Answering Your Questions About COVID-19, Long-COVID, and Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season - Transcript

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Coming up on this week's episode of the Doctor's Pharmacy. We are a sick nation. We're obese, we're metabolically healthy, and we have chronic illness. And all these diseases are diseases of inflammation. So we literally came into this pandemic pre inflamed.
Welcome to the doctor's pharmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman as pharmacy with an enough a place for conversations that matter. And today we're going to go deep into a conversation that really matters. We're going to be tackling a topic that is left an indelible mark on the world COVID-19 and the epidemic and the pandemic that followed. And as we navigate through new variants and climbing cases, it's really important to unravel the reasons behind why so many Americans got so sick and died during the pandemic. And we're going to dig into the questions of why we as a nation are so susceptible to covid nineteen's deadly effects. And now we're seeing the onset of clothed and flu season respiratory syncytial virus or RSV and even the persistence of COVID-19 and more strains. So it's really important to learn from the past and learn how we can prevent and limit the impact of exposure to all these challenging viral illnesses.
So the question is why are we so sick? Why did we have such a disproportionate number of deaths in America compared to the rest of the world? From Covid-19 six in 10 Americans have a chronic illness. 93% of us are metabolic unhealthy. That's why and chronic disease increases both the severity and the risk of death from COVID-19. Unfortunately, conventional medicine missed the root causes that drove the infection rates and all the hospitalizations and the deaths. Now in this episode we're going to explore why and how this happened and how functional medicine can help you understand how to address COVID-19 from both a prevention perspective and a treatment perspective, and even make you more resilient when it comes to viruses and infections in general. There's a lot of things that affect our immune system from vitamin D deficiency to our microbiome, to our diet which drives inflammation.
And we're going to talk about how to address all of those through the lens of functional medicine and the importance of really developing a comprehensive strategy for both diet and lifestyle prevention and supplementation to optimize your immune system so you don't get sick, and so you reduce the risk of the severity of any illness you get and for sure reduce the risk of death. We're going to talk about the data on that. It's pretty impressive. We're also going to navigate the complexities and uncover shortcomings and explore the promising solutions that lie at the intersection of health and science and functional medicine around this particular topic. My hope is that this health bite episode will provide a roadmap to prevent COVID-19 for you and your family. It'll reduce the risk of severity and death and will help you better navigate the cold and flu season now and for years to come.
So let's get into it. First of all, what's the deal? What happened in America? How do we have the worst covid numbers in the world, right? America's 4% of the population of the world and yet we had 16% of the cases and deaths four times what we should have had and we have quote, the best healthcare system in the world. So why did we have such a disproportionate number of deaths and a disproportionate number of hospitalizations and case of covid? I mean it's pretty striking. 7 million deaths from Covid US accounted for 1.2 million of those deaths and 6.5 million hospitalizations from severe covid. It's a lot and put a huge strain on our system. So why is this important now? I mean, yes, COVID seems to be a thing of the past, but it's not really. It's still there. People are still getting covid. So it's important to know what you can do to prevent and protect yourself from these conditions, whether it's covid, the flu, RSV, other viruses.
How do we support our immune systems? How do we avoid getting really sick or dying? So in addition to talk about prevention, we're going to talk about how you can support yourself once you do get the illness and hopefully make it shorter. We're also going to talk about some of the challenges in the science and some of the things you've heard in the news. It's been a very controversial subject. There's a lot of, I dunno what to say in some ways to me irrational conversations around COVID-19 around vaccines, around what to do about it, around treatments, around drug therapies. And it kind of misses the point I think for a lot of us, which is how do we understand how to navigate this world and not get caught in this sort of web of confusing information? I wouldn't say misinformation. There's information, there's misinformation, there's confusing information.
I would say a lot of the science has been kind of rolled over by the media has been kind of amplified in some ways by very outspoken people that believe one way or the other on either side. And I think we need to kind of get back to the basics and I'm going to try to take you through what we know about this disease, what it does to your body, what the controversies are that still remain, why some of the science is not as clear as we'd like it to be, what the science can show and when it can't show, and then what you can do to optimize your immune system and your health so you don't end up getting really sick and dying of this problem or any problem. Here's the take home here. The reason why Americans were so sick and were hospitalized at such an enormous rate and had so many more deaths per capita than the rest of the world was because we are a sick nation.
We are pre inflamed, we're obese, we're metabolic and healthy and we have chronic illness. And all these diseases are diseases of inflammation. So we literally came into this pandemic pre inflamed. You've heard of pre-diabetes, we have pre inflammation. This is what's going on. And when the covid virus hits in someone who's pre inflamed, that inflammation cycle accelerates. And you've heard about the cytokine storm, you've heard about all that. It's all because obesity and metabolic illnesses like pre-diabetes, diabetes and all the diseases that we see as we get older, heart disease and so forth, these are all conditions were pre inflamed. And so when Covid hits a pre inflamed person, it catches fire and that's why we see the severity and the deaths in this country at the rate we did. So in terms of chronic disease, it's the biggest killer. There's 41 million deaths globally. 74% of all deaths are from chronic disease and I think that's important to understand.
We think of malaria, TB and AIDS and all these diseases which we should address even in the developing world. Now, chronic disease is taking over. I was recently in the Messiah area in Tanzania and this is a tribe that lived on milk, meat and blood for most of their history, and now they're eating lots of Coca-Cola and sweetened cookies and they all have diabetes. It's pretty depressing actually. So it's not just in America, but in America we think COVID-19 was bad, but there's more people that die every year from chronic disease than ever have died from covid. And these are preventable diseases. And it's funny we don't talk about this pandemic of chronic disease, this pandemic of obesity, overweight, metabolic poor health, diabetes as a imminent threat, but it is killing every day far more people than covid ever did. Six out of 10 Americans have one chronic disease, four out of 10 have two or more.
These are things like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, pulmonary diseases and many, many more. Kidney disease, hypertension. These are all related to the same underlying biology, even some resistance and poor diet and all the things we talk about all the time. So it's not a mystery, but with the strongest risk factor for death was people who had chronic disease. So if you had one or two comorbidities, meaning you had let's say high blood pressure and diabetes, you had a 70% increased risk of death if you had three or more, which people do they have? Heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, it usually goes as a cocktail because they all have the same mechanism. So really all the same disease. There's no such thing as comorbidity. It's a sort of medical term that makes me crazy because these are all connected. You can't treat heart disease and diabetes and hypertension and all they seem separately because they're all related, they're all mechanistically.
The same with different manifestations. But if you had three of these, your risk of death went up by 130%. Also, your weight was a big factor. 75% of Americans are overweight, 42% are obese. In a deeper analysis, as I've mentioned before on the show, 93% are metabolically unhealthy, which means they have some abnormalities including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, have had a heart attack or stroke or are overweight. So only 6.8% of Americans don't have that constellation of symptoms or conditions and those are the things that put us at risk. So when you look at the obesity epidemic, if you were overweight, just overweight, not obese, your risk of ending up in the hospital went up by 20%. If you're obese, it went up by 72% and your risk of death went up by 25%. If you had extreme obesity, which is a BMI of over 40, it increased your risk of being in the hospital by 250% and your risk of death went up by 200%.
Let me double your risk of death Now if your blood sugar was high, which by the way it's an epidemic in this country. One in 10 Americans has diabetes, it's estimated that probably half all Americans have pre-diabetes or type two diabetes. I would say it's probably even more depending on how you define it, pre-diabetes has got a very narrow strict definition, but I see it's a continuum. It's not like on or off. If your blood sugar's 99, you're fine, but what if you're a hundred? Then you're well, it doesn't make any sense scientifically. So we have these arbitrary cutoffs, but the point is if your blood sugar is like 1 0 6 to 1 25, you have a much higher risk of severe covid by 55%. If your blood sugar is over 1 26, it's highly predictive of death from covid and it also predicts a slower recovery, meaning if you get covid, you don't get better that fast.
Now if you look at diabetes, it kind of looked at type one two together, but your risk of covid infection versus non-diabetics went up by about 27%. You had two to three times the risk of having severe covid and if your blood sugar average was we call the A1C was less than seven, which is six is sort of the cutoff, five and a half is really optimal. If you were less than seven or 46% increased risk of getting severe covid. So if you were seven to 9% A1C, it was a 232% risk of severe covid and if you're over nine, which is pretty poorly controlled diabetes, your risk was about 260%. So it tracks the higher your blood sugar, the worse your risk, the higher risk of hospitalization, the higher risk of death type two diabetes. We also saw the same thing. It's because they metabolically are more at risk, not because they're necessarily eating bad, but often diabetes type one is poorly controlled and often people get double diabetes type one and two, meaning if they eat sugar and they just take more insulin, the insulin's going to create inflammation, weight gain.
So they had a high risk by about 41% of covid and severe covid by three times 300%. When you look at just type two diabetes itself, there was a really strong association between, as I mentioned, high blood sugar and COVID-19 outcomes and it's really all controlled by insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. So just to kind of back up a little bit, when you eat sugar in starch, and by the way, the worst thing for your immune system is eating lots of sugar in starch. If you back up and look at what's going on mechanistically, when you have a high refined starch and sugar diet, it jacks up your blood sugar, which jacks up your insulin, which then cause you to store fat in your abdominal area. We call visceral fat or belly fat. Those fat cells are not just they're holding up your pants, they're inflammation factories.
They produce all these cytokines like IL six, TNF alpha IL one, which are the cytokines we saw very elevated in COVID-19. So we see basically you have this increased inflammatory process as a result of in insulin resistance, and that's why we saw people with type two diabetes had 80% risk of really higher risk of severe covid. You were taking insulin, which means you're often poorly controlled on types of diabetes because you don't really need insulin. You had about a 59% higher risk of ending up in the ICU being intubated, dying Metformin, which by the way is interesting. It is a drug that improves insulin sensitivity. It's one of the drugs that we use for diabetes. You saw 44% reduction in your risk of getting into the ICU or getting intubated or dying, so that's really great. Now also, if you look at health disparities, they're huge.
I mean we saw African-Americans having much higher risk of hospitalization death because they're often higher at risk for these conditions. Disproportionately have these conditions and we saw for example in some communities where they're 30% African-Americans, there were 70% of the hospitalizations and deaths and they have much higher rates of hospitalizations. What about heart disease? Well, heart disease again is this continuum of poor metabolic health we call it, and a big review in British Medical Journal showed that there was a threefold high risk of having severe covid or death with heart disease. If you've got high blood pressure, you had a two and a half fold increased risk of severe covid and your blood vessels were very affected during covid and covid further damages your blood vessels. I just want to also mention as part of this podcast, all the things that I'm talking about are based on peer-reviewed literature.
All the references are in the show notes. You can go dig down and find them yourself if you want to learn more. I'm kind of giving you a high level summary of what's going on in the data. We're just kind of laying the landscape here. We're going to go on what's wrong with the conventional approach, but we're just seeing how this epidemic of chronic disease, which is driving so much of our suffering in America, so much of our healthcare costs, so much of our federal deficit with the cost of Medicare's going to be bankrupt and a few years actually if we keep going at the current rate is because of lifestyle preventable chronic disease, things that we talk about all the time on the podcast and that are really at the core of how we think about looking at our biology through the lens of functional medicine.
How do we deal with the root causes? Now what about lung disease? Well, a lot of people have lung disease that is often caused by smoking, so it's not so much dietary. It can be asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension. One in seven Americans have this and it increases your risk of having poor outcomes from covid kidney disease, which is usually caused by high blood pressure and diabetes, which are all the, by the way, high blood pressure is caused usually by insulin resistance. So it's all one condition, right? You see the same issues in people. It's not like they're separate diseases as I mentioned. So if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, higher risk, if you took steroids, if you're for example having asthma or having an autoimmune disease or various conditions where doctors will use steroids like prednisone, it really, really suppresses your immune system and it reduces inflammation, but it also actually increases your risk of severe covid.
If you're immunocompromised, it makes sense that you'd be at risk for severe outcomes from covid like cancer put you at high risk of having bad outcomes. Autoimmune disease if you're older, interesting. When you're older, your immune system is not as functional. You don't respond as well to vaccines. You're more likely to get sick. You're more likely to end up in the hospital with pneumonia, with flu, and it's because your immune system becomes compromised. That's not inevitable. You can do stuff about it. We're going to talk about what you can do, but it's why we saw the nursing homes and retirement homes just be super spreader events for covid. The virus spread like wildfire in these because of the predisposition, these people to infections because of their immune system compromise. They're also if you're frail and weak, which is sarcopenia, meaning you lost muscle. We talk a lot about the podcast if you saw people who are frail and weak in the nursing homes, there was a 441% increased risk of death over fourfold, increased risk of death if you're weak and have sarcopenia, which is crazy.
Also, if you're protein deficient, protein is critical for your immunity and when you're elderly, you tend to not ease much protein. You don't get as much calories, you're not as hungry maybe, and we tend to need more protein as we age. So protein's critical for immunity and for repair. Also, vitamin D deficiency, if you're not taking vitamin D and you're not outside in the sun surfing all the time, you're going to end up with a vitamin D deficiency. We're going to drop into what that does to your immune system. But vitamin D counts for hundreds if not thousands of biological reactions in your body, including regulating immunity. And what was really interesting to me was data that showed that if you had severe deficiency less than 25, which is really, really low, it's really associated with increased severity of disease, increased ICU admission, increased death, increased risk of infection and hospitalization.
This is from here a systematic review. What was really interesting was one study I looked at during the pandemic showed that if your vitamin D was low, you were 70% more likely to end up in the hospital and die. Another study out of Israel, a large study looked at anybody who had vitamin D levels over 50 nanograms per deciliter. There was no death like zero. I mean you don't even get that with vaccine. Now maybe it wasn't big enough study. Maybe there were problems with the study, but it was a pretty compelling bit of data that showed that if your vitamin D level was high, meaning you were adequately covered and you had no deficiency and you had optimal ranges of vitamin D, which I think is probably between 50 and 75, even though most labs say 30 or less is deficient and anything between over 30 is fine.
I don't think that's actually true. When you look at optimal functioning of your health and immunity, it showed that there was zero risk of death if your levels over 50. So maybe we should be handing out vitamin D to every man, woman and child in America as a way of preventing colds, flus and covid. It's such a simple and expensive and safe thing to do. I know I have a cocktail I use when I get sick. I'll share it with you, but essentially it's high dose vitamin D, high dose vitamin A and some zinc, some adaptogenic and herbal compounds that help immunity and it really knocks it out. I literally, it's almost, I wouldn't say I have a cure for the common cold, but if I start to feel some symptoms, I hit myself with that never get really sick. There's a lot of reasons, like I said, why as a society we were susceptible, why we saw four times the rate of death that we would expect based on our population and hospitalizations.
It really has to do with our incredibly poor diet. We found that, for example, if you looked at the data on chronic diseases and influences on these chronic diseases that if we had all had a better diet, we could have reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 63% in America. That would've literally transformed everything that happened in our country. We wouldn't have had to do what we're doing now, which is this bailout we wouldn't be doing in inflation the way we are with mortgage rates skyrocketing. It was just really bad and I actually had a chance to talk to the director of the NIH at Frances Collins who was a wonderful man, brilliant scientist, but really clueless when it comes to nutrition. I had the chance to ask him and once he stepped down from the position, I said, why didn't you use this moment during covid to tell America that they're at risk for severe infection and death because of their diet and inspire them to learn how to eat better.
To use this in medicine as we call a teachable moment where we use some pain point to help people understand what they're doing is affecting their health and inspire people to do better and create a national public health awareness campaign just like we did for smoking. And he is like, well, we don't want to blame the person who's overweight, so we didn't do it. I'm like, well, it's not their fault. It's because the food industry. And as you know, I've written a lot about this in my book Food Fix. I have a nonprofit that's trying to address this, but I really, really think this is such a critical issue and it was such a missed opportunity and we focused heavily on vaccines and drug development and bailouts and stimulus packages. I mean it was really misdirected. If we spent a fraction of the $8 trillion on educating America and teaching America and improving our food system, I think we would be way better off.
So let's talk about the conventional approach. Let's get into the treatment model. Let's get into what we're told to do, what signs shows this works, what doesn't work, and then we'll get into really how deeply to address Covid from a holistic perspective. How do we prevent it? How do we deal with covid or other viruses when we get sick? How do we optimize our immune system? And this is really where functional medicines excels for me as a functional medicine doctor. My job isn't to diagnose and treat disease. It's to understand where we're deviated from health and use the science of understanding human biology to optimize and create health. And when you do that, diseases don't have a place to go. For example, if you have a healthy ecosystem and a healthy regenerative farm, disease levels are far lower in the plants, less weeds, less pests, less infections, the animals are healthier.
I mentioned on the podcast, I visited a regenerative ranch in Bison Ranch in Texas and they don't use anything. There's no chemicals, there's no sprays, there's no weed killers, there's no fertilizer, there's no pesticides. The animals are basically wild. They don't really have vet care because they don't need it because left to kind of graze and live an awful wide variety of wild and other plants that they'll throw on the ground with no-till. And it was really amazing. It's a super healthy ecosystem and in very much the same way, when we create a healthy ecosystem in us, when we create a healthy soil of our own body, the host, we're much more resistant to everything. Why is it that some people might get exposed to a cold and they don't get sick and another person does? Why is it that one person gets very sick and another person because of the health of the host?
Alright, so we're going to come back to that in a minute, but I want to talk about some of the things like handwashing masking, lockdowns ventilators, vaccines. We're going to get into some of the controversial stuff. So the first thing is, should we wash our hands? Well, probably a good idea. I mean, you wash your hands, you do reduce your risk of respiratory illness by about 11%, so it's worth doing. I think it makes common sense in terms of masking, what does the data show? Well, Cochrane reviews, which is an independent scientific review group that looks at many, many different studies with people who are not affiliated with industry or of any political agenda. They found that masking probably makes little to no difference in the prevention of covid or influenza-like illness. Now listen, if you're really sick and you're coughing and spitting under everybody, it's probably a good idea to wear a mask.
But on the prevention side, if you're wearing a mask, it doesn't seem to do that much. Now you can over an abundance of caution decide what you want to do and it's a personal decision. But I do think if you're going into an exposed area, if you're going where there's high risk, probably wearing an N95 mask sense, but as a sort of social policy that was trying to reduce covid, it didn't seem to really make the most sense. And there may be harms, especially for children. You obviously have decreased sense of someone's face, emotional learning, recognition, communications, there may be just discomfort with it. I don't think it's super harmful, but imagine if you're like three years as a little kid, everybody's wearing masks and you can't read their facial cues. It's not great. This was in pediatric respiratory reviews by Ben Psad who wrote about this, so I'm here to check that reference.
Now what about lockdowns? What did they do for us? Well, did they really make a difference? Well, it caused a lot of problems. It causes a lot of disease of despair, weight gain, depression, loneliness, binge drinking. In a population study, 3,500 people, 48% gained weight, 34% sort of kept their weight and 80% lost weight. And those who were overweight to start with were 65% more likely to gain weight. If you're a little bit overweight, you were about 58% more likely. If you're normal weight, not so much. But basically also if you were depressed and anxious, you were more likely to gain weight and there was a much more risk of weight gain in women and individuals who were less than 45 years old. We also saw high rates of suicide in the youth during the first year of the pandemic, much higher in males, youth and minority groups.
So suicides, loneliness, depression, weight gain, definitely risk factors for that. Ventilators. Let's talk about ventilators quickly, but initially there was ventilator use, but we realized that probably wasn't the best strategy and there were much higher rates of readmission mortality. There was much higher rates of non covid respiratory distress syndrome and respiratory failure. So it was probably not the best strategy and we learned that pretty quickly. Now let's talk about vaccines. This is a Pandora's box, but I'm going to open it a little bit. The problem with the covid vaccine effort was in my mind primarily this, we over promised in under-delivered. We were told they work and we were told they're safe, they kind of work and they're kind of safe. So they don't really prevent you getting the sickness or having the disease that you're trying to protect against. And also there were some significant covid vaccine related side effects that were under-reported and actually only tracked much after it was all rolled out.
Now it's important to think about a particular concept when it comes to vaccines. It was never explained to the public. One is something called disease immunity and the other is called sterile immunity. So sterile immunity is when you get the measles vaccine, you get it when you're a kid, you never get measles, you never need another vaccine that prevents you ever from getting the disease. That's called sterile immunity. The other protection you can get from vaccines is disease immunity. So when you get the flu shot, it doesn't necessarily prevent you from getting the flu, but it might reduce the severity and it might reduce your risk of getting it, but it doesn't prevent you from getting the disease. Covid vaccine was like the flu vaccine. It was not sterile immunity, it was disease immunity, meaning that it may reduce your risk of getting the disease and reduce the severity and the risk of death, but not really in a significant way for the majority of the population.
In fact, natural immunity was turned out to be far more of a protection than vaccine immunity. If you got the disease and you didn't get vaccines, you actually had a better protection longer term from covid. It's not to say the vaccines didn't help and aren't helpful for certain sections of the population. For example, if you're chronically Ill have diabetes. If you have heart failure, if you're elderly, it certainly would be something to think about. Now, I remember when I was in training for medical school and residency, we had very clear guidelines for the flu. It was basically only recommended for those over 65, those with chronic disease like kidney disease, diabetes, heart failure, and only for children who had some issue, whether it's asthma or some congenital or an inherited disease that made them at risk for having immune issues some chronic disease as a kid.
And that changed so that the recommendations went from the select group of people who should get the flu shot to everybody over six months old should get the flu shot every year forever. Now it's a bit of overkill I think in my view, especially when we understand how to regulate immunity. So the Covid vaccine, the Pfizer BioNTech and the Moderna mRNA vaccines and the NOVA Vaccine Protein subunit vaccine, they help prevent severe covid symptoms. They help prevent hospitalizations and death. And like I said, they benefit the immune compromise the obese diabetic, but they didn't prevent the spread of the virus and they didn't cause sterile immunity. So we were told they work, meaning we'd never get the disease doesn't do that and we're told they're safe. And it was really hard to know that because often you don't realize the side effects until the drug or compound is rolled out in the population.
And vaccines are like any drug. Every jingle drug, whether it's aspirin or Tylenol or a statin or Prozac, they have side effects. Now we call side effects, things that we are seeing, things that we don't want, but they're not side effects really. They're effects of the drug or the compound that we don't like. We call 'em side effects, but they're actually part of the mechanism of the drug. Now, one of the most concerning things we've seeing is this increased risk of myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle and also pericarditis, which is inflammation of the sac around the heart. And this is a very serious condition. You can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, really common in men under the age of 40 and higher among younger males aged 2012 to 24 who had a second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
This is from the European Journal of Clinical Investigation. Systematic review. This is not my opinion, I'm just sharing the data. So want to be really clear here. This is concerning to me because we're seeing a dramatic uptick in sudden deaths in a lot of these athletes and young kids. And this is not something that was happening before covid. There is something called vaccine reporting system or the VAs. Also the vaccine safety data link basically showed there are about 15.3 cases per a hundred thousand for those age 12 to 15 and about 13.9 cases per a hundred thousand for those 16 to 17 after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. That's concerning. Now it's important to note that COVID-19 infection itself increases the risk of myocarditis more than you would get after a vaccine, but also after the second dose. This is really important. After the second dose and all these require two doses of the vaccine, your risk of having this heart inflammation is higher than if you had an infection.
So if you got covid, your risk of having this ultimately is lower than if you had a vaccine. This concern for me around young folks getting the vaccine is that they're not that high risk for dying or getting severe infection. They generally get milder illness. They don't end up in the hospital unless they have some chronic disease or obese, which by the way is like 20% of kids. So maybe there's some argument there, but these are not the high risk people and they're at much higher risk of getting the complications it seems from the vaccine. And the 2023 systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMJ Open, the overall cases were low obviously in the population, but there was a higher risk in those who had the mRNA vaccine without having had covid before. So basically the relative risk was two. Now this may not sound like a lot, but that means it's a 200% increased risk of getting heart damage from the vaccine if you've never had covid before.
So that's quite concerning to me. Also, blood clotting was a thing that happened with certain women with the JJ vaccine and the issue is really we don't really know the long-term risks of imna coronavirus vaccines. Now I can tell you as a practicing physician, we learned something called the doctor years of a disease. So for example, I learned in medical school about a condition called the pheochromocytoma, which is an adrenal tumor that has all sorts of effects in the body. It stimulates adrenaline and produces lots of stress hormones. I've been practicing medicine since 1987. I've never seen a case of it. I don't know actually of any of my friends who've seen a case of it. It's super rare with covid vaccine. Many of my patients, and I don't even have that busy practice anymore, but I still see a fair bit of patients, but not like I was seeing 30 patients a day when I was younger.
I've seen a lot of post covid vaccine injuries, neurologic problems, immune dysregulation, just had a friend who had a severe allergic reaction rational over his body. And so these are not infrequent. Now, some of them may not range to the severity of myocarditis, which is a very severe heart condition, but I think there's a range of pros that people have, including something that I've been witnessing like long and we'll talk about that as a post covid vaccine syndrome. More people get very neurologic issues, immune dysregulation, inflammation increased susceptibility to infection. So there's something going on that we don't quite understand and it's being mapped out and I think we'll learn more over time. But again, I just want to sort of highlight, I'm not like saying I want safe airplanes. It doesn't mean I'm against airplanes or against flying.
So in some ways medicine has got its place, which I don't really understand where if you question any of the signs, where you look at the data, where you ask questions about the safety of vaccines, you're considered an anti-vaxxer, which just does not make any sense to me at all. In fact, the sole purpose of science is to keep asking questions, is to keep generate hypothesis. It's to keep challenging. Our assumptions is to keep looking harder at the problem and seeing if we're wrong or right. That's what science is supposed to do. Not saying vaccines are safe, take them, don't question it. If you question it, you're a heretic, an anti-vaxxer and you're ostracized. It doesn't make any sense to me. So I have had vaccines, my kids have had vaccines, I'm not, and that doesn't mean all vaccines are the same. So do I have any question about getting my TE vaccine every 10 years?
Not at all. Do I think getting basic vaccines for things that are important that I did, for example when I was younger, like children's diseases, polio, vaccine, measles, moms, rubella, diptheria, pertussis, absolutely. Do I think that we should be getting all these vaccines all at once in kids and as a new vaccine for every condition that we're throwing on these little baby immune systems? Do we have any data to support that? Not at all. I mean, when we talk about evidence-based medicine, when we study one vaccine in one group for a particular time, we have evidence on that particular vaccine in isolation. But what if you give 27 vaccines or maybe you get five vaccines at once? Where is the evidence for all of those vaccines given collectively and their safety over time? We don't have it. It's not done. That study has not been done and it will never be done.
So we really have to be smart and understand what the data show and what it doesn't show and have a sober view of our risks. So I think it's really important to kind of take a measured view of this whole vaccine thing and get out of this debate of pro or anti-vaxxer. It's not like pro-life or pro-choice. I mean that's just a black and white thinking that we have to get away from and start to be more rigorous about our thinking and start looking at the data carefully to make careful judgements about what we should and shouldn't do. And particularly given our own health history, our genetics, our immune function, our other issues in terms of our chronic disease risks, our personal preferences, other things that we can do to modulate our risk factors. So I think it's important. So now I want to talk about what do we do to actually help the host, right?
So we can give vaccines which artificially jack up your immune system to fight a particular infection and maybe not or maybe. And we can also help our own immune system optimally function better, and that's what I want to talk about. So how does functional medicine look at this problem? How do we understand why we are seeing such an epidemic of inflammatory diseases, not just covid but everything, all the chronic illnesses, autoimmune disease, allergic diseases, compromised immune systems. How do we deal with that? Well, we have to look at the modifiable risk factors that we can change and there's a large number of modifiable risk factors for COVID-19 and for pretty much everything. So this kind of goes across the gamut, but let's talk about how the data pan out around what we can modify in terms of our risk of getting infections and viral infections and particularly COVID-19.
First is all these chronic illnesses, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, these are things that I've written about, talked about for decades. They're fundamentally diseases of affluence, diseases of excess diseases, of abundance, diseases that occur in over supply of ultra processed diet, this high in stared sugar and it's a real, real problem. So these are not inevitable things. They're things that can be modified and need reversed. The other thing that really drives our risk is our blood sugar regulation. And I've written many books about this, the 10 a detox diet, blood sugar solution, but blood sugar is a huge factor in your risk. As I mentioned earlier about the diabetes, increasing risk for covid hospitalizations and deaths and managing your blood sugar is really important. So cutting down start your sugar and optimizing your diet to increase more fiber, protein, fat, following a simple exercise program, really important.
Our diet overall, the diet quality plays a role. So our microbiome, our gut, everything, we'll talk about that in a minute, but all that plays a role in our risk. Environmental toxins, we have less control over heavy metals, air pollution. I just saw a patient yesterday who was in China and she lived there for a while and her lead levels were off the chart. I've never seen this in all my years of practice and she literally had just come from China, she had just done her labs and I was like, holy mackerel. The air pollution's so bad there that it's literally you're breathing it in, you're getting in your blood and it's on your food. It's pretty much everywhere. So air pollution, heavy metals, mercury, lead, arsenic, all these things are prevalent in our environment and we need to reduce our exposures. Our nutritional status plays an enormous role, enormous role in our immune function because it's not just the food we eat, but it's also the vitamin and mineral levels of play a role.
So vitamin D deficiency, I would say be number one if you can do one thing from listening to this podcast, get your vitamin D tested and make sure your level's 50 to 75. And if it's not, you need to take increasing amounts of vitamin D three to get it to that level. Now some be people need 2,005,000, depends on your genetics. Some people need 10,000, but it's really critical to get your vitamin D level up. And if you want to learn how to get your vitamin D tested, you can ask your doctor or you can use functional I'm a co-founder and chief medical officer. It's a really simple access platform where you can get over 110 lab biomarkers that you can just get yourself for less than 500 bucks and twice a year testing. And it gives you a roadmap of what's going on with your health and it prevents from having to argue with your doctor and go through insurance and all this stuff you have to do to get the test you want Vitamin C really important.
It's amazing to me, but 10% of Americans have a vitamin C deficiency at the level that would cause scurvy, like full blown scurvy, teeth falling out, immune system dysfunction. And when you looked at those with severe covid, 82% of those had vitamin C levels were extremely low. According to an article in the nutrition journal, vitamin K is important for immunity. Omega threes, zinc, selenium, very important in regulating immune function. Also chronic inflammation that's caused by our diet, lifestyle, all the things we talked about definitely can predispose us the gut. Many of us have gut issues and in functional medicine we talked about dysbiosis, about 60 to 70% of your immune system is in your gut. So right underneath the line there is your immune system. And when you have damaged gut, it actually causes a leaky gut. You have bad bacteria, maybe gluten toxins. It releases toxins into your immune system called lipopolysaccharides causes something called endotoxemia and that creates systemic inflammation.
So if you have a bad gut and a microbiome, it causes a huge issue. And we see this a lot in the ICU people who end up in the ICU have horrible microbiomes and it creates more inflammation and more risk of death. Chronic stress from any source emotional stress, psychological stress definitely will suppress your immune system. One study showed that they injected cold viruses into groups of people. They could see who was going to get an actual cold by the level of stress based on a perceived stress questionnaire. So there are validated metrics for looking at stress and they were able to see if you were really stressed, you were going to get the cold even if you had the cold virus injected into your nose directly. If you weren't stressed, you didn't necessarily get the cold virus. Genetics play a role and I think there's some controversy about this, but it's not judgmental.
It's just the reality science that certain genes actually help protect you and certain genes may predispose you to higher risk of infection. So there was a strong association, for example, for a certain gene that about 10% of people in the European ancestry have that protect them against covid. They're two times likely to remain asymptomatic after getting the covid virus if you have this particular gene, but there are other ones for example, like vitamin D receptor genes where you're me able absorbent spot vitamin D, you might have a higher risk of severe covid and higher risk of getting sick and having problems. So how do you begin to look also at your biology? And I think this is really why I help co-found function health, which is a lot of people come to see me for extensive evaluations. We do deep dives, we get lab testing, we know what's going on with their biology, we can create a roadmap of where things are going wrong and most people have no clue.
That's why I co-founded of ed health and in our first cohort of over 20,000 people over a million data points, we found that collectively 67% had some severe deficiency, not a deficiency that I would say that's from my perspective as a functional medicine doctor of looking at what's optimal. Like optimal vitamin D is 50 to 75, but a vitamin E of less than 30 is what I'm talking about here. Or iron level is extremely low or B vitamin is extremely low. So I'm talking about not optimal levels but just the lowest possible level. 67% of our cohort, and this is a health ward population, had one of these biomarkers of a significant nutritional deficiency. So it's important to get your numbers checked to know your numbers and that's really why we started Function health. You go to function If you want to use the code young forever, you can skip the white list little trick and get your labs tested and see where you're at because it'll give you guidance and insights about how to optimize your health based on that.
So the things you should look at is your CRP level because that's going to tell you their basic level information. You want to all your omega threes because it helps regulate immunity. You can measure your zinc levels, selenium, magnesium, vitamin D, iron status, all effect immunity, your blood sugar, A1C, which is your average blood sugar, your blood count. You see if your immune system's working, your metabolic health, liver, kidneys, and also your cardiovascular risk factors, your lipids, your B vitamin levels, homocysteine, cortisol, stress levels, heavy metal levels. All these can be done through functional and it's very easy, just 15 minute visit at Quest and you'll be able to get your labs. Okay, so what do we do from a functional medicine perspective so that you can prevent getting sick in the first place and have more resilience when you do get sick and be able to recover faster and not end up in the hospital and not die?
How do we not die? How did not die I think was a book was. So the first is obviously get your diet sorted out. Eat whole real unprocessed foods. Diet quality is really important and this is not just an opinion. If you look at a high diet quality compared to low diet quality and the risk of COVID-19 and the risk of severe COVID-19, you had a 40% lower risk of severe COVID-19 article publishing gut. If you had a high diet quality, if you want to basically figure out how to reset your whole biology quickly, you can use my 10 day detox diet, which is available on anywhere you get your books. It's got a cookbook and essentially it's written to help restate your metabolic health. Hydration is really important. Drink half your weight in ounces in water every day, make sure you get electrolytes as well with that.
Avoid ultra processed food. This is the number one thing that's going to suppress your immune system and screw up your gut and cause inflammation. Processed starch, sugar, fried foods, trans fats, added sugar, sugar sweetened beverages, alcohol, these are all things that are going to cause more immune issues. How do you think about choosing nutrient dense food that has the nutrients that are going to help your immune system? First is vitamin D. Okay, what do you get that fatty fish like it herring, mackerels, things like that. Sardines, mushrooms, although it's hard to get enough from mushrooms, porchino mushrooms, you can almost never get in America. Best source of vitamin D, but it's only 400 units for serving. So you need about 10 times that. Of course I could eat 10 servings of porino mushrooms. Not a problem for me. You don't like that? That's okay. So sunlight's really great.
You can get outside, but probably most of us need to take vitamin D omega threes. Best sources are that we call the small fish. Call the smash fish. Salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, sardines. And those are really rich in omega threes. Zinc is important. Pumpkin seeds, grassfed, beef, oyster and seafood. Selenium really important. Brazil nuts are great. Have two of those a day. Organ meats maybe don't like that, but high selenium paste, raised eggs, sardines, halibut, grass fed beef. Also important, increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods, phytochemicals and antioxidant rich foods. Vitamin C, where do you get that? Citrus foods, kiwis, oranges, lemons, grape food, bell peppers, tomatoes, all the vitamin A building blocks you can get from the carotinoids like spinach, kale, bell peppers, the orange yellow stuff, sweet peppers, winter squash. You might want to take active form of vitamin A, you can't really get that, but from vegetables sometimes the conversion is not so good.
You need fatty fish. Liver is probably the best source. Raw cheese you can get. Vitamin A, vitamin E from sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, collard greens, glutathione rich foods. Really important is an antioxidant, anti anti-inflammatory compound. Sulfur, rich foods, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, watercress, cauliflower, bioactive whey protein exercise also will help boost glutathione supplements. I like n-acetylcysteine. And these by the way can help with covid as well. N-acetylcysteine lipoic acid, the B vitamins, methyl folate, B six, B12, all help recycle glutathione. Lots of polyphenol. So all the colorful plant foods, make sure you get on those. They help your gut, they help your immune system camp all which is really important. It's from spinach, cabbage, and dill. Corsten really important in covid. Turns out it can help really prevent the risk of getting covid and the severity of the infection it binds to the spike protein inhibits the enzyme that's needed for the virus to replicate.
So for covid to replicate. So I took a lot of courses during covid, but you can get it from food, dill, onions, garlic, oregano, chili, peppers, spices, apples, leafy greens, broccoli, other which is another bio flavonoid like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, aine, what's that? Well, extra virgin olive oil, very antiviral immune boosting. Catechins also very important from green tea, very good. Loic acid, which is antiviral fatty acid, but it's an unrefined coconut oil breast milk. Hard to get that, but definitely get the coconut oil. Lots of antiviral, anti-inflammatory spices including your diet. Ginger, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, chili, peppers, oregano. Oregano is a great antimicrobial. Garlic is as well. And there's rosemary and ginger and chili is very anti-inflammatory. What about protein? Well, we do need a protein. Protein needs to go up during infection. Protein deficiency increase your risk of getting infection and getting really sick. So we need the amino acids that are building blocks of your immune defense systems. And these include chlorine, carnasine and serine creatine, which by the way are not found in plant protein. So there are essential amino acids and you can argue that you may be able to get those all from plant proteins, but you cannot get some of these other we'll call.
But they actually are important amino acids from plant proteins. You just can't. So toine, carnasine, ansing, creatine only found in beef and lamb and animal foods. We probably need about a gram, a protein per pound of ideal body weight for healthy aging and healthy life. However, during infection and during certain periods of stress, you may need more. So where do you get it from? Well, I would get a clean protein and instead of well raised protein. So I like regeneratively raised meats, which are hard to find, but you can from force of nature, great company that sources bison, be venison, elk and many others. Grass-fed meats like beef, lamb, wild game. We generally raised dairy. I like goat. Whe particularly. You can make your own goat yogurt. You can do all kind of stuff as a creamy around where I live in the Berkshires and they have a sheep yogurt, which is really good.
And you can also get eggs, poultry, obviously free range or pasture. I would say pasture rays because free range can mean they maybe have a square foot to walk around. Wild caught fish, but small fish, great source of protein. Sometimes you can get legumes, nuts, seeds, non gmo, tofu, tempeh, all that can be helpful. So that's the kind of main part of your diet. What about gut? How do you help your gut? Well, you need probiotics, prebiotics, and polyphenols and a few other things that can be really helpful. So probiotic foods are things like fermented foods, grass fed sheep, cow, coconut, yogurt, keefer sauerkraut, Tempe miso, nato, kimchi, pickles, all that stuff. Hulu pickles were probiotic food. I grew up on those. Sauerkraut also Great has lact asil, plantarium, very good for your immune system. Prebiotic foods to help fertilize the good bugs. I drew some artichokes.
Garlic leads, asparagus, artichokes themselves, bananas, apples, cocoa, chocolate, oo said, prebiotic food, burdock root, flaxseeds, hickma, seaweed, all grade probiotic foods, polyphenols really, I mentioned those earlier, but those are really important for your gut microbiome that little dudes in your gut need to eat those colorful plant compounds that makes them grow and flourish. Other things that can help your gut include bone broth, colostrum, certain things called beta glucans, which are found in mushrooms. Zinc vitamin D glutamine also help your gut. You can help your immune system by optimizing your lifestyle. You can get enough sleep. So you need optimal sleep for gut immune function. You need the sleep to help your immune system repair. For maintenance work to be done seven or eight hours at the minimum. You can check out my sleep masterclass. We'll link to that in the show notes. Certain supplements can be helpful like magnesium.
Three eight glycinate, l-theanine, and many, many others. I talk about exercise also really helps support immunity. Elbow exercise obviously doesn't, right if you're running a marathon, but basically most of don't have worry about that. So mild to moderate exercise for 30 to 45 minutes a day really helps boost immunity supports NAD and I would do resistance anaerobic training. Stress also learn how to reset your nervous system. High stress suppress the immune system and it increases your risk of infections, as I mentioned. So learn techniques, and I would say most people don't realize they have to actively relax. It's not something you just sit there, watch TV and eat pizza and have a beer and relax. It's things like meditation or breath work or yoga or guided imagery or guided meditation. And there's a binaural beat app that I'm using called CALM that I like. I have no affiliation, but essentially I put that on for 20 minutes and I go into a deep state of profound relaxation and wake up very refreshed.
So getting your body into a state of a relaxation, really importance, important nature. By the way, who knew increased exposure to nature increases your natural killer cell activity. This is from data from the Environmental Research and Public health Journal. So being a niche also helps. Indoor air filters gets rid of all the pollution, pathogens really important. What about other things to talk about? Let's talk about some of the other things. There's a lot of stuff that's going on here that we want to cover, but I think that want to kind of get into some of the research around how to address covid long and some of the challenges we're seeing as well. So stick with me on this. I'm going to keep going in. I think this is such an important topic and I'm spending a little more time on it. The first thing I want to talk about is sort of what should you be taking supplement wise?
This is the easiest thing to do and this is a stack you can use to support your system during cold and flu. So what are the most important things? And I'm going to talk about a lot of things, but the most important I would say be vitamin D, vitamin D, vitamin D, vitamin D. You're probably sick of me saying it, but get vitamin D to your level in your blood over 50 to 75. And the only way know is test because some people need a thousand, some need 5,000, need 10,000, but make sure you get that check. Second is get on a good multivitamin. You might want to take a little extra zinc, a little extra vitamin C Omega-3 fats. That's sort of a basic stack that most people do if you really want to up that game. On that, I would take Cosin 500 milligrams twice a day.
My favorite is a product called HTB Rejuvenate, which contains Cosin other Bioflavonoids. Really it's immuno rejuvenating compound from Himalayan tar buckwheat. I'm an advisor investor in big, bold health, just full of transparency, but it's a really amazing product. It was developed by my mentor, Jeffrey Bland, who's the father of functional medicine and make sure your gut's healthy. So probiotics are really important as well. And there's a number of probiotics. I'm going to put all the stack in the show notes so you'll see exactly what I'm recommending. The doses melatonin might be helpful for some people as well. Colostrum can be helpful. And certain peptides, we'll talk about peptides. Now, peptides are a little bit controversial, but there's one in particular that's worth talking about called Thys and alpha one, your thys insulin is your immune system. It tends to shrink as we get older. It's widely used as peptide in China and in COVID-19 patients and it was shown to decrease hospitalization, especially those who had more severe disease and it decreased death by helping restore lymphocyte function and depleted T cells.
This is in the International Journal of Neuropharmacology. So I think this is not just, oh, some cool biohacking thing. There's a lot of data on this and some of it's in this country, some of it's not, but I found it incredibly helpful for myself and my patients when I got covid, I could even use that intravenously and the dose really depends on what's going on, but when you're sick it's about 1.5 to 10 milligrams a day and you can reduce the dose. You can take it every three to four hours. You can use up to five milligrams IV and you could have subcutaneous shots and you'd probably want to consider taking it for a good 20, 30 days. Now you can take this as a peptide that you take regularly during cold and flu season if you want. It's hard to get and it requires some education, but PEPs can be very helpful.
Others include thymus and beta four and LL 37 and BP 1 57. We're going to click to all the show notes in there, but it has really improved overall function. Next is what can you do if you actually get the disease or you're exposed? Well, one of the things that's really surprising is the nasal rinses. You can get it from Walmart and Betadine, but it's sort of do it yourself. You put two teaspoons of Betadine and six ounces of water, use a bulb syringe and it's kind of squirt in nostrils. You can gargle and spit it out. And it showed that this is a randomized controlled trial in jama Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Journal showed that the viral tie to reduced by 75% after one day versus 32% in the control group. So it's not a cure, but basically if you think you're exposed, go rinse out your nose and mouth with pettine.
A little gross. I did it during covid. I kind of was my hack to, I get around traveling, but it can be pretty impressive. So I would encourage you that there's other things we're going to put in the show notes around how to apply it. You can gargle with it so forth. You can actually put ointment around your nostrils to sort of protect yourself as well. There's actually nasal sprays. We'll link to the INE iodine, which is essentially betine nasal sprays as well. There's also L 37, which is peptide, that's a antimicrobial peptide and it can help be an innate immune system work better. Colloidal silver may be helpful as well. There's a 85% effectiveness in reducing infection in healthcare professionals and journal called plus one. So it was I think a 1.8% infection rate in experimental group compared to a 28% infection rate in the control group.
That's a pretty big difference just by using some collateral. Silver nasal rinse spray, there's Designs for Health, has a great one called health liquid silver, so forth. What about medication? Well, there's a lot of talk about different medications during covid, including ivermectin and many other drugs. I think there was some data showing that ivermectin was effective. A large meta analysis reduced the risk of death, reduced severity and so forth. So I think it's certainly something you consider. There's also antibiotics that maybe were used but not necessarily good data on that. Like azithromycin. Sometimes anti-inflammatory treatments worked well like nebulized, budesonide, steroid or inhaler, oral prednisone, colchicine, aspirin. Some of these things may be very helpful because an inflammatory condition and it can reduce the severity. Often blood clotting with covid so some of those blood thinners can help. There's monoclonal antibodies that were used. Those were very effective.
I'm not sure why they were so hard to make sense to me because that's what President Trump had and it basically kind of knocked out his covid pretty quick and he was pretty darn sick. So there's many versions of that many companies that make that, but it's something to think about. The supplements we talked about were post-infection, but the most important thing is vitamin D, Corin, zinc, vitamin C, N-acetylcysteine, curcumin and NAD, which can be helpful in terms of your immune system as well. You can also consider taking vitamin A and green T extract and selenium and lipoic acid. So all these are going to be in the show notes and the doses and the frequency. Of course, you don't have to take all of it, but I'm just giving you kind of a menu of things that have data and have been studied. So I want to close out by talking about long covid because I think this is something that is going to be with us for a long time. It seems to be showing up in five to 30% of people who don't require hospitalization for acute covid and maybe more in those who've had hospitalizations. It's a real condition. It's not in people's head. I've had many, many patients with this. There's different outcomes depending on people's underlying health status and there's recurrence and new symptoms and it's just a mess. You have chronic illness, obviously diabetes, high blood pressure, neurological or psychiatric issues, you're twice as likely to develop long covid.
It's a big thing. The good news is while traditional medicine really does not have a good approach to this functional medicine and our understanding of how to optimize the body's own ecosystem can really help you recover. And I've had many, many patients recover fully from this, including myself. I actually developed really kind of bad post covid for a bit and had arthritis and all sorts of stuff. So one of the symptoms, well, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disease, del loss of taste or smell, brain fog, cognitive dysfunction, like just not being able to think. Gut issues, very common diarrhea, stomach pain, shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, dizziness, outstanding headaches, limited ability to exercise, neurologic problems. I've seen a lot of this. Neuropathy, pins and needles, pots which is ortho static hypertension. When you stand up you kind of get dizzy. A mass cell activation, histamine intolerance where you get rashes, pain, swelling, redness, diarrhea, low blood pressure, migraines, asthma, really bad.
So not everybody has obviously all these symptoms, but it is a serious problem for people and they have different degrees of severity depending on the person. So how does covid actually cause problems? Well, it actually a little bit of complicated science here, but it enters the body through the respiratory tract, but it ends up being a disease of the blood vessels and your blood vessels are everywhere in your body. So it affects everything, right? So it affects the health of the endothelium and basically this is a via something called the ACE two receptors, which is a gateway for the virus to enter the cells. It attaches to the A two receptors, damages them, causes deficiency and that leads to damage to blood vessels and heart cause blood clots and blood flow. The organs you get brain fogs, no blood clot in your brain, headaches and loss of these ACE two receptor function.
ACE two is you get increased inflammation, you can get scarring and it also damage your mitochondria, which is another factor. You get fatigue. So what is the web of lung covid? How does this all connect? And my friend Leo Gallen, one of my mentors, godfather of functional medicine, really amazing guy, helped unap this. So one of the things that happened with the web of lung covid, the first is significant mitochondrial damage and that has cascading effects. And your mitochondria or energy factories, they cause fatigue also. You get this endothelials, meaning you get the endothelium, which is the thin layer cells along your blood vessels gets inflamed. So it's like just inflamed blood vessels everywhere. You get blood flow issues, problems with oxygen delivery, you get little mini blood clots, you get activation of your immune system with mass cells, you get a disorganized immune response, which really affects your monocytes.
Macrophages, which are your white blood cells, you can lead to autoantibodies. You basically start getting autoimmunity. It impair your T-cell function, which is the part of your immune system. Lymphocytes makes it harder to fight the infection, makes more likely to get more infections and you get viral persistence. Even with covid, you get in your GI tract and it can cause a lot of gut issues. People with long covid have lost a lot of beneficial gut bacteria. They get bad bugs growing. They have lower butyrate, which is important for your immune health in the gut. And then you get leaky gut and the whole cascade continues. So the number of tests really important to look at. There's a test for a cytokine and spike protein testing it's called. You can go to covid long and it explains a lot of what these tests are. It's good to know what's happening in there.
You can check your T-cell function called T detect. It's a newer test. You can measure your in CRP or D dimer, ferritin, all these are markers of inflammation. Get your complete blood count, obviously chemistry, liver, kidney, vitamin D level we talked about over 50 zinc. Make sure you get that checked. I want to look at your eek G heart exams, maybe get an oximeter to look at your oxygen level. All these things can help you sort of get a sense of where you're at. So what's the approach we would use? Well, the first is diet and lifestyle. All this stuff we just talked about, maybe even intermittent fasting like time-restricted eating 16 hour, 14 hour fast can help hydration, sleep, exercise, low histamine diet, gut support, the herbs, all the stuff we talked about same as supplements. I think really looking at how do we do we address things that can help enhance ACE two, including vitamin D, cosin, curcumin, omega threes, resveratrol, lipo acid, end acetylcysteine.
These are the same things that work for prevention, for treatment, for post covid. It's really the same. Puts all in the show notes. Even CBD might be helpful. Estrogen may be helpful for long covid in women after menopause. Mitochondrial support really important in these patients. coq 10, carnitine methylated B vitamins. Even a post bioo we call mitt a very helpful for mitochondrial function. So really important to help your mitochondria, help your immune system, help your gut. So you need to make sure that you see what's going on. It's interesting in current colonoscopies, it was a published paper linked to in patients with inflammatory bowel with long covid found there were persistence of viral antigens in the biopsy sample. So when they took biopsies for someone with inflammatory bowel disease, they actually found covid virus even after they resolved their covid. Certain probiotics can be helpful.
Bacillus subtles would be 7 0 9 2 with link to it. It's called tundras. Can be helpful. Some herbs might be helpful like tid from Chinese herbs from grom, whale root may work as well as paxlovid on other cocktail of antiviral and immune modulating herbs called medicinals. Again, there's a lot of studies supporting the use of these in medical journals for immune modulatory activity may not be directly against covid, but it just generally helps your immune system get your microbiome sorted. Obviously the polyphenol rich diet, the vitamin D, corin, curcumin, resveratrol, the fermented foods for your microbiome, the prebiotics resistant starches like green bananas, sodium butyrate. You can take our pro butyrate as the product for getting butyrate levels up, which helps immunity. REI mushrooms also helpful. So a lot of stuff you can do to get your gut microbiome sorted. We're going to cover this more in detail in other podcasts, but really important to get your gut sorted.
So make sure you get your gut really healthy. Now, sometimes additional treatment may be helpful and this sometimes can be a little hard to access for people, but I think it's really important if you're stuck to think about these things and some simple IV support can be helpful, like IV NAD, glutathione, vitamin C lysine, all can be helpful. I found ozone therapy very helpful and this can be done through various clinics, but one to 10 past ozone a few times a week. Ozone dialysis or Ebo also can be helpful. A lot of data in Europe from ozone and covid showing it was very effective. I don't know why I never picked up here. It's probably just the medical industrial complex, but it's unfortunate. I was in conversation with a lot of European doctors during Covid and talking about their experiences in ICUs and hospitals using ozone found very effective.
Hyperbaric oxygen can help with recovery. There are facilities around the country where you can go get treatments. Usually requires 20, 30 treatments. Another treatments that Harding access some more expensive called plasmapheresis where essentially filter out all the inflammatory stuff from your blood can be helpful. Their immune modulating therapies like exosomes. These can be also expensive, but very, very helpful in select patients. Who knows, even stem cell therapy may be helpful. So we're going to look at all these things as the menu, but you have to decide what's right for you in terms of optimizing your immune system to start with. In terms of the simple things that are very free, like exercise, lifestyle, you got to eat anyway. So optimizing your diet doesn't have to be more expensive than eating a crappy diet. In fact, it's probably cheaper and some basic supplements. And then you can kind of navigate based on what your issues are, whether you have covid currently or whether your immune is compromised or whether you have long covid to optimize your approach.
We've done podcasts on this with Dr. Leo Gall. We'll link to. So we've covered the landscape of covid. I hope you're a little more enlightened than you were before you started listening to this. It's a lot. But I want to summarize by saying we know that the virus is important, but also the host is equally as important. And if you optimize your own wellbeing through lifestyle, diet, the right supplements, basic simple practices, maybe a few extra enhancements we talked about, you can be resilient and immuno resilient and rejuvenate your immune system and help prevent covid, help prevent you getting from really sick or dying from it and prevent long. And even if you have this problem on covid, I would not lose hope. We're seeing a lot of emerging therapies that can be really helpful for this. You have to take around find a good functional medicine doctor. So hope you like this podcast, one of our health bites. I hope you found it helpful. Make sure you share this episode with your friends and family. Leave a comment about how you maybe used some of this to impact your resistance or treatment for Covid and your recovery subscriber wherever you get your podcasts. And we'll see you next time on the Doctor's pharmacy.