Speaker 1 (00:00:00):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry (00:00:17):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. There’s a lot of confusing information out there right now and plenty of people aren’t sure what they should be doing to protect themselves and their families from the COVID-19 virus. So that’s why in today’s episode of the podcast, I’m going to tackle some virus myths that I have been hearing out there, explaining what you should be doing today to keep you and your family safe and discuss why this virus has completely shut down countries across the world, not just the United States.
Dr. Gundry (00:00:53):
So whether you are safely at home or out working on the front lines of this pandemic, I want to first thank you for doing your part to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. I also want to remind you that we’re actually all in this together and the more we all continue to be on the same page, the easier it’s going to be able to rebound from this stronger than ever whenever that’s going to be. Now, because of that, this may be just the most important episode I’ve ever recorded. And as you know, I’ve already recorded one episode on the Corona virus when it first started. So please don’t miss a second of this one.
Dr. Gundry (00:01:40):
So let’s start with some basic safety questions. Why is social distancing so important? Well, let’s talk about kind of who this virus is, what it is, how it behaves. First of all, Corona viruses are nothing new. The common cold is a Corona virus and there’s nothing new about the common cold. But knowing that the current Corona virus is a cousin of the common cold helps us understand why this particular virus is so mischievous. Now, all of us know that it’s really easy to catch the common cold in fact, ridiculously easy to catch the common cold. That’s because it is so communicable.
Dr. Gundry (00:02:36):
It is easy to catch, it’s easy to spread and you can catch it just by literally being sneezed on, you can catch it by shaking the hand of somebody who wiped their nose, et cetera. And that’s actually not an easy thing to do with influenza, the flu virus. The flu virus compared to the common cold is much more difficult to catch. Now, obviously the flu virus is much meaner and nastier than the cold virus, but the reason we don’t panic during flu season, and the reason we don’t social distance during flu season, even though the flu virus kills anywhere from 20 to 40000 Americans every year, is because it’s actually in the scheme of things fairly hard to catch the flu from personal contact.
Dr. Gundry (00:03:45):
On the other hand, it’s really easy to catch the common cold, and that’s what’s so different. So imagine that the flu was really easy to catch. That’s one of the ways we really have to think about this virus and one of the reasons it’s spreading so rapidly. The other thing about the flu is the flu generally has a very short incubation time. From the time you’re exposed, it can be full blown within 48 hours, so two days you got it. This virus seems to have quite an interesting incubation time of anywhere from a few days to as long as a week, potentially 10 days before you may feel symptoms or even have any symptoms at all.
Dr. Gundry (00:04:40):
And what’s worrisome to epidemiologists and immunologists is you appear to be infected for a considerable part of that time when you may not even feel the virus. Because here’s the deal. The vast majority of people who get this virus are not going to die. Let’s be clear about this. This is not a lethal, if I get it, I am going to die virus. Currently in the United States, just to use one example, we have about, as of this morning, a 1.4%, 1.5% mortality rate from this virus. So 98.5% of people who test positive for the virus have not died from the virus. But obviously 1200 people dying of the virus is not a good thing by anybody’s imagination.
Dr. Gundry (00:05:53):
But what is important is it appears to be striking in terms of mortalities, people 70 years of age and older and people 80 years of age and older, the mortality rate really begins to skyrocket. The other thing that’s clear with this virus is that those of our patients who have preexisting conditions. Now that can be as simple as having high blood pressure, it can be as simple as being a prediabetic or a diabetic. It can be as simple as having heart disease. Those people are at increased risk. And as we go along, I’ll get back to why, in my humble opinion, people with preexisting conditions are at higher risk for a bad outcome if they get the Corona virus.
Dr. Gundry (00:06:49):
So getting back to social distancing. The more we literally can separate ourselves and separate the interpersonal contact that goes on in normal society, hugging, shaking, getting close to each other, the more we eliminate the virus’s ability to transfer from one of us to another, the virus has no chance. Thinking of it this way, a virus is depending on how you want to define a living thing, the smallest living thing. Now, many people define viruses as non-living because a virus has to invade another cell in order to replicate itself.
Dr. Gundry (00:07:40):
It literally takes over the replication machinery of making DNA and RNA, it hijacks the cell for that purpose. And the virus, like any other living thing, has one plan in mind and that is to make more copies of itself. The virus wants not only to infect you and make more viruses, but it really does not want to kill you. Because if it kills you, that’s it, it doesn’t get to go anywhere else. What it really wants to do is, in the case of the coronavirus, make you cough.
Dr. Gundry (00:08:24):
And in coughing, if somebody is lucky enough to be near you will get the virus splattered on them and lo and behold, the virus now gets to replicate again. It’s the perfect scenario. And so that’s one of the reasons why, and a lot of testing we’ll actually ask you to number one, take a deep breath, see if it hurts. And number two, see if you can cough for about 10 seconds and see if that causes you to hurt. Because that’s actually a pretty good idea that this thing is getting down into your lungs where it wants to be so that you can aerosolize it so you can spray it out.
Dr. Gundry (00:09:14):
So the farther people get apart from each other and practice good hand washing and believe it or not, hand washing with soap and water will remove the virus from your skin. And that’s actually all you have to do. If you don’t have soap and water, get some alcohol wipes. So I have a couple in my pocket and my wife won’t let me go anywhere without them there, here are some of them. And wipe down or wipe your hands off with alcohol swab or with any of the hand sanitizers. You can actually make effective hand sanitizers and at home.
Dr. Gundry (00:09:58):
And here’s the shout out to the whiskey makers and the breweries who are actually now using their equipment to make hand sanitizers, and you guys are great and keep up the good work. So social distancing, we have to treat this as a common cold with an attitude. And the more we realize how infective this virus is compared to the flu virus, the more we’ll realize why we’re going through this pain and suffering.
Dr. Gundry (00:10:33):
Yesterday or the day before, and this podcast isn’t dated, but the New York Times during the coronavirus, their online New York Times app is free to use, at least currently. And they have this wonderful little Corona virus graph that you can toggle to show what happens in social distancing the longer you do a social distancing in terms of the severity of the peak of this Corona virus. And if you ever wanted one thing to convince you the benefit of social distancing, it’s to play with that graph.
Dr. Gundry (00:11:16):
And basically it says, okay, what happens if we all go back to work in a week? And you see this huge spike and then of course it finally comes down and then it shows two weeks and so on and it actually shows two months and three months. The longer we wait to re enter our lives as we know it before, the less people die period, end of story. Now obviously there will be a point of economic pain where for whatever reason that the government decides working with an infectious disease expert that point is, but it’s fascinating to watch this happen.
Dr. Gundry (00:12:03):
And let me go to part two of what is worrying some people. And we’re beginning to get an inkling of that in Singapore and also in China that once people now are back to work in China, there is beginning to be a small but perceptible up tick in new cases. And the question is number one, is that because the virus is still contagious among people who are retuning to work and they’re infecting people who have not gotten the virus? That’s possible. And number two, is this virus like the common cold mutating much quicker than normal?
Dr. Gundry (00:12:52):
Now the common called mutates and one of the reasons you don’t get a common cold vaccine is because this virus mutates so rapidly that quite frankly, it’d be silly to make a vaccine for the common cold today when two months or three months from now, it’s a completely different virus that that vaccine won’t work on. The latest data would suggest that this virus will not behave like the common cold in mutating rapidly. And that’s actually good news. And I’m holding my breath on this one because if this virus mutates rapidly like the common cold, then vaccines probably won’t be effective.
Dr. Gundry (00:13:43):
Now, you didn’t hear me say that vaccines won’t be effective. What I’m saying is we don’t know yet how this virus is going to behave longterm in terms of how it mutates. But lately it looks like this is a slowly mutating virus, not a rapidly muting virus, which is actually pretty good news. So what do you do right now? Well, hopefully you’re watching this from your home and you are not watching it from a secret bar location where you and your friends are hiding, laughing that you have evaded the authorities.
Dr. Gundry (00:14:25):
Now, Americans are really good at not obeying government orders. And all you have to do is look at prohibition to see how good Americans are at figuring out a way around a government mandate, particularly when it involves prohibition in alcohol, but also social gatherings around alcohol. And one of the things we probably learned in the last two weeks from Mardi Gras and from spring break is whenever you get the combination of crowds and alcohol, it’s a Petri dish for spreading the Corona virus.
Dr. Gundry (00:15:13):
And one last thing I actually learned by listening to an interview with the author of the book examining the Spanish flu pandemic, the last great pandemic, it turns out it didn’t start in Spain. And it probably started in America or China or Vietnam, but it absolutely didn’t start in Spain. And it propagated in troop transport ships where in fact, 5000 troops were stationed on a ship going to World War II and they were the perfect Petri dish just like we’ve learned cruise ships are for intimate human contact.
Dr. Gundry (00:16:00):
So long story short, please, please, please, you’re not fooling anyone. And yeah, maybe the young are going to be less susceptible to dying from the Corona virus, but the young, because they may not have as many symptoms as older people spread this virus and they’re the actual transmission agent to their parents, to their grandparents, to other people they interact with when they go to the grocery store or when they go to the drugstore. And so please, you may feel like any young person, and I remember those days, that you are invincible.
Dr. Gundry (00:16:49):
You may be invincible, but we now have enough deaths of young individuals, of millennials to convince any of us that even invincible young people can get this virus and can actually die from this virus. But more importantly, you’re going to give it to someone who is far more susceptible to dying from this virus. And that’s why you’re going through all this pain and suffering. And the longer we listen to people who know what they’re doing… I was actually at the NIH with Dr. Fauci years ago, and I can attest that this guy was brilliant then and he’s brilliant now.
Dr. Gundry (00:17:35):
And please, if you listen to anybody, listen to what Dr. Fauci says because he’s been an academician all his life. He has no dog in this fight except to protect every one of us and listen to what he says and he won’t lead you wrong on this one. What’s changed in the past three weeks since my last Corona virus? Well, we’re beginning to realize that we’re all in this together and folks who felt that their city or their town or their state was somehow magically immune to these things happening are finding out the hard way that just like experts predicted, that if you didn’t practice social distancing, it was going to come back and bite you.
Dr. Gundry (00:18:33):
And luckily, governors for the most part are now realizing that no state is immune. The governor of North Dakota, a state that really doesn’t have a very high incidence, has basically announced to the state of North Dakota that, guys it’s coming and we have to do our part or it’s going to come here and hit us just like more populated areas. The virus increases, every day with more testing we’re discovering more people have this virus. Now, a lot of naysayers say, “Well, the reason there’s more cases is that we’re doing more testing. And that’s the only reason that there are more cases.”
Dr. Gundry (00:19:22):
Let’s suppose that’s the reason. The problem is when you plot the United States incidents of Corona virus cases and the incidents of deaths against every country that’s preceded us, where we have a history of that country, whether it’s China, whether it’s Italy, whether it’s Spain, whether it’s France, whether it’s Hong Kong, the United States not only tracks perfectly with all those curves, for the most part, we’re actually rising faster than any of the curves in these other countries, many of whom had draconian laws in place to force people to stay at home. Italy for example.
Dr. Gundry (00:20:17):
And Italians quite frankly, are some of the healthiest people around, and yet the healthy Italians have some of the worst outcomes in the coronavirus pandemic. So let’s say we’re learning about all these cases because we’re testing. I can tell you it is still so impossible to get tested and the people who need tests are not getting tested, that we’re just scratching the surface of probably how many people actually have this virus. But even if we are testing everybody, I can tell you that right now with the data we have, the incidents of rise of Corona virus cases and the incidents of death in the United States are on track with all of these other countries and we’re rapidly surpassing them. So this is not something to be treated like the common cold.
Dr. Gundry (00:21:17):
Let’s talk about one more thing. Everybody says, “Well, the flu kills 20 to 40000 people a year in the United States and the Corona virus has only killed 1200 people in United States. So it’s not even on the same ballpark as the flu. And we do not hold up in our homes during flu season.” That’s true, we don’t. But we’ve made a societal decision about the flu that the flu, quite frankly, having worked in the intensive care units for now almost 50 years of my life, the flu, even as bad as it is, does not overwhelm our intensive care units to the point where we have people on ventilators out in the hallways or out in parking lots, and we’re not looking for ventilators.
Dr. Gundry (00:22:20):
Yes, people die from the flu, but quite frankly, a number of people die from the flu because of heart attacks or strokes or other infections that they develop as a consequence of getting the flu. What’s happening with the Corona virus and all we have to do is look at developed countries that have superb medical systems like Italy where I’ve operated, like France where I’ve operated, like England where have I operated. These countries’ intensive care ability to ventilate, to breathe for these patients are being overwhelmed, very different than what flu season does to us.
Dr. Gundry (00:23:04):
Recently my good friend Tony Robbins sent out an email, which I think is insightful, and credit to you, Tony, for pointing this out. Right now just like Franklin Roosevelt said at the beginning of World War II, at the depression, the only fear we have is fear itself. And the thing that drives most hysteria in this country is fear of this flu. But Tony uses a good example. He said, all of us get in a car and we drive 70 miles an hour and there are lanes separating us from other drivers who are driving 70 miles an hour. And then coming at us the other direction are drivers driving 70 miles an hour and we are separated for the most part from those drivers by two yellow lines.
Dr. Gundry (00:23:58):
And if you think about it, if you actually thought about what you were doing going 70 miles an hour in one direction and another set of drivers coming at you at 70 miles an hour separated by two yellow lines, some of them may be drunk, some of them may be texting, who in their right mind would ever get in a car and drive? Because the fear of that other person not playing by the rules, being distracted, we would never get in a car. Why do we do that? Because we actually have faith that for the most part, that driver is going to stay there. He’s not going to be texting, he’s not going to be drunk or I’m going to be alert enough that I can avoid that person. But it’s only faith that that will happen. And that’s why we do the things we do.
Dr. Gundry (00:24:55):
And we have faith during flu season that for the most part, we will not die from that, and we have faith that at least in our current system, we will not overload our hospitals. But what’s the problem now is the fear factor of overloading all of our hospitals and exposing my coworkers and me to this virus for which we currently have no cure is driving our fear. That’s why this cannot be treated like the plain old flu. And I want you to just think about this. This is the cold virus on steroids. And the more you think about how infective the cold virus is that we don’t even give a thought to, that’s how we have to think about this.
Dr. Gundry (00:25:59):
Older people with preexisting health conditions. You’ve heard me talk now for years that your immune system, a healthy immune system, a strong immune system, actually comes from a healthy gut microbiome and a healthy wall of your gut. With each passing year, we learn that the status of the microbiome, the bugs, the good bugs, the gut buddies that live in your gut tell your immune system that they got things under control, that we are the first line of defense.
Dr. Gundry (00:26:40):
And believe it or not, a healthy microbiome is really good at keeping you safe from viruses and bacteria. They do not want their home invaded. And paper after paper after paper shows the healthier, the more vigorous, the more diverse your microbiome is, the better they will be the first line of defense against you getting any virus, any bacteria. But what’s so important to realize, particularly if any of you read The Longevity Paradox, if you have a leaky gut, and quite frankly in my humble opinion, people with chronic diseases, people with autoimmune diseases by definition have a leaky gut.
Dr. Gundry (00:27:37):
If you have a leaky gut, your immune system’s attention is diverted down to the gut where bacterial particles are getting across, my favorite subject, lectins are getting across and so your immune system, which should normally be on surveillance throughout our body, that immune system’s attention has been diverted down to your gut so they don’t have as much ability to patrol your periphery like your nose, like your mouth, like your lungs. And we can actually measure how the immune system is diverted and sophisticated tests that we use in our clinic to actually look at how the immune system has been, “Look over there,” while something else is happening over here.
Dr. Gundry (00:28:30):
So the long story short, the reason I think that people with chronic diseases are more susceptible to this virus is that their immune system is distracted by a leaky gut. And that’s why when I see people with high blood pressure, I tell them they have a leaky gut. And quite frankly when we heal their leaky gut, their high blood pressure goes away. That’s why when we have people with diabetes and I tell them in measure that they have a leaky gut, when we fix their leaky gut, their diabetes goes away.
Dr. Gundry (00:29:08):
That’s why when we have people with heart disease, when we fix their leaky gut, their blockages resolve. Just like Ed did 20 odd years ago when I got woken up by watching plaque go away. So rather than saying, “Okay, people with chronic diseases, you are at higher risk of this virus and the higher risk of this virus killing you.” It’s because folks, let’s put our attention back to our gut. Let’s give our gut the probiotics that they need that have been killed off by the way we eat, by the antibiotics we take, by glyphosate and roundup in our food and then let’s feed good gut bacteria the food that they need, and those are prebiotics.
Dr. Gundry (00:30:02):
The more we feed good gut bacteria, the better. Now people have talked about mushrooms improve your immune system. Well, mushrooms actually have ingredients that actually feed good gut bacteria. And there are multiple studies showing that some of the prebiotics and mushrooms actually improve immune system health. So it’s not a direct effect of these mushrooms on your immune system’s health. It’s the mushroom feeding good gut bacteria that in turn improve immune system health.
Dr. Gundry (00:30:47):
So by all means, have some mushrooms, think about other ways of getting mushrooms in your system, but it’s not the mushrooms per se that are going to make your immune system better, it’s getting your gut in shape. That leads me to the next thing. Sugar absolutely positively suppresses the function of your white blood cells, the main line of defense against viral infections, against bacterial infections. And if you want to suppress your immune system, then just eat sugary foods.
Dr. Gundry (00:31:24):
Now, what really scares me is that every grocery store I go into, all the bread’s gone, all the crackers are gone, all the pasta’s gone, all the orange juice is gone, all the milk is gone. And folks, this is pure sugar. To really see the amount of sugar on a label of what you’re eating, you should look at total carbohydrates, take away the fiber, that will tell you the total sugar. Do not read the sugar. Let’s suppose we just picked up a package of something in our grocery store and it’s got 300 calories. It has zero fats on the label, it has 35 grams of carbohydrates, it has zero sugars, and it has four grams of protein and it’s a bagel.
Dr. Gundry (00:32:21):
And there were zero sugars on that bagel, there were 35 grams of simple sugar that they didn’t tell you about. And for quick math, if there’s four grams of sugar in one teaspoon of sugar, so quick math, in that bagel are nine teaspoons of sugar. A 10 ounce, 12 ounce soda has about 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar. And what’s so fascinating is that bagel will become more sugar in your bloodstream than the soda, and you certainly wouldn’t be drinking a soda right now.
Dr. Gundry (00:33:06):
It’s the same way with orange juice. Everybody’s drinking orange juice to get their vitamin C up. Unfortunately, a cup of orange juice has about five to six teaspoons of sugar. And so that orange juice that you drank for your vitamin C is actually going to blunt your immune system’s ability to protect you. So please, please, get your vitamin C. As you know, I like you to get vitamin C in a time release formula. Unfortunately, so many people have heard me say that, that it’s nearly impossible to get time-released vitamin C. That’s okay.
Dr. Gundry (00:33:45):
I go to lots of health food stores during this crisis. They still have vitamin C tablets, they still have vitamin C capsules. Take 500 milligrams four times a day. Vitamin C is excreted very rapidly from your bloodstream, two to three hours it’s gone. So keep your vitamin C level up. If you do even 1000 times a day, most people will not get stomach upset or diarrhea, but 500 four times a day will protect you. The same with vitamin D.
Dr. Gundry (00:34:21):
Vitamin D is, in my humble opinion and others, probably the best antiviral substance that you can take. And I recently had Dr. Mark Hyman on my podcast, and Mark has never seen vitamin D toxicity in his career. I’ve been at this longer than Mark, I have never seen vitamin D toxicity in my career. I have measured vitamin C levels in my patients for 20 years now. I have seen vitamin D levels as high as 270 in many of my patients, and they do not have vitamin D toxicity. I personally run my vitamin D levels greater than 120 nanograms per milliliter and have for 18 years to prove I’m not dead. And so far so good.
Dr. Gundry (00:35:14):
So during this season, please consider increasing your vitamin D levels. There’s a few other things that I think are useful, zinc. Now, zinc, you only need 15 to 30 milligrams of zinc a day. I prefer them as lozenges that you suck on, but please don’t overdose on zinc, which needs copper to balance it. Another of my favorite supplements is quercetin, sometimes pronounced quercetin. It’s a substance that’s actually in the white pith of citrus, it’s in apples and onions and it actually may be the substance that prompted the idea that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Dr. Gundry (00:36:00):
Now, don’t go out and eat lots of apples to get quercetin or quercetin because apples have been bred for sugar content now. And the last thing I want you to do is eat an apple so that I get my quercetin to protect me against viruses. Get yourself some quercetin, it’s still available wherever I’ve checked because most people don’t know about yet. The other thing that just came out as a paper yesterday is that astaxanthin, which is a component that’s produced in algae, it’s actually one of the reasons that salmon have a pink color because they eat plankton that has astaxanthin, may be protective against the severe inflammatory response that the COVID-19 virus prompts. It’s a fascinating paper.
Dr. Gundry (00:36:53):
The good news is it won’t hurt you. There have been tons of human toxicity studies that show astaxanthin does no harm. And if this paper is correct, it won’t prevent the Corona virus, but it may prevent the severe inflammatory response to the Corona virus that seems to be prompting the severe lung inflammation that is why everybody’s ending up on the ventilators. So find some astaxanthin if you can find it. If you have family members and many of us have had or have family members who live in assisted living facilities. I know I have a lot of patients who live in assisted living facilities.
Dr. Gundry (00:37:44):
Luckily the staff, at least the ones that I check in with, have been doing superb job on their own of social distancing. The communal dining rooms have been closed. Food is delivered to the door. It’s knocked on the door, it’s left outside of the door. If the family member can’t come to the door, they actually follow all the procedures to deliver it properly to the room. Unfortunately, this is not the time to go hug your family members, hug your mother or hug your father or hug your grandmother or hug your grandfather.
Dr. Gundry (00:38:29):
But thankfully, almost all of us, including grandma and grandpa, have some form of smartphone and have some wonderful way… I have an iPhone so I can FaceTime with my family members anytime I want. Use that, it’s the closest thing to being there that we’ve got right now. Even just phone somebody. It’s amazing how many voices I now hear that I haven’t heard from in years just wanted to hear my voice. And it’s amazing how just hearing a human voice when you have four dogs will actually brighten your day. Nothing wrong with dogs and we’re going to get to that in a second.
Dr. Gundry (00:39:17):
What else can you do? Number one, we all are a society of close social contact. We know that great apes have to have close social contract. We have to groom each other and we do that in many ways. And one of the most frustrating things now is we’ve lost that ability to hug, have contact with another being. That’s why I think it’s so important right now to have a pet, have a dog, have a cat, have a jo-ball for that matter, something that you can hug and interact with.
Dr. Gundry (00:39:59):
And here’s the great news. You wouldn’t believe how many people during this time have gone to a shelter and adopted a pet or at the very least volunteered to foster a pet during this time period. Because hey, you may have a job but you can’t have a pet. And when you go back to work, it’s not a practical thing. But you can foster a pet during this time. And quite frankly, I can tell you from friends who have volunteered to foster pets in the past, more often than not, when the fostering time comes to stop, you are going to adopt that pet because it’s really hard to let them go.
Dr. Gundry (00:40:40):
And I can tell you that a dog or a cat right now is one of the best ways that you can interact with another loving, caring individual. And they are individuals, don’t make no mistake about it and they’ll give you love right back. So get a dog or a cat and foster one if you can. Everybody’s going to win from this. So maybe you think you caught COVID-19, what do you do? Well, first of all, try to find a testing facility. You can call your county health department. Many times they have a recorded message. You can call your hospital. I know our hospital has a recorded message. Sometimes the phones are busy.
Dr. Gundry (00:41:35):
Last resort, call your doctor’s office. Quite frankly, right now, the last thing my office needs to hear from you is I’m coming over and I want to get tested because I think I have the Corona virus. Quite frankly, if you do that to my office or your doctor’s office and you test positive, we will have to shut down the office for two weeks and all of us who may have interacted with where you came in the office will also have to self quarantine. And for my patients’ sake, and obviously for my sake, that’s the last thing we want to do. So you need to go where you’re protected, where the healthcare workers are protected.
Dr. Gundry (00:42:24):
The drive by ones are a great idea if you have those available, but quite frankly, we don’t have enough tests. So if you’re running a fever and even a low grade fever, self isolate. Now the good news is a runny nose probably, and I say this cautiously, probably is not a major symptom of the Corona virus. So if particularly you have allergies and it’s allergy season, the spring season and your nose is running and your eyes are watering as if it is allergy season and you’re not running a temperature, allergies do not cause a fever, then you don’t need to run and have a Corona virus test.
Dr. Gundry (00:43:19):
However, a cough, and particularly a cough that’s painful, doesn’t have to be productive. For instance, if you ever runny nose and you have postnasal drip and you have sinus congestion, that’s one thing that might cause a cough. But again, it’s not going to cause a fever. But if you’re running a fever and you have a cough, that absolutely got a self isolate. The other thing that seems to be apparent with a lot of the cases, particularly in younger people, is a headache. A number of people that are presented to our hospital present with a headache and a fever.
Dr. Gundry (00:44:04):
Now unfortunately, or fortunately, the flu, plain old influenza can present with a headache and a fever. Now that’s okay. You’d kind of like to know whether you have the flu as well. For instance, two months ago, my youngest daughter developed a severe headache and a fever and this was before the Corona virus. She had the H1N1 flu, it’s still around. And she got the appropriate antiviral and she’s fine. But this particular virus also can present with a headache. So just because you have a headache and a fever, it may not be the regular flu, but it may be the Corona virus.
Dr. Gundry (00:44:54):
And again, the reason that’s different is that this particular bug is so much more infective than the common flu. And that’s why we got to be so careful. So if you think you have any of these things, just stay in place, don’t go out. If you begin to experience trouble breathing or if you’re taking deep breaths and it hurts to breathe, or you find that the more you take deep breaths, the harder it is to breathe. These are signs that you got to go to the emergency room because this is where we need to intervene rather than keeping you at home trying to stay away from everybody.
Dr. Gundry (00:45:42):
Misconceptions about the virus. So there are Corona virus researchers who have spent their life’s work researching and mapping and genetically mapping out Corona viruses. And there’s a researcher at Baylor who actually had developed a vaccine for the Corona virus five years ago. But due to budget cuts, that vaccine was never developed. There’s a Corona virus researcher in North Carolina who for five years has been studying the bat Corona virus and has been publishing papers that the next great Corona virus will be a virus from a bat.
Dr. Gundry (00:46:36):
And the sequence of this virus has been done and we know that this is a bat Corona virus. It is not a weaponized SARS virus that was developed in a bio weapons lab, either in China or Hunan province or Iran. And yet I have who I thought were respected authorities in alternative lifestyle who are putting out emails that this is a weaponized virus that was set to kill us all. It is not. The genetics of this virus are well known. You could easily see where a new fragment of information was inserted into a viral genome and you don’t have to do that. There are no insertions.
Dr. Gundry (00:47:42):
This is a natural virus that has lived in bats for a very long time and researchers have said, guess what? It’s going to make the jump just like other animal born viruses have made the jump before. So we don’t have to postulate, and please don’t listen to this stuff on the internet that we’re all going to die because this is a secret weapon sent to destroy us. That’s not the truth. Getting this virus is not a death sentence. Currently in the United States, there is a 1.4% rate of death from this virus. And again, that’s terrible, but if you’re an optimist, that’s a 98.5% chance of not dying from this virus. So it is not a death sentence.
Dr. Gundry (00:48:39):
Now the other one I hear all the time, “Well, you’ll know if you have the Corona virus.” Here’s the problem. So many people have very few, if any symptoms or they think that their symptoms is, “Well, it’s an allergy,” or, “It’s a cold.” And I don’t do anything about the cold and I don’t do anything about allergies and I don’t have to pay attention now. And that’s why before we were social distancing, this thing started to take off because it’s so easy to be not very ill and still give this virus to friends and family and coworkers. And that’s the problem.
Dr. Gundry (00:49:25):
I think I’ve already mentioned this. This is not just like getting the flu. Some of the symptoms are very similar and yeah, the flu is actually a deadly virus as well, a very deadly virus. But it’s far less contagious than this particular virus. Now there’s another myth that we’re hoping may have some validity and that is viruses in general follow a seasonal course. In general, the flu virus is a cold weather virus. It’s also a less sunlight virus and many of us who research vitamin D agree that one of the reasons seasonal viruses happen is that our vitamin D levels invariably fall during the winter than in the summer when our vitamin D levels rise from sun exposure. The viruses are defeated by that higher level of vitamin D.
Dr. Gundry (00:50:28):
It could be that this virus will follow that seasonal pattern. What’s interesting is that right now you may have noticed that the Southern hemisphere, Africa, Australia has been fairly immune to large amounts of this virus. That’s because the Southern hemisphere, it has been actually summer and now they’re entering their fall and we are beginning to see an uptick in Australia and in Africa where previously there had been very little. If that’s the case, then this may in fact be a seasonal virus and that as sunlight and as warm weather comes out, there will be a natural decline in this virus, but that’s no guarantee at all.
Dr. Gundry (00:51:28):
Remember, this is a new virus and anybody who’s caught a summer cold knows that the cold virus isn’t necessarily a seasonal virus. You can get a cold in the summer. Now, the third thing that still worries me, and there’s actually some good news this week, as I mentioned earlier, the cold virus mutates rapidly and that’s why there’s no good vaccine. If this Corona virus follows the pattern of the common cold, it could mutate rapidly. And if that’s the case, everyone who develops immunity to this Corona virus may not be immune to the next Corona virus.
Dr. Gundry (00:52:18):
It looks like, and this is actually fairly new data this week, that so far, because this virus has now been followed for about four months, this virus has not mutated. So that the Corona virus that started being tracked in China in December is still the same Corona virus that is infecting us. It has not mutated. If that’s the case, if this is a slowly mutating virus, then a vaccine can hopefully be developed. But there’s a proviso, remember we have a vaccine against flu. But because that flu virus mutates annually, the vaccine that we often have to this year’s flu virus will not be very effective next year. And we always have to play catch up to figure out what that mutation is and make a vaccine against that.
Dr. Gundry (00:53:22):
So long story short, we may not be able to come out of hiding for Easter even though all of us obviously would love to do that. It may be that there are certain areas of the country that will be able to come out sooner than other areas. There are hopeful signs right now in China that they can come back to work. But the scary thing out of China just in today is that there may now be a new uptick in cases as they’re coming back to work. We just don’t know. We don’t know how this will work out, but for now, treat this as the common cold with an attitude.
Dr. Gundry (00:54:14):
And the more you realize how infective this is, the more you realize that most of us will not get sick, but we’ll do okay. But the more we protect people with preexisting conditions, the elderly, the better we’ll all get through this. And please don’t fall into this trap that, well, the elderly have been around long enough and really who cares about that? Technically, I, now in a few months, will be considered elderly and I hope I’m not disposable yet.
Dr. Gundry (00:55:01):
One of the things that our society has made a mistake is we’ve made our senior citizens quite disposable. Other societies, particularly societies of extreme longevity, one of the things they all share is an extreme respect for their very old and the care they give and afford the very old and the wisdom they acquire from the very old is actually one of the hallmarks that I talk about in The Longevity Paradox. So just because you’re old may not mean your time is up in terms of your worth to society.
Dr. Gundry (00:55:49):
So please take care of your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents, and afford them the respect that, believe in or not, they earned. None of us would be around without what our previous generations have done for us. And just remember, your parents wiped your bottom and if the time comes that you got to wipe your parents bottom, return the favor. So that’s it for The Dr. Gundry Podcast, take care of yourselves well and hug your dog and cat and thank you for everybody for what you do, not only in my hospital, in all of our hospitals.
Dr. Gundry (00:56:34):
Just remember, all of us swore an oath that no matter what else, no matter what our personal safety, we would put our patients before anything else, before our family members, before our spouses. And my wife knows fully well that patients come first. And whenever you can, thank them for what they’re doing, they do it selflessly and they run towards danger. And how many of us can ever say we did that? So thanks everybody for listening. Let’s all be safe out there and thank you for social distancing. It will make a difference.
Dr. Gundry (00:57:20):
This week I’m going to answer two audience questions. Sharon Wasow on YouTube asks, can you catch this virus twice or does our immune system recognize it and block it? Well, I think I mentioned that in the podcast. It should be if you have a good immune system and you develop antibodies which can lock on to the antigens on this virus, you should not be able to catch it twice. What we do worry about and I don’t have the answer and so far I haven’t heard the answer is that if this virus mutates quickly that it will be catchable again.
Dr. Gundry (00:58:04):
Just like, unfortunately, if you had the flu last year, you can catch the flu this year because that flu has mutated. So your immunity to last year’s flu virus doesn’t make you immune to this year’s flu virus and the Corona virus was just too early to tell. But it’s a great question. Charles M on YouTube asks, what about cytokine storms? So this is actually a really good question. So what the heck are cytokine storms and why is this listener asking about it? You hear a lot of this, first of all, from the news media, you also hear it on social media just constantly.
Dr. Gundry (00:58:49):
So one of the things we think is mischievous about this virus is once a foreign antigen, a foreign protein is identified, and if this foreign protein latches on to certain sugar molecules that line our mouth, nose, bronchial tree, then that triggers an immune response that calls white blood cells to the place where this foreign invader is coming. We do that by releasing what are called cytokines. They’re basically text messages that says, “Okay, the foreign outpost just found a bunch of marauding bandits and an RV is advancing and send the troops, send the immune system, send the white blood cells.”
Dr. Gundry (00:59:51):
The white blood cells in turn produce a lot of their damage by using other cytokines to produce more and more inflammation. Think about if you’ve ever had a pimple, that’s pus inside that pimple and that’s bunches of white blood cells, dead white blood cells, which have been actually battling bacteria. Now think that this virus is very capable of attaching to the lining of our bronchial tubes of our lung and insusceptible individuals, a storm of cytokines sends out from all over our lungs saying, “It’s not just one place, it’s in a thousand places,” and send all the troops, as many as you can spare, into the lungs to fight this.
Dr. Gundry (01:00:49):
Now, imagine a thousand pimples appearing on the inside of your lungs simultaneously and imagine how hard it would be to breathe, to oxygenate. And so there’s a principle of maybe this is a cytokine storm that’s making this particular virus so much more problematic in terms of breathing than even the flu virus, which doesn’t do that. That’s why it’s actually interesting that astaxanthin, quercetin seems to suppress this cytokine storm. And again, this is early data.
Dr. Gundry (01:01:37):
But I see people saying, “Well, don’t take vitamin C because that improves your immune system. Don’t take mushrooms because that improves your immune system. Don’t take vitamin D because that improves your immune system.” Here’s the deal. You want to get this virus in its early stages when it is first attaching to your nose, to your mouth, to the upper part of your respiratory track where it’s just one or two of these guys and you can take them out with a strong immune system.
Dr. Gundry (01:02:12):
You don’t want to get to the point where this virus has gotten past your initial defenses and taken over your lungs. By then, quite frankly, it’s too late. So the idea that we should not be taking immune stimulating compounds and vitamins for the fear of a cytokine storm is actually poor advice folks. Let’s nip this early. And if you got a great immune system, if you got a great set of gut buddies, guess what? This will not affect you. And that’s what I’ve been preaching now for 20 years and I hope that’s what you’re listening to do. And take care of yourselves. You don’t want a cytokine storm and you can prevent that from happening by following the rules.
Dr. Gundry (01:03:07):
That’s it for The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Stay well and we’ll see you next week. Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drgundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.