As the epidemic of COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, I have noticed some interesting patterns. Most have noticed that young, healthy people seem to generally get a pass, and they rarely get sick enough to end up in the hospital on a vent. As age increases, the number of really ill people seems to skyrocket, especially if you are over the age of 60-70 and have chronic illnesses. This is the group where most of the mortality has occurred.
Traditional Views of Immunity
Most people’s views of infectious disease follow this pattern: You become infected with a bacteria or virus, and then your immune system responds in an attempt to destroy the invader. If the bacteria or virus wins or your immune system loses, you end up getting very sick or even dying. Drugs like antibiotics are used to back up your immune system, giving you a better chance of turning back the infection.
The fact that young people don’t seem to get sick with COVID-19 whereas oldsters often become very ill fits with this view of the immune system. Young people have strong and healthy immune systems, and older adults (like me) have beaten up immune systems that have a hard time fighting off the infection. There’s only one problem with this scenario when it comes to COVID-19—it’s completely and totally wrong!
The Reality of Immunity When Dealing with COVID-19
Let me walk you through what is really happening. Young, healthy people who don’t have chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and similar disorders do have very efficient immune systems. When faced with a novel virus such as COVID-19, their immune system will tend to efficiently mount just the right amount of defense to suppress and push out the virus. Not too little and not too much does the trick when it comes to immune response and infections, especially when it comes to viruses.
Older folks tend to have a long list of common chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, COPD, cardiac disease, kidney disease, and many other conditions. They also tend to have a higher incidence of traditional autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and similar conditions. In these conditions, the bodies’ immune system attacks your tissues, interfering with the normal function of these tissues and organs.
Auto-Immunity Run Amuck
Over the past several decades, evidence has emerged that the chronic diseases listed above, like obesity, diabetes, COPD, and others also seem to have a robust autoimmune component. The traditional view is that older people have a pooped out immune system that simply can’t muster enough defense to fight off infections. We now believe that most older people have a revved-up immune system that is just waiting for some new antigen or virus to show up. When it does, it releases a massive cytokine storm that causes severe damage to the host’s tissues.
Older people with COVID-19 who end up on respirators because of acute respiratory failure have this type of massive hit to their lungs caused by their own immune system rather than the virus itself. That’s why the anti-inflammatory drugs like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine appear to be helpful at suppressing this damaging inflammation. They also seem to suppress viral replication, so I suspect we will be using a lot of these drugs soon. They work even better when combined with the antibiotic azithromycin.
Fix Your Brain and Your Immune System Will Follow
The question arises, is there anything an older person (and some younger people) can do to avoid getting caught in this inflammatory trap? The answer is a definitive yes. We know that it takes a healthy brain to have a finely tuned immune system. By far the most common reason for people to lose optimal brain function is for them to develop a form of food-induced brain dysfunction called Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. People with CARB syndrome can develop up to 22 brain dysfunction symptoms that interfere with their ability to function and when their brain hits the skids their immune system isn’t far behind. Based on my my decades of observations, people with apparent CARB syndrome at any age are much more prone to the devastating effects of COVID 19 than healthy people who don’t have this disorder.
I outline this somewhat complex disease in my new book “Brain Drain,” but these are the necessary steps you will need to stay healthy:
- Drastically reduce your intake of highly processed food. This type of food is made of three basic components:
- Excessive fructose mainly from various sugars and fruit juice.
- Excessive high glycemic carbohydrates mainly from grains.
- Excessive omega six fatty acids relative to omega three fatty acids mainly from vegetable oils.
- Take a targeted precursor product to restore levels of monoamine neurotransmitters. This will, in turn, eliminate the symptoms of CARB syndrome. One such supplement is CARB-22.
- Exercise regularly.
There is a long list of other ancillary measures that can optimize your brain function and prevent CARB syndrome, and I outline them in detail in this recent blog post. The critical thing to remember is that when facing COVID-19, you want an optimally functioning immune system rather than one that is weak or hyper-responsive. The best way to do that is to maximize your brain function because when it comes to health and disease, your brain calls the shots. I also recommend reading “The Resolution Zone” by my friend Barry Sears of Zone Diet fame. He is the master when it comes to keeping unresolved inflammation at bay, and this is a crucial approach when fighting a foe like COVID-22.
Stay well, and take care of those you love.