The Gary Null Show Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

April 3, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. Researchers find that nicotinamide may help treat fibrotic eye diseases and mitigate vision loss, Lifestyle changes could delay memory problems in old age, depending on our genes, Acupuncture can improve quality of life, Increasing vitamin D serum levels associated with reduced pulmonary exacerbations in patients with cystic fibrosis, Gardening helps to grow positive body image, Study: Niacin may help immune system battle a deadly brain tumor, Zinc therapy is a reasonable choice for patients with pressure injuries, 3M is selling lifesaving PPE to foreign countries over US: Florida Official,   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
April 2, 2020  

How stress can cause a fever

Psychological stress can trigger physiological responses, including an increase in body temperature. A neural circuit that underlies this stress-induced heat response has been identified.

Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine  

You are about to take the stage to speak in front of a large audience. As you wait, your heart starts to pound, your breathing quickens, your blood pressure rises and your palms sweat. These physiological responses are evolutionarily conserved mechanisms to prepare your body to fight against imminent dangers, or to run away quickly. Another key response is an increase in body temperature. Emotional stress can cause this psychogenic fever in many mammalian species, from rodents to humans1,2. What is the neural mechanism that underlies this phenomenon? Writing in Science, Kataoka et al.3 describe a key neural circuit in psychologically induced hyperthermia.

The current work builds on a long legacy of research by the same group, who began their quest for a neuronal circuit that triggers heat production in 2004, using brown fat tissue as an entry point4. Brown fat is a type of ‘good’ fat that can generate heat when needed. Blocking the activity of β3-adrenergic receptor proteins, which are abundant in brown fat and enable the tissue to respond to signals from neurons, attenuates stress-induced hyperthermia5.

In the 2004 study, the researchers injected viral ‘retrograde tracers’ into brown fat in rats; the tracers move through connected neurons, allowing the authors to identify brain regions from which neurons project to the fat4. This revealed that neurons in a brainstem area called the rostral medullary raphe (rMR) connect to brown fat. Later on, the same group identified2 the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) as a key brain region upstream of the rMR. When the authors artificially activated the DMH-to-rMR pathway, they found an increase in neuronal activity and heat production in brown fat. Unexpectedly, activating this pathway also increased heart rate and blood pressure, suggesting that DMH–rMR could coordinate various physiological responses during stress.

In humans, psychological stress often involves an understanding of complicated situations, and thus probably requires instructions from regions of the brain’s cortex, which is involved in cognition. In the current study, Kataoka et al. set out to identify the cortical regions that could send these instructions to the DMH. As in their previous work, the authors used retrograde tracers — this time, injected into the DMH — to look for neurons that link into their heat-generating circuit. They found that only one, little-studied, region of the cortex was strongly labelled by the tracer. This region, called the dorsal peduncular cortex and dorsal taenia tecta (DP/DTT), is also highly active in rats in the wake of social defeat (a hostile interaction in which the animal has lost a fight with another, dominant rat).

To examine the role of this region in stress responses, the authors impaired its connection to the DMH in three ways. They blocked activity throughout the DP/DTT using a chemical inhibitor; they used a virus to kill cells projecting from the DP/DTT to the DMH; and they used a sophisticated genetic approach to inhibit activity specifically in the projections that DP/DTT neurons send to the DMH. In each case, their intervention reduced stress-induced hyperthermia.

By contrast, artificial activation of the neuronal projections between the two regions elicited a battery of responses, including increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and heat production in brown fat. The group provided evidence that the DP/DTT neurons send excitatory signals to the DMH, and demonstrated that the projections from the DP/DTT terminate close to the DMH cells that, in turn, project to the rMR. Taken together, Kataoka and colleagues’ experiments support the idea of a DP/DTT–DMH–rMR–brown fat circuit for heat production in response to stress 

How does the stress-related information reach the DP/DTT? Further retrograde tracing experiments revealed that the strongest inputs to the DP/DTT are from the brain’s midline thalamic regions, including the paraventricular (PVT) and mediodorsal (MD) thalamic nuclei. The PVT is highly sensitive to various physical and psychological stressors, such as predator cues and pain6. By contrast, the MD interacts with the prefrontal cortex to mediate complex cognitive functions, such as rule learning, abstraction, evaluation and (in humans) imagination7. Thus, every possible stressor, from physical pain to anticipated legal trouble, can find their way to the DP/DTT. It remains unclear, however, how different stressors are encoded in the DP/DTT, whether the responses of the DP/DTT to stressors are influenced by experience, and whether deficits in DP/DTT cells could be responsible for abnormal physiological responses to stress. Future studies using electrophysiological or optical recordings of the DP/DTT cells will help to address these questions.

The philosopher and psychologist William James suggested that fear is an interpretation of physiological responses to threat, instead of the other way around8. In other words, rather than running from a bear because we are afraid, we are afraid because we are running from a bear. If James is right, rats should stop being afraid if their physiological responses to a threat are blocked. Kataoka et al. therefore asked whether inhibiting the DP/DTT–DMH pathway can suppress the fear that a rat shows when presented with an aggressive, dominant counterpart that has recently defeated it in a stressful social interaction.

Under normal conditions, a defeated animal will try to stay away from the aggressor to avoid incurring further damage. By contrast, naive animals that have not previously gone through a social defeat show no signs of fear, and investigate the dominant rat with great interest. Remarkably, when the authors blocked the DP/DTT–DMH pathway in rats that had been defeated, the animals behaved like naive rats.

Thus, the behavioural manifestation of fear, and perhaps the perception of fear (which can only be inferred from behaviours in rats), depends on bodily responses to threat. These data provide an indication of why taking a deep breath before that big public speech might help to calm us down. The data also suggest that suppressing physiological responses to stress could be an effective way to alleviate stressful feelings. Of importance in this context, non-stress-related thermoregulation — changes in internal temperature caused by infections or external temperature change, for instance — is mediated, not by the DP/DTT, but by another region upstream of the DMH, the preoptic area9. Blocking the DP/DTT–DMH pathway would therefore be expected to leave day-to-day regulation of temperature unchanged. It is early days, but manipulation of the DP/DTT could potentially be a way to curb chronic psychological stress.

 

Protective effects of curcumin against neuroinflammation 

Wenzhou Medical University (China), April 1, 2020

 

According to news reporting originating from Wenzhou, People’s Republic of China, he research stated, “Activated microglia induced by amyloid-beta (A beta) release proinflammatory cytokines that can induce neurotoxicity. High-mobility group box I protein (HMGB1) and HMGB1-mediated inflammatory responses have been attributed with memory impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Wenzhou Medical University, “There is accumulating evidence to suggest curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory polyphenol. However, whether curcumin could effectively inhibit inflammation through the suppression of HMGB1 production or HMGB1-mediated inflammatory responses in AP-activated microglia is still unclear. Primary microglia were prepared from the cerebral cortices of one- to three-day-old Sprague Dawley rats. The microglia were cultured and treated with A beta(25-35) 50 mu M for 24 h to prove a toxic effect. Curcumin 10 mu M was administrated 1 h before A beta(25-45) treatment. The levels of HMGB1, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in the culture medium were analyzed by ELISA. Western blotting was conducted to assess the expression level of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE). In addition, PC12 cells were treated with conditioned medium from microglia treated with A beta(25-35), or A beta(25-35) and curcumin, and cell viability was subsequently assessed by MTT. Curcumin was found to significantly inhibit HMGB1 expression and release in A beta(25-35)-stimulated microglia. Pretreatment with curcumin reduced TLR4 and RAGE expression. Proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha were also remarkably reduced by curcumin. In addition, curcumin protected neurons from indirect toxicity mediated by A beta(25-35)-treated microglia.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Curcumin effectively inhibits A beta(25-35)-induced neuroinflammation in microglia, partly by suppressing the expression of HMGB1, TLR4, and RAGE.”

 

 

Making healthy lifestyle choices can prevent the onset of dementia

Universities of Exeter, Michigan, Oxford and Southern Australia, April 2, 2020

 

Researchers found that individuals aged 60 years and above who follow a healthy lifestyle have a lower risk of dementia than those who have an unhealthy lifestyle. Additionally, they found that genetic risk can be mitigated by healthy lifestyle choices.

The study was a collaboration between researchers from the University of Exeter in the U.K., the University of Michigan, the University of Oxford and the University of South Australia.

Fortunately, the onset of dementia can be prevented. In their study, American and British researchers hypothesized that adherence to a healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce the risk of dementia.

To test this hypothesis, the researchers examined data drawn from the UK Biobank, a prospective cohort study that collected data from approximately 500,000 individuals in the U.K. from 2006 to 2010. The researchers restricted their analyses to data from individuals aged 60 years and above, who had no symptoms or diagnosis of dementia. The number of participants that fit the criteria amounted to 196,383.

To assess the participants’ lifestyles, the researchers used a touchscreen questionnaire that scored the participants based on the following dementia risk factors: smoking status, physical activity, diet and alcohol consumption.

Over a follow-up period of eight years, the researchers identified 1,769 cases of dementia. Surprisingly, they found that participants with unhealthy lifestyles, regardless of their genetic risk, had a higher likelihood of developing dementia than participants who followed healthier lifestyles.

This suggests that a person’s lifestyle choices can dictate his dementia risk, regardless of whether he is genetically predisposed to dementia or not. Having a healthy lifestyle can help prevent a person from developing dementia.

Dementia is the leading cause of disability and dependency among older individuals. Fortunately, the study proved that dementia is not inevitable. According to David Llewellyn, one of the authors of the study, their research “delivers a really important message that undermines a fatalistic view of dementia.”

 
 

Study finds that Pilates significantly improves blood pressure in young, obese women

Marymount University (US), April 1, 2020

 

A new paper in The American Journal of Hypertension, published by Oxford University Press, finds that mat Pilates may be an effective strategy to improve cardiovascular health for young obese women, a population that is at risk for hypertension and early vascular complications.

With an estimated 9 million participants in 2018 and a series of celebrity endorsements, including Beyoncé and Emma Stone, mat Pilates training has seen a recent resurgence in popularity. It has become one of the most widely known wellness routines in the United States. The program emphasizes core strength, flexibility, body posture, and controlled breathing.

At the same time, the prevalence of obesity in young adults has become a major public health issue. Though it is well-documented that exercise is a key factor in preventing and managing cardiovascular health problems, obese women tend not to maintain traditional workout routines. Despite sources in the media reporting on the cardiovascular benefits of Pilates, the existing scientific literature is scarce.

Researchers here studied young obese women (age 19-27) with elevated blood pressure and a body mass index between 30-40kg/m2 through 12 weeks of mat Pilates. The participants were free of chronic diseases, were non-smokers and performed less than 90 minutes of regular exercise per week. There were three one-hour training sessions per week, which were divided into the following stages: initial warm up and stretch (10min), general mat Pilates exercises (40 min), and a cool down (10 min). The training increased over the 12 weeks, with the repetition of each exercise steadily increasing. A certified mat Pilates instructor supervised all sessions.

This is the first study to find that mat Pilates routines significantly reduced arterial stiffness and blood pressure, including central (aortic) pressure.

"We hypothesized that Mat Pilates might decrease the risk of hypertension in young obese women. Our findings provide evidence that Mat Pilates benefit cardiovascular health by decreasing blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and body fatness in young obese women with elevated blood pressure. Because adherence to traditional exercise (both aerobic and resistance) is low in obese individuals, Mat Pilates Training might prove an effective exercise alternative for the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular events in young obese adults."

 

 

Tempting by design: Study reveals exposure to “food cues” increases a person’s cravings

Dartmouth College, April 1, 2020

 

Ever wonder why you sometimes get cravings after seeing a picture of food, even though you know you aren’t really hungry? According to a recent study, it’s all in the mind, or more precisely, in how the mind processes food cues.

According to psychologists at Dartmouth College, there is a physiological process responsible for heightened sensitivity to food cues that brings about food cravings. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers were able to observe changes in the brain when volunteers were exposed to images of food.

The data comes as part of a study focused on figuring out how exposure to certain kinds of images can help predict behavior. The idea that the researchers wanted to demonstrate was that exposure to such images can lead to failures in self-regulation.

The brain gives you food cravings when it sees food cues

To test their hypothesis, the scientists had female college students weighed and had their brains scanned using fMRI while viewing images of neutral scenes and appetizing foods. The fMRI scans focused on changes to the nucleus accumbens of the volunteers.

Located deep near the basal region of the brain, the nucleus accumbens is part of its reward system. Specifically, it controls the reward and punishment centers of the brain, transferring relevant motivational information to the motor cells in order to obtain a certain reward or satisfaction. This, of course, includes the satisfaction felt when eating.

Based on this, the researchers theorized that there is a relationship between greater activity in the nucleus accumbens while viewing pictures of food and weight gain. Any participants who showed less response to the images would be less likely to gain weight.

Six months after the scans, the participants returned to the lab for a follow-up weighing. As expected, those who demonstrated greater activity in the nucleus accumbens when viewing food images did actually gain weight.

Exposure can occur unconsciously

The interesting, but also frightening, thing that the study discovered was that the whole process can take place unconsciously. Just seeing triggers on TV commercials or other media can increase the likelihood of cravings and eating. In a way, the study sheds new light on just how effective the food-related imagery in such commercials can be. (Related: Fighting your cravings: Researchers identify new brain circuits that can help curb junk food cravings.)

The study also demonstrates how resisting cravings triggered by these images and commercials isn’t just a matter of “will power” — there are actual physiological processes driving them. Learning about how these images can cause cravings can go a long way towards resisting them.

More than just food cravings

The study is just one part of a larger study on how images, in general, can affect the nucleus accumbens and predict behavior. In addition to food, the researchers also studied reactions towards sexually suggestive images and whether or not it resulted in an increase in sexual activity.

Upon returning after six months, the participants were also made to answer two surveys for sexual activity, the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory and the Sexual Desire Inventory (SDI). The researchers noted a correlation between increased activity in the nucleus accumbens when viewing sexually suggestive images and sexual activity (both alone and with a partner).

Based on these results, scientists believe that further research into how the nucleus accumbens and the brain’s reward centers react to images could be useful for predicting health risks, such as obesity and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). It can also give further insight into how such imagery can be used and abused by certain parties, such as advertisers, to their benefit and the public’s detriment.

 

Older people generally more emotionally healthy, better able to resist daily temptations

Duke University, March 24, 2020

 

The stereotype of grumpy old people apparently doesn't hold up under closer inspection. A new study from Duke and Vanderbilt University psychologists finds that older people are generally more emotionally stable and better able to resist temptations in their daily lives.

"There is evidence here that emotional health and regulation improve with age," said Daisy Burr, a Duke PhD student who led the study with Gregory Samanez-Larkin, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience. Their work appeared March 23 in the journal Emotion.

The researchers pinged 123 study participants aged 20 to 80 on their cell phones three times a day for ten days. Participants were asked to indicate how they felt on a five-point scale for each of eight emotional states, including contentment, enthusiasm, relaxation and sluggishness. Then they were asked whether they were desiring anything right then, including food or alcohol, cigarettes, social media, shopping, talking to someone, sex, sleep or work. They could report up to three temptations at once.

Each participant had also been assessed on a standard measure of "global life satisfaction," which determined their general well-being, regardless of the moment-to-moment moods.

What the researchers were looking for is how positive or negative feelings and the ability to resist temptations might change as people get older.

What they found is that the older people in the study were more stable and "less volatile in their emotions," Samanez-Larkin said. And age, it turns out, is a stronger predictor of the ability to resist temptation than the emotional state.

Samenez-Larkin said a person's goals change with age. The older person may be more oriented toward the present and "trying to maximize well-being every day. You want to feel good as much as possible."

The researchers said their findings are a better reflection of real-world conditions because they surveyed participants in their own time and space, rather than having them respond to cues in a laboratory setting. Burr added that older people are better at regulating their emotional state when allowed to do what they want.

In the end, Burr's analysis of the data found people experiencing more negative affect are worse at resisting desires. Younger study participants who had higher levels of life satisfaction were better able to resist desires.

But older adults were better at resisting temptation, regardless of their life satisfaction.

 

 

Most diets lead to weight loss and lower blood pressure, but effects largely disappear after a year

Monash University (Australia), April 1, 2020

 

Reasonably good evidence suggests that most diets result in similar modest weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors over a period of six months, compared with a usual diet, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Weight reduction at the 12 month follow-up diminished, and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors largely disappeared, except in association with the Mediterranean diet, which saw a small but important reduction in 'bad' LDL cholesterol.

As such, at least for short-term benefits, the researchers suggest that people should choose the diet they prefer without concern about the size of benefits.

Obesity has nearly tripled worldwide since 1975, prompting a plethora of dietary recommendations for weight management and cardiovascular risk reduction.

But so far, there has been no comprehensive analysis comparing the relative impact of different diets for weight loss and improving cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

To address this, a team of international researchers set out to determine the relative effectiveness of dietary patterns and popular named diets among overweight or obese adults.

Their findings are based on the results of 121 randomised trials with 21,942 patients (average age 49) who followed a popular named diet or an alternative control diet and reported weight loss, and changes in cardiovascular risk factors.

The studies were designed differently, and were of varying quality, but the researchers were able to allow for that in their analysis.

They grouped diets by macronutrient patterns (low carbohydrate, low fat, and moderate macronutrient—similar to low fat, but slightly more fat and slightly less carbohydrate) and according to 14 popular named dietary programmes (Atkins, DASH, Mediteranean, etc).

Compared with a usual diet, low carbohydrate and low fat diets resulted in a similar modest reduction in weight (between 4 and 5 kg) and reductions in blood pressure at six months. Moderate macronutrient diets resulted in slightly less weight loss and blood pressure reductions.

Among popular named diets, Atkins, DASH, and Zone had the largest effect on weight loss (between 3.5 and 5.5 kg) and blood pressure compared with a usual diet at six months. No diets significantly improved levels of 'good' HDL cholesterol or C reactive protein (a chemical associated with inflammation) at six months.

Overall, weight loss diminished at 12 months among all dietary patterns and popular named diets, while the benefits for cardiovascular risk factors of all diets, except the Mediterranean diet, essentially disappeared.

The researchers point to some study limitations that could have affected the accuracy of their estimates. But say their comprehensive search and thorough analyses supports the robustness of the results.

As such, they say moderate certainty evidence shows that most macronutrient diets result in modest weight loss and substantial improvements in cardiovascular risk factors, particularly blood pressure, at six but not 12 months.

Differences between diets are, however, generally trivial to small, implying that for short-term cardiovascular benefit people can choose the diet they prefer from among many of the available diets without concern about the magnitude of benefits, they conclude.

The extensive range of popular diets analysed "provides a plethora of choice but no clear winner," say researchers at Monash University, Australia in a linked editorial.

As such, they suggest conversations should shift away from specific choice of diet, and focus instead on how best to maintain any weight loss achieved.

As national dietary guidelines fail to resonate with the public, taking a food-based approach with individuals and encouraging them to eat more vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and less sugar, salt and alcohol is sound advice, they add.

"If we are to change the weight trajectory of whole populations, we may learn more from understanding how commercial diet companies engage and retain their customers, and translate that knowledge into more effective health promotion campaigns," they conclude.

 

Dietary niacin intake affects risk of hip fracture, hip bone mineral density

Medical College of Georgia and University of Washington, April 2, 2020

 

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is an essential micronutrient that helps the body break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins and convert them into energy. It is also involved in the production of certain hormones and plays a role in liver function. Niacin can be obtained from a wide variety of food sources, such as organ meats like liver, white meat and fish.

However, recent studies suggest that niacin intake may have an influence on the development of age-related diseases. To investigate this, researchers from different universities in the U.S. examined the association of dietary niacin intake with multiple skeletal health parameters, such as bone mineral density (BMD), hip fractures and body composition.

In their paper, which appeared in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, they detailed how consuming too much or too little of this important vitamin can affect bone health, particularly in the elderly.

Low or high intake of niacin can increase the risk of hip fractures in older adults

According to the researchers, interest in niacin has increased recently due to its potential involvement in diseases associated with aging. However, to date, no study has investigated its influence on bone health, particularly in African American and white men and women.

For their study, the researchers recruited 5,187 men and women from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a population-based study of coronary heart disease and stroke in adults aged 65 and above. These participants have a mean daily dietary niacin intake of 32.6 milligrams (mg) and were divided into four groups:

  • Group 1, with an intake of 3.6 to 21.8 mg per day
  • Group 2, with an intake of 21.9 to 30.2 mg per day
  • Group 3, with an intake of 30.3 to 40.9 mg per day
  • Group 4, with an intake of 41 to 102.4 mg per day

The researchers estimated the risk of incident hip fracture per 10 mg increment of daily dietary niacin intake using proportional hazards models. 

They reported that during a median follow-up of 13 years, 725 participants had an incident hip fracture. Adjusting for demographic, clinical characteristics and diet, the researchers found that high and low dietary niacin intake was significantly associated with an increased risk of hip fractures.

The two groups with the lowest and highest niacin intake had an increased risk of incident hip fracture compared with groups 2 and 3. Meanwhile, dietary niacin intake was inversely associated with hip BMD. However, it had no significant association with total body BMD or any body composition measures.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that in elderly, community-dwelling African American and white men and women, high and low dietary niacin intake significantly increases the risk of hip fracture.

 

 

 

Teen marijuana use boosts risk of adult insomnia

University of Colorado, April 1, 2020

Smoke a lot of weed as a teenager, and when you reach adulthood you'll be more likely to have trouble falling or staying asleep, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study of nearly 2,000 twins.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, comes at a time when cannabis—in everything from THC-infused gummies to prerolled joints and high-potency vape pens—is increasingly being marketed as a sleep aid in states where marijuana is legal. It adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that while it may help some users fall asleep occasionally, chronic use can have negative long-term consequences, particularly for the young.

"People tend to think that cannabis helps with sleep, but if you look closely at the studies, continued or excessive use is also associated with a lot of sleep deficits," said lead author Evan Winiger, a graduate student in the Institute for Behavioral Genetics. "Our study adds to that literature, showing for the first time that early use is associated with increased rates of insomnia later on."

For the study, Winiger analyzed data from 1,882 young adults from the Colorado Twin Registry, which has been following twins for research since 1968. Each had completed surveys about their sleep habits, marijuana use and mental health.

They found that about one-third of subjects who started using marijuana regularly before age 18 had insomnia in adulthood, compared to less than 20% among those who didn't use cannabis regularly as teens. The same pattern held true for a particularly hazardous form of insomnia known as "short sleep" (sleeping fewer than six hours per night on a regular basis). About one in 10 subjects who used cannabis regularly as teens grew up to be short-sleepers, while only about 5% of non-users did.

People who started using marijuana after they turned 18 also had slightly higher rates of insomnia in young adulthood. And these patterns persisted when controlling for depression, anxiety and shift work (which can all also impair sleep).

Lasting impacts on developing brains

Exactly why early cannabis use correlates with later sleep problems remains unclear, but several theories are emerging.

As Winiger explains, the human body has its own endocannabinoid system, producing chemicals much like the cannabinoids (CBD and THC) present in marijuana that bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brains and have been shown to influence our cognition, emotions and circadian rhythm—or body clock.

"One theory is that these receptors are being desensitized or disturbed from all the cannabis use at a time that the brain is still developing, and that leads to waking issues later," he said.

It could also be that cannabis use in adolescence leads to structural changes in the brain. (Previous brain imaging studies have shown it can alter the developing prefrontal cortex.)

Or chronic use may set teens up for poor sleep habits when they are young, which linger into adulthood.

Genes may also be at play.

By looking at 472 identical twin pairs (who share 100% of their genetic makeup) and 304 fraternal pairs (who share only 50%), the researchers were able to infer to what degree the traits were inherited. They concluded that many of the same genes that contribute to the risk of early cannabis use are also associated with insomnia and insomnia with short sleep.

This is the first study to find a direct genetic correlation between cannabis use and insomnia.

In short, it remains a chicken-and-egg question.

"It is possible that sleep problems could influence cannabis use, cannabis use could influence sleep problems, or common genetics could be responsible," the authors wrote.

Co-author Ken Wright, director of the Sleep and Chronobiology lab, says the study does not necessarily mean all strains of marijuana are bad for sleep in all people all the time. Some previous studies show cannabis can help people fall asleep if used occasionally.

"The evidence in adults is quite mixed, and unfortunately we can't do randomized controlled trials with different strains and different doses," Wright said, pointing to federal laws that prohibit researchers from handling cannabis, providing it to subjects or being present while subjects use it.

What he can say now is this:

"We would not recommend that teenagers utilize marijuana to promote their sleep. Anytime you are dealing with a developing brain you need to be cautious."

April 1, 2020  

Vitamin A deficiency associated with severe mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in children

Peking University (China), March 31, 2020

 

According to news originating from Beijing, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Children with vitamin A, D, and E deficiency are susceptible to respiratory infections. However, the correlations between the levels with Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia (MPP) and patient MPP occurrence is still unclear.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Peking University, “This study aims to measure and compare the serum levels in severe (sMPP) and non-severe MPP (nsM PP) and to investigate the correlations between their levels and the occurrence of MPP. A total of 122 children were enrolled, including 52 sMPP and 70 nsMPP aged 0-15 years old in 2015-2018. The serum levels of vitamins A, D, and E were measured and compared, and two-category logistic regression was used for correlation analysis of vitamins A, D, and E levels with nsMPP and sMPP. The age was older (7.12 vs. 4.01 y, P=0.002) in the sMPP samples than that in the nsMPP samples. Vitamin A deficiency was present in both the nsMPP and sMPP samples; its level was significantly lower (0.15 +/- 0.06 vs. 0.19 +/- 0.07, P=0.0193) in the sMPP serum than that in the nsMPP serum. Vitamins E and D in the sMPP samples were significantly lower (vitamin E 7.43 +/- 1.55 vs. 8.22 +/- 2.22, P=0.0104; vitamin D 23.08 +/- 11.0 vs. 32.07 +/- 19.2, P=0.0007) than that in the nsMPP group; both sMPP and nsMPP did not show a deficiency of vitamins E and D. Logistic regression analysis revealed that vitamin A deficiency was significantly (OR 0.001, 95% CI: 0.001-0.334, P=0.009) associated with sMPP, and vitamin A supplementation could reduce the incidence of sMPP. In y sMPP, the incidence of vitamin A deficiency was 62.5%, while >= 6 y, 85%, showing a significant difference. Vitamin A level in <6 y sMPP was significantly lower than that in >= 6 y sMPP. Vitamin A deficiency is associated with sMPP and more likely present in the younger sMPP samples.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Therefore, it is important to watch and supplement vitamin A in M. pneumoniae infection patients.”

 

 

Regular exercise benefits immunity -- even in isolation

University of Bath (UK), March 31, 2020

 

Being in isolation without access to gyms and sports clubs should not mean people stop exercising, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Bath. Keeping up regular, daily exercise at a time when much of the world is going into isolation will play an important role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system.

The analysis, published in the international journal Exercise Immunology Review, involving leading physiologists Dr James Turner and Dr John Campbell from the University of Bath's Department for Health, considers the effect of exercise on our immune function.

Over the last four decades, many studies have investigated how exercise affects the immune system. It is widely agreed that regular moderate intensity exercise is beneficial for immunity, but a view held by some is that more arduous exercise can suppress immune function, leading to an 'open-window' of heightened infection risk in the hours and days following exercise.

In a benchmark study in 2018, this 'open window' hypothesis was challenged by Dr Campbell and Dr Turner. They reported in a review article that the theory was not well supported by scientific evidence, summarising that there is limited reliable evidence that exercise suppresses immunity, concluding instead that exercise is beneficial for immune function.

They say that, in the short term, exercise can help the immune system find and deal with pathogens, and in the long term, regular exercise slows down changes that happen to the immune system with ageing, therefore reducing the risk of infections.

In a new article, published this month, leading experts, including Dr Turner and Dr Campbell, debated whether the immune system can change in a negative or positive way after exercise, and whether or not athletes get more infections than the general population. The article concludes that infections are more likely to be linked to inadequate diet, psychological stress, insufficient sleep, travel and importantly, pathogen exposure at social gathering events like marathons -- rather than the act of exercising itself.

Author Dr James Turner from the Department for Health at the University of Bath explains: "Our work has concluded that there is very limited evidence for exercise directly increasing the risk of becoming infected with viruses. In the context of coronavirus and the conditions we find ourselves in today, the most important consideration is reducing your exposure from other people who may be carrying the virus. But people should not overlook the importance of staying fit, active and healthy during this period. Provided it is carried out in isolation -- away from others -- then regular, daily exercise will help better maintain the way the immune system works -- not suppress it."

Co-author, Dr John Campbell added: "People should not fear that their immune system will be suppressed by exercise placing them at increased risk of Coronavirus. Provided exercise is carried out according to latest government guidance on social distancing, regular exercise will have a tremendously positive effect on our health and wellbeing, both today and for the future."

Regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, running or cycling is recommended, with the aim of achieving 150 minutes per week. Longer, more vigorous exercise would not be harmful, but if capacity to exercise is restricted due to a health condition or disability, the message is to 'move more' and that 'something is better than nothing'. Resistance exercise has clear benefits for maintaining muscles, which also helps movement.

At this current time in particular, the researchers underline the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene when exercising, including thoroughly washing hands following exercise. To give the body its best chance at fighting off infections, they suggest in addition to doing regular exercise, people need to pay attention to the amount of sleep they get and maintain a healthy diet, that is energy balanced to account for energy that is used during exercise. They hope that this debate article will lead to a wave of new research exploring the beneficial effects of exercise on immune function.

 

 

Exercise training better than weight loss for improving heart function in type 2 diabetes

University of Leicester (UK), March 31, 2020

 

Researchers in Leicester have shown that the function of the heart can be significantly improved in patients with type 2 diabetes through exercise.

The study, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and conducted at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) - a partnership between Leicester's Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University - also showed that a low-energy diet did not alter heart function in the same patient group.

Dr Gaurav Gulsin, a BHF Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Leicester, trainee heart doctor, and a lead author of the study, said: "Heart failure is one of the most common complications in people with type 2 diabetes, and younger adults with type 2 diabetes already have changes in their heart structure and function that pose a risk of developing heart failure. We wanted to confirm the abnormalities in the structure and function of the heart in this patient population using the latest scanning techniques, and explore whether it is possible to reverse these through exercise and/or weight loss."

Eighty-seven patients between 18 and 65 years of age with type 2 diabetes were recruited to the study. Participants underwent echocardiography and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to confirm early heart dysfunction, and exercise tests to measure cardiovascular fitness. They were then randomised into one of three groups: routine care, supervised aerobic exercise training, or a low-energy meal replacement programme. Each programme had a 12-week duration. Seventy-six patients completed the full 12 weeks. Thirty six healthy volunteers were enrolled as a control group.

The study found that patients who followed the supervised exercise programme had significantly improved heart function compared with the control group, and had also increased their exercise capacity. Whilst the low energy diet did not improve heart function, it did have favourable effects on the structure of the heart, vascular function and led to the reversal of diabetes in 83 per cent of this arm of the study population.

Gerry McCann, NIHR Research Professor and Professor of Cardiac Imaging at the University of Leicester and a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Hospitals, was senior author on the study. He said: "Through this research we have shown that lifestyle interventions in the form of regular exercise training may be important in limiting and even reversing the damage to heart structure and function seen in younger adults with type 2 diabetes. While losing weight has a beneficial effect on heart structure, our study shows that on its own it does not appear to improve heart function.

"It may seem obvious, but if we can empower patients with type 2 diabetes to make changes to their daily routines through exercise and healthy eating, we may help them reduce the risk of heart failure and even early death. By using imaging techniques such as MRI we can actually show them the benefits their changes are making to their hearts."

The research team recognised the study population was relatively small. In addition, nearly 1 in 5 patients in the exercise arm of the study did not complete all 36 sessions, which may limit its application in future clinical practice.

 

 

Vitamin D proven to protect against respiratory infections

 Queen Mary University (UK), March 29, 2020

 

 

Adequate vitamin D levels are critical to immune system health and a range of other health areas.  In fact, science clearly suggests that maintaining proper levels can help us to avoid dementias like, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

 

This essential vitamin is best produced by exposing the body to the sun and can help to keep our muscles and bones healthy.

 

A new meta-analysis has confirmed that proper supplementation has a protective effect against colds and flu.  There had been some confusion about this in recent years due to conflicting results from past studies; however, the efficacy of this nutrient in fighting respiratory infection has now been verified.

Taking vitamin D at least as effective as flu shot in fighting respiratory infection

 

The study was conducted by Queen Mary University of London, and it pooled raw data from nearly 11,000 participants. In the meta-analysis, 25 double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trials looked at both vitamin D2 and D3 supplementation and its effects on cold or flu risk.

 

The reduction of acute respiratory infection risk through taking vitamin D3 supplementation was at least as effective as getting a flu shot.  The protective effects of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had the most dramatic positive results in those who had the lowest baseline levels to begin with.  And, another important point, regular doses were more effective than less frequent doses.

 

These study results emphasize the importance of getting enough of this fat-soluble secosteroids through supplementation and food sources.  Keep in mind, 25-hydroxyvitamin D supplementation is especially important in geographic regions that are prone to lots of rain and cloudy weather, as residents of these areas will likely not receive adequate sunlight for its production.

 

In addition to a stronger immune system and support of numerous aspects of physical health, 25-hydroxyvitamin D also helps to regulate blood sugar and mood. There are two types: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.  Of the two, D3 is the dynamic type that’s triggered by sunlight exposure. In fact, some estimates put vitamin D3 at 300 percent more effective than vitamin D2.

 

Fortified foods tend to contain vitamin D2, so the better choice for this vitamin is to get plenty of sunshine and/or take a supplement containing D3.  While sunlight does not actually contain 25-hydroxyvitamin D, it is essential in promoting its natural production inside the body.

Vitamin D3 supplements and natural food sources

 

Some great food choices include, free-range, egg yolks; wild-caught fish and organic, non-GMO soy.  Of course, many dairy products have this vitamin – but, it is often the less beneficial D2 variety and dairy-rich foods tend to promote allergies in many people. (especially if the dairy is highly-processed)

 

When it comes to supplementation, amounts as high as 10,000 IU per day have been taken to raise blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D; however, the average ideal dose can range from 2,000 to 6,000 IU per day depending upon your current health status. Your best bet is to get a blood test to determine your current status, then ask your doctor to help you determine the best course of action.

 

 

Vitamin B12 measurements across neurodegenerative disorders

University of California, March 30, 2020

 

According to news reporting out of the University of California by NewsRx editors, research stated, “Vitamin B12 deficiency causes a number of neurological features including cognitive and psychiatric disturbances, gait instability, neuropathy, and autonomic dysfunction.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from University of California: “Clinical recognition of B12 deficiency in neurodegenerative disorders is more challenging because it causes defects that overlap with expected disease progression. We sought to determine whether B12 levels at the time of diagnosis in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) differed from those in patients with other neurodegenerative disorders. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of B12 levels obtained around the time of diagnosis in patients with PD, Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). We also evaluated the rate of B12 decline in PD, AD, and MCI. In multivariable analysis adjusted for age, sex, and B12 supplementation, we found that B12 levels were significantly lower at time of diagnosis in patients with PD than in patients with PSP, FTD, and DLB. In PD, AD, and MCI, the rate of B12 decline ranged from - 17 to - 47 pg/ml/year, much greater than that reported for the elderly population.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Further studies are needed to determine whether comorbid B12 deficiency affects progression of these disorders.”

 

 

Physical activity contributes to positive mental well-being in menopausal women

University of Jyväskylä (Finland), April 1, 2020

 

A recent study has found that late menopausal status is associated with an elevated level of depressive symptoms that indicate the negative dimension of mental well-being. However, menopause was not linked to positive dimensions of mental well-being in women aged 47 to 55. The results also suggest that a high level of physical activity was linked to fewer depressive symptoms, higher satisfaction with life and higher positive affectivity in menopausal women.

"According to our research, postmenopausal women had more depressive symptoms than peri- or premenopausal women," says doctoral student Dmitriy Bondarev from the Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. "At the same time menopause was not related to positive mental well-being."

The menopausal transition is divided into three stages. Pre-menopause begins five to ten years before the menopause with gradual irregularity in menstrual cycles. Perimenopause is the time prior to last menstruation, when the function of the ovaries noticeably fades away. Postmenopause is the time after the last menstruation.

Menopause occurs on average between the ages of 46 and 52 and signifies the aging of a woman's reproductive system, which has a far-reaching effect on many bodily functions. However, the link between menopause and psychological functioning in middle-aged women has been investigated less.

The findings of the study indicate that irrespective of the menopausal status, physical activity was beneficial for mental well-being in middle-aged women.

"Physically active women had lower depressive symptoms, had higher positive affectivity scores and were more satisfied with life in comparison to inactive women," Bondarev explains. "Thus, being physically active during the menopausal transition may help to withstand the negative influence of menopause on depressive symptomatology and spare positive mental well-being."

The study is a part of the Estrogenic Regulation of Muscle Apoptosis (ERMA) study involving over 1,000 women aged 47 to 55 living in Jyväskylä, Finland. In the present study, the menopausal stage was determined by the serum hormone concentrations and menstrual diaries. Mental well-being and physical activity were self-reported by the participants.

 

Complementary and integrative medical treatment interventions for increased intestinal permeability

Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, April 1, 2020 

Researchers from Australia explored the treatment interventions complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) practitioners use to manage an emerging health condition like increased intestinal permeability (IP), as well as the association these methods have on the observed time to resolve the condition. Their findings were published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

  • The researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of Australian naturopaths, nutritionists, and Western herbal medicine practitioners through the Practitioner Research and Collaboration Initiative (PRACI) network.
  • They considered the frequencies and percentages of the treatment methods, including chi-square analysis, to examine the associations between treatment methods and observed time to resolve IP.
  • The researchers reported that 36 CIM practitioners responded to the survey. These practitioners use a multi-modal approach for the management of IP.
  • Almost 93 percent of the respondents use three or more categories of treatment interventions, namely, nutritional, herbal, dietary and lifestyle interventions.
  • The researchers also found that the main treatments prescribed for IP include:
    • Zinc (85.2 percent)
    • Multi-strain probiotics (77.8 percent)
    • Vitamin D (75 percent)
    • Glutamine (73.1 percent)
    • Turmeric (73.1 percent)
    • Saccharomyces boulardii (70.4 percent)
  • They also reported that CIM practitioners ask patients with IP to reduce their intake of alcohol (96.3 percent), gluten (85.2 percent) and dairy products (75 percent).
  • In addition, CIM practitioners frequently advise evaluation of antibiotics (75 percent) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (73.1 percent) prescriptions.
  • They observed that IP takes longer to resolve when patients do not reduce the intensity of their exercise.

The researchers concluded that their findings align with pre-clinical research, suggesting that CIM practitioners prescribe in accordance with published literature. They also recommend that CIM practitioners use numerous integrative treatment methods for the management of IP.

 

 

Burgers, other foods consumed at restaurants, fast food outlets, cafeterias, associated with higher levels of phthalates

George Washington University.  March 29, 2020

 

Dining out more at restaurants, cafeterias and fast-food outlets may boost total levels of potentially health-harming chemicals called phthalates in the body, according to a study out today. Phthalates, a group of chemicals used in food packaging and processing materials, are known to disrupt hormones in humans and are linked to a long list of health problems.

The study is the first to compare phthalate exposures in people who reported dining out to those more likely to enjoy home-cooked meals. People who reported consuming more restaurant, fast food and cafeteria meals had phthalate levels that were nearly 35 percent higher than people who reported eating food mostly purchased at the grocery store, according to the study.

"This study suggests food prepared at home is less likely to contain high levels of phthalates, chemicals linked to fertility problems, pregnancy complications and other health issues," says senior author Ami Zota, ScD, MS, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University. "Our findings suggest that dining out may be an important, and previously under-recognized source of exposure to phthalates for the U.S. population."

Lead author Julia Varshavsky, PhD, MPH, at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Zota, and their colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The 10,253 participants in the study were asked to recall what they ate and where their food came from in the previous 24 hours. The researchers then analyzed the links between what people ate and the levels of phthalate break-down products found in each participant's urine sample.

The team found that 61 percent of the participants reported dining out the previous day. In addition, the researchers found:

  • The association between phthalate exposure and dining out was significant for all age groups but the magnitude of association was highest for teenagers;
  • Adolescents who were high consumers of fast food and other food purchased outside the home had 55 percent higher levels of phthalates compared to those who only consumed food at home;
  • Certain foods, and especially cheeseburgers and other sandwiches, were associated with increased levels of phthalates—but only if they were purchased at a fast-food outlet, restaurant or cafeteria. The study found that sandwiches consumed at fast food outlets, restaurants or cafeterias were associated with 30 percent higher phthalate levels in all age groups.

"Pregnant women, children and teens are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals, so it's important to find ways to limit their exposures," says Varshavsky, who is also a postdoctoral scientist at the University of California, San Francisco. "Future studies should investigate the most effective interventions to remove phthalates from the food supply."

A previous study by Zota and colleagues suggested that fast food may expose consumers to higher levels of phthalates. That study found that people who ate the most fast food, burgers, fries and other foods, had phthalate levels that were as much as 40 percent higher than people who rarely ate such foods

The new study looked more broadly at dining out—not just at fast-food outlets—and found that it was significantly associated with increased exposure to phthalates. The authors say the findings are worrisome because two-thirds of the U.S. population eats at least some food outside the home daily.

Additional authors of the study include Rachel Morello-Frosch at the University of California, Berkeley, and Tracey Woodruff at the University of California, San Francisco.

The team used an innovative method of assessing real-world exposures to multiple phthalates, called cumulative phthalate exposure, which takes into account evidence that some phthalates are more toxic than others. The National Academies of Sciences has weighed in twice on phthalates—first in a 2008 report, they recommended using cumulative risk assessments in order to estimate the human health risk posed by this class of chemicals; and then in 2017 with a report finding that certain phthalates are presumed to be reproductive hazards to humans.

Many products contain phthalates, including take-home boxes, gloves used in handling food, food processing equipment and other items used in the production of restaurant, cafeteria and fast food meals. Previous research suggests these chemicals can leach from plastic containers or wrapping into food.

If verified by additional research, the findings from this study suggest that people who love dining out are getting a side of phthalates with their entrée.

Home-cooked meals may be one way to limit exposure to these harmful chemicals. "Preparing food at home may represent a win-win for consumers," adds Zota. "Home cooked meals can be a good way to reduce sugar, unhealthy fats and salt. And this study suggests it may not have as many harmful phthalates as a restaurant meal."

At the same time, phthalate contamination of the food supply also represents a larger public health problem, one that must be addressed by policymakers. Zota and Woodruff's previous research shows that policy actions, such as bans, can help reduce human exposure to harmful phthalates.

 

Fracking chemical may interfere with male sex hormone receptor

University of California at Davis, March 31, 2020

 

A chemical used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, has the potential to interfere with reproductive hormones in men, according to research accepted for presentation at ENDO 2020, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, and publication in a special supplemental section of the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

The study found the chemical can block the effects of testosterone and other male sex hormones known as androgens.

"Possible adverse health outcomes associated with anti-androgen exposure are abnormal reproductive function, male infertility and disrupted testicular and prostate development," said lead researcher Phum Tachachartvanich, Ph.D., of the University of California, Davis in Davis, Calif.

Hydraulic fracturing technology has significantly improved the yield of oil and natural gas extraction from unconventional sources. Fracking involves drilling and hydraulic extraction by injecting mixtures of industrial chemicals at high pressure into horizontal bore wells. Fracking chemicals contaminate the environment, including lake, groundwater and wastewater, and they are likely to affect everyone that is exposed to this group of chemicals, according to Tachachartvanich.

"The widespread use of fracking has led to concerns of potential negative impacts on both the environment and human health," Tachachartvanich said. "Everyone should be concerned about fracking as the wastewater generated has potential endocrine-disrupting effects, which can adversely affect the general population."

The researchers used a computer model to rank 60 hydraulic fracturing chemicals used in California, based on the predicted potential of each chemical to interfere with androgens' ability to bind with cells in the body. Based on the rankings, they used a cell model to verify the top five fracking chemicals that showed the highest potential to interfere with this process.

They then measured the androgen binding activity in the cell model for each chemical. Of the five HF chemicals tested, only one - Genapol-X100--significantly inhibited androgen binding activity. "This suggests Genapol-X100 has endocrine-disrupting abilities," Tachachartvanich said.

March 31, 2020  

Simple, Effective Natural Ways to Maintain a Healthy Respiratory System

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, March 31, 2020

 

A hallmark of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is that it infects the upper respiratory tract accompanied by shortness of breath, a chronic cough and frequently chills, fever and fatigue. However, these are symptoms similar but not limited to many other viral infections, including other strains of CoV, avian and swine flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), picornaviruses, etc.

The conventional war chest for arming ourselves against respiratory infections are drugs that can lessen the severity of these symptoms and hopefully will kill the virus to prevent it from worsening.  But pharmaceutical medications are not the only recourse we can rely upon. There are non-toxic supplements, medicinal botanicals and common sense actions people can adopt to protect themselves. Consequently, even if infected by COVID-19 or another respiratory virus, our immune system can be strengthened naturally to dramatically reduce the risks of serious complications. 

At the moment, the primary dispensers of information about the pandemic is the White House, the CDC, the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The mainstream media and state and local health officials have been completely relying upon comments and reports from these sources to inform or education the public.  However, what is not being communicated are the clinical experiences and scientific advice from around the world that contain valuable information and analyses to share. In China, Europe, Japan, and the US there are tens of thousands or more physicians and medical professionals using alternative modalities such as nutritional therapy, naturopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine to further protect patients from respiratory infections alongside or to complement conventional drug protocols. 

Unfortunately none of these non-conventional doctors and professionals are being asked for their consultation nor is the large body of scientific literature that supports their regimens being recommended. We are referring to studies published in respected journals and research conducted by important centers of medical investigation.  The question, therefore, is why has a contingent of people on the frontlines of prevention and complementary approaches to health been completely marginalized from the community of so-called "experts" who dominate the voices in the media? 

Therefore we want to share simple natural ways to protect your respiratory system and lungs during this stressful period. None of this information is folk tales but rather it is based on research found in the National Library of Medicine and other professional medical sources. 

Unfortunately, being cooped up indoors for long extended periods of time has its own health risks. It has been shown extensively that indoor air usually has higher concentrations of toxins than outdoor air. Aside from the psychological effects of isolation, it adversely affects our immune system. People who spend too much time indoors readily become Vitamin D deficient, which is essential for immune protection to avoid contracting infections. It also disrupts our natural circadian rhythms thereby contributing to poor sleep patterns. 

For the large majority of people, our homes and apartments are ridden with allergens, dust, molds and various fungi and cold-like causing germs. It is estimated that most Americans have anywhere between 400 to 800 chemicals stored in their bodies and these are often hoarded in fat cells. Of course, poorly ventilated homes are far more dangerous. Furthermore, many of our every-day house-hold products contain numerous chemical toxins and irritants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC), heavy metals, PBDEs or flame retardants, phthalates and Bisphenol A that are commonly used in all plastics, etc.  VOCs are found in aerosol products, dry cleaned clothing, paints and varnishes, floor wax, spot removers and air fresheners. All of these chemicals can vaporize easily thereby further polluting indoor air quality. The same is true for pesticides that we might have in our homes. Ozone can damage the lungs and can contribute to shortness of breath and coughs. Although the majority of ozone is outdoors, according to the CDC, it can accumulate indoors to as much 80% of outdoor levels.  For this reason, maintaining a healthy level of humidity is critical for reducing various pathogens and periodically keeping windows open for a period of time to air out rooms is highly recommended. 

Sunlight not only increases our level of Vitamin D, which is essential for immune protection; it also raises serotonin levels that can boost our moods. This finding was confirmed by researchers at the Baker Research Institute in Australia and published in The Lancet. Low serotonin, especially during winter months, has been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is characterized by depression, fatigue, and a lack of concentration. And of course, these effects have been shown to adversely affect our immune system. Therefore, making frequent efforts to get outdoors, while maintaining social distancing, not only raises our spirits but also helps clear our respiratory system from allergens and pollutants that accumulate indoors.  A series of studies conducted by the University of Rochester found that being outdoors increased both physical and mental vitality. Getting a sufficient amount of outdoor exposure is one of the surest natural ways to cleanse our lungs. Other methods include steam therapy (inhaling water vapor) and exercise to clear airways and drain mucus from the bronchia.

There are also plenty of foods, herbs and even supplements that can protect the lungs and keep the nasal and respiratory passages clear. Water is absolutely essential for maintaining health lungs since dry lungs result in irritation that increases the risks for infection. Also following the Mediterranean diet has been shown by epidemiologists at Harvard to have protective effects for allergic respiratory diseases, largely due to the high intake of olive oil.

Potassium is a vital mineral for proper lung function. It is not uncommon for people who are deficient in potassium to experience sporadic breathing problems. Therefore including potassium rich foods in daily meals, such as avocados, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, beets, bananas and oranges, can raise and sustain healthy potassium levels. 

Several studies have shown that apples can improve lung function. A study out of St. George's Hospital Medical School in London followed over 2,500 individuals between the ages of 45 and 59. Among the various vitamins and foods consumed, Vitamin E and apples were the most effective for slowing the decline in lung function. For people with a history of asthma, apples, which are rich in flavonoids, are inversely linked with asthma, decreased bronchial hypersensitivity, and positively improved general pulmonary health. 

Celery contains two important antioxidants -- apigenin and luteolin -- that have both been associated with reducing inflammation associated with our nasal passages and lungs. It has been shown to be particularly beneficial for those who have allergies that can hinder respiration. Of course it is important to know whether or not you have a rare allergy to celery itself. 

In an earlier article, we reported on the health benefits of nitric oxide as a signaling molecule to strength our immune system's response to invasion. One of the best sources for increasing nitric oxide levels in addition to improved endothelial cell function by decreasing oxidative stress are red beets. Most of our respiratory passageways -- from our nasal cavity to our bronchi -- are lined with epithelium   . Our lungs, on the other hand, are lined with a simple squamous epithelium or "goblet cells". Beets are one important food that protects these cells to maintain the health of our entire respiratory system. Beets have also been shown by researchers at Southern Methodist University to help prevent common cold symptoms, especially during periods of increased psychological stress. 

Green Tea and quercetin can promote healthy lungs due to their antioxidant properties. Both act as natural antihistamines that reduce respiratory irritation and inflammation. A study of 1,000 adults conducted by the medical school at Kyung Hee University in South Korea found that participants who drank two cups of green tea per day had better respiratory function than those who didn't drink any. Japanese Matcha tea has been investigated and found to be a more powerful antioxidant than regular green teas.

One can conclude that having a daily juice compromised of fresh apples, celery, beets and garlic -- which contains the powerful antimicrobial biomolecule allicin that kills human lung pathogenic bacteria -- can have an enormous impact on cleansing and protecting our lungs. Matcha tea can be purchased as powders and also added to your daily juice. It is our opinion that following this guideline along with getting sufficient outdoor exposure, exercise, reducing sources of toxicity in the home and proper ventilation, and drinking green tea and supplementing with quercetin, Vitamins C and D and other foods rich in antioxidants is a very simple and effective way of sustaining maximal lung health to get us through the pandemic. 

March 30, 2020  

 

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March 27, 2020  

Lessons from the Fear of Coronavirus

Richard Gale and Gary Null, PhD

Progressive Radio Network, March 27, 2020

 

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has provided an opportunity for everybody to take stock of their lives and reevaluate their priorities. It is also forcing us to pay attention to the fundamental basics for becoming responsible for our own health. These very basic principles are the same ones that may have saved countless lives in the past from avoidable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and other infectious disease outbreaks.  Hopefully as a people and as a nation we will emerge wiser and act more proactively in the future from the lessons learned during this crisis.

However, our ability to evolve beyond our limited perceptions of ourselves, our personal health and the successes and failures of America's health system are dependent upon the information we receive. If what we are being told by those in authority is inaccurate or patently false, such as Donald Trump's chloroquine drug as "a gift from God" to treat coronavirus infections or prescribing HIV retroviral drugs without clearly stating these drugs' serious health warnings, then the citizenry remains in a daze of ignorance and uninformed. Worse, the nation becomes further deluded, and, as we are observing, this leads to panic and fear. Panic in turn brings forth its own set of economic, social and personal problems. 

As we follow the events unfolding both in the US and globally, it is understandable that the medical community continues to be very perplexed on many issues. It is not a good sign when Oxford University made the decision to cease relying on the World Health Organization's coronavirus data because of the consistency in errors. Throughout the world, nations' health ministries rely on WHO's reports to develop their own strategies. Stanford University biomedical data scientist Dr. John Ioannidas recently warned that we sorely "lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who continue to become infected," and the data collected so far is "utterly unreliable." Many countries, which include the US, Ioannidas says are consequently adopting "draconian countermeasures" to deal with the spread of the virus. He also called the WHO's data and "reported case fatality rates" as "meaningless."  Due to our failure to properly confront the virus, death rates are "buried within the noise of the estimate of deaths from influenza-like illness."

Although coronavirus is a common infection and there are dozens of strains, this is a novel strain that has only been with us for less than 5 months. We know it is highly infectious. There is evidence that it may be more contagious via contact with surfaces rather than from airborne particles between persons. For example the CDC discovered that COVID-19 viral RNA was found on the surfaces of a cruise ship for 17 days after the passengers departed. And infectious rates appear to be quite erratic. Some countries have been very successful to contain its spread, while others including Italy, Spain and the US are not doing very well. 

During a recent interview, one of our greatest intellectuals Noam Chomsky remarked that our nation's intrastructure has taken on "a third world character."  But it is not only our crumbling roads and bridges and our banana republic transportation system that has become a disgrace for a wealthy nation that claims to be exceptional. "Our healthcare," Chomsky continues, "is an international scandal."  It too is part of America's infrastructure but has become "unbelievably backwards." Healthcare workers and nurses are pleading for essential supplies such as effective face masks. Hospitals have shortages of hospital beds and respirators. There are insufficient chemicals on hand to manufacture enough diagnostic tests; and this is critical to properly monitor the spread of the virus. Unlike other countries, notably South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and even China, our healthcare system has been reduced to "economy and efficiency";  we only produce what we require at the moment and give no forethought towards the future. Prevention has never been one of America's stronger skills. We do nothing until the next tsunami or Katrina moment hits us unexpectedly. In the wake of our habitual unpreparedness, numerous people suffer. 

So as the nation applauds Dr. Anthony Fauci at the CDC and continues to drink the kool aid served by the mainstream press to have us believe our federal health agencies are heroically on top of the situation, we must ask why the US was so far behind the eight ball in the first place. And in the absence of a federal health system that should be worthy of a developed nation, how can people better protect their personal health from infection and potential inflammatory complications?

Aside from all the uncertainty and confusion, even among our top health experts, one thing we can feel certain about: those at greatest risk have other pre-existing medical conditions. Unfortunately, our health officials have not provided any clear demographic statistics of those who have died in the US so far.  What percent had pre-existing health conditions such as cardiovascular or autoimmune illnesses? The condition of a person's immune system is critical for fighting any infectious disease, not just the coronavirus. The vitality of the immune system can mean life or death. The Italian government, on the other hand, provided such a report. Over 99 percent (99.2%) of Italians who died from either the virus or a subsequent co-infection such pneumonia, had a pre-existing health condition. Almost 50 percent had three or more conditions, the most common being high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.  The median age of infection is 63 years old and 79.5 years is the median for the mortality rate. All those who had died under 40 years of age were "males with serious existing medical conditions." 

However, in the US and parts of Europe, the crisis seems to be unfolding differently.  Fauci recently stated during a White House meeting, "Now we have to look at the young people who are getting seriously ill from the European cohort and make sure that it isn't just driven by that they have underlying conditions because... all bets are off no matter how young you are if you have an underlying, serious medical condition." For example, in both Italy and Spain where infection rates are inordinately high, approximately 30 percent of males smoke. In the US, recent data shows that 40 percent of hospitalized cases are between 20 and 54 and 12 percent of persons in intensive care are between 20 and 44 years of age.  Furthermore according to the CDC, 78 percent of Americans over 55 have a chronic condition and over 47 percent have two. American children are some of the sickest in the developed world -- 27 percent had a chronic illness a decade ago not including obesity. Much of the cause of American's chronically ill children is due to environmental reasons. Many of these conditions would be preventable if we had a satisfactory healthcare system. 

Nevertheless, the Italian message is clear.  In addition to the conventional preventative measures being undertaken -- quarantine, social distancing, reducing face to face encounters, properly cleaning surfaces, protective gloves and masks -- people need to be educated in ways to strengthen their immune systems. This requires convincing people to be more conscious about the risks of poor diets and unhealthy lifestyle habits. However, changing the consciousness of a society is extraordinarily difficult. And so far, our government and state health officials have been completely ignoring this critical factor as one solution to lessen the serious viral infections. 

So if the World Health Organization warns that the US "may become the next center for the coronavirus pandemic," should we be that surprised?  Yet we mustn't permit fear to overwhelm us into complacency. Catastrophes, crises and tragedies are often a necessary trumpet blasts to wake up, review our lives, our habits and false assumptions. The coronavirus pandemic is such a time. 

Earlier we released an article about the preventative measures we can take to both support our immune system to lessen the impact of viral infections, such as the coronavirus and flu, or to recover more rapidly in the event we experience symptoms.  Since then we have learned about other natural approaches to further protect ourselves. 

Recently Zhejiang University School of Medicine, one China's oldest and most prestigious universities, publicly released its "Handbook of CoVid-19 Prevention and Treatment" worldwide. Having been the first on the front lines against the new strain, and having gone through the deadly SARS coronavirus epidemic over a dozen years ago, it is one of the most concise documents for healthcare measures to prevent and contain the spread of the virus. The medical researchers identify many important clues that are barely found in English speaking literature. For example the report notes the importance of nutrition and the use of probiotics to strengthen infected patients' microbiome. According to the report, "the intestinal microecological balance is broken in COVID-19 patients.... Intestinal microecological imbalance may lead to bacterial translocation and secondary infection." Therefore, the Chinese scientists conclude that it is important to maintain a balance in the body's microecology through nutritional support. 

The report is also clear in warning about Trump's erroneous claims about chloroquine's safety and lists the adverse effects including cardiac arrest and ocular toxicity. In China chloroquine is not being prescribed unless a patient has had an electrocardigram performed. None of this was noted during Trump's press conference. 

In addition to conventional treatments, the Zheijiang scientists list herbal formulas based upon Traditional Chinese Medicine studies.

Therefore we are summarizing what we presented earlier along with additional new information.

 

SUPPLEMENTS

Vitamin C

Unlike the US, most of the world, especially in Asia and continental Europe, recognizes Vitamin C as an important anti-viral agent. It is also a remarkable antioxidant shown to ward off infections. There is a large body of research to support Vitamin C's efficacy during cold seasons. At this moment, China is conducting several clinical trials with intravenous Vitamin C to treat patients infected with the Covid19 strain. The city government of Shanghai is now actively treating patients with intravenous Vitamin C. A trial at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan is using 24,000 mg per day intravenously. The Wuhan study can be viewed on the US National Library of Medicine's website here: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533

In 2017 the University of Helsinki reviewed 148 studies that indicated Vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria and viruses. The most extensive indication studied was the common cold. Among people who are physically active, Vitamin C was most beneficial. However, many studies relied on very low Vitamin C doses, which likely contributed to the minor benefits observed. Some of these were as low as 100 mg daily. In addition, the studies showed that colds' duration was frequently shorter and less severe among people with sufficient Vitamin C levels.  An early randomized double blind trial to investigate Vitamin C's ability to protect elderly hospitalized patients from acute respiratory infections was conducted at Hudderfield University in the UK. The study relied on a very low dose of 200 mg per day. Nevertheless, those who received the vitamin fared significantly better than those taking placebo.  There was another controlled placebo study involving 715 students between the ages 18-32 taking 1000 mg four times daily. The test group had an 85% decrease in flu and cold symptoms compared to the control. 

 

Vitamin D

Barely a week goes by without another study appearing in the peer-reviewed literature that looks at either Vitamin D's therapeutic characteristics or the risks of Vitamin D deficiency. A high number of otherwise healthy adults have been reported to have low levels of vitamin D, mostly at the end of the Winter season. Deficiency rates vary between 42% for the entire population to 82% for Black Americans and 63% for Latinos. People who are housebound, institutionalized and those who work night shifts are most likely to be vitamin D deficient. This includes many elderly people who receive limited exposure to sunlight.

It has been shown that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase risk in autoimmunity illnesses and greater susceptibility to infection. It also boosts up the body's mucosal defenses which are critical for protecting ourselves from infectious respiratory viruses   Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital in conjunction with a global collaborative study to follow up on a Cochrane analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials involving 11,000 participants confirmed that vitamin D. taken daily or weekly significantly cut the risk of respiratory infections in half.  For children, a Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia meta review identified 13 of 18 studies confirming that Vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased incidences of acute lower respiratory infection. 

 

Melatonin

There is strong evidence that severe coronavirus cases and deaths are also associated with cytokine storms besides secondary infections. One cytokine in particular, NLRP3, was earlier discovered to be associated with SARS-CoV infections.  Since children's melatonin levels are at their peak up until puberty , this may be one reason why coronvirus infections in children under 9 are typically very mild or show no symptoms at all. Is this perhaps a reason why infected pregnant mothers admitted to Wuhan University's hospital gave birth to babies free of the virus?  As we increasingly age, the more rapidly our natural melatonin levels drop off. Melatonin has the unique property of inhibiting NLRP3 elevations after viral infection. For this reason, the amino acid can prevent NLRP3 cytokine storms contributing to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and acute lung injury (ALI) that are characteristic with severe COVID-19 cases. 

 

Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide is an important signaling molecule found throughout the body that has been associated with improved vasodilatation, the regulation of cellular life and death, and to strengthen the immune system's responses.  Like melatonin, newborns have very high levels of nitric oxide in their paranasal passages which provides added immunity unseen in the large majority of adults. Nitric oxide moreover inhibits NLRP3 cytokine activation. This is another reason why Vitamin C supplementation is so important because the vitamin supports the body's production of nitric oxide.  There is also evidence that nitric oxide is very effective against coronavirus. Dr. Sara Akerstrom and colleagues at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control and the Karolinska Institute discovered that nitric oxide "specifically inhibits the replication cycle of SARS CoV, most probably during the early stages of infection." An earlier study conducted by the University of Leuven in Belgium noticed nitric oxide inhibited SARS coronavirus cell infection in vitro. 

The best source for increasing our body's nitric oxide levels is through foods. Beets are particularly effective and can boost NO levels within 45 minutes. Other excellent NO sources are dark chocolate, rhubarb (which has the highest levels of nitrates), leafy greens, pomegranate and foods high in Vitamin C.

 

Zinc

Many of us are already aware that zinc supplements can ward off and reduce the onset of colds and flu-like symptoms. According to a Cochrane Database mega-analysis of zinc's potential to reduce the length and severity of non-influenza flu-like colds, the scientific evidence is quite conclusive to support zinc's effectiveness.  In addition, many of these studies show strong low risk of bias, which supports their legitimacy. A 2010 in vitro study by scientists at Leiden University's Center for Infectious Diseases in The Netherlands, concluded that zinc will block the replication of coronvirus and arterivirus. Another study published in the prestigious journal The Lancet by researchers at University College London, recommended that zinc formulas be used alongside conventional anti-viral drug therapies that specifically target COVID-19, thereby acknowledging zinc's antiviral properties. 

 

N-Acetyl Cysteine

Oxidative stress is a well known pathway for microbial infections such as viruses and bacterial pneumonia, especially in the lungs. When the lungs are subject to serious oxidative stress, there is an increase in inflammatory cytokines that play a role in different respiratory infections including influenza, coronavirus, echovirus, adenovirus, coxsackie virus and others. Therefore, certain antioxidants can alleviate lung damage due to oxidative stress. 

 

Colloidal Silver

Nanoparticle or colloidal silver has been studied extensively for its anti-bacterial properties but less so for infectious viruses. Most studies for silver's antiviral activities have focused on HIV-1, Hepatitis B, herpesvirus and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. 

In a 2005 issue of the Journal of Nanotechnology, the University of Texas and Mexico University observed that silver nanoparticles could kill HIV-1 within 3 hours, and they suspected that this may be true for many other viruses as well. However, this conclusion may be too premature and more research is necessary. There are studies showing silver's efficacy against respiratory viruses. One large study by Japan's National Defense Medical College Research Institute, published in the Journal of Molecular Sciences, recommended that Japanese healthcare workers take nanosilver to protect them from viruses including coronavirus.  Then a joint study by Deakin University in Australia and Osaka University in Japan found that colloidal silver significantly protected cells from H3N2 flu infection and prevented viral growth in the lungs 

 

BOTANICALS

Astragulus

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), coronaviral infections belong to a specific epidemic disease category. Astragulus is not only a very popular plant used in TCM, but it is also one of the most researched and promising botanical plants shown to have antiviral properties. In both TCM and Ayruveda medicinal formulas astrugulus has been prescribed for centuries because of its effectiveness against infections and over-stressed respiratory conditions. Compounds, notably saponins, found in astragulus have been well researched and found to hinder influenza proliferation. The US Department of Agriculture's Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory found it inhibits avian flu viruses.

Jinlin Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China conducted a study published in the journal Microbiological Pathology that concluded 

"Astragulus exhibits antiviral properties that can treat infectious bronchitis caused by [avian] coronavirus"

A month ago, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine completed an analysis of previous research looking at the benefits of Chinese herbal formulas against the SARS coronavirus and H1N1 flu (swine flu). In 3 studies, among participants who took formulas against SARS, none contracted the illness. Nor did any contract H1N1 influenza in four additional studies. A primary ingredient in these formulas' was astragulus. Earlier in February, researchers at Beijing Children's Hospital at the Capital Medical University provided a thorough overview of recommended diagnostic procedures and treatments for specific symptoms witnessed in the current Covid19 infections that included both allopathic and traditional Chinese medicine.  In cases where there are signs of severe weakness and stress observed in the lungs and spleen, a formula called Liu Jun Zi is being prescribed, which includes astragulus, skullcap and ginseng as the primary botanicals. 

 

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhizin Acid) 

In traditional medicine licorice root has been used to relieve and treat ulcers, sore throats, bronchitis, coughs, adrenal insufficiencies and allergic diseases. Licorice's main antiviral compounds are known as glycyrrhizins (GL). 

Japan's National Institute of Infectious Disease reported GL's effectiveness against coronavirus and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as well as Epstein Barr virus and human cytomegalovirus. After the deadly SARS outbreak in 2012, virologists at Frankfurt University Medical School investigated several antiviral compounds to treat patients admitted with SARS coronavirus infections. Of all the compounds tested, licorice's GL was the most effective. The scientists concluded that "Our findings suggest that glycyrrhizin should be assessed for treatment of SARS."  The above research was later replicated at Sun Yat Sen University in China and published in the Chinese journal Bing Du Xue Bao. The researchers identified several derivatives of glycyrrhizin as primary molecules with antiviral properties. In addition to being effective against the SARS coronavirus, they also found it may be effective against herpes, HIV, hepatitis and influenza. 

Earlier in 2005, a team of scientists from Goethe University in Germany and the Russian Academy of Sciences had already identified the antiviral activity of GL against SARS coronavirus. The molecule showed a ten-fold increase in anti-SARS activity compared to other potential treatments tested. One conjugate of GL had a 70-fold increase. That study was published in the Journal of Medical Chemistry. During that same year, the Chinese Academy of Sciences screened over 200 botanical plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to find those with the strong potency SARS coronavirus. Four botanicals stood out. One of the four was licorice's glycyrrhizin.

 

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberry has become a popular supplement for relieving symptoms of the common cold and flu infections. It is found worldwide and is part of many of the world's indigenous pharmacopias. There are many species of elderberry; the species Sambucus nigra seemingly has been shown to have the most medicinal qualities. When purchasing Elderberry or Sambucus, it is recommended to note it is Sambucus nigra. It is better to use a prepared formula rather than try to make it on your own from fresh berries and flowers. Elderberries contain cyangenic glycosides that can be poisonous and cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and weakness. 

Most research has focused on elderberry's therapeutic value against influenza. However, there is also research showing elderberry's positive impact on coronavirus infections. In 2014, researchers at Emory University noted that elderberry extract inhibited coronavirus virility at the point of infection.  The scientists hypothesized that elderberry rendered the virus non infectious. One of the better studies came out of National Sun Yat Sen University and the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan in 2019. The researchers used an ethanol extract of Sambucus stem (not the berry) and observed its potential against coronavirus strain NL63

 

Echinacea

A systematic review of the existing research before 2011 by the University of British Columbia and published in the journal Pharmaceuticals, concluded:

"all strains of human and avian influenza viruses tested (including a Tamiflu-resistant strain), as well as herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinoviruses, were very sensitive to a standardized Echinacea purpurea preparation"

Echinicea does present limitations depending upon the severity of an infection. Once a cold caused by any one of the various cold viruses, including coronavirus, more deeply infects the bronchia and the lower lung, echinacea does not appear to be helpful. It is more effective with upper respiratory tract infections. One of the largest placebo double blind studies on echinacea was conducted by Cardifff University in the UK. The study followed participants for four months and confirmed the safety of long term echinacea supplementation. It also observed a statistically significant decrease in cold episodes in the echinacea group.

As a piece of consumer advice, a Cornell University study looked at the medicinal properties throughout different parts of the echinicea plant: leaves, stems, bark, roots, etc. The scientists noted that only echinacea extracts that contain the root showed significant antiviral properties. Echinacea appears to modify the clinical course of flu-like respiratory infection by acting upon IL-8, IL-10 and IFN cytokine activity beneficially.

 

Olive Leaf

Oleuropein (OLE) is the most important biomolecule in the olive tree that contributes to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, anti-cancer, antimicrobial and antiviral activities and effects. One advantage of olive leaf is that it is highly bioavailable to the body's cells. 

There are almost 10,000 studies in the National Institutes of Health literature database referring to OLE, olive leaf, and olive oil, most with respect to its strong antioxidant and anticancer properties. There are only a few studies showing olive leaf's effectiveness against respiratory viruses. One randomized trial performed by the University of Auckland in New Zealand suggests olive leaf can contribute to treating respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus. A 2001 study out of the University of Hong Kong identified 6 separate antiviral agents in olive that were effective against parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

OLE may possess notable anti-viral properties. The current Covid19 pandemic utilizes the host cell's ACE2 receptor. This same receptor is also activated in HIV infections. This is one reason why patients infected with this new coronavirus strain are being prescribed HIV drugs. Therefore might olive leaf extract contribute to the treatment for this new coronavirus strain? 

 

Oregano Oil

Oregano possesses a compound called carvacrol that has been shown to be antiviral. Although it has been tested on several influenza and flu-like respiratory viruses, it does not appear to have been tested against coronavirus.

Soochow University in China and the University of Oklahoma published a study in the BMC Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine focusing on oregano's antiviral properties against influenza viruses. Although oregano did not kill the virus it nevertheless inhibited the virus' ability to translate proteins responsible for the viral binding to cells. A 2010 randomized double blind study study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested oregano was beneficial as a throat spray and showed significant and immediate improvement of upper respiratory infectious ailments.

University of Arizona published a paper in the Journal of Applied Microbiology investigating oregano's antiviral properties when used as a sanitizer. The study focused on one flu-like virus, novovirus. If sprayed on surfaces, carvacrol will kill the virus within 15 minutes of exposure. The most recent research into Covid19's surface life -- living outside of an animal host -- is 9 days.

 

Conclusion

Yes, we should be concerned about the coronavirus' high infectious rate. At the moment, the primary solutions being sought to handle the crisis is to spend billions of dollars to develop an effective vaccine and an accurate diagnostic kit. Additionally, according to a study out of Johns Hopkins University's School of Public Health, the incubation period is estimated at 5.1 days for being infected and capable of infecting others without displaying symptoms. But there is no mention in the medical community nor the mainstream media about what we can do to strengthen our immune system. 

Yes, a high quality 99% barrier mask is important, especially if worn in a crowded environment. Repeated washing of our hands for a full minute with soap water. Rub surfaces with alcohol at home and work and allow it to sit for 30 seconds. Likewise, wipe down door handles and telephone receivers. Quarantining people who have been exposed is important until they test negative. Closing schools is prudent. And if a vaccine is eventually developed and shown to be safe and effective that is another recourse. However none of the above protects the immune system in the event of coming into contact with the virus. We believe that the recommended natural solutions shared above, since it is supported in the peer reviewed scientific literature, is something everyone can do. Besides, it is safe and not expensive. Therefore these natural solutions too should be considered as a viable and effective recourse to lessen this pandemic's fatal effects. 

 

Additional Tips

Although supplementing our diets and strengthening our immune systems at this time is especially important, we must not neglect our physical health and mind. Beside having the opportunity to transition to a healthy plant based diet, increasing our exercise is crucial and taking time to meditate. To return to maximal health, exercise for a minimum of 2 and half hours per week, and meditate 30 minutes daily to de-stress. It can also be an opportunity to experiment with intermittent fasts, such as not eating for a 12 hour span between dinner and breakfast. All of these suggestions are supported in the peer-reviewed medical literature. This is not folk medicine or social gossip. 

 

Final Thought

One immediate hard lesson we are learning is that the US government has no noteworthy competence in dealing with national health crises. We are only good at pouring money into the personal coffers of elites who are content to capitalize on disasters. If the tiny virus is David, certainly the cumbersomeness and America's huge bureaucracy is Goliath. If progressive voices are unable to leverage themselves to change the face our civilization for a potentially sustainable future, maybe the tiny COVID-19 will be doing it for us. 

March 26, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 

March 25, 2020  

Professor Haidt is a social psychologist whose research examines the intuitive foundations of morality. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. In that book Haidt offers an account of the origins of the human moral sense, and he shows how variations in moral intuitions can help explain the polarization and dysfunction of American politics. At Stern he is applying his research on moral psychology to rethink the way business ethics is studied and is integrated into the curriculum. His goal is to draw on the best behavioral science research to create organizations that function as ethical systems, with only minimal need for directly training people to behave ethically. He co-founded the research collaboration at EthicalSystems.org. His next book will be titled Three Stories About Capitalism: The Moral Psychology of Economic Life .

March 24, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 

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March 23, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 

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This new feature will allow listeners to call in and leave a voicemail question to all their favorite shows. All you have to do is call the number, Say your name, what show and what your question is. This will allow your voice to be heard on your favorite PRN shows and will allow a better host/listener connection.
 
 
 

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