OK, let’s be real. This virus is not going to just up and disappear, and civilization will not survive if we continue to “isolate” as we are. Even if a miracle drug or vaccine gets invented, it won’t be soon enough, who knows what the side effects are going to be, and at best we can only expect a 40-60% effectiveness.1 That’s just reality. Very soon governments are going to have to lift social restrictions. Hopefully the “curve” will have been flattened, but the bottom line is that you have to assume that eventually you are going to be exposed/infected. And how your body responds will make all the difference between mild or fatal! Here are three key steps you can take to maximize your ability to fight off this or any other infection.
The very first and most important thing you can possibly do is to clean-up your lifestyle and build a strong immune system. Not only will a healthy lifestyle greatly mitigate your risk of experiencing corona complications, but it is also proven to drastically reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s to name a few. So, you should be living like that anyway!
The problem is that the internet is chock full of so much misinformation about what a healthy lifestyle really is, some by total idiots and some by people who really should know better, that for the average person sorting out fact from fiction can be a real challenge. This summer I’ve been taking a deep dive into lifestyle science and evidence in preparation for a board examination with the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. And honestly, even for a dedicated professional like myself, you have to be very careful sorting out all the bias and prejudice that inevitably filters in on all sides.
In a nutshell, here is what I can tell you about lifestyle facts:
- Diet – More fiber; at least 90% of your caloric intake needs to come from whole plants. Way less refined/processed food, especially sugar and white flour. Load up on gBOMBS – greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds/nuts.
- Exercise – Sweat every day. Keep moving all day long.
- Avoid toxins – As a start, remove all toxic cleaners from your home, eat organic, and don’t smoke.
- Love more – Yes the science is in, and there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that this may be the most important of all. Be more mindful and selfless, and invest regular time into strengthening personal relationships, including your divine one.
Of course, that is an extremely brief overview. But following these guidelines will get you well on your way to building a strong healthy immune system that can withstand almost any pathologic onslaught. For personalized coaching to help get your lifestyle on the right track, check out our state-of-the-science program at CHIPonline.NET.
KNOW YOUR TRUTH
It is widely recognized and agreed that “underlying conditions” are the major risk factor for COVID related complications and fatalities. I actually postulate that 100% of COVID related fatalities involve underlying factors that have weakened and compromised the immune system.
Here’s why I say that. Forgetting COVID-19 for a moment, we all know of individuals – family, friends, celebrities – who have suddenly dropped dead for no apparent reason. Seemingly healthy people whose physician had just recently given them a clean bill of health, and soon after suffered a catastrophically fatal heart attack. Now, did you know that there is a nationwide network of physicians who guarantee that if you follow their directions that will never happen? As a matter of fact, there is. And the reason they can make that bold guarantee with confidence is that they look and test for things conventional medical practice ignores, in particular signs of chronic but silent systemic inflammation, which happens to be the root cause of most if not all “underlying conditions” – conditions which, by the way, will probably kill you anyway – with or without the addition of a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
There is a whole book (Beat the Heart Attack Gene) written on the subject. But here’s my point. Nobody is looking for these silent signs of inflammation and immunologic compromise. So, though consequently I can’t say for sure, it certainly stands to reason that due to the pervasive nature of chronic inflammation in our society (inflammation that the lifestyle I just outlined will reverse) many if not all unlinked COVID fatalities in actuality are linked to some form of chronic inflammation and immunological compromise – we just aren’t looking in the right places.
So how can you know your truth? Whether or not you have chronic inflammation burning in your veins? Here are three tests you need to insist that your physician runs.
- Hs CRP. Some progressive physicians do check for C-reactive protein, a common by product of inflammation. But the high-sensitivity CRP test is more accurate.
- Carotid intima-media thickness. One of the first things that starts to happen with chronic inflammation is the thickening of your arteries, even in children! This examination lets you know what is going on so you can take action before suffering the consequences.
- TG/HDL ratio. More diagnostic than stand alone cholesterol numbers, this one (triglyceride : high density lipoprotein ratio) can actually be used to diagnose insulin resistance as well.
SEE YOUR DENTIST
Remember that network of physicians I mentioned above, the one that guarantees you won’t have a heart attack? Well one of the things they insist on for their patients to qualify is a healthy mouth report from their dentist. But not just a normal “usual-and-customary” examination. They are looking for two things in particular. 1) An actual lab test confirming the absence of pathologic oral bacteria, and 2) a detailed endodontic screening for abscesses, especially around old root canal fillings; this will require x-rays, often 3-D imagining. The reason they think this is so important is that numerous studies now point to oral/dental bacteria in the blood stream as a major cause of systemic inflammation and heart attacks. This is why I have taken such a strong stand that dental care, as well as other medical wellness services, should never have been categorized as “non-essential”. Lives literally depend on preventive medical care and the numbers are just now starting to come in showing the catastrophic loss of life caused by the ill-advised shutdown of these services.2, 3, 4
These three guidelines, if you take them seriously, will assure that when your turn comes to become exposed and infected by this novel corona virus your risk of anything more than a mild case of COVID-19 will be extremely small.
BONUS: As true as everything I’ve mentioned so far is, the fact of the matter is that, just like any other form of success, health is a journey, not a destination. And no matter where you are on that journey, there is always room for improvement. The most important thing is that you start the trip and never quit. As much as we would all like a magic pill, there is just no substitute for doing the work. However… there is a very interesting health hack that you need to be aware of. First a little background.
One of the major causes of that killer inflammation we keep taking about is oxidation. Oxidation occurs as the cells in your body fight infections, toxins, cellular mutations (cancer), and go about their other normal functions. Reduction of this oxidation (redox) is your body’s way of cleaning up its oxidation garbage, keeping inflammation under control and saving it for the true emergencies it was designed for. And ideally a healthy lifestyle provides everything it needs to do that. But, if there are holes in your lifestyle or if you are subjected to an overload of environmental toxins, you can end up suffering from oxidative stress and the destructive chronic inflammation it leads to.
This whole science of reduction-oxidation and how your cells signal each other to combat oxidation (redox signaling) is one of today’s most exciting areas of research. Nearly 1,000 times more potent than dietary antioxidants, redox signaling molecules actually trigger your own cells to do the job themselves. Increased resistance to infection, decreased chronic inflammation, faster wound healing, greater physical performance – all are documented reactions to supplementation with redox signaling molecules.
- If you want an extra edge against viral and bacterial infections
- If your lifestyle is still a work in progress
- If you want to heal faster from surgery or trauma
- If you are experiencing any symptoms of chronic inflammation – diabetes, pre-diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, fatigue, auto-immune disorder, dental disease or infection, abnormal lab results…
- If you’d like to experience an increase in physical performance and stamina
… redox supplementation could be just what you need. To help you learn all you could possibly want to know about this exciting bio-hack, I’ve put up a website with tons of information and links at RedoxRevolution.NET. Check it out, then shoot me a note or give me a call to get hooked up. Your body will thank you!
Dr. Lon Peckham provides comprehensive and whole-health dental care in Priest River, Idaho. He is a Diplomat of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy for Oral-Systemic Health, facilitates a national study club for the Dawson Academy, and is also certified in Lead Management and Choice Theory by the Glasser Institute. He helps patients and dentists successfully incorporate whole-health into their lives and practices.