Metabolic Inflexibility Is Key Risk Factor for COVID-19

Dr. Mercola Interviews the Experts

This article is part of a weekly series in which Dr. Mercola interviews various experts on a variety of health issues. To see more expert interviews, click here.

While SARS-CoV-2 is a rampant virus that can cause severe problems in vulnerable individuals, the real pandemic — meaning the underlying cause that makes people susceptible to complications from the infection in the first place — is metabolic inflexibility or insulin resistance.

In this interview, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a British cardiologist and author of “The 21 Day Immunity Plan,” delves into the specifics and explains the role insulin resistance plays in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The real pandemic is poor metabolic health, or metabolic inflexibility,” Malhotra says. “I had become aware, as early on as March, when we were getting data from China and Italy, that there was a clear link between conditions related to excess body fat, in simple terms defined as poor metabolic health, [and] worse outcomes from COVID-19.

We’re talking about conditions like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and, of course, obesity. And that data kept emerging. That link was so clear, and it wasn’t just out of the blue.

As somebody who’s been a practicing doctor for almost two decades, it’s very clear — we know people who have poor metabolic health certainly tend to have worse outcomes from really any infection, but COVID-19 has highlighted it more, and made us think about it more.

We’re talking about chest infections, hospital admissions with pneumonia [and] Type 2 diabetics tend to do a lot worse. I was looking at that data and thought, ‘There’s something missing out of this mainstream conversation.’ It was getting a lot of immediate coverage across the world, in the U.K., in the United States, but no one was talking about lifestyle.”

Obesity Is a Significant COVID-19 Risk Factor

Aside from old age, obesity has been identified as one of the primary risk factors for being hospitalized with COVID-19 — doubling the risk of hospitalization in patients under the age of 60 in one study1 — even if the individual has no other obesity-related health problems. A French study2,3 also found obese patients treated for COVID-19 were more likely to require mechanical ventilation.

One hypothesis for why obesity is worsening COVID-19 has to do with the fact that obesity causes chronic inflammation.4 Having more proinflammatory cytokines in circulation increases your risk of experiencing a cytokine storm.

A cytokine storm response is typically the reason why people die from infections, be it the seasonal flu, Ebola, urinary tract infection or COVID-19. Obesity also makes you more vulnerable to infectious diseases by lowering your immune function.5,6,7,8,9,10

Insulin Resistance Augments Infection Risks

Obesity is often rooted in insulin resistance, brought on by a flawed diet, and insulin resistance is another top risk factor for COVID-19 that worsens outcomes and increases your risk of death. An April 15, 2020, article11 in The Scientist reviews evidence12,13 showing how higher blood glucose levels impact viral replication and the development of cytokine storms.

While the research in question looked at influenza A-induced cytokine storms, these findings may well be applicable in COVID-19 as well. In a Science Advances press release, co-author Shi Liu stated:14

“We believe that glucose metabolism contributes to various COVID-19 outcomes since both influenza and COVID-19 can induce a cytokine storm, and since COVID-19 patients with diabetes have shown higher mortality.”

COVID-19 Risk Factors Can Be Rapidly Ameliorated

The good news, as Malhotra stresses, is that the lifestyle factors that make you more prone to severe COVID-19 infection and death can be modified and ameliorated in as little as 21 days, simply by changing your diet. Like me, Malhotra feels this has been sorely missing from pandemic response messaging.

“They should have been saying, ‘Listen, there’s no better time for you to really think about trying to improve your health and looking into what you eat, [get] moderate exercise, sleep, all those things,” Malhotra says. “But it wasn’t happening.”

To fill the information gap, Malhotra began writing. Initially, he wrote a series of articles for British newspapers. He also got the opportunity to speak about this on Sky News.

“I made it very clear. I said, ‘Listen, there’s a chance at some point we’re all going to get this virus, and we want to make sure that we’re in the best position to be able to deal with it, so that we don’t get sick from it when it happens.’

I think I was probably, maybe, the only doctor who had the opportunity to say that in a mainstream media, probably in the world, at that time; I think no one else had said it.”

As more data became available, Malhotra’s writings turned into “The 21 Day Immunity Plan.” Malhotra also had the opportunity to share information with the U.K. Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, and by the time the book was finished, Prime Minister Boris Johnson came out saying something needs to be done, on a policy level, about the obesity epidemic.

That said, we don’t have to have government policies in place to personally implement these lifestyle strategies. The information is available. It’s well-documented, noncontroversial and relatively simple to do. Surprisingly, Malhotra’s message has been largely well-received, and hasn’t been censored to the extent that many others have.

Unfortunately, we’re still fighting against a tsunami of dietary misinformation and false advertising on a daily basis, which makes it difficult to really get this message out and make it stick. “If every day the government was putting out a message saying, ‘Metabolic health is the key,’ then we would have a really big impact,” Malhotra says.

Most People Have Poor Metabolic Health

The central thesis of Malhotra’s book is that we have a pandemic of metabolic inflexibility or metabolic ill health. There are five primary parameters of metabolic ill health, which include having:

  1. A large waist circumference
  2. Prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes
  3. Prehypertension or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  4. High blood triglycerides
  5. Low HDL cholesterol

If you have all of those five parameters within the normal ranges, you are in good metabolic health. Having three or more abnormal parameters is indicative of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic inflexibility can further be divided into two primary subsets, namely:

1. Insulin resistance, signs of which typically include high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, obesity and other variables connected with that.

In the U.S., NHANES data15 published in 2016 reveal 87.8% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy, based on five parameters. That data is over four years old now, so the figure is likely greater than 90% of the population today.

According to a January 2019 update by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 122 million American adults have diabetes or prediabetes16 — conditions which have been shown to increase your chances of contracting and even dying from COVID-1917,18,19,20,21,22

2. Vitamin D deficiency

Metabolic Syndrome Triples COVID-19 Fatality Risk

Malhotra notes:

“The data from COVID-19 shows the highest risks of death and hospitalization are in people with metabolic syndrome, not obesity. Obesity probably doubles your risk of death, but with metabolic syndrome, it’s around a 3.5 times increased risk of death — more than threefold — and about five times the risk of hospitalization if you get COVID-19.

So that is the major problem. And the reason why that’s important is it also affects many, many people. This is why BMI [body mass index], to be honest, I think should be thrown out; I mean, it’s useless, it’s outdated.

We should be looking at metabolic health, because up to 40% of people with a so called normal BMI, who may be told they’ve got a healthy weight, actually are metabolically unhealthy. That’s a huge proportion of people, and there are disparities depending on which ethnicity you’re from.

But the basic problem with BMI, which is a calculation based upon your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared, is it doesn’t take into consideration your body fat percentage, your muscle mass, your ethnicity …

It misses a huge group of people who are probably vulnerable and could institute lifestyle changes to help themselves if they were advised to do so. But a lot of them aren’t being advised because they’re being told they’ve got a healthy weight.

If everybody knew their metabolic health markers and were then given advice to do things about it, then, as I point out in the book, within a few weeks you’d probably notice significant changes. Of course, it’s going to vary from person to person.

With regard to vitamin D, it is again something we’ve ignored for a long time. In the U.K., a significant proportion of people are either deficient or severely deficient in vitamin D, and it has such an important role in immune function. Most cell receptors in your body have vitamin D receptors, and it is involved in enhancing both innate and adaptive immunity.”

The bottom line is you need to have the five metabolic parameters listed above within the normal ranges, and you need an optimal blood level of vitamin D, which is now thought to be between 40 ng/mL and 60 ng/mL.

“There was a study in Indonesia that showed that in people hospitalized with COVID-19 — those who had severe vitamin D deficiency versus those that had normal ranges of vitamin D in their blood — there was a tenfold difference in death rates, which is extraordinary. So, [vitamin D] certainly has a very important role to play,” Malhotra says.

“The ideal scenario is to get vitamin D from sunlight because it actually stays in your bloodstream longer. But, certainly, at least through the winter months, you should be taking a supplement. And I think the good thing about that is it’s cheap …

I suspect getting good health actually is going to come from just eating real food, and being out in nature, and doing more exercise, and reducing our stress, and social connection; all of those things, I think, are the key to longevity and good quality of life.”

How to Improve Your Metabolic Health

So, just how do you improve those five metabolic parameters? Malhotra addresses this in his book, of course. In summary, to optimize your metabolic health and reverse metabolic syndrome, you’ll want to:

Limit or eliminate foods that promote insulin resistance — Topping this list are processed foods high in industrial seed oils, added sugars and refined carbohydrates (i.e., bread, pasta and white rice).

“Sugar is probably one of the major dietary culprits,” Malhotra says. “It certainly also, beyond its calorie issue, seems to have independent effects and adverse effects on metabolic health …

So, sugar is one of the first things I always talk about that people need to eliminate from their diet … Most people you can break those addictions usually within three to six weeks.”

As explained in my interview with Dr. Chris Knobbe, industrially processed seed oils such as canola, corn and soy oil (most of which are also genetically engineered) appear to be at the heart of most if not all chronic diseases of the modern world.

Evidence suggests they may be an even greater health threat than added sugar. Malhotra has also addressed this issue in his book, “The Pioppi Diet,”23 published in 2017. Aside from more direct harms, one of the ways in which these oils undermine your health is by skewing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, as they’re excessively high in omega-6 linoleic acid.

When used in cooking, they also produce toxic, carcinogenic aldehydes. In lieu of seed oils, use healthy saturated fats such as coconut oil, grassfed butter, organic ghee or lard.

Be more physically active — This too can ameliorate and reduce metabolic disease risk markers. Just be mindful not to go overboard, as excessive exercise will actually lower your immune function and put you at increased risk of respiratory infections.

Optimize your sleep.

Reduce your stress.

As noted by Malhotra:

“Combining all those together — that synergy of the diet and all the other lifestyle factors — has profound and rapid effects on health. So that’s where we need to change the narrative.

One of the bits of advice to start with is what you should cut out ultraprocessed food and low quality carbs. At least go cold turkey for a few weeks. You may reintroduce them or have them as occasional treats, but this should not be making up the bulk of your calorie consumption.

That is really where we need to start. If you cut that out, then you will also automatically reduce your refined carbs, sugar and omega-6 oils. All of those things are going to be significantly reduced from your diet.”

Time-Restricted Eating Schedule Boosts Metabolic Health

In his book, Malhotra also recommends implementing a time-restricted eating schedule or intermittent fasting where you limit your eating to a window of, ideally, six to eight hours a day.

“My cousin, who lives in California, struggled for most of his childhood and early adulthood as being particularly overweight,” Malhotra says. “Now, he’s probably the slimmest and maybe the fittest member of the whole family because he changed his diet.

He is religious with his time-restricted eating. I mean, he does it every day, and now he’s literally got a flat stomach, he’s in optimal metabolic health and it’s amazing. But he told me it took time for him to really see the massive benefits of it. It took about a year to get rid of the last bit of fat around his belly.”

More Information

To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of Malhotra’s book, “The 21 Day Immunity Plan.” It’s an easy read that emphasizes and summarizes the core lifestyle basics you need to understand and apply to improve your metabolic health, which in turn will reduce your risk of complications should you come down with symptomatic COVID-19 illness. Social Media info for Dr. Malhotra can be found on his site at doctoraseem.com.

Oneness Versus the 1%

In this interview, social justice and anti-GMO advocate Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., discusses her book, “Oneness Vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom,” which she co-wrote with her son, in which she argues that the ultra-wealthy elite are responsible for a majority of the environmental, financial and health crises currently facing us.

In reality, it’s really about the 0.001% — the small number of billionaires and centibillionaires who have become ultra-rich over the past 30 years or so. Most of them didn’t exist before globalization. The 1% is just a useful metaphor for the ruling elite that the publisher thought would be easier to communicate.

One of the key players is, no surprise, Bill Gates, whose wealth and “philanthropic” efforts have garnered him unprecedented influence over agriculture and global health policies that threaten food security and human health.

“I was in Paris for the climate summit, and I’ve been doing this UN Summit since the Earth summit in ’92. I’ve been doing the Biodiversity Convention, drafting of clauses, including Article 19.1, which basically required biosafety and assessment of GMOs. So, I was very surprised that, for the first time, the billionaires were on the stage with the heads of state,” she says.

The Ongoing Transfer of Wealth

One of the “solutions” to climate change offered by this billionaire club was geoengineering, which in reality is no solution at all. As noted by Shiva, if the climate is already changing for the worse, engineering temperatures, deflecting sunlight, dumping iron fillings on the ocean and chemicals in the sky, and creating artificial volcanoes, you’re simply creating additional problems without solving the original one.

At the end of the August 2020 update of the book, she also discusses COVID-19, and how this engineered pandemic has catalyzed the transfer of wealth to the rich. While global lockdowns have decimated small businesses and left many to struggle financially, the rich have amassed fantastic profits.

“The 2008 crisis was very clearly about deregulation of the financial economy,” she says. “It was about collateral, it was about taking securities, bundling up risk, and then the system totally collapsed because it was really trading in fictions. But I’ve been working on the economy, because I started to work on the seed in 1987.

Companies wanted to own and patent life. That’s how my journey on GMO started. But they also wanted to change the trade laws. They wanted to own seed as their creation. They wanted an intellectual property treaty in the GATT. I first heard this in a 1987 [United Nations] meeting.

That’s when I decided: a) I would save seeds, b) I would keep track of the GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The antiglobalization movement grew out of that, and the International Forum on Globalization. We shut down WTO in Seattle, which shows the power of the people. We will not allow this lie of seed being Monsanto’s invention.

I worked with our [Indian] parliament, I worked with our government to write laws. Article 3G [says] seeds are not inventions. This is what has prevented Monsanto from ripping off Indian farmers even more than they did. They’ve been taken to court now for the illegal collection of technology fees …

Basically, what we have today is this transfer of wealth. Monsanto’s behavior is also the big tech’s behavior. Do they produce anything? No. They only collect rents on digital platforms. They’re rent collectors …

I saw the seed issue with Monsanto. I said, ‘Here they are collecting rents from seed, which they didn’t make. Then we won’t let them own it.’ In effect, whether it’s Amazon or Gates, they’re basically rent collectors. What they’ve done with this pandemic is literally create a closed economy, which depends on them and their rent collection.”

The eight-minute video below provides a sobering summary of the massive wealth transfer that has occurred in 2020 thanks to pandemic lockdowns, during which small businesses were forced to close while giant multinational companies were allowed to stay open and thereby monopolize the market. The end result is the largest transfer of wealth in modern history.

The End of Democracy

Shiva goes on to review how India mobilized against Walmart’s encroachment, which threatened to destroy local businesses. The COVID-19 lockdowns, however, have prevented the same kind of mobilization against the tech and retail giants.

As local businesses around the world have had to close their doors for months on end, Amazon.com’s power has exploded. Amazon is even encroaching on grocery suppliers.

“I was just reading a paper, that the super wealthy in the U.S. have transferred $50 trillion to themselves [over the past 30 years; the globalization period] … While they rob you of your job, they’re still extracting [money from] you for that forced software program on digital payments, for software programs on … digital education.

Poor Indian children, who could afford a universal education, now cannot afford education because their parents have no smartphones. So, we are seeing an engineered imposition of an economy. A healthy economy grows as an evolution with choices, with justice, with equity …

True economies would say, ‘Here is what I bring. If my digital [currency is] better than your cash, choose it. Is my forced vaccination better than your immunity? Make your choice.’ The minute choice is removed from people’s life, democracies stop. When the choice is removed from our conditions of being, our conditions of living, then life is threatened …

What is globalization but deregulation of commerce? It is knocking down every law that was put in place by democratic societies for the protection of the environment, the protection of health, the right to education, the rights of workers. Now that’s what’s being targeted.”

In India, they recently eliminated all labor laws, and they’re trying to remove the Farmers’ Rights Act, as well as environmental laws. This is what allows for the transfer of wealth to happen, Shiva says.

The End Game

As explained by Shiva, all of these companies are essentially rent collectors. Facebook turns our minds into a raw material that is then capitalized upon. “Gates is particularly vicious because through the Gates Foundation, he pretends to be doing philanthropy,” she says.

But with every philanthropic endeavor, he carves out new colonies from which he can collect new rents and make new investments. “That’s why no matter how much he gives, he gets richer and richer,” Shiva says. “A genuine giver would get poorer.”

In her book, she explains how, without Gates, there would be no commercial gene editing, for example, which is the new GMO. He created a company called Editas Medicine Inc. to facilitate the patenting of these new climate-resilient plants, with which they aim to create new medicines. “He will do biofortification to solve the nutrition problem. He is particularly vicious,” she says. As for what the ultimate goal might be, Shiva says:

“The first thing is, of course, they want to use their money-making tools to make more money. So, it is a dictatorship of the technology balance. That’s why people should be paying a lot more attention to the violent imposition of digitalization.

A lot of my friends, who never studied the roots of these violence systems, who never understood that agrichemicals came from Hitler’s concentration camps and that the agrichemical industry is the poison cartel responsible for the genocide, they’re continuing that genocide.

Technologies as tools of domination and exploitation are not neutral. A lot of progressive think, ‘More digitalization, more democracy.’ How can a surveillance economy be an enlargement of your freedom? You have to have the systems in place, the regulations in place, the choices in place to be able to make these technologies a servant and not your master.”

The Global Merger

They also want to merge all of these various industries together — agriculture, technology and finance. Shiva recounts how, in 2016, India banned all cash and made digital transactions compulsory. In short order, “90% of poor people lost their savings, their incomes,” she says, as small, local economies evaporated. Meanwhile, the wealthy elites also control the world’s economy via their asset funds.

“Corporations don’t own themselves anymore. Even the corporations are owned by the billionaires, the same BlackRocks, the same Vanguards control every big company, Coca-Cola to McDonald’s to Boeing. Look at anything in the world, it’s the billionaire money and their asset management funds.

Last year, BlackRock increased its wealth from $1 trillion to $7 trillion, which means the billionaires increased their wealth. During the lockdown, they invaded even more deeply into the Amazon and became richer.

So, these investment asset management funds are the billionaires’ wealth, and it is increasing. That is merging with IT and information technology and the tech barons, and it’s merging with biotechnology and the chemical industry.

That’s why they’re talking about digitalization of agriculture — farming without farmers and, worse, food without food. One of the big pushes of Gates and Silicon Valley is into fake food.”

As noted by Shiva, while Big Biotech claims GMOs will save your health and protect the planet, these pesticide-laden plants are in fact doing the complete opposite.

We Are the Throwaways

There’s also the issue of social justice. She cites Gandhi, who said that if you’re in doubt about what the right thing to do is, “bring the face of the most vulnerable person to your mind’s eye and do what is good for them.” If you think it will harm them more, don’t do it.

“They deliberately want to get rid of large parts of humanity,” Shiva says. “First through hunger, then through sickness. They want a digital economy, they want a sick economy. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be spending all your time on Big Pharma; you’d spend your time making sure that the smaller farmer doesn’t get destroyed …

On a planetary scale, we are seeing these irresponsible, greedy, indifferent, callous men bring the world, and humanity, to a brink. That’s why we have to act and find creative ways …

All of these tech barons who have taken over the economy, hiding behind the virus, are all jumping into life sciences. Google has a new life sciences division. This will be the final defeat of Mother Nature, At a time [when] the world is waking up to the rules of nature and healthy bodies, healthy ecosystems, an eco-healthy planet, they’re still carrying on the Colonial franchise of defeating Mother Nature.”

The Great Economic Reset

None of these things is coming out of left field. They’ve been carefully planned for many decades. We now see clear evidence that a “great economic reset” is in the works, which will transition everything over to digital currencies.

As noted by Shiva, the industrial revolution shifted our mindset to one where we thought of nature as dead. The result was ecological destruction and the fragmentation of society. The coming economic reset is basically part of an effort to further manipulate and shift our mental framework toward something wholly unnatural. Shiva says:

“In India, they attacked and are still attacking organic and created something called the Zero-Budget Natural Farming … What they’re basically doing is giving big loans to the state, which then gives fat loans to the farmer. In the meantime, Gates is mining farm data.

He’s getting people placed in the homes of farmers to mine data. Then they’ll create algorithms to sell that data back. But all of this is now being reduced to carbon in the soil. You’ll get zero % for what you grow. You can get no needs of yours met through food and fodder, but we will allow you to trade in the global market on the carbon in your soil, and that’s what would keep you alive. This whole financialization of nature is one aspect.

The second aspect in the great reset is to redo the economy to make it look like those who are now disposable throwaway people deserved it. They created the language of competition.

[When I was writing] my epilogue, I had just received Microsoft’s patent, [which] basically reduces human beings to users. Our brain activity is tapped into in various ways. Everyone wants to have smart wear these days. I should call it spyware. That data goes through algorithms. Those algorithms will decide what [we are worthy of and] Bitcoins will be allocated to us.

But every child born is born worthy. Every member of society has equal human rights. So, they’re undoing everything we’ve put in place on humanity, on human rights, on democracy. This is where we need to be alert.

I think the whole issue of the pandemic and the lockdown was useful for them for two reasons. One, they could get everyone afraid. Second, they could get everyone distracted while they took over the economy, they took over our minds. They basically transferred all the remaining wealth to themselves.”

More Information

To learn more, please listen to the interview in its entirety, and be sure to pick up a copy of “Oneness Vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom.” You can also find more details about Shiva’s work on Navdanya.org.

“I personally feel that this assault is coming at a time when, in India and the world, there’s a new rising of consciousness of the planet and its living systems, of our health and our living systems, and the connection between our health and the health of the planet. At this point … it needs a lot of brutal violence to impose. So, to the extent they can keep the virus as their shield to hide behind, they will.”

I agree with Shiva when she says that rather than allowing COVID-19 fear-mongering take over our lives, we need to look at the infrastructures of life, humanity, democracy, economy and taxation, “and start thinking about who’s taking them away from us.”

“You have to protect that which you treasure,” she says. “Freedom and life are what are being taken right now … We have to resist fear and we have to resist hate. We are thinking beings; let us use the minds we’ve been given and let us rebuild community.

Again, I don’t think the 6-foot distancing is by accident. Why do they use the words ‘social distancing’ rather than ‘physical distancing’? Six feet is a physical measure. They … want us to forget that being a human being means being in community. They want us to be users of gadgets.

We must be community. We must remember that we are interrelated to the rest of life on Earth and to society. That’s why we have to be talking [about how to] rebuild regenerative economies … I think we lost a lot of time thinking the only issue was energy, how energy is produced. We lost two decades of how food is produced.

I really believe that if people start becoming aware that eating good food is the single most important [strategy for health], and growing food in the right way is the single most important part to regeneration of the planet, this will rebuild community …

I think we need to start doing homework to say, ‘Where’s the wealth going? How should the tax flow look? How is our money going to make the billionaires richer? How can they keep extracting more money out of us?

How is our public money the new subsidy to create the infrastructure for greed, rather than be the public resources to create the infrastructure of life, of care and of solidarity? … What in our current legal framework can stop this hemorrhaging of public money to move upwards to the billionaires?

These are foundational issues. Who are we as human beings? How will we live in the future? What is the future we will create long after the robber barons are gone, because they were there in the 1930s and we learned how to get rid of them. If there’s one project we should have, it’s strategies to get rid of the robber barons, whatever it takes …

I don’t think we have the luxury to be hopeless. Hope is something you must cultivate on a daily basis. Cultivating hope is cultivating resistance. Cultivating hope is cultivating the strategy.”

Scientists Want to Create Tasty Food From Plastic

We have a problem with plastic. Not only is it difficult to get rid of without damaging the environment, but we appear to have an addiction to all things disposable. In the U.S., plastic is considered an integral and necessary part of daily life. Just a stroll down the grocery store aisle reveals an unhealthy dependence on plastic, from packaging to bags for our groceries.

Fresh produce is often wrapped in plastic or sliced and shrink-wrapped in a plastic covering. Nuts, cheese, milk and lettuce are all encased in plastic. Across the world, 299 million tons were produced in 2013, much of which ended up in the oceans, threatening wildlife and environment.1 In 2015, the U.S. generated 34.4 million tons, which accounted for 13.2% of municipal solid waste.2

In the case of plastic packaging, 95% of the material value, an estimated $80 billion to $120 billion annually, is lost after its first usage, adding economic problems to other drawbacks, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.3 Now scientists are thinking about how to make plastic into food.

Exchanging Plastic for Food

With a focus on improving military logistics, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Iowa State University and partners a $2.7 million grant to make food from plastic and paper waste, which they intend to feed to military men and women.4 The ability to turn paper and plastic into a food product may help with short-term nourishment for soldiers and improve military logistics for extended missions.

They estimate the total grant award may reach $7.8 million before the project ends. Partners in this endeavor include the American Institute of Chemical Engineers RAPID Institute, the University of Delaware and Sandia National Laboratories. Initially, the system is being called the Novel Oxo-degradation to Macronutrients for Austere Deployments (NOMAD).

The aim is to convert paper waste into sugars and plastic into fatty acids and fatty alcohols. These byproducts would then be processed into a single cell biomass in the field. Other examples of single cell proteins include Vegemite and nutritional yeast. The NOMAD system must fit specific requirements to enable military troops to carry it with them during deployment and extraction.

While DARPA is initiating the project for use by the military in the field, it may not be long before such a system would be proposed as a means of providing inexpensive food stuffs for others. As explained in the press release from Iowa State University, the process could “go a long way toward solving looming problems of plastic disposal and ensuring a viable global food chain.”5

Robert Brown from Iowa State University is the principal investigator on the project. He explained how plastics and paper could biodegrade in the field and be used to grow edible yeast or bacteria:6

“When exposed to heat or ultraviolet light in the presence of oxygen, plastics convert to oxygenated compounds that can be consumed by microorganisms — plastics are, in fact, bio-degradable, but the process is very slow, as evidenced by the accumulation of plastic wastes in the environment.

We can dramatically increase oxo-degradation of plastics to fatty compounds by raising the temperature a few hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The cooled product is used to grow yeast or bacteria into single cell proteins suitable as food.”

‘An Army Marches on Its Stomach’

This familiar saying has been attributed to Napoleon and Fredrick the Great in reference to the ability of an army to perform better when their nutritional needs are met.7 While an argument could be made the food supplied to the military would be “natural” single cell protein, it’s important to remember the lessons that we have learned from grain-fed beef.

There are multiple problems with raising livestock in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), including issues with the environment, water supply, humane treatment of the animals and the addition of chlorine and other toxins to clear away contaminants. Despite the outcry over CAFOs, many fall back to the claim that factory farms can feed the world. The question is — at what cost?

As nutritional analyses have revealed, issues inside the CAFOs and surrounding communities are not the only problems. The nutritional differences in beef raised or finished on grain versus beef from pasture raised animals is striking. Grass fed beef has better fatty acid composition and antioxidant content.8

The meat is higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and precursors to CLA,9 which play a role in fat metabolism and positively modify cardiometabolic risk factors which impact body composition by lowering body fat levels.10 Grass fed beef is also higher in omega 3 fats and lower in cholesterol elevating fats.11

The aim of producing more meat in less time with less effort has led to a glut on the market of beef that contributes to the ill health of those who eat it. Ronnie Cummins from the Organic Consumers Association says it best in this article:

“Before these hapless creatures are dragged away to hell, to be fattened up on GMO grains and drugged up in America’s CAFOs, their meat is high in beneficial omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), and low in ‘bad’ fats.

Unfortunately by the time their abused and contaminated carcasses arrive, all neatly packaged, at your local supermarket, restaurant, or school cafeteria, the meat is low in omega-3 and good “fats,” and routinely tainted by harmful bacteria, not to mention pesticide, steroid, and antibiotic residues.”

The lesson learned is that just because it looks like healthy beef, doesn’t mean it carries the same nutritional value as that raised in a healthy environment. Of course, the same can be said about Impossible Burgers or any other food product manufactured in the lab. In the short term it may be a solution to a military problem, but do you think it will stop there?

Is Recycling Just a Big Fraud?

Recycling is another way of attempting to reduce the problem with plastic pollution. However, the question remains as to whether this is a viable answer since there is growing evidence suggesting it may have only a minor impact under the best of circumstances.

The Guardian12 reports that Earth Island Institute filed a lawsuit against 10 major companies. The group hopes to force the organizations to take responsibility and pay for the environmental and ecological destruction their products are causing. Ramping up recycling may sound like an answer, but as the executive director of the Basel Action Network, Jim Puckett, told Rolling Stone magazine:13

“They really sold people on the idea that plastics can be recycled because there’s a fraction of them that are. It’s fraudulent. When you drill down into plastics recycling, you realize it’s a myth.”

Pucket goes on to describe how 91% of the plastic created since 1950 has never been recycled, quoting a study published in 2017.14 In addition, the reporter from Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson, wrote:15

“Unlike aluminum, which can be recycled again and again, plastic degrades in reprocessing, and is almost never recycled more than once. A plastic soda bottle, for example, might get downcycled into a carpet.”

At the rate at which plastic is being added to the ocean, it’s expected there will be more plastics than fish by 2050.16 You’ll find more about plastic recycling, struggles with landfill pileup and Coca-Cola undermining the recycling efforts in “Is Plastic Recycling Just a Big Fraud?

Lifetime Average Consumption of Plastic Is Shocking

Tiny bits of plastic can be found nearly everywhere in the environment, including the food on your plate. Microplastics, as they are called, are smaller than 5 mm and have been found in foods and beverages. Drinking water is one of the largest sources from which researchers estimate the average person consumes 1,769 particles each week.17

Yet, bottled water is not the solution since it may contain even more plastic than tap water. Research published in Environmental Science and Technology suggested people who drink bottled water exclusively may consume more microplastics than those who drink tap water:18

“Additionally, individuals who meet their recommended water intake through only bottled sources may be ingesting an additional 90,000 microplastics annually, compared to 4,000 microplastics for those who consume only tap water.”

Plastic pollution likely originates from the manufacturing process of bottles and caps. When researchers tested 259 bottles of 11 bottled water brands, they found there were 325 pieces of microplastic per liter, on average.19 The brands tested included Aquafina, Evian, Dasani, San Pellegrino and Nestle Pure Life, among others.

Based on the findings from the WWF International study, Reuters created an illustration showing how much plastic a person would consume over time. According to these estimations, you may be consuming:20

  • Every week — 5 grams or enough plastic to pack a soup spoon.
  • Every six months — 125 grams or enough shredded flakes to fill a cereal bowl.
  • Every year — 250 grams or a heaping dinner plate of shredded plastic.
  • Every 10 years — 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) or about the size of a standard life buoy.
  • Over 79 years — 20 kg (44 pounds) of shredded plastic over an average lifetime.

To put this in perspective, one car tire weighs about 20 pounds.21 So a lifetime supply of plastic consumption would be like slowly eating 2.2 car tires. Thava Palanisami of the University of Newcastle, who was involved in a study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), told Reuters:22

“We have been using plastic for decades but we still don’t really understand the impact of micro- and nano-sized plastic particles on our health … All we know is that we are ingesting it and that it has the potential to cause toxicity. That is definitely a cause for concern.”

A Call to End Plastic Pollution

The fight against plastic pollution is being carried out on several fronts. In addition to the lawsuit filed by Earth Island Institute, the WWF is calling on governments to support further research into the consequences on living organisms when microplastics are ingested. In their analysis, they note:23

“The current global approach to addressing the plastic crisis is failing. Governments play a key role to ensure all actors in the plastic system are held accountable for the true cost of plastic pollution to nature and people.”

You can help by supporting legislation that is aimed at holding companies accountable for the pollution they create. For example, New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall introduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, which requires companies selling plastic products to pay for “end-of-life” initiatives that ensure plastic does not end up polluting the environment.24

Bills like this need your support since the industry has deep pockets and its players are notorious for their extensive lobbying and public relations expertise. It’s also important to remember the significant impact you can have by making simple changes in your daily life. Below is a sampling of strategies that can help:

Don’t use plastic bags. Opt for reusable bags, especially for groceries

Bring your own mug for a coffee drink; skip the lid and straw

Instead of buying bottled water, bring water from home in a glass water bottle

Make sure the items you recycle are actually recyclable

Store foods in glass containers or Mason jars, not plastic containers or freezer bags

Bring your own leftovers container when eating out

Avoid processed foods, which are typically sold with plastic wrapping or plastic-lined paper boxes. Buy fresh produce and use vegetable bags brought from home

Request no plastic wrap on your newspaper and dry cleaning

Use nondisposable razors, cloth diapers and rags. (Old shirts and socks make great cleaning rags)

Avoid disposable utensils and straws and buy foods in bulk when you can

Buy clothes and other items at secondhand stores. Microfibers found in newer clothing can be as destructive as plastic grocery bags

Buy infant toys and even pet toys made of wood or untreated fabric, not plastic

Coronavirus Fraud Scandal — The Biggest Fight Has Just Begun

The video announcement1,2,3,4 above by Dr. Reiner Fuellmich5 is long, but I strongly recommend listening to it in its entirety. Fuellmich has been a consumer protection trial lawyer in California and Germany6 for 26 years and is one of four founding members of the German Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (Außerparlamentarischer Corona Untersuchungsausschuss7),8,9 launched July 10, 2020.

The other three founding members, all lawyers, are Viviane Fischer, Antonia Fischer and Justus P. Hoffmann, Ph.D.10 Fuellmich is heading up the committee’s corona crisis tort case. All meetings are live-streamed and available on the Committee’s YouTube channel11 (at least for now).

According to Fuellmich, an international class-action lawsuit will be filed against those responsible for implementing the economically devastating lockdowns around the world, as well as using fraudulent testing to engineer the appearance of a dangerous pandemic.

This includes everyone from local policy makers all the way to the World Health Organization and drug companies. He claims more than 50 other countries will be following suit.

“I have been practicing law primarily as a trial lawyer against fraudulent corporations such as Deutsche bank, formerly one of the world’s largest and most respected banks, today one of the most toxic criminal organizations in the world;

VW, one of the world’s largest and most respected car manufacturers, today notorious for its giant diesel fraud; and Cunard and Niagara the world’s largest shipping company. We’re suing them in a multi-million-dollar bribery case,” Fuellmich says.

“All the above-mentioned cases of corruption and fraud committed by the German corporations pale in comparison in view of the extent of the damage that the corona crisis has caused and continues to cause. This corona crisis, according to all we know today, must be renamed a corona scandal; and those responsible for it must be criminally prosecuted and sued for civil damages.”

Exposing Corrupt Agendas

Fuellmich stresses that, on a political level, all-out efforts must be made to ensure “that no one will ever again be in a position of such power as to be able to defraud humanity, or to attempt to manipulate us with their corrupt agendas.”

To that end, the Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee will be working with an international network of lawyers to argue the most massive tort case ever — a case Fuellmich describes as “probably the greatest crime against humanity ever committed.”

As explained by Fuellmich, crimes against humanity, first defined during the Nuremberg trials following World War II, are today regulated in Section 7 of the International Criminal Code. The three questions the committee seeks to answer through judicial means are:

1. Is there a COVID-19 pandemic or is there only a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test pandemic?

Specifically, does a positive PCR test result mean that the individual is infected with SARS-CoV-2 and has COVID-19, or does it mean absolutely nothing in connection with the COVID-19 infection?

2. Do pandemic response measures such as lockdowns, mask mandates, social distancing and quarantine regulations serve to protect the world’s population from COVID-19, or do these measures serve only to make people panic?

Are these measures intended to sow “panic in order to make people believe, without asking any questions, that their lives are in danger, so that the pharmaceutical and tech industries can generate huge profits from the sale of PCR tests, antigen and antibody tests and vaccines, as well as the harvesting of our genetic fingerprints?”

3. Is it true that the German government was massively lobbied — more so than any other country — by the chief protagonists of this COVID-19 pandemic?

According to Fuellmich, Germany “is known as a particularly disciplined country and was therefore to become a role model for the rest of the world for its strict and, of course, successful adherence” to pandemic measures.

Answers to these questions are urgently needed, he says, because SARS-CoV-2, which is touted as one of the most serious threats to life in modern history, “has not caused any excess mortality anywhere in the world.”

Pandemic measures, on the other hand, have “caused the loss of innumerable human lives, and have destroyed the economic existence of countless companies and individuals worldwide,” Fuellmich says.

He points out that in Australia, residents are now thrown into prison if they do not comply with mask rules, and in the Philippines, people can be shot dead if they defy lockdown orders or don’t wear a mask.12,13 During the first week of April 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced he would “not hesitate” to kill anyone challenging his pandemic restrictions:14,15

“I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and military, as well as village officials, if there is any trouble, or occasions where there’s violence and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead.

Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you. Do not intimidate the government. Do not challenge the government. You will lose,” Duterte said.

This hardly seems to be a strategy aimed at preserving life. Fuellmich goes on to present “the facts as they present themselves,” based on expert testimony collected by the committee so far.

The German Congress on Global Health

According to Fuellmich, in May 2019, and again in early 2020, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Germany held a congress on global health. In addition to political leaders, including Mr. Tedros Adhanom, head of the WHO, and German health officials, speeches were also given by chief lobbyists of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. 

“Less than a year later these very people called the shots in the proclamation of the worldwide corona pandemic, made sure that mass PCR tests were used to prove mass infections with COVID-19 all over the world, and are now pushing for vaccines to be invented and sold worldwide,” Fuellmich says.

“These infections, or rather the positive test results that the PCR tests delivered, in turn became the justification for worldwide lockdowns, social distancing and mandatory face masks.”

He also points out that the very definition of “pandemic” was altered 12 years ago. Originally, a pandemic was defined as a disease that spread worldwide, resulting in widespread serious illness and deaths. Twelve years ago, the definition was changed to reflect a disease that spreads worldwide only. “Many serious illnesses and many deaths were not required anymore, to announce a pandemic,” he says.

The Swine Flu Pandemic That Wasn’t

This change to the definition of a pandemic is what allowed the WHO to declare the swine flu a pandemic in June 2009,16 which resulted in the sale of many millions of dollars of fast-tracked swine flu vaccines. Within months, cases of disability and death from the H1N1 vaccine were reported in various parts of the world.

In the aftermath, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) questioned the WHO’s handling of the pandemic. In June 2010, PACE concluded “the handling of the pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), EU health agencies and national governments led to a ‘waste of large sums of public money, and unjustified scares and fears about the health risks faced by the European public.'”17

Specifically, PACE concluded there was “overwhelming evidence that the seriousness of the pandemic was vastly overrated by WHO,” and that the drug industry had influenced the organization’s decision-making.

A joint investigation by the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) also uncovered serious conflicts of interest between the WHO — which promoted the global vaccination agenda — and the drug companies that created those vaccines.18 As noted by Fuellmich:

“These vaccines proved to be completely unnecessary because the swine flu eventually turned out to be a mild flu and never became the horrific plague that the pharmaceutical industry and its affiliated universities kept announcing it would turn into, with millions of deaths certain to happen, if people didn’t get vaccinated.

These vaccines also led to serious health problems: about 700 children in Europe fell incurably ill with narcolepsy and are now forever severely disabled. The vaccines bought with millions of taxpayers’ money had to be destroyed, with even more taxpayers’ money.”

The Virologist Responsible for Germany’s Lockdown Orders

One of the characters that drummed up panic in 2009 with his doomsday prophesies was German virologist Christian Drosten, head of the Institute of Virology at the University of Bonn Medical Centre, best known for developing the first diagnostic test for SARS in 2003. He also developed a diagnostic test for the swine flu.19

Drosten spoke at the 2019 CDU congress on global health, and according to Fuellmich, when it came time to decide on a response for COVID-19, the German government relied on the opinion of Drosten alone. 

“In an outrageous violation of the universally accepted principle audiator at ultra parse, which means that one must also hear the other side, the only person they listened to was Mr. Drosten, that is, the very person whose horrific panic-inducing prognosis had proved to be catastrophically false 12 years earlier,” Fuellmich says.

Meanwhile, many “highly renowned scientists” painted a completely different picture of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them, professor John Ioannidis of Stanford University in California; professor Michael Levitt, a biophysicist at Stanford University and Nobel prize winner for chemistry; German professors Karin Mulling, Sucharit Bhakdi, Klud Wittkowski and Stefan Homburg.

Dr. Mike Yeadon, former vice president and scientific director of Pfizer, is also on this list. Yeadon recently went on record stating “there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen,” and that false positive results from unreliable PCR tests are being used to “manufacture a ‘second wave’ based on ‘new cases.'”20

“They assumed, and still do assume, that there was no disease that went beyond the gravity of the seasonal flu; that the population had already acquired cross or T-cell immunity against this allegedly new virus; and that there was therefore no reason for any special measures and certainly not for vaccinations,” Fuellmich says.

He also quotes21 from a scientific paper published in September 2020 by Yeadon and colleagues, in which they state:

“We’re basing our government policy, our economic policy and the policy of restricting fundamental rights presumably on completely wrong data and assumptions about the coronavirus. If it weren’t for the test results that are constantly reported in the media, the pandemic would be over, because nothing really happened.”

Situational Analysis

Commenting on “the current, actual situation regarding the virus’s danger; the complete uselessness of PCR tests for the detection of infections; and the lockdowns based on nonexistent infections,” Fuellmich states:

“We know that the health care systems were never in danger of becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19. On the contrary, many hospitals remain empty to this day and some are now facing bankruptcy. The hospital ship Comfort which anchored in New York at the time, and could have accommodated a thousand patients, never accommodated more than some 20 patients.

Nowhere was there any excess mortality. Studies carried out by Professor Ioannidis and others have shown that the mortality of corona is equivalent to that of the seasonal flu; even the pictures from Bergamo and New York that were used to demonstrate to the world that panic was in order proved to be deliberately misleading.

Then, the so-called ‘panic paper’ was leaked which was written by the German Department of the Interior. Its classified content shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that in fact the population was deliberately driven to panic by politicians and mainstream media. 

The accompanying irresponsible statements of the head of the RKI, remember the CDC, Mr. Wieler who repeatedly and excitedly announced that the corona measures must be followed unconditionally by the population, without them asking any question shows that he followed the script verbatim.

In his public statements, he kept announcing that the situation was very grave and threatening although the figures compiled by his own institute proved the exact opposite. Among other things, the panic paper calls for children to be made to feel responsible, and I quote, ‘for the painful tortured death of their parents and grandparents if they do not follow the corona rules.'”

Fuellmich goes on to cite data showing that in Bergamo, Italy, 94% of deaths were not the result of COVID-19 infection spreading wild but, rather, the consequence of the government’s decision to transfer sick patients from hospitals to nursing homes, where they spread infection — colds, flu and SARS-CoV-2 — among the old and frail.

This was also done by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo,22 in direct violation of federal guidelines,23 as well as in Minnesota, Ohio,24 Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and California.25 Fuellmich also points out the routine malpractice that occurred in some New York hospitals, where all suspected COVID-19 patients were placed on mechanical ventilation, which turned out to be a death sentence.

“Again, to clarify, COVID-19 … is a dangerous disease, just like the seasonal flu is a dangerous disease, and of course COVID-19, just like the seasonal flu, may sometimes take a severe clinical course and will sometimes kill patients,” Fuellmich says.

“However, as autopsies have shown, which were carried out in Germany, in particular by the forensic scientist Professor Klaus Püschel in Hamburg, the fatalities he examined had almost all been caused by serious pre-existing conditions and almost all of the people who had died, had died at a very old age, just like in Italy, meaning they had lived beyond their average life expectancy.

In this context, the following should also be mentioned: the German RKI, that is again the equivalent of the CDC, had initially, strangely enough, recommended that no autopsies be performed and there are numerous credible reports that doctors and hospitals worldwide had been paid money for declaring a deceased person a victim of COVID-19 rather than writing down the true cause of death on the death certificate, for example a heart attack or a gunshot wound.

Without the autopsies, we would never know that the overwhelming majority of the alleged COVID-19 victims had died of completely different diseases but not of COVID-19.

Lockdowns Were and Are Unnecessary

Based on the expert testimony collected so far by Fuellmich and his colleagues, lockdowns were unnecessary, and any claim to the contrary is wrong. The three reasons for this are:

  1. Lockdowns were imposed at a time when the virus was already in retreat and infection rates were starting to decline
  2. Scientific evidence shows a majority of people already have built-in protection against the virus due to cross-reactive T cell immunity from exposure to cold and flu viruses26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35
  3. The PCR test — which is being used as a gauge of infection rates and a justification for restrictive measures — “do not give any indication of an infection with any virus let alone an infection with SARS-CoV-2”

The PCR Test Fraud

First of all, the PCR test have not been approved for diagnostic purposes. Its inventor, Kary Mullis, has repeatedly yet unsuccessfully stressed that this test should not be used as a diagnostic tool. As noted by Fuellmich:

“[PCR tests] are simply incapable of diagnosing any disease … A positive PCR test result does not mean that an infection is present. If someone tests positive, it does not mean that they’re infected with anything, let alone with the contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus. Even the United States CDC … agrees with this and I quote directly from page 38 of one of its publications on the coronavirus and the PCR tests dated July 13 2020:36

  • Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.
  • The performance of this test has not been established for monitoring treatment of 2019-nCoV infection.
  • This test cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens.

The PCR swabs take one or two sequences of a molecule that are invisible to the human eye and therefore need to be amplified in many cycles to make it visible. Everything over 35 cycles is … considered completely unreliable and scientifically unjustifiable.

However, the Drosten test as well as the WHO recommended tests … are set to 45 cycles. Can that be because of the desire to produce as many positive results as possible and thereby provide the basis for the false assumption that a large number of infections have been detected?”

Equally important is the fact that PCR tests cannot distinguish between inactive viruses and “live” or reproductive ones. As a result, they may pick up dead debris or inactive viral particles that pose no risk whatsoever to the patient and others. What’s more, the test can pick up the presence of other coronaviruses, so a positive result may simply indicate that you’ve recuperated from a common cold in the past.

“Even Drosten himself declared in an interview with a German business magazine in 2014 … that these PCR tests are so highly sensitive that even very healthy and non-infectious people may test positive,” Fuellmich notes.

“In my view, it is completely implausible that [Drosten] forgot in 2020 what he knew about the PCR tests and told the business magazine in 2014. In short, this test cannot detect any infection, contrary to all false claims stating that it can.

An infection, a so-called hot infection, requires that the virus … penetrates into the cells, replicates there and causes symptoms such as headaches or a sore throat. Only then is a person really infected, in the sense of a hot infection; because only then is a person contagious, that is, able to infect others.

Until then it is completely harmless for both the host and all other people that the host comes into contact with … A number of highly respected scientists worldwide assume that there has never been a corona pandemic but only a PCR test pandemic …

Dr. Yeadon, in agreement with the professors of immunology, Camera from Germany, Capel from the Netherlands and Cahill from Ireland as well as a microbiologist, Dr. Harvey from Austria, all of whom testified before the German corona committee, explicitly points out that a positive test does not mean that an intact virus has been found.”

In the September 20, 2020 article37 “Lies, Damned Lies and Health Statistics — The Deadly Danger of False Positives,” Yeadon details the problems with basing our pandemic response on positive PCR tests.

In summary, the PCR test simply measures the presence of partial DNA sequences that are present in a virus, but it cannot tell us whether that virus is active or inactive. Chances are, if you have no symptoms, a positive test simply means it has detected inactive viral DNA in your body. This would also mean that you are not contagious.

Collateral Damage

While mortality statistics during the pandemic have been within the norms of any given year,38,39 meaning the pandemic has not resulted in an excess number of deaths or a death toll higher than normal, the collateral damage from pandemic response measures is nearly incalculable. Public health, both physical and mental, as well as the global economy, have all suffered tremendous blows.

Fuellmich cites yet another leaked document written by a German official in the Department of the Interior, dubbed “the False Alarm paper,”40,41 which concludes that there’s no evidence to suggest SARS-CoV-2 posed a serious health risk for the population, at least the danger is no greater than that of many other viruses, while pandemic measures have “manifold” and “grave” consequences.

“This, he concludes, will lead to very high claims for damages, which the government will be held responsible for. This has now become reality but the paper’s author was suspended,” Fuellmich says.

“More and more scientists, but also lawyers, recognize that as a result of the deliberate panic-mongering and the corona measures enabled by this panic, democracy is in great danger of being replaced by fascist totalitarian models …

According to psychologists and psychotherapists who testified before the corona committee, children are traumatized en masse, with the worst psychological consequences yet to be expected in the medium and long term.

In Germany alone, 500,000 to 800,000 bankruptcies are expected in the fall to strike small and medium-sized businesses which form the backbone of the economy. This will result in incalculable tax losses and incalculably high and long-term social security money transfers for, among other things, unemployment benefits.”

Legal Consequences

In closing, Fuellmich reviews the legal consequences that are currently underway. This includes looking at the constitutionality of the measures. He notes:

“Very recently, a judge, Torsten Schleife … declared publicly that the German judiciary, just like the general public has been so panic-stricken that it was no longer able to administer justice properly. He says that the courts of law, and I quote:

‘Have all too quickly waved through coercive measures which for millions of people all over Germany represent massive suspensions of their constitutional rights.’ He points out that German citizens, again I quote:

‘Are currently experiencing the most serious encroachment on their constitutional rights since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. In order to contain the corona pandemic federal and state governments have intervened,’ he says, ‘massively and in part threatening the very existence of the country, as it is guaranteed by the constitutional rights of the people.'”

Then there are the issues of fraud, intentional infliction of damage and crimes against humanity. According to Fuellmich, there’s evidence showing a range of falsehoods and misrepresentations of facts have purposely been circulated, such that, based on the rules of criminal law, “it can only be assessed as fraud,” and “based on the rules of civil tort law, this translates into intentional infliction of damage.”

“The German professor of civil law, Martin Schwab, supports this finding in public interviews in a comprehensive legal opinion of around 180 pages. He has familiarized himself with the subject matter like no other legal scholar has done thus far and in particular has provided a detailed account of the complete failure of the mainstream media to report on the true facts of this so-called pandemic,” Fuellmich says.

“Under the rules of civil tort law, all those who have been harmed by these PCR tests, PCR tests induced lockdowns are entitled to receive full compensation for their losses. In particular, there is a duty to compensate, that is, a duty to pay damages, for the loss of profits suffered by companies and self-employed persons as a result of the lockdown, and other measures.

In the meantime, however, the anti-corona measures have caused and continue to cause such devastating damage to the world’s population’s health and economy that the crimes committed by Messrs Drosten, Wieler and the WHO must be legally qualified as actual crimes against humanity, as defined in Section 7 of the International Criminal Code.”

To address these grievances, the German Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee is prepared to file a class-action lawsuit — a legal remedy available in the U.S. and Canada — against the responsible parties.

It should be emphasized that nobody must join the class action, but every injured party can join the class action,” Fuellmich explains. “The advantage of the class action is that only one trial is needed, namely, to try the complaint of a representative plaintiff who is affected in a manner typical of everyone else in the class.”

Such a lawsuit would also open the door to pretrial discovery, which requires all relevant evidence to be presented to the other party. Destruction or withholding evidence has serious consequences, as “the party withholding or … destroying evidence loses the case under these evidence rules.”

In Germany, a group of tort lawyers have already started the process of disseminating information and legal forms, and estimating damages among German plaintiffs. Fuellmich concludes his announcement explaining how the lawsuit will proceed from here:

Initially, this group of lawyers had considered to also collect and manage the claims for damages of other non-German plaintiffs but this proved to be unmanageable.

However, through an international lawyers’ network, which is growing larger by the day, the German group of attorneys provides to all of their colleagues, in all other countries, free of charge, all relevant information, including expert opinions and testimonies of experts showing that the PCR tests cannot detect infections and they also provide them with all relevant information as to how they can prepare and bundle the claims for damages of their clients so that they too can assert their clients claims for damages either in their home countries, courts of law, or within the framework of the class action as explained above …

To the politicians, who believe those corrupt people, these facts are hereby offered as a lifeline, that can help you readjust your course of action and start the long overdue public scientific discussion and not go down with those charlatans and criminals.”

Why Are NAD+ Precursors so Important?

Niacin is a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a vital signaling molecule1 that’s also believed to play an important role in longevity. This is partly due to its role as an essential substrate for sirtuins,2 which are enzymes related to healthy aging, as well as its role in DNA repair.

NAD+ modulates energy production and many enzymes and in so doing controls hundreds of processes in your body including the survival of cells and energy metabolism. NAD+ is influenced on a daily basis by what you eat, exercise levels and more, and also declines with age, leading to changes in metabolism and an increased risk of disease.3

Boosting NAD+ levels may be akin to a fountain of youth, which is where NR comes in. While there are many ways to increase NAD+, including time-restricted eating and exercise while fasting, supplementation with NAD+ precursors may also be useful.

Why Is NR so Beneficial?

There are multiple precursors to NAD+, each with its own physiologic effects. Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a popular one with several notable benefits over other precursors like niacin (NA) and niacinamide (NAM). NA, for instance, may induce uncomfortable flushing, while NAM may inhibit sirtuin at high doses, both undesirable effects.4

“Therefore, administration of niacin or niacinamide is unlikely to be widely adopted for maintaining health and function with aging,” researchers wrote in Nature Communications.5 NR has also been shown to offer a variety of significant health benefits. Among them:6

Life extension — In yeast, NR elevates NAD+ and increases sirtuin 2 (SIRT2) function.7 It’s through these increases in NAD+ and sirtuin 2 that calorie restriction is believed to help extend lifespan in mice as well.8

Protects against weight gain — NR supplementation in mice increased NAD+ levels and activated SIRT1 and SIRT3, leading to enhanced oxidative metabolism and protecting against high-fat, diet-induced metabolic abnormalities, including obesity.

The researchers concluded, “Our results indicate that the natural vitamin NR could be used as a nutritional supplement to ameliorate metabolic and age-related disorders characterized by defective mitochondrial function.”9

Heart failure — In a mouse study, NR preserved cardiac function in mice with heart failure.10

Brain injury — NAD+ depletion is common in cases of neurodegeneration. In a mouse study, intracortical administration of NR helped protect against central brain injury.11

Noise-induced hearing loss — Administration of NR, even after exposure to loud noise, prevents noise-induced hearing loss by reducing neurite degeneration.12

Liver protection and antidiabetes effects — In prediabetic mice, NR improved glucose tolerance and reduced weight gain and liver damage. It also prevented fatty liver and helped prevent sensory neuropathy. The researchers concluded the results justified testing NR in humans with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.13

Stem cell regeneration — Among mice exposed to radiation, oral NR improved survival and hematopoietic stem cell regeneration—a benefit that wasn’t seen with in mice given NA or NAM.14

Reversal of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy — In rats, oral NR not only promoted resistance to chemotherapeutic neuropathy but also prompted its reversal.15

Reproductive benefits — Female mice and rats given NR had increased lactation and offspring with a number of health advantages, including increased strength, better memory, less anxiety and enhanced body composition and hippocampal neurogenesis as adults.16

NR Is a Superior Choice Among NAD+ Precursors

Because of its unique profile of benefits and low risks, NR has emerged as a popular choice, especially by its discoverer, biochemist Charles Brenner, among the NAD+ precursors. In Scientific Reports, researchers noted:17

“Because NR does not cause flushing or inhibit sirtuins and the genes (NRK1 and NRK2) required for the metabolism of NR to NAD+ are upregulated in conditions of metabolic stress, NR has a particularly strong potential as a distinct vitamin B3 to support human wellness during metabolic stress and aging.”

Further, according to scientists, these things combined make NR a popular choice for boosting NAD+:18

“NR has unique properties that differentiate it from both niacin and nicotinamide. Unlike niacin, NR does not cause flushing — even at high doses, NR has been shown to be safe in human studies at doses as high as 2000mg/day and does not inhibit sirtuins like nicotinamide. In fact, NR has been shown to activate sirtuins in multiple preclinical studies.

Furthermore, a preclinical study published in Nature Communications, demonstrated that when all three forms of vitamin B3 (niacin, nicotinamide, and NR) were tested head-to-head, NR was not only the most effective at increasing NAD? levels, but it was also the most effective at activating sirtuins.”

The Nature Communications study they referred to found, in fact, that single doses of 100, 300 and 1,000?milligrams (mg) of NR produced dose-dependent increases in NAD+ in humans. They also revealed that blood levels of NAD+ can rise as much as 2.7-fold after a single dose of NR.19

The scientists compared NR to a ski lift, citing that it provided a more direct route to increased NAD+ levels than NR or NAM:20

“NA and NAM both reach the top of the mountain (successfully produce NAD?), however, the paths are winding, and the path for NAM includes inefficiencies in the form of obstacles. Traveling these paths takes more time and energy, which ideally, we would like to conserve in efforts to maximize energy production. The path of NR to NAD? is analogous to the ease of using a ski lift to reach the top of a mountain.

It is much more direct, saving both time and energy — ultimately resulting in the greatest increase in cellular energy production. This concept is further supported by both preclinical and clinical research that suggest NR is the most efficient and effective form of vitamin B3 at boosting NAD? levels.”

Why Boosting NAD+ Is Important

As mentioned, the reason why researchers are so excited over NR is because it appears to efficiently and safely boost NAD+, which otherwise declines with age. In animal studies, restoring NAD+ levels in older or diseased individuals promoted better health ad extended life span, which suggests NAD-boosting molecules like NR have the potential to increase resilience, reduce disease and extend healthy lifespan in humans as well.21

As an aside, it may even have usefulness for COVID-19. According to David Sinclair with Harvard Medical School, the elderly tend to have higher levels of NLRP3 inflammasomes, which appear to be key culprits involved in cytokine storms, which can occur in COVID-19 patients. NLRP3 activity also appears to be influenced by NAD+ levels. Sinclair and colleagues explained in the journal Aging:22

“In older individuals, NLRP3 may be poised for hyperactivation by SARS-CoV-2 antigens. NLRP3 activity is under the direct control of sirtuin 2 (SIRT2), a member of the NAD+-dependent sirtuin family of deacetylases. During aging, NAD+ levels decline, reducing the activity of the sirtuins.

Old mice … have decreased glucose tolerance and increased insulin resistance. This decline, exacerbated by COVID-19, might promote hyperactivation of NLRP3 and the trigger [for] cytokine storms in COVID-19 patients.

Maintaining NAD+ levels may therefore alleviate COVID-19 symptoms, a possibility supported by recent data showing that SARS-CoV-2 proteins hyperactivate poly-ADP-ribose polymerases PARP9, -10, -12, and -14 and deplete cellular NAD+. Additionally, NAD+ precursors lower inflammation in human subjects.”

NAD+ May Be Depleted by 50% by Age 60

Research into NAD+ is still in its infancy, but James Clement, author of “The Switch: Ignite Your Metabolism With Intermittent Fasting, Protein Cycling, and Keto,”23 conducted his own research, starting with a clinical trial testing intravenous NAD+ in elderly people, in collaboration with Dr. John Sturges, who has integrated NAD therapy into his private practice.

Clement underwent the treatment himself, which involved an infusion of 1,000 mg of NAD+ per day for six straight days, and found it remarkably effective for tremors he’d had since he was 20 years old. In my interview with Clement, he stated:

“My hands would shake … It was just some neurological problem. It wasn’t the onset of Parkinson’s at 20 years old or anything else that anyone could point to. But surprisingly, within an hour or two of starting the IV infusion, my tremors went away completely, which I had had for the previous 40 years.

I noticed later that evening that I fell asleep and didn’t wake up during the middle of the night … I woke up way earlier than I normally would, completely refreshed and ready to get back to work. This was the same kind of experiences all of our elderly patients were telling us as well. We had several people who had tremors that went away.”

While he believes 1,000 mg may be too much for those who don’t have a severe NAD+ depletion — and is also cost prohibitive, at $1,000 per IV — he noted that many lifestyle factors can reduce your levels, including alcohol consumption.

Aging is another factor and, according to Clement, NAD+ may be depleted by 50% by the time you’re 60 (compared to in your 20s or 30s), and when you’re 70 you may only have 10% of the amount you did when you were younger.

“And then at 80, there’s almost none,” he said, adding that this will seriously impair your body’s ability to repair broken DNA. “You can see how this huge buildup of damaged DNA in every cell of your body is potentially one of the driving forces of these morbidities that you see with aging, heart disease, cancer [and] Alzheimer’s …”

How to Raise Your NAD+ Levels

I think it is best for everyone to make sure that they are getting about 25 mg of niacin per day. This can be done by using Chronometer.com, a free online nutrient analyzer, and/or taking a niacin supplement. Ideally it should be about 12.5 mg taken twice a day, which would be unlikely to cause flushing in most everyone.

Once you have done that you could use NR, but I believe NR has several major problems. One is that it is not inexpensive, although it certainly is less costly than using NAD+ directly. However, once you swallow it your liver detoxifies it and adds a methyl group to it so it tends not to form NAD+ as well in tissues outside the liver.

An alternative strategy would be to make a homemade rectal suppository and deliver the dose that way. This bypasses the liver and would supply the NR directly into your bloodstream. If you were to use NR this would be the better way to administer it.

If you’d prefer to avoid supplementation, there are additional strategies that can help. As mentioned, this includes exercise and time-restricted eating. It’s also important to remember that NR supplementation is not a magic potion.

To maximize its effects, you’ll want to use it in conjunction with an overall healthy lifestyle — one that involves optimizing your sleep, limiting EMF exposure, exercising, intermittently fasting and avoiding food for at least three hours before bed, lest your efforts all be in vain.

How Nitric Oxide Combats COVID-19

I’ve written many articles reviewing a wide variety of therapies demonstrated or hypothesized to have a positive impact on SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease progression. Now, we can add nitric oxide (NO) to the list — not to be confused with nitrous oxide (N2O, a sedative often referred to as laughing gas). According to Åke Lundkvist, a professor at Uppsala University who led the study1 in question:2

“To our knowledge, nitric oxide is the only substance shown so far to have a direct effect on SARS-CoV-2. Until we get a vaccine that works, our hope is that inhalation of NO might be an effective form of treatment. The dosage and timing of starting treatment probably play an important part in the outcome, and now needs to be explored as soon as possible.”

What Is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide (NO) is a soluble gas continually produced from the amino acid L-arginine inside your cells. While NO is a free radical, it’s also an important biological signaling molecule that supports normal endothelial function and protects your mitochondria — the little “power stations” in your cells that produce a majority of your body’s energy in the form of ATP.

It’s stored in the lining of your endothelium (blood vessels), and can be triggered either through exercise or dietary means. NO is a potent vasodilator, helping relax and widen the diameter of your blood vessels.

Healthy blood flow in turn allows for efficient oxygenation of tissues and organs, and aids in the removal of waste and carbon dioxide. Importantly, NO infuses into areas that are hypoxic, meaning in need of oxygen, and both your heart and brain3,4 are heavy oxygen users. NO also:

Improves your immune function, making your body better equipped to fight off foreign pathogens

Has powerful antibacterial potential

Protects your mitochondrial health

Helps maintain physiological homeostasis — For example, in your gut, NO regulates mucosal blood flow, intestinal motility and the thickness of mucus

Plays an important role in the homeostasis of reactive oxygen species, which can have a significant impact on metabolic pathways5

Helps suppress inflammation

Promotes angiogenesis, the formation of new, healthy blood vessels6

Helps improve your physical fitness — For example, raw beets have been shown to boost stamina during exercise by as much as 16% as a result of the increase in NO production7

Improves brain neuroplasticity by improving oxygenation of the somatomotor cortex, a brain area that is often affected in the early stages of dementia8,9

Helps reverse metabolic syndrome10 and has antidiabetic effects11,12

NO Effectively Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication

As mentioned, NO is known to have broad-spectrum antimicrobial effects, and Swedish researchers have now demonstrated that NO effectively inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro by targeting the SARS-CoV-2 main protease. The study13 in question was published in the October 2020 issue of Redox Biology. As explained in various sections of this paper:14

“Nitric oxide (NO) is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and a potent vasodilator that has proved to be effective in reducing SARS-CoV replication and hypoxia in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome …

NO has been demonstrated as an effective antiviral against SARS-CoV in vitro and in vivo by inhalation in very low concentrations in a small clinical trial.

Furthermore, inhaled NO improved arterial oxygenation in hypoxemic patients by redistributing blood flow in the lung to better ventilated regions, and counteracted blood clotting, both effects being of importance for COVID-19 patients.

The role of NO-inhalation in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has been proposed, but no clinical data has yet been reported. In the present study the antiviral effect of NO on SARS-CoV-2 infected cells was tested in vitro …

The NO-donor S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) had a dose dependent inhibitory effect on SARS-CoV-2 replication … SNAP (NO donor), but not NAP (NO-lacking version of SNAP) showed a dose dependent reduction of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA copy numbers, which proves that NO has an antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-2 and probably in the similar manner as previously described for SARS-CoV and other viruses …

Although the viral replication was not completely abolished (at 200 ?M and 400 ?M), SNAP delayed or completely prevented the development of viral cytopathic effect in treated cells, and the observed protective effect correlated with the level of inhibition of the viral replication.”

The image below compares and contrasts the cytopathic effects over time (24-hour intervals) between cells treated with SNAP (a NO donor) at 200 ?M and 400 ?M, and untreated controls. The cells are magnified 100 times.

cytopathic effects over time

SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Is an Attractive Drug Candidate

The SARS-CoV-2 main protease is a key enzyme in the virus’ life cycle,15 which makes it an attractive target for drug development.16 As explained in one Science paper,17 the SARS-CoV-2 main protease enzyme “cuts the polyproteins translated from viral RNA to yield functional viral proteins.”

By targeting this enzyme, researchers believe you can effectively combat SARS-CoV-2, and that is precisely what NO does. According to the Swedish researchers:18

Based on this study and previous studies on SARS-CoV in vitro, and in a small clinical trial, we conclude that NO may be applied for clinical use in the treatment of COVID-19 and other human coronavirus infections.”

How to Increase NO Production Naturally

While the Swedish researchers suggest using NO inhalation therapy — which is already used for conditions such as hypoxic respiratory failure in adults19 and respiratory failure in neonates20 — you could also boost your resilience against the virus by implementing lifestyle strategies that increase your natural NO production.

For clarity, these strategies would not be of immediate help if you come down with a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Rather, by increasing your body’s production of NO on a regular basis, the virus may be less likely to gain a foothold if you’re exposed to it. That said, three strategies that will increase NO production in your body include:

  1. Blood flow restriction training (BFR)21
  2. Getting sensible sun exposure on large portions of your body, as NO is released into your bloodstream when sunlight hits your skin22,23
  3. Eating nitrate-rich plant foods24,25,26 such as arugula and red beets. NO production can be further magnified by combining these foods with probiotics27

BFR Boosts Vascular Function by Increasing NO

To give you some more details about these strategies, BFR has been shown to improve your vascular function, and one of the ways by which it does this is by increasing NO production. As explained in a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Vascular Medicine:28

“… after several minutes of arterial cuff occlusion at proximal or distal portion in any artery, for example, brachial and popliteal artery, immediate cuff deflation can lead to increase shear stress induced by reactive hyperemia and activate endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase (eNOS).

This activation leads to a shear-stress-mediated augmented NO production in endothelial cells … NO bioavailability in the endothelial cell … is an important factor and predictor in protecting against cardiovascular disease.”

The local muscle hypoxia brought on by BFR exercise also significantly increases vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which act like “fertilizer” for your blood vessels. The medical term for this development of new blood vessels is angiogenesis. Angiogenesis, in turn, enhances NO bioavailability.

The following graph illustrates the vascular changes that occur in response to BFR. To learn more about BFR, including how to perform it properly, see “What You Need to Know About Blood Flow Restriction Training.”

vascular changes that occur in response to BFR

Whole Body UVA Irradiation Triggers NO Release

Next up: Sun exposure. It doesn’t get any easier than this, really. All you need to do is expose as much skin as possible to bright sunlight. As always, you’ll want to make sure you don’t stay out too long. Sunburn is counterproductive as it will only harm your skin. Once your skin turns the lightest shade of pink, move into the shade or put on clothing and a hat.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) and the near-infrared light spectrum both increase NO, so you’re getting that benefit from both ends of the light spectrum. As explained in a 2009 paper29 in the journal Circulation Research, when you expose your body to sunlight, photolabile NO derivates such as nitrite and S-nitroso thiols decompose and form vasoactive NO. (Photolabile means the compounds are altered or undergo chemical changes in response to light).

Eat a Nitrate-Rich Diet

Lastly, the dietary component. Dietary nitrates are converted into nitrites by oral bacteria during chewing. Once the nitrites are swallowed and come into contact with stomach acid, they get converted into NO. You can find more in-depth details about this conversion in “Top 9 Reasons to Optimize Your NO Production.” Nitrate-rich foods that can boost your NO level include:30,31,32

Arugula

Red beets / fermented beets

Rhubarb

Cilantro

Butter leaf lettuce

Spring greens like mesclun mix

Basil

Oak leaf lettuce

Swiss chard

As mentioned, taking a probiotic can optimize the NO production when eating nitrate-rich foods. The reason for this is because gut bacteria are involved in the first step of the NO metabolism chain. Probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus reduce nitrate to nitrite, the latter of which becomes a substrate for NO. So, by adding probiotics, you increase the NO substrate, which allows for higher levels of NO to be generated.

Aside from the many benefits already listed, NO has also been shown to improve muscle contractions in your diaphragm, thereby improving breathing. This, beside its antiviral effects, can have a direct benefit for COVID-19.

For the study,33 researchers split old mice into two groups. (For reference, the mice used in the study were 24 months old, which is equivalent to about 70 years of age in humans.) One group was given drinking water that contained sodium nitrate daily for 14 days. The other group was given plain water.

After the study period, they measured the isometric force and peak power of the diaphragm muscles in the mice and found that both significantly increased in the nitrate group. This increase in force and power translated to improved contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which can then improve lung function and breathing.

The increased power in the diaphragm could also help older people clear their lungs more effectively, which may help reduce the risk of developing infections. Your body’s ability to produce NO declines with age, so it’s important to take steps to increase your NO production as you get older. Respiratory muscle function also declines with age, contributing to breathing troubles, impaired airway clearance and a decreased quality of life.

Since nitrates can improve muscle function of the diaphragm, it may help improve the outlook for older populations with respiratory infections like COVID-19. Dietary nitrates also improve oxygen uptake by dilating the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles, like the diaphragm, and other cells.34

How Molecular Hydrogen Impacts NO Production


In conclusion, I’d like to address the detrimental side of NO, and how this plays into COVID-19. As explained by Tyler W. LeBaron in a recent video lecture featured in “How Molecular Hydrogen Can Help Your Immune System,” most of the destruction wrought by SARS-CoV-2 is through reactive oxygen species (ROS) and systemic inflammation.

And, as mentioned earlier, NO is both a free radical and a signaling molecule. As such, it can have either positive or negative effects, depending on its levels and what else is going on.

ROS are molecules that cause oxidative damage. However, they’re not all bad all the time. Neutrophils that produce ROS also produce NO and superoxide. Superoxide helps kill pathogens, but you also don’t want too much of it, so it needs to be regulated. The same goes for NO.

While NO can inhibit viral replication and boost your immune system, you don’t want too much, because as levels of superoxide and NO rise, they combine and form peroxynitrites, which are extremely damaging. Peroxynitrites in turn form hydroxyl radicals, the most cytotoxic ROS.

Normally, when superoxide has done its job, it’s converted by superoxide dismutase into hydrogen peroxide, which in turn is converted into water and oxygen. This process is regulated by a transcription factor called Nrf2/keap1.

When this transcription factor is activated, it triggers your body’s natural antioxidants such as glutathione and catalase. Nrf2 — which is involved in phase 2 detoxification — regulates more than 200 protective proteins and enzymes. The problem is that when ROS is overabundant and out of control, the Nrf2 system is depleted and can no longer regulate the inflammatory process.

Molecular hydrogen (H2 gas) has the ability to activate the Nrf2/keap1 pathway, thereby replenishing your endogenous antioxidants. In so doing, H2 helps regulate and maintain homeostasis in the whole system, preventing the infection from getting out of control and causing cell death.

H2 can also lower excessive NO and superoxide production by downregulating NOX and NOS enzymes. In a scenario such as COVID-19, this would be good, as when these two molecules are excessively elevated they combine to create the pernicious peroxynitrite molecule.

Considering very high levels of NO appear to be part of the COVID-19 disease process in the later stages, it seems NO inhalation therapy might be best suited in the early stages of infection, not the more advanced stages when inflammation is running wild.

As noted by the Front-Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance,35,36 peak viral replication takes place at the earliest signs of symptoms, which include cold/flu-like symptoms, loss of taste and smell, myalgia (muscle pain) and general malaise.

At this time, the focus should be on antiviral therapies — which is what NO inhalation therapy, in this case, could be designated as. As symptoms worsen, viral replication actually diminishes automatically, giving way to immune dysregulation, so at this point, NO might cause more problems than it solves.

Nebulized Hydrogen Peroxide — A Highly Effective Home Remedy


While unrelated to NO, I believe one of the most effective treatment options available is nebulized hydrogen peroxide. This is a home remedy I recommend everyone familiarize themselves with, as in many cases it can improve symptoms within mere hours. It is particularly effective in those who are in the later stages of the illness.

Dr. David Brownstein, who has successfully treated over 100 COVID-19 patients with nebulized hydrogen peroxide, published a case paper37 about this treatment in the July 2020 issue of Science, Public Health Policy and The Law. He also discusses its benefits in a recent interview I did with him.

In my April 2020 article, “Could Hydrogen Peroxide Treat Coronavirus?” I reviewed some of the basic science of how hydrogen peroxide works, as well as some of the studies assessing its therapeutic potential. The most relevant study38 was published in March 2020 in the Journal of Hospital Infection. They studied 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, and found it killed human coronaviruses, including the coronaviruses responsible for SARS and MERS.

Nebulized hydrogen peroxide is extremely safe. Brownstein has used it for 25 years with no ill effects being found. It’s also incredibly inexpensive, and you can administer it at home, without a prescription. In my view, it is one of the absolute best therapies for viral infections like SARS-CoV-2 or even worse respiratory viruses that will likely be unleashed in the future.

I strongly recommend buying a desktop nebulizer. It needs to produce a very fine mist, and desktop versions are stronger than handheld battery operated models. The one I use is the Pari Trek S Compressor Aerosol System with a face mask, (sold separately) not with the supplied mouth piece.

It is important to acquire the equipment and peroxide BEFORE you need it, as the sooner you treat the infection the better your results will be, although the testimonials are unbelievably impressive even in late stage illness. It is not necessary to treat yourself preventively, but only if you are sick or exposed to someone who is.

While I’ve been using a 0.1% dilution, Brownstein uses an even lower concentration of just 0.04%. Neither Brownstein nor I recommend using commercial 3% hydrogen peroxide found in most grocery stores, as it has potentially toxic chemical stabilizers in it. For optimal benefits, use food-grade peroxide and dilute it appropriately, using saline.

hydrogen peroxide dilution chart

To dilute 35% food-grade peroxide into a 0.04% solution, first dilute it down to 3% by mixing 1 part peroxide with 10 parts sterile water, then take 3 cubic centimeters (CCs) of that 3% dilution and add it to a 250CC bag of normal saline. This brings it down to a .04% hydrogen peroxide concentration. In the video above, I go over the basics of how to do nebulized peroxide.

What to Buy Now in Case of Another Lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted shortages in food and supplies that haven’t been seen since the Depression era. It also shifted, practically overnight, trends in consumer buying behaviors, turning previously mundane items into hot commodities.

Toilet paper, cleaning supplies and nonperishable foods flew off store shelves in the pandemic’s early days while, in the weeks and months that followed, disruptions in manufacturing and the supply chain contributed to shortages among lumber, appliances, aluminum cans, meat and even coins.1

Supplies of some of these items, like toilet paper, have rebounded in many parts of the world, but other staples, like hand soap, can still be hard to come by. It remains to be seen whether a “second wave” of COVID-19 will hit in the coming months, prompting additional lockdowns.

However, in the U.S., the government appears to be preparing citizens for the worst, even though indicators that track COVID-19-like illness and the percentage of laboratory tests that are positive for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — have decreased nationally since mid-July, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, also stated that Americans shouldn’t expect to return to normal anytime soon, even if a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine is released. “If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021,” he said in a news release.3

With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to be prepared in the event you find yourself quarantined, isolated or living in an area with strict lockdowns in place that trigger another round of panic buying.

Following are some of the most important items to stock up on now, but first it’s important to understand the psychological reasons why lockdowns may contribute to panic buying and increased hoarding — even when it’s not necessary.

Perceptions of Scarcity Trigger Panic Buying

In a letter to the editor of the journal Psychiatry Research, researchers noted that public health emergencies have prompted panic buying, or increased buying behaviors, since ancient times.4 There are some psychological explanations, including the fact that a perception of scarcity is linked with panic buying and hoarding, along with feelings of insecurity that trigger people’s desire to collect things.

At the same time, a pandemic can contribute to the perception that you’re losing control over your environment, and along with it induce fear and anxiety. When you feel you can’t control the pandemic, the ability to control your purchases and collect necessities may help bring back a sense of control.

Meanwhile, the stockpiling of goods may be perceived as a method of preparing for and coping with pandemics, and when people see others in their community panic buying, “people tend to indulge to buy madly,” they wrote, adding that it may be a form of herd instinct.

That being said, it’s often the case that people overestimate the risk of danger and underestimate the options for relief, and this lack of trust and belief that resources could be exhausted also triggers panic buying. Importantly, sensationalized movies, media reports and fear-mongering also contribute to unnecessary panic, which is why sometimes turning off the news is your best recourse for staying sane:5

“Sometimes people get threatening perception from the media reports that people are buying more excessively than before; there is a possibility of a global crisis. Sometimes, the media reports the crisis in a sensational way which raises more panic. Another important factor is the way the viruses or any pandemic has been portrayed in the movies. People tend to learn from them and try to imitate whenever they are faced with pandemics.”

Stock Up on These Eight Items First

The items that follow are important for health and hygiene. Some of them quickly became in short supply when the recent lockdowns were imposed, while others may help you stay well and avoid infectious diseases. All of them can also be stored for longer periods, making them ideal staples during a lockdown.

1. Air Purifiers — Air purifiers have proven health benefits,6 and in the case of COVID-19 may help to remove some of the virus from the air. Air purifiers with a HEPA filter remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of .3 microns.

In one study of air purifiers in dental clinics, where saliva is frequently aerosolized, the use of air purifiers reduced employee exposure to aerosols by 80% to 95% and researchers concluded, “It is highly advisable to use air purifiers as an easy-to-use, portable, inexpensive, and high-efficiency precaution measure.”7

2. Toilet Paper or a Bidet and Feminine Hygiene Products — As we saw in March 2020, toilet paper is a popular item to hoard during lockdowns and many stores still have limits on how much you can purchase at once. Picking up an extra package or two when you shop can help you avoid an uncomfortable situation later if supplies once again become scarce.

Installing a bidet, which works by aiming a small stream of water around your anus to rinse off any material that’s left after you’ve had a bowel movement, is another option — one that has the added benefit of being more sustainable than toilet paper.

Online searches for bidets are on the rise, and increased 304% from March to April 2020,8 which means they become a highly sought-after item if another lockdown happens and toilet paper supplies dwindle once again.

Shortages of disposable menstrual products have also been reported, not only in the U.S. but also in the U.K., Fiji and India.9 In addition to stocking up on organic cotton feminine hygiene products, you may want to consider reusable options like organic cloth pads and menstrual cups.

3. Meat — Tyson, JBS USA, Smithfield Foods and Cargill Inc. control the majority of U.S. meat and poultry, most of which gets processed in a limited number of large plants. Because the processing is concentrated into a small number of large facilities, closures have serious effects on the meat supply.

A U.S. government statement noted in April 2020, “[C]losure of any of these plants could disrupt our food supply and detrimentally impact our hardworking farmers and ranchers.”10

While the move to keep meat and poultry processing plants open during the height of the U.S. pandemic was met with criticism from unions calling for increased protections for workers in the cramped conditions, the government cited statistics that closing one large beef processing plant could lead to a loss of more than 10 million servings of beef in a day.

Further they noted that closing one processing plant can eliminate more than 80% of the supply of a given meat product, such as ground beef, to an entire grocery store chain.11 Fortunately, meat can easily be frozen, so your best bet is to find a local, grass fed meat farmer and purchase a large share of meat that can last you for a month or more at a time.

4. Canned Alaskan Salmon — Canned salmon labeled “Alaskan Salmon” is a healthy, affordable food that can be stored for long periods of time. Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, with its rich concentration of beneficial omega-3 fats, is, in fact, close to a perfect food. People with the highest levels of omega-3 fats lived for 2.22 more years after age 65 than those with the lowest, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.12

The researchers suggested eating one to two servings of fatty fish per week could lead to health benefits, such as extended lifespan and a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.13

Salmon also contains beneficial B vitamins, which are important for energy production and have anti-inflammatory benefits, and the trace mineral selenium, which has antioxidant properties. Phosphorus and magnesium — important for bone health — can also be found in salmon, as can astaxanthin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that’s beneficial for heart and immune system health and has anticancer properties.14

Eating salmon regularly may reduce your risk of heart disease by increasing your omega-3 levels,15 support healthy weight loss16 and protect your brain health, even leading to slower cognitive decline with age.17 All this from a food that you can store on a shelf and stock up on, even in the midst of a pandemic.

5. Vitamin C — In my March 17, 2020, interview with Dr. Andrew Saul, editor-in-chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, he mentioned being in contact with a South Korean medical doctor who is giving patients and medical staff an injection of 100,000 IUs of vitamin D along with as much as 24,000 mg (24 grams) of IV vitamin C. “He’s reporting that these people are getting well in a matter of days,” Saul says.

As explained by Saul, vitamin C at extremely high doses acts as an antiviral drug, actually killing viruses. While it does have anti-inflammatory activity, which helps prevent the massive cytokine cascade associated with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, its antiviral capacity likely has more to do with it being a non-rate-limited free radical scavenger.

Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., also noted that vitamin C may be protective against respiratory diseases. In one study, people with the highest vitamin C levels were 15% less likely to develop respiratory conditions compared to those with the lowest levels.18

For the actual treatment of sepsis and/or COVID-19, the dosages needed generally require IV administration. That said, Dr. Robert Rowen, whom I’ve interviewed about the use of vitamin C and ozone therapy for COVID-19, suggests taking upward of 6 grams (6,000 mg) per hour for acute illness, to simulate intravenous administration levels.

While doses higher than 20 grams per day of oral non-liposomal vitamin C typically result in loose stools, you can take up to 100 grams (100,000 mg) of liposomal or IV vitamin C without encountering such problems.

Prophylactically, it is not recommended to take such high doses, however. In fact, I discourage people from taking mega doses of vitamin C on a regular basis if they’re not actually sick, because in high doses it is essentially a drug — or at least it works like one — and doing so could result in nutritional imbalances.

6. Zinc — Zinc is an essential mineral that may help thwart a COVID-19 infection. Zinc is important to your immune health as it not only helps halt the replication of viruses inside the cells,19 but also functions as a signaling molecule for the body’s T-cells, which are white cells tasked with destroying infected cells.20

Research is also underway at Cleveland Clinic in Florida, where they will investigate whether newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients are less likely to require hospitalization when given vitamin C and zinc.21 They’ll also assess whether the combo might reduce disease severity and duration. The goal is to enroll 520 patients and start them on the supplements within two days of diagnosis. 

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko is among those who have also published the positive effects using a protocol with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc sulfate.22 In the Zelenko protocol, hydroxychloroquine functions as a zinc ionophore, moving zinc into the cells where it halts the replication of the virus.

This allows him to prescribe lower doses since zinc is the key component of the treatment. According to Zelenko, the combination of zinc and a zinc ionophore can be used preventively to reduce the risk of acquiring a COVID-19 infection.

7. Quercetin — Zelenko notes that if people cannot get HCQ to move zinc into the cells, then quercetin is a second option.23 In much the same way Zelenko uses hydroxychloroquine and zinc as a preventative against COVID-19, you have access to quercetin and zinc to perform the same function.

Vitamin C and quercetin also have synergistic effects that make them useful in the prevention and early at-home treatment of COVID-19. Both are part of the MATH+ protocol developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC), which recommends vitamin C, quercetin, zinc, melatonin and vitamin D3 for COVID-19 prophylaxis.24

8. Vitamin D — Vitamin D is also noteworthy in terms of COVID-19, as an analysis of medical records revealed a direct correlation between levels of vitamin D and the severity of illness in people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.25

In addition to that, vitamin D lowers viral replication,26 boosts your overall immune function by modulating both innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces respiratory distress,27 improves overall lung function and helps produce surfactants in your lungs that aid in fluid clearance.28

To improve your immune function and lower your risk of viral infections, you’ll want to raise your vitamin D to a level between 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) and 80 ng/mL.

In Europe, the measurements you’re looking for are 150 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and 200 nmol/L. An easy and cost-effective way of measuring your vitamin D level is to order GrassrootsHealth’s vitamin D testing kit and learn more about vitamin D and its impact on your health.

Get Prepared, Not Panicked

Panic is contagious, which means the more panic buying that ensues, the more shortages are likely to continue. In addition to the list above, a number of additional products have also faced shortages, including things you wouldn’t expect, like mushrooms, carbon dioxide (such as that used in seltzer water and beer) and yeast.29

Other items have also been placed in high demand due to changing lifestyles, which are more focused on the home. Home exercise equipment, board games, sewing machines and bicycles are examples of items that you may want to purchase sooner rather than later if you’re at all in the market.

The key to remember, however, is to avoid buying into the panic and instead stay sensible. Get prepared and stock up on the things you’ll use and that promote your health and well-being, but avoid purchasing products solely out of fear or the perception of scarcity.

One of my most important foods are grass fed bison and lamb. Since the shortages in the spring I now keep a four- to six-month supply in my freezer as a contingency plan for whatever craziness is fostered in the next “plandemic.”

Why Mattress Coolers Are Gaining Popularity

In a fast-paced society where productivity is often prized more than rest and relaxation, sleep has become an undervalued commodity. Yet, as science has found, sleep is necessary for optimal health, and it is one of the foundational pillars on which your longevity rests.1

After years of research and analysis, scientists have also found there are unique changes that happen in the body during sleep to help protect your brain and overall health. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the quantity and quality of sleep have been negatively impacted.2 Sleep neurologists are calling the resulting sleep disturbances “COVID-Somnia.”3

Neurology Today reports that from February 16 to March 15, 2020, prescriptions for medications used for sleep problems rose 14.8% compared to the same period in 2019.4 This was well before the U.S. experienced the first lockdown in California on March 17, 2020.5 In other words, anticipation of a potential event raised anxiety levels and made it more difficult for people to sleep.

Experts from the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep list other factors that have also created a rising challenge with sleep disorders, including disrupted daily schedules, reduced exposure to sun in the mornings, more napping during the day and excessive use of digital media in the evening.

Dr. Rachel Salas, associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, spoke with a reporter from Neurology Today and described the situation:6

“All our patients are suffering from shifts in their sleep patterns due to their fears about getting the virus, concerns about loved ones, not being able to go to work, not having social contact with others.

Some of them now meet the diagnostic criteria for chronic insomnia: not being able to fall asleep within 30 minutes more than three times a week for more than three months. They get into bed, the brain kicks in, they start worrying if they’re going to lose their job, if their family member is going to survive, and they literally cannot fall asleep.”

In addition to discovering the small things you can do that a big difference in the quality of your sleep, it may also help reduce concerns by learning how you can take control of your health. One of the simplest, most effective and easiest ways to reduce your risk of COVID-19 and the severity of illness is to raise your vitamin D levels, which I discuss in “Vitamin D Cuts Sars-CoV-2 Infection Rate by Half.”

Mattress Coolers Help Challenges With Foam Mattresses

A 2016 study reported in BedTimes Magazine revealed that specialty bedding is purchased by nearly 30% of people, including 16% who buy foam-only mattresses.7 CNBC reports there are nearly 175 online companies shipping foam bed-in-a-box mattresses directly to your front door.8

CNBC also reports that the International Sleep Products Association survey in 2018 showed that 45% of mattresses purchased that year were online.9 Foam mattresses were first introduced in the 1950s but initially had little impact on innerspring mattress sales.10

By the 1960s the U.S. space program sought to modify the current foam product for the astronauts’ seat cushions. The ability of the foam to contour to the body is triggered by body heat. The rising popularity of these mattresses has likely sparked the development of a new product designed to keep sleepers cool at night.

Traditional innerspring mattresses naturally provide good air flow throughout the product and help your body to regulate temperature.11 However, the design of a memory foam mattress reduces air flow as it absorbs heat from your body to trigger the contouring effect that many find more comfortable.12

There are a variety of products that attempt to address the concerns of “sleeping hot” on a foam mattress. These include foam mattresses with built-in stretch knit toppers to wick away moisture and keep you cool, and traditional spring mattresses with foam toppers covered in organic cotton.13 Other companies have developed separate toppers for memory foam to help absorb moisture and regulate heat.14

The Importance of Temperature Control at Night

Companies advertise additional benefits to using a topper such as extending the life of your mattress, isolating movements from your partner or pet and providing relief to tired joints. Choices in material, firmness level, size and cost are available. Another option is a water-cooling topper system, which uses a thermal control unit to regulate the temperature of the mattress.15

Some, like Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D., are satisfied with their cooling mattress.16 Yet, not all cooling mattresses help all people. If you choose to try one there are a couple of factors you may consider:

Refund — It’s important you are covered by a money-back guarantee. Until you know it improves your sleep quality, it’s best to be able to return your mattress since it can be costly.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) — The goal is to radically reduce or completely eliminate exposure to EMF. To accomplish this with an electrical device, consider using a shielded cable running from a wall socket in another room.

Cooling mattresses have likely found a market since memory foam creates heat that may offset the ambient temperature. Cold and heat exposure during sleep influence your sleep quality and therefore your health. Greater amounts of heat can affect the first segment of sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep naturally, increasing wakefulness and decreasing rapid eye movement.17

Subjective data from 765,000 people in the U.S. showed that increases in nighttime temperatures increased self-reported nights of insufficient sleep.18 Other data also indicate that high temperatures affect multiple aspects of sleep, leading to:19

  • Worse sleep duration
  • Shallow sleep
  • Less sleep calmness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Lower sleep satisfaction

On the other hand, cold exposure affects the later stages of sleep. In a real life setting experimental design, researchers found there were no differences in observed sleep patterns when people slept in rooms between 55.4 degrees F (13 C) and 73.4 degrees F (23 C).20

When you go to sleep, your core temperature goes down, and as you wake up it rises.21 However, this does not affect your peripheral skin temperature, which plays a role in maintaining your core temperature by adjusting blood flow to your skin.

Your core and peripheral skin temperatures are influenced by your sleep environment, including your clothing, ambient room temperature and the number of blankets used. Increasing your skin temperature just 0.72 degrees F (0.4 degrees Celsius) can suppress nighttime wakefulness and shift your sleep into deeper stages.22

Weighted Blankets May Also Improve Sleep Quality

Both the quality and quantity of sleep are important to your health. Experts recommend sleeping at least seven hours each night on a regular basis.23 A second option to help improve sleep quality is using weighted blankets.

According to one study, Swedish researchers found that people with psychiatric disorders who also had insomnia reported better sleep and less daytime sleepiness when they used a weighted blanket.24

The authors of the study engaged 120 people who were randomized into one of two groups who either used a weighted chain blanket or a light plastic chain blanket for four weeks. They concluded that the weighted blanket was an:25

“… effective and safe intervention for insomnia in patients with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also improving daytime symptoms and levels of anxiety.”

Weighted blankets work by applying deep pressure stimulation that lowers neurological arousal. They reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system, while at the same time increasing activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

This lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and induces a feeling of relaxation and calm.26 Additionally, weighted blankets help release serotonin that regulates sleep and oxytocin that helps reduce pain and stress.27

The authors of one study published in 2015 in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders engaged 33 participants who had complaints of chronic insomnia.28 The study lasted four weeks and the participants acted as their own control group, with the researchers taking a baseline pretest and posttest measurements.

The researchers found the blankets were “effective at improving sleep quality in recognized insomniacs, both in parameters measured objectively and subjectively.” In a separate study, scientists enrolled children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and measured objective and subjective parameters.29

They discovered that “ball” blankets improved the time it took the children to fall asleep and the number of times they woke up during the night; the blankets also reduced the number of nights it took the child more than 30 minutes to fall asleep from 19% to zero. Dr. Cristina Cusin, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, spoke with a reporter from Harvard Health Publishing, saying:30

“Weighted blankets have been around for a long time, especially for kids with autism or behavioral disturbances. It is one of the sensory tools commonly used in psychiatric units.”

Surprising Benefits to Sleeping Naked

Evidence suggests that ditching your sleepwear may have several benefits. Many of the health benefits come from preventing overheating from sleeping in a home that may be too warm.

Another benefit includes activating your body’s brown fat. This is a type of fat that helps regulate temperature by generating heat. People with higher levels of brown fat have faster resting metabolisms, better blood sugar control and higher insulin sensitivity.31,32

Researchers found that sleeping in a chilled room doubled the amount of brown fat in participants.33 When your body is cooler at night it also helps reduce the production of cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.”34 This can help reduce anxiety and stress, as well as improve sleep quality.

Quality Sleep Protects Brain Health and More

It’s important to pay attention to some of the small changes you make in your sleep routine since it can pay big rewards in your overall health. For example, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center believe they discovered a clue as to why sleep is mandatory, especially for good brain health.35

During deep sleep, your brain uses a unique method to remove toxic waste, including harmful proteins that are linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. They also discovered the space between cells increases by 60% in deep sleep to allow for more efficient waste removal.36

The lead author of the article said, “In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.”37 To take advantage of these unique and vital functions during sleep, consider the tips I share in “The Many Health Benefits of Sleeping Naked.”

The Pharma Façade: More Hidden Money Going to Nonprofits

In the U.K., patient organizations are nonprofits made up of patients and caregivers that offer support and advocacy for those afflicted by certain health conditions.

Although they’re widely perceived as patient-oriented groups that serve the public, they often receive funding from pharmaceutical companies — a significant problem since such organizations are also increasingly involved in policy decisions and research.1

In fact, according to researchers from the University of Bath in the U.K. and Lund University in Sweden, patient organizations are closely involved in drug development and appraisals of health technologies by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE),2 which in turn provides guidance to England’s National Health Service (NHS).3

What’s more, the financial relationships between patient organizations and drug companies are often not transparent, with the pharmaceutical industry under-reporting payments.4

Payments Between Patient Organizations, Pharma Under-Reported

In order to evaluate the under-reporting of payments made by drug companies to patient organizations, the researchers compared payment disclosures from 87 companies to 425 patient organizations from 2012 to 2016. While 63, or 72.4%, of the drug companies reported payments, 84 of them, or 96.6% of them, were mentioned by patient organizations.

Further, while the drug companies listed 425 patient organizations, only 200 of them, or 47.1%, reported receiving payments. The number of payments reported by the drug industry was also higher, by 259.8%, than those reported by the patient organizations, as was the value of the payments, by 163.7%.5

“Both donors and recipients under-reported payments. Existing donor and recipient disclosure systems cannot manage potential conflicts of interest associated with industry payments,” the researchers concluded, adding that actual extent of under-reporting is unknown since there’s no definitive list of payments available.6

Drug Industry Largest Donor to Nonprofits

In separate research, the University of Bath and Lund University used drug company disclosure reports, patient organization websites and charity regulator records to look into donations made from 2012 to 2016. During this period, $73 million was donated by the drug industry to such organizations, with the annual sum more than doubling during the study period.7

Overall, 4,572 payments were disclosed by industry, which represented just one-sixth of funding to health care professionals and organizations in 2015 alone, and the number and value of payments to nonprofit patient organizations increased during the study period. While 20% of the total value was represented by the top five payments, small payments occurred most often.

Half the payments were about $6,369 annually or less, but as the researchers noted, “Small payments are potentially important, as findings from the U.S. show that even smaller amounts might affect physicians’ prescribing.”8

For instance, a New England Journal of Medicine study found that although doctors typically receive less than $1,000 a year in such perks, they may still influence opioid prescriptions. In fact, physicians who received perks from drug companies increased their opioid prescription rates by an average of 9% in the year after the payment.9

Further, the University of Bath and Lund University researchers noted, as is the case with payments to health care professionals, the largest donors to patient organizations were drug companies.10

Commercially Driven Conditions Prioritized

As for what activities got funded, those related to public involvement, such as communication related to advocacy, campaigning and disease awareness, were a top priority, receiving 31.2% of funds. Research activities were also well funded, receiving 24.6% of payments, while support for patients received only 5.9% of payments, followed by organizational maintenance and development, which received just 2.8%.

The priorities of drug industry funding were clearly based on PR, not patients, and are also apparently commercially driven, as conditions with the most commercial potential received the most funding. The researchers wrote in the BMJ:11

“In drug discovery, the industry prioritises investing in some conditions over others based on their commercial viability. Cancer in particular has a privileged place.

Our data show a similar pattern: of the 30 condition areas (or their combinations), the top five accumulated £39 423 529 (68.8%), with neoplasms alone attracting 36.4%. The second category — endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases — received 11.3%, and infectious and parasitic diseases 8.0%.

The hierarchy of funding within each condition area also reflected the industry’s commercial priorities. In neoplasms, multiple myeloma attracted £7 495 729 (35.9%), followed by breast cancer (19.6%); 26 other types of cancer attracted less than 10% of funding. Diabetes received £3 741 181 (57.6%), the most of any endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic disease.

The bulk of funding for certain infectious and parasitic diseases went to HIV (37.4%) and viral hepatitis (23.6%). Importantly, the biggest donors in these condition areas have recently launched several high priced drugs. Key examples include Pfizer (palbociclib for breast cancer), Takeda (ixazomib for myeloma), Lilly (dulaglutide for diabetes), Gilead (emtricitabine/tenofovir for HIV and sofosbuvir/ledipasvir for hepatitis C).”

Further, while 30 conditions were represented in the study, funding was concentrated to only a few nonprofits in each, with the top recipient getting an average of 65.6% of the funding within each condition area.12

US Nonprofits Also Heavily Industry-Funded

It’s worth noting that this isn’t a phenomenon that’s unique to the U.K. In the U.S., a 2017 study found that 67% of U.S. patient advocacy organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the National Organization of Rare Disorders — nearly all of which are nonprofits — received funding from for-profit companies.13

Among them, 12% received more than half of their funding from industry. In this case, pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology industries made up a median of 45% of industry funding.14 As in the U.K., the researchers noted that the findings question whether nonprofits are maintaining their independence and raise serious concerns about potential conflicts of interest:15

“Patient advocacy organizations engage in wide-ranging health activities. Although most PAOs receive modest funding from industry, a minority receive substantial industry support, raising added concerns about independence. Many respondents report a need to improve their conflict of interest policies to help maintain public trust.”

The Sunshine Act Highlighted Drug Industry Influence

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in 2013. For the first time, the Act required drug and medical device makers to collect and disclose any payments of more than $10 made to physicians and teaching hospitals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is in charge of implementing the Sunshine Act, which it has done via its Open Payments Program.16

Using the online Open Payments Program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, you can easily search to find out what (if any) payments your doctor has received from the pharmaceutical industry, along with the nature of the payments.

Investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker was instrumental in drafting and helping to pass the Sunshine Act. In a feature for the BMJ, he noted, “The Sunshine Act was congressional staff’s attempt to tackle many of the unseemly financial ties between physicians and industry that we kept uncovering when we examined problems with drugs and medical devices.”17

Since it was passed, global change has ensued and many other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Scotland, Slovenia and Turkey, have passed or considered similar laws.18 “My concern,” however, Thacker noted, “is that we are spending too much time wringing our hands about disclosing conflicts of interest instead of tackling the well documented problem of financial influence itself.”19

Drug Industry Funding Is Corrupting Research, Public Health

The drug industry’s influence on science is also problematic. It’s no secret that academic research is often funded by corporations. Academia often claims that such funding allows for innovation and does not influence the outcome of the studies. Industry, too, claims that such relationships do not influence the scientific process.

In a tongue-in-cheek essay in the British Medical Journal, titled “HARLOT — How to Achieve Positive Results Without Actually Lying to Overcome the Truth,”20 it’s wittily explained exactly how industry insiders can help make their agenda, in this case drugs, look good:21

“Pairing their drug with one that is known to work well. This can hide the fact that a tested medication is weak or ineffective.

Truncating a trial. Drugmakers sometimes end a clinical trial when they have reason to believe that it is about to reveal widespread side effects or a lack of effectiveness — or when they see other clues that the trial is going south.

Testing in very small groups. Drug-funded researchers also conduct trials that are too small to show differences between competitor drugs. Or they use multiple endpoints, then selectively publish only those that give favorable results, or they ‘cherry-pick’ positive-sounding results from multicenter trials.”

Another trick used by the drug industry involves foundations. A foundation is a nongovernmental entity that is typically established to make grants to institutions or individuals for scientific and other purposes. Donors often give money to foundations instead of to the university itself, in part, because foundations have a fiduciary responsibility to represent the donor’s interest.

Money given to a foundation can be kept private in order to protect the donor’s identity and does not become public record.22 So, it provides the perfect opportunity for industry corporations to pay for research on their behalf without receiving any public scrutiny for doing so. Likewise, Thacker noted:23

“Researchers have documented corporate influence skewing research in food, synthetic chemicals, risk analysis, pesticides, air pollution, genetic technology, and climate change.

Unlike medicine, these areas of science do not have the same volume of peer reviewed literature documenting corporate influence on academics, journals, regulatory bodies, and research. But these scientific disciplines have an enormous impact on public health.”

The BMJ is among those calling for a reduction in commercial influence in health care moving toward transparency and has launched a global initiative toward that end. In a press release, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, Dr. Fiona Godlee, said:24

“Patients and the public deserve to have evidence they can trust. Commercial influence has no place in scientific research, nor in the education and guidance of clinicians, nor in decisions about diagnosis and treatment. We hope that people around the world support our call for fundamental reforms.”

The journal plans to add more content to the collection to further understanding of the conflict of interest between commercial Industries and medical decisions.

They brought together experts from eight nations in medicine, law and philosophy to propose fundamental cultural changes with the intention of moving away from commercial influence. Hopefully this will prompt an emerging and widespread trend toward independence.