“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
To many of us, 2020 proved to be an exceptionally challenging year, full of opportunities for learning and growth on many levels. Personally for me, it was a year that provided experiences leading to profound understanding of key truths related to human behavior under pressure and the healing efficacy of nature.
In my various blog posts dedicated to wellness and well-being, I wrote about the health benefits of Vitamin D obtained from sunshine, the cell voltage (pH) balancing qualities of water and natural salt, grounding as an aid in reduction of inflammation and faster healing, and submerging oneself in nature in order to reduce stress and boost our overall health.
This year I was able to put all these remedies to the test and successfully use them as my countermeasures of choice against SARS-CoV-2.
I also learnt that the corona viruses, including the common cold virus, SARS and MERS, bind to the ACE-2 enzyme in the pneumocytes of the lungs and other tissues such as heart, kidneys, liver and brain, and utilize it as a cellular entry receptor.
In severe cases of the SARS-CoV-2 infection the patient presents with symptoms of hemoglobin denaturation and iron metabolism dysregulation leading to hypoxia - loss of oxygen in tissues. The patients first turn blue due to the lack of oxygen, then the lungs fill with fluid as a consequence of hypoxic injury resulting in pneumonia/secondary bacterial infections, hypoxic organ failure and respiratory death.
Putting these individuals on respirators made things even worse as forced, high pressure oxygen is very harmful to the lungs when the tissues are no longer able to absorb oxygen.
"Until we start treating the hemoglobin as an initial injury, we're never going to solve the downstream infections that are happening, because people aren't dying of COVID, they're dying of secondary pneumonias that are bacterial in nature downstream. And some of them are dying of hypoxic organ failure, but they're not dying of a virus per se."
The SARS family of viruses seem to be 'unmasking' a compromised cell environment that is linked directly to the health quality, or rather lack of thereof, of our external environment. Air pollution becoming the most significant as it induces inflammation in lung cells which could increase the susceptibility and severity of the Covid-19 patient symptoms and lead to increased mortality.
As we age, ACE-2 can go up naturally but it has been observed to be especially high in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can also be elevated in persons with renal, cardiovascular, coronary, and cerebrovascular disease when statins, ACE inhibitors, and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) are taken.
Both ACE inhibitors and ARBs are extensively prescribed to treat high blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risk. What has become of concern is that these drugs may up-regulate ACE-2 thus potentially make it easier for the virus to enter the cells. This is a topic of ongoing debate but interestingly, it was observed that hypertension is prevalent in COVID-19 patients.
I would like to invite those interested in learning more to watch an interview with doctor Zach Bush who discusses additional details including the importance of our gut microflora/microbiome in disease prevention. Just click on the image below to start the video.
As to taking statins and COVID-19, the jury is still out on that, but there is an intriguing and mind boggling research showing that high cholesterol may actually be protective against infections, possibly through its beneficial influence on the immune system.
The following quotes were obtained from a letter authored by Antonio Vitiello, Raffaele La Porta, Francesco Ferrara titled "Correlation between the use of statins and COVID-19: what do we know?"
"If statins increase ACE-2, can they be a risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection? Or in severe stages of infection, does the increase in ACE-2 represent an additional protection value? But what are the real effects of statins on ACE-2?"
"In conclusion, to date it is not clear how the clinical results in patients with COVID-19 are affected by the use of statins, alone or in combination with ACEi and ARB. Well-structured clinical studies are necessary."
In any case, one thing is clear: there would be no debate if one did not need to take statins, ARBs or ACE inhibitors in the first place.
Taking control of our health via educated prevention is the best defense against present and future respiratory viruses.
There is no doubt in my mind and heart, that by investing our time in learning about the importance of our gut microflora, listening to the inner wisdom of our own bodies, and reconnecting with nature we can supercharge our immune system - our very own self defense mechanism against any viral or bacterial threat. A healthy microbiome resulting from a clean environment and a balanced lifestyle is the ultimate solution, but since we are not living in an ideal world we need to do the best we can with what we have, and on that note, I am going outside for a walk in the sunshine.
Binding of SARS-CoV-2 and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2: clinical implications
Correlation between the use of statins and COVID-19: what do we know?
COVID-19: hemoglobin, iron, and hypoxia beyond inflammation. A narrative review
Air Pollution and Covid-19: The Role of Particulate Matter in the Spread and Increase of Covid-19's Morbidity and Mortality
Air Pollution and Mortality in the Medicare Population
Lipid levels are inversely associated with infectious and all-cause mortality: international MONDO study results