Speaker 1 (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 (00:14):
Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Gundry here and I’ve got some very exciting news. Right now, you can sign up for Dr. Gundry’s newsletter. As a subscriber, you’ll get updates about new episodes of the Dr. Gundry Podcast where we talk about all things health. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out. I’ll also keep you in the loop of all the things I’m up to, from news to events to special appearances. Visit www.drgundry.com to sign up.
Dr. Gundry (00:46):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Well, a virus has been making international headlines over the past few months, and rightfully so. I’m talking about the coronavirus outbreak. Now, those who have fallen ill with a coronavirus suffer coughs, fever, and difficulty breathing. But interestingly enough, in most cases, the infection is so mild that most people don’t even think they have an infection, and that’s actually the good news and the bad news about this virus. Now, in severe cases, there has been organ failure and of course even death. At the time of this recording, the World Health Organization has reported more than 80,000 confirmed cases and nearly 3,000 casualties. On this episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, I’ll dive deep into the science behind this rapidly spreading illness, and share tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones. This is an important and timely issue, so stay tuned and be sure to share this episode with family and friends. You could be saving someone’s life.
Dr. Gundry (01:54):
So, what is the coronavirus? Well, number one, this is not a bacteria like the plague bacteria. This is a virus and it’s exactly like other viruses that you’re well aware of. For instance, influenza, the flu, is also caused by a virus. This particular virus is a cousin of other previous coronaviruses. The coronavirus is described because if you look at it under a electron microscope, it looks like a crown or the corona when there is an eclipse around the sun. So that’s how it gets its name. Now, it’s a cousin, as I mentioned, of both SARS and MERS, and these are coronaviruses as well. They have made spreads and spread across the world at various times. I actually have a colleague in Palm Springs, a physician who got the SARS virus, and got it so bad that she actually developed end-organ pancreatic failure and she became a type one diabetic from contracting the SARS virus. So, these viruses are not to be taken lightly.
Dr. Gundry (03:21):
But this is the, if you will, latest in a strain of viruses that are called the coronavirus. And just like SARS and just like MERS, they are fairly novel to humans even though they have existed actually without a problem in animals. Animals can carry these viruses. Often these viruses are reservoired in animals, and they make a leap from animals to humans where they normally don’t exist, usually from human to animal deep contact, if you will. This virus does appear to have come from bats. Bats do harbor this virus and bats were sold for human consumption. The latest theory from the CDC is that a woman killed a bat, dropped some blood on her finger, later licked her finger without washing, and that’s where the original transmission came from. We’ll look into some of the other interesting theories out there, but this is a virus. It’s a virus like any other virus, like influenza A, influenza B, but it’s just a different method of infection.
Dr. Gundry (04:51):
Are the symptoms different from MERS or SARS? Actually, no, they’re not. Most of these viruses cause a respiratory illness, just like the flu viruses cause a respiratory illness. This virus does appear to be mild in its usual presentation. That is why people have contracted this virus without even knowing they have it, because they really don’t attribute this to a devastating disease. They may feel like they have a cold, they may feel a little achy, they may have a cough or runny nose. Now, in extreme cases, most of the people who are being affected already have other underlying diseases, like chronic lung disease. We’re going to get into the tips on how you can protect yourself in just a minute.
Dr. Gundry (05:50):
How is the coronavirus spread? Well, it does appear to be an airborne pathogen and it is spread with just coughing, or if you have contact with somebody else, such as shaking hands, and they have the infection, they can pass it because the virus is on their hands. Can it dry? It appears the virus can remain intact from two to 10 days on a surface. So someone could have touched a surface and it still could have potentially a coronavirus, if they were carrying it. And again, one of the mischief makers with this virus is a great number of people will never be ill enough to realize they have it. That’s both the good news and the very bad news, because in previous virus outbreaks like SARS and MERS, most people were actually very ill and that was one of the things that enabled CDC and the World Health Organization to contain these viruses before they actually became pandemics. The worry from the World Health Organization and the CDC is so many people appear to be able to get this without symptoms, that that’s one of the biggest problems in stopping its spread.
Dr. Gundry (07:24):
Okay. How do you know you have the coronavirus? Well, quite frankly, that’s the problem. In general, it acts exactly like the flu, but apparently it’s a very mild flu for the vast majority of people. So what should you do if you think you might’ve been exposed? Well, what the CDC is asking, if you even think you’ve been exposed, to self-quarantine. That means you stay at home. You don’t go out shopping, you don’t go to school, you don’t go to friends and family’s houses, and you just stay at home. The incubation of this virus seems to be anywhere from the latency of two days to a week to 10 days. The CDC has recommended that most people, if they fear they’ve been exposed, to self-quarantine for that period of time.
Dr. Gundry (08:26):
What are some of the things you can do to avoid getting the coronavirus? First of all, surgical masks, the one I wear in the operating room, are totally ineffective at filtering virus particles. Completely. They do nothing. Plus, what most people don’t realize is that even the best surgical masks have gaps around the mouth, around the face, around the eyes, and it’s not a perfect seal. Viruses can go through the mask, around the mask, and that’s not going to do anything. There are medical grade masks that do filter virus particles, but here’s the deal. They have to be perfectly fit.
Dr. Gundry (09:18):
And secondly, they are so difficult to breathe through that people who are very susceptible to getting very ill from this virus with, for instance, chronic lung disease, many patients with COPD or emphysema can’t even use these masks because it’s so difficult to breathe through them. Furthermore, there is a suggestion that you can actually contact this virus through any mucous membrane. And guess what? Your eyes are a mucous membrane and the mask doesn’t cover your eyes. That’s why you’ll notice that all the healthcare workers who are tending for people with coronavirus also have goggles that seal the areas around their eyes. And that’s why. Because that’s a mucous membrane that … So when you watch somebody going through an airport or down the street with a mask and no goggles, number one, that’s not going to do you any good, and you’re not going to … you’ll still communicate, if you have the virus, right through that mask.
Dr. Gundry (10:29):
The question is, “Okay, well, if these masks don’t work, why do surgeons wear them?” That’s a great question. It turns out a study was done in England, actually, when I was in England, to show that surgical masks actually have no benefit in preventing infections in surgical wounds. The study was designed having surgeons wear masks for three months and not wear the masks, and looking at surgical wound infections. Interestingly enough, the mask actually promoted more surgical wound infections than not wearing mask. Because what happens when we wear a mask is we talk during surgery and the mask actually abrade our cheeks and chin and it sloughs off bacteria that are on our skin into the wound.
Dr. Gundry (11:17):
So why do we keep wearing them? Because quite frankly, tradition is tradition and things are hard to change. Incidentally, recently a published study showed that making OR personnel wear complete jackets and coats and bouffant caps, rather than traditional surgeons caps, and having short sleeves in the operating room had absolutely no effect on surgical infection rates. So, so many of the things that we think actually ought to make a difference in clinical trials, don’t make a difference or actually make things worse.
Dr. Gundry (11:57):
What are some of the things you can do to avoid getting the coronavirus? Here’s the deal. Your immune system is really good at handling any virus as long as you have a functioning intact microbiome. There are so many very good studies that show a diverse healthy microbiome is the first line of defense for any viral or bacterial attack. Your microbiome is the first line of defense. Now, if you have a leaky gut, and I talked about this extensively, your immune system is so diverted to the attack at your leaky gut that you literally don’t have enough of a robust immune system at the mortars, at your mouth, at your nose, in your lungs, to fight out a normal pathogen that the immune system could attack.
Dr. Gundry (13:07):
Now, here’s the other really scary thing. The best thing you can do to make sure your immune system doesn’t work properly is to eat sugar or things that turn into sugar, because sugar suppresses the immune system better than almost any other thing that you can do. So the last thing you want to do is have a candy bar or even a bowl of cereal or a piece of bread, which quite frankly is pure sugar. So the more you stay away from sweets, cookies, crackers, cereals, candy, during this season, the better off your immune system is going to be.
Dr. Gundry (13:57):
What would you say to someone traveling right now? Well. I recently interviewed Dr. Mark Hyman, my friend on my podcast, and he and I agree, certainly, it’s time to cancel plans to go to China, or South Korea, or Milan, or Northern Italy where these outbreaks are intense. Should you cancel plans to go visit your friends or relatives in the United States? Absolutely not. Well, for instance, I’m planning to be in Paris and the South of France next month. I have no plans to cancel my trip even though the South of France is quite near to Italy.
Dr. Gundry (14:46):
Interestingly enough, there are no known cases in North Africa, in Morocco, even though there are known cases next door in Libya, and there are a number of cases now in Nigeria. Now, will there be more cases? Absolutely. The World Health Organization has now upgraded their threat level to pretty much the highest that it can go because this virus is going to spread. It is going to spread because people are going to get the virus without really knowing they have it, and go home and give it to someone who’s far more likely to get sick from the virus.
Dr. Gundry (15:31):
Are there things you can do on the airplane? Interesting study shows that people on the windows seats are actually the least susceptible to contacting some airborne illness while on an airplane, which makes a lot of sense because the farther you are from traffic going back and forth down the aisle, and the air circulation is actually the poorest on the window seats, so you will get less of the ventilation effect. Now, don’t make a mad dash for the window seats, please. But I frequently try to travel whenever I can, control my seating assignment with a window seat for that reason and that reason only.
Dr. Gundry (16:19):
Is there anything you can do on airplanes and in airports to avoid contracting the virus? First of all, hand washing is still the number one recommendation from the CDC. That and that alone will fix most of the problems. Okay. I do not wipe down trays. I actually don’t let the tray down. If I want to watch a movie or something, I use my own iPad. I don’t use the touchscreen if there’s one on the seat. Carry your own stuff, that’s the easiest way. Plus, why in the world would you put the tray down because you’re certainly not going to eat the airline food. You’re going to bring your own food that you brought from home that you made, so I see absolutely no reason to put a tray down. Even if you have kids, you better be feeding them the food you made rather than exposing them to the crap on airlines.
Dr. Gundry (17:23):
Do you need to carry hand sanitizers? I have absolutely never used these things. I like my skin microbiome. Your skin microbiome is the number one defense system against other bacteria and other viruses. So no, I don’t recommend using hand sanitizer. Simple soap and water is all you need, and that’s all you need to do. How can you support your immune system so you’re less susceptible to the virus? That’s a great question. Number one, you’ve got to make sure you have adequate levels of vitamin D3. The average person should take a bare minimum of 5,000 international units of vitamin D a day.
Dr. Gundry (18:11):
A paper written from the University of California, San Diego a few years ago, after extensive research into humans think that the average American should take 9,600 international units of vitamin D3 a day to have adequate levels of vitamin D. I personally have not seen vitamin D toxicity after 20 years of measuring this in thousands, tens of thousands of patients. Again, I recently talked with Mark Hyman. In his practice, he has yet to see vitamin D toxicity. I personally don’t think it exists, but even if it does 10,000 international units a day is what the University of California, San Diego recommends. You probably have heard me talk before, if I feel I am coming down with a virus. I personally take 150,000 international units of vitamin D3 a day for three days in a row. That’s almost 500,000 international units of vitamin D over a three day period. I’ve been doing that now for about 18 years. I’m not dead yet. So far so good.
Dr. Gundry (19:31):
Now, the second thing you can do, and this actually hearkens back to Linus Pauling’s research. Linus Pauling is the famous vitamin C doctor. He won two Nobel prizes in physics. But he believed, and there’s very excellent evidence that IV vitamin C is one of the most effective combatants against viral illnesses. And quite frankly, in some of my patients with severe pneumonia from the SARS virus, I actually gave them intravenous vitamin C continuously in the ICU. One woman, quite frankly, who I remember very well, very young lady, actually survived when she was on a ventilator, and we literally couldn’t oxygenate her blood with traditional means. I was able to get a waiver from our pharmacy to give her vitamin C IV, and that’s actually what turned her around.
Dr. Gundry (20:39):
Now, you’re not going to get IV vitamin C before you go on a trip, or take it on the airplane. So what I recommend is one of two things. Either take time to release vitamin C capsules. They’re readily available. I like a thousand milligrams twice a day. But if you don’t have that, go to any drugstore, any health food store, get the chewable vitamin C tablet. They come in 500 milligrams. Chew 500 milligrams of vitamin C at least four times a day. Here’s the problem with vitamin C, it’s water-soluble and we excrete the dose literally after two to three hours. Then it’s gone. So you always have to replenish your vitamin C. And again, the easiest way to do this is just carry a bunch of vitamin C tablets with you and chew them every four hours and you’ll be just fine.
Dr. Gundry (21:39):
Third, mushrooms are some of the best ways to activate your immune system to activate killer cells, which are white blood cells that will go after viruses. Consider getting yourself some mushroom capsules. That’s another great way of adding another layer of defense. Lastly, sunlight is one of the best ways to generate vitamin D in your bloodstream, the active form. So whatever you do, get yourself a half an hour exposure to sunlight wherever you are. That’s one of the best tricks. Yeah. So if you think that you’re getting effected with a virus, whether it’s the flu, whether it’s the coronavirus, this is exactly what I would recommend to you.
Dr. Gundry (22:35):
And again, it’s exactly what I do when I feel like I’m coming down with something. If you want to just say, “Wow, that sounds like a lot of vitamin D,” which I used to think was, I used to take 50,000 a day for three days in a row. And interesting enough, I had a few episodes of breakthrough. In other words, it didn’t work. And so I talked with one of my colleagues in Texas, Dr. Osborne, who said, “That’s much too low a dose, no wonder. You should be taking 150,000 a day.” I said, “Wow, that’s a lot.” And he said, “Oh, that’s actually what you need to work.” Vitamin D is actually one of the best antiviral hormones there is. It’s a hormone, it’s not a vitamin. It’s good for what ails you or what might get you.
Dr. Gundry (23:29):
Okay. [@mrsbrimarie 00:23:31]. “Hear the genome of the virus shows it is man altered with a snip of a SARS virus in it. Do you agree?” The SARS virus is a coronavirus and viruses constantly mutate. That’s why, quite frankly, the flu shot is not very effective because it’s made to the previous virus. So sure, you can see on the internet, “Watch out, there’s a piece of the SARS virus in the coronavirus.” These are all coronaviruses, so they all will mutate. Is the coronavirus the latest of a long line of mutating viruses? And the answer is yes. So we don’t have to speculate that some evil genius in China was experimenting with a death bomb and it got loose. This is a natural progression of what viruses do. They mutate.
Dr. Gundry (24:32):
[@jenwinter120 00:24:33]. “It seems that it’s secondary infections like pneumonia that’s making it fatal. After reading your book, I am super wary of antibiotics, but if I contracted coronavirus and then pneumonia, should I take antibiotics?” Well, the answer is the antibiotics that you would get if you had pneumonia as a consequence of the flu or the coronavirus would be intravenous antibiotics not oral antibiotics. There’s not as much evidence that intravenous antibiotics are going to have the same effect on your microbiome as oral antibiotics. Antibiotics are life saving when they are used appropriately, so don’t even think twice about taking antibiotics when they are used appropriately for a bacterial infection. Also, remember, antibiotics have absolutely no effect on viruses. And the vast majority of antibiotics given in this country are given for people who have a cold or the flu and they have absolutely no effect on those viruses.
Dr. Gundry (25:49):
I’ve also heard steroids are used to treat it, what’s the verdict with those in terms of gut health? So yes, oftentimes with severe cases of pneumonia, we will give intravenous steroids, and that’s actually to calm home down the aggressive inflammation that the immune system does. And oftentimes, it’s the inflammation and the, if you will, pus that occurs from these infections that is the reason why we can’t ventilate people’s lungs. So it’s not going to have a longterm effect on gut health.
Dr. Gundry (26:26):
[@a.rayofsunshine 00:26:27]. “Travel advisory for pregnant women, not at all or what precautions?” Same sort of thing. First of all, you obviously don’t want to go to pockets of where this is currently very active, and I’ve already named those places, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go visit friends or family. Take the usual precautions. In my book, The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook, there’s very good evidence that pregnant women should make sure their vitamin D levels are adequate for the fetal development as well. So lots of good reasons to take vitamin D.
Dr. Gundry (27:13):
@newsy. “What about international conferences? Safe to attend? Anything we can do besides wash our hands and avoid 15 minute conversations with people?” Again, it depends on where the conferences are being held. I’ll give you an example. One of the most famous tennis tournaments in the world, the Indian Wells, BNP Paribas Open is scheduled to start in early March in Palm Springs, California. And as of yesterday, they are considering, they haven’t yet, canceling the tennis tournament because players and people from around the world congregate in my lovely community for two weeks. That’s how serious the coronavirus is being taken. But again, if you’re going to a area that has not seen this virus, you don’t have to not cancel your plans. I was scheduled to talk in a conference in Hong Kong in the end of May and that conference has been canceled for Hong Kong. Again, probably for really smart reasons. 15 minute conversations with people. Unless people are spitting actively in your face and you’re that close to them, no, you can talk to people for longer than 15 minutes.
Dr. Gundry (28:38):
[@milograwbs 00:28:41]. “Should we stock up on non-perishables in prep for an outbreak? If so, any suggestions of healthy foods to stock up on?” That’s actually a great question. Here’s the deal. Frozen vegetables have actually all the nutrients of fresh vegetables, so you don’t actually have to stock up on cans, just stock up on frozen vegetables. And make sure you get yourself a lot of olive oil ready to go. I actually have a stock of Eden brand canned beans because many times after a busy day I will just open up a can of Eden beans, throw in mushrooms and Tuscan kale, or any other greens I’ve got laying around in my refrigerator, and cook up a plate of beans, mushrooms and green things. You can live, quite frankly, forever on that dish. All my critics who say avoid beans, you’re not listening to me, treat beans with respect. Once you delectinize them, they are incredibly good for you and your gut microbiome.
Dr. Gundry (30:05):
[@bestsob 00:30:06]. “Do I have to worry about products coming from China?” Well, quite frankly, if you would look at the port of Long Beach, at the port of Los Angeles, at the port of Seattle, you will find that they are empty because the ships are not coming from China right now. It’s already taken care of. The reason the stock market is crashing is because so many products come from China, and that entire product pipeline is now interrupted. That’s why the stock market is crashing, not because the coronavirus is killing everybody. Remember, our regular plain old flu virus has killed far more people than the coronavirus, and probably will continue to do so.
Dr. Gundry (31:05):
@resilientforlife. “Do you think organic herb based tinctures like Dr. Schultz’s product can help fend off the virus?” There’s a lot of interesting suggestions that, for instance, oil of oregano, oregano, basil, ashwagandha are all useful. There’s not a lot of hard, even experimental evidence that these are useful. Again, for my money, vitamin D and time-released vitamin C or chewable vitamin C is so much better for you.
Dr. Gundry (31:41):
[@glyphasoma2x6 00:31:43]. “Would using a high dose of vitamin three and using heat such as a sauna be a way to prevent or kill off coronavirus?” Well, I think I’ve already touched on vitamin D. Heat activates what are called heat shock proteins, which I’ve written about and talked about. So yeah, a sauna is actually a great way to go.
Dr. Gundry (32:06):
[@paulbewer 00:32:08]. “Can you prevent getting the virus by following The Plant Paradox Plan?” Well, one of the things that so many people have told me through the years is that following The Plant Paradox program, they don’t get sick anymore. And again, I think that comes back to the basic underlying principle that number one, your gut microbiome, a healthy gut microbiome, is your best defense against any pathogen that comes your way. And an intact gut wall without a leaky gut keeps your immune system not focused on all those nasty things that are coming through the wall of the gut, and are then better able to defend you.
Dr. Gundry (32:56):
Actually, just yesterday, I saw a patient where we know he has an autoimmune disease, and we did these leaky gut tests and he had absolutely no immunoglobulin A detectable in his bloodstream. Immunoglobulin A is the immunoglobulin that we use to tag pathogens in the lining of our gut and our mucus membranes, and in our nose and in our lungs. What that means is he’s used it all up. He’s been so inundated by a leaky gut. So, if you’ve used up all your immune system because of a leaky gut, you’re a setup for any little pathogen that’s going to come your way.
Dr. Gundry (33:47):
Okay, so that’s it. This is not a virus that we have to panic about because we have seen iterations of this virus before, and I can guarantee you we’re going to see the next one in a few years. There is no vaccine for this virus, the vaccine will not be here, so you can’t sit around in fear, “Oh my gosh, I have to have the vaccine.” You have the ability to make your immune system vigorous, that can fight off just about anything mother nature can throw at you. Nobody used to get these viruses before our immune system was profoundly compromised. So, just kick back. Inhale, exhale. Obviously, don’t head over to Wuhan, China right now. Or Milan, Italy, even though I love you Northern Italian. I’ll be there when all this passes, I guarantee it. But for now, just get your vitamin D levels up. Take your vitamin C. Get your gut microbiome happy by following The Plant Paradox program. And be calm and carry on.
Dr. Gundry (35:08):
Review of the week. After my episode with Dr. Daniel Amen, the author of the book, The End Of Mental Illness, Maria Carrillo on YouTube wrote, “Thank you, Dr. Gundry and Dr. Amen. This was a great interview. You both summarized the bottom line goals we all need to have to love ourselves, take care of our gut, and our brain. You inspire us and the next generation with the tools to be healthier. I will get this book for my daughter who is thinking of studying psychology to continue to make a difference on health and mental illness.” Well, thanks a lot Maria, and thanks for listening. The more we understand about the real reasons our brain isn’t working properly, and the real reasons are that it’s coming from our gut, from the foods we eat, from our microbiome, the better we’re going to take care of this epidemic of anxiety, depression, suicide, anger, that envelop not only us, but really all parts of the world. And so, thanks for doing that. We’ll keep working at this. That’s it for this week. Thanks.
Dr. Gundry (36:32):
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.