By Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. | 16 January 2021 BREITBART — Facebook has censored a video of Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara, for suggesting that globalist leaders are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to […]
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a member of the Asteraceae family and an herbaceous perennial native to Southern Europe and Asia. The plant enjoys full sun and grows to a height of nearly 5 feet. It blooms between July and August with deep purple to pink flowers.1
Throughout history, people have used the fruit and seeds of the milk thistle plant as a treatment for liver disorders. The plant goes by several other names, including Holy thistle, Mary thistle, Our Lady’s thistle, wild artichoke and St. Mary thistle.2
Traditionally, the leaves have been harvested to use in salads and the flower may be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. However, it is the seeds of the milk thistle that were prized for their medicinal activity.
According to the NIH, the oldest recorded use of the plant was by Dioscorides, who believed it could be used as a treatment for snake bites.3 During the Middle Ages it was used as an antidote for liver toxins and by 1898 physicians were using it to treat liver, kidney and spleen disorders. Currently, the German Commission E lists milk thistle for the treatment of hepatic cirrhosis and toxin-induced liver damage and to support chronic inflammatory liver conditions.
Milk Thistle Protects Your Liver Health
The main bioactive compound in milk thistle is a group of flavonolignans called silymarin.4 Flavonolignans are a group of flavonoids with known hepatoprotective properties.5 Silymarin consists of seven different flavonolignans among which silybin has the highest concentration and biological effect. Nearly 70% of silymarin is in the form of silybin A and silybin B.6
Silymarin can be isolated from milk thistle seeds, and while the term milk thistle and silymarin have been used interchangeably, it is technically inaccurate. Multiple studies have demonstrated the ability of silymarin to help protect your liver, and it is regularly used in individuals whose liver has been damaged by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis and liver cancer.7,8
Silymarin also has a protective effect against amatoxin, a deadly toxin produced by the death cap mushroom. Nearly 90% of fatalities from mushrooms worldwide are due to the death cap mushroom.9 Symptoms manifest six to eight hours after ingestion and are followed by kidney and liver failure.
In one review, researchers found nearly 1,500 documented cases where the mortality was less than 10% in patients treated with Legalon® SIL, a pharmaceutical silibinin compound. In another case report,10 doctors successfully treated two patients who accidentally ingested the death cap mushroom with a combination of n-acetylcysteine, cimetidine, silibinin and high-dose penicillin.
Benefits to liver health from silymarin likely result from the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic properties of the compound. Silymarin also has demonstrated the ability to reduce virus-related liver damage and has a direct antiviral effect when administered intravenously in patients with hepatitis C.11
Silymarin has a positive effect on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is a more advanced form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.12 The compound can also help reduce the fibrotic changes that lead to liver cirrhosis.13 In combination with vitamin E, researchers found silymarin helps improve liver function tests and can be:14
“… an alternative valid therapeutic option particularly when other drugs are not indicated or have failed or as a complementary treatment associated with other therapeutic programs.”
Your Liver: The Great Detoxifier
One of the largest organs in your body is your liver, and for good reason. It performs many metabolic and detoxifying functions, helping to convert toxic substances into harmless substances that are then released from your body.15
Your liver is in your upper abdominal cavity just under your right diaphragm, where it sits on top of your stomach. A normal healthy adult liver weighs about 3 pounds and is made of two lobes connected by a band of connective tissue.16
Just inside the hollow under the liver is the gallbladder, where your body stores bile. At any given time, your liver holds about 13% of your body’s blood supply, which it filters and then excretes toxins in 800 milliliters to 1,000 milliliters of bile each day.17 This is emptied into your gallbladder.
In addition to detoxifying your blood, your liver also produces some of the proteins for blood plasma, converts excess sugar into glycogen and helps balance the production of glucose.18 Your liver is also responsible for regulating blood clotting mechanisms, resisting infections and clearing bilirubin that is formed when hemoglobin breaks down.
Silymarin offers significant benefits to your liver, including the ability to increase glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant crucial for liver detoxification.19 Researchers have also found it may help your liver cells to regenerate, supporting the only organ in your body capable of regeneration.20
Incidence of Liver Disease on the Rise
As you can imagine, liver damage affects these functions and more. Although many tend to equate liver disease with alcohol use, as many as 100 million people suffer from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD),21 which is associated with obesity.22 As the incidence of obesity in the U.S. has risen, so has NAFLD. In 2017-2018, the age adjusted prevalence of obesity in the U.S. was 42.4% of adults.23
Risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease include obesity, diabetes, high triglyceride levels and poor eating habits. The condition is sometimes called a silent disease because you may not experience any symptoms and many people may live with the condition without developing further liver damage.24 If NAFLD progresses with signs of inflammation and cell damage, it is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
NAFLD is also the most common type of liver disease found in children.25 Data released in January 202026 from a large cohort in the U.K. found 20% of young adults had NAFLD.
When the researchers widened the data set, they found over 20% had evidence of NAFLD and 2.5% had developed fibrosis. Breaking out the data further, they found at 17 years, 2.5% had moderate to severe levels, yet by age 24 this had risen to 13%.
Silymarin Reduces Cellular Inflammation
Many of the health benefits attributed to silymarin are the result of the compound’s capacity to help reduce cellular inflammation. Research has suggested silymarin does this using a two-phase process similar to that used by other natural compounds such as curcumin and epigallocatechin gallate, found in green tea.27
During the first phase there was a rapid increase in genetic expression that is linked with cellular stress. After this follows a longer sustained depression of genetic expression that is found with inflammation. As described by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, in this study, silymarin:28
Induced endoplasmic reticulum stress
Triggered activating transcription factor 4 (ATF-4) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and inhibited mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)
Modulated the actions of many types of metabolites
Inhibited inflammatory signaling pathways, when given on a prolonged basis (at 24 hours, in this study)
An important factor in those steps is the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This is an enzyme that sometimes is called the “metabolic master switch” since it plays an important role in regulating metabolism.29 According to the Natural Medicine Journal, AMPK regulates biological activities to normalize energy imbalances. In addition:30
“AMPK helps coordinate the response to these stressors, shifting energy toward cellular repair, maintenance, or a return to homeostasis and improved likelihood of survival. The hormones leptin and adiponectin activate AMPK. In other words, activating AMPK can produce the same benefits as exercise, dieting, and weight loss — the lifestyle modifications considered beneficial for a range of maladies.”
More Health Benefits With Milk Thistle
These factors mean milk thistle offers a wide range of health benefits. Milk thistle extracts have been tested for anticancer actions in prostate cancer both in the lab and in clinical trials. According to one study, “extracts enriched for isosilybin B, or isosilybin B alone, might possess improved potency in prostate cancer prevention and treatment.”31
The plant also has neuroprotective effects and has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in modern society and neurological diseases such as cerebral ischemia for well over 2,000 years.32 The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to the neuroprotective effects that help prevent a decline in brain function as you age.33
In one study, researchers used silymarin to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in an animal model that helped reduce the potential for dementia in obese animal subjects.34 Other studies have also demonstrated the ability of milk thistle to reduce amyloid plaques in animal models associated with Alzheimer’s disease.35,36
Silymarin has also demonstrated antiosteoclastic activity in animal studies, causing one research team to conclude it significantly prevents bone loss, potentially “either due to direct interaction with Erbeta [an estrogen receptor beta-isoform] or increasing bone formation parameters including calcium, phosphorus, osteocalcin and PTH.”37
The American Pregnancy Association writes that blessed thistle has been used for hundreds of years to raise a woman’s milk supply, and it is especially effective when taken with fenugreek.38
One published study of 50 healthy lactating women demonstrated oral supplementation with 420 milligrams per day of silymarin boosted their milk supply by 85.94% as compared to the women taking a placebo whose milk supply went up 32.09%.39 None of the women dropped out and no one reported unwanted side effects.
Considerations Before Planting Milk Thistle at Home
Before planting milk thistle in your garden or picking up a milk thistle supplement, there are a few things to consider. Research has found silibinin is poorly absorbed as it has low water solubility. Using a novel formulation, combining silibinin with phosphatidylcholine, researchers were able to improve the solubility and bioavailability, which markedly improved the therapeutic efficiency.40
If you’re hoping to grow your own plants in your backyard and harvest for tea and salads, be forewarned the plant is highly invasive and spreads quickly. While you may not mind having it all over your yard, it doesn’t respect your neighbor’s boundaries and will likely end up in their yard as well.
Milk thistle is also highly toxic to livestock, so if you have grazing animals it’s important you don’t plant it outside.41 Milk thistle has adapted to growing even in poor quality soil. The plants enjoy full sun and once the flowers have begun to dry, they’ll be ready for harvest.42
Cut the flowers and place them in a paper bag, storing the bag in a dry place so the flower heads dry. Once all the moisture is gone, shake the bag to separate the seeds, which can then be kept in a dry airtight container.
The seeds can be powdered in a coffee grinder and sprinkled on your salads, added to smoothies or even raw juice. You can use the seeds to make your own tea, which you’ll find a recipe for in “Magnificent Milk Thistle.”
1 According to recent research, the reason why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure is because they:
Are deficient in calcium
Consume excessive amounts of unsaturated fats such as omega-6 linoleic acid
A compelling report in the journal Gastroenterology offers a novel explanation as to why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure, namely their high unsaturated fat intake. Unsaturated fat intake is associated with increased mortality from COVID-19, while saturated fat intake lowers your risk of death. Learn more.
Eat too many eggs
Have not exercised enough
2 Which of the following vaccine ingredients is suspected of being the culprit causing allergic, including life-threatening anaphylactic responses in some recipients of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine?
Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine contains polyethylene glycol (PEG), and studies have shown 70% of people develop antibodies against this substance. This suggests PEG may trigger fatal allergic reactions in many who receive the vaccine. Learn more.
3 The SARS-CoV-2 PCR test was developed based on:
Viral isolate of SARS-CoV-2 collected from patient zero in Wuhan, China
Viral isolate from a single American with cold symptoms
The full genetic sequence obtained from viral isolate
An incomplete genetic sequence published by Chinese scientists
The SARS-CoV-2 PCR test was developed based on a genetic sequence published by Chinese scientists, not the viral isolate. Missing genetic code was simply made up. Learn more.
4 Which of the following is a technique that allows scientists to make a pathogen more virulent?
One technique that allows scientists to make a pathogen more virulent is called “serial passaging.” By passing the virus through a series of cells from different animals, the virus progressively adapts to the new host cell. Learn more.
5 Which of the following countries detained or arrested the greatest number of journalists in 2020?
China tops the list of countries where suppression of journalism is taking place. As of December 1, 2020, 117 Chinese journalists had been arrested, many because of their reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic. December 28, 2020, the Shanghai Pudong People’s Court sentenced citizen journalist Zhang Zhan to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Learn more.
6 According to financial guru and former assistant secretary of housing, Catherine Austin Fitts, the riots that occurred in the U.S. during 2020 were:
An emotional response to racial inequality
The result of poor upbringing
Part of a real estate acquisition scheme
The riots in the U.S. were not random. According to Catherine Austin Fitts, the pattern suggests they were part of a real estate acquisition plan. Learn more.
An outgrowth of pandemic restrictions
7 Which of the following “hacks” will make fasting easier by preventing hunger pangs?
Eating a high-carb breakfast
Never fasting for longer than 12 hours
Avoiding exercise while fasting
Having coffee, with or without MCT oil, butter and/or prebiotics, first thing in the morning
A simple hack that will make fasting easier is to raise your ketone level with black mycotoxin-free coffee, with or without added MCT oil and grass fed butter. Adding prebiotics to your morning coffee will also prevent hunger. Learn more.
In recent weeks and months, there’s been an upshot of studies1 demonstrating the benefits of vitamin D against COVID-19. The evidence is so compelling, more than 100 doctors, scientists and leading authorities have signed an open letter2 calling for increased use of vitamin D in the fight against COVID-19.
“Research shows low vitamin D levels almost certainly promote COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Given its safety, we call for immediate widespread increased vitamin D intakes,” the letter states, adding:3 “Vitamin D modulates thousands of genes and many aspects of immune function, both innate and adaptive. The scientific evidence shows that:
• Higher vitamin D blood levels are associated with lower rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection.Higher D levels are associated with lower risk of a severe case (hospitalization, ICU, or death).
• Intervention studies (including RCTs) indicate that vitamin D can be a very effective treatment. Many papers reveal several biological mechanisms by which vitamin D influences COVID-19.
• Causal inference modelling, Hill’s criteria, the intervention studies & the biological mechanisms indicate that vitamin D’s influence on COVID-19 is very likely causal, not just correlation.”
The letter recommends taking enough vitamin D to achieve a blood level of at least 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L). They also urge testing of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients and adding vitamin D to the treatment protocol for any patient whose level is below 30 ng/mL. Many other doctors are also urging government health agencies to get onboard with vitamin D recommendations. As reported by NL Times:4
“‘There is a growing consensus in the scientific world about the important role of vitamin D,’ says Manfred Eggersdorfer, professor of Healthy Aging at the University Medical Center Groningen. He argues that ‘it can reduce the chance that you will get corona and the infection can last shorter.’
The wait-and-see attitude adopted by governments does not sit well in the scientific community. Professor of immunology at Wageningen University, Huub Savelkoul, called the attitude ‘frustrating.’
He states that ‘there are more and more studies showing the benefit of vitamin D. I think it is a kind of arrogance that the government wants to wait for a meta-study first. It seems as if we don’t care that people come to the hospital and die in the meantime. You have to be careful with that comment, but that’s where my frustration lies.'”
Vitamin D Optimization Is Powerful Prevention
In a December 23, 2020, Fox News interview5,6 (above), Dr. Peter Osborne with the Origins Nutrition Center stated that the most recent studies suggest 9 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented had people had adequate vitamin D levels.
While I suspect this might be an overestimation, there’s no doubt in my mind that optimizing vitamin D levels among the general population would significantly lower COVID-19 incidence and death.
“At the East Virginia School of Medicine there’s a COVID protocol that includes Vitamin D,” Osborne said. “So, if you’re hospitalized for COVID, they’re automatically putting you on between 20,000 and 60,000 units of vitamin D. This is part of their standard of care protocol in that hospital system.”
Osborne also recommends using vitamin C and zinc, as well as quercetin, which allows for greater zinc absorption. Quercetin also boosts type 1 interferon, which signals infected cells to produce proteins that stop the virus from replicating, and works synergistically with vitamin C. This is all good advice. As noted in a December 2020 Frontiers in Nutrition review:7
“… Zinc and vitamins C and D stand out for having immunomodulatory functions and for playing roles in preserving physical tissue barriers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the adequate intake of zinc and vitamins C and D may represent a promising pharmacological tool due to the high demand for these nutrients in the case of contact with the virus and onset of the inflammatory process.”
However, vitamin D is not my first choice for acute illness that requires immediate treatment. While high-dose vitamin D loading may be helpful in some respects, my No. 1 choice for treating acute respiratory illness is nebulized hydrogen peroxide, which I’ll discuss at the end of this article. It goes to work immediately, while vitamin D requires time, at bare minimum, days, to make a difference.
With respect to preventing COVID-19 deaths, I strongly believe that nebulized hydrogen peroxide could easily prevent at least 90% of the deaths if administered properly. It deeply saddens me to see so many die needlessly because they don’t use this incredibly inexpensive and safe therapy.
Vitamin D Improves COVID-19 Outcomes
Now, bear in mind that prevention and treatment are not the same. I firmly believe that vitamin D optimization will help prevent COVID-19 infection and reduce your risk of severe symptoms should you contract it.
In fact, I launched an information campaign about vitamin D back in June 2020, which included the release of a downloadable scientific report that detailed the science behind vitamin D. This report, as well as a two-minute COVID risk quiz is available on StopCovidCold.com.
There’s also evidence to show high-dose vitamin D loading can improve COVID-19 outcomes even in acute and severe cases. According to a December 2020 randomized, double-blind study8 in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine, giving critically ill COVID-19 patients high doses of vitamin D significantly reduced the number of days they had to spend in the ICU. They were also less likely to need ventilation. According to the authors:9
“Thirty patients completed the study. The results show that injection of vitamin D leads to a significant increase in the mean changes of vitamin D level on the seventh day of the study and TAC [total antioxidant capacity] levels.
ICU length of stay was 18.3±8.4 and 25.4±6.6 days in the intervention and placebo arms of the study. Twelve patients in the placebo group and 5 in the vitamin D group died within the 28-day study period. The duration of mechanical ventilation was 15.7± 9.3 vs. 22.6± 9.1 days in vitamin D and placebo arms, respectively.”
Similarly, a mathematical reanalysis10 of a calcifediol trial concluded there’s a “strong role for vitamin D in reducing ICU admissions of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.” The analysis looked at data from an earlier trial11 done on hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Córdoba, Spain. As explained by the authors of the analysis:12
“… the treatment was associated with reduced ICU admissions with very large effect size and high statistical significance, but the study has had limited impact because it had only 76 patients and imperfect blinding, and did not measure vitamin D levels pre- and post-treatment or adjust for several comorbidities.”
In an effort to account for these shortcomings, they reanalyzed the data using statistical techniques, concluding that “the randomization, large effect size, and high statistical significance address many of these concerns.”
For starters, they found that “random assignment of patients to treatment and control groups is highly unlikely to distribute comorbidities or other prognostic indicators sufficiently unevenly to account for the large effect size.”
They also demonstrated that the imperfect blinding did not have a negative impact, as it would have had to have “an implausibly large effect to account for the reported results.”
To double-check their findings, they also compared the data with two other randomized clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation for COVID-19, one from India and another from Brazil. In conclusion, the authors stated that:
“… the Córdoba study provides sufficient evidence to warrant immediate, well-designed pivotal clinical trials of early calcifediol administration in a broader cohort of inpatients and outpatients with COVID-19.”
Irish Experts Call for Increased Recognition of Vitamin D
In addition to the open letter mentioned earlier, the Irish Covit-D Consortium is also calling for greater use of vitamin D against COVID-19, citing evidence showing it can lower the risk of death from COVID-19 in the elderly by as much as 700%.13
In a position statement14 published in the Irish Journal of Medical Science, the team urges health professionals and policy-makers “to recognize the importance of enhanced vitamin D in … the optimization of immune response” and to “Develop explicit population guidance and clinical protocols for vitamin D supplementation at … effective doses.” As reported by the Herald:15
“Dr. Dan McCartney, programme director of Human Nutrition and Dietetics at TU Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, said ‘the accumulation of evidence linking low vitamin D levels and COVID-19 is now considerable.
This evidence includes studies which show an increased risk of infection in those with low vitamin D levels and a 25 to 30-fold reduced risk of ICU admission and a substantial reduction risk of death in older COVID-19 patients supplemented with vitamin D.'”
Vitamin D Speeds Viral Clearance
Another recent study,16 published in November 2020 in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, looked at oral vitamin D supplementation on SARS-CoV-2 viral clearance. This study included only asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals who also had vitamin D deficiency (a vitamin D blood level below 20 ng/mL).
Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 60,000 IUs of oral cholecalciferol (nano-liquid droplets) or a placebo for seven days. The target blood level was 50 ng/mL. Anyone who had not achieved a blood level of 50 ng/mL after the first seven days continued to receive the supplement until they reached the target level.
Periodically, all participants were tested for SARS-CoV-2 as well as fibrinogen, D-dimer, procalcitonin and CRP, all of which are inflammatory markers. The primary outcome measure of the study was the proportion of patients testing negative for COVID-19 before day 21 of the study, as well as changes in inflammatory markers. As reported by the authors:17
“Forty SARS-CoV-2 RNA positive individuals were randomized to intervention (n=16) or control (n=24) group. Baseline serum 25(OH)D was 8.6 and 9.54 ng/mL, in the intervention and control group, respectively.
10 out of 16 patients could achieve 25(OH)D>50 ng/ml by day-7 and another two by day-14 … 10 (62.5%) participants in the intervention group and 5 (20.8%) participants in the control arm became SARS-CoV-2 RNA negative. Fibrinogen levels significantly decreased with cholecalciferol supplementation unlike other inflammatory biomarkers.
[A] greater proportion of vitamin D-deficient individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection turned SARS-CoV-2 RNA negative with a significant decrease in fibrinogen on high-dose cholecalciferol supplementation.”
Vitamin D Slows COVID-19 Spread
As reported by KRGV 5 News (above), a Texas news station, doctors in the Rio Grande Valley are also urging people to check their vitamin D levels and supplement if they’re deficient. The reason?
Research18,19 published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests people who have low vitamin D levels are more prone to contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection, and that also makes them more likely to spread the infection to others. As noted in that paper:
“Vitamin D deficiency was found in 82.2% of COVID-19 cases and 47.2% of population-based controls … Vitamin D-deficient COVID-19 patients had … a longer length of hospital stay than those with serum 25OHD levels ?20 ng/mL …
According to our results, vitamin D treatment should be recommended in COVID-19 patients with serum 25OHD deficiency, since this approach might have beneficial effects in both the musculoskeletal and the immune system.”
How Vitamin D Impacts COVID-19
October 31, 2020, my own vitamin D review,20 co-written with William Grant, Ph.D., and Dr. Carol Wagner, both of whom are part of the GrassrootsHealth expert vitamin D panel, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients. You can read the paper for free on the journal’s website.
As noted in that paper, dark skin color, increased age, pre-existing chronic conditions and vitamin D deficiency are all features of severe COVID disease, and of these, vitamin D deficiency is the only factor that is readily and easily modifiable.
You may be able to reverse chronic disease, but that typically takes time. Optimizing your vitamin D, on the other hand, can be achieved in just a few weeks, thereby significantly lowering your risk of severe COVID-19.
In our paper, we review several of the mechanisms by which vitamin D can reduce your risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, including but not limited to the following:21
Reducing the survival and replication of viruses22 and inflammatory cytokine production
Maintaining endothelial integrity — Endothelial dysfunction contributes to vascular inflammation and impaired blood clotting, two hallmarks of severe COVID-19
Increasing angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) concentrations, which prevents the virus from entering cells via the ACE2 receptor — ACE2 is downregulated by SARS-CoV-2 infection, and by increasing ACE2, you also avoid excessive accumulation of angiotensin II, a peptide hormone known to increase the severity of COVID-19
Vitamin D is also an important component of COVID-19 prevention and treatment for the fact that it:
Boosts your overall immune function by modulating your innate and adaptive immune responses and reduces respiratory distress23 and improves overall lung function
Helps produce surfactants in your lungs that aid in fluid clearance24 and lowers your risk of comorbidities associated with poor COVID-19 prognosis, including obesity,25 Type 2 diabetes,26 high blood pressure27 and heart disease28
Data from 14 observational studies — summarized in Table 1 of our paper29 — suggest that vitamin D blood levels are inversely correlated with the incidence and/or severity of COVID-19, and the evidence currently available generally satisfies Hill’s criteria for causality in a biological system.30
COVID-19 Features Related to Vitamin D Status
Our paper31 also details several features of COVID-19 that suggest vitamin D deficiency is at play in this illness. For starters, SARS-CoV-2 emerged in the winter in the northern hemisphere, and as we moved into summer, positive tests, hospitalizations and death rates fell. So, generally, COVID-19 prevalence has been inversely correlated with solar UVB doses and vitamin D production, just like seasonal influenza.
Secondly, people with darker skin have higher COVID-19 case and death rates than Caucasians. Vitamin D is produced in your skin in response to sun exposure, but the darker your skin, the more sun exposure you need in order to maintain an optimal vitamin D level. As a result, vitamin D deficiency tends to be far higher among Blacks and dark-skinned Hispanics. Blacks and Hispanics are also high-risk groups for COVID-19.
Thirdly, one of the lethal hallmarks of COVID-19 is the cytokine storm that can develop in severe cases, which manifests as hyperinflammation and tissue damage. Vitamin D is known to regulate inflammatory cytokine production, thereby lowering this risk. Lastly, vitamin D is an important regulator of your immune system, and dysregulation of the immune system is a hallmark of severe COVID-19.
Nebulized Peroxide — My Favorite Treatment Choice
As mentioned earlier, while vitamin D is certainly important, if you develop symptoms of COVID-19, or any other respiratory infection for that matter, downing vitamin D may be too little, too late. I believe your best option at this point is to use nebulized peroxide. This is a home remedy I recommend everyone familiarize themselves with, as in many cases it can improve symptoms in mere hours.
Nebulizing hydrogen peroxide into your sinuses, throat and lungs is a simple, straightforward way to augment your body’s natural expression of hydrogen peroxide to combat infections and can be used both prophylactically after known exposure to COVID-19 and as a treatment for mild, moderate and even severe illness.
Dr. David Brownstein, who has successfully treated over 100 COVID-19 patients with nebulized peroxide, published a case paper32 about this treatment in the July 2020 issue of Science, Public Health Policy and The Law. He also reviews its benefits in “How Nebulized Peroxide Helps Against Respiratory Infections.”
Nebulized hydrogen peroxide is extremely safe, and all you need is a desktop nebulizer and food-grade hydrogen peroxide, which you’ll need to dilute with saline to 0.1% strength. I recommend buying these items beforehand so that you have everything you need and can begin treatment at home at the first signs of a respiratory infection. In the video above, I go over the basics of this treatment.
When it comes to the toll on human life, mental well-being, and any long-term complications, the true cost of COVID-19 can be difficult to quantify.
That said, from a purely economic angle, researchers can and do examine these things—as well as economic data like unemployment and lost GDP, to assign dollar figures to the pandemic.
Using data from a study out of Harvard University, these visualizations focus on putting the economic cost of COVID-19 in the U.S. in perspective. To help us understand the immense price associated with a pandemic, the study looked at other comparables like the costs of running America’s longstanding war on terror.
The Cost of COVID-19
Since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. in March 2020, job loss has been one of the most significant consequences. Unemployment claims in the U.S. have recently reached a total of 60 million, while lost GDP is estimated to be around $7.6 trillion.
Unemployment, uncertainty, lost loved ones, and lost social connections, have led to spikes in depression and anxiety. In April 2020, around 40% of U.S. adults reported having at least one of these mental illnesses. Based on the sheer number of people struggling, the cost of mental health impairment could be as high as $1.6 trillion, according to these researchers.
Lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Long-Term Health Impairment
Mental Health Impairment
The economic value of a human life can be put in terms of ‘statistical lives’, a notion used in both American and global health policy. While human life is priceless, the value tied to one using this metric sits between $7-$10 million. Even when using the lower end of the scale, the cost of premature death due to COVID-19 is estimated to be $4.4 trillion.
Finally, when looking at the long-term healthcare costs that could impact people who contract COVID-19, the price comes out to almost $2.6 trillion. These costs will go on for decades as certain lifelong conditions can emerge out of COVID-19, like respiratory and cardiovascular issues.
Many of these conditions could also end up causing premature deaths, drawing out the total cost of COVID-19 even further.
The Cost of War
Both a global pandemic and a war have long-term health consequences and are extremely pricey.
The estimated cost of the post-9/11 wars rises to over $6 trillion. This is measured by the spending of the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and USAID. The estimate also takes into consideration current and future spending on medical and disability care for veterans, the cost of war appropriations and spending, the estimated interest on borrowing for different departments, and the spending the Department of Homeland Security has done in order to prevent and respond to terrorism.
Department of Defense
Estimated Interest on Borrowing for DOD and State Dept OCO Spending
Estimated Increases to DOD Base Budget Due to Post-9-11 Wars
“OCO for Base” a new category of spending in FY2019 and FY2020
Medical and Disability Care for Post-9/11 Veterans
Homeland Security Spending for Prevention and Response to Terrorism
Total War Appropriations and War-Related Spending through FY 2020
Estimated Future Obligations for Veterans Medical and Disability FY2020 –FY2059
Total War-Related Spending through FY2020 and Obligations for Veterans
Medical and disability care for veterans from the post-9/11 wars specifically comes out to $437 billion, with estimated future obligations for their care going up to $1 trillion.
The increases to the Department of Defense’s budget was $803 billion thanks to the post 9/11 wars, and the Department of Homeland Security has spent more $1.05 trillion on terrorism prevention and response.
While the costs associated with war are immense, and while the consequences of fighting in a war are usually lifelong, the estimated price is still about $10 trillion cheaper than the cost of COVID-19 in the United States.
Throwing Money at the Problem?
The short-term solution to COVID-19 seems to be vaccine investment, with the U.S. currently purchasing more than one billion doses. Vaccines could spell the return to a more normal life, both in terms of physical health and the health of the economy.
While economic recovery is on the horizon, the U.S—and other nations around the globe—will continue to pay the cost of COVID-19 for years to come.
A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas has demonstrated how taking even a short break from various cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products can lead to a substantial drop in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals present within the body.
The results from the study were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers gave 100 Latina teenagers various personal care products that were labeled to be free of common chemicals including phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone. These chemicals are used regularly in almost all conventional personal care products such as cosmetics, soap, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products, and animal studies have shown that they directly interfere with the body’s endocrine system.
“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. “Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”
After just a three-day trial with the girls using only the lower-chemical products, urine samples showed a significant drop in the level of chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens, commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44% and 45%, respectively, metabolites of diethyl phthalate, used often in perfumes, dropped by 27%, and both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36%. The authors of the study were surprised to see an increase in two lesser common parabens, but, being minor, could easily have been caused by accidental contamination or a substitute not listed on the labels.
Co-director of the study Kimberly Parra explains why having local youths participate in the study was of particular importance:
The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level, but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento.
Included in the CHAMACOS Youth Council were 12 local high school students who helped design and implement the study. One of the teen researchers, Maritza Cárdenas, is now a UC Berkeley undergraduate majoring in molecular and cell biology.
“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using,” said Cárdenas. “Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”
The researchers noted that cosmetics and personal care products are not well-regulated in this country, and that getting data about health effects from exposure, particularly long-term ones, is difficult. But they say there is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.
What Can You Do?
Well, you can be sure to check the labels on any products you purchase. Most personal care products contain a list of ingredients, but unfortunately many cosmetics do not. If you use a particular brand that you really love you can try contacting the manufacturer directly and asking them for an ingredient list.
You can also opt for more natural and organic products, but be sure to keep in mind that in the industry of personal care products, the words “natural” and “organic” are often meaningless. A safe bet would be to buy these products from a health food store and be sure to read the ingredients or ask the sales clerk. Generally, when products do not contain specific chemicals, the manufacturers are happy to label them as such.
The less demand for these chemically-laden products there is, the less these chemicals will be used. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR! We have the power to create the type of world we want. Be the change.
‘The most significant vaccination effort in history’
By Steve Watson,
A coalition of big tech companies, including Microsoft is developing a COVID passport, with the expectation that a digital document linked to vaccination status will be required to travel and get access to basic services.
The US health provider Mayo Clinic is also involved in the project, which is being described as “the most significant vaccination effort in the history of the United States.”
The idea is now a familiar one. Anyone who has been vaccinated will receive a QR code that can be stored on their mobile phone in the wallet app. Those without phones will have access to a printed version.
We have previously reported on the development of this so called ‘CommonPass’, which also has backing from the World Economic Forum, and now more details have emerged.
“The goal of the Vaccination Credential Initiative is to empower individuals with digital access to their vaccination records,” said Paul Meyer, CEO of non-profit The Commons Project, also involved in the project.
Meyer said that the document will allow people “to safely return to travel, work, school, and life, while protecting their data privacy.”
Meyer said the coalition is working with several governments, and expects standards to be adopted that will see mandatory negative tests or proof of vaccination, in order to re-engage in society.
“Individuals are going to need to have to produce vaccination records for a lot of aspects of getting back to life as normal,” he added. “We live in a globally connected world. We used to anyway — and we hope to again.”
The Rockefeller Foundation has previously touted its plans for a ‘Covid-19 data and commons digital platform’ as well as a desire to “launch a Covid Community Healthcare Corps for testing and contact tracing.”
“Coordination of such a massive program should be treated as a wartime effort,” the foundation states on its website, adding that there should be “a public/private bipartisan Pandemic Testing Board established to assist and serve as a bridge between local, state, and federal officials with the logistical, investment and political challenges this operation will inevitably face.”
The group also wants to see a global standardisation of the so called vaccine passports, noting that “The current vaccination record system does not readily support convenient access, control and sharing of verifiable vaccination records.”
The coalition of big tech firms is looking to “customize all aspects of the vaccination management lifecycle and integrate closely with other coalition members’ offerings, which will help us all get back to public life,” said Bill Patterson, an executive vice president at Salesforce.
“With a single platform to help deliver safe and continuous operations and deepen trust with customers and employees, this coalition will be crucial to support public health and wellbeing,” Patterson claimed.
Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units added that “This process needs to be as easy online banking. We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments.”
Ken Mayer, founder and CEO of Safe Health also stated that the VCI “will enable application developers to create privacy-preserving health status verification solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into existing ticketing workflows.”
Put more simply, it will “help get concerts and sporting events going again,” Mayer said.
The context seems clear. Those without the COVID passport will not be allowed to travel or engage in social events.
As we reported last month, the IATA, the world’s largest air transport lobby group, expects its COVID travel pass app to be fully rolled out in the first months of 2021.
A further ‘COVID passport’ app called the AOKpass from travel security firm International SOS is currently undergoing trials between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan.
We have exhaustively documented the privacy and rights concerns associated with the move toward adoption, and more importantly the global standardisation of so called COVID passports.
UK based human rights group Privacy International has warned that if “immunity” passports are issued by some governments, it could signal a creep toward “digital identity schemes” and other mandatory ID schemes.
“Once you have multiple uses (e.g. access to services) in multiple domains (i.e. public sector, private sector), in multiple countries (i.e. travel), then we are approaching a global identity document needed to live your life,” the group warned.
Beduschi added that the vaccine passports may “create a new distinction between individuals based on their health status, which can then be used to determine the degree of freedoms and rights they may enjoy.”
A report compiled last year by AI research body the Ada Lovelace Institute said so called ‘immunity’ passports “pose extremely high risks in terms of social cohesion, discrimination, exclusion and vulnerability.”
Sam Grant, campaign manager at the civili liberties advocacy group Liberty has warned that “any form of immunity passport risks creating a two-tier system in which some of us have access to freedoms and support while others are shut out.”
“These systems could result in people who don’t have immunity potentially being blocked from essential public services, work or housing – with the most marginalised among us hardest hit,” Grant further warned.
“This has wider implications too because any form of immunity passport could pave the way for a full ID system – an idea which has repeatedly been rejected as incompatible with building a rights-respecting society,” Grant further urged.
Speaking at a Reuters event, the head of the WTTC also condemned airline Qantas for their previous assertion that unvaccinated people would not be allowed on their aircraft.
“It will take a significant amount of time to vaccinate the global population, particularly those in less advanced countries, or in different age groups, therefore we should not discriminate against those who wish to travel but have not been vaccinated,” Guevara noted.
Nevertheless, the spectre of so called ‘immunity passports’ is looming globally.
As noted above, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has penned a letter to EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, demanding that the Commission should ‘standardise’ a vaccine passport across all member countries, and that it should be required for people to travel throughout the area, further outlining that “Persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel.”
EU news website Schengenvisainfo also reported on the likely move by insurers, pointing out that anti-vaxxers will likely be specifically targeted by the mandates.
“Even if anti-vax travellers find a loophole in the requirement and manage to enter any of the Member States, travel insurance providers may refuse to cover them,” the report states.
It continues, “With the high volume of fake news and conspiracy theories that have been going on for months now on the pandemic and vaccination, the real challenge for the EU will not be to purchase the necessary vaccine doses, but rather to convince people to be vaccinated.”
The report adds that “Conspiracy theorists, in Europe and further in the world, have targeted Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is known as a supporter of vaccination, claiming he is responsible for the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Norway health officials have “adjusted their advice” about vaccinating the elderly, but claim the COVID vaccines pose “very little risk.” The deaths raise serious questions about vaccinating a vulnerable, frail population. by Children’s Health Defense Team Norway health officials have “adjusted their advice” after reporting that 23 elderly people died shortly after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, according […]