COVID RISK: WHAT YOU SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT DO
It is August and I did not think I would still be focusing on COVID for my monthly blog, especially since what we know about viruses is that they seem to be less of an issue during the summer months. However, the virus does not seem to be going away. The good news is that we have learned a lot about the people at the highest risk of contracting the virus and also the profile of patients that do not do well once infected. To the contrary, we have also learned that many people who tested positive have little or no symptoms or illness. While most people completely recover, there are some that have long term health problems associated with the COVID infection. These include blood clotting, stroke, embolism, inflammation and damage to the heart, lung damage and even neurological symptoms. All the evidence and data on COVID reveal that people with insufficient nitric oxide production are the ones most at risk of infection. Once infected, the virus causes endothelitis which is an inflammation of the blood vessels that further suppresses nitric oxide production and causes all the long term health problems. The preponderance of evidence reveals that lack of nitric oxide explains everything we know about the risk of infection and the rapid progression of disease which leads to hospitalization, ventilation and death in certain patients.
We’ve known for many months that people with cancer, kidney disease, lung disease (emphysema, COPD, etc), weakened immune system from steroid use (transplant patients), obesity, heart disease, sickle cell disease and type 2 diabetes are at a much greater risk of severe illness from COVID. Not coincidently, all of the above conditions are caused by the body’s inability to produce sufficient nitric oxide in order to maintain normal function of the body. So an important question is what causes endothelial dysfunction which causes most if not all chronic disease and also puts your body at risk for COVID infection and increased risk of death from COVID? Besides a poor diet, being overweight and lack of exercise, we realize many of our daily habits and medications disrupt nitric oxide production.
A recently published study in over 53,000 patients shows that the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (antacids) increased risk of COVID infection. PPIs are among the most commonly used medications in the U.S. and their use has been linked to bone fractures, kidney disease and increased risk of both bacterial and viral infections. We’ve known for many years now that PPIs completely inhibit nitric oxide production and can explain the unwanted side effects of these drugs. Nitric oxide produced in the acid stomach is our first line of defense for any bacteria or viruses that enter through our mouth or from foods. Without stomach acid, we cannot make nitric oxide. Without nitric oxide, bacteria and viruses can become infectious and make us sick. PPIs also increase the production of a molecule called asymmetric dimethyl L-arginine (ADMA). ADMA inhibits the production of nitric oxide in the endothelial cells in every organ in the body causing endothelial dysfunction, reduced blood flow to that organ and organ disease and failure. So it is no wonder to me how the use of PPIs and other antacids increase our risk of getting sick from COVID.
There are many clinically proven strategies for protecting yourself from COVID. Below are a list of things you must STOP doing that compromise your ability to produce nitric oxide and make you more susceptible to COVID infection.
- Stop using mouthwash. Mouthwash kills the good nitric oxide generating bacteria in your mouth. They provide a source of nitric oxide from inorganic nitrate found in your vegetables. Without the good bacteria, you get no nitric oxide benefit from eating vegetables.
- Stop using fluoride toothpastes. Fluoride is an antiseptic that kills the bad and good bacteria in your mouth. Fluoride is also a neurotoxin and disrupts normal thyroid function.
- Stop using antacids. As recently reported, PPIs increase your chance of COVID infection and since PPIs also shut down nitric oxide production, once you get COVID, the disease will rapidly progress.
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk of all chronic disease and shuts down nitric oxide production. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it causes your blood vessels to constrict reducing blood flow to every cell and tissue in the body.
Once you eliminate practices that disrupt nitric oxide production, you can begin to employ clinically proven strategies to enhance your nitric oxide production.
- Get moderate physical exercise. Exercise stimulates nitric oxide production and helps you lose weight.
- Eat a clean and balanced diet with lots of green leafy vegetables enriched in nitrate.
- Increase you body temperature. This is easy in Texas during the summer months. I also recommend an infrared sauna. Viruses cannot survive high temperatures. Using a sauna daily can increase your body temperature and kill any virus that may have taken up residence in your airways or body.
- Take a clinically proven nitric oxide supplement. If your body can’t produce nitric oxide, then you need a product that does it for you.
I respect everyone’s right and liberties to do what they think is best for them. My job is to provide you with the science and facts so that each of you can make an educated and informed decision. Historically, pandemics have been adequately managed by quarantining the sick, providing face cover for those at risk but allowing the healthy and strong to pursue life as normal to allow for herd immunity to eradicate the virus.
Masks can be effective in crowded environments, but wearing a mask throughout the day can cause some undue serious risks. Wearing a mask causes increased breathing of exhaled carbon dioxide. Your exhaled breath only contains 15% oxygen instead of 21%. Breathing in less oxygen and more carbon dioxide will cause your body to become acidic, hypoxic and cause systemic problems that actually increase your risk of infection and chronic disease.
There is a growing number of pulmonary fungal infections during the pandemic that may be explained by chronic mask wearing and breathing in our own air causing acidosis and hypoxia, both conditions that favor fungal growth and putting your body at risk for COVID infection.
For me everything is a risk benefit analysis. I’m not a fan of wearing masks because I rely on my immune system to keep me safe. For me the risks of wearing a mask far outweigh the benefits it may provide me. Exposure to the outside world allows my body to develop antibodies to invading pathogens that protect me from getting sick. However, I am healthy. This is how our bodies and immune system is designed to work. We do not and cannot live in a bubble.
This is a crazy time in the history of our world. We must be diligent, protect the vulnerable but also maintain our liberties and practice the best, scientifically proven methods for health and wellness. It is clear to me, someone who has been in science and medicine for over 20 years, focusing on getting yourself healthy and improving your body’s ability to produce nitric oxide is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family.