Not everyone died from the Black Death, or from the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918—and many of us will survive COVID-19. But why do some of us die, and, more crucially, why do so many who are infected suffer long-term symptoms, even if they are young and seemingly healthy, and how do we lower our chances of ever getting infected in the first place?
Once infected, we can carry the COVID-19 virus for life, as we do the herpes viruses, which 95 percent of us carry, while 90 percent of people in the West carry the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which triggers glandular fever (also called mononucleosis) and drives multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
Doctors and health agencies were taken by surprise by the COVID-19 outbreak. Many had assumed that modern drugs and vaccinations had made viral epidemics a thing of the past. But infections are always with us and have become the major drivers of many big killers, from cancers and coronaries to dementia and diabetes.
Microbes in the fermenting gut trigger gut tumors and are a cause of psychiatric disease and arthritis. Neurological disease is one of the most common causes of death in the West, and all varieties have an infectious driver.
Far from winning the "arms race" against viruses, bacteria and yeasts, we have been lulled into a false sense of security by drugs and vaccinations. COVID-19 is with us now, and more are evolving and are just over the horizon.
So how do we lessen the effects of COVID-19 and other viruses if we get infected—and how do we avoid infection altogether? It's a two-pronged attack that I teach all my patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), my specialty.
Pure CFS results from poor energy delivery mechanisms, and myalgic encephalitis (ME) is when the fatigue is accompanied by inflammation. This inflammation is often driven by microbes, such as herpes viruses and especially EBV.
These microbes have coexisted with us for millions of years. The fact they are starting to cause infections now is symptomatic of our declining ability to resist them, and that is a direct result of the modern Western diet and lifestyle.
My two-pronged approach is:
• Teach a general approach to avoid and treat infection.
•Provide effective strategies to tackle the microbes that are making the CFS sufferer's life a misery.
Unless we sort out our immune system, we are heading for disaster. And we start losing the battle from the time we are babies. Caesarean sections and bottle-feeding mean we are not being properly inoculated or fed; oral thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth, is common in babies, and although doctors seem unconcerned, the first battle has been lost.
Fermenting mouths lead to fermenting guts. The gut is leaky—microbes in the gut then get into the body in a process called bacterial translocation—and this is driving many pathologies or illnesses.
As with the COVID-19 virus, most microbes get into our body through inhalation or ingestion, the food and drink we consume. Those we inhale adhere to the sticky mucus that lines the respiratory tract and are coughed up and swallowed. These microbes should end up in the acid bath of the stomach, which kills them.
So, maintaining an acidic stomach is an essential defense, but the Western diet and lifestyle upsets this natural defense mechanism in many ways:
- A high-carb diet. These foods ferment in the stomach instead of being properly digested. The microbes involved in this fermentation cause low-grade inflammation of the stomach lining, which results in a leaky gut. As fast as the cells lining the stomach wall pump acid into the lumen, the stomach's interior, the acid leaks back out again.
- Allergies. The common allergens are dairy and gluten-containing grains, foods that cause a low-grade inflammation in the same way a high-carb diet does, and with the same results.
- Gluten. Gluten damages the tight junctions between cells and makes them leaky. Because of this, everyone should avoid it.
- Snacking. Between meals, the stomach has a chance to restore normal acidity. But constant snacking or consuming sweet foods and drinks feeds microbes directly and prevents the stomach cleaning itself.
Understanding your risk
Even if you haven't had a COVID-19 infection, how do you know if you are more susceptible? There are six tell-tale signs that give you a clue:
Dental plaque: A high-carb diet feeds bacteria in the mouth, but sugar in the bloodstream will also spill over into saliva. Plaque first appears on the inner surface of the lower incisor teeth, right opposite the salivary duct. A product called "disclosing fluid" will stain plaque pink if you want to know the levels on your teeth.
- Body odor: Normal sweat is odorless, but high blood sugar spills over into sweat on the skin, where it is fermented by skin microbes that create the foul smell of body odor.
- Yeast infections: Yeast loves sugar, and infections such as dandruff, fungal nails, a tendency to suffer regular bouts of athlete's foot, perineal thrush or ringworm indicate high blood sugar.
- Coughs and colds: They may be common, but they are also an indication of body defenses and an immune system that have failed. You'll know you're winning the viral arms race when coughs and colds become few and far between.
- Apple-shaped: We know the obese are more likely to get a COVID infection, and that's the case for most microbes. Fat is laid down where the immune system is busy, and fat around the gut means energy is required for the immune system to fight back against microbes in the fermenting gut.
- Joint and muscle aches and stiffness: Microbes don't just stay in the gut, they spill over into the bloodstream. "New" viruses such as COVID-19 can get into areas in the body where there has been tissue damage and scarring and trigger inflammation. The result is friction or stiffness and pain.
These are all red warning flags, stages of disease that can be reversed. Don't try to suppress the symptoms because this further hampers the immune system's response. For instance, anti-arthritis drugs increase the risk of heart disease; they work by blocking the immune system response, making infection more likely, and this is a driver of heart problems and much else besides.
The key to defending yourself from viral infection is the PK diet (below). If you're not following it, you're feeding the enemy and sabotaging everything else you do.
After the PK diet, the next most important thing is to take high doses of vitamin C every day. The vitamin is the most powerful, broad-spectrum antimicrobial we know, and is completely safe.
The basis for the amount we're recommended to take is the prevention of scurvy, and that's just 30 mg a day. The upper safe limit is 100 mg, and so a dose that is between 500 and 1,000 mg is described as high.
But looking at animals that make their own vitamin C, we should be taking at least 5,000 mg a day—that's 5 grams, or a teaspoonful. We can't get this amount purely from our diet. When we start ramping up the amount, we can suffer from diarrhea, known as bowel tolerance.
To achieve bowel tolerance, we should increase the dose up to 15,000 mg (15 grams), and even this can be increased dramatically if we are suffering from infection, when up to 200 grams can be taken over the course of the day.
The anti-infection PK diet
Microbes like the COVID-19 virus can only survive if they're fed carbohydrates, or sugars. Animal cells, however, run on fats, although they can also use carbs. Diets based on fat and fiber are unfriendly to invading microbes, which thrive on sugar and starch. Diabetics are particularly susceptible to infection because of their high levels of blood sugar (glucose). If given sugar, bacteria and yeast can double their numbers every 20 minutes.
The starting point for preventing and treating all infection is the paleo-ketogenic (PK) diet, which inhibits the upper fermenting gut—which, in turn, improves digestion and absorption of food and prevents leaky gut—and reduces the toxic load of Western diets, which has the potential to overload the liver.
The key principles of the PK diet are:
- Eat plenty of fat and fiber, not sugar and starch.
- Eat two good meals a day and don't snack.
- Avoid dairy products, which despite the common perception, are not natural foods.
- Avoid gluten grains. They create a leaky gut. Modern wheat can be 80 percent gluten when once it was just 20 percent.
- Eat micronutrients. Even eating a good diet, we are likely to be lacking micronutrients. One good source is "Sunshine salt," a mix of sea salt and 12 essential minerals plus vitamin D and B12, available via www.drmyhill.co.uk. Take with a good daily multivitamin.
- Eat spices and herbs. Plants and fungi contain natural antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal toxins.
- Avoid addictive foods. The Western diet is dangerously addictive—chocolate, sweets, salty snacks, caffeine and alcohol—and I contend sugar is more addictive, and more dangerous, than even smoking.
- Consume fiber. Fiber is fermented by friendly microbes in the lower gut, which create heat, short-chain fatty acids and essential vitamins such as vitamin K. Friendly microbes train the immune system to respond to unfriendly microbes from the gut.
Iodine is another essential in your war chest. It kills all classes of pathogens on contact, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, yeasts and protozoa, and usually within 30 seconds. It works by combining with the amino acids tyrosine or histidine to kill single-celled organisms.
The French physician Jean Lugol developed a formulation that made iodine safe to take by mouth. His is a mixture of 5% iodine with 10% potassium, and he prescribed 300 to 1,000 mg (Lugol's 12% iodine, 40 to 60 drops, 2 to 8 mL) daily to treat infections.
It's harder to work out your optimum daily dose, but it's far higher than the recommended daily amount (RDA) of 150 mcg. This fails to take into account iodine deficiency, which has become pandemic in the West because of the prevalence of fluoride in our water and toothpaste, and bromide from PBB fire retardants in soft furnishings. If you're unsure of the safe dose for you, use Sunshine salt (see page 31), which contains 1 mg iodine per teaspoon. Iodine also has a happy symbiotic relationship with vitamin C, and they work together as powerful microbe fighters.
The use of highly diluted immune-specific substances reprograms the immune system to deal with viral disruption. It was developed by Dr Maurice Jenaer in the 1970s and is widely used in Germany, France, Italy and Austria.
Micro-immunotherapy uses tiny, but not homeopathic, doses of bio-identical mediators (messengers) of inflammation: neurotransmitters, cytokines, growth factors, hormones and specific nucleic acids. Some combinations of specific nucleic acids interfere with viral RNA reproduction, and this gives them their antiviral effects.
It can be used for any condition where there is acute or chronic inflammation that may be due to chronic viral infection (not bacteria or fungi), allergy or autoimmunity.
It can be combined with other treatments and is particularly helpful for the very sick patient who is intolerant to all else.
Micro-immunotherapy must be done through a qualified practitioner(www.micro-immunotherapy.com). Don't try to do this on your own.
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is effective against viruses with a lipid coat, and this includes all the herpes viruses, influenza, bird and swine flu, hepatitis B and C—and the COVID virus. BHT disrupts the lipid (fat) coating of the virus, making it vulnerable to attack by the immune system and vitamin C. By disrupting the lipid coat, proteins on the surface stop functioning and can't stick to, and penetrate, healthy cells.
BHT is a food preservative, and the average American daily diet includes around 2 mg BHT. It starts to get effective at doses around 10 times greater, and tests have shown it halves the activity of the herpes viruses.
The standard BHT capsule has a 300 mg dose, but doses as high as 1,000 mg can be tolerated, and some even take doses as high as 10,000 mg. If you are taking a 1,000 mg dose for a month or longer, it's advisable to have liver function tests at one, three and six months.
Your natural defenses
THE COVID BATTLE PLANS
- Eat the PK diet, high in fats and fibers, low in carbs. Eat probiotic foods like kefir and sauerkraut. No dairy or grains. Eat twice a day, and no snacking.
- Take vitamins. These include multivitamins, multiminerals and vitamin D.
- Vitamin C. Take 5 grams last thing at night
- Sleep well and long, eight to nine hours between 10 pm and 7 am. Sleep more in the winter.
- Add plenty of herbs, spices and fungi to your cooking.
- Exercise at least once a week. Push yourself to the limit; it produces lactic acid and stimulates new muscle fiber and mitochondria, the cell's powerhouse.
- Sunbathe as often as you can. Stay warm.
- Use your brain. Avoid obvious ways of transmitting viruses.
- Eat the PK diet.
- Fast. A day or so without eating can help kickstart the immune system, but drink rehydrating fluids.
- Take vitamin C to bowel tolerance. Keeping upping the dose by 10 grams until you have diarrhea, then lower the daily dosage to just under that level.
- Take a good multivitamin, 5 grams of Sunshine salt and a dessert spoon of hemp oil.
- Take Lugol's iodine 12%. Two drops in a small glass of water every hour until symptoms disappear. Swill around your mouth, gargle, sniff and inhale the vapor.
- If you're suffering from respiratory symptoms, put four drops of Lugol's iodine 12% into a salt pipe and inhale for two minutes four times daily. Apply a smear of iodine inside your nostrils.
- Add herbs, spices and fungi to your food.
- Rest is especially important if you're suffering from an infection. And when you're not resting, sleep.
- Don't exercise.
- Keep warm and sunbathe if possible.
- Use your brain. Your symptoms are signs the body is fighting infection. Do not combat this by taking anything that is anti-inflammatory.
You are probably carrying many viruses, bacteria and other microbes that can cause chronic health problems—and the older you are, the more likely it is you have them. So, for seniors, the battle plan changes again.
- Eat the PK diet. Make sure you're eating the best quality food you can find, and organic is ideal.
- Eat your meals within a 10-hour window, which means there are 14 hours when your stomach is resting and emptying.
- Fast one day a week. This gives the gut the chance to rest and repair.
- Take vitamins. This includers multivitamins, multiminerals and vitamin D.
- TAKE Glutathione and iodine. Two potent detoxers, effective at doses of 250 mg glutathione daily and 25 mg weekly iodine. You may not be able to tolerate iodine at high doses so take it slowly.
- Take vitamin C, including 5 grams last thing at night.
- Take two drops of Lugol's iodine 12% in water every day.
- Sleep for eight to nine hours a day between 10pm and 7am, and take a "power nap" during the day.
- Exercise within your limits. This means you should feel fully recovered the next day. Ideally, you want to get your pulse up to 120 beats per minute.
- Treat YOUR CONNECTIVE TISSUES with supplements such as glucosamine. Bone broth is best.
- ADD HERBS, spices and fungi to your cooking.
- Take herbs such as astragalus, cordyceps and rhodiola to improve your immune defenses.
- Take mitochondrial supplements that help fight fatigue. Include coenzyme Q10 (100 grams), niacinamide slow release (1,500 mg), and acetyl L-carnitine (500 mg).
- Check your toxic load. One good test is the Genova urine screen with DMSA, 15 mg per kg of body weight. Get the test through: www.naturalhealthworldwide.com
- Check your living space for electromagnetic pollution.
- Review the prescription drugs you're taking.
- Test your adrenal and thyroid function. Thyroid blood tests and adrenal saliva tests are available through www.naturalhealthworldwide.com
- Stay warm and get out into the sun. Holiday in warm climates.
- Use your brain. Avoid any risky situation. Do not suppress any symptoms. Treat any cuts or skin abrasions seriously.
Sleep and sun
We need plenty of deep, restful sleep—and so do our virus-fighting white cells. Astonishingly, animals can die from chronic lack of sleep—because it triggers septicemia, caused by microbes escaping from
The optimum amount of sleep is between eight to nine hours, and it's important to prepare for sleep by getting into bed around 30 minutes before sleeping. Try to sleep between 10 pm and 7 am, and sleep more in the winter months.
Try to keep the room dark, noise-free and cool, and turn off any electromagnetic devices, such as the Wi-Fi, mobile and cordless phones.
Heat and warmth are also essential for a healthy immune system. If you're too cold, you're more likely to catch an infection. You need to keep your core body temperature at 37°C (98.6°F) with no more than a 0.3-degree fluctuation.
Keeping a close eye on your temperature will also let you know if your energy system—the ketones, mitochondria, thyroid and adrenal glands—is working in harmony.
A hot sauna or bath can combat an acute infection—but don't try to run it off. Hyperthermia, or raised body temperature, can increase the effectiveness of antibiotics by a factor of 60, Dr Friedrich Douwes estimates, and can kill microbes without drugs.
Douwes uses a large incubator to increase the body temperature over a two-hour period to 41.6°C (107°F), maintains it for a further two hours, and slowly reduces the heat in the final two hours.
The sun is the most obvious source of light and heat, and its ultraviolet (UV) rays kill microbes. It's used to sterilize water and swimming pools, and sunshine was the main treatment for TB (tuberculosis) before antibiotics. It also works indirectly by raising the body's vitamin D levels, another infection fighter.
Sunbathe as much as you can, but only to brown the skin. Don't burn.
Herbs and more
The simple rule is to use as many herbs, spices and mushrooms as you can lay hands on. They are all antimicrobials. You don't even have to cook them: parsley, rocket (arugula) and wild garlic can be eaten raw. The major herbs for the PK diet include garlic, black pepper, ginger, rosemary, mint and thyme.
Indian meals are always rich in herbs and spices such as turmeric, cardamom, coriander and cumin.
Herbs that improve the immune defenses include astragalus, cordyceps and rhodiola, which are antimicrobial and support the immune system.
To combat COVID-19 and protect yourself from it and the many other viruses and microbes, you need to take charge of your own health. Western medicine has lost its way.
Doctors no longer look for the underlying causes of disease, a process that used to be called diagnosis, but rather seek a "quick fix" response that will see the patient out of their office door in under 10 minutes.
But this can't answer the questions we started with: why do some develop a viral infection and others don't, and why do some suffer more than others? I hope you're a little closer to answering these questions for yourself.
Dr David Brownstein's protocol
Dr David Brownstein, a Michigan family practitioner, and colleagues have successfully treated more than 100 patients with COVID, some with serious symptoms and almost all in the "vulnerable" category with pre-existing conditions. Here are his recommendations for patients and practitioners:
At the first sign of COVID symptoms, take orally:
• 100,000 IU of vitamin A
• 1 g of vitamin C per hour until bowel tolerance is reached
• 50,000 IU of vitamin D per day
• 25 mg/day of Lugol's iodine (sometimes 50-100 mg/day)
Use as a nebulizer:
For each 259-cc bag of saline (salt water) inject:
• 3 cc of food-grade hydrogen peroxide
• 1 cc of magnesium sulfate
The patient should then top up the mixture with one drop of 5% Lugol's iodine and nebulize hourly until symptoms improve.
If oral supplements and nebulizer aren't resolving symptoms:
A practitioner should administer intravenous injections of:
• Vitamin C: 2.5 g of sodium ascorbate (5 cc of 500 mg/cc ascorbic acid solution) mixed with an equal amount of sterile water as intravenous push over 2-3 minutes
• Hydrogen peroxide: 30 cc of a 0.03% solution of dilute H2O2 as intravenous push over 2-3 minutes
• Plus: 20 cc of 18 mcg/cc ozone (as an oxygen/ozone gas mixture) given in each buttock as an intramuscular injection.
Adapted from The Infection Game: Life is an Arms Race (Hammersmith Health Books, London, 2018, revised 2020) by Dr Sarah Myhill and Craig Robinson