of meditation styles impact your brain? Here’s a summary of some of the neuroplastic changes induced by three popular sitting meditation practices:
• Transcendental meditation24 causes your brain to switch into primarily alpha frequency, corresponding to a relaxed yet aware state akin to daydreaming.
As the left and right hemisphere of your brain enter into coherence, endorphin production increases, inducing a sense of happiness and bliss. Over time, this kind of meditation expands your sense of self beyond bodily limitations, resulting in a more integrated personality.
• Mindful meditation25 and samatha — focused attention techniques in which you concentrate on your breath or a single object, thought, mantra, sound or visualization — activate the executive mode of your brain.
The idea behind mindfulness is to remain in the present moment by focusing your attention in the now. The brainwave frequency here typically responds to the gamma range.
Long-term, this type of meditation tends to enlarge your hippocampus, which is where your memories are stored, while shrinking the amygdala, the emotional center and the site of your fight-or-flight instinct. This is in part why mindfulness training tends to be helpful for depression and anxiety, as it helps improve the regulation of emotions.
• Self-induced transcendence (discussed by Fletcher in the video above) is a nondirected style of meditation in which you access a fourth state of consciousness that is different from waking, sleeping and dreaming. Transcendence style meditation strengthens your corpus callosum, the bridge between your two brain hemispheres.
Your left brain is in charge of the past and the future, language, math and critical thought, while your right brain is in charge of “right now,” intuition, inspiration, connectedness, creativity and problem-solving.
By strengthening the connection between your right and left hemispheres, you gain access to more creative problem-solving and increase your productivity without adding stress.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression
Sykes also investigates the benefits of meditation on mental health, for which there is perhaps even more evidence. She visits a woman named Carol, who struggled with severe depression after the death of her husband.
Her psychiatrist suggested meditation, in which you focus on your breathing — similar to the Buddhist meditation described earlier. “It stopped me from living in my head with my thoughts,” Carol says, “and it’s given me a better picture of what it’s like to be alive, really.”
The program Carol enrolled in, called MBCT, which stands for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, was developed by professor Mark Williams, described as a leader in the field of clinical depression. MBCT is a mix of about 80% mindfulness meditation and 20% cognitive therapy, which is a widely used psychological technique.
As explained by Williams, mindfulness meditation teaches you to see your problems or thoughts clearly, without trying to change or fix anything. In other words, you learn to view your thoughts as “just thoughts,” be they positive, negative or neutral, rather than something with intrinsic meaning or something that you need to do anything about.
According to Sykes, four different trials have demonstrated that MBCT reduces the risk of recurrent depression by 50% in people who have had three or more depressive episodes.
Williams also points out that mindfulness meditation can really benefit everyone, as it helps us deal with expectations, judgments (of self and others), paralyzing self-analysis and the feeling that we’re just not good enough.
“All of these things are just thoughts,” he says. “They will come up in meditation, and learning to recognize what they are — thoughts — and let them go, can be enormously empowering.”
Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
While it's not unusual for the most experienced meditators to have spent decades, even a lifetime, perfecting the art of meditation, you can gain benefits just from meditating in your home for 20 minutes a day.
If you'd like to give meditation a try, there are many classes and group sessions available if you want a structured group setting, and free guided meditation apps you can use on your own wherever you are.
The UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center26 is a helpful resource where you can download free guided meditations in English and Spanish. The following suggestions can also help you get started:
• Set aside 20 to 30 minutes to meditate each day. Choose a quiet place where you can sit comfortably without being disturbed or interrupted. Simply close your eyes and focus on your breath. You don’t need to control your mind or breathe in any unnatural way. When thoughts arise — and they will — simply let them pass through without judgment and return your attention to the breath.
• As you meditate, you will notice thoughts, sensations and sounds. The next step is to take note of the presence or “witness” that is doing the actual noticing. You’ll find that this presence cannot be pinned down to any particular place inside you. As you continue, simply abide in this presence and be the witness.
In the book, “The Untethered Soul, the Journey Beyond Yourself,”27 Michael Singer asserts that happiness and freedom are the result of cultivating “witness consciousness,” a state of willfully observing your mind, emotions and behaviors, rather than feeling that you actually are these things.
• The more you meditate, the easier it will become to quickly enter into a state of calm and relaxed yet focused awareness. It will also become easier to remain in meditation for longer periods of time. The after-effects will also last longer the more you meditate, allowing you to go through your day in a calmer more focused state.
The Power of Meditation
The hope of living longer and healthier lives has been a focus of attention for centuries. In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon left Puerto Rico and landed in Florida. He was said to be searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth, which people thought would confer everlasting life.1
While history would eventually tell a different story, with some now thinking his trek was more about politics than philanthropy, what hasn’t changed is our fascination with living longer, healthier lives.
Today, researchers and skin experts are in search of products that give the appearance of youth and vitality — qualities which are highly valued in society. In 2019, Forbes reported that the beauty industry, built on helping women look younger and more attractive, was worth $532 billion across the globe.2
Reducing Blood Plasma Reverses Aging in Mice
Fifteen years ago, researchers from the west coast of the U.S. discovered that old mice that shared blood with younger mice performed as if they were younger.3 The University of California-Berkeley team decided to pursue the matter and have recently published details of their new study in the journal Aging.4 They were determined to find the factor involved in the results from their first study, so they designed a follow-up to see if plasma had an influence on aging.
Using a process to exchange blood in small animals, the team removed half of the plasma in mice and replaced it with a saline solution and albumin. They called this intervention neutral aged blood exchange (NBE). The process essentially diluted plasma factors and replenished albumin.
Just one round of this was enough to assist with muscle repair, lower liver adiposity and fibrosis, and help with brain functioning in older mice. An analysis of the blood after transfusion showed elevated levels of proteins that would be present with tissue maintenance and repair.
Researchers did not believe albumin added to the saline solution was the sole reason for the outcomes. They concluded that the process helps to forward understanding of rejuvenation and suggests a new approach for therapeutic plasma exchange in humans that may improve the health of older individuals.
Importantly, the data from this experiment moves the needle away from investigating young blood for antiaging effects and toward the potential for removing harmful factors in blood that could contribute to antiaging.
Young Blood May Not Be the Answer
The researchers on the 2005 study, led by a husband and wife team, found that blood from younger mice could reverse signs of aging in older animals.5 They created conjoined mice using one old and one young animal. The animals shared blood and certain organs.
Their findings sparked interest in the scientific community and generated other research into whether transfusing young blood could reduce the signs of aging and essentially serve as a “fountain of youth.” As told by the lead scientist,6
“There are two main interpretations of our original experiments: The first is that, in the mouse joining experiments, rejuvenation was due to young blood and young proteins or factors that become diminished with aging, but an equally possible alternative is that, with age, you have an elevation of certain proteins in the blood that become detrimental, and these were removed or neutralized by the young partners.
As our science shows, the second interpretation turns out to be correct. Young blood or factors are not needed for the rejuvenating effect; dilution of old blood is sufficient.”
A therapeutic plasma exchange has been approved in the U.S. for the treatment of some autoimmune diseases. The process is also called plasmapheresis. Currently, the research team is finalizing plans for the next step, which is a clinical trial to explore modified plasma exchange in humans to improve the health of older adults.
In a separate study, scientists compared the actions and performance of older animals on tests of spatial memory. Special attention was paid to the hippocampus, an area of the brain crucial for forming memory and recognizing spatial patterns. The researchers concluded:7 “Our data indicate that exposure of aged mice to young blood late in life is capable of rejuvenating synaptic plasticity and improving cognitive function.” This was published in the journal Nature Medicine.
They are also evaluating the potential this intervention may be used to treat muscle wasting, immune deregulation and Type 2 diabetes.8 Another scientist on the team said this study may divert attention away from using plasma and other blood products from young people:9
“I think it will take some time for people to really give up the idea that young plasma contains rejuvenation molecules, or silver bullets, for aging. I hope our results open the door for further research into using plasma exchange — not just for aging, but also for immunomodulation.”
The point is that while positive effects from transfusing blood products from younger animals is possible, the practice is not necessary.
Chronic Disease Is Not Necessarily a Normal Part of Aging
The aging process is associated with changes in physiological, biological and psychological processes. Some changes are innocuous, while others result in declining function or disability.10 The leading causes of death in the U.S. related to disease or illness include:11
Influenza and pneumonia
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases)
Chronic lower respiratory diseases
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis
Many of these conditions are highly influenced by nutrition and lifestyle choices. In other words, while you could possibly develop heart disease or cancer as an older adult, you may delay or entirely prevent the disease through smart life choices.
After a lifetime of smoking, metabolic dysfunction or lack of physical activity you may be discouraged, but it is still possible to make an impact on your health. Even small changes made later in life can change overall health.12
A moderate amount of activity may help older adults retain independence, reduce blood pressure, improve pain from arthritis and improve mental health.13 Addressing potential health issues before they are overwhelming eases the challenges even further.
Intermittent Fasting One Key to Longevity
Geneticist and author David Sinclair, Ph.D., is a thought leader in how to improve health span. One important strategy that helps to slow your biological clock is calorie restriction and intermittent fasting. You’ll find more information in “Revolutionary Science of Aging and Longevity.”
Results from animal studies have suggested that the younger a person is when they start intermittent fasting, the better the results. Of course, it would be foolhardy to put an infant or young child on a fasting regimen. Teens and young adults are also not good candidates, as Sinclair says, “… there’s still a lot going on in their bodies and their brains.”14
However, after the age of 30, regular fasting is likely to lengthen life, based on the research. Time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting generally involves fasting for 12 to 16 hours each day. Typically, you either eliminate breakfast or dinner. If you choose to eat dinner, be sure it's at least three hours before bedtime.
As Sinclair and I talk about in the video above, this is because late-night eating increases your nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels which are important in a variety of bodily functions. It also reduces nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), an essential energy component for your cells.
If you’re eating too close to bedtime, your body cannot use the NADPH to burn calories and instead they are stored as fat. Additionally, you may try exercising while fasting. This means you'll workout just before your first meal, after a 16 or 18 hour fast. This raises your growth hormone levels to reach maximum benefit for mitochondrial biogenesis.
Sinclair's goal is to identify ways to reprogram cells in the body, so they don't just act younger, but literally are younger on a molecular level. To learn more about Sinclair’s research, the science behind aging and the potential for reversing its effects, be sure to pick up a copy of his book, “Lifespan: Why We Age — and Why We Don’t Have To.”
More Antiaging Strategies You Can Use at Home
The foundations to good health and a long life are good nutrition, exercise, sensible sun exposure, quality sleep and hydration. Of course, there are other factors as well, but these are a good place to start.
Your body needs quality nutrition to deliver optimal health. Practicing intermittent fasting while eating junk food or processed foods will not accomplish your goal. Your body has micro- and macronutrient requirements for health that you must meet in order to thrive at the cellular level.
Since you can't out-exercise the amount of food you’re eating, you have to make sure you’re eating highly nutritious foods. Shop around the perimeters of the grocery store aisles to find whole foods you can cook at home. You’ll find more information about the sun and vitamin D, the importance of quality sleep to mitochondrial health and how to stay well-hydrated in the articles listed below:
- Your Vitamin D Level Must Reach 60ng/mL Before the Second Wave
- Nutrients and Supplements That Can Improve Your Sleep Quality
- Average Sleep Time Drops, Increasing Health Risk
- This Could Prevent 3 Million Cases of Degenerative Disease
- The Science Behind Molecular Hydrogen Tablets
Can Aging Be Slowed by Diluting Blood?
Early on in the pandemic it became clear that older individuals were at disproportionate risk of severe COVID-19 infection and death.
According to an analysis1 conducted by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, which included data reported by May 22, 2020, an average of 42% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. had occurred in nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities. This is beyond extraordinary, considering this group accounts for just 0.62% of the population.
Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, wrote an article2 about their findings in Forbes, pointing out that “42% could be an undercount,” since “states like New York exclude from their nursing home death tallies those who die in a hospital, even if they were originally infected in a long-term care facility.” Roy also testified before Congress June 17, 2020, about racial disparities in COVID-19 and the health care system.3
Why Do Some States Have Exaggerated Nursing Home Death Rates?
Disturbingly, some states have nursing home mortality rates that are significantly higher than the national average of 42%. Minnesota4 tops the list in this regard, with 81.4% of all COVID-19 deaths having occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ohio comes in second, with a rate of 70%.
As reported by Roy:5
“Another way to cut the data is to look at nursing home and assisted living facility deaths as a share of the population that lives in those facilities. On that basis, three states stand out in the negative direction: New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
In Massachusetts and Connecticut, COVID deaths per 10,000 nursing home and assisted living facility residents were 703 and 827, respectively. In New Jersey, nearly 10 percent of all long-term care facility residents — 954 in 10,000 — have died from the novel coronavirus.”
Thousands Have Died Unnecessarily
By and large, nursing homes are ill equipped to care for COVID-19 infected patients.6 They’re set up to care for elderly patients, whether they are generally healthy or have chronic health problems, but they’re not typically equipped to quarantine and care for people with highly infectious disease.
It’s logical to assume that comingling infected patients with noninfected ones in a nursing home would result in exaggerated death rates, as the elderly are far more prone to die from any infection, including the common cold.
March 17, 2020, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis wrote an op-ed in STAT news,7 stating that “even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses have been known for decades [to] have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect people in nursing homes.”
In other words, we should not be surprised that COVID-19 disproportionally affects older people. Most elderly are frail and have underlying health problems that make them more prone to death from any infection whatsoever. Since this is common knowledge, why did some states decide to violate federal guidelines and send COVID-19 patients back into nursing homes?
New York Governor in the Hot Seat
Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, appears to have been among the most negligent in this regard. March 25, 2020, instructions from the New York Department of Health stated nursing homes were not allowed to deny admission or readmission of a COVID-19-positive patient.
Nursing homes were even “prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.” As reported by Roy:8
“As recently as April 23, Cuomo declared9 that nursing homes ‘don’t have a right to object’ to accepting elderly patients with active COVID infections. ‘That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that.’
Only on May 10 — after the deaths of nearly 3,000 New York residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities — did Cuomo stand down and partially rescind his order.”
Cuomo’s order seems particularly dubious considering the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort was docked in New York City harbor. The ship, which had a 1,000-bed capacity, was barely used.10 It departed NYC on April 30, having treated just 182 patients.11
A temporary hospital facility at the Javits Convention Center was also erected to deal with predicted hospital overflow. It had a capacity of 2,500, and closed May 1, 2020, having treated just over 1,000 patients.12 With all that available surplus space equipped for infectious disease control, why were COVID-19 patients forced back into nursing homes where they would pose a clear infection risk to other high-risk patients?
Several Governors Violated Federal Guidelines
June 22, 2020, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma condemned the actions of Cuomo and “other Democrat governors” — including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and California Gov. Gavin Newsom — who contradicted federal guidelines for nursing homes in their own state guidance.
“Our guidance was absolutely crystal clear,” Verma said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle, adding:13
“Any insinuation to the contrary is woefully mistaken at best and dishonest at worst. We put out our guidance on March 13 … It says … ‘When should a nursing home accept a resident who is diagnosed with COVID-19? …
A nursing home can accept a resident diagnosed with COVID-19 and still under transmission-based precautions,’ which means if this person is infectious you have to take precautions.
It says ‘as long as the facility can follow CDC guidance for transmission-based precautions.’ It says: ‘If a nursing home cannot, it must wait until these precautions are discontinued,’ meaning if you are not able to care for this patient — somebody is still positive and you’re not equipped to care for the patient, then you shouldn’t accept the patient into your care.
That’s really important because longstanding discharge — when you’re discharging a patient from the hospital, longstanding guidelines require when you transfer them somewhere you transfer them to a place that can take care of their needs whether they’re going home or they’re going to a nursing home or some other facility …
I just don’t think we should ever put a nursing home in a situation or a patient where we force them to take a patient they are not prepared to care for. That not only jeopardizes the patient but it jeopardizes the health and safety of every single resident in that nursing home.”
Stark Differences Between Nursing Homes
While Cuomo has tried to deflect criticism for his devastating nursing home directive, the facts seem to speak for themselves. ProPublica published an investigation14 June 16, 2020, comparing a New York nursing home that followed Cuomo’s order with one that refused, opting to follow the federal guidelines instead. The difference is stark.
According to ProPublica,15 by June 18, the Diamond Hill nursing home — which followed Cuomo’s directive — had lost 18 residents to COVID-19, thanks to lack of isolation and inadequate infection control. Half of the staff (about 50 people) and 58 patients were also sickened.
In comparison, Van Rensselaer Manor, a 320-bed nursing home located in the same county as Diamond Hill, which refused to follow the state’s directive and did not admit any patient suspected of having COVID-19, did not have a single COVID-19 death. A similar trend has been observed in other areas. As reported by ProPublica:16
“New York was the only state in the nation that barred testing of those being placed or returning to nursing homes. In the weeks that followed the March 25 order, COVID-19 tore through New York state’s nursing facilities, killing more than 6,000 people — about 6% of its more than 100,000 nursing home residents …
In Florida, where such transfers were barred, just 1.6% of 73,000 nursing home residents died of the virus. California, after initially moving toward a policy like New York’s, quickly revised it. So far, it has lost 2% of its 103,000 nursing home residents.”
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis actually took the opposite position with regard to nursing homes. Not only were hospitals not permitted to discharge COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, but all nursing home workers were also required to be screened for symptoms before entering facilities each day, and ensuring availability of personal protective equipment was prioritized.
In California, Los Angeles County nursing homes are such a hotspot, and local leaders describe the situation as a “pandemic within a pandemic.”17 There, the fact that many of the facilities are unusually large appears to be part of the problem.
They also have a higher percentage of people of color — another high-risk group — both working and residing in these facilities. Low pay, poor quality of care and inferior infection control add to the problem.
COVID-19 Primarily Spread in Health Care Settings
Overall, COVID-19 transmission appears to be rampant within our health care system in general, not just in nursing homes. As noted in “20% of COVID Patients Caught Disease at Hospital,” British data suggests 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients actually contracted the disease at the hospital, while being treated for something else.
SARS-CoV-2 is being transmitted not only between patients but also from health care workers to patients. When you add it all together, nursing homes and nosocomial infections (i.e., infections originating in or acquired from a hospital18), plus the spread from workers to family members, likely account for a vast majority of all COVID-19 deaths.
Without doubt, if nursing homes don’t start getting this right, they eventually won’t have enough patients to stay in business. Unfortunately, rather than tackle the problem head-on and implement sensible safety measures across the board, the nursing home industry is instead seeking immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits. I discussed this in “COVID-19 and Nursing Homes: The No. 1 Place Not to Be.” According to NBC News:19
"So far at least six states have provided explicit immunity from coronavirus lawsuits for nursing homes, and six more have granted some form of immunity to health care providers, which legal experts say could likely be interpreted to include nursing homes …
Of the states that have addressed nursing home liability as a response to the outbreak, two — Massachusetts and New York — have passed laws that explicitly immunize the facilities. Governors in Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan and New Jersey have issued executive orders that immunize facilities."
In other words, New York not only issued rules requiring COVID-19 infected patients to be admitted into nursing homes, and barred them from testing, it also granted nursing homes immunity against lawsuits.
Talk about triple injury. Clearly, New York nursing home patients have gotten ill and died due to willfully negligent directives. On top of that, families have been deprived of due process and any legal recourse for these beyond-reprehensible criminal actions.
Congressional Members Demand Answers
While several states have failed to protect their most vulnerable, New York’s actions stand out as being particularly egregious and, so far, no sound justifications have been forthcoming.
June 15, 2020, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and four Republican members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus sent letters20 to the governors of New York, Michigan, California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, demanding answers:21
“Why did they give those orders? Why did they go against the safety guidelines that were issued from CMS? And why won't they give us all the disclosure of the patient information that they were giving and then all of a sudden when we started discovering this they clammed up and they’re not letting the public see what these numbers really are?” Scalise said.
Curiously, Select Subcommittee Democrats not only declined to join Republicans in the proposed nursing home oversight effort, they also refused Scalise’s call to “get to the bottom of what motivated these decisions” in New York, Michigan, California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and they did not sign the letters to the governors of those states.22
In a press release by Scalise, Select Subcommittee member Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) is quoted saying:23
“Just about the worst possible thing to do is knowingly introduce coronavirus to the most vulnerable populations, yet that's exactly what several states did by mandating nursing homes accept infected patients.
These misguided policies deserve close scrutiny, and the leaders who put them in place have a lot of tough questions to answer. Now is not the time to look the other way while placing blame for this crisis on states that are taking a measured, responsible approach to reopening our economy and protecting our communities.”
Take Action NOW!
While the death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. has sharply declined since its peak in mid-April — declining from 2,666 deaths the week of June 13, 2020, to 906 deaths for the week of June 20, 2020,24 — authorities predict a reemergence this fall.
We can significantly blunt any reemergence by optimizing our vitamin D levels, and making sure this information reaches nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
For more information, see “Your Vitamin D Level Must Reach 60ng/mL Before the Second Wave.” To facilitate the public information campaign, I’ve created two vitamin D reports — one comprehensive science report and one summary review — both of which can be downloaded below.
>>>>> Click Here <<<<<
I urge everyone to share this information with friends, family and community at large, so that we can minimize a second outbreak. If you have a family member or know anyone that is an assisted living facility, you could meet with the director of the program, share these reports and encourage them to get everyone tested or at least start them on vitamin D.
Additionally, you could speak to pastors in churches with large congregations of people of color — who are also at disproportionate risk — and help them start a program getting people on vitamin D. Doing so could help save many lives, far more than any vaccine program.
42% of All COVID-19 Deaths Occurred in Nursing Homes
In a June 22, 2020, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service press release,1 Damien Downing, president of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, outlines how we could resolve the COVID-19 pandemic in 30 days for about $2 per person, simply by taking affirmative action to raise vitamin D levels. The downside or risk of doing this is basically nil, while the potential gain could be avoiding another COVID-19 spike altogether.
"If we could arrange to give everyone vitamin D, and it failed to protect them, so what? The risk from not acting is much greater than the risk from acting," Downing says, adding: "If you caught the COVID19 virus right now, having a good vitamin D status (from already having taken a supplement) would
- Reduce your risk of the disease becoming severe by 90%
- Reduce your risk of dying by 96%
This is not 'proven' or 'evidence-based' until we have done controlled trials comparing it to placebo … But the data, already strong, has been pouring in since the start of the pandemic."
Although the required prospective randomized controlled trials using vitamin D have not yet been completed, they are indeed underway and results from many will be in before year's end. You can visit the clinical trials registry to review the current state of these trials.2,3 As of June 2020, there were over 20 studies in progress on the use of vitamin D in COVID-19.
Vitamin D and COVID-19
Downing goes on to cite research and supporting data. Among them is a study4 from the Philippines, which found that for each standard deviation increase in serum vitamin D, the odds of experiencing only mild disease rather than severe illness was 7.94 times greater, and the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a critical outcome was 19.61 times greater. According to the author:
"The results suggest that an increase in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could either improve clinical outcomes or mitigate worst (severe to critical) outcomes, while a decrease in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could worsen clinical outcomes of COVID-2019 patients."
Another study5 from Indonesia, which looked at data from 780 COVID-19 patients, found those with a vitamin D level between 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L) and 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) had a sevenfold higher risk of death than those with a level above 30 ng/mL. Having a level below 20 ng/mL was associated with a 12 times higher risk of death. As noted by Downing:6
"With a deficient vitamin D status (<50nmol/L) the mortality rate from COVID-19 was 98.8% against 4.1% with adequate vitamin D (>75nmol/L). The Hazard Ratio is 24.1 … A Hazard Ratio of 4 means that in one condition, for instance vitamin D deficiency, you are 4 times more likely to suffer the 'hazard' than in another condition, say vitamin D adequacy."
A third paper,7 which provides data from 20 European countries, also found that "the probability of developing COVID-19, and of dying from it, is negatively correlated with mean population vitamin D status, with both probabilities reaching zero above about 75 nmol/L," (30 ng/mL) Downing notes.8
In their preprint submission of this paper,9 the authors concluded, "We believe that we can advise vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection." Downing created the following graph10 to illustrate the data in that paper.
Vitamin D Level Above 30 ng/mL Protects You Against COVID-19
Downing also addresses the issue of dosage and safety, highlighting how warnings about "excessive vitamin D intakes" being dangerous are very misleading and unwarranted, as toxicity has not been demonstrated until you hit blood levels above 200 ng/mL (500 nmol/L).
The recommended blood level for optimal health is currently between 60 ng/mL (150 nmol/L) and 80 ng/mL (200 nmol/L). In other words, there's a significant margin of safety, even if you manage to exceed the optimal range.
"The three papers11,12,13 mentioned above show that a vitamin D3 blood level of at least 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) is needed for protection against COVID-19," Downing writes.14
"Government recommendations for vitamin D intake — 400 IU/day for the UK and 600 IU/day for the USA (800 IU for >70 years) and the EU — are based primarily on bone health. This is woefully inadequate in the pandemic context.
An adult will need to take 4,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for three months to reliably achieve a 75 nmol/L level.15 Persons of color may need twice as much.16 These doses can reduce the risk of infection, but are not for treatment of an acute viral infection.
And since vitamin D is fat-soluble and its level in the body rises slowly, for those with a deficiency, taking an initial dose of 5-fold the normal dose (20,000 IU/day) for two weeks can help to raise the level up to an adequate level to lower infection risk."
Become Metabolically Flexible and Insulin Sensitive
As discussed in my interview with Dave Asprey, featured in "How Ketones May Be Useful Against COVID-19," being metabolically flexible is another important lifestyle component. The reason for this is because insulin resistance makes you more susceptible to cytokine storm, a primary cause of death among COVID-19 patients.
The single most important step you can take to attain metabolic flexibility is to cut down the hours during which you eat. More than 90% of people eat for more than 12 hours a day, and more than half eat for more than 16 hours a day. The key is to reduce your eating window to six to eight hours, making sure the last food you eat is at least three hours before you go to bed.
When you restrict your eating window you will decrease insulin resistance, become more metabolically flexible and able to seamlessly switch back and forth between burning fat or carbs as your primary fuel. I wrote an entire book on how to become metabolically flexible, "Fat for Fuel," but a simple summary is as follows:
- Time-restrict your eating window to six to eight hours
- Eliminate all industrially processed vegetable oils
- Limit carbs to 50 grams a day until metabolically flexible and then increase to 150 grams of healthy carbs twice a week
This strategy is absolutely vital in light of the prevalence of insulin resistance. Over 90% of the U.S. is vitamin D deficient; 90% of the population is also insulin resistant. Research17 published in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders in February 2019 concluded that 87.8% of the U.S. adults sampled were metabolically inflexible, which means they cannot efficiently burn fat for fuel.
Ketones May Also Be Useful Against COVID-19
When you are insulin sensitive, metabolically flexible and eating a cyclical low-carb diet, you will be able to generate healthy ketone levels. Remember that constant ketosis and low-carb is an unhealthy strategy. It is fine to go low-carb for a few months, but for optimal health you need to cycle healthy carbs back in once or twice a week, ideally when you are doing your hardest exercise or resistance training of the week.
When you burn sugar for fuel, you need to break glucose down to two molecules of 3 carbon pyruvate. Pyruvate is then used by your mitochondria after it is converted to acetyl CoA. Insulin resistance, in turn, can impair the enzyme that converts a breakdown product of glucose into pyruvate so it can be shuttled and burned as energy in your mitochondria.
>>>>> Click Here <<<<<
The problem with COVID-19 is that the cytokine storm inhibits the enzyme converting pyruvate to acetyl CoA, which radically limits your mitochondrial ATP production. An additional consequence of this is that it also reduces NADPH.
NADPH is the battery of your cell, the reservoir of electrons that actually cause endogenous antioxidants like glutathione, vitamin E and C to be recharged so they can continue to work and mitigate against the free radical damage resulting from all this oxidative stress. One way to compensate is to make sure you have enough NADPH, and ketones radically upregulate NADPH.
NADPH also turns off NLRP3 inflammasome that produces cytokines like TNF alpha, NF Kappa B, IL1B, IL6 and IL18 (interleukins) that are causing all the damage.
All of that said, it's important to realize that ketone esters will not treat the primary cause of the disease, which is an impaired immune system, typically due to insulin resistance. Ketone esters can, however, be used acutely, as they've been shown to provide rapid improvement in some patients with COVID-19. For an illustration of this, see the video above.
To address insulin resistance and metabolic inflexibility in the long term, your best bet is to implement a cyclical ketogenic diet, described in my book "Fat for Fuel," as well as many previous articles that you can find by using the search bar on my site.
Molecular hydrogen (H2 gas) has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects,18 making it useful for COVID-19 by reducing inflammatory cytokines, as explained in this video by Tyler W. LeBaron, founder of the science-based nonprofit Molecular Hydrogen Institute.
In his video, LeBaron reviews the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and explains why H2 is being clinically investigated by discussing the proposed mechanisms of how molecular hydrogen might ameliorate this particular disease.
Molecular hydrogen or H2 has the ability to activate the Nrf2/keap1 pathway, thereby replenishing your endogenous antioxidants. In so doing, H2 helps regulate and maintain homeostasis in the whole system, preventing the infection from getting out of control and causing cell death.
Hydrogen can also downregulate NOX and NOS enzymes, thus lowering superoxide and nitric oxide production respectively. This is good, as when these two molecules are increased too much they instantly combine to create the pernicious peroxynitrite molecule. H2 also supports your mitochondrial function. Importantly, H2 selectively reduces peroxynitrites and hydroxyl radicals.
H2 also steps in to prevent a cytokine storm from occurring. For a written summary of LeBaron's video lecture, see "How Molecular Hydrogen Can Help Against COVID-19." H2 will also help improve NADPH, and works synergistically with time-restricted eating and cyclical ketosis.
Quercetin Plus Zinc May Lower COVID-19 Risk Further
In addition to vitamin D optimization, quercetin — which acts similarly to the drug hydroxychloroquine — and zinc19 may further lower your risk of COVID-19. Compelling evidence suggests the reason hydroxychloroquine appears so useful in the treatment of COVID-19 is a zinc ionophore, meaning it improves zinc uptake into the cell.
Quercetin has the same effect. In fact, one study20 has suggested the biological actions — which include antiviral effects — of quercetin may in fact be related to its ability to increase cellular zinc uptake.
Zinc is vital for healthy immune function21 and a combination of zinc with a zinc ionophore (zinc transport molecule) was in 2010 shown to inhibit SARS coronavirus in vitro. In cell culture, it also blocked viral replication within minutes.22 Conversely, zinc deficiency has been shown to impair immune function.23 As noted in a 2013 paper on zinc deficiency:24
"Zinc is a second messenger of immune cells, and intracellular free zinc in these cells participate in signaling events. Zinc … is very effective in decreasing the incidence of infection in the elderly. Zinc not only modulates cell-mediated immunity but is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent."
The problem is that zinc is largely insoluble and cannot easily enter through the fatty wall of your cells. Getting all the way into the cell is crucial, as this is where the viral replication occurs. This is where zinc ionophores such as quercetin come in.
Quercetin is also a potent antiviral in its own right, and has the added advantage of inhibiting the 3CL protease25 — an enzyme used by SARS coronaviruses to infect healthy cells.26 According to one 2020 study,27 the ability of quercetin to inhibit SARS coronaviruses "is presumed to be directly linked to suppress the activity of SARS-CoV 3CLpro in some cases."
To this you could also add pryidoxine (vitamin B6) and selenium, as both play a role in the absorption and bioavailability of zinc in the body. For example, a study28 published in 1991 demonstrated that when young women were on a vitamin B6-deficient diet, their serum zinc declined, suggesting B6 deficiency affected zinc metabolism such that "absorbed zinc was not available for utilization."
A more in-depth exploration and explanation of both niacin and selenium's relationship to zinc is provided in the 2008 paper, "Zinc, Metallothioneins and Longevity: Interrelationships With Niacin and Selenium."29
The MATH Protocol
If you are hospitalized with COVID-19, early treatment becomes paramount. While there's a great deal of controversy over which treatment is best, clinical evidence clearly suggests mechanical ventilation should be avoided at all costs. I discussed the reasons for this in "Ventilators May Increase Risk of Death From COVID-19."
Furthermore, while hydroxychloroquine combined with zinc appears effective, I believe one of the best treatments suggested so far is the MATH+ Protocol. The protocol was developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group,30 which includes Dr. Paul Marik, chief of the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School Norfolk, and boasts a near-100% effectiveness rate.
The MATH+ Protocol is designed to treat the second phase of COVID-19 infection — the stage when the hyperinflammatory immune response sets in. For best results, it must be administered early enough, though. The MATH+ protocol31 calls for the use of the following three medicines, all of which need to be started within six hours of hospital admission:
- Intravenous methylprednisolone, to suppress the immune system and prevent organ damage from cytokine storms — For mild hypoxia, 40 milligrams (mg) daily until off oxygen; moderate to severe illness, 80 mg bolus followed by 20 mg per day for seven days. On Day 8, switch to oral prednisone and taper down over the next six days.
- Intravenous ascorbic acid (vitamin C), to control inflammation and prevent the development of leaky blood vessels in the lungs — 3 grams/100 ml every six hours for up to seven days.
- Subcutaneous heparin (enoxaparin), to thin the blood and prevent blood clots — For mild to moderate illness, 40 mg to 60 mg daily until discharged.
Optional additions include thiamine, zinc and vitamin D. In addition to these medications, the protocol calls for high-flow nasal oxygen to avoid mechanical ventilation that can damage the lungs.
Together, this approach addresses the three core pathological processes seen in COVID-19, namely hyperinflammation, hypercoagulability of the blood, and hypoxia (shortness of breath due to low oxygenation).
COVID-19 Doesn't Have to Remain a Crisis
Health experts are warning we're likely to see a second wave of COVID-19 this fall. I believe the strategies reviewed in this article can go a long way toward minimizing fatalities.
The first thing I recommend everyone do is to optimize your vitamin D this summer. Again, the optimal blood level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL. (In Europe, the measurements you're looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively.)
However, simply getting above 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) may dramatically reduce your risk of serious infection and death, and doing so is both easy and inexpensive. As stated by Downing, we could fix the COVID-19 pandemic in as little as 30 days simply by making sure everyone is taking vitamin D in sufficiently large doses.
More detailed information about how vitamin D works and why it's so important against COVID-19 can be found in my Vitamin D Report. Download and share! You can also find a summary of the key steps you need to take to optimize your level in this previous vitamin D article. Here is the link to my comprehensive science report.
>>>>> Click Here <<<<<
I want to thank those of you who read the above report and provided constructive feedback. I want you to know that I did read those suggestions. I had already planned on writing a short summary, but the responses were nearly universal in support of that.
So, when you click the button below, you will get the condensed report that you can send to your friends and family and get them on board with the Vitamin D Campaign, which not only can save many lives, but can help prevent the country from shutting down again and worsening our already damaged economy.
Taking quercetin and zinc is another preventive strategy worth remembering, as is the advice to implement cyclical nutritional ketosis to make sure you're metabolically flexible and not insulin resistant. Again, you can do this by following three powerful strategies:
- Time-restricted eating window of six to eight hours
- Eliminating all industrially processed vegetable oils
- Limiting carbs to 50 grams a day until metabolically flexible and then increasing to 150 grams of healthy carbs twice a week
More acutely, ketone esters may offer rapid relief of COVID-19-related symptoms such as shortness of breath, and the MATH+ Protocol, administered within six hours of hospitalization, could be a life saver.
While the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group has been struggling to get the word out to doctors and hospitals, you could (at bare minimum) request your doctor contact them and urge them to implement the protocol should you or someone you love get ill and need hospitalization.
How to Fix the COVID-19 Crisis in 30 Days
Rosemary is an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean that’s revered for its culinary and therapeutic uses alike. Its pungent aroma and sharp lemon-pine flavor make it popular in French, Italian and other cuisines, and it’s been used for centuries as a tool to strengthen memory.1
A member of the mint family along with oregano and basil, rosemary is as versatile in medicine as it is in cooking. With potent antibacterial and antioxidant properties, rosemary is often used to help extend the shelf life of perishable foods, and rosemary extract is approved as a natural antioxidant for food preservation in the European Union.2
Among its many other pharmacologically validated uses in medicine are anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties, but it’s also notable for its ability to improve cognitive function.3 In fact, it’s said that in ancient Greece, students would wear rosemary garlands while studying and would eat the herb to improve memory.
“Herball,” a classic plant reference written by English botanist John Gerard and published in 1597, even described rosemary as a “comfort” to the brain useful for improving memory and inward senses while being “especially good for infirmities of the head and brain.”4 Numerous modern studies support rosemary’s brain-boosting potential, courtesy of polyphenolic diterpenes such as carnosic acid.
Small Amounts of Rosemary Yield Cognitive Benefits
What is perhaps most exciting about rosemary is that benefits have been demonstrated at very low amounts, such as those you might use while cooking. In a study of 28 adults with a mean age of 75 years, dried rosemary leaf powder was blended with tomato juice in order to study its effects on cognitive function in older people.5 The subjects received juice with either no rosemary, which served as a placebo, or a dose of:
- 750 milligrams (mg) (0.15 teaspoons)
- 1,500 mg (0.3 teaspoons)
- 3,000 mg (0.6 teaspoons)
- 6,000 mg (1.2 teaspoons)
The lowest dose led to improvements in speed of memory, which may be a predictor of cognitive function during aging, compared to placebo, while the highest dose led to a memory impairment. This suggests that using rosemary at “culinary” doses may be best for your brain.
“In conclusion, rosemary powder at the dose nearest normal culinary consumption demonstrated positive effects on speed of memory … The result points to the value of future studies on effects of low doses of rosemary on memory and cognition over the longer term,” the researchers noted.6
What’s more, the subjects also subjectively reported “significantly less impairment to their alertness compared with placebo” at the lowest dose, which the researchers said “strengthens the findings, particularly as there is research suggesting that mood is an underlying driver of cognitive function.”7
Rosemary Protects the Brain From Free Radicals
Carnosic acid is one of the active ingredients in rosemary, and researchers believe it helps protect the brain by staving off free radical damage that may lead to stroke and neurodegenerative conditions.
In fact, researchers from Iwate University in Japan and colleagues found that carnosic acid activates a signaling pathway that protects brain cells from free radicals and is activated by the free radical damage, which means it’s innocuous until it’s needed.8,9 Researchers detailed this impressive process in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology:10
“Carnosic acid, one of the major phenolic constituents of rosemary, is a pro-electrophile specifically activated by the oxidative stress pathological state resulting in its conversion from the hydroquinone to the oxidized quinone form, before it activates the Keap1/Nrf2 pathway leading to gene induction of the antioxidant response element (ARE) and gene products that protect against oxidative stress.”
Rosemary diterpenes are also known to inhibit neuronal cell death and are multifunctional in nature, offering antioxidant-driven neuronal protection against brain inflammation and amyloid beta formation, which may be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.11
The amount of carnosic acid in dried leaves is thought to range from 1.5% to 2.5%, although higher amounts have been recorded. Environmental factors, including sunlight and water exposure, are known to affect the concentration of carnosic acid and other diterpenes in rosemary.12
Could Rosemary Help Prevent or Treat Alzheimer’s?
Drug companies have promoted off-label usage of anti-inflammatory COX-2 inhibitor drugs for treating Alzheimer’s, but rosemary does this naturally. "If a synthetic COX-2 inhibitor could prevent Alzheimer's disease, so could a natural COX-2 inhibitor," said the late Jim Duke, an emeritus member of the American Botanical Council Board of Trustees.13 Rosemary contains numerous natural COX-2 inhibitors, including:14
A 2011 review also concluded that "carnosic acid [in rosemary] may be useful in protecting against beta amyloid-induced neurodegeneration in the hippocampus" and reduced cellular death in certain brain regions.15
It’s possible that rosemary compounds, including not only carnosic acid but also carnosol and rosmarinic acid, could be protective against a range of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and migraines, wrote researchers in Natural Bio-active Compounds, who noted:16
“… R. officinalis L. [rosemary] and its bio-active metabolites [have a protective role] against various neurological disorders via targeting amyloid-beta (A-β) aggregation, neuronal cell death, acetylcholinesterase (AChE), neuroinflammation, β-secretase (BACE-1) activity, mitochondrial redox status, etc.
Based on the multifunctional nature due to effective bio-active secondary metabolites, R. officinalis can be a terrific alternative therapeutic source against many neurodegenerative diseases.”
Speaking of migraines, a 2013 study published in Food Chemistry points to rosemary as having a long history in tradition for treating headaches due to the potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving compounds it contains.17
To use rosemary essential oil for migraine headache relief, try adding one or two drops to a cup of tea, water or soup and drinking it. You can also mix two drops of rosemary oil with two drops of peppermint oil and a teaspoon of coconut oil to massage your forehead, temples and the back of your neck.
Healthy Adults May Benefit From Rosemary’s Brain Boost
Rosemary may also be useful for improving cognitive function in healthy adults. In one example, eight healthy adults consumed either 250 milliliters (8.4 ounces) of rosemary water or plain mineral water, then completed a series of cognitive tasks.
Multiple statistically significant beneficial effects were noted among those who drank the rosemary water, including increased levels of deoxygenated blood in the brain, an indication that rosemary may facilitate oxygen extraction during times of cognitive demand — a previously unknown finding.18
In addition, those who consumed rosemary had a 15% average boost compared to the placebo group when it came to performing working memory tasks. The benefits were described as similar to those previously demonstrated via the inhalation of the aroma of rosemary essential oil. Study author Mark Moss of the U.K.’s Northumbria University said in a news release:19
"[R]osemary offers a number of interesting possible health promoting applications, from antioxidant and antimicrobial to hepatoprotective and antitumorigenic activity …
The results of this research show there are statistically reliable improvements in memory function thanks to the ingestion of … Rosemary Water. In fact, I'd say that the shots act like a turbo charger for the brain."
Even Smelling Rosemary May Improve Cognition
If you’re not fond of rosemary’s flavor, you can still get a quick boost simply by inhaling its scent. The aroma of rosemary essential oil led to a significant enhancement of performance in memory quality and secondary memory factors in a study of 144 people.20
Rosemary’s characteristic scent comes from 1,8-cineole, which is also found in bay leaves, wormwood, sage and eucalyptus. It’s possible that 1,8-cineole, a common monoterpene found in many essential oils, is responsible for some of its aroma benefits, as its been linked to performance on cognitive tasks.
When 20 volunteers performed a series of math problems and other cognitive tasks while in a cubicle diffused with the aroma of rosemary, their performance improved in relation to higher concentrations of 1,8-cineole, levels of which were measured via blood testing. Both speed and accuracy improved in association with 1,8-cineole concentrations.
“These findings suggest that compounds absorbed from rosemary aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways,” the researchers, which included Moss, explained.21
A small study in 2009 also found that 28 days of aromatherapy involving rosemary, lemon, lavender and orange essential oils helped enhance cognitive function, especially in Alzheimer's patients, with no side effects.22
What Else Is Rosemary Good For?
Beyond your brain, rosemary also offers a host of additional benefits that extend bodywide. This powerful herb may help heart health, including after a heart attack, while favorably affecting body weight and dyslipidemia. Rosemary also offers pain-relieving qualities and the potential to fight infection, while also protecting your liver, fighting the proliferation of tumor cells and even reducing stress and anxiety.23
Rosemary, in fact, “may control physiological disorders similar to or superior to the usual medications,” according to a review in the Journal of Biomedical Science.24 While you can find rosemary in a variety of forms, from extracts and supplements to teas and essential oils, one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of this perennial plant is to grow it in your own garden. Then, you’ll have access to fresh rosemary whenever you need it.
Fortunately, rosemary is easy to grow and thrives on little care. In warmer climates it grows quicker, so you'll want to plant them at least 3 feet apart to allow ample room for growth. If you live in northern climates and commonly experience freezing weather lower than 15 degrees F, you'll want to grow your rosemary in a pot and bring it in during the winter months.
When harvesting rosemary, snip the tender end shoots that aren't woody, as they’re best for cooking. It’s simple to strip the leaves once the stems are dry simply by running your fingers along the stem. Feel free to use rosemary generously in your cooking, as well as diffuse the essential oil around your home, especially when you feel like you need a brain boost.
Can Rosemary Improve Cognitive Function?
Everyone has the potential to catch the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.1 You can significantly affect your risk of infection and severity of disease by taking simple steps. Symptoms for COVID-19 can range from mild to devastating.
There are factors that increase the risk a person may experience severe disease. These include underlying medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.2
In one evaluation of COVID-19 patients from six hospitals in Atlanta, researchers found independent factors that raised the risk of hospitalization included being male, smoking, having Type 2 diabetes, being of advanced age and being obese.3
The data also showed that African-Americans had a higher incidence of hospitalization, which correlates with lower levels of vitamin D, a significant risk factor for COVID-19 severity.4 In one estimation published just months before the announcement of COVID-19, researchers found that 40% of U.S. adults are deficient in the vitamin. However, that number rose to 76% for black Americans.5
There are also factors that may reduce your risk of severe disease. These can include maintaining your vitamin D level at 60 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL, addressing any underlying medical conditions, getting plenty of quality sleep, exercising and staying hydrated.
Clotting Complications With COVID-19 Raises Risk of Severity
James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D, and Mark McCarty published a follow-up to a paper they released February 12, 2020. DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist;6 McCarty is a biomedical theoretician and an applied nutritionist.7
In the first article, published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, they made an argument for specific nutraceuticals that may provide relief for those infected with COVID-19.8,9 The second paper was recently published in Open Heart BMJ.10 In it, proposed a pathway that may result in severe disease.
The essay, which they clearly expressed as a hypothesis they believed to be credible, was intended to stimulate conversation and propose studies of the interactions between the virus and vascular endothelial cells.
The basis of the proposal focused on the high rate of clotting complications in those with severe COVID-19. DiNicolantonio and McCarty believe the pathway seems to reflect infection of the vascular endothelial cells. These cells have a high expression of ACE2 protein, which the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to invade.
Patients with severe COVID-19 demonstrate hypercoagulability, which leads to acute respiratory failure. In one study, patients who were admitted to Padova University Hospital in Italy for acute respiratory failure showed "markedly hypercoagulable thromboelastometry profiles." The researchers concluded:11
"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."
There is some evidence that infection of the endothelial cells by SARS-CoV-2 virus leads to cell injury, which plays a role in organ failure.12
Pathogenic Role of NADPH
According to DiNicolantonio and McCarty, "It has been suggested that the thrombotic diathesis associated with COVID-19 reflects an endotheliopathy induced by viral infection of endothelial cells."13
He proposes the clotting complications in a COVID-19 infection may be triggered when infected cells use the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen (NADPH) signaling pathway. That's a mouthful to read, but NADPH is a key factor in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during oxygen metabolism.14
It's also an active communication component during viral and bacterial infections. The key takeaway here is that intracellular buildup of reactive oxygen species may inhibit viral replication. However, an excess amount increases cellular stress, which may lead to cell death.
Before SARS-CoV-2, researchers had demonstrated how some RNA viruses activate NADPH oxidase.15 COVID-19 is also a single strand RNA virus with intracellular uptake. DiNicolantonio and McCarty hypothesized that after being incorporated into endosomes in the endothelial cells, SARS-CoV-2 could also activate NADPH.
This would result in an increased local production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. Superoxide is a reactive oxygen species in which an electron is added to an oxygen molecule. The addition of another electron results in hydrogen peroxide.
Pulmonologist Dr. Roger Seheult from MedCram.com hypothesizes that when SARS-CoV-2 attaches to and reduces an ACE2 receptor, it increases the amount of superoxide produced, which in turn causes oxidative stress leading to endothelial cell dysfunction and thrombosis.16
Selenium May Reduce Oxidative Stress and Cytokine Storm
DiNicolantonio and McCarty wrote that it was difficult to locate clinical studies measuring biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients with SARS-CoV-2. However, they noted that "provinces of China where soil selenium is deficient is compatible with the view that oxidant stress plays a key pathogenic role in this syndrome, and selenium is required for function of multiple antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxin reductases."17
DiNicolantonio suggests that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which is commonly used for systemic lupus erythematosus, may help reduce the clotting risk with COVID-19 as it does with systemic lupus erythematosus. He postulates:18
"… that HCQ can likewise prevent endosomal NADPH oxidase activation in SARS-CoV-2-exposed endothelial cells, thereby reducing risk for the thrombotic complications associated with COVID-19 infection.
This is of particular interest in light of the ability of HCQ to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, and of preliminary evidence that administration of HCQ early in the course of COVID-19 may improve therapeutic outcomes, likely by slowing cell-to-cell spread of the virus."
A potential nutraceutical with a powerful effect on reducing NADPH is spirulina, which he writes may explain the effect on reducing inflammation in animals when administered by mouth:
"In addition, phycocyanobilin (PCB), a biliverdin metabolite prominently expressed as a light-absorbing chromophore in cyanobacteria (such as spirulina) and many blue-green algae, has been found to mimic the ability of its chemical relative unconjugated bilirubin to inhibit NADPH oxidase complexes."
Others have contemplated that spirulina may also support the type 1 interferon response and thus lower the potential for a cytokine storm, which is the hallmark symptom of severe COVID-19. Raising levels of glycine may also help suppress NADPH. Glycine may also help control thrombotic complications as it has a direct effect on platelets.
The authors hypothesize that using glutathione may help mediate the expression of enzymes that reverse cysteine oxidation. The expectation would be that this reaction would counteract the hydrogen peroxide signaling. The benefits could also be achieved using sulforaphane, lipoic acid or ferulic acid plus N-acetylcysteine (NAC):
"Measures that quell endothelial oxidative stress while supporting effective eNOS activity might not only help to control the thrombotic complications of COVID-19, but also be expected to blunt the exuberant influx of neutrophils that promote respiratory distress in this syndrome."
Nutraceutical Therapeutic Interventions Lower Severity
The biochemical reactions leading the authors to these conclusions can get a little confusing. For a quick primer, see "Potential Roles of NAC and Glutathione in COVID-19 Treatment." In that article, I go on to explain how NAC has antiviral properties and how it can help with acute respiratory distress syndrome. This is a serious complication associated with lung injury.
I also list some studies that have shown how NAC is beneficial to the treatment of lung-related problems and how it can protect against blood clots and strokes. Each of these factors play a significant role in the treatment of COVID-19.
DiNicolantonio and McCarty give specific recommendations for supplements that may help reduce thrombotic effects and subsequently reduce the severity of disease. These include:
Molecular Hydrogen — This is one of the absolute best strategies to improve pathology in diseases like COVID-19 as it selectively decreases oxidative stress if it is needed. One of the routes is by inhibiting NOX which subsequently decreases NADPH consumption thus increase NADPH.
Spirulina — This is a form of blue-green algae that grows in freshwater and saltwater. It's a simple, one-celled organism that is technically a form of cyanobacteria that offers a number of health benefits.
Spirulina may help fight inflammation, provide allergy relief, enhance brain health and control high blood pressure. It comes in capsules, tablets, powders and flakes. DiNicolantonio recommends 15 g (rounded tablespoon of powder), one time per day.
Glycine powder — DiNicolantonio and McCarty write that "Supplemental glycine … has been found to exert anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, cytoprotective, platelet-stabilizing and antiangiogenic effects in rodent studies that may be of clinical relevance."19
The powder is "inexpensive, highly soluble and has a pleasant sweet ﬂavor"20 DiNicolantonio recommends taking 5 g, two to three times per day. You can use it as a healthy sweetener in tea or coffee.
Lipoic acid — This is a naturally occurring compound and a direct antioxidant. Some evidence suggests it can help with glucose utilization and IV administration may help reduce diabetic peripheral neuropathy.21 He recommends taking 600 mg, two to three times per day.
Broccoli sprout powder — This delivers sulforaphane, a compound that augments glutathione.22 DiNicolantonio recommends 5 g, one to two times per day.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) — This has been described as "a precursor to glutathione."23 It is a powerful antioxidant and is used in IV to treat acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. As an inhalant, it helps break up mucus obstructions in the bronchial tree.
Orally, it can help preserve kidney function and has been used to treat psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. He recommends taking 600 mg, two to three times per day.
Consider These Nutraceuticals to Reduce Clots With COVID-19
The respected medical journal The Lancet was found to have published a study on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 that was based on such shockingly fraudulent data it was retracted.1 The paper, which ran on May 22, 2020, concluded that the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine had no benefit when used in COVID-19 cases and actually increased death rates.2
The retracted study, "Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine With or Without a Macrolide for Treatment of COVID-19: A Multinational Registry Analysis," also concluded that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine increased the frequency of ventricular arrhythmias, which are abnormal heartbeats that can cause cardiac arrest by interrupting blood circulation to the brain and body.3
Before its retraction, The Lancet study caused swift termination of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in the COVID-19 protocols of the World Health Organization and different nations and an end to the drugs' trials. They have since been reinstated.4
Researchers Doubted the Study From the Beginning
Because of the study's alarming findings, researchers carefully scrutinized its findings. Within a week of publication, 100 researchers sent a letter to The Lancet’s editor, Dr. Richard Horton, conveying their concerns about the origins and validity of the database that the study was based on.5 According to The New York Times:
"The experts who wrote The Lancet also criticized the study’s methodology and the authors’ refusal to identify any of the hospitals that contributed patient data, or to name the countries where they were located. The company that owns the database is Surgisphere, based in Chicago."
According to the Times, the researchers wrote in the letter:
“Data from Africa indicate that nearly 25 percent of all Covid-19 cases and 40 percent of all deaths in the continent occurred in Surgisphere-associated hospitals which had sophisticated electronic patient data recording ... Both the numbers of cases and deaths, and the detailed data collection, seem unlikely."
Other researchers also voiced doubt that Surgisphere, a very small company,6 could assemble the massive database it claimed to have in a short period of time including from countries where electronic medical records may not exist.7 According to the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Surgisphere also used a fraudulent database to promote the anti-parasite drug ivermectin for COVID-19 in Latin America.8
A quick look at the retracted Lancet study verifies the concerns of the letter writers. For example, would records from countries with less developed health care systems like Africa and so few electronic records really include pre-existing conditions like cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, histories of congestive heart failure and arrhythmias like U.S. records would be more likely to do?9
Would such records show patients' comorbidities like hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as The Lancet study displays, and even obesity and BMI data?10 It is also unlikely that patients living in poor countries with few drug supplies would have been given antivirals like lopinavir, ritonavir, ribavirin and oseltamivir as the paper says. As the letter writers suggest, the data look too good to be true.
Researchers Had More Concerns About the Study
Researchers who wrote to Horton had additional concerns besides the implausibility of the patient database. According to the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP), researchers in their letter to The Lancet's editor also cite:11
A range of gross deviations from standard research and clinical practices, such as: Patients were prescribed inexplicably high daily doses of hydroxychloroquine — far higher than the FDA-recommended doses.
There was no ethics review.
The number of patients reportedly from Australia far exceeded the number of patients in the Australian government database.
Gross misrepresentation of the numbers of deaths in Australia.
Refusal to identify the hospitals that contributed patient data.
The ratios of patients who received chloroquine (49%) to those who received hydroxychloroquine (50%) are implausible; in Australia chloroquine is not available without special government authorization.
One signatory of the letter, James Watson, senior scientist at the MORU-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand, said he doubted that any research organization could have obtained such detailed massive records that quickly. "I just find it very hard to believe," he said.12
Dr. Anthony Etyang, a clinical epidemiologist with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya13 and a signatory to the letter, also doubted the study. He noted that even private hospitals can have poor medical records making the data very implausible, according to AHRP.14 The Guardian confirmed that the hospital data contained major inaccuracies:15
"Guardian Australia revealed glaring errors in the Australian data included in the study ... data from Johns Hopkins University shows only 67 deaths from Covid-19 had been recorded in Australia by 21 April. The number did not rise to 73 until 23 April [as the study states] ...
The Guardian has since contacted five hospitals in Melbourne and two in Sydney, whose cooperation would have been essential for the Australian patient numbers in the database to be reached. All denied any role in such a database, and said they had never heard of Surgisphere."
The Lancet Study Retracted
The alarming findings of The Lancet study had an immediate chilling effect. WHO and national governments immediately deleted the drugs from their COVID-19 policies and drug trials were stopped.16 If a drug does more harm than good, a clinical trial would be immediately terminated.
However, the situation quickly changed when Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the institution of the lead author, Dr. Mandeep Mehra, issued this statement soon after the controversy began:17
"Independent of Surgisphere, the remaining co-authors of the recent studies published in The Lancet ... have initiated independent reviews of the data used ... after learning of the concerns that have been raised about the reliability of the database."
Mehra stated that he "eagerly await[ed] word from the independent audits, the results of which will inform any further action" and that such information would be necessary "before any conclusions could be reached."
Soon the researchers discovered that Surgisphere would not be forthcoming with the audits. That moved three of the paper's authors — Mehra, Dr. Frank Ruschitzka of the University Heart Center at the University Hospital Zurich and Dr. Amit Patel of the University of Utah and HCA Research Institute in Nashville18 — to ask The Lancet for a retraction. They issued this statement.19
"After publication of our Lancet Article several concerns were raised with respect to the veracity of the data and analyses conducted by Surgisphere Corporation and its founder and our co-author, Sapan Desai, in our publication.
We launched an independent third-party peer review of Surgisphere with the consent of Sapan Desai to evaluate the origination of the database elements, to confirm the completeness of the database, and to replicate the analyses presented in the paper.
Our independent peer reviewers informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements."
After the Lancet retraction and the fraudulent database was exposed, WHO director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.20
"On the basis of the available mortality data, the members of the committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol. The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed continuation of all arms of the Solidarity trial, including hydroxychloroquine."
The Solidarity trial, consisting of 3,500 patients, is investigating a number of possible COVID-19 treatments.21
Studies Show Malaria Drugs' Promise Against COVID-19
The retractions restored hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to a place in treatment protocols and investigative trials to determine their usefulness in treating COVID-19. Several scientific studies have suggested the value of the malaria drugs against COVID-19. A 2020 letter in the journal Nature states:22
"Chloroquine is known to block virus infection by increasing endosomal pH required for virus/cell fusion, as well as interfering with the glycosylation of cellular receptors of SARS-CoV.
Our time-of-addition assay demonstrated that chloroquine functioned at both entry, and at post-entry stages of the 2019-nCoV infection in Vero E6 cells. Besides its antiviral activity, chloroquine has an immune-modulating activity, which may synergistically enhance its antiviral effect in vivo.
Chloroquine is widely distributed in the whole body, including lung, after oral administration."
A 2020 study in the journal European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences states:23
"Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have antiviral characteristics in vitro. The findings support the hypothesis that these drugs have efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19.
People are currently using these drugs for malaria. It is reasonable, given the hypothetical benefit of these two drugs, that they are now being tested in clinical trials to assess their effectiveness to combat this global health crisis."
A 2020 paper in the Journal of Clinical Medicine states:24
"[T]he mechanism of action of some antimalarial drugs, e.g., the antiviral function, suggests their potential role in the chemoprophylaxis of coronavirus epidemics, despite possible adverse effects (e.g., retinal toxicity).
All these data provide important insights to understand the spreading mechanisms of COVID-19, and to direct scientific research toward the study of some currently available medications."
Antimalarial Drugs Are Not Without Risks
As the Journal of Clinical Medicine paper states, antimalarial drugs are not without risks. Chloroquine raises the pH of vesicles in the cells that are hijacked by the virus. The normally slightly acidic environment facilitates the viral infection.
Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have the side effect of elongating your QT wave in an electrocardiogram. This means the electrical activity in the heart is altered. The most common symptoms of this condition can be seizure, fainting and even sudden death, so the drugs are certainly not risk free.
The Lancet Retraction Is Not an Isolated Instance
Retractions of scientific papers are not rare. According to Science magazine:25
"Nearly a decade ago, headlines highlighted a disturbing trend in science: The number of articles retracted by journals had increased 10-fold during the previous 10 years. Fraud accounted for some 60% of those retractions;
one offender, anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, had racked up almost 90 retractions after investigators concluded he had fabricated data and committed other ethical violations ... the surge in retractions led many observers to call on publishers, editors, and other gatekeepers to make greater efforts to stamp out bad science."
Sometimes the retractions stem from medical journals publishing research revealed to have been funded and written by drug makers or authors they pay. Such publications carry a built-in bias because they are skewed toward positive results and are usually thinly disguised sales pieces.
Such Pharma-supplied studies can be lucrative to medical journals because they often sell reprints of the articles, which pharmaceutical salespeople use in marketing to doctors.26 A study published in a reputable journal provides instant credibility in sales efforts.
In recent years, journals have instituted disclosure policies wherein authors must reveal any financial links they have to drug makers, including stock holdings. Unfortunately, the disclosures are almost always hidden behind pay walls so that only subscribers to the journals can see them. Furthering the opacity, the authors are often only referred to by their initials and it is difficult to determine who is who.
What was the motive of Surgisphere in its deliberate and brazen tarnishing of possible hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine treatments for COVID-19 through a fraudulent database leading to The Lancet retraction? The Alliance for Human Research Protection speculates the Surgisphere scheme was all about money:27
"Why are very powerful corporate-government stakeholders so intent on killing a drug with a 70 year track record? Because the drug works against the pandemic; it is readily available, and costs very little.
Therefore, it poses a financial threat to both pharma companies and their partners in government and academia, those who are intent on profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic."
The authors are no doubt right. A readily available, low-priced medication already approved and in use will not make the billions a new COVID-19 vaccine or treatment would — for example, Gilead’s answer to hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, can cost up to $4,460 per patient,28 while a generic version of hydroxychloroquine is around $20.29
The Lancet Gets Lanced With Hydroxychloroquine Fraud
The fact that most olive oils on the market are fraudulently diluted with less expensive (and more harmful) oils has been known for years. Now, a report1,2,3 in the journal Food Control warns that the purity and quality of avocado oil sold in the U.S. is questionable at best, and that standards to protect consumers and genuine producers are urgently needed.
Adulterated Avocado Oil Is Commonplace
According to the Food Control report,4 a vast majority of commercially available avocado oils labeled as “extra virgin” and “refined” are in fact adulterated and of poor quality; 82% were found to have gone rancid before their expiration date.5
Three of 22 oils were not even avocado oil but something else entirely (likely soybean oil). Co-author Selina Wang told Olive Oil Times6 that while she expected “some percentage of adulterants,” she was shocked to find several cases of 100% adulteration. As noted in the report:7
“This study analyzed avocado oils currently on the market in the US to evaluate their quality (e.g., free fatty acidity, peroxide value, UV absorbances, vitamin E) and purity (e.g., fatty acids, sterols, triacylglycerols).
Our results showed that the majority of commercial samples were oxidized before reaching the expiration date listed on the bottle. In addition, adulteration with soybean oil at levels near 100% was confirmed in two ‘extra virgin’ and one ‘refined’ sample.”
How Purity and Quality Are Assessed
As explained in the Food Control report,8 an oil is considered authentic and pure when no additives or other oils have been added, and when the content matches that listed on the label.
Quality includes consideration of the raw material (the quality of the avocado used), the extraction process used and storage, but is “mostly related to the level of hydrolysis of the fruit and oxidation of the oil.” With this report, the authors have begun compiling a database “to support standards development for this industry.”
In all, 22 avocado oil samples were obtained from six grocery stores and two online sources, covering the major brands and types of oils, which include extra virgin/unrefined and refined. Countries of origin included California, Mexico, Brazil and Spain.
While previous researchers have proposed a healthy level of free fatty acidity (FFA) should be between 0.1% and 0.55% for refined avocado oils, three of the 22 samples had FFA values close to 2.5%. Extra virgin avocado oils had an FFA range between 0.03% and 2.69%, with an overall average of 1.31%.
According to the authors, these elevated FFA levels may be due to poor-quality fruit and/or poor handling during processing.9
“Unhealthy fruits that are damaged, bruised, overripe, insect infested; prolonged time between harvest and processing; overheating during processing are all factors that can contribute to a rise in FFA,” the authors note.
To put this into an easier to understand perspective for you, I am sure you have opened an overripe avocado in the past to see the ripe green avocado color turn to very dark, nearly black. Can you imagine the entire avocado being black when you open it up and processing it and turning it into oil? Well, that is precisely what you do when you purchase rancid avocado oil.
High Oxidation Is Common
When an oil is exposed to oxygen, peroxides and other oxidation products form, thereby giving the oil undesirable odors and flavors. While not as conspicuous as the FFA values, the trend toward high oxidation was also evident. In other words, many of the oils were rancid well before their “best by” date.
Extra virgin avocado oil had the highest oxidation values, which is expected, as the refining process removes peroxides. Still, many of the refined oils also had higher than expected peroxide levels. In fact, all but three samples were above Mexico’s CODEX cap.
Not surprisingly, the three samples with the highest peroxide levels were stored in clear, rather than tinted, packaging. This makes sense, as tinted bottles protect against photooxidation.
Storage time also contributes to higher oxidation. The longer the oil sits, the more likely it is to be oxidized, so always be sure to check the best by date. Sadly, higher price does not guarantee quality, as the most expensive oil assessed in this review also had the highest peroxidation value.
Exaggerated Vitamin E Content Suggests Adulteration
The vitamin E content was also measured, and exaggerated levels in some of the samples suggest adulteration with cheap soybean oil. As explained in the Food Control report:10
“There are eight compounds that make up vitamin E content, four tocopherols (ɑ-tocopherol, β-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol, δ-tocopherol) and four tocotrienols …
This study shows multiple samples (EV3, EV6, R1, U4, U5, U6) had total tocopherol contents over 400 mg/kg, which is interesting as the highest documented total tocopherol content in literature, to our knowledge, is 282 mg/kg.
In particular, there are three samples with a notably high total tocopherol content, EV3, EV6 and U6 at 645.4 mg/kg, 906.2 mg/kg, and 692.9 mg/kg, respectively. These samples had significantly higher levels of gamma and delta tocopherols compared to the other samples in this study and to values seen in literature for avocado oils.
A study that reported on the tocopherol content in fruits and vegetables, showed soybean oil has similar tocopherol levels and distributions to those seen in EV3, EV6 and U6, therefore, it is possible these samples contain soybean or had soybean tocopherols added after processing for preservation.”
Industry Standards Are Urgently Needed
The Food Control report is the first to demonstrate there are serious problems in the avocado oil industry. Just like olive oil, much of what’s being sold is adulterated and of inferior quality. As concluded by the authors:11
“The majority of the samples were of low quality with five of the seven oils labeled as ‘extra virgin’ having high FFA values and six of the nine ‘refined’ oils had high PV [peroxidation value]. FFA, PV, and specific extinction in UV data demonstrated that these oils have undergone lipolysis and oxidation, respectively.
This likely resulted from improper or prolonged storage, using damaged or rotten fruits, or extreme and harsh processing conditions. Extra virgin oils often are more expensive and distinguished from lower grades such as virgin or crude oils using the above quality parameters.
Adulteration with soybean oil was found in two samples labeled as ‘extra virgin’ avocado oil (EV3 and EV6) and one labeled as ‘pure’ avocado oil (U6).
Tocopherol, fatty acid, sterols, and TAGs data show this adulteration is occurring at or near 100% for all three samples. This not only is a potential health hazard for consumers but creates unfair competition in the market …
In the case of samples EV3, EV6, and U6 the adulteration was confirmed in addition to the adulteration percent and adulterant oil. However, the need for standards is also demonstrated by the samples R1, U4, and U5.
The variance seen in their fatty acid, sterols, TAGs, and tocopherols profiles could be due to natural variance of the avocado fruits, processing conditions, or unnaturally, economic adulteration with high oleic sunflower or safflower oils.”
Benefits of Authentic Avocado Oil
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I personally have never used avocado oil as I typically avoid processed oils, with the exception of our own Solspring biodynamic olive oil. I think it is far better to eat the whole food. That is precisely what I do — I have half an avocado every day in each of my collagen protein powder smoothies.
As detailed in “An Avocado a Day Keeps the Doctor Away,” avocados are loaded with healthy fats your body can easily use for energy. They’re also rich in fiber, protein and essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, potassium, folate and vitamin K, and have been shown to counteract metabolic syndrome.
Considering the excellent nutritional profile of avocados, it’s no wonder avocado oil has risen in popularity in recent years. However, extracting the oil and putting it into a bottle allows plenty of opportunity for fraud, as the Food Control report demonstrates.
Unfortunately, the report does not specify the brands investigated, so it cannot be used as a guide when shopping. Provided you can actually find authentic avocado oil, it can be a very healthy addition to your diet. Health benefits of authentic avocado oil include:12,13,14
- Normalizing blood pressure, thanks to its high potassium and vitamin E content that supports healthy blood vessel function and combats free radicals15
- Anti-inflammatory effects, which help lower your risk of heart disease, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions16
- Detoxification, thanks to its high chlorophyll content (which is also a natural source of magnesium) and glutathione17
- Enhancing collagen production, thanks to vitamins A and D. High protein and amino acid levels also aids tissue regeneration and cellular renewal18
- Supporting healthy vision, thanks to the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin19
Should You Cook With Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is typically said to have a high smoke point, although just how high differs depending on the source. Masterclass.com cites it between 375 degrees Fahrenheit and 400 degrees F in one chart, while listing it at 480 degrees F for unrefined and 520 degrees F for refined in another.20
Australian researchers, meanwhile, cite a smoke point of about 386 degrees F (196.67 degrees Celsius plus or minus 0.577 degrees C).21 Either way, the higher smoke point of avocado oil has been relied on by many for the recommendation to use it during high-heat cooking, baking and frying.
However, the Australian researchers present evidence suggesting this might not be such a good idea after all. The study,22 published in 2018, assessed the correlation between various oils’ smoke point and other chemical characteristics associated with stability and safety.
Importantly, they found that “smoke point does not predict oil performance when heated.” Avocado oil was one of 10 cooking oils investigated. Paradoxically, they found that oils with higher smoke points, such as avocado oil, actually tended to produce higher levels of harmful compounds during heating — including trans fats.
For this reason, I don’t recommend avocado oil for cooking. Chances are, you’re better off using it cold. Without a doubt, your best alternatives for high-heat cooking, baking and frying include lard, grass fed butter and organic ghee. Coconut oil may also be a healthier alternative when cooking than avocado oil, as it’s known to be quite stable at high temperatures. The Australian study appears to support this as well.
The Avocado Oil Fraud
In May 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate was 13.3%,1 which means 21 million Americans were unemployed. Not surprisingly, financial stress is a major concern, with 88% of Americans surveyed by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating stress for their personal financial situation.2
Fifty-four percent were particularly worried about having enough money saved for emergency savings or retirement, while another 48% were worried about paying bills.
A report by the Well Being Trust (WBT) and the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care that up to 75,000 people may die during the COVID-19 pandemic from drug or alcohol misuse and suicide, which they deemed "deaths of despair" caused, in part, by unprecedented economic failure paired with massive unemployment.3
This experience of scarcity and financial uncertainty is not being felt by all, however. In stark contrast, many of the richest among us — particularly health care and biotech billionaires — have gotten even richer due to COVID-19, profiting handsomely off the pandemic that's left the general public financially reeling.
Pandemic Propels Moderna CEO to the Billionaire's Club
Forbes compiled a list of 10 health care billionaires who collectively raked in more than $7 billion since March 11, 2020 — the day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.4 Topping the list is Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, the biotech firm that's seen as the frontrunner for developing a COVID-19 vaccine. According to Forbes:5
"When the WHO declared a pandemic, Bancel's estimated net worth was some $720 million. Since then, Moderna's stock has rallied more than 103%, lifting his fortune to an estimated $1.5 billion. A French citizen, Bancel first joined the billionaire ranks on April 2, when Moderna's stock rose on the news that the firm was planning to begin phase two trials of its vaccine."
Moderna partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci to create the vaccine. In February 2020, its stock price increased 78.1% when it announced that its messenger RNA vaccine was ready for clinical trials.6 "The company's CEO has become a new billionaire overnight," wrote Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).7
Moderna began human trials of its experimental mRNA vaccine in March 2020, and its stock soared again in May, hitting $29 billion, even though the company currently doesn't sell any products,8 when it released early results from its Phase 1 study of 45 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 — the first released from a study involving human volunteers.
Moderna's press release9 stated that 25 participants who received two doses of its low or medium dose vaccine had levels of binding antibodies — the type that are used by the immune system to fight the virus but do not prevent viral infections — at levels approximating or exceeding those found in the blood of patients who recovered from COVID-19.10
Data for the more significant neutralizing antibodies, which stop viruses from entering cells, was reported for only eight people, with Moderna stating that levels in each of these initial participants met or exceeded antibody levels seen in recovered COVID-19 patients.
Four study subjects experienced a "Grade 3" adverse event, which is described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as "severe or medically significant but not immediately life-threatening; hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization indicated; limiting self-care" such as "bathing, dressing and undressing, feeding self, using the toilet, taking medications."11
During Phase 2 trials, 600 people will receive the vaccine, while a Phase 3 trial is expected to start in July 2020 — an unprecedented move in terms of typical vaccine development timelines. Bancel owns a 9% stake in the company, which received a grant of up to $483 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to accelerate its COVID-19 vaccine development.12
Nine More COVID-19 Billionaires
Making up the rest of Forbes' list is a mix of entrepreneurs, biotech executives and diagnostic test makers, which come from seven different countries:13
1. Gustavo Denegri — With a net worth of $4.5 billion, which is up 32% since the beginning of the pandemic, Denegri has a 45% stake in DiaSorin, a biotech company based in Italy. DiaSorin makes swab-based diagnostic tests for COVID-19 as well as antibody blood testing kits for the virus.
2. Seo Jung-Jin — Jung-Jin co-founded Celltrion, a biopharma company in Seoul. Jung-Jin's net worth is $8.4 billion, up 22% thanks to the company's experimental antiviral treatment for COVID-19, along with a self-administered diagnostic test that gives results in 15 minutes, which is expected to come to the market this summer.
3. Alain Mérieux — Mérieux's $7.6 billion net worth is tied to BioMérieux, the diagnostic testing company he founded in 1963. It's a branch of Institut Mérieux, a medical company founded by his grandfather in 1897. BioMérieux developed a faster version of a COVID-19 diagnostic test kit that was released in March 2020.
4. Maja Oeri — Oeri is a descendent of Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, the founder of pharmaceutical giant Roche. She owns about 5% of Roche's shares, with a net worth of $3.2 billion; Roche has clinical trials ongoing for its arthritis drug tocilizumab, which it is hoping to transition to a COVID-19 treatment, as well as a serology test to detect antibodies in people who have had COVID-19.
5. Leonard Schleifer — His net worth is $2.2 billion, a rise of 11% due to the pandemic. He founded Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which is conducting clinical trials of its rheumatoid arthritis drug sarilumab on COVID-19 patients.
6. George Yancopoulos — Yancopoulos is Regeneron's chief scientific officer; his net worth is $1.2 billion (up 14% since the beginning of the pandemic).
7. and 8. Thomas and Andreas Struengmann — The Struengmann twins have a net worth of $6.9 billion. They first made their fortune by selling generic drug company Hexal to Novartis in 2005, and they invest in biotech and health care companies. One of their investments is BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer and Fosun Pharmaceuticals on a COVID-19 vaccine that's currently in human trials.
9. Li Xiting — Xiting cofounded Mindray Medical International, China's largest medical equipment producer. It tripled its production capacity of ventilators since the start of the pandemic. Xiting's net worth is $12.6 billion, which is up 1% due to COVID-19.
US Billionaires $584 Billion Richer Thanks to COVID-19
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), in partnership with Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), published a report highlighting what they call America's "pre-existing condition": extreme wealth inequality.14 IPS is regularly updating U.S. unemployment and billionaire wealth during the pandemic, which shows the great divide among the wealthy and the majority of Americans.
As of June 18, 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth increased $584 billion, or 20%, since the start of the pandemic.15 Meanwhile, since March 18, the number of U.S. billionaires increased from 614 to 643; during the same period, more than 45.5 million Americans filed for unemployment. Other striking inequalities revealed by the report include:16
- Jeff Bezos's fortune increased by $25 billion from January 1, 2020, to April 15, 2020; the wealth surge alone is greater than Honduras' Gross Domestic Product, which was $23.9 billion in 2018
- From January 1, 2020 to April 10, 2020, the wealth of 34 of the richest U.S. billionaires increased tens of millions of dollars; eight of them had their net worth rise by more than $1 billion
- From March 18 to April 10, 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth surged by nearly 10%, rising $282 billion; during the same period, more than 22 million Americans lost their jobs
- U.S. billionaire wealth increased 1,130% from 1990 to 2020; U.S. median wealth grew by 5.37% during the same period
- The tax obligations of U.S. billionaires decreased 79% between 1980 and 2018, when measured as a percentage of wealth
As noted by Inequality.org, IPS' sister site:
"The top five billionaires — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison — saw their wealth grow by a total of $101.7 billion, or 26%. They captured 17.4% of the total wealth growth of all 600-plus billionaires in the last three months. The fortunes of Bezos and Zuckerberg together grew by nearly $76 billion, or 13% of the $584 billion total.
'This orgy of wealth shows how fundamentally flawed our economic system is,' said Frank Clemente, ATF's executive director. 'In three months about 600 billionaires increased their wealth by far more than the nation's governors say their states need in fiscal assistance to keep delivering services to 330 million residents.
Their wealth increased twice as much as the federal government paid out in one-time checks to more than 150 million Americans. If this pandemic reveals anything, it's how unequal our society has become and how drastically it must change."17
'One of the Greatest Wealth Transfers of History'
CNBC's Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money and a former hedge fund manager, said the pandemic and resulting lockdown paved the way for "one of the greatest wealth transfers in history."18 While many experts are predicting a V-shaped recovery for the stock market, which has been quickly rebounding, "that has almost nothing to do with a V-shaped recovery in the economy," Cramer said.
While most big businesses are coming out of the state-ordered lockdowns largely unscathed, many small businesses have closed their doors. Already, Chapter 11 bankruptcies are up 48% compared to 2019, and the worst may be yet to come. Even as businesses are increasingly allowed to open for business, lower occupancy limits will continue financial hardships, despite relief funds provided by the government.
"… [I]n the end, the stimulus package probably won't be enough, for one simple reason," Cramer said. "It's not going to work because of social distancing."19 Meanwhile, big business will continue to thrive. "The bigger the business, the more it moves the major averages, and that matters because this is the first recession where big business … is coming through virtually unscathed, if not going for the gold."20
The transfer of wealth from average people to the richest through a planned economic collapse is ongoing, and something that's slated to get even more severe if a COVID-19 vaccine is released. In an article positing the question, "Is It Too Late to Buy Moderna Stock?" The Motley Fool suggested:21
"Let's assume that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine proves to be successful and wins regulatory approvals in the U.S. and other major markets. If the company was able to price its coronavirus vaccine similarly to flu vaccines currently on the market, its list price would probably be in the ballpark of at least $40.
If we also assume at least 2 billion doses of the vaccine would be given per year, Moderna could be looking at annual revenue of $80 billion."
Who Is Getting Rich Off Coronavirus Pandemic?
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