Natural Health Blog & News

 

 

Vitamin D in the Prevention of COVID-19

 

 

As noted by retired nursing teacher John Campbell1 in the video above, vitamin D is "an important immunological molecule" that likely plays role in the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his video commentary, Campbell reviews a number of recent papers stressing the importance of vitamin D, starting with a press release2 from the French National Academy of Medicine, dated May 22, 2020.

The press release correctly points out that vitamin D is a prohormone, meaning it acts as an endocrine hormone. As such, it has wide-ranging influence on health. There are vitamin D receptors throughout your body, in every tissue and organ. Campbell reviews some of the basics of where and how vitamin D is synthesized in the body.

In summary, vitamin D is synthesized in the dermis of your skin in response to ultraviolet light from the sun. From there, it is transported to your liver and kidneys, where it is converted into an active hormone that is then circulated throughout your body. People with liver or kidney problems may have a reduced ability to synthesize vitamin D. As noted by the French National Academy of Medicine, vitamin D:3

  • Modulates (meaning it can upregulate and downregulate as needed) the function of your immune system by stimulating dendritic cells (which detect the presence of antigens such as viruses or bacteria) and macrophages (responsible for triggering immune responses and destroying pathogens)
  • Regulates and suppresses the cytokine inflammatory response.4 The ability to downregulate the inflammatory response is particularly important for COVID-19, as out of control inflammation (cytokine storm) is a primary cause of death

Vitamin D — An Excellent Adjunct to Any Therapy

The French medical authority points out there's "a significant correlation between low serum vitamin D levels and mortality from COVID-19" — which one would expect considering its modulating and regulatory influence on immune function — and that "by mitigating the inflammatory storm and its consequences," vitamin D "could be considered as an adjunct to any form of therapy."

They cite research showing the inverse correlation between vitamin D and COVID-19 infection and mortality (the lower your vitamin D the greater your risk of infection and death) in European countries has a confidence value of 95.4%, meaning there's only a 4.6% chance that this correlation is due to chance alone.

The press release ends by recommending the French population take supplemental vitamin D, as it is a "simple and inexpensive measure." The French authority also recommends "rapid serum vitamin D testing in people over 60 years of age with COVID-19."

As noted by Campbell, this is "a remarkably good idea." In those who are found to be deficient in vitamin D, the French National Academy of Medicine recommends an initial bolus dose of 50,000 IUs to 100,000 IUs.

And, while vitamin D testing is not stressed for those under the age of 60, they do recommend that anyone under the age of 60 who receives a positive COVID-19 test start taking 800 IUs to 1,000 IUs of vitamin D per day anyway.

Prospective Vitamin D for COVID-19 Studies Are Underway

The French recommendations are in stark contrast to the U.S., where Big Pharma-controlled health authorities and media are still trying to frighten people away from vitamin D supplementation. One reason for this could be because a healthier population is less likely to line up for inoculation with a fast-tracked vaccine.

It's worth noting that while the French National Academy of Medicine and Campbell state there are no randomized controlled trials looking at vitamin D supplementation and COVID-19, this is not true. There are many such trials currently underway. They just haven't been completed and published yet, but you can find them (and may be able to enroll in them) by searching ClinicalTrials.gov.5

In the UK, there's the Covidence UK Study,6 an effort to collect data about how vitamin D deficiency impacts your COVID-19 risk. If you live in the U.K., you can sign up for the Covidence UK study here. According to Adrian Martineau, a professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London, who is leading the Covidence study:7

"Vitamin D could almost be thought of as a designer drug for helping the body to handle viral respiratory infections. It boosts the ability of cells to kill and resist viruses and simultaneously dampens down harmful inflammation, which is one of the big problems with Covid."

British Health Care Workers Get Free Vitamin D

Aside from the French, Scotland and the U.K. are also starting to take vitamin D optimization more seriously. For example, the British Frontline Immune Support Team is providing U.K. National Health Service workers with free liposomal vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc packs to bolster and regulate their immune function.8 As noted by The Frontline Immune Support Team, vitamin D:9

"… plays a critical role in your immune defense system, both in reducing flu-like days of illness if your blood level is sufficient, and in helping your immune system respond when under viral attack. It speeds up recovery from pneumonia.

Two in five adults have a level of vitamin D below 25nmol/l, especially in late winter months such as February and March, that is likely to almost double their risk of flu. A vitamin D level above 100 nmol/l correlates with the lowest numbers of flu-like days. The moral of the story is to get your level up as quickly as possible."

The British NHS is also assessing the evidence to determine whether vitamin D should be prescribed to hospitalized COVID-19 patients and as a prevention to high-risk groups.10

Scottish Government Recommends Daily Vitamin D Supplement

As of June 3, 2020, Scottish government COVID-19 guidance includes taking a daily vitamin D supplement. As reported by the Scotland Herald:11

"Official Scottish Government guidance issued on June 3 states that everyone, including children, 'should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.'

However, it is 'specifically recommended' to all pregnant and breastfeeding women; infants and children under five years old; people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, who require more sun exposure to make as much vitamin D; and people who are confined indoors."

Data Support Role of Vitamin D in COVID-19

Several studies have noted the inverse relationship between low vitamin D and a higher risk for COVID-19-positive test results,12 severity of infection13,14 and mortality.15 These studies are correlation studies and do not confirm causation, but studies that will be able to prove causation are currently underway.

Examples of these correlation studies include The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA),16,17 which suggests vitamin D deficiency could have serious implications for COVID-19. The researchers recommend adults over 50 take a vitamin D supplement year-round if they don't get enough sun exposure to optimize their levels.

Another Irish paper,18 "Vitamin D and Inflammation: Potential Implications for Severity of COVID-19," concluded there is "a strong plausible biological hypothesis and evolving epidemiological data supporting a role for vitamin D in COVID-19."

Some of those biological mechanisms have already been summarized above. Other mechanisms of action that can impact your risk of COVID-19 include the following:

SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus, which means it's more difficult for your immune system to identify and destroy it. However, higher vitamin D levels are inversely associated with infection by many other enveloped viruses, including dengue, hepatitis, herpes, HIV, rotavirus, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza.19,20 We'll have to wait and see if the same holds true for SARS-CoV-2, but chances are it will.

Vitamin D strengthens cellular junctions, thereby making it more difficult for viruses to gain entry through your eyes, ears, lungs and mucus membranes. This in turn makes the infection less likely to migrate down into your lungs.21

Vitamin D can reduce the risk of infection by lowering the rate at which the virus replicates and can reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokines that damage the lungs, leading to pneumonia. It also helps increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines that may help protect the lungs. For these reasons, researchers suggest people who are at risk for COVID-19 should take:22

"… 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40-60 ng/mL (100-150 nmol/L)."

Vitamin D is an important component in the prevention and treatment of influenza23 and upper respiratory tract infections.24 While vitamin D does not appear to have a direct effect on the virus itself, it strengthens immune function, thus allowing the host body to combat the virus more effectively.25

As detailed in "Vitamin D Prevents Infections," research shows high-dose vitamin D supplementation lowers the risk of respiratory illnesses and lung infections in the elderly by 40%. As noted by an author of that study, "Vitamin D can improve the immune system's ability to fight infections because it bolsters the first line of defense of the immune system."

As mentioned earlier, vitamin D also suppresses inflammatory processes and inhibits excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines that give rise to a cytokine storm.26 Taken together, this might make vitamin D quite useful against COVID-19, because while robust immune function is required for your body to combat the virus, an overactivated immune system is also responsible for the cytokine storm we see in COVID-19 infection that can lead to death.

Vitamin D upregulates production of human cathelicidin, LL-37, which has antimicrobial and antiendotoxin activities.27

Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to protect against acute respiratory infections.28 Daily or weekly supplementation (opposed to infrequent bolus doses) of vitamin D had the greatest protective effect in those with the lowest vitamin D levels.29

In one study,30 those with severe vitamin D deficiency who took a daily or weekly supplement cut their respiratory infection risk in half, whereas the acute administration of high bolus doses of vitamin D had no significant impact on infection risk.

Data analysis31 by GrassrootsHealth shows people with a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/mL reduced their risk of colds by 15% and flu by 41%, compared to those with a level below 20 ng/mL.

COVID-19-Specific Papers

In addition to the Irish papers cited above, several others have come to the same or similar conclusions. Additional examples include:

The vitamin D review paper32 "Evidence That Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Death," published in the journal Nutrients, April 2, 2020, which states that:

"To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d.

The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful."

A GrassrootsHealth review33 of an observational study involving 212 COVID-19 patients in Southeast Asia identified a correlation between vitamin D levels and disease severity. Those with the mildest disease had the highest vitamin D levels, and vice versa.

In the initial study group of 212 patients (see Table 1 below), 55 had normal vitamin D levels, which was defined as greater than 30 ng/ml; 80 had insufficient levels of 21 to 29 ng/ml and 77 had deficient levels of less than 20 ng/ml.

According to the research done by GrassrootsHealth, 40 ng/mL is the lower edge of optimal, with 60 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL being ideal for health and disease prevention. Despite that, the benefit of having a vitamin D level above 30 ng/mL was clear.

vitamin d covid-19 severity

In a study34 that looked at data from 780 COVID-19 patients in Indonesia, those with a vitamin D level between 20 ng/mL and 30 ng/mL 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.

Research35,36 posted on the preprint server MedRxiv June 10, 2020, reports a combination of vitamin D3, B12 and magnesium inhibited the progression of COVID-19 in patients over the age of 50, resulting in "a significant reduction in proportion of patients with clinical deterioration requiring oxygen support and/or intensive care support."

"The Role of Vitamin D in the Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Infection and Mortality"37 — which looked at the average vitamin D levels and the number of COVID-19 cases and death rates in 20 European countries — found lower vitamin D levels correlated with higher caseloads and mortality. The authors concluded, "We believe that we can advise vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection."

Northwestern University researchers report finding an inverse relationship between vitamin D and CRP, a marker for inflammation. Those with higher CRP had lower vitamin D and vice versa. According to the authors:38

"COVID-19 patient-level data shows a notable OR of 3.4 … for high CRP in severe COVID-19 patients.

Given that CRP is a surrogate marker for cytokine storm and is associated with Vit D deficiency, based on retrospective data and indirect evidence we see a possible role of Vit D in reducing complications attributed to unregulated inflammation and cytokine storm.

Further research is needed to account for other factors through direct measurement of Vit D levels in COVID-19 patients."

"The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients,"39,40 posted on the preprint portal medRxiv May 18, 2020, reports finding a strong correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and higher mortality rates in countries across the globe.

The researchers attribute this to a connection between low vitamin D and high risk for cytokine storms. The analysis suggests higher vitamin D levels among the general population could cut mortality in half by reducing complications.41

Now Is the Time to Optimize Your Vitamin D

Health experts are warning we're likely to see a second wave of COVID-19 this fall, as temperatures drop. This means the time to start optimizing your vitamin D is now.

Data from GrassrootsHealth's D*Action studies suggest the optimal level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL, while the cutoff for sufficiency appears to be around 40 ng/mL. In Europe, the measurements you're looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively.

I recently published a comprehensive vitamin D report in which I detail vitamin D's mechanisms of action and how to ensure optimal levels. I recommend downloading and sharing that report with everyone you know.

dr. mercola's report

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

A quick summary of the key steps is as follows:

1. First, measure your vitamin D level — One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of measuring your vitamin D level is to participate in the GrassrootsHealth's personalized nutrition project, which includes a vitamin D testing kit.

Once you know what your blood level is, you can assess the dose needed to maintain or improve your level. If you cannot get enough vitamin D from the sun (you can use the DMinder app42 to see how much vitamin D your body can make depending on your location and other individual factors), then you'll need an oral supplement.

As previously detailed in "Magnesium and K2 Optimize Your Vitamin D Supplementation," it's strongly recommended to take magnesium and K2 concomitant with oral vitamin D. Data from nearly 3,000 individuals reveal you need 244% more oral vitamin D if you're not also taking magnesium and vitamin K2!43

What this means in practical terms is that if you take all three supplements in combination, you need far less oral vitamin D in order to achieve a healthy vitamin D level.

2. Assess your individualized vitamin D dosage — To do that, you can either use the chart below, or use GrassrootsHealth's Vitamin D*calculator. To convert ng/mL into the European measurement (nmol/L), simply multiply the ng/mL measurement by 2.5. To calculate how much vitamin D you may be getting from regular sun exposure in addition to your supplemental intake, use the DMinder app.44

Vitamin D - Serum Level

3. Retest in three to six months — Lastly, you'll need to remeasure your vitamin D level in three to six months, to evaluate how your sun exposure and/or supplement dose is working for you.

The Importance of Testing Your Vitamin D Levels

A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.

For a more detailed and comprehensive analysis of the connection of vitamin D and COVID-19, please review the report I created that could be used to address any health care professionals who would disagree with this recommendation. Also included is a shortened version of the document which will be better to educate those that you would like to convince of the importance of getting your vitamin D levels optimized.

dr. mercola's report

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Vitamin D Helps Protect Against Cancer and Other Diseases

According to one large-scale study, having optimal vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer and can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers.

Vitamin D from sun exposure also radically decreases your risk of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Type 1 diabetes. Sun exposure also helps prevent osteoporosis, which is a significant concern for women in particular.

Magnesium Is Necessary to Activate Vitamin D

Since over half the population does not get enough magnesium and far more are likely deficient, magnesium supplementation is recommended when taking vitamin D supplements. This is because magnesium helps to activate vitamin D, as the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D in your liver and kidneys require magnesium.

What GrassrootsHealth observed in testing and analyzing nutrient intakes from over 15,000 patients is that about half of those taking vitamin D supplements were unable to normalize their vitamin D levels until they started to take supplemental magnesium.

They also found that those who do not take supplemental magnesium need, on average, 146% more vitamin D per day to achieve a healthy blood level of 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L), compared to those who take at least 400 mg of magnesium along with their vitamin D supplement.

Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial to Your Well-Being

Meanwhile, recent research suggests high doses (4 grams) of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA may help improve healing after a heart attack. Other benefits of omega-3 fats include prevention of lupus and Parkinson’s disease, decreased anxiety, healthier and stronger bones, as well as fighting fats in the body.

However, you can’t tell by looking in a mirror if you are deficient in vitamin D, magnesium or omega-3s. The only real way to know if you are deficient in these nutrients is to get tested.

How Much Vitamin D Should You Take

If you know your vitamin D level you can use the calculator below to find the best dose to take.

If you are unable or unwilling to get a vitamin D test, they have found that the average dose to achieve a healthy vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml is about 8,000 units per day. If you are underweight you will want to reduce this dose to 6-7,000 units per day as heavier people tend to need more vitamin D.

How to Test Your Levels

I'm really pleased GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has expanded its research projects to include a range of different tests, seeing how deficiency may be needlessly affecting the health of so many. Like its Vitamin D*action Project, the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project will allow us all to take action on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy.

The Vitamin D*action Project has truly demonstrated the value measurement can have on public health, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project will have the same impact. As in earlier projects, once the study of a community is completed, all that information can be used to push for public health recommendations that will benefit everyone.

Vitamin D Kit
Order Now Button

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

You have the ability to participate in a variety of different tests, including:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D and Omega 3
  • Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Magnesium
  • Vitamin D, Magnesium & Omega 3 PLUS Elements. Remember, by participating in this public research project, you not only are identifying your own levels, but allowing yourself to make decisions about your diet and supplements to improve your health.

    Your data (which is anonymous) will also help GrassrootsHealth researchers to determine the ideal levels for the prevention of various diseases, and what kind of dose-response relationship exists among the general population.

With the data from this project, individuals will be able to see what works for them, and, researchers will be able to demonstrate just to what extent health care costs may be reduced simply by getting people into an optimal range.

 

Can UV Light Inactivate Airborne Human Coronavirus?

 

 

December 31, 2019, China reported a case of pneumonia from an unknown cause to the World Health Organization.1 It wasn't long afterward that it became apparent that the "unknown cause" would create global havoc.

Immediately, scientists began scrambling to find ways to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus, treat the infection and develop public health policies to contain the spread. Historically, scientists identified coronaviruses responsible for human infection in the mid-1960s.2 By 2003 when SARS first appeared, researchers had only identified four subgroups of coronavirus that could infect humans.

But then, also in 2003, SARS-CoV appeared and joined the list. In 2012, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was identified in Saudi Arabia. And, finally, the most recent addition to this list is SARS-CoV-2.

When it comes to fighting them, one method of disinfecting bacteria and viruses, including coronaviruses, in hospitals has been ultraviolet light. This is one wavelength in the light spectrum that's found in light from the sun, which provides the primary means of killing pathogens in the environment through UV radiation.

In 2005, a team of researchers reviewed the estimated amount of time it took to inactivate viruses using exposure to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun.3 They developed a predictive model that they concluded "should be a useful step to understanding and eventually predicting the survival of viruses after their release in the environment."

Company Claims New Lightbulb Can Kill Coronavirus

In a recent development, one of the largest lighting companies in the world, Signify, says they have developed a new light bulb they believe can kill 96% of coronavirus in just three seconds.4 The organization partnered with Boston University to test the effectiveness of the lightbulb to inactivate the virus.

Eric Rondolat, CEO, spoke to CNBC, telling the reporter that after six seconds of exposure, the rate of pathogen death goes up to 99%.5 In a press release on Signify's website, Anthony Griffiths, Ph.D., from Boston University School of Medicine is cited:6

"Our test results show that above a specific dose of UV-C radiation, viruses were completely inactivated: in a matter of seconds we could no longer detect any virus. We're very excited about these findings and hope that this will accelerate the development of products that can help limit the spread of COVID-19."

Rondolat believes the light bulbs are a preventive measure that may be useful in all types of public places. The notice from Signify follows research from Columbia University, where researchers found low doses of far-UVC light "inactivated 99.9% of aerosolized alpha coronavirus 229E and beta coronavirus OC43."7

These scientists found that viral inactivation took approximately 25 minutes. They believe that by doubling the intensity, they may be able to cut the disinfection time in half and still maintain safety.

Researchers Using Far-UVC to Reduce Potential Damage

There are three major types of ultraviolet light: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA and UVB penetrate the atmosphere and reach the Earth. UVA can penetrate the skin while high levels of exposure to UVB can damage the skin's DNA.8

UVC, however, is the most damaging. The wavelengths are between 100 and 290 nanometers, which are almost completely absorbed in the atmosphere.9 The wavelength is highly energized and effective as a decontaminant since it destroys the molecular bonds in bacterial and viral DNA.

In one study using UVC to decontaminate hospital rooms and surgical tools, Duke University researchers found that sanitizing a room with UVC light in addition to traditional cleaning reduced the transmission of drug-resistant bacteria by 30%.10

The danger in working with UVC light is that it not only kills bacteria and viruses, but also damages human DNA. Dan Arnold works for UV Light Technology providing UV disinfecting equipment in the U.K. He spoke with BBC about the potential for using UVC light to disinfect skin and clothing, saying, "You would literally be frying people."11

A study from Columbia University, however, published in Scientific Reports in 2018, generated excitement about the potential for reducing the spread of influenza by using far-UVC.12 Researchers used continuous low dose far-UVC light and found results which suggested that using this technique in public places may reduce the number impacted by flu, without penetrating human skin or eyes.13

Doorway Portal Douses Patrons in UVC Light

Before the results of the light tests from Boston University were published, one bakery announced plans to install far-UVC light bulbs in the stores and at a portal above the doorway. The New York Post reported that Magnolia Bakery "is installing futuristic-looking portals and purple-hued ceiling lights that will drench patrons and workers in potentially disease-destroying far-ultraviolet light."14 

The chief baking officer called their store "experiential," saying their customers enjoy spending time in their shop in the Upper West Side. In an attempt to accommodate the needs of their customers and possibly reduce airborne SARS-CoV-2, they are also replacing the indoor lighting with far-UVC light bulbs.

This move has caught some experts by surprise. In March 2020, the Food and Drug Administration released guidelines on the use of disinfectant devices, sterilizers and air purifiers during the pandemic.15 Karl Linden, environmental engineer, spoke to a reporter at Discover Magazine, saying:16

"I was quite shocked to see this portal come out … my excitement [is] tempered with the concern that it could be an application that could have some dangerous side effects or direct effects."

It appears that far-UVC lights do not have the immediate and direct effects that regular UVC light has on mammal skin. David Brenner, Ph.D., from Columbia University is one of the scientists in the study showing that low dose far-UVC light inactivates human coronavirus. He spoke with a reporter from the New York Post about the safety of the lights.

Thus far they have tested far-UVC lights on hairless mice for eight months and have not seen any evidence of damage, he said.17 However, while concentrated forms of UVC are being used to clean city buses in China, hospital floors and even money,18 the long-term effects of far-UVC light on human skin may require a lengthier test period than just eight months. 

What About Sunlight?

Sunlight is used in developing countries to help sterilize water. The World Health Organization recommends using a process pioneered in the 1980s that involves the sun, a bottle and a black surface. A transparent bottle is placed horizontally for five hours.19

Field studies in China, Columbia, Bolivia and elsewhere show it helps kill pathogens and reduce the incidence of diarrhea. How long sunlight may take to disinfect surfaces or viruses suspended in the air is still under investigation, though.

During a press conference, William Bryan from the Department of Homeland Security presented results from a study evaluating how long sunlight might take to kill SARS-CoV-2, or if it could. It was found that under ordinary circumstances, when humidity was low at 20% and the temperature was 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it took about an hour for the virus to be inactivated.20

When sunlight was added to the experiment, it took about 1.5 minutes. The final results of this study have not been made public as yet, nor have they been peer reviewed. However, a report of the results was leaked and picked up by Yahoo! News.21 The briefing on the results was marked for "official use only." Yahoo! News reported:

"The study found that the risk of 'transmission from surfaces outdoors is lower during daylight' and under higher temperature and humidity conditions. 'Sunlight destroys the virus quickly,' reads the briefing."

The Department of Homeland Security did not answer a reporter's questions from Yahoo! News and cautioned the public against making a conclusion based on the data from the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, which is a lab that was developed to address bioterrorism after the 9/11 attack. A statement from the Department of Homeland Security read:22

"The department is dedicated to the fight against COVID-19, and the health and safety of the American people is its top priority. As policy, the department does not comment on allegedly leaked documents. It would be irresponsible to speculate, draw conclusions, or to inadvertently try to influence the public based upon a document that has not yet been peer-reviewed or subjected to the rigorous scientific validation approach."

Vitamin D Level Must Reach 60ng/mL Before Fall

Sunlight is necessary to support optimal health. Scientists have now found those who are deficient in vitamin D, which your body makes with exposure to the sun, have a far higher risk of severe disease from SARS-CoV-2. There is also evidence that SARS-CoV-2 responds to humidity and temperature, causing different scientists to expect another wave of illness in the fall.23

This means there is a "deadline" before which it is important to optimize your vitamin D levels. To improve your immune function and lower your risk of viral infections, I suggest raising your vitamin D to a level between 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) and 80 ng/mL by fall. In Europe, the measurements you're looking for are 150 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and 200 nmol/L.

To determine if you need to use a supplement, it's important to test your vitamin D levels first. This easy-to-use, at-home vitamin D test kit from GrassrootsHealth can help identify if you need a supplement. I provide this kit as a convenience for my readers; I don't make any money from the sale of this kit.

As I've written before, low levels of vitamin D are commonly found in those with comorbid health conditions or dark skin. This raises the potential risk from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. To learn more and develop a plan to raise your vitamin D levels by fall, see "Your Vitamin D Level Must Reach 60ng/mL Before the Second Wave."

 

Low Levels of Vitamins B12 and D Linked to Depression

 

 

Up to 2.5% of children and 8.3% of adolescents suffer from depression, a condition that’s associated with significant complications later in life, including an increased risk of suicide, substance abuse, physical diseases and problems with work, academic and psychosocial functioning.1

It’s believed that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in why some children develop depression, and increasing attention has been placed on the role of dietary factors and nutrients such as vitamin D, which is ideally obtained via sun exposure.

Further, one-carbon metabolism, which includes vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine and which plays a role in many biological processes and maintaining cellular homeostasis, has been investigated for its role in psychiatric disorders, including depression in adults.2

After exploring the link further, researchers from Ordu University in Turkey revealed that low vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels, along with increased homocysteine, may play a role in depression among children and adolescents.3

Childhood Depression Linked to Low Vitamin B12, Maybe Folate

The study involved 89 children and adolescents with depression, along with 43 subjects without depression to serve as controls. The volunteers completed testing for childhood depression and anxiety and had their levels of folate, vitamin B12, homocysteine and vitamin D measured.

While there was no significant difference in folate levels between the groups, 11.23% of those with depression had low levels of folate. Further, among the depression group vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels were “clearly low.” As for how this might contribute to depression, the researchers explained:4

“One-carbon metabolism has a basic role in methylation processes of neurotransmitters, proteins, and membrane phospholipids. Additionally, it is necessary for DNA synthesis.

With vitamin B12 and folate deficiency, methylation processes are hindered and neurotransmitter levels fall. Also linked to vitamin B12 and folate deficiency, there is an increase in the levels of the extremely neurotoxic metabolite of homocysteine.”

Both vitamin B12 and folate have previously been described as antidepressant nutrients.5 Folate, found in dark leafy greens like spinach, avocados and other fresh vegetables, is involved in your body’s production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters. In one study, people who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression than those who ate the least.6

Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods such as grass fed meat, eggs, dairy and wild-caught seafood. As such, vegetarians and vegans are especially susceptible to B12 deficiency, and this is one likely reason why vegetarians may be nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression as meat eaters, even after adjusting for variables like job status, family history and number of children.7

It’s widely known that people with a vitamin B12 deficiency are at an increased risk of depression,8 which could be, in part, due to resulting alterations in the level of DNA methylation in the brain, leading to neurologic impairment.9 Vitamin B12 also helps regulate homocysteine levels, and increased homocysteine is linked to B12 deficiency as well as depression.

Folate, Vitamin B12 Suggested for Treatment of Depression

Considering the extensive research linking depression with low levels of vitamin B12 and folate, researchers with the MRC Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory in Epsom, Surrey, U.K., suggested that folate and vitamin B12 should be considered in the treatment of depression.

“On the basis of current data, we suggest that oral doses of both folic acid (800 mcg daily) and vitamin B12 (1,000 mcg daily) should be tried to improve treatment outcome in depression,” they noted.10

Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate, or vitamin B9, and while it may have a place in depression treatment, the best way to increase your levels is to eat foods rich in folate, such as asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach. As for why folate and vitamin B12 are so important for mental health, they explained:11

“Folate and vitamin B12 are major determinants of one-carbon metabolism, in which S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is formed. SAM donates methyl groups that are crucial for neurological function. Increased plasma homocysteine is a functional marker of both folate and vitamin B12 deficiency. Increased homocysteine levels are found in depressive patients.”

Depressed Children Had ‘Remarkably High’ Homocysteine Levels

The connection between low vitamin B12 and increased homocysteine levels is notable, as the featured study found “remarkably high” homocysteine levels in the children and adolescents with depression.

“Increased homocysteine increases the flow of calcium within cells through the NMDA [N-methyl D-aspartic acid] receptor activation pathway. Within the cell, oxidative stress increases and apoptotic signals are activated. Increased homocysteine causes DNA damage, mitochondrial dysfunction, and endoplasmic reticulum stress,” the researchers noted, suggesting that this is likely one mechanism behind homocysteine’s depression connection.12

Separate research has also linked higher homocysteine levels with increased rates of depression and anxiety among 12- and 13-year-old boys in Taiwan.13 Higher levels of homocysteine, along with significantly lower levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, are also associated with other mental health conditions, including obsessive compulsive disorder, in which it’s believed to play a causative role.14

Homocysteine is an amino acid in your body and blood obtained primarily from meat consumption. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 help convert homocysteine into methionine — a building block for proteins. If you don't get enough of these B vitamins, this conversion process is impaired and results in higher homocysteine. Conversely, when you increase intake of B6, folate and B12, your homocysteine level decreases.

As such, checking your homocysteine level is a great way to identify a vitamin B6, folate and B12 deficiency. The researchers also noted that “vitamin deficiencies and elevated homocysteine should be investigated in terms of cause-effect relationships” in terms of depression in youth, especially since depression may contribute to poor appetite and irregular eating habits.

Vitamin D Levels Also Low Among Depressed Youth

The Ordu University researchers also found vitamin D levels to be low among the children and adolescents with depression, a connection that’s been revealed in the past. In the study, the depressed group had a median vitamin D level of 11 ng/ml, compared to 24.85 ng/ml in the control group. Both of these values are low, but 11 ng/ml is dangerously low and will radically increase the risk of rickets.

It’s important to note that for optimal health and disease prevention, a level between 60 and 80 ng/mL (150 to 200 nm/L) appears to be ideal, so all of the study participants were very low by this measure. Vitamin D receptors exist in the human brain,15 hinting at the importance of this vitamin in mental and emotional health.

dr. mercola's report

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

It’s believed that vitamin D regulates more than 200 different genes by binding to vitamin D receptors that are responsible for driving a number of biological processes.16 Low levels of vitamin D have, in fact, been linked to a number of psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

It likely influences psychological health in a number of ways, including by modulating inflammation, regulating proteins that fight free radicals and increasing the synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which may play a role in schizophrenia.

Writing in the journal Children, Dr. Joy Weydert of the department of pediatrics at the University of Kansas Medical Center explained, “Vitamin D deficiency decreases the expression of the enzyme catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), required for dopamine and serotonin metabolism.”17 Further, adolescents with low levels of vitamin D had improved depressive symptoms after vitamin D supplementation.18

Vitamin D deficiency in children is “very common,”19 and children, like adults, should obtain regular sun exposure or take vitamin D3 supplements to ensure their levels are in the optimal range. It’s important to note that vitamin D supplementation must be balanced with other nutrients, namely vitamin K2 (to avoid complications associated with excessive calcification in your arteries), calcium and magnesium.

The best way to gauge whether you might need to supplement, and how much, is to get your level tested, ideally twice a year, in the early spring and early fall when your level is at its low point and peak. Optimizing vitamin D levels may be a simple way to significantly improve mental health. As noted in Issues in Mental Health Nursing:20

“Effective detection and treatment of inadequate vitamin D levels in persons with depression and other mental disorders may be an easy and cost-effective therapy which could improve patients’ long-term health outcomes as well as their quality of life.”

Once you have your vitamin D level tested you can use the Vitamin D Calculator developed by GrassRootsHealth to determine your ideal vitamin D dose.

Poor Diet Linked to Depression; Healthy Diet Fixes It

It’s been proven time and again that what you eat influences mental health, and this is certainly true among teenagers. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked into the role two dietary factors play in symptoms of depression among adolescents, in this case African-American teens who may be at an increased risk of both unhealthy diet and depression.

They analyzed the excretion of sodium and potassium in the urine in 84 urban, low‐income adolescents. Higher levels of sodium in the urine can be an indication of a diet high in sodium, such as processed fast foods and salty snacks. A low level of potassium, meanwhile, is indicative of a diet lacking in fruits, vegetables and other healthy potassium-rich foods.

As might be expected, higher sodium and lower potassium excretion rates were associated with more frequent symptoms of depression at follow up 1.5 years later.21 Past studies have also confirmed the diet-depression link among children and teens.

When researchers systematically reviewed 12 studies involving children and adolescents, an association was revealed between unhealthy diet and poorer mental health, as well as between a good-quality diet and better mental health.22

Likewise, researchers from Macquarie University, Australia, studied 76 students between the ages of 17 and 35 who followed a poor diet and had moderate to high levels of depression symptoms.23 One group of the participants was asked to improve their diets by cutting back on refined carbohydrates, sugar, processed meats and soft drinks, while eating more vegetables, fruits, dairy products, nuts seeds, healthy fats and anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric and cinnamon.24

After only three weeks of healthier eating, those in the healthy diet group had significant improvements in mood and their depression scores even went into the normal range. While teens and young adults aren’t always known for their healthy food choices, this is a crucial period in which lifelong healthy eating patterns are established.

Ensuring youth are eating healthy diets rich in folate and vitamin B12, as well as optimizing their vitamin D levels, may go a long way toward bolstering mental health and avoiding conditions like depression.

If a child or teen is already struggling with depression, eating real food is equally important. In addition to limiting the intake of processed foods, fast foods and sweets, including sugary beverages, increasing consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as sardines and wild-caught salmon, should be encouraged.

 

Fragmented Sleep Linked to Atherosclerosis and Inflammation

 

 

The importance of good sleep — sleep that is not fragmented, disturbed or insufficient — is recognized as a cornerstone of wellbeing by almost all health professionals. Scientific studies have shown that fragmented sleep causes chronic inflammation and can contribute to mental health and neurological disorders such as major depression and Alzheimer's disease, a Berkeley News release said.1

Lack of sleep also affects your immune system by decreasing protective cytokines, according to Mayo Clinic.2

Fragmented sleep is associated with atherosclerosis,3 a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries often called "clogged” or “hardened” arteries that can result in fatal heart disease.4 Cardiovascular disease kills 12,000 Americans a week, which is far more than the reported COVID-19 toll of 1,000 people a day.5

Still, the exact way that poor sleep induces atherosclerosis has not been clear.6 Now, U.C. Berkeley sleep scientists have published an article in PLOS Biology that clarifies some of the mechanisms through which fragmented sleep can cause atherosclerosis.7

Broken Sleep Predicts Hardened Blood Vessels

Broken or fragmented sleep is characterized by awakening during the night, difficulty falling back to sleep and a sense of not being rested upon rising, or "nonrestful sleep." There are many possible causes of fragmented sleep, from stress and anxiety to excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption and other lifestyle factors. Fragmented sleep is also associated with assorted illnesses.8

Recently, sleep specialists from U.C. Berkeley, studying 1,600 subjects, were able to separate the effect of fragmented sleep on atherosclerosis from other common contributors to atherosclerosis such as age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medication, sleep apnea and insomnia. In the new study the researchers:9

"… test the hypothesis that the impact of fragmented sleep on atherosclerotic pathology is governed, in part, through the novel mediating influence of increased neutrophil and monocyte levels and, furthermore, that this sleep-related disease pathway is robust when multiple alternate cofactors (disease mechanisms) are being controlled for.

To do so, we examined the association between sleep fragmentation (measured using 2 independent sources of objective data: polysomnography [PSG] and multiple nights of wrist-based actigraphy), white blood cell count, and in vivo measures of subclinical atherosclerosis in a diverse sample of the population."

The study is important, the authors wrote, because improving sleep quality may "represent one preventive strategy for lowering inflammatory status and thus atherosclerosis risk, reinforcing public health policies focused on sleep health."10

The study's lead author Raphael Vallat, a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Berkeley sleep center, states, "To the best of our knowledge, these data are the first to associate sleep fragmentation, inflammation and atherosclerosis in humans.”11

Atherosclerosis Begins Before Older Age

According to an editorial in the American Journal of Medicine, heart disease is the leading cause of American adults' deaths, mostly due to atherosclerosis involving the heart and cardiovascular systems:12

"Atherosclerosis is a disease that is associated with living in a modern, industrialized nation. When countries such as China rapidly acquire this lifestyle, the incidence of atherosclerotic vascular disease increases strikingly … Arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease is now the most common cause of death in the entire world.

Not surprisingly, risk factors for the development of atherosclerotic disease are widespread in the United States and in other resource-rich, technically advanced countries … approximately 30% of Americans aged 20 years or more were diagnosed with hypertension or were taking antihypertensive medications."

Among the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and smoking.13 Vallat agrees that atherosclerosis begins before older age, though few may be aware of it, according to News Medical Life Sciences:14

"Unfortunately, this process goes largely unnoticed until the plaque buildup, in middle or old age, suddenly blocks arterial blood flow to the heart, lungs, brain and/or other organs, hence its moniker, 'silent killer,' said Vallat."

Awareness of the risk of atherosclerosis should begin earlier, the study authors explain. "The insidious nature of the disease requires that we pay attention to our sleep hygiene, even starting in early to midlife," Vyoma Shah, a co-lead author of the PLOS study, told News Medical Life Sciences.15

How Does Fragmented Sleep Contribute to Atherosclerosis?

Both clogged arteries and fragmented sleep are correlated with older age.16 For some, the quality and duration of sleep often degrade with age from health conditions such as chronic pain and limb motion conditions, medication usage and sleep conditions like apnea and insomnia.

The aim of the PLOS study was to discover the relationship between the two phenomena and to separate them from other factors that might contribute to atherosclerosis. Here is what the researchers found:17

"Our findings confirm recent seminal work in mice demonstrating that experimentally induced sleep fragmentation, associated with increases in blood levels of monocytes and neutrophils, results in larger atherosclerotic lesions.

Furthermore, these rodent data added mechanistic insight, with sleep fragmentation reducing hypocretin levels in the hypothalamus, signaling bone marrow-related increases in the production of monocytes and neutrophils.

Advancing this research, we establish a sleep fragmentation — white blood cell — atherosclerosis association in a population-based sample of human adults and demonstrate that these effects remained robust when accounting for multiple other common atherosclerosis risk factors.

Finally, we show that this indirect pathway can be quantified with objective sleep metrics, either using 1 week of wristwatch actigraphy or a single night of PSG [polysomnography] recording."

In summation, the researchers write that their findings affirm "a pathway in which the quality of human sleep, specifically the degree of fragmentation, raises inflammatory-related white blood cells, thereby conferring increased risk for atherosclerosis."18

Inflammation Is at the Core of Atherosclerosis Development

Inflammation is at the heart of many negative health conditions, so it is not surprising that the researchers also identify it as part of the atherosclerosis process.19

"[O]ne candidate pathway through which sleep fragmentation can raise atherosclerotic risk in humans may be through raised levels of inflammatory-associated neutrophil and monocyte counts.

This proposal is consistent with findings that insufficient sleep (acute and prolonged) triggers low-grade inflammation, decreases and increases in discrete immune factors, and enhanced upstream signaling mechanisms of inflammation, including those regulated by monocytes.

Moreover, both monocytes and neutrophils have a recognized role in atherosclerosis, including the modulation of proatherogenic reactive oxygen species and neutrophil extracellular traps that encourage monocyte accumulation to the plaque site."

What biochemical actions from fragmented sleep contribute to inflammation? The PLOS authors wrote:20

"What it is about fragmentated human sleep that triggers inflammatory blood cell pathway continues to be defined. Beyond the inhibition of hypocretin production, sleep fragmentation results in hypercortisolemia.

The state of raised cortisol can prevent the inhibition of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) that otherwise limits neutrophil levels, and may therefore further increase neutrophil production."

Inflammation is a pressing issue that affects people of all age groups and should not be ignored. U.S. adults with obesity, estimated to be around 36.5%, and children with skin and respiratory allergies struggle with high degrees of inflammation.

Common conventional treatments for inflammation include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) but they are associated with undesirable side effects like unwanted weight gain, blurred vision, stomach pain, fatigue and sensitivity to light. Luckily, foods like tomatoes, berries, fatty wild-caught fish, grapes, dark chocolate, broccoli, avocados and peppers fight inflammation naturally.

Other natural treatments for inflammation include the supplements pycnogenol, krill oil, ginger, curcumin, resveratrol and spirulina, the herbs cinnamon, geranium, turmeric, oregano, rosemary and thyme and oils made from clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel, bergamot and thyme. Green tea and other teas made from ginger, sage, turmeric and oregano also fight inflammation.

Ways to Improve Your Sleep

In addition to its newly described links to atherosclerosis, sleep is crucial for the health of each and every organ in the human body. While once regarded as a waste of time, we now know that every cell in the body has its own biological clock. These cellular clocks, all of which work in tandem to control and maintain biological homeostasis, regulate everything from metabolism to psychological functioning. Here are 33 ways to improve your sleep:

1. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible — Even the tiniest bit of light in the room, such as that from a clock radio LCD screen, can disrupt your internal clock.

2. Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F — The optimal room temperature for sleep is 60 to 68 degrees F.

3. Eliminate electric and electromagnetic fields in your bedroom — EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin and harm your mitochondria, producing excessive oxidative damage.

4. Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your bed — Shut down your phone or move it far away from the bed.

5. Adopt a neutral sleeping position — Find your natural sleep position and stick to it.

6. Reserve your bed for sleeping — Avoid working or watching TV in bed.

7. Consider separate bedrooms — A bed partner can impair sleep.

8. Get to bed as early as possible — Your body (particularly your adrenal system) does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

9. Maintain a consistent bedtime, even on the weekends.

10. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine — Meditation, deep breathing, aromatherapy or a massage from your partner are all helpful.

11. Avoid drinking fluids within two hours of going to bed — This will reduce needing to go to the bathroom during the night.

12. Go to the bathroom right before bed — This will reduce chances that you'll wake up.

13. Avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime — Particularly avoid grains and sugars.

14. Minimize use of electronics, during day and night — The more time you spend on electronic devices, the longer it takes to fall asleep.

15. Try controlled breathing before sleep — Slow, deep and steady breathing activates your parasympathetic response.

16. Take a hot bath or shower before bed — A raised body temperature facilitates sleep.

17. Wear socks to bed — Feet have poor circulation and can be cold.

18. Wear an eye mask — Sleeping in complete darkness is important.

19. Put your work away at least one hour before bed — Give your mind a chance to unwind.

20. Avoid TV right before bed — Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom.

21. Listen to relaxation CDs — White noise and nature sounds are helpful.

22. Read something spiritual or uplifting — Avoid anything stimulating.

23. Journal — If you often lie in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.

24. Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible — Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs can affect sleep.

25. Avoid caffeine — This is a no-brainer.

26. Avoid alcohol — It disrupts deeper stages of sleep.

27. Exercise regularly, but not within three hours of bedtime — Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep.

28. Lose excess weight — Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea.

29. Avoid foods you may be sensitive to — This is particularly true for sugar, grains and pasteurized dairy. Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, gas and both.

30. Have your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician — Insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress.

31. If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician — The hormonal changes at this time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.

32. Emotional Freedom Techniques — EFT can help balance your body's bioenergy system and is definitely worth a try.

33. Boost your melatonin — Ideally you should increase your levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and complete darkness at night.

 

GMO Mosquitoes To Be Released in Florida

 

 

In June 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services gave the go-ahead to a plan to release millions of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the Florida Keys this summer to fight mosquito-borne illnesses.1 The plan follows the EPA's recent granting of an experimental use permit (EUP) for the GMO (genetically modified organism) mosquitoes so they can be released in Florida in 2020 and in Texas in 2021.2

The mosquitoes, engineered from the Aedes aegypti mosquito species,3 were created by the U.S.-owned, Britain-based company Oxitec, which originated as a spin-off company from Oxford University and subsidiary of Intrexon.4 The company has also created genetically modified pink bollworm moths and GMO cabbage moths.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito species,5 also called A. aegypti, carries yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika, West Nile and Mayaro,6 a dengue-like disease. (Malaria is transmitted by a different mosquito, Anopheles.7) In the U.S., Oxitec8 is marketing the insects as Oxitec Friendly™ mosquitoes that are a "safe, targeted vector control technology" to combat mosquito-transmitted diseases.9

Citizens Question GMO Mosquito Release

Despite the previous release of Oxitec's GMO mosquitos in the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, Panama and Brazil,10 questions remain about the GMO mosquitoes' effect on wildlife as well as unforeseen and uncontrollable "Jurassic Park-like" events that are feared once the insects are released and can't be "called back."

During the public comment period before the EPA's EUP authorization, 31,000 written comments were received. Many expressed concern about the GMO mosquito's effect on food webs and ecosystems and fears that the released mosquitoes could interbreed with wild insects, creating dangerous hybrid mosquitoes.11

A similar concern about interbreeding with wild organisms accompanied the approval of GMO salmon by the FDA in 2015.12 In 2016, residents of Key Haven, Florida, voted against the release of Oxitec GMO mosquitoes13 and the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District board abided by their wishes.14

Reclassification Gives Oxitec Mosquitoes a Boost

The history behind this is a tale of moves and countermoves. Originally, Oxitec had submitted their genetically-engineered mosquitoes for approval to APHIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service division of the USDA.15 But since mosquitoes aren’t considered to be pests on plants, the FDA took over Oxitec’s review under its regulations for GE animals.

Oxitec followed up with a petition to the FDA to release its mosquitoes in Florida.16 But, after Key Haven’s citizens rejected Oxitec’s request in November 2016, the FDA decided a few weeks later, in January 2017, to hand over the regulation of GE mosquitoes to the EPA — basically reclassifying the mosquitoes as an insecticide, a product the EPA oversees.17

The transfer was a huge win for Oxitec, as the EPA is required to review new pesticides quickly, within 12 months of submission. (The FDA, on the other hand, has no time lines on its approval process — something that Oxitec officials admitted had frustrated them for years.18) Oxitec got another boost in 2018 when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decided to fund one of its other mosquitoes, for malaria, to the tune of $4.1 million.19

After the hand over to the EPA, Oxitec wasted no time in resubmitting its request to release mosquitoes in Florida, as well as Texas — and won the EPA’s approval. Now, as a GMO mosquito release again approaches, angry Florida residents say they refuse to be treated as "guinea pigs" for a "superbug," "Robo-Frankenstein" mosquito.

Well-funded GMO-backed PR campaigns are rushing to assure Floridians that the GMO mosquito doesn't bite.20

Mosquitoes Kill More People Than Any Other Creature

There was a time when people who lived in the U.S. thought of mosquitoes as just annoying insects whose itchy bites could be an impediment to enjoying summer nights. But with the emergence of West Nile, Zika and the spreading of Saint Louis encephalitis21 in the U.S., Americans now realize, like their counterparts in warmer nations, that mosquitoes can and do kill.

In addition to the diseases caused by A. aegypti, other mosquitoes transmit chikungunya,22 which can cause debilitating joint pain,23 and lymphatic filariasis, a disease that dwells in the human lymph system.24 Taken together, mosquitoes kill more people than any other creature in the world.25 According to the Independent:26

"Yes, mosquitoes — the pesky bugs that suck blood and transmit viruses from person to person — are responsible for the most animal-related deaths (830,000 per year to be exact). For comparison, humans are responsible for 580,000 human deaths per year, snakes account for 60,000 deaths per year and sharks claimed just six lives per year."

In 2015, dengue sickened 1.5 million people in Brazil alone, including 1,600 in the city of Piracicaba located in the Brazilian state of São Paulo.27 The United Nations estimated that in Africa, mosquito nets could save 500,000 lives a year.28

Deadly mosquito-borne diseases are also getting worse, in part because of climate change, according to an article in Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.29

"[A]n international team of researchers has found that by 2050, two key disease-spreading mosquitoes — Aedes aegypti [the species that Oxitec engineered] and Aedes albopictus — will significantly expand their range, posing a threat to 49 percent of the world’s population.

'If no action is taken to reduce the current rate at which the climate is warming, pockets of habitat will open up across many urban areas with vast amounts of individuals susceptible to infection,' said Moritz Kraemer, an infectious disease scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of Oxford and a co-author of the new research."

Oxitec's GMO Mosquitoes Are Not New

Oxitec's first release of GMO mosquitoes was in the Cayman Islands in 2009.30 Critics charged that the company rushed a GMO organism into use without informing or consulting the public, but Oxitec reported a 96% reduction in the mosquito population in a small release area in the islands.31

Oxitec also conducted GMO mosquito tests in Panama and Malaysia, but its showcase project was in Brazil, resulting from a collaboration with the University of São Paulo and the nonprofit research facility Moscamed.32 In three treated Brazilian neighborhoods, Oxitec reported a 90% mosquito population reduction.33

Brazil was chosen as a primary location for "a major scale-up" and "proving ground for tailored mosquitoes" because of the nation's high dengue fever rates and the ineffectiveness of pesticides against the Aedes aegypti mosquito, wrote Science magazine.34

Pesticide resistance in Brazil was verified when some of Oxitec's lab-grown GMO mosquitoes perished in Brazil upon release because they "had never been exposed to insecticides [and were] so much less resistant to them than wild mosquitoes." wrote the magazine.35

The GMO mosquitoes, all male, have an inserted gene in their DNA that contains a "self-destruct mechanism."36 The gene creates "tetracycline repressible activator variant," or tTAV, a protein that inhibits other genes in the insect and causes it to die before it reaches adulthood if it does not receive tetracycline.37

However, because the GMO mosquitoes are given the antibiotic tetracycline in the lab, they survive to maturity and can mate with wild female mosquitoes and pass along the self-destruct genes so future females will not survive to breed.38 According to Oxitec:39

"… when Friendly™ mosquito males mate with wild females, their offspring inherit a copy of this gene, which prevents females from surviving to adulthood. Since these females do not mature to reproduce, there is a reduction in the wild pest population."

According to the EPA, the effects of the Friendly mosquito should be "multigenerational" and reduce the Aedes aegypti mosquito populations in areas where it is released.40 The EPA insists it won’t pose risks:41

"Since only male mosquitoes will be released into the environment and they do not bite people, they will not pose a risk to people. It is also anticipated that there would be no adverse effects to animals such as bats and fish in the environment."

Many See Risks With Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes

Because the mosquitoes need tetracycline to survive, doctors addressing the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board expressed concern that the insects could promote tetracycline-resistant organisms. Key West physician Dr. John Norris said:42

“These insects are designed to get into people’s houses and cause the extinction of whatever Aedes live there, but the bacteria they leave behind is left to breed because it has no death chain.

No physician is going to stand in front of you and speak negatively against the GMs, but … [t]here was a real mistake made, in my humble opinion, when they used an antibiotic as the maturation factor to an organism designed to get into people’s houses and deposit whatever else was along for the ride.”

Dr. Norris is right. Moreover, since the GMO mosquitoes were designed to die in the absence of tetracycline and the assumption was that they would not have access to the antibiotic in the wild, there is another problem.

Tetracycline and other antibiotics are now often found in soil and surface water because of their overuse, especially in farming. This could potentially create a nightmarish scenario — especially since the EPA has approved Florida and Texas citrus growers’ use of tetracycline to fight invasive bacterial infections in their groves.43

Writing in the Boston Globe, Natalie Kofler, founder of Editing Nature and an adviser for the Scientific Citizenship Initiative at Harvard Medical School, and Jennifer Kuzma, professor in the School of Public and International Affairs and co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, stated the GMO mosquito should not be released until much more thorough study is conducted:44

"For starters, an external independent group of experts should be convened to review the first GM mosquitoes … To address the complexity of such a decision, this group should consist of interdisciplinary experts representing diverse identities with expertise in ecology, genetics, vector biology, risk assessment, entomology, public health, ethics, and social science.

External peer review is a cornerstone of good science and could ensure that all necessary risks are being addressed."

Environmental Groups Plan to Sue

The EPA has said it will have Oxitec monitor the GMO mosquito release to assure safety.45

"Oxitec is required to monitor and sample the mosquito population weekly in the treatment areas to determine how well the product works for mosquito control and to confirm that the modified genetic traits disappear from the male Aedes aegypti mosquito population over time.

EPA has also maintained the right to cancel the EUP at any point during the 24-month period if unforeseen outcomes occur."

Of course, canceling the EUP won't remove the already released GMO mosquitoes. Meanwhile, the Center for Food Safety, the International Center for Technology Assessment and Friends of the Earth say they plan to sue the EPA for failing to consult with wildlife agencies before determining the mosquitoes to be risk-free.46

In a letter to the heads of the U.S. EPA, the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service, the groups wrote:47

"EPA’s 'no effect' findings and failure to consult are arbitrary and capricious and violate the ESA [Endangered Species Act] because they fail to follow the ESA’s mandated procedures, fail to use the best scientific and commercial data available, fail to consider significant aspects of the issue, and offer an explanation that runs counter to the evidence."

There is a reason that careful study is part of the Endangered Species Act. Mutations and behavioral adaptations to human interventions occur in nature and cannot be predicted.

For example, National Geographic recounted that "different species of mosquitoes have changed their predatory behavior to outside and earlier in the day in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Tanzania," as a response to insecticides.48 In another instance, wrote National Geographic:

"… a fascinating study in behavioral resistance is the corn rootworm, an insect that lays its eggs in cornfields so larvae will come up the next year and feast on the roots. Farmers evaded it by rotating crops so what was a cornfield one year will be soybeans the next.

By the 1990s, however … rootworms had changed — instead of hatching every year, one species was hatching every other year, to be there when the corn returned. Another species was leaping into neighboring soybean fields to wait for them to take their turn as cornfields in the next season."

The GMO Mosquito Plan Is Too Dangerous

While engineering insects to stop the spread of mosquito-transmitted diseases might sound preferable to insecticides and vaccines, there are too many unknowns.

At present, the use of GMO insects is in its infancy. Not only are there no precedents from which to draw potential ecological consequences, proper risk assessments have not been done — and quite possibly might be impossible to conduct, considering the many unknown aspects of tinkering with DNA and allowing it to mingle with other species.49

What will be the effect on native species like Florida Keys bats that eat mosquitoes? Are any studies investigating whether the GMO mosquitoes will harm the native bat population? Will the more virulent Asian tiger mosquito, that also carries dengue, fill the void left by reductions in A. aegypti caused by the GMO mosquito and become even more dangerous? Serious questions remain.

In a study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, researchers attempted to identify potential ecological effects of GMO insects and cited concerning developments that could occur.50

"For instance, if vector populations were suppressed, a reduction in acquired immunity could cause a transient increase in disease incidence, a phenomenon which is not necessarily unique to GE control strategies. Disease incidence may ultimately subside, but a transient increase could have significant implications for risk management and communication.

Conversely, identifying effects occurring in the steady state phase highlighted effects that might result as the ecosystem adjusts to the changed population. For GE mosquitoes, this might include evolution of increased vector capacity, or knock-on effects through the ecosystem, which might harm valued ecological interactions."

The authors conclude there are disturbing unknowns about GMO mosquitoes.

"[I]n evaluating GE mosquitoes, the knowledge gaps in mosquito ecology are striking … particularly with respect to mosquito effects on consumer and resource species. Data and theory on ecological hysteresis in insect communities are also lacking, which makes it difficult to assess whether any changes are irreversible."

Genetic engineering of plants and animals is a dangerous prospect. We’re already seeing "super weeds" and resistance drift arising from the use of GMO crops, an unintended consequence that GMO critics predicted and that could easily have been foreseen. Similarly, resistant super pests are spreading across American farmland and wreaking havoc, while the human health concerns keep mounting.

Genetic engineering of plants and animals may be lucrative to the biotech companies that invent and patent them but they are no answer to farm pests or, in this case, the prevention of mosquito-transmitted diseases.

 

Is Nasal Irrigation More Important Than Hand-Washing?

 

 

By now, you probably understand the importance of hand-washing to prevent the spread of infectious illness. But did you know flushing your sinuses might be an even better way to inhibit the progression of a viral illness such as COVID-19? In an April 20, 2020, article,1 MSN’s Best Life features the recommendations of Dr. Amy Baxter, a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nasal irrigation, she says, is a rarely discussed strategy that can help reduce the progression of illness in those who have tested positive for COVID-19 infection. In an April 2, 2020, response2 to a BMJ paper about the lack of personal protection equipment on COVID-19 frontlines, professor Robert Matthews also brought up the importance and potential usefulness of oropharyngeal washing to protect health care workers from infection. As reported by MSN Best Life:3

“Nasal irrigation, or a nasal wash, has long been considered an effective way to remove viruses or bacteria from sinus cavities. Baxter has multiple reasons for believing that this approach can be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus from worsening in a sick patient.”

Why Nasal Irrigation?

As noted by Baxter, researchers have found that the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 tends to be heaviest in the sinuses and nasal cavity. Regularly rinsing your sinuses therefore makes sense since it would help clear out the pathogen and prevent it from gaining a strong foothold and migrating into your lungs.

The age and gender discrepancies observed in COVID-19 also supports nasal irrigation. Children are at virtually no risk from COVID-19, while death rates among the elderly are at their highest. More men than women also die from the infection. 

“Children don't develop full sinuses until teens; males have larger cavities than women, and the cavities are largest [in those] over 70 years,” Baxter notes.

Research has previously demonstrated that nasal irrigation reduces the symptoms and duration of other viral illnesses such as the seasonal flu and common cold.

In one randomized controlled trial,4 nasal irrigation and gargling with hypertonic saline were found to reduce the duration of the common cold by 1.9 days and reduce transmission within the household by 35% by reducing viral shedding when done within 48 hours of symptom onset.

While it has not yet been studied as a preventive method for COVID-19 specifically, there’s reason to suspect nasal irrigation might be helpful.

Baxter points out that COVID-19 death rates in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Laos have been surprisingly low, and nasal irrigation is common practice in those areas. According to Baxter, some 80% of the Southeast Asian population do it.

How to Irrigate Your Sinuses

Baxter suggests irrigating your sinuses any time you’ve been exposed to an infected individual or test positive for COVID-19. She recommends flushing your sinuses in the morning using a mixture of boiled lukewarm water (8 ounces) and povidone-iodine (half a teaspoon).

Povidone-iodine has been shown to effectively kill not only Klebsiella pneumoniae and Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, but to also rapidly inactivate SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, H1N1 influenza virus A and rotavirus after 15 seconds of exposure.5

The mixture used in this study — 7% povidone-iodine diluted 1-to-30, which equates to a total concentration of 0.23% povidone-iodine — inactivated over 99% of the coronaviruses causing SARS and MERS.

Either a neti pot or NeilMed sinus rinse bottle can be used. The water pressure you get from a sinus rinse bottle can provide a more effective flush. If higher pressure is uncomfortable, a neti pot, which relies on gravity, may be a more comfortable choice. In the evening, Baxter recommends flushing your sinuses again with a mixture of:

  • 8 ounces of boiled lukewarm water
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

Gargling May Also Be Helpful

You may also be able to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 migrating into your lungs by gargling. As noted by Dr. Neal Naito in a March 29, 2020, New York Times article,6 while there’s “no firm proof” that gargling can prevent COVID-19, there are virtually no downsides to the advice.

Like Baxter, Naito points out that many East Asian countries such as Japan see gargling as a commonsense hygiene practice.

“In East Asia, particularly in Japan, gargling is strongly encouraged by the national government, along with other practices like hand-washing, wearing face masks and social distancing, as a matter of routine hygiene during the regular cold and flu season.

(Not everyone, though, can gargle effectively, including some people with neck pain, stroke or dementia, as well as children generally under the age of 8.) Most of the early studies7 suggesting that gargling may help to prevent and treat upper and lower respiratory infections, not surprisingly, come from Japan,” Naito writes.

An over-the-counter povidone-iodine8 oral gargle solution, used for decades by the Japanese for the treatment of sore throat, appears most useful. One small study9 from Japan, published in 2002, found patients diagnosed with chronic respiratory disease who gargled with a povidone-iodine solution at least four times a day reduced their incidence of acute respiratory infection by about 50%.

Do Not Use Iodine-Based Skin Disinfectant for Gargling

Importantly, Naito stresses that povidone-iodine solutions sold as skin disinfectants are NOT suitable for gargling as they contain potentially harmful ingredients that should not be ingested.

“It’s critical that people not gargle with skin disinfectant solutions, including those that contain povidone-iodine,” he says. So, when using povidone-iodine for gargling, be sure to look for solutions such as Betadine formulated specifically as a sore throat gargle, not products intended for cuts and wound care.

Nebulized Hydrogen Peroxide — Another Prevention Strategy

While gargling and nasal irrigation may certainly be useful, I believe nebulizing hydrogen peroxide or colloidal silver may be even more effective. Dr. Thomas Levy10 has issued guidance11 on how to use nebulized hydrogen peroxide for the prevention and treatment of viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

To inactivate viruses with hydrogen peroxide, all you need is a face mask that covers your mouth and nose and a nebulizer that emits a fine mist with properly diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide.

Typically, food grade peroxide comes in concentrations of 12%, which must be diluted down to 1% or less before use, as described in the chart below and video above. If you are using 3% hydrogen peroxide, then you would multiply the number in the first column by 4, or divide the second column by 4.

coronavirus

The microscopic mist, similar to smoke or vapor, can be comfortably inhaled deep into your nostrils, sinuses and lungs. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) consists of a water molecule (H2O) with an extra oxygen atom, and it is the additional oxygen atom that allows it to inactivate viral pathogens.

Coronaviruses are held together by a lipid (fat) envelope. Soap, being amphipathic12 — meaning it can dissolve most molecules — dissolves this fat membrane, causing the virus to fall apart and become harmless.

Hydrogen peroxide works in a similar way. You can find more details about the mechanism of action in my previous article, “Could Hydrogen Peroxide Treat Coronavirus?

Some of your immune cells actually produce hydrogen peroxide to destroy pathogens. By killing the infected cell, viral reproduction is stopped. So, hydrogen peroxide therapy is in essence only aiding your immune cells to perform their natural function more effectively.

Hydrogen peroxide is also a key redox signaling agent that creates oxidative eustress.13 Contrary to oxidative stress or oxidative distress, oxidative eustress denotes an oxidative challenge that has positive or beneficial effects and is essential in redox signaling.

Many studies have looked into the use of hydrogen peroxide against different pathogens. One of the most relevant is a review14 of 22 studies, published in March 2020 in the Journal of Hospital Infection. They found 0.5% hydrogen peroxide effectively inactivated a range of human coronaviruses, including those responsible for SARS and MERS, within one minute of exposure.

If you’re already presenting with a runny nose or sore throat, Levy recommends using the nebulizer for 10 to 15 minutes four times a day until your symptoms are relieved. You can also use nebulized hydrogen peroxide for prevention and maintenance, which may be advisable during flu season, or while the COVID-19 pandemic is in full swing. According to Levy:15

“As it is a completely non-toxic therapy, nebulization can be administered as often as desired. If done on a daily basis at least once, a very positive impact on bowel and gut function will often be realized as killing the chronic pathogen colonization present in most noses and throats stops the 24/7 swallowing of these pathogens and their associated toxins.

If daily prevention is not a practical option, the effectiveness of this treatment is optimized when somebody sneezes in your face or you finally get off of the plane after a trans-Atlantic flight. Don’t wait for initial symptoms. Just nebulize at your first opportunity.”

 

Hidden Funds Lead to Massive Layoffs at Health Department

 

 

A concerning proportion of scientists — so far 54 in all — have been fired or resigned due to an investigation by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is looking into the researchers’ undisclosed ties to foreign institutions.1

While Charles Lieber, the former head of Harvard’s chemistry department, is one of the highest profile names in the investigation, NIH has been investigating a total of 189 scientists from 87 institutions.

Among them, 93% received undisclosed support from China, and many had active NIH grants while accepting foreign grants that were not disclosed. About 75% of those being investigated had received an active NIH grant, and close to half had at least two of them. In all, 285 active grants totaling $164 million were counted among those being investigated.

NIH director Francis Collins described the information as “sobering,” noting, “It’s not what we had hoped, and it’s not a fun task.”2

70% of Researchers Did Not Disclose Foreign Grants

In an astonishing glimpse into what appears to be a covert recruitment program, 133, or 70%, of the researchers being investigated did not disclose to the NIH that they had received foreign grants. More than half (54%) also did not disclose their participation in a foreign talent program, while 9% hid ties to a foreign company and 4% did not disclose a foreign patent.3,4

The investigation is part of larger efforts to limit threats to the U.S. economy and national security, as cutting-edge technologies and other information at the forefront of new industries that are being supported by federally funded research could be flowing into the wrong hands. A broader investigation is also ongoing, with NIH highlighting 399 scientists “of possible concern,” 121 of which the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating.

According to Dr. Michael Lauer, NIH’s deputy director for extramural research, after the NIH looked into the scientists “of possible concern,” 63% of the investigations came back positive, revealing the true scope of the underhanded dealings.5

China’s ‘Thousand Talent Plan’

In an “integrity update” to a senior advisory panel working on foreign influences on research, Lauer highlighted China’s talent recruitment plans as a threat to the U.S. research enterprise.6 The Thousand Talents Plan (TTP), created by the Chinese Communist Party in 2008, was said to be a method to create an innovative society, but has raised red flags for posing a threat to U.S. technology endeavors.

“[O]ver the years, the program, which is estimated to have had approximately 7,000 participants, has become extremely controversial, generating deep concern within the U.S. government about Chinese IP theft,” the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) explained.7

Lauer’s presentation also homed in on the risks of the TPP, quoting a committee hearing from the Department of Homeland Security & Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which noted in November 2019:8

“Thousand Talent Plan members sign legally binding contracts with Chinese institutions, like universities and research institutions. The contracts can incentivize members to lie on [US] grant applications, set up ‘shadow labs’ in China … and, in some cases, transfer U.S. scientists’ hard-earned intellectual capital.

Some of the contracts also contain nondisclosure provisions and require the Chinese government’s permission to terminate the agreement … These provisions are in stark contrast to the U.S. research community’s basic norms, values, and principles.”9

In December 2019, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, agreed to pay a $5.5 million settlement amid allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting federal grant applications to NIH that failed to disclose Chinese government grants received by two VARI researchers.

Allegations also included that VARI intentionally “made certain factual representations to NIH with deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard for the truth regarding the Chinese grants.”10

Bioweapons Lab Collaborated With Wuhan Lab

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, sent a warning to 10,000 academic institutions warning of foreign threats to U.S. biomedical research in 2018. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, even more scrutiny is being placed on the ties between China, including Wuhan, and U.S. academia, especially as the idea that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a bioweapons laboratory in Wuhan, China, gains traction.

The Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), which is part of the University of Texas, is a level 4 laboratory that studies highly dangerous pathogens.

It is now being investigated, as it had approximately 24 contracts with Chinese universities and technology companies, along with ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and exchanges between national security scientists and research sharing. This could be a red flag, as Stephane Segal, a political economist at CSIS, told Fox News:11

"Increased collaboration between the United States and China is consistent with a general trend toward greater cross-border collaboration in science globally; however, the data also show a heavier reliance on bilateral collaboration with one another than with any other single country.

At the same time, the U.S. intelligence community has accused China of exploiting scientific collaboration and 'stealing innovation.'"

Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific security chair for the Hudson Institute, further told Fox News that, due to the FBI and NIH investigations, "The scope of China's exploitation of our open universities, including medical, biology and other scientific labs, is only recently coming into focus.”12 Further:

“In almost all cases, the alleged theft of biomedical research information was done by Chinese citizens or Americans of Chinese descent. Bit by bit, China found ways into government scientific labs.”

Former Harvard Chemist Charged for Ties to China

The former chairman of the Harvard department of chemistry, nanoscience expert Charles Lieber, Ph.D., was arrested in early 2020 by federal agencies, suspected of illegal dealings with China.13

Lieber joined Chin’s TTP in 2012 and allegedly oversaw the Nano Key Laboratory, a joint collaboration by the Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) and Harvard, although Harvard officials claimed they had no knowledge of the lab before 2015. In my interview with bioweapons expert Francis Boyle, Boyle dismissed the idea that Harvard was unaware Lieber was working on nanotechnology for biological materials with the Chinese as “preposterous.”

In February 2020, Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the Massachusetts district, said that Lieber isn’t being prosecuted because he was a world-renowned Harvard chemist or because the Department of Justice thinks he’s a spy. Rather, the concern came from the allegation that Lieber was paid to perform research for China, then failed to disclose the relationship, making it possible that he could succumb to pressure from China in the future.

Reportedly, Lieber received more than $1.5 million from China for research purposes along with $50,000 a month in salary and about $158,000 in living expenses,14 all while “brazenly” hiding the connection. “That is a corrupting level of money,” Lelling said. “When people begin to hide things, that’s when law enforcement authorities get all excited.”15

Lieber had also received more than $15 million in grant funding from NIH and the Department of Defense — grants that require the disclosure of any foreign financial conflicts of interest.16 In January 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Lieber with “making a false statement to federal investigators about his financial ties to a university and foreign talent recruitment program in China.”17 According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ):

“The complaint alleges that in 2018 and 2019, Lieber lied about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Plan and affiliation with WUT. On or about, April 24, 2018, during an interview with investigators, Lieber stated that he was never asked to participate in the Thousand Talents Program, but he ‘wasn’t sure’ how China categorized him.

In November 2018, NIH inquired of Harvard whether Lieber had failed to disclose his then-suspected relationship with WUT and China’s Thousand Talents Plan. Lieber caused Harvard to falsely tell NIH that Lieber ‘had no formal association with WUT’ after 2012, that ‘WUT continued to falsely exaggerate’ his involvement with WUT in subsequent years, and that Lieber ‘is not and has never been a participant in’ China’s Thousand Talents Plan.”18

Two Chinese nationals who were engaged in research programs at Massachusetts universities were also charged. This included Yanqing Ye, who was charged with visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy, and Zaosong Zheng, who was charged with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China, along with making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements.19

The Ongoing ‘China Initiative’ Began in 2018

The DOJ’s ongoing campaign to identify and stop so-called “nontraditional collaborators” — known as the China Initiative — began in November 2018. Most of the cases involve scientists in academia or high-tech industries, with varying levels of allegations.

In some cases, prosecutors ask universities to reign in researchers who have stepped out of bounds without actually committing a felony. In other cases, official charges are filed. In deciding who to prosecute, Lelling told Science they evaluate several factors, asking, “Is there deception? How much money was involved? What kind of technology was transferred? And what other steps did a researcher take to develop the relationship?”20

It’s important to keep in mind, NIH noted, that U.S. scientists routinely collaborate with researchers from foreign countries, and such collaborations are essential for productive research. “We must not reject brilliant minds working honestly and collaboratively to provide hope and healing,” NIH’s integrity update explained.21

Still, Lelling described U.S. researchers accepting support from Chinese researchers while also receiving federal funding as a “dangerous game” that could easily backfire, telling Science:22

“The Chinese government has a very strategic approach to obtaining technology. It targets researchers who specialize in areas where the Chinese are deficient, in the hopes that they can piggyback on their expertise to close that strategic gap.

What concerns us … is that a scientist who accepts their support becomes dependent on it to the point where they are willing to accept [an assignment] from the Chinese government or a Chinese university for whatever it is they need.

Those of us that work on public corruption cases develop a radar for when person or entity A is attempting to coopt or corrupt person or entity B. And a large enough amount of money can shift loyalties.”

 

Tracking Vaccination Status by Phone Is Now Active

 

 

You may soon be living in a world where your personal health data — including results from COVID-19 testing and data proving whether or not you've received certain vaccines — must be shared and authenticated before you're able to enter a sports arena, travel by air or even enter your workplace.

The technology behind such innovations, which many are calling a threat to civil liberties and privacy, is already available to the general public in the App Store and Google Play via Civic Technologies' Civic Wallet. Civic Technologies, which bills itself as a "leading innovator in digital identity solutions,"1 released its "Civic Wallet" app June 16, 2020. Previously it was only available in private beta mode.

In addition to offering a way for users to send and receive digital currency, including bitcoin, ethereum, CVC and USDC, which are U.S. dollars converted to assets on the ethereum blockchain,2 Civic Wallet will also offer proof-of-health verifications via its so-called Health Key.

This, according to a news release, "will offer the ability to provide secure and regulation-compliant health checks for employers,"3 which means your employer may one day require you to prove you're COVID negative and/or vaccinated in order to hold a job and earn a living.

Hundreds of Employees Will Have Health Data Verified by Phone

Civic Technologies has partnered with Circle Medical, an affiliate of San Francisco-based hospital UCSF Health, which will use the app so 500 of its employees can prove their health and vaccination status. First, the employees will be tested for COVID-19 at a Circle Medical facility in the San Francisco Bay area — more facilities are also expected to be coming soon.4 As noted by Forbes, the partnership:5

"… will let employees prove to their employers the results of their most recent Covid-19 tests, and when a vaccine is developed, whether or not they've received it.

Far from a theoretical blockchain application that might be of value at some future date, the app, which lets users prove a wide range of personal information, as well as spend bitcoin, ether, a version of the U.S. dollar issued on the ethereum blockchain, and Civic's own token is available … on both Apple's App Store and Google Play."

Civic plans to roll out its proof-of-health verification for companies with more than 500 employees. When an employee signs up, they will be verified as a real person using a mix of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain-based technology, then have the option to share their "Health Key" with third parties.

Vinny Lingham, Civic's co-founder and CEO, told Forbes, "You don't have to transmit your name, or anything like that … So you can walk into a stadium anonymously like you do today, but just prove that as you walk through the gates that you'd been vaccinated."6

As for those who may feel that having to "prove" they've been vaccinated to enter a stadium or other facility is a violation of their privacy and right to informed consent, Lingham stated, "If you're part of a society where the majority of the people want everyone to be vaccinated, and you don't want to be part of that society change countries, move somewhere else."7

The app had more than 100,000 people signed up on its waiting list, and more than 12,000 downloads occurred on the first day of its launch.8 Circle Medical's founder and CEO told Forbes, "I think with COVID there is a real need on the part of the employer to be able to screen and assess COVID risk before they let people back into the workplace."9

Vending Machines, Buildings Could Require Data Verification

In addition to employers, services like vending machines and building security services could be among those that would require people to provide certain information prior to using the machine or entering the building. The data exists on an ethereum-powered decentralized identity network, in which the user owns the identity of the information, which is requested by a service. At that point, Forbes reported:10

"An agreed-upon fee paid for in Civic's native token (CVC) is placed into an escrow account and the validator software scans the requester's required personally identifiable information (for example, age or vaccine status). CVC now sells for $$0.0327, according to Messari, with a total market value of $29 million.

If the user meets the criteria and the requester is satisfied access is granted and the fee in escrow is released. Thanks to cutting-edge mathematical breakthroughs called zero-knowledge proofs, not even the validator actually has the information, but just knows whether or not the requirement is met."

In early testing phases, Civic partnered with beer giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev to create vending machines for beer, with users proving their age using a version of Civic Wallet. Since then, 12 companies have contracted with Civic to sell age-restricted products via vending machines.

What's more, "Civic is currently in conversations with health care companies and government agencies under terms of a nondisclosure agreement," Forbes noted, in addition to plans by Johnson Controls International (JCI) to use the technology as part of its credentials for building access.11

Another Move Toward Global Currency?

In addition to its proof-of-health verification, Civic Wallet is intended to allow users an "easy way to pay friends and family around the world" using digital currency, which can be "sent globally with low fees for a limited time." Funds can be sent to usernames, addresses or QR codes using the app, and Civic Wallet offers a $1 million cryptocurrency protection guarantee insured by Lloyd's of London underwriters.12

"If you have up to a million dollars in your wallet," Lingham told Forbes, "you lose your phone, you break your phone, you're fleeing your country in some part of the world and your phone falls in the ocean, you will get your funds on the other side."13

Cryptocurrencies are developed for a variety of reasons. For instance, Bitcoins are used to buy and sell products and services. However, some companies are using cryptocurrency to give buyers access to a product or service that the company is offering or plans to offer.14

It's a way of raising money but, unlike stock where you own part of the company that's offering it, during an initial coin offering (ICO) you are buying a future service or product — Civic Technologies raised $43 million in a 2017 ICO.15

The backbone of cryptocurrency systems is meant to be decentralized. However, Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation formed Mojaloop, which is open-source software designed to be used for financial transactions that is intended to be hosted by a government or financial institution authorities.

Mojaloop is poised to create a platform that allows people from all over the world to send money to each other with low transaction fees, similar to Civic Wallet. Ripple, a payment cryptocurrency and platform currently used by some banks, will be the foundation of payment processing for Mojaloop.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies that rely on blockchain to encrypt and safeguard the transactions, Ripple uses a patented technology called Ripple protocol consensus algorithm (RPCA). Included in their network, called RippleNet, are several institutional payment providers that people use to send money around the world.

These providers include American Express, PNC Bank, Interbank and MoneyGram.16 Together with Google, Gates and other large tech companies in the coalition, Ripple is positioned to potentially gain control of a created global currency and drive down the value of country-based currency.

First State Hands Over Vaccine Mandate Power to ACIP

Meanwhile, as Civic Technologies quietly released an app to track your vaccination status, the Virginia legislature passed H.B.1090 earlier in 2020, which amended a law requiring children attending day care and public and private schools in the state to receive vaccines.

The bill proposed that children enrolled in Virginia day care or schools automatically be required to receive all vaccines recommended by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as a condition for getting a school education.

The final bill gives the Virginia Board of Health the legal authority to add any vaccines recommended by ACIP, except for the annual influenza vaccination, to the list of vaccines required for children to attend school without holding public hearings or a vote by elected state legislators.

In so doing, Virginia citizens have been blocked from participating in the vaccine law-making process and legislators have turned over their law-making authority to unelected members of the board of health and a federal advisory committee. The Vaccine Reaction reported:17

"In handing the power to make vaccine laws to unelected members of a federal advisory committee and state Board of Health, the Virginia legislature has abdicated responsibility and accountability to constituents by cutting out elected representatives and the voters who elected them from the vaccine law making process.

Although the new law provides for a 60-day public comment period after the Board of Health issues a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action to add a new vaccine to the required list for daycare and school attendance, the legislature will never again hold a public hearing where citizens can testify for or against the addition of a new vaccine mandate for children."

What's more, in a legislative committee public hearing on the proposed law that was held January 21, 2020, no time restrictions were placed on those speaking in favor of the bill, but a 10-minute cap — total — was placed on those speaking in opposition. This meant the majority of those waiting to testify in opposition were prevented from speaking, blocking their right to participate in the democratic law-making process.

The same pattern occurred again when the bill moved to the House Appropriations Subcommittee, with no time limit place for those in favor of the bill and a 10-minute cap placed on those speaking against it. The bill's passing is even more concerning in light of the current race to develop COVID-19 vaccines, which are being fast-tracked and will likely be mandated despite legitimate concerns about potential risks and concerns about effectiveness. According to The Vaccine Reaction:

"The automatic adoption by state public health officials of all new federally recommended vaccines to the required list for children to attend school in the Commonwealth without input from citizens and elected representatives is even more concerning because COVID-19 vaccines are being fast tracked to licensure.

While it normally takes 15 to 20 years to develop a vaccine, a vaccine for COVD-19 may be on the market by this September and federally recommended for use by all children and adults in 2021."18

Now that Virginia has handed over its vaccine law-making power to the CDC and ACIP, others are likely to follow, just as more employers are likely to adopt Civic Technologies' proof-of-health verification app and others like it.

Ultimately, this and other privacy violations, like contact tracing apps, could lead to a future in which a vaccine certificate or "unique patient ID number" replaces personal identifications such as your driver's license, state ID card, Social Security card and passport, and is tied not only to your medical records in total, but also your finances.

If you may soon be required to "prove" that you've passed certain medical tests and received certain vaccines just to enter a building or go to work, what other information may also be required one day? Will state governments continue to take away additional freedoms and eliminate your right to privacy in the name of public health?

If you're concerned about preserving your rights to vaccine choice and would like more information on how to proactively protect those rights, please visit the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website, where you can find an illustrated and fully referenced "A Guide to Reforming Vaccine Policy & Law," which is an excellent vaccine education tool for you, legislators and friends and family, too.

The challenges are great, but so are the opportunities to educate and empower legislators and residents of every state to defend vaccine freedom of choice. NVIC is committed to continuing to make that happen and they look forward to working with you through the NVIC Advocacy Portal to help you protect vaccine informed consent rights in your state in 2020 and beyond.

 

Majority of People Are Already Resistant to SARS-CoV-2

 

 

According to research1 conducted in Switzerland, SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies are only found in the most severe cases — about 1 in 5. That suggests COVID-19 may in fact be five times more prevalent than suspected. It also means it may be five times less deadly than predicted.

The study,2 “Systemic and Mucosal Antibody Secretion Specific to SARS-CoV-2 During Mild Versus Severe COVID-19,” was posted on the prepublication server bioRxiv, May 23, 2020. According to the authors:

“When symptomatic, COVID-19 can range from a mild flu-like illness in about 81% to a severe and critical disease in about 14% and 5% of affected patients, respectively.”

The Swiss study,3 which sought to investigate SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses, found that even though people who had been exposed to infected individuals had SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies in their mucosa, there were no virus-specific antibodies in their blood.

IgA is an antibody that plays a crucial role in the immune function of your mucous membranes, while IgG is the most common antibody that protects against bacterial and viral infections and is found in blood and other bodily fluids. As explained by the authors:4

“As with other coronaviruses, symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 disease causes an acute infection with activation of the innate and adaptive immune systems. The former leads to the release of several pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-6 …

Subsequently, B and T cells become activated, resulting in the production of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, comprising immunoglobulin M (IgM), immunoglobulin A (IgA), and immunoglobulin G (IgG).

Whereas coronavirus-specific IgM production is transient and leads to isotype switch to IgA and IgG, these latter antibody subtypes can persist for extended periods in the serum and in nasal fluids. Whether SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibodies correlate with virus control is a matter of intense discussions.”

Antibody Response Dependent on Severity

In COVID-19-positive patients with mild symptoms, SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA titers turned positive an average of eight days after onset of symptoms and were mostly transient. In some cases, however, IgA were completely absent. Serum IgG levels either remained negative, or reached positive values nine to 10 days after symptom onset.

In patients with severe symptoms, a “highly significant” increase of both SARS-CoV-2-specific serum IgA titers were found on day three or four, and even more pronounced IgG titers were present on day four or five. Both were independent of age or comorbidities. Only in severe cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) were “very high” levels of IgA found. According to the authors:5

“Interestingly, some of the SARS-CoV-2-exposed healthcare workers with negative SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA and IgG serum titers had detectable SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA antibodies in their nasal fluids and tears. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA levels in nasal fluids of these healthcare workers were inversely correlated with patient age.

These data show that systemic IgA and IgG production against SARS-CoV-2 develops mainly in severe COVID-19, with very high IgA levels seen in patients with severe ARDS, whereas mild disease may be associated with transient serum titers of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies but stimulate mucosal SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA secretion. The findings suggest four grades of antibody responses dependent on COVID-19 severity …

We think these findings suggest a model where the extent and duration of SARS-CoV-2-related clinical symptoms, which likely correlates with virus replication, dictates the level of virus-specific humoral immunity.

This hypothesis is consistent with previous publications demonstrating that the magnitude of the humoral response toward SARS-CoV-2 is dependent on the duration and magnitude of viral antigen exposure.

Low antigen exposure will elicit mucosal IgA-mediated responses, which can be accompanied by systemic IgA production; however, systemic virus-specific IgA responses can also be absent, transient or delayed. This type of ‘mucosal IgA’ antibody response seemed to be particularly prevalent in younger individuals with mild SARS-CoV-2 infection without evidence of pneumonia.”

The Young Have Greater Mucosal Immunity Than the Old

The Swiss researchers suggest these findings could be “a reflection of increased mucosal immunity in the young or decreased mucosal immunity in the old.” They point out previous data showing HKU1-specific IgG — antibodies responding to another type of coronavirus that causes the common cold — are absent in people under the age of 20, while higher levels of these antibodies are found in older people.

Extrapolation suggests infants and children “have primed mucosal innate and IgA antibody responses due to their frequent upper respiratory tract infections and, therefore, respond preferentially in this manner to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the researchers state.

On the other hand, studies have shown the strength of antiviral immune responses, including T cell activation and proliferation, slows with age. This can partially explain why older people are vastly more susceptible to severe COVID-19 illness and death. Other factors like vitamin D levels and immunosenescence that increases in the elderly are also likely important.

Mortality Is a Fraction of What Was Predicted

As noted in an article on Off-Guardian.com, which reported the results of the Swiss study:6

“… if the authors are indeed correct in their estimation, this might mean SARS-COV-2’s infection rate (IFR) would need to be revised downward yet again. If 80% of those infected really do not produce antibodies then there is a live possibility the virus is present in many more people than usually supposed. Which would in turn potentially reduce the IFR, possibly considerably.

In the early stages, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the virus’ IFR to be as high as 3.4%. The models based on those numbers have, however, been shown to be wildly inaccurate …

Dissenting experts7 appear to have been vindicated by the serological studies, using blood tests looking for Sars-Cov-2 antibodies done across different populations all over the world, which routinely suggest that the IFR is closer to 0.3%8 than the WHO’s initial figure of 3.4%.

From Japan to Iceland to Los Angeles, the numbers returned were between 0.06 and 0.4. Within the range of seasonal influenza. As a result of these studies, the U.S. CDC’s most recent ‘estimated IFR’ is between 0.26% and 0.4%.9 Roughly 1/10th of the initial estimates.”

Innate and Adaptive Immunity

For clarity, it’s important to realize you have two types of immunity. Your innate immune system is primed and ready to attack foreign invaders at any moment and is your first line of defense. Your adaptive immune system,10 on the other hand, “remembers” previous exposure to a pathogen and mounts a response when an old foe is recognized.

Your adaptive immune system is further divided into two arms: humoral immunity (B cells) and cell mediated immunity (T cells). The B cells and T cells are manufactured as needed from specialized stem cells. The graphs below are from my Vitamin D document and will help you understand the components of these systems and their timing.

immunity diagram
immunity graph

If you have never been exposed to a disease but are given antibodies from someone who got sick and recovered, you can gain humoral immunity against that disease. Your humoral immune system can also kick in if there’s cross-reactivity with another very similar pathogen.

In the case of COVID-19, there’s evidence11 to suggest exposure to other coronaviruses that cause the common cold can confer immunity against SARS-CoV-2. 

Majority Resistant to COVID-19 Even Without Exposure

One such study12,13 was published May 14, 2020, in the journal Cell. It found 70% of samples obtained by the La Jolla Institute for Immunology from patients who had recovered from mild cases of COVID-19 had resistance to SARS-CoV-2 on the T-cell level.

Curiously, 40% to 60% of people who had not been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 also had resistance to the virus on the T-cell level. According to the authors, this suggests there’s “cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating ‘common cold’ coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.” In other words, if you’ve recovered from a common cold caused by a particular coronavirus, your humoral immune system may activate when you encounter SARS-CoV-2, thus rendering you resistant to COVID-19.

May 14, 2020, Science magazine reported14 these Cell findings, drawing parallels to another earlier paper15 by German investigators that had come to a similar conclusion. That German paper,16 the preprint of which was posted April 22, 2020, on Medrxiv, found helper T cells that targeted the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in 15 of 18 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. As reported by Science:17

“The teams also asked whether people who haven’t been infected with SARS-CoV-2 also produce cells that combat it. Thiel and colleagues18 analyzed blood from 68 uninfected people and found that 34% hosted helper T cells that recognized SARS-CoV-2.

The La Jolla team19 detected this crossreactivity in about half of stored blood samples collected between 2015 and 2018, well before the current pandemic began …

The results suggest ‘one reason that a large chunk of the population may be able to deal with the virus is that we may have some small residual immunity from our exposure to common cold viruses,’ says viral immunologist Steven Varga of the University of Iowa. However, neither of the studies attempted to establish that people with crossreactivity don’t become as ill from COVID-19.

Before these studies, researchers didn’t know whether T cells played a role in eliminating SARS-CoV-2, or even whether they could provoke a dangerous immune system overreaction. ‘These papers are really helpful because they start to define the T cell component of the immune response,’ [Columbia University virologist Angela] Rasmussen says.”

Herd Immunity Theory May Need Revision

Now, if it’s true that a majority are already resistant to COVID-19 due to previous exposure to other coronaviruses, then we’ve probably already reached the threshold for herd immunity, and vaccinating every human on the planet (or close to it) will not be necessary. In fact, it’s starting to look as though a vaccine may be entirely moot.

This research also hints at the possibility that herd immunity isn’t what we think it is. The cross-reactivity on the T cell level seen with SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses may also exist for other viruses.

On the flip side, there’s a phenomenon known as viral interference, where exposure to one virus makes you more susceptible to another virus. Research20 has found that those who received the influenza vaccine were 36% more susceptible to coronavirus infection. This too may be playing a role in COVID-19 deaths among the elderly, since most who reside in nursing homes are given the flu vaccine each year.

Long-Term Immunity Against COVID-19 Appears Prevalent

Yet another study,21,22,23 this one by researchers in Singapore, found common colds caused by the betacoronaviruses OC43 and HKU1 might make you more resistant to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and that the resulting immunity might last as long as 17 years.

In addition to the common cold, OC43 and HKU1 — two of the most commonly encountered betacoronaviruses24 — are also known to cause bronchitis, acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia in all age groups.25 As reported by the Daily Mail:26

“They share many genetic features with the coronaviruses Covid-19, MERS and SARS, all of which passed from animals to humans. Coronaviruses are thought to account for up to 30 percent of all colds but it is not known specifically how many are caused by the betacoronavirus types.

Now scientists have found evidence that some immunity may be present for many years due to the body's 'memory' T-cells from attacks by previous viruses with a similar genetic make-up — even among people who have had no known exposure to Covid-19 or SARS …

Blood was taken from 24 patients who had recovered from Covid-19, 23 who had become ill from SARS and 18 who had never been exposed to either SARS or Covid-19 …

Half of patients in the group with no exposure to either Covid-19 or SARS possessed T-cells which showed immune response to the animal betacoronaviruses, Covid-19 and SARS. This suggested patients' immunity developed after exposure to common colds caused by betacoronavirus or possibly from other as yet unknown pathogens.”

In other words, if you’ve beat a common cold caused by a OC43 or HKU1 betacoronavirus in the past, you may have a 50/50 chance of having defensive T-cells that can recognize and help defend against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. According to the researchers:27

“These findings demonstrate that virus-specific memory T-cells induced by betacoronavirus infection are long-lasting, which supports the notion that Covid-19 patients would develop long-term T-cell immunity. Our findings also raise the intriguing possibility that infection with related viruses can also protect from or modify the pathology caused by SARS-Cov-2.”

Support Offered by Updated Statistical Models

All of these studies add support to the latest COVID-19 mortality models suggesting there is in fact widespread resistance and prior immunity. Freddie Sayers, executive editor of UnHerd, recently interviewed professor Karl Friston, a statistician whose expertise is mathematical modeling, who believes prior immunity across the global population might be as high as 80%.28

Friston is credited with inventing the statistical parametric mapping technique, which is now the standard for understanding brain imaging. As the pandemic erupted, he began applying this method of analysis (which he refers to as “dynamic causal modelling”) to COVID-19 data, coming up with a model that predicts far lower mortality rates than earlier models.

The reason for this is because the “effective susceptible population,” meaning those who are not already immune to COVID-19 and therefore at risk of infection, was never 100%. At most, it was 50% and most likely only around 20%.

Friston’s model effectively vaporizes claims that social distancing is necessary, because once sensible behaviors such as staying home when sick are entered into it, the positive effect of lockdown efforts on “flattening the curve” simply vanish. In all likelihood, the global lockdowns were completely unnecessary, and certainly should not continue, now or in the future.

COVID-19 Growth Projections Were All Wrong

Support for Friston’s model comes from Michael Levitt,29 a professor of structural biology at the Stanford School of Medicine who received the Nobel Prize in 2013 for his development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.

According to Levitt, statistical data reveal a mathematical pattern that has stayed consistent regardless of the government interventions implemented. While early models predicted an exponential explosion of COVID-19 deaths, those predictions never materialized. As reported by Sayers in the video above:

“After around a two-week exponential growth of cases (and, subsequently, deaths) some kind of break kicks in, and growth starts slowing down. The curve quickly becomes ‘sub-exponential.’ This may seem like a technical distinction, but its implications are profound.

The ‘unmitigated’ scenarios modelled by (among others) Imperial College, and which tilted governments across the world into drastic action, relied on a presumption of continued exponential growth …

But Professor Levitt’s point is that that hasn’t actually happened anywhere, even in countries that have been relatively lax in their responses.”

Levitt believes prior immunity plays a significant role in why we simply don’t see an exponential growth pattern of COVID-19 deaths, and that certainly seems to make sense in light of the studies reviewed above. A majority of people simply aren’t (and weren’t) susceptible to COVID-19.

According to Levitt, the indiscriminate lockdowns implemented around the world were “a huge mistake.” He believes a more rational approach would have been to protect and isolate the elderly, who are by far the most vulnerable and make up the bulk of COVID-19 deaths around the world.

How to Mitigate COVID-19 Risks Further

Now, while the risks associated with COVID-19 may be far more insignificant than feared for a majority of the population, they still exist for a minority. The elderly are clearly at greatest risk for severe infection and death, but African-American, Asian and other darker-skinned individuals are also susceptible, likely due to the fact that they tend to have lower vitamin D levels.

To bolster your immune system and lower your risk of COVID-19 infection in the future, be sure to follow the instructions given in “Your Vitamin D Level Must Reach 60 ng/mL Before the Second Wave.” This is particularly true if you or someone you love is elderly or has darker skin. By addressing widespread vitamin D deficiency, we can significantly lower the COVID-19 mortality rate in the future. But we need to start now.

dr. mercola's report

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

 

Bold Action Required to Defeat Second Wave of COVID-19

 

 

As health officials continue to expect a second wave of COVID-19 this fall, spreading information about how to prevent it is becoming crucial. One of the most important strategies in this regard is to optimize your vitamin D level.

Vitamin D not only helps regulate immune function and prevent respiratory illnesses in general, but mounting data analyses show clear parallels between vitamin D levels and the risk of infection, severity and mortality from COVID-19 as well.

While U.S. authorities are still trying to debunk (and even instill fear) of vitamin D supplementation, British and Scottish authorities appear to be embracing a more sensible approach.

The British Frontline Immune Support Team, founded "to make available some of the best quality immune supportive products … to help keep those on the NHS (UK National Health Service) frontline resilient and strong," is already providing health care workers with free nutritional supplements known to bolster and regulate immune function.

This includes liposomal vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. As noted on frontlineimmunesupport.com, the group's fundraiser page:1

"Immune supportive packs are sent directly to each individual NHS healthcare worker who signs up for this initiative — and they receive all products for FREE. We currently have hundreds of NHS staff already signed up ready to go; and with your contributions we can supply and reach thousands more."

The Frontline Immune Support Team point out that vitamin D:2

"… plays a critical role in your immune defense system, both in reducing flu-like days of illness if your blood level is sufficient, and in helping your immune system respond when under viral attack. It speeds up recovery from pneumonia.

Two in five adults have a level of vitamin D below 25nmol/l, especially in late winter months such as February and March, that is likely to almost double their risk of flu. A vitamin D level above 100 nmol/l correlates with the lowest numbers of flu-like days. The moral of the story is to get your level up as quickly as possible."

Public Health Scotland and the British NHS are also assessing the evidence to determine whether vitamin D should be prescribed to in-hospital patients and as a prevention to high-risk groups.3

Vitamin D Level Correlates With Risk of Respiratory Infection

Clinical trials using vitamin D against COVID-19 are currently underway,4 but we don't need to wait for results to know that vitamin D optimization is a good idea. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus, which means it's more difficult for your immune system to identify and destroy it.

However, as noted by The Frontline Support Team, we already know higher vitamin D levels are inversely associated with infection by many other enveloped viruses, including dengue, hepatitis, herpes, HIV, rotavirus, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza.5,6

Vitamin D also strengthens cellular junctions, thereby making it more difficult for viruses to gain entry through your eyes, ears, lungs and mucus membranes. This in turn makes the infection less likely to migrate down into your lungs.7 Importantly, vitamin D also strengthens the adaptive arm of your immune system, and its ability to produce antibodies.8 According to a June 17, 2020, report by The Guardian:9

"Public health officials are urgently reviewing the potential ability of vitamin D to reduce the risk of coronavirus. It comes amid growing concern over the disproportionate number of black, Asian and minority ethnic people contracting and dying from the disease, including a reported10 94% of all doctors killed by the virus …

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) began this work last month and is considering recent evidence on vitamin D and acute respiratory tract infection in the general population. Evidence will be considered on specific population groups, including those of different ages and BAME [black, Asian, minority ethnic] groups.

In a parallel development, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is conducting a 'rapid' evidence review on vitamin D 'in the context of Covid-19' with support from Public Health England (PHE)."

Vitamin D — 'Designer Drug' Against Viral Infections

Adrian Martineau, a professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London, is currently leading the "Covidence UK Study,"11 an effort to collect data about how vitamin D deficiency impacts your COVID-19 risk. If you live in the UK, you can sign up for the Covidence UK study here.

Martineau tells The Guardian that COVID-19 deaths among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff within the NHS raises important questions about vitamin D status.12

"Vitamin D could almost be thought of as a designer drug for helping the body to handle viral respiratory infections. It boosts the ability of cells to kill and resist viruses and simultaneously dampens down harmful inflammation, which is one of the big problems with Covid," he told the paper.

Why People of Color Are at Increased Risk

There's a simple reason why BAME groups are more susceptible to COVID-19. Darker skin requires far more sun exposure to produce adequate vitamin D, so much so that dark-skinned individuals living north of the equator are virtually guaranteed to be chronically deficient.

According to data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2005 and 2006, and published in 2018, 82.1% of black American adults and 62.9% of Hispanic adults are deficient in vitamin D.13 As noted in that paper, lower melanin levels are protective of vitamin D deficiency, and the darker your skin, the more likely you are of having a low vitamin D level.

The good news is that this predisposition is easily and inexpensively remedied. The Frontline Support Team has made good strides toward protecting health care workers, so far supplying about 750 NHS frontline staff with free supplement packs. But the general public also needs it, too. At bare minimum, the public needs the information.

Scotland Issues Guidance on Vitamin D

In Scotland, government COVID-19 guidance now includes taking a daily vitamin D supplement. As reported by the Scotland Herald:14

"Official Scottish Government guidance issued on June 3 states that everyone, including children, 'should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.'

However, it is 'specifically recommended' to all pregnant and breastfeeding women; infants and children under five years old; people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, who require more sun exposure to make as much vitamin D; and people who are confined indoors."

US Ignores Vitamin D Impact

In stark contrast, U.S. health agencies appear to have little interest in helping the public support their immune system through appropriate nutrition, but would rather have you rely on drugs and vaccines.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends15 getting your vitamin D from food and beverages only, despite the fact that dietary intake of vitamin D is insufficient to reach and maintain the level required to prevent viral illnesses and other chronic diseases.

That said, some health experts are speaking out. Among them is former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, who wrote an opinion piece for Fox News in which he suggests vitamin D may reduce COVID-19 mortality rates, especially in those who are deficient.16

He goes on to say supplementation has reduced the "risk of respiratory infections, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of other viruses such as influenza." Much of the damage from COVID-19 occurs with a "cytokine storm," during which the body's inflammatory system goes into high gear, damaging organs and increasing mortality rates. He writes:17

"We can do lots of things to improve our resistance to infection. These include getting regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, stopping smoking and other tobacco use, and, for people living with diabetes, getting it under control.

Taking a multivitamin that includes Vitamin D, or a Vitamin D supplement, probably can't hurt, and it might help. As we continue to work to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, anything we can do to strengthen our resistance is a step in the right direction."

Similarly, Dr. John C. Umhau, a public health specialist at the NIH, has argued that vitamin D is one of the "most studied and most important host factor impacting survival from COVID-19."18 He also points out that "A government-sponsored research strategy to address this issue has not been developed, as officials explained that there was no mandate to explore an alternative to the existing vaccination program."

Considering the hazards inherent in fast-tracking a COVID-19 vaccine, and seeing how previous attempts at creating a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine have all failed, putting all of the public health eggs in the vaccine basket is questionable in the extreme.

What Science Says About Vitamin D

By now, there's a very long list of scientific evidences pointing toward vitamin D optimization as being a crucial component for preventing another spike in COVID-19 deaths.

In the video above, Ivor Cummins, chief program officer for Irish Heart Disease Awareness, explains how higher levels of vitamin D may reduce your risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19. Studies supporting this view include but are not limited to the following:

A scientific review19 in the journal Nutrients concluded vitamin D can reduce the risk of infection by lowering the rate at which the virus replicates and reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokines that damage the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Vitamin D also helps increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines that may help protect the lungs. The researchers recommended those at risk take:

"… 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L)."

Vitamin D is an important component in the prevention and treatment of influenza20 and upper respiratory tract infections21 — While vitamin D does not appear to have a direct effect on the virus itself, it strengthens immune function, thus allowing the host body to combat the virus more effectively.22

As detailed in "Vitamin D Prevents Infections," research shows high-dose vitamin D supplementation lowers the risk of respiratory illnesses and lung infections in the elderly by 40%. As noted by an author of that study, "Vitamin D can improve the immune system's ability to fight infections because it bolsters the first line of defense of the immune system."

Importantly, vitamin D also suppresses inflammatory processes. Taken together, this might make vitamin D quite useful against COVID-19, because while robust immune function is required for your body to combat the virus, an overactivated immune system is also responsible for the cytokine storm we see in COVID-19 infection that can lead to death. As noted by pulmonologist Dr. Roger Seheult in the video below:

"What we want is a smart immune system — an immune system that takes care of the virus but doesn't put us into an inflammatory condition that could put us on a ventilator."

Research23 published in 2009 suggests fatality rates during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic were influenced by season, with greater numbers of people dying during the winter (when vitamin D levels are at their lowest) than the summer. According to the authors:24

"Substantial correlations were found for associations of July UVB dose with case fatality rates and rates of pneumonia as a complication of influenza. Similar results were found for wintertime UVB.

Vitamin D upregulates production of human cathelicidin, LL-37, which has both antimicrobial and antiendotoxin activities. Vitamin D also reduces the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which could also explain some of the benefit of vitamin D since H1N1 infection gives rise to a cytokine storm."

Research25 published in 2017 — a meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials — confirmed that vitamin D supplementation helps protect against acute respiratory infections.

Importantly, this analysis also discovered daily or weekly supplementation of vitamin D had the greatest protective effect in those with the lowest vitamin D levels.26 In other words, large, infrequent bolus doses do not work well.

Those with severe vitamin D deficiency who took a daily or weekly supplement cut their respiratory infection risk in half, whereas the acute administration of high bolus doses of vitamin D had no significant impact on infection risk.

Data analysis27 by GrassrootsHealth shows people with a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/mL reduced their risk of colds by 15% and flu by 41%, compared to those with a level below 20 ng/mL.

Findings from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)28,29 suggest vitamin D deficiency could have serious implications for COVID-19. The researchers recommend adults over 50 take a vitamin D supplement year-round (not just in winter) if they don't get enough sun exposure to optimize their levels.

According to the vitamin D review paper30 "Evidence That Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Death," published in the journal Nutrients, April 2, 2020:

"Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines …

To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d.

The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful."

A GrassrootsHealth review of an observational study involving 212 COVID-19 patients in Southeast Asia identified a correlation between vitamin D levels and disease severity. Those with the mildest disease had the highest vitamin D levels, and vice versa.

In the initial study group of 212 patients (see Table 1 below), 55 had normal vitamin D levels, which was defined as greater than 30 ng/ml; 80 had insufficient levels of 21 to 29 ng/ml and 77 had deficient levels of less than 20 ng/ml.

According to the research done by GrassrootsHealth, 40 ng/mL is the lower edge of optimal, with 60 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL being ideal for health and disease prevention. Despite that, the benefit of having a vitamin D level above 30 ng/mL was clear.

vitamin d covid-19 severity

In a study31,32 that looked at data from 780 COVID-19 patients in Indonesia, those with a vitamin D level between 20 ng/mL and 30 ng/mL 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.

Research33,34 posted on the preprint server MedRxiv June 10, 2020, reports a combination of vitamin D3, B12 and magnesium inhibited the progression of COVID-19 in patients over the age of 50, resulting in "a significant reduction in proportion of patients with clinical deterioration requiring oxygen support and/or intensive care support."

Check Your Level Before You Start Downing Supplements

On the upside, news about vitamin D appears to be reaching the masses. According to Foodnavigator-Asia, sales of the Japanese FANCL brand of vitamin D were 2018% higher in April 2020 compared to April 2019.35 While that's a good sign, it's important to remember to get your vitamin D level tested before you start supplementing.

The reason for this is because you cannot rely on blanket dosing recommendations. The crucial factor here is your blood level, not the dose, as the dose you need is dependent on several individual factors, including your baseline blood level.

Data from GrassrootsHealth's D*Action studies suggest the optimal level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL, while the cutoff for sufficiency appears to be around 40 ng/mL. In Europe, the measurements you're looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively.

I recently published a comprehensive vitamin D report in which I detail vitamin D's mechanisms of action and how to ensure optimal levels. I recommend downloading and sharing that report with everyone you know. A quick summary of the key steps is as follows:

1. First, measure your vitamin D level — One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of measuring your vitamin D level is to participate in the GrassrootsHealth's personalized nutrition project, which includes a vitamin D testing kit.

Once you know what your blood level is, you can assess the dose needed to maintain or improve your level. If you cannot get enough vitamin D from the sun (you can use the DMinder app36 to see how much vitamin D your body can make depending on your location and other individual factors), then you'll need an oral supplement.

2. Assess your individualized vitamin D dosage — To do that, you can either use the chart below, or use GrassrootsHealth's Vitamin D*calculator. To convert ng/mL into the European measurement (nmol/L), simply multiply the ng/mL measurement by 2.5. To calculate how much vitamin D you may be getting from regular sun exposure in addition to your supplemental intake, use the DMinder app.37

Vitamin D Serum Level

3. Retest in three to six months — Lastly, you'll need to remeasure your vitamin D level in three to six months, to evaluate how your sun exposure and/or supplement dose is working for you.

dr. mercola's report

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Take Your Vitamin D With Magnesium and K2

As previously detailed in "Magnesium and K2 Optimize Your Vitamin D Supplementation," it's strongly recommended to take magnesium and K2 concomitant with oral vitamin D. Data from nearly 3,000 individuals reveal you need 244% more oral vitamin D if you're not also taking magnesium and vitamin K2!38

What this means in practical terms is that if you take all three supplements in combination, you need far less oral vitamin D in order to achieve a healthy vitamin D level.

Vitamin D Dose-Response

Help Us Spread the Word!

Remember, while vitamin D is important for everyone, key target populations are the elderly and people of color. It's now beyond evident that COVID-19 affects the elderly far more severely, on average, than younger individuals, and those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities seem to be at an extraordinarily increased risk of dying from COVID-19.

Add to that the increased hospitalization rate and mortality among people of color, and it should be easy to see that targeting these two groups with commonsense strategies such as vitamin D optimization can, and most likely will, have a tremendous impact on COVID-19 mortality rates in the future. As Robert Brown with the McCarrison Society, a nutrition think tank, told the Scotland Herald:39

"The biological pathways by which vitamin D can help reduce severity of Covid-19 are well established and the real-life evidence from within this pandemic is growing. What's needed now is for government to be bold and act now to mitigate the risk of a second wave returning in the winter."

That said, don't let government's failure to address vitamin D to stop you from taking control of your own health. Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and readily available, as are vitamin K2 and magnesium. If we can get the word out, we are likely to significantly quell any reemergence of COVID-19, and eliminate most of the racial disparities we see among patients with severe illness.

The Importance of Testing Your Vitamin D Levels

A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.

For a more detailed and comprehensive analysis of the connection of vitamin D and COVID-19, please review the report I created that could be used to address any health care professionals who would disagree with this recommendation. Also included is a shortened version of the document which will be better to educate those that you would like to convince of the importance of getting your vitamin D levels optimized.

dr. mercola's report

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Vitamin D Helps Protect Against Cancer and Other Diseases

According to one large-scale study, having optimal vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer and can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers.

Vitamin D from sun exposure also radically decreases your risk of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Type 1 diabetes. Sun exposure also helps prevent osteoporosis, which is a significant concern for women in particular.

Magnesium Is Necessary to Activate Vitamin D

Since over half the population does not get enough magnesium and far more are likely deficient, magnesium supplementation is recommended when taking vitamin D supplements. This is because magnesium helps to activate vitamin D, as the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D in your liver and kidneys require magnesium.

What GrassrootsHealth observed in testing and analyzing nutrient intakes from over 15,000 patients is that about half of those taking vitamin D supplements were unable to normalize their vitamin D levels until they started to take supplemental magnesium.

They also found that those who do not take supplemental magnesium need, on average, 146% more vitamin D per day to achieve a healthy blood level of 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L), compared to those who take at least 400 mg of magnesium along with their vitamin D supplement.

Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial to Your Well-Being

Meanwhile, recent research suggests high doses (4 grams) of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA may help improve healing after a heart attack. Other benefits of omega-3 fats include prevention of lupus and Parkinson’s disease, decreased anxiety, healthier and stronger bones, as well as fighting fats in the body.

However, you can’t tell by looking in a mirror if you are deficient in vitamin D, magnesium or omega-3s. The only real way to know if you are deficient in these nutrients is to get tested.

How Much Vitamin D Should You Take

If you know your vitamin D level you can use the calculator below to find the best dose to take.

If you are unable or unwilling to get a vitamin D test, they have found that the average dose to achieve a healthy vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml is about 8,000 units per day. If you are underweight you will want to reduce this dose to 6-7,000 units per day as heavier people tend to need more vitamin D.

How to Test Your Levels

I'm really pleased GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has expanded its research projects to include a range of different tests, seeing how deficiency may be needlessly affecting the health of so many. Like its Vitamin D*action Project, the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project will allow us all to take action on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy.

The Vitamin D*action Project has truly demonstrated the value measurement can have on public health, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project will have the same impact. As in earlier projects, once the study of a community is completed, all that information can be used to push for public health recommendations that will benefit everyone.

Vitamin D Kit
Order Now Button

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

You have the ability to participate in a variety of different tests, including:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D and Omega 3
  • Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Magnesium
  • Vitamin D, Magnesium & Omega 3 PLUS Elements.

Remember, by participating in this public research project, you not only are identifying your own levels, but allowing yourself to make decisions about your diet and supplements to improve your health. Your data (which is anonymous) will also help GrassrootsHealth researchers to determine the ideal levels for the prevention of various diseases, and what kind of dose-response relationship exists among the general population.

With the data from this project, individuals will be able to see what works for them, and, researchers will be able to demonstrate just to what extent health care costs may be reduced simply by getting people into an optimal range.

 

Have You Tried Box Breathing?

 

 

Breathing is universal, habitual and nearly always automatic. When you get stressed, your breathing pattern and rate change. This often results in more chest breathing in response to a "fight or flight" situation, a response triggered by the autonomic nervous system.1

In April 2019, a headline in The New York Times announced, "Americans Are Among the Most Stressed People in the World …"2 This was slightly less than one year before the COVID-19 pandemic raised stress levels even further.

Americans are no strangers to stress. A poll was conducted in 2007 by the American Psychological Association (APA). In a press release they noted that one-third reported they were living with "extreme stress" and 48% thought their stress had "increased over the past five years."3 Russ Newman, APA executive director for professional practice, commented:4

"Stress in America continues to escalate and is affecting every aspect of people's lives — from work to personal relationships to sleep patterns and eating habits, as well as their health.

We know that stress is a fact of life and some stress can have a positive impact, however, the high stress levels that many Americans report experiencing can have long-term health consequences, ranging from fatigue to obesity and heart disease."

Fortunately, your breathing is not completely automatic. Controlled breathing is one strategy that has proven effective in reducing physiological stress indicators and improving feelings of being calm.

This means you can control your breath to help manage stress, improve relaxation and make greater strides to take control of your health. Let's start with a short explanation of some of the different parts of the nervous system.

Functions of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Systems

Stress and your body's reactions to environmental stimuli that cause stress are survival mechanisms. However, chronic activation of the system causes the consistent release of hormones that produce harmful physiological changes.

While the fight-or-flight response is critical if you're facing down a bear or running from an assailant, ongoing exposure to societal stress can raise your risk of chronic disease and death.5 Your response to a stressful situation begins in the amygdala of your brain, which plays a role in how you handle the emotions associated with stress, joy and other scenarios.6

The amygdala sends a signal to the hypothalamus, which communicates to the body through the autonomic nervous system. This system controls functions in the body that happen automatically, such as your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.

The autonomic nervous system has two parts, one that raises the alarm and another that helps calm you down. The sympathetic nervous system signals the fight-or-flight response to begin. This gives you the energy and focus you need to flee from a risky situation. Once the danger has passed, the parasympathetic nervous system helps apply the brakes to the release of hormones so that the body can rest.

Each of these changes happen quickly and without any input from you. This is why you can jump out of the way of a snake in the grass before you fully recognize there's anything in your path.

Keeping the sympathetic nervous system revved up and ready has a detrimental effect on your health. By using controlled breathing, you can calm yourself and create real physiological changes, including:7

  • Lowering your heart rate and blood pressure
  • Lowering levels of stress hormones
  • Balancing carbon dioxide and oxygen blood levels
  • Improving immune functioning and energy levels
  • Increasing feeling of being calm

Box Breathing Reduces Stress and Promotes Health

The technique of box breathing is what SEALS use. In this video, Mark Divine of SEALFIT demonstrates box breathing and tactical breathing. He explains tactical breathing is used during performance to calm the mind when you're under duress. For those of us not in combat situations, this might happen in the boardroom, during an athletic competition or while taking a test.

SEALS use box breathing as the practice technique, so tactical breathing is effective when it's needed. There are four steps and each is done for the same amount of time. Breathing affects how you think and feel.8 Lynne Everatt is an author, personal trainer and wellness expert from Toronto. She spoke to a reporter from Forbes, saying:9

"Stress and anxiety trigger neurocircuitry that was designed to be used sparingly to deal with life-or-death threats, not on a daily basis as a response to gnarled traffic, a toxic boss or work overload.

Chronic stress has a corrosive effect on the brain that has been linked to degeneration of the hippocampus (the brain's memory center) and impaired functioning of the prefrontal cortex that can manifest in our lives as depression, dementia and impaired executive function."

To begin practicing box breathing, get in a quiet place where you can concentrate and maintain good posture. Ideally, you'll want to measure how many cycles or minutes you can do the technique and work up to five minutes.10

Do each step below with focus and intention on your actions. Most people who use this technique recommend inhaling and exhaling to a count of four or five. Either is acceptable as long as each phase takes same the length of time.

Step 1 — Begin by exhaling the air out of your lungs to a slow count of four. Some recommend exhaling through your mouth; Divine recommends exhaling through your nose.

Step 2 — Hold your breath for a slow count of four.

Step 3 — Inhale slowly to a slow count of four through your nose, keeping your back straight and breathing through your abdomen so your shoulders do not rise.

Step 4 — Hold your breath for a slow count of four and return to step 1.

Nose Breathing Offers Many Advantages

Breathing through your nose offers specific health benefits. Researchers have found that people who usually breathe through their mouth have a higher risk of sleep problems and attention deficit disorders.11 One theory for this is the difference in brain oxygenation.

Individuals who mouth breathe tend to hyperventilate or get more oxygen than is needed.12 This lowers the level of CO2 in the body, which is important since you need a balance of oxygen and CO2 to function optimally. Nose breathing helps accomplish this.

Your vagus nerve is the major part of the parasympathetic nervous system.13 Diaphragmatic breathing, which you may have heard as slow abdominal breathing, triggers the vagus nerve and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Since the 1970s, deep breathing has become a central part of helping reduce stress and anxiety, widely accepted by Western clinicians.14

By stimulating the vagus nerve and thus the parasympathetic nervous system, nose breathing can help reduce stress, anxiety and the release of stress hormones. Breathing through your nose helps you to breathe less.

This might sound like a bad recommendation, yet many people chronically over-breathe and deplete their carbon dioxide reserves. Chronic mouth breathing has been associated with several health problems, including:

  • Sleep apnea15
  •  Bronchoconstriction with exercised-induced asthma16,17
  • Abnormal facial development18,19
  • Poor dental health20
  • Hyperventilation, which results in reduced oxygen to your brain and heart21,22

More Breathing Techniques to Improve Health

As I've written before in "Top Breathing Techniques for Better Health," the function behind box breathing that reduces stress, raises your CO2 level and signals your parasympathetic system is diaphragmatic breathing. You can easily assess your body's tolerance for CO2 at home, using a technique developed by Dr. Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko.23

This Russian physician discovered that the level of CO2 in your lungs correlates with your ability to hold your breath after a normal exhalation. Begin by sitting straight with your feet flat to the floor. Take a small breath in and out through your nose. After exhaling, pinch your nose to keep air from entering and then start your stopwatch. Hold your breath until you feel the first desire to breathe. When you feel that urge, resume breathing and note the time.

Your first breath should be calm and controlled through your nose. If you feel like you had to take a deep breath, then you held your breath too long. What you just measured is called the "control pause," or CP. This is a reflection of the tolerance your body has for carbon dioxide. Most people can hold it 20 to 40 seconds, but 40 to 60 is optimal. Anything lower than 40 may be reason for concern.

One strategy for improving your CP is to raise your fitness and endurance levels. Another is to improve your breathing technique by expanding your abdomen rather than lifting your shoulders. When your shoulders lift during inhalation, it's called vertical breathing.

This can make you feel taller and it does not involve extending your stomach. However, correct breathing causes your midsection to widen and is called horizontal breathing. This engages your diaphragm, which allows you to take a more complete breath and stimulate your vagus nerve.

Nose Breathing Nitric Oxide May Have Antiviral Properties

Another reason to breathe through your nose is to raise the production of nitric oxide (NO).24 Your body produces NO in other places as well, including your endothelial cells. This is a soluble gas that has some exceptional health benefits, some of which I discuss in "The Importance of Healthy Bacteria in Nitric Oxide Production."

Many of those benefits may be a result of NO being a signaling molecule. Doctors use the gas in a number of clinical settings, including to help reverse pulmonary high blood pressure in newborns. NO produced by your endothelium helps to relax arteries and reduce blood pressure. This helps to promote oxygenation to all your organs.25

Another benefit of inhaled nitric oxide has been in the treatment of viral infection. Clinical trials are currently underway for the treatment of people infected with SARS-CoV-2. The principal actions that could help combat COVID-19 include:26

  • Dilating pulmonary arteries to help the lungs get more blood
  • Opening bronchial airways to increase oxygen delivery
  • Directly eliciting antiviral activity against the virus

Louis J. Ignarro, Ph.D., author of the article in The Conversation, was one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1998. The group of pharmacologists discovered how nitric oxide was produced and how it functions in the body.27 Nitric oxide is produced in the nasal cavity, but not in the mouth.

This means that those who chronically breathe through their mouth are bypassing production that can be inhaled into the lungs.28 This direct delivery helps increase air flow and blood flow within the lung tissue, and it inhibits the growth and replication of viruses and other microorganisms. There is a clinical trial currently underway to:29

"… determine whether inhaled NO improves short term respiratory status, prevents future hospitalization, and improves the clinical course in patients diagnosed with COVID-19 specifically in the emergency department."

You can help boost your NO production at home using a simple, four-minute exercise three times a day. Dr. Zach Bush, whose triple-board certification includes expertise in internal medicine, endocrinology and metabolism, named the exercise the Nitric Oxide Dump. He says it is anaerobically efficient and the more you do it, the better it works.

The exercise can be done at home with no equipment and can accommodate every fitness level. It works by stimulating the release of nitric oxide. You'll find more about the exercise, how to do it and why it's so beneficial at "Fitness Checkup: Why You Need to Try the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout."

 

Weekly Health Quiz: Pathogens, Molecules and Infections

 

 

1 Which of the following groups are at greatest risk for both vitamin D deficiency and severe COVID-19 infection and death?

  • Caucasians
  • The elderly
  • Both the elderly and people of color

    The elderly and people of color are the two groups that are at greatest risk for both vitamin D deficiency and severe COVID-19 infection and death. Compelling research shows vitamin D deficiency is driving COVID-19 mortality, so helping these populations optimize their vitamin D levels may prevent tens of thousands of deaths should a second wave of COVID-19 emerge. Learn more.

  • People of color

2 What is the most problematic hurdle facing COVID-19 vaccine developers?

  • Pain caused by the quantum dot delivery method
  • Low profit projections
  • Complicated vaccine delivery
  • Paradoxical immune enhancement

    The most hazardous hurdle for any COVID-19 vaccine is the potential for paradoxical immune enhancement. Past attempts at creating coronavirus vaccines have failed, as both animal and human subjects would develop robust antibody responses but then become gravely ill when exposed to the wild virus. In some animal studies, all the animals died upon exposure to the wild virus. Learn more.

3 Which of the following publications was recently caught altering an article about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, from presenting evidence the virus was lab-created, to dismissing that evidence as conspiracy and rumor?

  • Forbes

    Forbes' June 7, 2020, article on a Norwegian report that claims to present proof that SARS-CoV-2 is a laboratory creation was almost immediately altered to reflect the opposing view. Learn more.

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The New York Times
  • The HuffPost

4 According to recent research, what percentage of the population may be resistant or have prior immunity to SARS-CoV-2 on the T-cell level?

  • 0-5%
  • 10-15%
  • 40-60%

    Evidence for resistance to SARS-CoV-2 is emerging. One recent study found 40% to 60% of people who had not been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 still had resistance to the virus on the T-cell level. According to the authors, this suggests there's cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating 'common cold' coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2. Learn more.

  • 90-95%

5 Exposure to which pathogen appears to also provide resistance against SARS-CoV-2?

  • Measles virus
  • Betacoronaviruses OC43 and HKU1

    If you've beat a common cold caused by a OC43 or HKU1 betacoronavirus in the past, you may have a 50/50 chance of having defensive T-cells that can recognize and help defend against SARS-CoV-2. Learn more.

  • Mumps virus
  • HIV virus

6 Which of the following hospitals — accused by one nurse of providing Third-World level medical care — is the epicenter of the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.?

  • NYU Langone Hospital, New York, New York
  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Elmhurst Hospital Center, Queens, New York

    In a heavily censored video interview, nurse Erin Olszewski reveals the horrific maltreatment of COVID-19 patients at Elmhurst Hospital Center, the public hospital in Queens, New York, that is "the epicenter of the epicenter" of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Learn more.

  • OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

7 Which is the smallest molecule in the universe?

  • Oxygen
  • Helium
  • Water
  • Hydrogen

    The hydrogen molecule is the smallest in the universe, which allows it to diffuse through all cell membranes, including the blood-brain barrier and subcellular compartments, such as the mitochondria. It also has no charge or polarity. All of this gives it superior bioavailability. Learn more.

 

Milk Thistle: Multiple Benefits but Not a Good Garden Plant

 

 

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a member of the asteraceae family and has a large purple flower.1 It comes from the Mediterranean region, but after having been introduced to other parts of the world, it's become naturalized in South America, North America and Southern Australia.

The plants can grow up to 5 feet tall and are covered in spines. They have a long history of being used as an edible, medicinal plant. The earliest record of milk thistle was made by Dioscorides, who thought it helped snake bite.2 Pliny the Elder wrote about its use in supporting liver health.

In the following decades, others also wrote about using milk thistle, including herbalist Nicholas Culpepper and late-19th century physicians Harvey Wickes Felter and John Uri Lloyd. Native Americans used the plant to treat skin conditions and boils. Homeopathic practitioners have used the seeds to treat liver conditions such as jaundice, as well as varicose veins and gallstones.

In Germany, herbal medications are used and researched under the guidance of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices Commission E, which is often referred to as the German Commission E.3 The group "recommends it [silymarin] for treatment of toxin-induced liver problems and liver cirrhosis, and as a supportive treatment for chronic diseases of the liver."4

Basics of Milk Thistle Benefits

The largest bioactive components in milk thistle are flavonolignans.5 These compounds can modulate cell-signaling pathways and reduce inflammation. The active component in milk thistle is silymarin, which is a group of flavonolignans that work together and can be isolated from the seeds.6

Silymarin has several components, including antioxidants and several other biological properties, which are derived from the seeds.7 They include silybins A and B, isosilybin A and B, silychristin (silichristin) and silydiamin. When combined, silybins A and B are called silibinin.8

The terms milk thistle and silymarin have been used interchangeably, although this is technically inaccurate. Lab studies have shown that silymarin can stimulate detoxification and regeneration of liver tissue. In fact, silymarin's effect on the liver is so great that some researchers have called it "the most potential drug to treat almost all kind of liver diseases."9

Silyman's Role in Cancer

Milk thistle stabilizes cellular membranes and inhibits the growth of certain cancers. In some instances, it has been found to potentially increase the effectiveness of specific chemotherapeutic drugs while protecting the liver.10 Since those drugs can also be toxic to the liver, finding a way to protect liver function while under chemotherapy can help improve a patient's health.11

Scientists also have found that silymarin can help protect the liver from oxidative stress driven by reactive oxygen species and cytokines. In one study12 with children being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, researchers divided the participants into two groups. One received silymarin in three divided doses for one week after each dose of methotrexate, and the second received a placebo.

Before the research began, there was no significant difference in the children's liver and renal function. After chemotherapy, the group receiving silymarin showed improved liver and kidney function.

Silibinin is one component of silymarin. It has demonstrated significant effects against a variety of malignancies. In one study,13 it showed the ability to down-regulate two pathways to suppress the growth of cancer cells.

In another lab study,14 cells from estrogen-dependent breast carcinoma were cultured and treated with silymarin, doxorubicin or a combination of doxorubicin and silymarin. Researchers found that silymarin had a synergistic effect on doxorubicin, a chemotherapeutic agent used in breast cancer.15

But, that doesn't mean silymarin should be taken automatically as an adjunct to all cancer treatment, as it can negatively interact with some chemotherapy agents. For example, since silymarin has estrogenic effects, it can counteract hormone inhibitors given for hormone-receptive breast cancer.16 So, always check with your physician first, if you want to use silymarin in conjunction with your cancer treatment.

Currently, milk thistle can be purchased as a dietary supplement. However, Siteman Cancer Center warns that taking the supplement may introduce a few adverse side effects. For example, some side effects can include anorexia, gastrointestinal disturbances and nausea.17 And, as mentioned, use caution with Western medicine chemotherapeutic agents.

Milk Thistle Supports Liver Health and Repair

In lab studies and animal models, silymarin has demonstrated the ability to prevent or reduce liver injury after exposure to certain toxins, including acetaminophen and Amanita phalloides, a type of poisonous fungus.18 However, in human studies on milk thistle's benefit to your liver, some data have been inconclusive.

For example, some studies found no benefits to support milk thistle's use for chronic hepatitis C or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). On the other hand, in at least one animal study,19 researchers combined taurine and silymarin and found that, together, they could effectively reduce both lipid accumulation in the liver and insulin resistance.

And, antiviral activity has been documented with the intravenous use of silibinin against hepatitis C. In one case report of an individual who was infected with both hepatitis C and HIV, two weeks of silibinin administered intraveneously cleared both hepatitis C and HIV.20

The Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine21 also writes that silymarin has an effect against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a more advanced form of NAFLD. It can also help alleviate cirrhosis of the liver and boost liver function.22

Data published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences support the finding that treatment with silymarin plus vitamin E could help patients with NAFLD. The study team concluded:23

"Silymarin can be an alternative valid therapeutic option particularly when other drugs are not indicated or have failed or as a complementary treatment associated with other therapeutic programs."

Silymarin Is Hepatoprotective Against Certain Poisons

Silymarin has demonstrated the ability to protect the liver against acute alcohol poisoning (alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity) in a study involving animals.24 As already mentioned, it may also offer some hope to those who accidentally eat the amanita mushroom, also known as the death cap.25

To give you an idea of just how deadly the death cap mushroom is, just one can kill a healthy adult and its compounds are extremely stable.26 This means soaking, cooking or drying does not remove the poison from the mushroom. Symptoms start six to 16 hours after eating, depending upon how much was consumed and the health of the person who ate it.

Symptoms begin with stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea that continues for one to two days. In the following two to three days the person appears as if they've recovered. After this is the terminal phase, in which the stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea are accompanied by evidence of liver damage, which then leads to death.

But, even so, a review in Lancet Oncology suggests that silymarin given intravenously may very well save your life if you ingest this mushroom:27

"A review of more than 2000 patients exposed to amanita mushrooms in Europe and North America suggested that intravenous silybinin was the most effective therapy available against this toxin."

More Health Benefits of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle can also increase milk production in lactating mothers.28 In the past, silymarin has been used to improve milk production in dairy cows. With humans, one research group undertook a study to evaluate the effect it may have on postpartum women.29 Fifty healthy women were enrolled and given silymarin for 63 days. At the end of the study the researchers found that milk production had increased by 85.94%.

This was much higher than the group receiving the placebo, who increased milk production by 32.09%. None of the participants dropped out during the study and no women reported unwanted side effects.

Milk thistle is also a bacteria-fighter: Data have shown that it may inhibit bacterial growth and biofilm formation.30 In one study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology,31 researchers evaluated the effects of silymarin and found it could reduce biofilm viability and that it had antibacterial activity against standard bacterial strains.

Researchers believe milk thistle's anti-inflammatory effects may be in part due to a two-phase process, similar to that used by curcumin and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is an antioxidant found in green tea.32 In the first phase there is an increase in the expression of genes associated with cellular stress. The second phase involves a longer suppression of gene expression and inhibition of inflammatory signaling pathways.

Silymarin can also activate AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is an enzyme sometimes called the "metabolic master switch."33 This is because AMPK plays an important role in regulating metabolism.

Silymarin can also inhibit mammalian target of rapamycin (mTor), which is beneficial since activation increases your risk of cancer. Historically, milk thistle had been used to treat those who had mental health conditions. Recently, it has been found silymarin has neuroprotective effects and may help address memory loss triggered by oxidative stress.34

Effects on Neurological System and Blood Sugar

Animal models have been used to test the effects of silymarin on Alzheimer's disease,35 Parkinson's disease36 and cerebral ischemia.37 In each study the researchers found that the test animals benefited from using supplementation to reduce the effects of the condition.

Unfortunately, there are few, if any, studies on whether silymarin might also be useful for other neurological diseases such as Hungtington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis.38

The compound has known effects on blood sugar.39 Taking it daily can lower hemoglobin A1c levels, which means that for people with Type 2 diabetes and taking insulin, extra care has to be taken because it can cause your blood sugar to drop too low.

Take Care if You Plant Milk Thistle at Home

Before you consider planting milk thistle in your backyard, be forewarned: It's a highly invasive, quickly-spreading weed. You may not mind having it all over your yard, but it is no respecter of boundaries. This means it'll likely end up in your neighbor's yard as well.

Milk thistle is also toxic to livestock, so don't plant it outside if you have grazing animals nearby. It has adapted to growing just about anywhere, even in poor-quality soil. Ideally, the seeds should be planted in an area that gets full sun. Once the flowers have started to dry, they'll be ready for harvest.40

Cut the flowers from the plant and place them in a paper bag. Store the bag in a dry place to allow the flower heads to dry. Once you're certain all the moisture is gone, shake the bag to separate the seeds from the flower head.41 The seeds are best kept in a dry, airtight container. Only remove them when you're ready to use them.

There are several ways to incorporate milk thistle seeds into your food. They can be powdered in a coffee grinder and sprinkled on salads, added to smoothies or raw juice. You can also use the seeds to make your own tea. You'll find a recipe for milk thistle tea in my past article "Magnificent Milk Thistle."

 

Don’t Relinquish Civil Liberties for False Sense of Security

 

 

Dr. Mercola Interviews the Experts

This article is part of a weekly series in which Dr. Mercola interviews various experts on a variety of health issues. To see more expert interviews, click here.

Barbara Loe Fisher is the co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), which is the oldest and largest consumer-led nonprofit organization in the U.S. providing accurate and objective information to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and help people make informed health choices.

As noted by Fisher, the rapid movement by governments and the pharmaceutical industry toward mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19 and the proposed tracking and tracing of all individuals under the guise of public health is a culmination of everything we have been talking about for decades.

“Back in 1993, I started to predict that the day would come when Americans would not be able to participate in society without showing proof they've been vaccinated with whatever the government says they have to be vaccinated with,” Fisher says.

Utilitarianism Demands Sacrifice ‘for the Greater Good’

Legal proponents such as Alan Dershowitz, who has represented the notorious sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and other prominent individuals, is now using a 1905 Supreme Court ruling to justify government officials literally detaining Americans and forcibly vaccinating them if they do not agree to get vaccinated voluntarily. Fisher explains:

“Dershowitz … was quite reckless in the language he used. He basically said that the Supreme Court in 1905 (Jacobson v. Massachusetts), [gives] the right of state governments to come in and forcibly inject you with a vaccine. That's not really what Jacobson v. Massachusetts said ...

In that case, it was smallpox, because that was the only vaccine they had in 1905, but you have to read the Supreme Court decision very carefully to understand everything that the justices said.

They basically concluded — and I think wrongly so, because utilitarianism … is based on a mathematical equation that some can be inconvenienced or sacrificed for the greater good of a majority of people — that people [who] opposed smallpox vaccination could be required to be vaccinated during epidemics.

Even religious objections could be overridden. But there's also language in that decision that says that the court is not to be interpreted as meaning that if an individual was at risk for being harmed by the vaccination, they were not meant to [have concluded] that “cruel and inhuman to the last degree” would be the standard that would be used.

I think Dershowitz overstated the opinion, although it is a utilitarian opinion. It gives authority to the states to mandate vaccines because anything that is not defined in the Constitution as a federal activity is reserved for the states.

Public health laws, by and large in this country, are written by the states, and the federal authority is requiring vaccination for people crossing territorial borders of the United States [and the federal government] could mandate vaccines for interstate travel, crossing state borders. But most public health laws that legislatures make are for the residents of the states, which is why we have a patchwork of [vaccine] laws in this country …

I'm very worried that some attorney is going to try to challenge the Jacobson [ruling] in the 21st century. I think that, probably, in any court right now, you're going to get that ruling upheld and you're going to get it strengthened. I would advise against [challenging] that one in the Supreme Court.”

Enforcement Will Become a Hot Issue

If the worst-case scenario occurs and your state decides to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, the practical question will be how they’re going to enforce it. They’ll most probably rely on local police and/or the county sheriff.

Thankfully, county sheriffs are elected by the people and are directly accountable to the citizens in their county, the state Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution, and have the legal authority to deny what they consider to be an unlawful governmental order.

For this reason, I believe it is important to know who your county sheriff is. Get to know and develop a relationship with them. Educate them about why it is important to defend the human right to make informed, voluntary decisions about medical risk taking, including vaccine risk-taking.

It is important to remember that, although the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts affirmed the constitutional authority of elected representatives in state legislatures to pass public health laws requiring vaccination, state legislators also have the constitutional authority to choose NOT to mandate vaccines and/or to include flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions in state public health laws.

This is why, in 2010, the National Vaccine Information Center created the NVIC Advocacy Portal, an online communications tool that monitors vaccine-related state legislation and alerts residents when proposed bills are moving in their state. They also provide fact-based talking points you can share when contacting your legislators.

The bottom line is that we need, as a nation, to start developing personal relationships with the elected legislators and officials, including our county sheriff. They need to know we will not accept tyranny in America.

“Let's hope that what has happened this year is a lesson to the people that [they must] elect legislators who are going to reflect their values and beliefs — traditional values and beliefs that have been respected in this country for 245 years. If we don’t elect good people, we're not going to have good laws,” Fisher says.

“The millennials and the Gen Xers have got to start running for office if they want to have a future where they're going to be able to enjoy freedom of speech and conscience, freedom of religion and the right to assembly.

All of these things [are] protected in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights. We have to elect people at the state and federal level who are not going to sell out, who are not going to sacrifice their integrity for money.

We know the pharmaceutical industry is the biggest lobby on Capitol Hill … we've got to build a firewall between government and industry that has been completely broken down in the last 40 years.”

H.R. 6666 Violates Several Constitutional Amendments

For example, H.R.6666, the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act, introduced in the House of Representatives May 1, 2020, has 64 co-sponsors1 (all Democrats; one Republican has withdrawn his name) and that bill would give $100 billion to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hire people to go door-to-door to test the population for COVID-19 for fiscal year 2020, with more funds to follow, as needed, in subsequent fiscal years.

If you test positive, they’ll trace all your contacts and demand that you quarantine in your home or in a mobile unit. Children could be taken into child services if parents are quarantined.

“This is a violation of a number of amendments in the Constitution that protect our right to life and liberty, that protect our right to be free in our homes, and not be taken out of our homes and put somewhere the government wants to put us,” Fisher says.

“If we do not start to become aware of these laws that are being passed by legislators on Capitol Hill and [in] our state legislatures, we are going to be a captive people who don't have civil liberties anymore ...

We're seeing this erosion of civil liberties because, unless you take liberty from the people — and they're doing it in the name of safety — you cannot do the kinds of things that we've been talking about [such as restricting work, education, travel and social engagement unless you are vaccinated and implementing biometric tracking of the population] …

Having sat here for almost 40 years watching this vaccine empire unfold, I know that Bill Gates … has changed everything. He was a big proponent of public-private partnerships because he's a businessman … He is a big believer in vaccinating the world and Gavi [the Gates-funded Vaccine Alliance] … is all about pharma.

All these companies are involved in vaccinating the world, and COVID-19 vaccines are being fast-tracked to licensure with additional funding from governments like the U.S. government — half a billion dollars to one company and half a billion dollars to another.

Moderna is an NIAID-supported vaccine. A lot of money has been given to these companies to fast-track these COVID-19 vaccines using technology that's never been licensed before — DNA, messenger RNA [and] nanoparticle [vaccines].”

Operation Warp Speed

The fast-tracking of a COVID-19 vaccine to licensure and subsequent widespread use has been termed Operation Warp Speed. What we must remember here is that vaccine manufacturers are not liable for any damage their vaccines do. Since 2011, drug companies making and selling vaccines are even shielded from design defect lawsuits, which means they have absolutely no incentive for making vaccines less harmful.

The 2006 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act also indemnifies all drug companies making vaccines used during a public health emergency or a pandemic. So, vaccine companies, as well as any person who administers, mandates or enforces vaccine mandates, does not face any liability whatsoever if a new coronavirus vaccine turns out to be a catastrophe.

What’s more, when a COVID-19 vaccine does come out, there likely will be little or no information about its side effects, particularly long-term side effects. Moderna, which is a top contender in the race to be the first to get a licensed COVID-19 vaccine on the market, began human trials of its experimental mRNA vaccine in March 2020.

According to a May 18, 2020, press release,2 “After two doses, all participants evaluated to date across the 25 microgram and 100 mcg dose cohorts seroconverted with binding antibody levels at or above levels seen in convalescent sera.” The vaccine also “elicited neutralizing antibody titer levels in all eight initial participants ..."

The words are important here, as high-binding antibodies are associated with paradoxical immune enhancement.

As explained in “Fast-Tracked COVID-19 Vaccine — What Could Go Wrong?” previous attempts to create coronavirus vaccines have failed due to coronaviruses triggering production of two different types of antibodies: one that fights disease, and one that triggers paradoxical immune enhancement that often results in very serious disease and/or death when the vaccinated person is exposed to the wild coronavirus.

Based on the historical coronavirus vaccine failures, this could become one of the biggest public health disasters in history. And, no one involved will be accountable or face any repercussions. Instead, they will all profit. 

It’s also important to realize that only healthy people are enrolled in these human trials, yet only 4 in 10 Americans are actually free of chronic disease.3 What’s more, according to recent NHANES data,4 87.8% of Americans are metabolically inflexible, which impairs their immune function.

The NHANES data is over 4 years old and our metabolic health has only declined since 2016, so the number is likely higher than 90%, or 9 in 10 Americans are unhealthy to some degree.

On top of that, vitamin D deficiency is rampant, yet public health authorities are not stressing the importance of optimizing your vitamin D levels to reduce your risk of infection. If you do nothing else, make sure you raise your vitamin D level above 40 nanograms per milliliter, at bare minimum, and ideally 60 ng/mL, before this fall, when another predicted “second” wave of COVID-19 may hit.

COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery

Now, aside from using entirely novel manufacturing methods like messenger RNA (mRNA), DNA and nanoparticle genetic engineering technology, some of the COVID-19 vaccines being fast tracked to licensure also will be using novel vaccine delivery methods.

One new type of vaccine delivery, which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded and promoted, uses a microneedle array rather than conventional injection. The microneedles are equipped with fluorescent quantum dot tags. The resulting invisible mark can then be read by a smartphone equipped with a special sensor.

“This is definitely something that Bill Gates has been pushing,” Fisher says. “He has been pushing not only that everybody in the world has to get all these vaccines, but also that governments need to be able to track [people’s vaccination status].

Certainly, this type of administration of a vaccine is a double bubble because not only do you get the vaccine in the person, but you also are able to track them … They're determined to somehow implant, or in some way have our bodies carry our vaccination records …

They're going for it all right now … the American people are going to have to really take a look and figure out, do they want to give up their civil liberties for an illusion of safety? It's really an illusion of safety.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Will Alter Your RNA and DNA

As noted by Fisher, the mRNA vaccines being developed against COVID-19 will alter your RNA and DNA, which is of tremendous concern. The idea behind them is to turn your body into a protein manufacturing plant, and if your immune system is hypersensitive, it could overreact, causing severe problems. Considering how many people have autoimmune diseases and allergies, these vaccines could have devastating effects for many.

“When you try to stimulate strong inflammatory responses in the body through the use of genetic manipulation, squalene oil-based adjuvants and nanoparticle technology — one vaccine is even using electricity to try to hyperstimulate an immune response — what is this going to do to people who don't resolve inflammation in the body and become chronically inflamed and chronically ill and disabled?

This is what vaccines do. They stimulate inflammation in the body. They have to in order to provoke an antibody response, but this is atypical. When you're trying to do this in the body, this is not a normal way that the body mounts an inflammatory response to a microbe.

They've turned everything upside down and we are just accepting it. Why are we not thinking critically? Why do people think that they shouldn't really do the research and look at the science and look at what's being done before they take a pharmaceutical product or a vaccine? This is what I don't understand. We've totally given up our critical thinking ability and said the experts are going to do it for us …

I think that what people need to do — and I've been advocating this for 40 years — is you need to get educated, you need to get the accurate facts. Mercola.com and NVIC.org, we do our research.

We reference all of our information because we want you to have accurate information, and you need to share that information with your family, friends, community leaders and legislators because the only way that we're going to be able to change government is by electing people who are going to reflect our values and beliefs — people who understand that we have a right, a human right, to make voluntary decisions about medical interventions — any medical procedure that can injure or kill us or our children.

It's basic. It's not hard. We're governed by the laws that are made by the people we elect, and those people also appoint judges at the state and federal level. It all depends upon who we elect. At the end of the day, if … people are going to tyrannize us [and] violate our human rights, then we have to make a decision.

Everyone has to make a decision. The police, the sheriffs, every American is going to have to decide: Am I going to be somebody who is going to violate the civil rights and the human rights of my fellow citizens, or am I going to be somebody who follows my conscience and who understands the cultural values and beliefs that have guided this country for more than two centuries? …

I am praying that most Americans understand that we have got to fight for our freedom and for our civil liberties. It's what has kept this country free for two centuries.”

Be Prepared to Protect State Authority

Fisher is particularly concerned about the precedent set in Virginia in 2019, when the state legislature, which is now dominated by one political party, decided to eliminate the ability of duly elected legislators to decide which vaccines are mandated for children to attend school.

The legislature voted to immediately codify into Virginia law the CDC’s recommended childhood vaccine schedule. In the future, every new vaccine the CDC recommends for children (such as a COVID-19 vaccine) will be automatically mandated in Virginia for school attendance without public hearings and input from citizens and without a vote by legislators.

“This is very dangerous,” she says. “Why? Because Jacobson v. Massachusetts affirmed the authority of the state legislatures to make vaccine laws. What Virginia has done is they've handed over that power. They've given away that power to the CDC and made the CDC a de facto law-making body for the state of Virginia.

Now they are going to try to do this in every state, so that basically there will be no more hearings on proposed vaccine additions … This is extremely dangerous. I urge everyone to sign up for our free [NVIC Advocacy] Portal because it's a public service we provide, and we want you to be informed.

We give fact-based talking points you can use with your legislators. This issue is going to become more and more important because of the power grab that has occurred in the last few months over this pandemic. Please be prepared. Please stand up for your right to make voluntary vaccine decisions.”

sign up nvic advocacy portal

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination in October 2020

October 16 through 18, 2020, NVIC will sponsor the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination. The theme is “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st century.” The conference will bring together well-known speakers from around the world presenting information on vaccine science, policy, law, ethics and civil liberties and will feature formal presentations, panel discussions and live chat rooms.

NVIC has held four previous hotel-based conferences in the Washington, D.C., area but, this time around, the conference will be held online due to the unpredictability of government regulations related to COVID-19, including travel and social distancing restrictions that may still be in play in October.

So, mark your calendars and check NVIC.org for more information that will be posted soon about the conference.

In the meantime, be sure to sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal. It’s free, and you will stay informed about proposed vaccine-related legislation happening in your state that could further restrict or eliminate your legal right to make voluntary vaccine decisions for yourself and your children.

 

Molecular Hydrogen — Is it the Best Antioxidant You Can Take?

 

 

Tyler W. LeBaron, founder of the science-based nonprofit Molecular Hydrogen Institute, is one of the most knowledgeable people about molecular hydrogen and its benefits. There are so many benefits we can learn from him and many other researchers from Universities around the world. For starters, H2 is a potent selective antioxidant. This is important, as many other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E are not selective, and when taken in excess, can be counterproductive.

Hydrogen doesn't have that downside, which is one of the reasons why it's my favorite. Now, when we talk about molecular hydrogen, we are talking about the gas, the H2 molecule, which is two hydrogen atoms bound together.

The H2 molecule is the smallest in the universe, which allows it to diffuse through all cell membranes, including the blood-brain barrier and subcellular compartments, and into the mitochondria. It doesn't need any transporter protein.

It also has no charge or polarity. As explained by LeBaron, that's critical, because charged molecules cannot easily penetrate cell membranes. Charged molecules must go through a protein channel. All of this gives it superior cellular bioavailability.

Health Benefits of H2

Among the many health benefits of H2 is its ability to decrease excessive oxidative stress, inflammation and perturbations from normal homeostasis. The key word here is "excess," because some oxidative stress and some free radicals are actually beneficial. For example, you metabolize food through the process of oxidation, and that oxidation is necessary for life to exist.

So, what we're looking for in terms of health is the ability to inhibit excessive oxidative stress and damage. LeBaron reviews this in greater detail in the interview so, for more information, please listen to it in its entirety, or read through the transcript.

As just one example, certain therapies such as photobiomodulation, exercise and sauna bathing mildly increase oxidation in the body, and that oxidation is what induces various beneficial effects such as the induction of heat shock proteins (HSP). This process is known as hormesis.

"This is an important word … when we talk about the benefits of molecular hydrogen because it seems to work through some similar processes of hormesis," LeBaron says.

H2 Is a Selective Antioxidant

When it comes to oxidative stress, all you really want is a return to homeostasis. You don't want to neutralize all free radicals. Many antioxidants have a high number of electrons that can easily and indiscriminately scavenge, react with and neutralize a wide range of radicals or oxidants. Molecular hydrogen, on the other hand, is selective, and thus only eliminates the excess, so that homeostasis is restored.

"Sometimes antioxidants can even exacerbate oxidative stress because they can increase Fenton reaction cycles and redox cycling, and end up being potent pro-oxidants. So, it is very complicated, and we have to be very cautious," LeBaron says, adding:

"One of the reasons we know H2 [is] safe is because it simply does not have the reductive power or potential to neutralize or react with some of these critical important signaling oxidants, such as hydrogen peroxide, superoxide radicals and nitric oxide. It just does not have the ability to react with these, even in vitro. If you just put the two together, they don't react."

On the other hand, H2 readily reacts with the toxic hydroxyl radical — the most reactive and oxidative radical in the body — turning it into harmless water. Studies suggest H2 may be very helpful in cases of heart attack or stroke, for example, protecting against the oxidative damage from hydroxyl radicals that occur during reperfusion.1 In my view, molecular hydrogen should be implemented ASAP in all cases of heart attack and stroke for this reason.

There's no risk, it's very inexpensive and the upside potential is enormous. LeBaron cites animal research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association2 showing H2 administration increased the post-cardiac arrest syndrome survival rate from 43% in the control group to 92% in the H2 group. When combined with therapeutic hypothermia, which inhibits the creation of free radicals, the survival rate shot up to 100%. It simply doesn't get any better than that.

According to LeBaron, the Japanese government has now approved the inhalation of H2 gas as an advanced medicine for the treatment of post-cardiac arrest syndrome.3 He also reviews some of the studies that are currently underway to investigate the benefits of molecular hydrogen inhalation during heart surgery and other instances.

H2 Is a Signal Modulator

Aside from being a selective antioxidant, H2 acts as a gaseous-signal modulator, and thus is able to influence gene expression and protein phosphorylations cascades involved in signal transduction, all of which help explain its therapeutic effects. One of the primary pathways that H2 activates is the Nrf2 pathway. LeBaron explains:

"The Nrf2 is this protein that's bound to another protein, Keap1, and when there's an assault of oxidative stress, those two separate. Then the Nrf2 is able to diffuse into the nucleus of the DNA. It binds to the electrophile response or ARE, the antioxidant response element, portion of the DNA.

When it does that, that ends up leading to the production of a whole bunch of endogenous antioxidants like glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase … When we talk about antioxidation and detoxification, a lot of that is regulated and controlled by Nrf2. That is the master regulator. So, it is a key protein involved in many processes [and] hydrogen gas is able to activate the Nrf2 pathway."

Importantly, though, contrary to other Nrf2 activators, H2 only activates Nfr2 if it's actually needed. In this way, the risk of it suppressing beneficial free radicals like nitric oxide is minimized. Indeed, H2 appears to be one of the safest therapeutic options available. It's downside potential is almost nonexistent.

"It tends to bring things back to homeostasis," LeBaron says. "The further something is away from homeostasis, the higher the probability that hydrogen gas will be able to help bring that back into homeostasis. If something is already at a perfect level, well, then, you may see that hydrogen gas didn't do anything …

Again, hydrogen gas has this dual role where it can both protect against the oxidative stress, as well as act as this mild hormetic effector in the mitochondria to increase mild amounts of free radicals, similar to an easy bout of exercise for example, which can then induce these protective effects."

How to Administer H2

The easiest way to get hydrogen gas into your system is to dissolve a molecular hydrogen tablet in water and drink it. In the interview, LeBaron warns us why we need to be skeptical and cautious about electrolysis machines, as they often don't produce anywhere near the concentrations required. In clinical studies this is often 1.6 mg/L and above, which at first doesn't sound like very much, but it is significant as LeBaron further explains:

"There are a couple of things to consider when you drink hydrogen gas. No. 1, 1.6 mg/L as a solubility doesn't sound like very much … [but remember] that hydrogen gas is the smallest molecule in the universe. Of course, 1.6 mg doesn't weigh very much because it's hydrogen gas … but it's actually a lot of molecules. In fact, there are more molecules in 1.6 mg of hydrogen than there are molecules of vitamin C in a 100-mg dose.

You have to compare molecules to molecules or moles to moles, not just weight to weight. What weighs more, a pound of gold or a pound of feathers? Right? They weigh the same … So, when we look at molecular hydrogen, there is actually quite a bit.

Now, get this. When you inhale, say, a 3% hydrogen gas, then that's going to increase the cellular concentration to a certain level. That exact same level, if we can calculate it based on Henry's law and the dose you're ingesting from drinking hydrogen water, that concentration in the cell can also be reached by just drinking hydrogen water.

Because if you drink all of it at once … [it] immediately increases the cellular concentration to the same level that you would get if you were inhaling hydrogen gas at 2% or 3% level … You're also able enact various second messenger systems that maybe you're not getting with inhalation."

Research has shown H2 water can improve nonalcoholic fatty liver disease4 and metabolic syndrome,5 both of which are diet-driven conditions. In a recent study6 looking at metabolic syndrome, a high dose of H2 was used using hydrogen-producing tablets.

The study involved 60 subjects and lasted for six months and "significantly reduced blood cholesterol and glucose levels, attenuated serum hemoglobin A1c, and improved biomarkers of inflammation and redox homeostasis." It even "tended to promote a mild reduction and body mass index and hip-to-waist ratio," the study authors added.

"It appears we had some very prominent effects, and even more effective compared to the previous studies leading to this trend that at least in some cases, a higher dose or a higher concentration of hydrogen is more effective than the lower dose, lower concentrations," LeBaron says.

Concentration and Frequency Matter

Aside from making sure the concentration is sufficiently high, you also want to pulse your intake, as the more continuous the exposure, the less effective it is. LeBaron further explains:

"Let's say [you take] 6 mg of hydrogen and you're going to take all 6 mg evenly in a 24-hour period. That means you're essentially sipping on hydrogen water throughout the day.

If you do that, you may not get as good of benefits because you're not getting a high enough dose of hydrogen in the body in order to reach the cellular concentrations required to induce those changes at the cellular level that you need.

Now, if in contrast, if you were to just take the full 6 mg all at once, that is probably going to be more effective than taking it throughout the entire day. So, I will say if you are going to get hydrogen and try to get the benefits, then you would want to get as high of a dose you can all at once, and then you could probably do that multiple times a day.

I don't know if it's better to take 6 mg or 10 mg of hydrogen once a day or six times a day. Maybe the six or 10 times a day is going to be more effective, or just as effective, because you're still getting spikes. But then again maybe not."

Clearly, the studies need to be done to determine the best frequency, but until then, it would seem that customizing the dose to your personal circumstances might be more appropriate. So, if you're in normal, nonstressful circumstances at home, not exercising much at all, then maybe once day is sufficient.

On the other hand, if you exercise vigorously then it might be more appropriate to take it a couple of times a day. If you travel by airplane, taking it every two hours while flying might be appropriate. The good news is, H2 is quite safe, so you're unlikely to do harm.

Another benefit when using hydrogen tablets is that they contain highly bioavailable unbound magnesium ions. Each tablet will provide about 80 mg of ionic magnesium, which is about 20% of the RDA.

Synergistic Effects With Other Therapies

H2 gas can also be used together with other supplements and therapies for a potential synergistic effect. For example, you can take it along with a sauna, both of which produce heat shock proteins, or with nutritional ketosis or exogenous ketones. Another example is hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

"When it comes to the sauna, I think that's great," LeBaron says. "I probably would do the hydrogen before anything … Again, [we're] talking about this preconditioning hydrogen effect.

If I can just back up and talk about one study that I think helps at this stage, about NAD+ and NADH. These are very important molecules. The higher the ratio of the NAD+ to NADH, the better … In this interesting study,7 they used a toxin in a cell culture, and as would be expected, that NAD+ to NADH ratio decreased, and that ends up causing all of these pathological problems and cell death.

When they administered the hydrogen gas, it helped maintain those levels up higher. Now, this is part of the issue: For part of the study, they just did it in cell cultures, so you can imagine this little Petri dish, and you add hydrogen gas in there.

Well, that hydrogen gas will only be in there for 20 minutes, half an hour or 40 minutes, depending on the concentration. It's not going to be there for very long. They found there was a therapeutic protective effect against that toxin for about 24 hours. It maintained that effect …

Then there was a clinical study on rheumatoid arthritis8 where they used high-dose hydrogen water for four weeks. After four weeks, there was still a protective effect of molecular hydrogen. There were still decreases in the disease rating score and oxidative stress. So, it really had an effect on gene expression, epigenetics and signal modulation. Much more is going on here than just a radical scavenging activity.

Taking these together, when we look at other things such as the sauna, the sauna really is quite a mild thing … [but] I still like the idea of taking the hydrogen before. When you're talking about hyperbaric oxygen, then I think there's even more rationale of taking the molecular hydrogen [30 to 60 minutes] before as a pretreatment, preconditioning …

Ketones, whether they're endogenous or exogenous, are very beneficial for the mitochondria, as long as the mitochondria are ready for them. Ketones can also increase free radicals, at least initially, but this is also what's very good, because in the long run they can decrease oxidative stress. Part of this is why you can upregulate the Nrf2 pathway.

Well, hydrogen gas being able to both suppress excessive oxidative damage as well as improve and activate the function of the mitochondria, improving the mitochondrial resting membrane potential, it will have influence in the mitochondria transition pore, so you don't have pathological problems …

So, there are some areas where ketones seem to work, as does hydrogen gas … Hydrogen [can also] induce and actually enhance autophagy9,10… By so doing, you're going to get therapeutic protective effects from the hydrogen gas. However, there are other studies showing that hydrogen gas inhibits excessive autophagy.11,12

So, that's how cells die, right? You have necrosis, you have apoptosis, and you have autophagic cell death. When you have too much going on — and a lot of drugs or interventions can potentially cause an excessive amount of autophagy — then that's bad. Hydrogen gas … was able to prevent the excessive amount of autophagy being produced."

Similarly, H2 gas can both increase and decrease mTOR activation,13,14 depending on what your body needs. Ditto for IgF1.15,16 What this means is that if you're fasting or doing time-restricted eating, which activates autophagy, taking molecular hydrogen not only can optimize autophagy, but also lower it if too much is taking place. That could make long-term fasting much safer. What's more:

"When you take hydrogen, you increase gastric ghrelin secretion.17 Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. One of the first things [that happens] when you fast is you increase ghrelin. Ghrelin is extremely neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory and has a whole bunch of benefits.18

Well, hydrogen also increases ghrelin. So, in a lot of ways, hydrogen mimics fasting from autophagy to ghrelin, to a lot of other pathways that are activated, but it depends on the condition."19

Dosing Basics

The normal dose is one tablet — which is considered an appropriately high dose — in 500 mL or 16 ounces of water. That will give you a concentration of about 10 mg of H2 per liter (10 mg/L), which means you're getting a dose of 5 mg. As soon as the tablet has dissolved, you'll want to drink the whole glass before the cloud of H2 gas dissipates.

The rate at which it dissolves can vary from anywhere from one to two or three minutes, depending on how cold the water is. If you put it in iced water, it's going to take even longer. Ideally, use room temperature water, as the colder it is, the longer it takes for the tablet to dissolve, and the longer it takes, the less of the gas will remain by the time the tablet is fully dissolved.

Also, use still water, not sparkling water, which has CO2 dissolved in it, as that will disperse the H2 gas out faster. You want to drink it as quickly as possible while it still has that milky look. The white cloudiness is the suspended hydrogen. If you wait until the water turns clear, the hydrogen gas has evaporated away. Again, if your body is under serious stress, you may take four or five tablets a day. If not, a single tablet a day would probably be sufficient.

For more information about molecular hydrogen research, visit the National Institutes of Health library20 and search for molecular hydrogen. Also be sure to check out the Molecular Hydrogen Institute's website

Back To The Top Of The Page