I have some good news and some bad news. Let’s start with the bad news. Despite all the suppression, social distancing, masks, handwashing, national lockdowns, hand sanitizer, and sequestering, there is approximately an 80-90% chance that you will get this virus sometime in the next year. The only thing that could interrupt this inevitability is an effective vaccine, but creating a vaccine for this type of quickly evolving virus will be extremely challenging. In other words, don’t count on it. This virus is extremely contagious, and even if it can be suppressed for some time, once people leave their basements and try to resume a normal life, those without antibodies to the virus by surviving it will be at significant risk for catching the virus. People will likely then panic and return to their basements to repeat the cycle. Logic seems to be in short supply.
A week ago, nobody should wear masks, but now everyone should wear them everywhere. The Surgeon General of the United States is on TV, stating that he leaves any groceries he buys on the table untouched for a minimum of two hours, and then he wipes then down with an antiseptic. You can listen to all these panicking experts, but you will still likely get COVID-19, so deal with it.
The key is when you get COVID-19, you want survive and not die. You will then have antibodies that will likely protect you from re-infection. We now know a great deal about the pathology that kills people who have died from COVID-19. The virus itself doesn’t kill you, but rather you are done in by a supercharged immune reaction that releases a cytokine storm that destroys your lungs. You obviously can’t survive without lungs, so the key is to back up and deal with the real killer here—your immune system.
We have learned a few things about the people who suffer from this deadly immune response. Many of them have co-morbid conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, COPD, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. That’s fine and dandy, but how the heck can you reverse these diseases in time to help you survive a COVID-19 infection?
Neuroscience has given us some reason for optimism. Let me explain. We now know that many people who have multiple chronic conditions, in reality, have only one disease, a brain condition called Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. It’s a form of food-induced brain dysfunction triggered by long-term exposure to highly processed food and is an expansion of the Affective Spectrum Disorder (ASD) concept proposed by Hudson and Pope in 2003. They proposed that 14 common medical and brain disorders were actually part of the same disease. Their idea was so radical that it never made it out of academic medicine. I noticed this same pattern in thousands of patients that I have treated over 40 years in front line clinical practice. Because I also discovered the primary trigger—highly processed food, I decided to give it a new name.
The good news is that treating a single disease that you understand is eminently more achievable than trying to manage a dozen or more disorders at the same time. The details of diagnosing and treating CARB syndrome are beyond the scope of this article, but I provide all the details in my book “Brain Drain.”
Now let’s get to my list of the dozen safe and straightforward things you can do to increase your chances of surviving a COVID-19 infection. These are my dozen COVID killers, so pay attention!
- If you have any common chronic diseases, especially metabolic problems like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes, read “Brain Drain.” It gives you the tools to diagnose and treat your CARB syndrome. Because this concept is so new, very few healthcare providers have even heard of it. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to die due to a lack of high-quality information. Follow the instructions in this book as if it were a cookbook, and your chances of surviving a COVID-19 will tremendously increase.
- Take N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) 600 mg twice daily. NAC is an antioxidant that is used for Tylenol overdoses and also for respiratory problems. It seems to have the advantage of aiming its potent antioxidant properties at the lungs. The prescription inhaled form is called Mucomyst. This supplement could potentially prevent the disorder, but its main effect is to counter the pulmonary cytokine storm that damages the lungs. The oral form is readily available, inexpensive, and safe, so the risk/benefit ratio is firmly in favor of giving this supplement to just about everyone.
- Take palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) 600 mg daily. This supplement appears to have anti-inflammatory and possible ant-viral properties. It is somewhat harder to find than NAC, but it is inexpensive and very safe. It’s another “no brainer.”
- Take vitamin C 1,000 mg daily and ascorbyl palmitate 500 mg daily. Ascorbyl palmitate is the fat-soluble form of vitamin C. There is some evidence that vitamin C has antiviral properties. Once again, vitamin C is inexpensive, safe, and readily available, so the risk/benefit ratio is in favor of taking it. I have taken this program of vitamin C ever since Linus Pauling recommended doing so over 40 years ago and I never get colds.
- Totally and completely avoid consumption of highly processed food. This type of food is neurotoxic and is the primary driver of most common chronic diseases. Eat a healthy, whole foods Mediterranean style diet. I also believe a Paleo style diet can be very brain friendly, especially if you focus on getting plenty of healthy fats. For a crash course on this type of diet, I recommend reading “The Paleo Solution” or “Wired to Eat” by Robb Wolf. It is also critical to avoid excessive fructose that mainly comes from sugars added to food and drinks. I recommend reading “The Sugar Fix” by Richard Johnson or “Fat Chance” by Robert Lustig.
- Get 8 hours of restful sleep every night. Adequate sleep is a safe and straightforward way to stabilize your immune response. There is ample evidence that sufficient sleep helps your immune system to function optimally, so it is less likely to over-react to a viral infection.
- Take a high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement to get your AA/EPA ratio to between 1 and 3. We need both omega-6 fatty acids to drive inflammation and omega-3 fatty acids to turn off inflammation when it is no longer needed for healing or fighting infections. Unfortunately, our modern diet is loaded with excessive omega-6 fatty acids, mainly from vegetable oils in processed food. I had to take 8-10 omega-3 capsules daily to get my ratio to 1.9. This AA/EPA finger-stick test is available from OmegaQuant. I also recommend reading “The Resolution Zone” by Barry Sears. In my opinion, Dr. Sears is the master when it comes to safely resolving inflammation.
- If you develop major respiratory complications due to COVID-19, work with your physicians to gain access to TNF blockers like Humira or Enbrel or JAK inhibitors like Olumiant, Xeljanz, and Rinvoq. These drugs are potent anti-inflammatory drugs, and we have a lot of experience using them safely. It might be a challenge to get access to these drugs, but they are often available under compassionate use programs.
- If you develop COVID-19, have your physician prescribe the combination hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. There is mounting evidence that this combination is effective against the virus, and we have a lot of experience using these drugs safely. Extensive studies are in progress to determine the effectiveness of this combination, but the risk and cost are low, so just do it.
- Have your physician measure your triglyceride/HDL ratio. This ratio is an excellent surrogate marker for insulin resistance, and for optimal health, this ratio should be less than 1. Insulin resistance hampers the resolution of inflammation in your body. The best way to lower this ratio is to follow a Mediterranean style diet and avoid all highly processed food. See number 3 above.
- Have your physician measure your glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level. HbA1c is a useful marker for long-term glucose levels, and elevated glucose suppresses AMPK, which is responsible for suppressing and resolving inflammation. The best way to reduce your HbA1c is to eat a healthy diet and take a water-soluble polyphenol. The ideal such supplement is from the maqui berry. I take Dr. Sear’s MaquiRx, but you can find this type of supplement on Amazon or at some vitamin shops. An ideal HbA1c is between 4.9 and 5.1.
- Have your physician measure your homocysteine level. High homocysteine Is terrible for your brain function and can significantly increase your risk of developing CARB syndrome. Elevated homocysteine is also associated with autoimmune problems. If your level is above 10, you need to take the following supplements:
- L-methylfolate 5 mg daily.
- Pyridoxal 5’-phosphate 100 mg daily.
- Methyl-cobalamin 5 mg daily.
- Trimethylglycine (TMG) 500 mg daily.
After a month, recheck your homocysteine level, and if it’s still above 10, increase TMG to 1,000 mg daily. Repeat the test in another month, and if it’s above 10, add another 500 mg of TMG. Continue increasing the TMG until your level is below 10. L-methyl folate is the only vitamin approved by the FDA to treat a disease—Deplin to treat depression. Stick with the OTC form because it’s much cheaper.
I agree that we should follow our government’s recommendations when it comes to mitigating or preventing this disease. I also strongly recommend that you follow these dozen relatively safe, simple, and likely effective measures you can take to significantly reduce your chances of getting COVID-19 or dying from the illness if you do become infected. Indeed, these COVID killers could save your life.
Stay well and be kind.