Anti-Virus, Anti-COVID

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Hi everyone. I just finished listening to the amazing Mary Ruddick talking about how to protect yourself from the more serious impacts of viruses including COVID19. What an amazing person she is. She is my new health idol and I have now listened, almost spellbound, to about 5 of her videos and podcasts.

So about viruses. I have always wondered why they would kill their host as this seems to limit their options to proliferate. But what if they preferred to remain a mild chronic nuisance to the host, but if the host is not very strong, they end up killing them. A living host would help them survive for a long time and to spread to many people. This model seems to fit past epidemics where many people had limited symptoms, but some small numbers were killed.

With this in mind, maybe the best thing you can do to minimize COVID19 risk, is to make your body as inhospitable to a virus as possible, which will mean it will struggle to survive and your risk is hugely reduced. The most important element seems to be your overall metabolic health.

Those who are less metabolically healthy with underlying diseases such as Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, etc are an easier target for a virus. This is because these conditions can drive up the whole body inflammation level, which if left untreated can mask the signals telling the immune system that a virus has arrived. This unfortunately gives the virus more time to proliferate within you, before your body begins to fight back and therefore severely weakens your immune system response.

A way to tell if this applies to you is to measure your waist circumference. Then compare it to your height. If your waist measurement is more than 1/2 your height measurement, then there is a high chance you are metabolically unhealthy.

Can you change this? Surprisingly YES you can. A diet that dramatically reduces carbohydrates, and removes sugars and seed oils can begin to improve your metabolic health in as little as three weeks. A Keto or Paleo diet can help with this as can getting enough vitamin D through daily sunshine exposure. I have read of people on supplementary insulin getting off this treatment within days of such a diet change.

You can also help reduce chronic inflammation by reducing your underlying stress level and therefore your level of cortisol. Perhaps the easiest way is to improve your sleep by getting more sleep prior to midnight, and waking, after at least 8 hours, at a set time every day and getting out into the sunshine. Harder in winter of course.

Another thing that may help is to focus on reducing the food that a virus can use to nourish itself. A high level of the amino acid, arginine in your body can stimulate a virus and accelerate its growth. Foods high in arginine generally come from plants and include beans, wheat grains, nuts, peanuts, chocolate, tofu, garlic, peanut butter and ginseng.

Within your body there is an arginine / lysine balance which you can influence by increasing the level of lysine containing foods. Foods high in lysine mostly come from animal sources and can suppress viruses, so include lots of red meat, pork, eggs, chicken, sardines, lamb, brewers yeast, mung bean sprouts and spirulina. Dairy products can be good source of lysine. If you are using lots of nut flours for baking, then maybe you need to eat these items with lots of dairy such as cheese or cream without sugar to keep the lysine balance high.

Mary has suggested that there is some food that will suppress viruses by blocking the ability for a virus to attach to a cell in your body. She suggests that for this you can eat shiitake mushrooms which are relatively low cost and loaded with beta-glucans, very capable of this blocking. Finally make sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet. This can come from oysters, beef, egg yolks, liver, dairy, lamb, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and shiitake mushrooms. Apparently zinc will attract viruses and transport them out of your body.

For more information about my own health journey, plus advice for living Keto, go to www.takebackyrhealth.com, or buy my book which is linked there.

Kind Regards George Elder

What is Metabolic Health?

In these days of COVID-19 we hear that people with poor metabolic health usually suffer a much worse outcome from getting infected with the virus. In 99% of the deaths in Italy from COVID-19, poor metabolic health was identified. Prateek Lohia, MD, MHA, assistant professor of internal medicine at Wayne State University, said. “Patients with metabolic syndrome had a 40% increase in all-cause mortality, 68% increase in the need for critical care services and a 90% increase in the need for mechanical ventilation compared to the patients without metabolic syndrome.”

But what is poor metabolic health?
If we look at crowd photos from the 1950’s and 1960’s, we are fascinated at the number of slim people. It can often be difficult to spot a person in the crowd who looks fat. The people look positively skinny in comparison with crowd photos taken these days. In most cases, that difference is metabolic syndrome, or poor metabolic health.


When a person has metabolic syndrome, a major indicator is excess fat around their middle. They might be called apple shaped, sometimes referred to in males, as having a beer belly. Often the major indication is a belly that hangs over the belt.
The excess fat accumulated around the center of a body is adipose fat, and it packs all around the body’s critical organs such as the heart, pancreas, stomach, liver etc. It can make bending over to tie shoelaces difficult, and can compress the lungs requiring more effort for breathing. To know if this is a concern for you, just take your waist measurement in the morning and compare it with your height. The waist measurement should be less than half your height measurement.
Not all people who have poor metabolic health are apple shaped. Some can be very thin and we refer to these people as TOFI’s. Thin outside, fat inside. They can still have excess adipose fat around their organs impacting their health.


What has happened to these people?
When their body has too much energy usually from eating excess carbohydrates, it could become toxic in the blood, so it has to go somewhere else. Their body converts this energy into a storable form and deposits it in the central area. This can be stored in the liver which can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which over time, expands the liver putting more bulk into the central area and can eventually lead to cirrhosis or permanent scarring damage to the liver. Sometimes this excess energy is converted into Triglycerides (fat) and stored in the central area, increasing adipose fat around the organs, and pushing out the belly.
A major driver for this, is eating food that has too high energy but a low level of nutrients. It is common to think this is a result of a person just over eating, but it often comes from their body reacting to the type of food they are eating and continuing to send “hungry” messages. So, the wrong food can make you feel hungry, even if you have just eaten. For example, many processed foods and sweetened beverages are full of calories, have almost zero protein, but zero nutrition. If these are dominant in your diet, your body will keep you feeling hungry until you have satisfied your protein or nutrition requirements.


What are the health impacts of this condition?
This central adipose fat releases hormones such as leptin, some cytokines and others, to such an extent that it is now considered a major endocrine organ influencing a number of internal processes. These can help drive up obesity which is now known to increase cancer risk. The high glucose levels driving metabolic syndrome also increase insulin levels ultimately creating insulin resistance and this drives a wide range of diseases. Some examples of these diseases are Type 2 diabetes, PCOS, macular degeneration, kidney disease, liver diseases, heart disease, obesity and many other diseases that are only just being recognized as caused by insulin resistance.
Why is a person with metabolic syndrome more susceptible to a poor COVID-19 outcome? It seems that their immune system is compromised, that nutrition levels are lower, that these people have a delayed response by the immune system. Chronic inflammation seems to be a factor, as it is common in obese people. It seems that COVID-19 can create an excessive inflammatory response called a cytokine storm. This can cause severe lung damage and multi organ failure.


Is there anything that can be done?
Yes, there is and you can get results quite quickly. The really good news is that when you focus on this problem, the body seems to reduce the worst adipose fat level first. In just one week with a significantly reduced dietary glucose level, research has found that liver function can recover by as much as 30%. In just three weeks, the adipose tissue can begin to shrink and health markers can begin to improve.
For many people, the route to improved health involves heavily reducing dietary carbohydrates which lowers insulin, reduces sugars in the blood and switches the body to consume stored fat. When this is done, the first fat store that is targeted is the central area adipose fat. Great news.


A paleo diet can help and even a vegan diet may help. Grains, sugar sweetened drinks, HFCS, starchy vegetables and sugar must be eliminated. This means no corn, rice, potatoes, parsnips, almost no fruit and no flour or corn-based products like pasta, cereals, bread, pretzels, cakes buns etc. So very difficult but not impossible for a vegan to still get all their required nutrition.
A keto or low carbohydrate style diet is my easy way to do this because it mostly eliminates any feeling of hunger. Increase the level of meat, eggs, dairy, and eat lots of green vegetables every day. You are replacing most carbohydrates with additional protein, and fat. If the overall calories are kept just a little under daily requirements, then the body will begin to use stored fat to make up the energy shortfall. Intermittent fasting can also help.


Take a look at this report from Dr. Maryanne Demasi for more detailed medical information: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjebm-2020-111451
For more information, I invite you to download my e-book.George Elder, Author, “Take Back Your Health”, Available on Amazonwww.takebackyrhealth.com