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. Steven Gundry (00:17):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. If you’re tuning in and you have video, you’ll notice I’m socially distancing properly with my bandana, but I’m going to take it off. So as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the globe, I want to remind you, and that’s why we’re taping, my team and I are here for you. And it’s our goal to give you the information and resources you need to stay as healthy as possible. Now that said, I’ve been getting literally hundreds of inquiries from listeners like yourself wanting to know how they can protect themselves and their loved ones during these uncertain times. So today I’m going to answer listener questions again on how to support your immune system. I’ve been seeing a lot of disinformation out there, so this is definitely going to be an episode you’re going to want to listen to. Okay. So let’s get started.
Dr. Steven Gundry (01:16):
Question number one. Can taking elderberry supplement support your immune health? Are the claims that elderberry doesn’t mix well with the COVID-19 true? So we touched on this earlier but it keeps coming up and there is just so much disinformation out there on particularly the internet and from other so called health experts about these, for instance, immune-supporting botanicals like elderberry, even like vitamin C which we’ll get into and even vitamin D on potentiating what’s called the cytokine storm. Now, I have seen health professionals say, “This is the last thing you want to take at this time to boost your immune system because if your immune system is boosted and you get the coronavirus, then it will cause havoc in your lung because you will have an aggressive immune system and that will be the thing that kills you.” Quite frankly, nothing could be further from the truth.
Dr. Steven Gundry (02:30):
If you have a well-honed immune system fortified, then the coronavirus or any other virus for matter is not going to get past your initial lines of defenses, which is your mouth, your nose, and your upper respiratory track, where the real battle is going to be won or lost. Remember, the coronavirus is a cousin of the common cold, that is a upper respiratory virus and that’s where it wants to land and that’s where the initial fight is waged. So the better your oral health, the better your immune health in general, and the more fortified you are with antiviral compounds that support your immune system, the better chance you’re going to have against this virus getting a foothold. And that’s why you want to use these things.
Dr. Steven Gundry (03:43):
Second question, how much vitamin C should I be taking and how often can you take elevated amounts? Great question. A physician this week who runs a website and sells supplements, described their experience with taking three grams of vitamin C to ward off the virus. And surprise, surprise, they got impressive diarrhea, which is the side effect of high dose vitamin C. And number one, I’m surprised that that physician would have done that. But here’s the deal with vitamin C. first of all, the research in vitamin C was primarily done by the legendary double Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, in the 1950s and even the 1960s. And what he researched… And you can actually find his published data with a pretty extensive search of Google. What he found was that vitamin C is actually made from glucose, from sugar. And there’s actually five enzymatic steps to manufacture vitamin C from glucose. You probably know that you and I and great apes and guinea pigs do not have the final enzymatic step to manufacture vitamin C from glucose.
Dr. Steven Gundry (05:15):
So we’re one of the few animals that cannot manufacture our own vitamin C. That means we have to acquire it from food or from supplements. Now, because vitamin C is made from glucose, glucose actually competes with vitamin C for entry into white blood cells. And what Linus Pauling showed was normally, white blood cells are immune system, concentrates vitamin C 50 times higher than in serum in our blood. And it’s that concentrated vitamin C in white blood cells that actually is used as their killing agent when they engulf bacteria or viruses. And what he showed was that as serum glucose went higher then glucose would compete for that concentration in white blood cells and actually keep vitamin C concentration low. And so it was actually Linus Pauling who first identified why sugar suppresses the immune system by competing for concentration of vitamin C in white blood cells.
Dr. Steven Gundry (06:43):
And he’s a pretty smart guy. Now, what he didn’t know, and the reason that experiments with taking vitamin C, even high dose vitamin C have been very mixed in fighting the common cold, is that vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. And we excrete it on maximum two to three hours after a dose. So we can actually never get a high enough dose of vitamin C in our bloodstream to, for instance, have anti-cancer properties and we really can’t get a high enough dose to have sustained antiviral properties. Now you’ve probably seen, and this is true, that people now all over the world, including China and the United States are using intravenous vitamin C in fairly high doses, like 1500 milligrams every four to six hours. And I personally, I’ve talked about use that in the ICU in a young woman with the H1N1 flu virus who was literally dying before our eyes and we got dispensation to use IV vitamin C during that crisis and thankfully she recovered and now has a lovely child.
Dr. Steven Gundry (08:05):
So IV vitamin C is extremely useful. That being said, I want vitamin C in us but what you have to do is you either have to find time release vitamin C and take it every 12 hours. And I think generally as a health measure, we should do that, and maybe I’ll have a podcast on that sometime. But barring that, because time release vitamin C is almost impossible to find right now, go to any health food store, go to your drug store and buy vitamin C. And it turns out it doesn’t have to be some special magical kind of vitamin C. It doesn’t have to be natural vitamin C, it can be ascorbic acid. It doesn’t have to be buffered. It will all work and it will all be absorbed, but you have to take it on a timed fashion.
Dr. Steven Gundry (08:53):
So four times a day is a pretty reasonable achievable thing. Once when you get up, around noon time, around dinner time and before you go to bed. That’ll give you actually quite a sustained level of vitamin C. Again, it won’t be high enough to be lethal to viruses by itself, but you’ll have enough that your white blood cells can concentrate it as long as you’re not constantly eating the foods that turn into sugar, that will boost your serum glucose level. And that’s the second thing. You can do all of these recommendations, but if you’re sitting around eating breads and candy and pasta and other things and drinking orange juice to get your vitamin C level, you’re actually stopping vitamin C from being concentrated in your white blood cells.
Dr. Steven Gundry (09:49):
Now, another thing that I should mention, someone on my Instagram or actually on another Instagram said that I was saying that sugar feeds viruses. Viruses do not eat sugar. So why in the world would I ever say that sugar feeds viruses? It doesn’t. Viruses are not interested in sugar. They’re interested in infecting yourselves and taking over their machinery to reproduce copies of themselves. That’s what the virus is interested in.
Dr. Steven Gundry (10:22):
What Linus Pauling showed was that sugar prevents vitamin C from getting into white blood cells and that suppresses their function. So totally different. Sugar does not feed viruses. So I don’t know where that myth came from, but it’s out there. And what about my toddler? How much vitamin C and D should I give? First of all, there are toddler gummies of vitamin C and vitamin D, and there’s also elderberry for toddlers in the form of gummies. And quite honestly, you want to just get a little higher level than what’s in a multivitamin. But if worse comes to worst, take your multivitamin, your kid’s chewy, and give it to them several times a day.
Dr. Steven Gundry (11:14):
Now, I said this before, but I’ll say it again. I have yet to see vitamin D toxicity. Could it exist? I suppose so, but I’ve been measuring people’s levels of vitamin D now for 20 years and I’ve seen people with vitamin D levels of 270 who have been that way for many, many years with no evidence of vitamin D toxicity. Those of you who watched my podcast with Dr. Mark Hyman recently, in his practice he’s never seen vitamin D toxicity, and interestingly, the Cleveland Clinic Lab, which is now owned by Quest, their normal upper limit of vitamin D is 150 nanograms per milliliter, which is in most people’s minds, toxic levels. But again, I’ve yet to see it and I have a number of my patients who run their vitamin D levels greater than 150.
Dr. Steven Gundry (12:11):
Next question. Colloidal silver is sold out everywhere. What exactly is colloidal silver and should I be taking it for my immune health? That’s a great question and I’ll tell you some experiments we did back at Loma Linda University when I was a chairman of heart surgery. We were fascinated with the antibacterial properties of silver and we did a series of animal experiments looking at heart valves that were impregnated with silver, to prevent a bacterial infection in those heart valves which quite frankly can be devastating and usually lethal to patients who have artificial heart valves. And we’re actually very pleased to see you in short term experiments that colloidal silver in the sewing ring of these heart valves prevented bacterial infection.
Dr. Steven Gundry (13:12):
And we’re so excited that a company that I won’t mention actually began producing a heart valve that had silver attached to the sewing ring. And it became very popular and unfortunately it was withdrawn from the market after several years because what had happened was, yes the valves didn’t get infected but the silver had prevented the normal in growth of aligning of normal cells that would normally cover that sewing ring and make it impervious to infection. So here’s my take on that. Number one. Silver is antibacterial but it’s not necessarily antiviral but number two. At least in our experience with silver in a heart valve sewing ring is that it prevented normal tissue growth. And quite frankly we want right now normal tissue growth lining our mouth, lining our nose, lining our wind pipe. And I don’t want any compound including silver to potentially interfere with that.
Dr. Steven Gundry (14:35):
Plus I need to remind you that if you look up a blue man, and I’m not talking about blue man group. Blue man syndrome can occur from taking high doses of colloidal silver. And believe me, people in this day and age think if some is good, more is better. And the last thing we need to see walking around the streets, hopefully they won’t be walking on the streets, is blue man groups everywhere, but love blue man group that’s a totally different story. How about Moringa? What does Moringa do for immune function? Well Moringa is a tree and its leaves are priced for multiple properties. Moringa actually has very concentrated amounts of vitamin C. In fact, it’s far more vitamin C ounce rounds than for instance oranges. So it’s a great source of vitamin C. But there is one animal study and again it was done in mice that showed that Moringa actually really enhanced the killing power of our immune cells and actually increased the number of immune cells, particularly lymphocytes. Actually it increased the sizes of the spleen in these mice.
Dr. Steven Gundry (15:54):
So again, that’s animal study. Does it have replication in humans? Who knows? But do I take Moringa? Yes I do. So it’s not going to hurt you. And at least from an animal standpoint, it does boost the immune system. And again, anything we can do right now to improve the function of our immune system better. Next question. Should you take supplements on an empty stomach? Are certain immune boosting supplements more effective if they are taken with or without food? That’s actually a great question. First of all, vitamin D. Many people have heard that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and you have to take it with fat. Dr. Holick from Boston University, probably the greatest researcher in vitamin C and D showed that vitamin D can be absorbed without any fat, and it’s equally absorbed in a non-fat environment as with fat.
Dr. Steven Gundry (17:00):
So that’s a myth that you have to take a fat soluble vitamin with fat to make it absorbed. Having said that, B vitamins in general in my practice seem to upset women’s stomachs more than men when taken on an empty stomach. So in my practice, I do recommend that women take B vitamins with food. Now, my wife and I are an interesting experiment. I take my supplements on an empty stomach. My wife takes her supplements with food. If anything, she has better health than mine. If at worst we’re equal, we’re always competing, so as far as I can tell you, there’s really no evidence that certain supplements should be taken with or without food except if you’re a female, more than likely you want to take B vitamins if you take them with food rather than on an empty stomach.
Dr. Steven Gundry (17:59):
Ah, here’s a question. Some of you saw that I personally, when I feel like something is brewing, if I get a scratchy throat, I take 150,000 international units of vitamin D three a day and I take about 4,000 milligrams of vitamin Cs spread throughout the day. And am doing that for a number of years. I’m not telling any of you to do that. I’m telling you what I do. And I have many of my patients who have done that, but I am no way telling you to do exactly what I do. Having said that, have I found that I need to repeat it constantly? No, quite frankly because every time I’ve done it, whatever it was that was starting went away. Let me tell you what I’ve done the last few weeks because I continue to see patients and I obviously want to protect them, I want to protect myself.
Dr. Steven Gundry (19:12):
So at the beginning of the week, and I’ve done this now, this will be my third week starting. I take 100,000 units on Sunday. I take 50,000 units of vitamin D three on Monday. I take 25,000 units on Tuesday and then I drop to 10,000 units the rest of the week. Now I’ve done that… This will be my third week in a row. Clearly I’m not dead. Do I have any issues? No, I don’t. Will I do that for the rest of my life? No, I won’t. I will get back to my baseline of about 5,000 to 10,000 a day. But so far I know using what I know about the effectiveness of vitamin D to do extra protection for myself. What are the amounts of zinc that I should be taking? Is the next question. So zinc actually is an effective antiviral. There are more and more studies showing that zinc is useful against viruses.
Dr. Steven Gundry (20:15):
And the problem with sink is it can be overdone. Zinc has to be balanced with copper. But in general, if you’re sucking on a zinc lozenge of about 15 to 30 milligrams, you can probably do that several times a day. But by no means should that be continued over a long period of time because you will upset the zinc copper balance. There are a few supplements that combined zinc and copper in the proper ratio. But in general take about 30 milligrams of zinc. There are actually a number of products that combine elderberry with vitamin C with zinc. I happened to take one of those products and the milligram of zinc is 15 milligrams in that product and I take it twice a day, so I get the 30 milligrams of zinc. The tablets that you suck may be more useful because of the zinc you really want concentrated in the oral cavity on the back of your tongue and in the back of your nasal cavities and the tablets are very useful for them.
Dr. Steven Gundry (21:27):
What about ingesting oregano oil or any other essential oils for immune health? There are actually a number of essential oils that have at least folklore associated with their benefits for immune health. And I don’t think we should discount folklore. Many of these essential oils have a history of well over 2000 years of use. And we have to remember that the spice trade was so popular and people were so willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for spices. Not to pep up the flavor of their food, but because of the medicinal qualities of those spices. And we forget that 50% of sailors on ocean voyages during the spice trade, died from complications of the ocean voyage. And those people didn’t risk their life to improve the taste of their food with black pepper or cinnamon. They risked their lives because they were dealing in medicines. They were the original pharmaceutical industry. So let’s not poopoo traditional sources of enhancing immune health.
Dr. Steven Gundry (22:58):
I heard on your podcast about H2, hydrogen water. Is this good for immune health? Well, I’m going to have a whole lot more to say about the benefit of hydrogen gas and hydrogen water. In my new book, The Energy Paradox, which will be out in December of this year. But I’ll give you a little teaser. Hydrogen gas is a very important signaling molecule, to not only our immune system but also to our brain and our mitochondria, the little energy producing organelles in all of ourselves. And we actually should be hydrogen gas in our gut, in our microbiome, and hydrogen gas is easily diffusible through the wall of our gut into our bloodstream. And fascinating research has shown recently that people with Parkinson’s disease have a gut microbiome that does not make hydrogen gas, whereas compared to people without Parkinson’s disease, they have a gut microbiome that makes hydrogen gas.
Dr. Steven Gundry (24:22):
So all I can tell you is, I take hydrogen water every day. I do anyhow, but I’ve actually boosted my hydrogen water consumption during this time period. Great question. Are there any foods that are especially beneficial for immune function? So let me give you my thoughts on this whole subject. I’ve mentioned this before. One of the reasons I think and others think that people with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to this virus and particularly are more susceptible from dying from this virus, is that their pre-existing condition tells me that they have a leaky gut and they have a dysbiotic microbiome that is a microbiome that’s completely out of work, that they don’t have a normal ecology dense tropical rain forest in their gut. Why do I claim that? Because my practice takes people with high blood pressure, with diabetes, with coronary artery disease, with arthritis, and measures not only their gut microbiome, but their leaky gut.
Dr. Steven Gundry (25:48):
And every one of these individuals has a leaky gut. And the exciting thing is through 20 years of research, we’ve shown that by making their gut a diverse microbiome, they will seal their gut and lo and behold, their high blood pressure will go away, their diabetes will go away, their coronary artery disease will stabilize or go away. And that’s one of the reasons that I think we should put our attention now on our gut to avoid these complications of the coronavirus. Now, here’s the exciting thing I talked about in The Plant Paradox. In three days of eating, number one, avoiding lectins, of eating soluble fiber rich foods, of eating resistant starches, you will change your bad gang member microbiome to a healthy microbiome. This is published literature, in three days. So it’s not that it’s going to take the next 10 years of eating to change things around.
Dr. Steven Gundry (27:02):
You can do this right now, so what do you do? Number one, eat mushrooms. The more mushrooms you eat, the better. Eat resistant starches like tubers. Get out the sweet potatoes, get out the turnips, get up the parsnips, get out the Jerusalem artichokes, eat cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables actually tell receptors in your gut wall called the AhR receptors, “The things are good,” and they tell the immune system to not pay attention down to the gut, but to look elsewhere for other mischief makers. Cabbages are great and quite honestly, the store shelves are full of the things that you should be eating. There’s plenty of mushrooms, there’s plenty of cabbages, there’s plenty of broccoli and cauliflower, there’s plenty of sweet potatoes, there’s plenty of rutabagas. Those are the things that you should buy. They’re plentiful and eat those and you’ll be shocked how fast things will turn around.
Dr. Steven Gundry (28:10):
What we know now is you’ve heard about processed foods and ultra processed foods being so bad for your health. The reason they’re so bad for your health is we completely forgot that traditionally, the foods that we ate were actually feeding the gut microbiome, the things they needed to thrive. And in turn, they kept our immune system and us healthy. When we use ultra processed foods, what’s happened is, those foods have been stripped of all the parts of food that fed the microbiome, instead, they are actually pure sugar even though that does not appear on the label. For instance, when you pick up a bagel, you’ll see a lot of carbohydrates, but you probably will see zero sugar, which is actually not true at all. There’s 33 grams of sugar and in traditional bagel, which is about six, seven teaspoons of sugar when you eat that one bagel. And there’s nothing in that bagel that’s going to feed the guys who really need it. And that’s the gut microbiome.
Dr. Steven Gundry (29:32):
And so eat for them and they in turn will take care of you. And that’s the message right now. What food should I avoid? First of all, all the ultra processed foods, all the simple foods that you’re stocking up on, all the breads, all the pastas, all the tomato sauces. Stay away from those right now, these are not health foods. Stay away from milk. Stay away from orange juice. These are just sugar delivery devices plus milk is loaded, if it comes from American cows, with the lectin, casein A1, stay away from lectin containing foods. All the whole grains. If you’re going to have beans, they’re great for your microbiome but please, please, please, pressure cook them to destroy the lectins.
Dr. Steven Gundry (30:27):
There’s a company that I have no relationship with, Eden Brand Beans, that pressure cooks their beans and they have a BPA-free cans, so that’s a shout out to them. They’re on your syrup shelves right now. That’s enough for today. I hope you find this useful. This is not a death sentence. You are not trapped for eternity and you can take advantage of this time. You’re at home, this is the time to focus on your health, it’s the time to focus on your family’s health and I got news for you. When you do go to the grocery store, all the foods that I’m talking about are there by the bushel full. Get them. There’s plenty of YouTube that I make on how to cook this stuff. There’s plenty of other areas to find this. Let’s take control of our health rather than waiting in fear.
Dr. Steven Gundry (31:31):
Let’s advance forward with this and I’m here to help you and that’s why we’re doing this. And now it’s time for a review of the week. After my recent episode with Dr. Mark Hyman, Chang Weing on YouTube wrote, “Thank you for bringing awareness to these issues. Regenerative agriculture sounds like a great start. I didn’t know food compose would make such a big difference. I definitely will try to do better from now on.”
Dr. Steven Gundry (31:59):
Well, what Dr. Hyman and I were talking about is that we need to get back to a system where we actually fertilize the land by recycling the food we ate, the food our animals ate, the manure our animals produced back into the land. And we used to make fields go fallow for a season where we would actually plant, for instance, alfalfa which would actually put nitrogen back into the soil. And there’s actually a beautiful study that was done by the federal government published a few years ago that showed that traditional conventional agriculture using pesticides, herbicides, petroleum based fertilizers, could not compete with yields using regenerative agriculture that was organic and biodynamic, and the farm workers actually made more money, doing it that way than with conventional agriculture and using such things as Roundup Ready foods.
Dr. Steven Gundry (33:13):
These things were so expensive that the farmers were going broke, paying for the seeds that Roundup could be used on. And as any farmer would tell you, and I grew up in Nebraska, farmers have to use more and more and more Roundup every year because now weeds produce smart little fallows, have figured out ways around Roundup. So they’re becoming Roundup-resistant in and out of themselves. So the more we get back to what we did 100 years ago, the more we’re going to find that we take care of ourselves, our animals, our families, and it’s good for everybody. So I hope you’ll tune into that podcast. It was a good one. Thanks for sending that in. That’s it for a day. Take care, everybody, protect yourselves. I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.
Dr. Steven Gundry (34:15):
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.