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Episode 442
The Doctor's Farmacy

The Key To Healing Long-COVID With Functional Medicine

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

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The amount of information we hear about COVID on a daily basis can be pretty overwhelming.

I feel that this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy is one of the most important ones I’ve done on this topic because it’s an incredible resource for understanding how to prevent and treat COVID using a comprehensive systems approach. It’s about how to heal on the cellular level.

My guest is someone who has had an immense impact on my own health and my career in Functional Medicine. After spending time with him, I saw his thoughtfulness with patients and his drive to get to the root cause. It showed me a new way of understanding medicine. Dr. Leo Galland is one of the most incredible resources on COVID and long-COVID syndrome.

More than 30% of people who get COVID experience long-lasting symptoms. Not only are they continuing to suffer from things like fatigue and shortness of breath, but we’re seeing increased risk for things like high blood pressure, insulin dysregulation, and brain inflammation as well.

Dr. Galland and I discuss the protocols he’s been using to help these people, along with some of the most powerful prevention strategies we know of to date.

We get into some really interesting facts around COVID and the microbiome, which seems to work in two different directions. If we’re lacking the protection of a robust and diverse microbiome, the risks of COVID are greater. For those who have had COVID, we see a loss of beneficial bacteria with an expansion of bad bacteria, fungi, and yeast. Dr. Galland elaborates on a key microbe we should all be thinking more about during this time.

We also take a deep dive into Dr. Galland’s go-to supplements to prevent and heal from COVID, which cover everything from supporting ACE2 and the microbiome to boosting mitochondrial function.

We talk about all this and so much more; I hope you’ll tune in and share this with anyone you know who is struggling to overcome long-COVID.

This episode is brought to you by ButcherBox, Athletic Greens, and Joovv.

New members to ButcherBox can get a free turkey with their first box at butcherbox.com/farmacy.

Athletic Greens is offering my listeners 10 free travel packs of AG1 when you make your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/hyman.

For a limited time, Joovv is offering $50 off your first order with the code FARMACY at Joovv.com/FARMACY. Some exclusions apply.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

Here are more of the details from our interview (audio):

  1. What is “long-COVID” and what symptoms are most associated with it?
    (8:51)
  2. Upwards of 30% of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 may develop long-COVID
    (15:28)
  3. The groups most at risk for developing long-COVID
    (29:28)
  4. The COVID, gut, and heart health connection
    (33:07)
  5. Eating to protect against and recover from COVID and long-COVID
    (42:59)
  6. Supplements and probiotics to protect against and recover from COVID and long-COVID
    (46:29)
  7. Restoring mitochondrial function after COVID-19 infection
    (55:20)
  8. Chronic fatigue, POTS, and COVID-19 infection
    (1:01:55)
  9. Are the Covid vaccines protective against long-COVID?
    (1:10:33)
  10. Dr. Galland’s perspective on COVID vaccines
    (1:12:35)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dr. Leo Galland

Dr. Leo Galland is one of the most incredible resources on COVID and long-COVID syndrome. He is a board-certified internist, practicing in New York City, is recognized as a world leader in Functional Medicine, and a pioneer in the study of intestinal permeability and the gut microbiome as they impact immune function and systemic health.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Galland has devoted most of his time to research on COVID-19 and to the education of other health practitioners in understanding the complex biology of the disease. He has created quite a collection of recommendations for the prevention and treatment of COVID, including a series of videos on the long-COVID syndrome, intended for the general public and for health professionals.

Show Notes

  1. Dr. Galland’s "The Gut Microbiome in Covid-19"
  2. Tundrex Probiotic
  3. Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner

Transcript

Speaker 1:
Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Leo Galland:
The bottom line is a 40% increase in the consumption of vegetables created a 72% decrease in the likelihood that someone would have moderate or severe COVID.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, and that is Farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And if you’re concerned about COVID, especially what’s been called long COVID or post-COVID syndrome, you better listen up because we’re going to have a deep conversation with my mentor, my friend, and one of the most profound medical thinkers of the 20th and 21st century, Dr. Leo Galland. He’s a board-certified internist, he practices in New York City, he’s a world leader in functional medicine, he’s a pioneer in the study of gut and intestinal permeability in the microbiome. And since the pandemic started in 2020, he devoted most of his time … And Leo is 79 years old. I’m sorry [inaudible 00:01:03], but he really has not stopped. Ever since I’ve known him, I met him when I was 36, and I’ll tell you that story a minute, he has literally been looking at the forefront of medicine and seeing what’s ahead before anybody else sees it. And he’s in the same thing with COVID. All of his research around COVID and educating practitioners about understanding the biology of COVID. And understanding how to look at what the real issues are that are underlying it around how to prevent it, how to treat it are on his website, drgalland.com.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He’s created a whole series of videos on lung COVID syndrome for the general public and also for doctors and health professionals. He’s a graduate from Harvard University, NYU Medical School. He received the Linus Pauling Award from the Institute for Functional Medicine for developing the foundational principles of functional medicine, and many, many, many other awards. He’s one of the top doctors, in my view, in the world. And I think his contributions will be felt for generations to come. So welcome, Leo.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Mark, thank you so much. It’s so good to be seeing you today.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. If you’re listening, Leo and I met … Gosh, 25 plus years ago. I was a fledgling doctor at Canyon Ranch. He came to give a lecture about what then was functional medicine in the earliest stages. He had written a book called The Four Pillars of Healing, which later the name was changed to Power Healing and it changed my life. At the time, I was sick with chronic fatigue syndrome, I was desperate to get better, I didn’t have answers from the traditional medical system. I basically begged Leo to let me come to his office in New York City and sit at his feet and watch what he did and learn. I remember going down to your city and being in his office. And it was one of those sort of classic New York City offices where there’s not a lot of space, but it had very tall ceilings. And literally from the floor to the very top of the ceiling were books, and papers, and articles. It looked like kind of Einstein’s laboratory and something. And I saw how he was with patients. I saw the thoughtfulness that he used to ask the questions to get to the root of their problem.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I learned about a totally different way of, one, treating patients but also understanding medicine. And his contributions I think are largely unrecognized, in my view. And I think that those of us within the field know who he is, but for the general public, I think Leo needs to be understood as one of the biggest paradigm shifters in healthcare in the 20th and 21st century. I encourage you to check out his work. Go learn more about Leo. You’ll see why as we have this conversation, but the whole idea about the gut, and the microbiome, and leaky gut, all these ideas that now we’re just … everybody’s talking about, he was the OG guy talking about this way back when … 30 years ago when everybody thought he was crazy and everybody thought I was crazy because I was saying what he was saying. I really didn’t come up with anything new. I just have learned at the feet of the masters. And Leo is one of those masters. So Leo, thank you so much for how you’ve impacted my life and life of literally millions of people through the work of all the functional medicine practitioners that have come after you and applied the things that you discovered through your incredible, inquisitive, curious mind that was open to seeing what was in front of you not what you learned in medical school. So thank you.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Mark, thanks for that. A very generous introduction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. All right. So with that said, let’s get into it. Now, there’s a billion things we could talk about. Literally, we could talk about the gut, we could talk about all the things you’ve done over your career, but I want to talk about your work now on COVID because one of the scariest aspects for me is not the fact that you could get COVID … And yes, we’re seeing death rates of 1%. You can argue this or that. Most people survive COVID, but what’s really scary is that the post-COVID phenomena that’s happening is at a massive scale. I’ve seen data anywhere between 20 to 50% of everybody who gets COVID afterwards doesn’t get back to normal. They have what we call a long-haul or post-COVID syndrome, where they may not even had a bad case of it or they could have had a severe case of it, but they’re having this huge aftermath of symptoms where they have headaches, and brain fog, and muscle aches, and all kinds of physical symptoms that are really impacting their life. It’s almost like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So can you talk about how we’re beginning to understand long COVID, what the definition of it is, are the criteria established? What are we seeing? Let’s get into what it does and we’re going to go through not only just the disaster that it is, but actually the fact that with functional medicine and approach that Leo and I are going to talk about, there’s a way out. I have treated many of these patients, I know you have to. I’ve seen these patients see traditional doctors get traditional care and just not get better. When they learn how to use the model of systems thinking and functional medicine, they can get better. So start with, Leo, the definition of what is long COVID, what’s their criteria and what’s it doing to the body?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Well, the criteria are pretty broad and it’s not well defined at this point and it probably is not one syndrome. The name that’s being … that was assigned by the CDC is post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection. They call it P-A-S-C or PASC. And the implication there is that anything that happens to you after you’ve had COVID, probably looking at a period of say 90 days after the infection. Originally it was 30 days, then became 60 days nights, now it’s 90 days. So the question is, how is your health 90 days later impacted by having had this infection? I think there’s several different things going on. Someone who was really sick, who was in the ICU, who might have been intubated, we expect that it’s going to take that person some time to regain their health. And some part of it might just be the post-critical illness syndrome. But there are people with pretty mild to minimal disease who weren’t very sick, sometimes even asymptomatic, or who are showing late sequelae that have a really broad range of findings. It goes beyond chronic fatigue, ME that kind of CFS syndrome. Yes. Probably the most common is the chronic fatigue maybe with some brain fog possibly muscle pain, then there’s a whole respiratory complex. People who get winded easily have a chronic cough. And that may actually represent some persisting lung damage from the COVID.

Dr. Leo Galland:
But then there are these other phenomena. People who have had COVID-19 are more likely over the next three months to be diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes. [inaudible 00:08:36] diabetic ketoacidosis occur late after COVID-19. And that may be due to direct damage to the pancreas from the COVID. That is people who suddenly go into … who look like they have type one juvenile onset diabetes. The type two diabetes probably involves another mechanism similar to what causes the high blood pressure. And then there’s the impact of COVID-19 on the brain. And this is, in many ways the scariest from my perspective, and also pretty well studied. It is mostly in the UK.

Dr. Leo Galland:
In the UK, they have this thing called the Biobank database. And they had about 40,000 people who had had MRIs of their brain shortly before COVID … before the pandemic and before they got sick. And so the researchers offered many, about 1,000 of those people, an opportunity to have a repeat MRI of the brain let’s say 18 months into the pandemic or a year into the pandemic. Now, about half of those patients had tested positive for COVID-19 at one point and the other had not. They control them for age, and sex, and the interval between the scans. And what they found was that people who had COVID-19, independently of whether they thought they had long COVID or not, had changes in the MRI that were not found in people who had not had COVID. These changes over the period of maybe a year. And there was an actual loss of brain cells, brain matter in certain parts of the brain that are especially associated with higher cognitive functions.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Now, some of these are part of the brain circuits that are involved in smell and taste. So one of the authors of this thought that because loss of smell is such an important symptom with COVID-19, and it appears to be due to actual damage to the olfactory nerve which regulates the sense of smell, that the entry of the virus directly into the brain through the nose was one likely mechanism for the brain changes, brain damage, but there were there was real brain damage there. Now, they did another study in the UK which was different. They did cognitive function tests, what’s called neuropsychiatric testing, in a large group, thousands and thousands of people. It was done online. And they controlled not only for age and sex, but ethnicity, underlying premorbid conditions, level of education. And they had thousands of people who had tested positive for COVID-19, thousands of people who hadn’t. And as a group, the people who had tested positive for COVID-19 had deficits in higher cognitive functions that really correlate pretty well with the changes seen in the MRIs.

Dr. Leo Galland:
These are significant changes. They’re not like, “Here’s a random abnormal lab finding.” So that that is really a very scary scenario to be seen. As to how often this occurs, it’s hard to say. I would say, it probably is roughly 30%, although there are some studies showing a smaller percentage. Now in my own practice, I really try to … if I haven’t seen someone in a while and they’ve had COVID, I will follow up with them especially to inquire about their cognitive functioning until I’m certain this person is fully required. The incidence of long-haul COVID is much lower. It’s two or 3%. Something [crosstalk 00:13:02].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think it’s something is 20 to 30%.

Dr. Leo Galland:
No. The patients that I’ve treated that have been on my protocol since the beginning, since they got first COVID. People consult me after being sick, but people who have been on my protocol since the beginning, since they first got COVID. Even if they weren’t on the preventive protocol, the incidence of-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They do okay.

Dr. Leo Galland:
They do much better.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Of the average population. I remember one study I saw early on. It was just analysis of hospitalized patients, which is a more severe subgroup. There was about 180 patients or something. At 60 days, 87% had significant symptoms. Headache, brain fog, muscle aches, although the lingering symptoms at 60 days. What you’re describing, Leo, about how it affects the brain and other things, pancreas, diabetes, the name is wrong. SARS means Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. And the mistake of that name is respiratory, because what it seems like is that COVID is a systemic disease that affects every part of the body through the endothelial, through the blood vessels. We’ve had William Lee talked about this on the podcast. He’s a blood vessel specialist essentially. And it’s just been fascinating to see how every organ, your heart, your brain, your lungs, your pancreas, and your kidneys, and your intestinal tract, and your … just everything, your skin, all is affected by the virus. And the question I would have for you is, is the virus sort of a lingering virus that goes stealth or is this just the consequences of a train wreck that happened and lack of the ability of the body recover and heal?

Dr. Leo Galland:
That’s a really good question, Mark. And I don’t think it’s been resolved. What we do know is that the virus can persist in the GI tract for months after the acute respiratory infection. How lives is it, what is it doing there, we don’t quite … we don’t know that yet. There is a group that attempted to answer that question by looking at white blood cells and looking for persistence of the viral RNA, as far as it’s made of RNA. I think with 30 patients with long COVID, they only found that in one patient, persistence of viral RNA, but they found persistence of spike protein in about 72, 73%. So their theory was that long COVID was associated with difficulty clearing the remnants of the virus from the tissues. That’s a phenomenon that has been described in rheumatology especially.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And other viruses, other infections.

Dr. Leo Galland:
With viruses and other infections. Well, the infections seems to be gone, but there’s all this debris of the infecting organism itself. It is in tissues and that is promoting inflammation. Now, that’s one possible theory. Another finding, and this is very recent. Actually, two really significant recent findings I think in this regard. A group at the University of Arkansas identified autoantibodies to ACE2 in about 80% of people with COVID-19, including those with … who are in recovery with long COVID. Now, ACE2 is a vital enzyme that has become famous because it is the receptor that this virus uses to enter cells. In my own work, I’ve really focused on the importance of ACE2 in acute COVID and also in long COVID because so much of what happens with both acute COVID and with long COVID looks like a deficiency of ACE2. This vital enzyme is destroyed by the virus. The thing that was a little puzzling to me, but this work at the University of Arkansas really offers an explanation, is why do some people not seem to get very sick with COVID-19, but then they go on to have a pretty profound long-haul syndrome?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So that’s the thing people need to realize. It’s not just the old and the people with comorbid conditions that are having this. It’s young people who are healthy. 30-year-olds who are robust and running five miles a day, and eating healthy, and then boom, life is over.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Right. Yeah. I’ve seen a number of young … let’s say middle aged and young people who were impacted by long COVID.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m middle aged. I’m about in the middle. I’m at 62. I’m about the middle.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Okay. All right. That’s young to me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m going to [inaudible 00:18:20] in 25 maybe.

Dr. Leo Galland:
The development of these autoantibodies follows the development of the protective spike protein antibodies. So that would explain why someone might not be so sick initially, but then these autoantibodies wind up being created and that’s when they get the ACE2 deficiency. It’s not when the virus first enters the cells and destroys it, which happens with people who get really acutely ill.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there’s a phenomenon that happens in medicine often were you will have an inciting agent, virus, a heavy metal, whatever, a toxin that your body creates an autoimmune response to and then it creates an autoimmune disease. Almost what you’re saying is post-COVID is maybe an autoimmune response to the virus. So once you get rid of the virus, you’ve got this autoimmune response that was really … your body trying to deal with the virus, but it actually it turns on itself.

Dr. Leo Galland:
That’s definitely true for some percentage of people who’ve had COVID-19. These autoantibodies are very common with this infection. And some of them may lead to devastating acute disease. That it’s their autoantibodies that inactivate the main antiviral defense system in the body which is alpha interferon. And that’s associated with the kind of disastrous outcome with the acute infection. This particular auto antibody doesn’t occur right away. It probably takes two three weeks. It may increase over time. And so it’s probably more likely to contribute to the late symptoms.

Dr. Leo Galland:
There are other immune abnormalities that have been described by researchers in the function of different classes of lymphocytes. And each of these leads to speculation about, “Well, what’s the best way to treat this?” And then there’s some work that was done by a lab in California where they identified abnormalities of cytokines, which are proteins that are involved in regulating immune responses. And they correlated that basically with deficits in the function of cells called monocytes that circulate in the blood. So what we’re going to see over the next year, or two, or five years is that we will begin to unravel the extreme complexity of this disease. The researchers who look at this say this is so much more complex than other infectious diseases.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It feels like as we’re trying to fly the jumbo jet as we’re building it.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Every day we’re learning something new. In the things that you’re talking about, the effective sort of autoantibodies, that persistent spike proteins, the effects on the lung, the effects on the pancreas, effects on the gut, effects on the brain, effects on muscle and fatigue, these are debilitating symptoms for a lot of people. There’s a range of how it affects people from more mild to more severe, but what percent of people that you think are getting long COVID? Clearly, if they’re following a functional medicine protocol before, and during, and after and that’s my experience too as same as you is it that’s really minimal. But for the average person, what do you think the risk is of getting … What does the data show?

Dr. Leo Galland:
The controlled studies are showing something like 30% risk. That is devastating because with the hundreds of billions of people impacted by a killing COVID-19-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hundreds of millions.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. Hundreds of millions. And many more, that haven’t actually had a diagnosis made, who probably injected the potential for long-term health effects is huge.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
At Cleveland Clinic, and comparing notes to my other colleagues at other institutions and all over the world, what I’m shocked at is that this post-COVID clinics are just overwhelmed and they don’t know what to do. The doctors are just trying their best or having a multidisciplinary approach. They’re trying to figure it out, but it’s just not clear what they need to do. And it’s horrible because they’re really recognizing there’s a problem, thank God, but they’re not actually equipped to deal with it because they don’t have a framework for understanding the system’s nature of this problem and they’re in a reductionist paradigm. They’re medicating symptoms, but they’re not figuring out how to reset the immune system, how to deal with the autoimmunity. It’s quite sad to me because when … I know your work and what I’ve seen with functional medicine. There is a way out. It’s not like a terminal problem which it becomes for so many people if they don’t have the right information. And that’s really why I wanted to do on the podcast because there’s work being done by folks like you and others that is showing that if you are coherent and thinking about how to restore function, how to restore health, and how to work with the gut and immune system and all the other aspects that we do, that people can actually get better.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. Absolutely. People can get better. If there is any condition that proves the need for a functional medicine approach it’s long COVID. And you’re totally right when you say that the long COVID clinics are overwhelmed and don’t really have a comprehensive framework for addressing the problem.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So who are the people most at risk?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Well, there was a study in the UK that tried to answer that question. And it basically it was women over the age of 50, people with a history of asthma. Just kind of interesting because asthmatics are not necessarily at higher risk for acute COVID, but they are at higher risk for long COVID. And I’ve actually seen a couple of people in whom … with pretty quiescent intermittent asthma in whom having COVID-19 brings out their asthma and it becomes more chronic and problematic. And people who initially have five or more symptoms of their acute COVID-19. Those have been identified as the highest risk group.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s really staggering here in America is that we’re seeing 5% of the population of the world having 25% of the cases and deaths. And today there’s 44 plus million cases. That’s a lot of cases. And yet, it’s probably an under reporting, maybe it’s double that. Maybe it’s 80 million who had it.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you’re talking about 30% of 80 million. That’s like 24 million people. That’s more people that have heart disease or diabetes.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Well, I don’t think we’re seeing the end of this either. If you go back to the 1918 flu pandemic, there were neurologic consequences of that, which actually were described in this book and film called Awakening. The film starred Robin Williams and Robert De Niro-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dr. Leo Galland:
The book was written by Oliver Sacks. And it was about these late Parkinson disease like symptoms after COVID-19. The incidence of new cases of that peaked five years after the pandemic and 1923 and were observed for 10 years from 1929. So we are not necessarily seeing the full impact of COVID-19 on healthcare and on the health of people.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No. Just in terms of productivity, disability, burden on the healthcare system, and we’re worried about what’s happening now.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Right. How many new cases of diabetes are there going to be over the next few years because of the metabolic effects of COVID-19?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And the brain studies you mentioned from the UK about the cognitive function and the research on long-term cognitive decline, is this a risk faster now for dementia? Is that a risk factor for depression for who knows what? What do you think?

Dr. Leo Galland:
The risk of Alzheimer’s is something … It’s not just people like us that are talking about that. In the conventional, medical, and neurologic communities, there is a lot of concern about an increase in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia lying ahead because of COVID-19.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re not going to stay on this depressing note. I promised everybody we’re going to get into the good stuff in a minute. I want to go through a little bit more about the impact of the gut, and cognitive function, and how it’s all connected. Because a lot of your work from the beginning and how I really began to understand functional medicine was through your work on the gut. And you really, in the world of functional medicine, were the pioneer that helped us understand leaky gut, the microbiome before it was even called the microbiome. I really would love to hear your perspective on how COVID affects the gut, and how long COVID affects the gut, and how that may even affect our cognitive function.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Right. So even before that, there’s a question of how the gut effects COVID because studies done in hospitalized patients has looked at the relationship between the bacteria growing in the gut and the severity of COVID-19 in people who are hospitalized and there is a definite effect, because there are types of species of bacteria that have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. There are species of bacteria that impact the function of the brain, and then there are other species that are pro-inflammatory and have negative impacts on immune function and brain function. And so the absence of some of the keystone species that really support the healthy function of the gut in people who have who are admitted to hospital with COVID-19 that will lead to a worse outcome and a higher risk of death. Whereas high numbers of these are protective. And similarly, some of the very inflammatory immune modulating species may actually increase negative outcomes. So we start with that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you basically you’re saying is that, the healthier microbiome, if there are bad bugs in there, we call them dysbiosis. You came up with that term. I think you might have actually-

Dr. Leo Galland:
It’s a European term, but somebody told me about 30 years ago. I was the first American that they-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Now it’s all in the medical literature. It’s like everyone’s like, “Oh, my God.” That leaves a laugh at us for that term. And someone has this imbalanced floor with bad bugs that are inflammatory. What I hear you saying is that because the microbiome regulates our immune system and there’s these inflammatory microbes in there, that if you get COVID and your gut isn’t healthy, you’re in worse shape than if you had a healthy gut.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. That appears to be the case. And it certainly makes sense.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And the converse is true. If you have all the good bugs, then you may not get sick.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yes. That has to be studied in a more systematic fashion, but that’s what we see from people who are in the hospital. In addition to that, there is the impact of COVID-19 on the gut. And that’s complicated.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Before you get into that, before … I just want to tell a little anecdote about a similar story that I heard, not related to COVID, but there’s a phenomena that’s been described called newborn gut deficiency syndrome, which essentially is the result of antibiotics that have destroyed a particular strain of bacteria called Bifidobacterium infantis, which is critically important for development and regulation of the immune system in the gut. And the milk, the breast milk, contains 15% of its calories is a food that the body, human body can’t digest. It feeds this particular bacteria. And since most women in the world have taken antibiotics, they don’t have this bacteria because it’s very sensitive. These kids without it get allergies, asthma, autoimmunity, inflammatory diseases as a consequence of not having this protected bacteria. That’s a very similar story, different diseases, but I just wanted to say this is not a new idea. This is well researched data on how imbalances in the gut for lack of the good stuff or too much of the bad stuff in there can cause significant consequences for our health. And we’re seeing that with COVID. So sorry to interrupt, but go on the next point you’re making about how COVID itself affects the gut.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Right. So if you take people who’ve had COVID and look at what happens to the organisms in their gut, there are few things that we see and they’re not surprising actually because they’ve been described in … That actually is one of the areas in which chronic fatigue syndrome and long COVID has a lot in common. There’s a loss of diversity of microbes, there is a loss of these beneficial bacteria, there is an expansion of proinflammatory bacteria, and there’s an expansion of yeast. And yeast and other fungi actually become more diverse in the GI tract after COVID-19. In addition, the loss of some of these beneficial bacteria may create this condition called leaky gut, which is an increase in the permeability of the intestine. We know about the intestines as organisms that are necessary for digestion and absorption of nutrients, but they have this very important barrier function. And it is a breakdown of the barrier that causes the increase in permeability that’s now known as leaky gut. 30 years ago, gastroenterologist would say to patients of mine, “There is no such thing as leaky gut.” The term is used in the New England Journal of Medicine. I don’t happen to like it-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so true.

Dr. Leo Galland:
… but it is pretty wild.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I know.

Dr. Leo Galland:
And the leaky gut of COVID-19 has been associated with an increased incidence of heart disease in COVID-19. So there’s a gut and heart connection with COVID. One of the things I tried to do in preparing people for COVID, in treating COVID, and definitely in working with long COVID is to improve the balance of gut bacteria. And that can be done with diet probiotics and prebiotics.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s really the foundation of functional medicine, it’s really the place we start. One of the things that reminded me of when you’re talking about this is a particular bacteria. And I wonder if there’s any data on this. COVID it’s one that protects the barrier and creates a mucous layer that’s really important. And it’s got a big fancy name called akkermansia muciniphila, but it’s a particular bacteria that we now come to understand that is highly important in regulating immunity protecting the gut from leaky gut, and is involved in metabolic health, and autoimmunity, and cancer. Is there any data on a low akkermansia and COVID? Do we know yet or maybe it’s too early?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. It’s too early. I’ve looked for it. I haven’t seen the akkermansia.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Got you.

Dr. Leo Galland:
A particular organism and it has an even harder name and less familiar that has turned up which is a friend of akkermansia, but an even bigger friend of Bifidobacteria is something called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, wow. Polish bacteria?

Dr. Leo Galland:
It’s polish bacteria. Right. It is a major producer. Like akkermansia, it is one of these keystone bacterial species that supports the whole community. What the F. prausnitzii does is it is a major producer of the short chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate is too important well to several important things. It nourishes the lining of the large intestine. 70% of the energy that is used by the lining cells of the large intestine is generated … it’s from butyrate, not from sugar, for example, or glucose. Butyrate is the substrate that it uses. And butyrate is readily absorbed into the body. It passes throughout your whole system, it has anti-inflammatory effects, and it gets into the brain. And in the brain, butyrate has a genetic effect or an epigenetic effect. It allows the activation of a gene that produces a protein called BDNF or brain-derived neuroprotective factor that is essential for nerve cells recovering from injury. So a lack of butyrate will impair the brain’s ability to recover from inflammation, infection, or injury, whereas an abundance of butyrate will activate this gene that produces BDNF. There are a lot of animal studies that have shown this connection. I’m certain that it applies to humans as well.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This is just amazing. I understand every word you said. I’m not sure everybody else did. So I’m just going to do a little translation. And this is mind blowing. When you when you start to think about the interconnections of every system of our body. So you’ve got this special bacteria that when it eats your food, its byproduct is this molecule called butyrate, which is basically not only giving energy to your colon, but it’s absorbed, goes to your brain, and turns on miracle grow so that all your brain cells have more connections, you break make new brain cells, and more connections, and it repairs the brain. So the question is, well, what makes that bacteria grow? Why do you have to feed it? How do you get it? How does that link up to your diet? So all of a sudden, you begin to associate these patterns of connection of how we begin to influence our health in a totally different way. So for example, for akkermansia that particular bug loves polyphenols. It loves cranberry, and pomegranate, and green tea. That’s what it likes to eat. And you feed it that it’ll grow. What about your polish bacteria? What does it like? Sauerkraut and bratwurst?

Dr. Leo Galland:
For Sauerkraut first of all, Sauerkraut is a great source of [inaudible 00:39:13] bacteria, but the F. prausnitzii really it likes prebiotic starches basically.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Like what?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Like beans, for example. Vegetables. It likes vegetables.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And there’s a whole host of prebiotic foods like asparagus, and artichokes, plantain, and Jerusalem artichokes. All these foods that we can include in our diet.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Avocado enhances its growth. It produces butyrate which is then food for the bifidobacteria. So the level of connections is astonishing when you look at these things. And so it’s definitely working with diet. And the microbiome is a key part of all stages of dealing with the pandemic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. Thank you for that. We covered as much as I think we can this a moment of what lung COVID is, what the symptoms are, how it works in your body, and what it causes. Now, let’s get to the good news. Which is what you’ve discovered about how we can use functional medicine, diet, lifestyle, supplements, medications, to actually help to, one, prevent it and then to help you with when you have COVID, and to make sure you don’t get long COVID. Or if you have long COVID, how to resolve it. So dive into what you’ve really learned about this. I know you’ve got these courses on your website. Everybody should go look at drgalland.com. This is a teaser. You’ve got hours and hours of content of video explaining this if you want to get really nerdy about it, but I really would love you to sort of summarize what have you learned in the last two years about how to deal with post-COVID and COVID itself with a functional medicine approach?

Dr. Leo Galland:
From a preventive perspective, you can do this a high polyphenol, high fiber diet. It has the best impact on the gut microbiome and general body inflammation to prepare you for encountering this virus and to help you recover from it. Then there are a number of supplements that are really important. And the supplements that I focus on are those that enhance your body’s ability to generate ACE2, the vital enzyme that is destroyed by disinfection. Number one is vitamin D. Sometimes high doses are needed. Number two are actually supplements of polyphenols. And the two that have been the most studied and that are really mainstays in my treatment are curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric. And it’s probably the most studied anti-inflammatory natural product that there is. And resveratrol, which is found a number of vegetables. It’s best known as being found in red wine or red grapes. It has been studied for its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s a combination of Indian and Italian diet basically.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like cherries and red wine.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yes. Yeah. So vitamin D, curcumin, and resveratrol are … They’re foundation approach that I take.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And that is pre, during, and post.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. At all stages of this. In fact, curcumin has been studied … There are two studies. One from Iran and one from India, where people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 were given curcumin and it had a major impact on how they did in the hospital. It rivaled any study of any other treatment in terms of its impact on mortality or the need for mechanical [crosstalk 00:43:24]-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Curcumin.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Curcumin.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And what are the doses?

Dr. Leo Galland:
It depends on the form. Roughly the equivalent of about 1,000 milligrams a day. With a highly absorbed nanocurcumin, they got away with less, but I aim for 1,000 milligrams a day and you can go higher. Another polyphenol that may have a positive effects, but it’s a different mechanism involved is quercetin. I use that in the early stages for prevention. It’s been shown to be effective there. Again, a dose is roughly 1,000 milligrams a day.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Now, quercetin has been shown to be helpful in preventing the development of COVID in people who are exposed to the virus. That’s probably through a separate mechanism where it blocks the ability of the virus to attach to your cells. Beyond that, quercetin has major anti-inflammatory effects and also can inhibit blood clotting. And blood clots are one of the complications of COVID-19. So that group of polyphenols I found very helpful at all stages of the syndrome.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we eat curry, drink red wine, and have a bunch of orange peels and onions.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Onions and apples. Right. The dietary pattern I think is important, especially from the preventive perspective. The next thing is there are certain probiotics that may be helpful in better balancing gut bacteria. When someone has had COVID-19, there is a probiotic that’s not well known that actually was developed in Russia and the Ukraine about 40 or 50 years ago, that I found really useful, especially for those with gastrointestinal symptoms, which is a lot of people with long COVID. And it’s available over the internet under the name Tundrex, T-U-N-D-R-E-X. It actually is a soil-derived organism that secretes alpha interferon. This virus is very sensitive to the impact of alpha interferon which really kills it. And one of the things that the virus does to enable itself to establish infection is to find ways to turn off your alpha interferon response.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Explain what alpha interferon is, for those who don’t know.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Right. Alpha interferon is a protein, it’s a cytokine produced by cells of your immune system. When you’re exposed to a virus, part of the early anti-viral response is the production of alpha interferon. In fact, people who produce alpha interferon in their nose are much less susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19. What this virus does is it finds ways to turn off your ability to produce alpha interferon. And that is one of the reasons it can establish itself so effectively. And the function that I use Tundrex for is it secretes its own alpha interferon. And so my goal with that is to have it stimulate the immune response in your gut and eliminate any traces of the virus that happened to be in the GI tract.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If it is Russian probiotic, can you get it in America?

Dr. Leo Galland:
It’s been available for several months now, maybe a year through a website, Tundrex, T-U-N-D-R-E-X.co, not .com. I’ve been working with it for the past few years.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We will put that on the show notes for everybody listening, so don’t worry.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Okay. Yeah. I’ve been I’ve been using it mostly to help people recover from parasitic infection.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s a soil microorganism from Siberian soil backed by decades of research and is now available here, which is amazing.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. I find that to be very helpful in recovering from the GI symptoms of COVID-19. And I will probably use it more widely because I want to deal with this potential of viral persistence in the GI tract.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it’s called Bacillus subtilis. That’s the name of the bacteria.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yes. It’s a particular strain of Bacillus subtilis. I think it’s-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Incredible. So we’ve got an anti-inflammatory diet with polyphenols and fiber. We have curcumin, resveratrol, vitamin D, quercetin, and Bacillus subtilis. Keep going.

Dr. Leo Galland:
And once you don’t use the Tundrex indefinitely. It’s a fairly short course, maybe 10 days or so.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, wow.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Other probiotics that help to restore the polish probiotic Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and those that are commercially available. There’s a strain of Bifidobacteria called BB536. There’s a different soil-based organism called Bacillus coagulans. I talk about these on my website in a document called the gut microbiome and COVID-19.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re going to link to that in the show notes. The gut microbiome and COVID-19 from Dr. Leo Galland’s website, but I just want you to just keep going because it’s a lot.

Dr. Leo Galland:
These have been shown in controlled clinical studies to be anti-inflammatory and encourage the growth of F. prausnitzii. And we need to look at some other manifestations because the complexity of this infection doesn’t stop with what it does to ACE2 and have destroying ACE2 creates blood clots, circulatory disturbances, changes in neurologic function. When you look at everything that ACE2 does in the body, it’s clear that 90% of what you’re seeing in COVID-19 or in long COVID matches up with ACE2 deficiency. One of the effects of ACE2 deficit is that the mitochondria take a hit. So mitochondria are these microscopic powerhouses that generate 87% of the ATP that your body needs for energy. And the mitochondria are damaged especially those in the blood lining, the blood vessels are damaged by COVID-19. And so part of my protocol, especially if there is fatigue, or heart problems, is mitochondrial repair. Let’s get them up and running again. And merely restoring ACE2 may not be enough to do that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And how do you do that?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Well, the single supplement that’s been the most studied in mitochondrial function is Coenzyme Q10. And they’re the doses that are needed somewhere between 200 to 400 milligrams a day. It depends on the form on the form of Coenzyme Q10. But low doses won’t work. You need a high dose, and CoQ is very safe. I have not seen any side effects with it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s a high dose?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Let’s say 400 milligrams a day is a dose that has been … that was shown to help prevent migraine headaches. Migraine without side effects. And migraine is a mitochondrial disorder. So I usually have people spread it out, 100 milligrams three or four times a day with food. That’s one step. The other thing is that they’re on vitamin B3 niacin plays an important role in mitochondrial function and may be lost by COVID-19. It’s in the complex biology of what this virus does. It may actually interfere with the absorption of amino acids from the intestine resulting in an inability of the body to … Let’s say, a need for more niacin than you might ordinarily need.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Is this why we’re seeing benefits from NAD, from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide which is a sort of a derivative of niacin in COVID?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yes. I think we’re seeing benefits because of the direct effect of that on mitochondrial function. So there are different forms of niacin that I’ll use. And it might be NAD. I also use nicotinamide mononucleotide, NMN, which has been helpful. Those are actually my favorites. Niacin itself can cause an unpleasant flushing, although some people like it. Some people actually like that flush.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s a dingly all over actually.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. Now the niacin probably works better when combined with an amino acid called NAC, N-acetyl cysteine, which is an antioxidant, which also protects mitochondrial function. Glutathione protects mitochondrial function and that’s a major endogenously manufactured antioxidant.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So when you take NAC, it helps you make more glutathione.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Right. NAC helps you make more glutathione. And there may be a role for carnitine which is an endogenously made substance of peptide, dipeptide, made in amino acids, but I would say Coenzyme Q10, and niacin, and NAC are the main factors for restoring mitochondrial function. NAC, according to animal studies, also helps with the production of BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor. So especially if there are cognitive issues or neurologic issues, I want more BDNF. And butyrate being made by healthy gut bacteria, niacin can be helpful with that and Omega-3 fats may also play a role in the regeneration of nerve cells. EA and DHA. And the data tend to indicate you need a fairly high dose for on cognitive enhancement, roughly 2400 milligrams of EPA plus DHA per day which should be taken with food. The benefits of EPA and DHA on cognitive function are enhanced by another antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid. And there, the dose needed is about 600 milligrams a day. So those are most of the natural products.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So those are the natural products you use for prevention, treatment, and post-COVID.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. Actually. If we take the Omega-3s there’s studies from critical care units where people receiving Omega-3 have a much better outcome than people who don’t.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That was a really extraordinary sort of description of the mechanisms and why these products, which are natural, can help to both prevent, treat, and help you recover from post-COVID. And just to summarize quickly, it was resveratrol, curcumin, quercetin, vitamin B, N-acetyl cysteine, lipoic acid, carnitine, niacin, or derivatives like NMN or NAD and then all the probiotics like the one that comes from the Siberian soil, other that can be helpful as well, plus upgrading your diet with polyphenols and prebiotic fibers. These are foundational ideas that are safe, they’re effective, the cost is there for sure if you’re taking a lot of supplements, but if you’re if someone suffering from lung COVID or from COVID, the cost of not doing it is far greater I think in terms of our long-term health outcomes. What else have you found is effective in helping these people recover?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Especially in the people who have chronic fatigue, it’s really important to look at this and how their autonomic nervous system is regulating pulse and blood pressure, and to look for this phenomenon called POTS, P-O-T-S, which stands for positional Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. And what that means is when you stand up, your heart races much faster than it should. And I have a link to a way to determine that, but it’s pretty simple. You lie down for a few minutes and you check your heart rate. And then you stand up and you lean against a wall so you’re kind of resting standing, your shoulders against the wall and you check your heart rate and blood pressure if you can, but anybody can check their pulse. And if you have one of those pulse oximeters that people were using in buying at the onset of the pandemic to check their oxygen and you don’t have to check it yourself. You just look at what happens to your heart rate as you stand for 10 minutes. If you can’t stand for 10 minutes, then you probably have this. I have a whole description of how to interpret that and way to go about it in the video, the long COVID video, that may require medication and a graduated exercise program, but vitamin B1, thiamine, also can be helpful for POTS. So that is something else that might be added to the mix.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m constantly getting patients with long COVID and with COVID itself and they’re looking for ways that are a little out of the box. Everything you just said would be hard to argue with really and it’s safe and is effective and is really reasonably priced in the scheme of things. But there are a number of modalities out there that I’ve seen people use, that I personally use myself, plus I’ve also seen practitioners use and I’ve sent patients to practitioners who do these modalities. I’m just going to list them. I’d love you to sort of riff on what you think and how they can impact post-COVID particularly and even COVID. Hyperbaric oxygen, ozone, exosomes, peptides, and even things like plasmapheresis, ozone dialysis. Those are things that I think are a little out of the box, but I’ve seen remarkable recoveries using a combination of these various therapies. What’s your thoughts on these things?

Dr. Leo Galland:
They are expensive and can be invasive. So I would certainly reserve them for people who are not responding to other measures. Now, hyperbaric oxygen and ozone, both, are oxidative therapies and may stimulate healing responses. I’ve had kind of mixed responses in general, with those. In my practice, I’ve referred patients for many years for them. So far, there hasn’t been anyone with long COVID that I felt a need to do that with. And I had one patient who consulted me and then went for hyperbaric oxygen and was not helped by it, but a series of one is not enough to make a judgment. Plasmapheresis might be helpful in removing autoantibodies. That’s something I would consider sort of as a late … not necessarily a last resort, but a late resort.

Dr. Leo Galland:
I haven’t worked much with exosomes. They’re interesting. And stem cell therapy is potentially interesting. There’s been some work with ACE2 producing stem cells, but it just hasn’t gone very far yet. Oh, peptides. So I use peptides a lot in or a moderate amount. I would say in my practice with different types of chronic illness, I haven’t as yet gone to peptide therapy for COVID-19. The peptides that I’ve used, first of all, they probably have to be given by injection. I don’t think the oral [inaudible 01:02:04] are going to do it. So they need to be given by injection. It’s easy. It’s kind of easy. It’s like using an insulin syringe, but you would have to learn how to do it. I would look at the thymosin peptides. Thymosin alpha 1-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thymosin alpha 1 and thymosin beta 4.

Dr. Leo Galland:
I’ve seen some very good responses to those in other conditions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So this is a very hopeful message. It’s really depressing that there’s so many people who’ve had COVID and thankfully 99% of them haven’t died, but if 30% are permanently ill, we need a different way of thinking about this. And what you just presented, Leo, was a really extraordinary map of how to restore function using functional medicine. And just to kind of summarize, you talked about optimizing nutritional status. Let’s say vitamin D and Omega-3 fats. You talked about how do we upregulate and optimize immune function including making more interferon alpha, which is your natural antiviral systems through various phytochemicals and plant compounds that can upregulate those systems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’ve talked about the gut and how we need to restore the microbiome and butyrate production, and how that works with the brain. You’ve talked about mitochondria as a factor that we have to restore energy production in the cells. This is functional medicine, the gut, immune system, the mitochondria, nutrition. You didn’t talk so much about toxins, which don’t necessarily play a role here, but this is … And you’ve talked about even hormonal dysregulation with POTS and autonomia and neurotransmitter dysfunction. These are things from a functional medicine perspective that many of us in the field have a lot of experience with them. What you’ve done is applied the science to the mechanisms, the underlying biology of what goes wrong with people who’ve had COVID, and with post-COVID, or long COVID. That’s just brilliant. And I think, for people listening, they should really have hope and understand that even though this is a scary time and a scary disease, that if you apply these methods that they do make a difference. Yes, we need large trials. Yes, we need more money to study this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I was speaking with my friend, Dariush Mozaffarian, who’s the Dean of Tufts School Nutrition Science and Policy, one of the most published and respected scientists with NIH grants. Just really one of the leading lights in the world of nutrition science and science in general. And he said, “We saw that in our school and we had nutritional immunologist and we were studying these phytochemicals. We were studying these nutrients and their regulatory factors on the immune system and how to deal with COVID. We tried to get a study going and we couldn’t get five cents from the NIH, from anybody, to study this.” We saw this right at the beginning, when there’s literally billions of dollars being given the vaccine makers to actually make vaccines or do fancy drugs that are unfortunately not showing that much effect, marginal effect. I think I think you’re hitting on something that is accessible to everybody, that’s doable by most people. It’s not extraordinary measures. Some people get stuck, there’s the the back … the stuff in our back pocket that we may want to try like hyperbarics and ozone. I’ve seen great results.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I want to talk a bit about vaccines. I heard this. I don’t really know how strong the data is. If people have been vaccinated and I’m not going to get into all the risks of vaccination and the controversies, if people have been vaccinated, it seems to prevent them from getting long COVID. Is their data support that? Does that make sense?

Dr. Leo Galland:
There’s a little bit of data. The prevention might be 50%. So having been vaccinated may give you a 50% reduction in the risk of long COVID, and which would be one reason to consider it. But as I said, my experience has been that if you use these functional medicine measures from the time … hopefully before the diagnosis, but from the time of diagnosis, the risk of long COVID is markedly reduced down to two to 3%.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And Leo, if people haven’t been vaccinated and they have long COVID, does getting a vaccine help?

Dr. Leo Galland:
That’s really important question. Maybe 10% of people actually feel better after the vaccine. And I’ve seen some or I’ve had reports from people that I’ve spoken to directly have some very dramatic changes occurring usually within a week after their second shot. But I also have seen people who got much worse after being vaccinated, so that is people who have long COVID. So it’s not an easy decision to make.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Leo, you can take the fifth on this one if you want. I love we have a few minutes left. I love your perspective on vaccines and COVID. And if you’re willing to share, have you had one, what do you think about where we’re at with and all the controversies about the risks versus the benefits?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Sure. I’m happy to talk about that. I’ve been vaccinated and probably would be due for a booster. I’ve been postponing it because I’m trying to figure out when do I want to be sick for a few days. I read on a daily basis the responsible anti-vaccine literature. And plus I’ve also-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That sounds like an oxymoron according to traditional science. Responsible anti-vaccine literature. Explain that.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Or let’s just say anti-vaccine literature from sources that I consider reputable.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I understand.

Dr. Leo Galland:
And then I pursue that information. I don’t ever take what anybody tells me. If they cite a study, I want to go and read that study myself. And I would say that most of the anti-vaccine literature is full of holes. It doesn’t really hold up when you go in and you really look at it. There are some very real and legitimate concerns, but in fact, they don’t materialize except for a few. There are some real concerns that need to be taken very seriously. The risk of myocarditis in young men, for example. Maybe they should only get one dose of an MRI vaccine and not two doses.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s what bodies of scientists are now seeing in Europe.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Right. So this blanket embrace of vaccines, I think, is very dangerous. There needs to be a constant analysis. That’s the way that science works. You’re looking at the facts and recalculating. I would say that the vaccines are indisputably beneficial in decreasing the rate of death, and the severity, and the need for hospitalization from COVID-19. It is equally indisputable that they are not going to let the world have this virus and they are not going to create so called herd immunity in the end of the pandemic. And so a public health policy that relies solely on vaccination. That’s a big mistake. And that, unfortunately, has been the public health policy in this country.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I think that’s a challenge. What you said is very important. Science is about asking questions. And in some areas of medicine, you’re not allowed to ask questions, vaccines are one of those areas. And it’s the most bizarre thing to me. The science is settled. Scientists never settled. The point of science is to question, and to create hypothesis, and challenge your thinking. And it’s a nuanced field. And the problem with the messaging, in my view, around vaccines was that, it works, it’s safe. Well, neither of those are true. It sort of works, and it’s sort of safe, and it’s nuanced, and it doesn’t … and it’s different for different populations at different times and ages. I think we really are in an unfortunate situation where if you even bring up a question, you’re immediately thrown into this camp of being like a terrorist. You’re an anti-vaxer, it’s equivalent being a terrorist.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I personally have had the vaccine. I had to change a vaccine because I was in a hurry and I didn’t have time for two vaccines. I just was able to get it. I think we need to be honest, scientifically honest. And I think the public can handle the truth. We shouldn’t be paternalistic in the way we message. Yes, we need to be simple and clear so people understand what to do, but I think what’s happened now is that people are so confused because all of a sudden, it’s like, “Vaccines is going to save us.” “Oh, no. Just kidding.” All these other problems are coming out. And like any medical treatment, it’s got risks. Everybody have been taking aspirin forever. I don’t take aspirin, I read the literature for years. It highly concerned me that 16,000 people a year die from GI bleeding and stroke from taking aspirin.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If your cardiovascular risk factors are low, which might are, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks. And now a study came out showing that people over 60, even if they’re high risk, should not take aspirin, which was given to everybody. It was considered malpractice not to give aspirin even though there was data because of whatever the medical orthodoxy was saying. I feel like with vaccines we’re sort of in the same boat. We really need to take an honest view. They’re not good or bad. They’re just another treatment that have benefits and have risks. You have to calculate those personally and make decisions about what feels good or not to you. I would love to ask you this question, but I don’t have enough personal, or experience, or patient experience to really determine this, but I’ve had a few. If people have side effects from the vaccines, does this approach that we just talked about also help them recover?

Dr. Leo Galland:
Well, I’m seeing a lot of people with vaccine injuries who are coming in to see me. I think the approach that we’ve just talked about can be really helpful with vaccine injuries. I think a lot of the vaccine problems are, in fact, related to the nature of the spike protein. These are vaccines that introduce, through some mechanism or another, spike protein into the cells of your muscles which then actually spreads, gets to lymph nodes, and they circulate. I think it’s very irresponsible of the conventional medical community to act as if the spike protein is no big deal. It’s been modified it can affect you. I think that there are effects of the spike protein on immune responses that are very similar when you look at the vaccine or when you look at COVID-19. And that’s the theory and I’m basing it on indirect information. It would be a reason why treatment approaches that can work for COVID-19 or for long COVID may be applicable to vaccine injuries.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I completely agree. So thank you, Leo. You’ve done so much work to learn about this and share with everybody and with the general community out there with the functional medicine community. The Institute for Functional Medicine has a taskforce on COVID and has really been producing content. I’ll let know you’ve been helpful with that as well. Looking at how we deal with prevention with treatment with post-COVID, I encourage you to check out their resource at ifm.org and check out your website, Dr. Leo Galland … Sorry. Drgalland.com. That’s just D-R-G-A-L-L-A-N-D. It is a treasure trove of information.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You are not a radical. You are a thoughtful, scientifically-oriented doc who has asked hard questions, who’s challenged orthodoxy. I really deeply respect your ability to sift through all the noise and look at what science says and come up with things that are common sense, that are reasonable, that under mechanistically sound, and that can really help people. I’m just going to confess personally. I want this confession to wrap up. Since this all started, I wrote an article. Probably in March of 2020, as soon as this came out. I wrote pretty much everything you said to take and do, I wrote down because there was evidence there that all those things work. And personally, I take almost everything you had just described. I don’t take some of those Siberian probiotics, but I’m probably going to get them now. I take almost everything you’re talking about. I take curcumin, I take CoQ10, I take a lipoic acid, I take NAC, I take vitamin D, I take [inaudible 01:17:07], I take probiotics, I take mitochondrial support. I do the things that I know that are going to strengthen my system. I take quercetin because I know that I don’t want to get COVID. If I get it, I don’t want it to be bad. And I don’t want to get post-COVID and [inaudible 01:17:23] I’m good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I feel very hopeful that if people listen to this podcast and that they can digest the first part, which was pretty heavy, that the second part, we really unpacked a way of living. We didn’t talk about the importance of deep nutrition, and exercise, and stress reduction, and sleep. Those are sort of self-evident ways to help your body, but if people can understand that they don’t have to feel helpless and wait for some new great new discovery of a drug, that there’s so much that you can be empowered to do right now to make yourself COVID resilient, to help yourself recover from COVID, and to get to prevent and treat post-COVID syndrome. That’s a miracle.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Yeah. Mark, I would just like to talk about one of … what I think is one of the most remarkable studies that was published along those lines. This was a study that came out of Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford top researchers. They looked at a group of health professionals, mostly doctors and mostly men, and they categorized them as people who had recovered from mild COVID or people who had moderate to severe COVID, but they were all people who had survived COVID. They then did a dietary analysis of what their diets have been like during the year before they got COVID. I went in and looked at the data. You have to really look at the data itself. The bottom line is a 40% increase in the consumption of vegetables created a 72% decrease in the likelihood that someone would have moderate or severe COVID versus mild or minimal COVID. Now, there was a drug that did that, just imagine what the headlines would be.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. 40% increase in your veggies, 70% decrease in severe COVID. The other study was on vitamin D. I don’t know if you saw it, but I think it’s in pre-publication, but it was released. And it showed that if your vitamin D level was over 50 nanograms per deciliter, which is probably maybe, I don’t know, 5% of the population, that your risk of death from COVID was zero. Does that make sense? There’s no drug that can do that or vaccine the can do that. And literally we should be giving free vitamin D to every man, woman, and child [inaudible 01:19:57].

Dr. Leo Galland:
Absolutely. Instead what we’re seeing is all the stuff in the press. Well, vitamin D, we don’t really know. Somehow it’s not okay to advocate vitamin D in this situation, but it’s perfectly okay to advocate vaccines for everybody.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When President Trump got COVID, in New York Times they reported they were giving him vitamin D, and zinc, and all that stuff.

Dr. Leo Galland:
Of course. They gave him all the things that … Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What we’re talking about. Well, Leo, thank you for your work, thank you for being such a tireless, dedicated servant of the truth and science, for bringing functional medicine and helping birth it into the world. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am or doing what I’m doing. I think you are just an incredible mensch. You’re 79 years old. You could be golfing all day and sailing in the Caribbean, but you’re spending eight hours a day with patients, you’re doing all the work you need to do. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And for those of you listening this podcast, if you’ve loved what you’re hearing and you have anybody who knows who’s had to COVID, which is probably 100% of the people, share this podcast with everyone you know. It is one of the most important podcasts I feel like I’ve done to tell the story. Leave a comment, talk to us about what you’ve learned about how you can recover from COVID and post-COVID. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Speaker 1:
Hi, everyone, I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search there, find a practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed health care practitioner and can help you make changes especially when it comes to your health.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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