• What Works for Permanent Weight Control

    What Works for Permanent Weight Control

    A recent publication examined what works for permanent weight control and what not. The study came from the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., AdventHealth, Fla. and the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala. 320 sedentary adults who were overweight or had obesity were treated by monitoring alone or by doing … [Read More...]

  • The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

    The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

    This article describes the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen. The environmental working group (EWG) defined the “dirty dozen” as crops, which farmers pollute by repetitive spraying. Notably, this is a list of the 12 most insecticide-sprayed crops like strawberries, spinach, tomatoes and others. It is important to … [Read More...]

  • Immune System Responses against Covid-19 or anti-Covid Vaccination

    Immune System Responses against Covid-19 or anti-Covid Vaccination

    This article is about immune responses against Covid-19 or anti-Covid vaccination. Investigations of the immune system showed that people who had Covid-19 and subsequently were vaccinated had an immune response that lasted for at least one year. In the following a discussion follows about the details why this is … [Read More...]

  • Adolescents’ Lifestyles Are Linked to Faster Aging in Adulthood

    Adolescents’ Lifestyles Are Linked to Faster Aging in Adulthood

    A longitudinal study found that adolescents' lifestyles are linked to faster aging in adulthood. The study started with a baseline examination in a group of adolescents around the age of 15. 30 years later doctors examined the same individuals again. The researchers found that smokers, obese people and people with … [Read More...]

  • T-Cell Immunotherapy Cures Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

    T-Cell Immunotherapy Cures Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

    T-cell immunotherapy cures chronic lymphocytic leukemia after 10 years. Researchers were able to use the blood of leukemia patients and modify immune cells to attack their cancer cells. Specifically, they introduced a chimeric antigen receptor into immune cells from patients in the lab. Subsequently they transfused … [Read More...]

  • Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival

    Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival

    Notably, conventional medicine has nothing to offer against advanced cancer, but stimulating the immune system leads to better cancer survival. Dr. Hoffer’s survival experiment with incurable cancer patients The following is a description of a 9-year follow-up of incurable cancer patients. They were … [Read More...]

    May
    23
    2022

    What Works for Permanent Weight Control

    A recent publication examined what works for permanent weight control and what not. The study came from the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., AdventHealth, Fla. and the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala.

    320 sedentary adults who were overweight or had obesity were treated by monitoring alone or by doing “small change approaches”. Both groups were observed for 3 years. The “small change approach” consisted of increasing their activity by 2000 steps per day and by limiting their food intake by 100 kcal per day. The researchers measured the weight, waist circumference and cardiorespiratory fitness of all the subjects.

    The results at 3, 6, 12 and 15 months from the start showed significant reductions in weight. However, by 24 and 36 months the subjects had regained body weight.

    Results of the study

    Results from both groups, the non-intervention group and the small change group, were stacked against each other. There was no significant difference in terms of weight loss between 24 and 36 months into the trial. The researchers concluded that the approach of small change interventions failed.

    Another approach to permanent weight loss

    Valter Longo, a professor at UCLA, California has established that the fasting mimicking diet can help people to lose the last pounds that are difficult to lose. Patients do a 5 day semi-fast for 5 consecutive days, once per month. They eat three meals per day, but the total daily calorie consumption is only 500 to 800 calories. The calorie deficit leads to a reduction in body mass index between 0.3 and 0.9 for every monthly fasting mimicking diet. I have followed Dr. Longo’s fasting mimicking diet since December 2017. This allows me to keep my body mass index between 21.0 and 22.0.

    Conditions that respond to the FMD

    The following list shows some of the conditions that respond favorably to the FMD.

    • Obesity, because of the weight loss effect
    • Diabetes: insulin resistance becomes lower and blood sugar levels drop.
    • High blood pressure reduced: many patients were able to reduce their medications or discontinue them
    • Prevention of heart attacks and strokes
    • Pain conditions improve as all kinds of pain disappears, an effect for which there is no explanation at this point
    • Autoimmune diseases like MS and rheumatoid arthritis improve, likely because of the effect of increased stem cell circulation
    • Prevention of heart attacks because of reduction of LDL, triglycerides and CRP
    • Cancer cure rates improved by protecting normal cells and bone marrow function
    • Longevity improved in mice with a 3-fold increase of their life span. Telomere length in humans was increased. Increased stem cells will find defective areas that need repair. This effect opens up a new chapter in medicine.

    The above was previously published here.

    Discussion

    The 3-year study that I mentioned at the beginning of this article showed that for the group that made “small changes” for 2 years there was a slight weight loss with a reduction of 100 calories per day. However, the patients got tired of dieting and regained their lost weight between 2 and 3 years. In contrast, the fasting mimicking diet requires a 1200 to 1500 calorie reduction for 5 days of each month. After a few months the patient becomes highly aware what leads to weight gain and what not. I use electronic body composition scales daily where I can determine weight, fat percentage and muscle percentage. It also records calories consumed and the body mass index (BMI).

    Watching your fat percentage and BMI

    I record all this data in a little booklet. Once per month I see that the fasting mimicking diet lowers my body mass index by 0.3 to 0.9 points. There is the negative experience of eating ice cream or a New York cheesecake that within one day shows as an increase in fat and the BMI. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see your elevated BMI melt away in only a few days every month. This motivates you over the years to cut out the big diet offenders and to keep your eating portions smaller. Also, you value the neutral effect of berries and vegetables.

    What Works for Permanent Weight Control

    What Works for Permanent Weight Control

    Conclusion

    An interesting diet study of 3-year duration showed that small caloric reductions of 100 calories per day are ineffective over a longer period of time. In this study the effect of small caloric reductions wore off after two to three years. On the other hand, I experienced the effects of the fasting mimicking diet (FMD) of Dr. Longo for more than 4 years. This helps me to keep my body mass index (BMI) in the 21.0 to 22.0 range. Without the FMD I would slowly slip into the overweight category. Following the FMD every month and recording the body composition scale values daily keeps me motivated to watch what I eat resulting in persistently low BMI values. Knowing that this is also a key to health keeps should keep anybody motivated.

    May
    07
    2022

    The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

    This article describes the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen.

    The environmental working group (EWG) defined the “dirty dozen” as crops, which farmers pollute by repetitive spraying. Notably, this is a list of the 12 most insecticide-sprayed crops like strawberries, spinach, tomatoes and others. It is important to realize that in the last few years, the EWG added the 15 clean crops. For this reason, if you want to avoid toxins on your food you exchange the 12 dirty dozen for organically grown crops. Specifically, you can also rest assured that the pollution levels in your food is of no concern, when you add the “clean fifteen” since these crops are relatively non-polluted. By all means, I have used this shopping guide for over 10 years and always look for the yearly updates.

    The dirty dozen

    Here is the dirty dozen:

    1. Strawberries
    2. Spinach
    3. Kale, collard & mustard greens
    4. Nectarines
    5. Apples
    6. Grapes
    7. Bells and hot peppers
    8. Cherries
    9. Peaches
    10. Pears
    11. Celery
    12. Tomatoes

    It is important to realize that certain agricultural methods lead to the insecticide contamination of the dirty dozen. It may come as a surprise that not only spinach, strawberries and cherries, but also apples, grapes, celery and tomatoes are very contaminated. I buy only organic equivalent versions of the dirty dozen.

    The list of the clean fifteen

    Here is the list of the clean fifteen:

    1. Avocados
    2. Sweet corn
    3. Pineapple
    4. Onions
    5. Papaya
    6. Sweet peas (frozen)
    7. Asparagus
    8. Honeydew melon
    9. Kiwi
    10. Cabbage
    11. Mushrooms
    12. Cantaloupe
    13. Mangoes
    14. Watermelon
    15. Sweet potatoes

    These are crops that you can buy and eat, because they are not contaminated with insecticide spray. There is a yearly update on the website, which informs you of any changes of the contaminated crops. So far little has changed over several years.

    According to the CNN article cited in the beginning of this article 70% of the clean fifteen list have no detectable residues of pesticides. Just under 5% of this list had two or more pesticide residues. For this reason I would label those as relatively non- polluted.

    Why pesticides are dangerous

    Toxicity of pesticides depends on the chemical configuration. Some are more toxic than others. But in combination pesticides are much more toxic than each one of them alone. Some pesticides irritate the skin, others the eyes. Other chemicals are toxic to the nervous system and the hormone system. And on the long-term pesticides can cause cancer.

    Specific toxins

    • DCPA http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/DCPA.htm is a general herbicide that farmers spray on several vegetable crops. It was banned by the European Union in 2009.
    • Nut and fruit tree farms use Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide, which farmers also spray on broccoli and cauliflower. The EPA banned this substance in February 2022. Chlorpyrifos contains an enzyme that causes neurotoxicity in children. It also causes neurodevelopmental effects in children.
    • Organophosphates block acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that inactivates acetylcholine. Toxicity of organophosphates comes from poisoning with acetylcholine, which overstimulates muscles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organophosphate_poisoning#Pathophysiology The brains of babies and children are very sensitive to the toxic effect of organophosphates.
    • A number of pesticides are endocrine-disrupting chemicals. This can have permanent or long-lasting effects on the reproductive development. https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?Lab=NHEERL&dirEntryId=212273

     Complaints of the industry about the EWG

    The industry has repeatedly complained about the EWG that the publication of the dirty dozen would harm the sales of crops. But studies done by the EWG showed that only 1 in 6 consumers are buying less vegetables and fruit. Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist at the EWG with expertise in toxic chemicals and pesticides said: “The study actually shows that just over half of people surveyed said the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list made them more likely to buy fruits and vegetables.”

    Here is what the consumer can do  

    • Rinse fruit and vegetables before you serve it; this removes surface toxins
    • Buy food from a local farmer; you can enquire about his farming practices.
    • Buy produce in season; if you buy organic crops they are most reasonable are that time, and you can prepare or freeze the fruit and vegetables for future use.
    The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

    The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

    Conclusion

    The environmental working group (EWG) developed the concept of the 12 dirty dozen and the clean fifteen crops. The consumer needs to know the 12 dirty dozen, as he/she has to buy organic crops as a replacement for this. On the other hand, you can buy the 15 clean crops, but you first need to know what is on the list. Knowledge is power, and knowing about these crops ensures that you keep insecticides, fungicides and herbicides out of your body. This information is not only important for adults and youth, but particularly important for babies and small children. Chlorpyrifos, which was banned in February of 2022 in the US causes neurotoxicity in children. But it also causes neurodevelopmental effects in children. The cleaner the crops are that we eat, the healthier our bodies are.

    Apr
    24
    2022

    Immune System Responses against Covid-19 or anti-Covid Vaccination

    This article is about immune responses against Covid-19 or anti-Covid vaccination.

    Investigations of the immune system showed that people who had Covid-19 and subsequently were vaccinated had an immune response that lasted for at least one year. In the following a discussion follows about the details why this is so.

    The WHO confirmed more than 430 million cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic started. 4.9 billion people or 63.9% of the world population received at least one vaccination as of late February 2022.

    How vaccination against Covid-19 works

    The vaccine attacks the spike protein of the Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2). The body produces antibodies through B cell activation. These are lymphocytes that originated from the bone marrow (hence B cells). They are capable of producing large amounts of antibodies that target the spike protein of the virus. It takes at least two vaccinations with the Pfizer vaccine to get a good antibody response. A booster vaccine brings the antibody titer even higher.

    Cell-mediated response by killer T cells

    When the virus enters a cell, the antibodies are no longer effective. Here the T killer cell comes into play. T killer cells are lymphocytes that were thymus processed (hence the name T cells) and activated by the vaccine. T killer cells function as a second line of defence. These immune cells specialize in detecting virus-infected cells. They immediately destroy these cells before the virus has a chance to replicate and shed more virus copies into the blood stream. It is the T cell response that prevents hospitalizations and deaths. Media coverage misled the public to believe that the bulk of the immune response would be from antibody production. However, the truth is that the T cell response is what is responsible for recognizing Covid-19 variants and why people survive Covid-19 with very little complications.

    Long term immunity

    When people had a Covid-19 infection the activated B cells that produced antibodies and the T killer cells get converted into memory cells. With a re-infection the memory cells can reactivate themselves to turn again into active B cells producing antibodies and T killer cells. The key for immunity with multiple vaccinations is also the memory cell pool. Those with two Pfizer vaccinations and a booster vaccine are much more immune to Covid-19 than those who only received one or two vaccinations.

    Waning immunity

    Following an infection with Covid-19 the immunity comes to a peak at 3 months after the start of the infection. The CDC said that people who are 90 days post-infection do not require a quarantine when they meet someone with an active Covid infection. By about 6 months immunity is declining. This is also true for people after double vaccination and a booster vaccine.

    Hybrid immunity

    The immune response after either a natural infection with Covid or following vaccinations with anti-Covid vaccines lasts only about 6 months. On the other hand, scientists observed that people recovering from Covid infections who subsequently received an anti-Covid vaccine just once had a very strong immune response that lasts for over a year. This is called hybrid immunity. This type of immune response triggers a very strong antibody response that is lasting longer. Immunologists are now researching whether the hybrid immunity is achievable with an improvement to vaccines. Results of this will not be available for several years.

    Immune System Responses against Covid-19 or anti-Covid Vaccination

    Immune System Responses against Covid-19 or anti-Covid Vaccination

    Conclusion

    The immune response to Covid lasts for about 6 months; the same is true for the immune response after a vaccination. But when a person comes down with Covid and he or she receives a vaccination one month later, the immune response lasts for over one year. Scientists call this hybrid immunity. At this point experts recommend to have a booster vaccine every 6 months. But immunologists are researching for ways to incorporate the mechanisms of hybrid immunity into vaccines, which likely will not be available for several years.

    Avoid deliberate exposure to Covid-19

    Some persons who read about the response after a Covid infection and a vaccination misinterpreted this. They took this as an “invitation” to expose themselves to the virus in the hope to boost their immunity. However, a Covid infection remains an illness with potentially serious consequences. There is no way to predict whether the course of an infection will be mild or extremely severe. In addition, a significant number of patients come down with “long covid” and struggle with breathing problems, lack of energy and more. Covid is still here, and our best protection remains the full vaccination including boosters and hygienic measures. This involves masks, frequent handwashing and disinfection of surfaces in daily life.

    Mar
    30
    2022

    Adolescents’ Lifestyles Are Linked to Faster Aging in Adulthood

    A longitudinal study found that adolescents’ lifestyles are linked to faster aging in adulthood. The study started with a baseline examination in a group of adolescents around the age of 15. 30 years later doctors examined the same individuals again. The researchers found that smokers, obese people and people with untreated emotional problems were aging faster than controls who did not have these problems. CNN discussed this study as well. A fourth condition, asthma was also included in the study. Indeed, adolescents who suffered from asthma in their mid-teens were not more biologically aged at age 45 when compared to controls who never had asthma. The authors concluded that treated asthma did not prematurely age a person. However, lifestyle habits like smoking, excessive weight and untreated mental illness contributed to accelerated aging.

    Does having a healthy lifestyle lower your risk of developing medical conditions and diseases?

    It must be remembered that anti-aging medicine is watching out for new treatments that can prolong life. However, this is not just one “breakthrough”, but rather a number of factors that in combination lead to longevity.

    Resveratrol

    Resveratrol, the supplement from red grape skin can stimulate your mitochondria metabolism. Exercise more and regularly as this will also stimulate your mitochondria to multiply similar to the effects of PQQ, a supplement. I take 500 mg of resveratrol concentrate once daily.

    Exercise regularly

    The first thing to remember is that regular exercise will prevent about 50% of chronic diseases (diabetes, heart failure, arthritis). Consequently, this prolongs life: Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases.

    Replacing missing hormones with bioidentical hormones

    When you enter menopause or andropause replace missing hormones with bioidentical hormones. This will add 10–15 years of good life. This information comes from the anti-aging medicine circles and European studies of women on bioidentical hormone replacement. Here is a more conservative opinion from a US review: Counseling Postmenopausal Women about Bioidentical Hormones: Ten Discussion Points for Practicing Physicians.

    Abandon sugar, starchy foods

    Starchy foods (potatoes, pasta, rice, pastries and bread) and processed food accelerate aging. Avoid these foods for a healthier heart – Harvard Health. Many studies have confirmed that a Mediterranean diet is anti-inflammatory and prevents premature aging.

    Are you deficient in human growth hormone?

    Find out whether you are deficient in human growth hormone or not by taking an IGF-1 blood test. Dr. Hertoghe, an endocrinologist from Belgium said at various anti-aging conferences that HGH by itself prolongs life by about 15 to 20 years or more. I am deficient in HGH and I am injecting HGH myself regularly. My anti-aging physician orders my IGF-1 level three to four times per year to monitor the right dosage of HGH replacement. But it is crucial that the physician supervise the patient. This involves  giving the patient only minimal amounts of HGH, which keeps IGF-1 levels in the high normal range. This is also re-emphasized in this review: Growth Hormone and Aging: Updated Review. When you overdose HGH, you lose all of the beneficial effects that HGH replacement brings.

    Fasting mimicking diet (FMD)

    Fasting for Longevity: 9 Questions for Dr. Valter D. Longo. When you consume only 500 to 600 calories daily for 5 days out of every month you are stimulating your telomeres (the caps on your chromosomes) to grow a little bit longer. Longer telomeres translate into longer life expectancy. In addition, your stem cells anywhere in your body also undergo stimulation. Here is more information: fasting mimicking diet for 5 days every month.

    Lifestyle factors

    It is best not to smoke. Keep your body mass index in the 21.0 to 22.0 range. Get enough sleep (7–8 hours every night). Use a form of relaxing exercise (yoga, self-hypnosis, meditation, Tai-Chi). This will keep the stress hormone cortisol under control; if it is constantly high from ongoing stress, it leads to premature deaths. The Science of STRESS – SLMA

    Take key vitamins and minerals

    When you take key vitamins and minerals every day you can add another 5 to 10 years of disease-free life to your life expectancy. Ray Schilling’s answer to Is taking vitamin supplements helpful or quackery?

    All of these factors taken together help you to not age prematurely. A healthy lifestyle elongates your telomeres, which prolongs your life without diseases. It also prevents heart attacks and strokes, which again prolongs your life. And a healthy lifestyle prevents Alzheimer’s disease, so you can turn old and not have to worry about memory loss. I cannot overemphasize how important a healthy lifestyle is!

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    Conclusion 

    As summarized above, a recent study going on for about 30 years showed that premature biological aging occurs in adolescents who smoked, were obese or had untreated mental illness. On the other hand, treated asthmatics did not show this biological aging effect. I summarized what factors contribute to slowing down aging. It is a combination of proper diet, regular exercise, hormone replacement as you age and taking some supplements. One key to slower aging is to be aware of how important a healthy lifestyle is for you.

    The section about having a healthy lifestyle was published previously here: Ray Schilling’s answer to What are the most exciting breakthroughs in longevity research?

    Mar
    07
    2022

    T-Cell Immunotherapy Cures Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

    T-cell immunotherapy cures chronic lymphocytic leukemia after 10 years. Researchers were able to use the blood of leukemia patients and modify immune cells to attack their cancer cells. Specifically, they introduced a chimeric antigen receptor into immune cells from patients in the lab. Subsequently they transfused the modified immune cells back into the leukemia patients. After 10 years researchers detected the same active cytotoxic T lymphocytes in both chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, which contained the chimeric antigen receptor marker. This means that active cytotoxic lymphocytes, that also have the name of killer T cells, continued to eliminate any pathological cells from the lymphocytic leukemia patients.

    The immune system explained

    The immune system can respond with two major responses. The B lymphocytes originate from the bone marrow and turn into antibody producing plasma cells. With viruses this system works very well as it inactivates viruses that the immune system recognizes don’t belong into the body. The other branch of the immune system are the thymus-processed T cells. These are important to eradicate cancer cells. They are also called CD4 cells or cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Often tumor cells produce specific proteins that suppress the immune cells. But the researchers of these two chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients managed to introduce a chimeric antigen receptor into the CD4 cells that specifically targeted the leukemia cells. The immune system in these patients was working optimally and remained active for 10 years.

    Some statistics regarding chronic lymphocytic leukemia

    Here are some statistics of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). There were about 61,090 new cases of leukemia and 23,660 deaths from leukemia in 2021 in the US. Among these were 21,250 new cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). There were about 4,320 deaths from CLL. The average lifetime risk of getting CLL is 1 in 175 people or 0.5% of the population. The risk of getting CLL is slightly higher for men than women. CLL is a leukemia of older people, the average age at the time of diagnosis is 70 years. CLL is rare under the age of 40 and extremely rare in children.

    Potential serious side effects of T-cell immunotherapy

    Dr. David Porter, one of the authors of the study published in Nature said that this type of immunotherapy can have serious side effects. He added that therapies have become safer over the years. Oncologists are giving immunotherapies like the one which I described to hundreds and thousands of patients.

    Here are the more common side effects.

    • The tumor lysis syndrome: when the tumor cells are all attacked at the same time, there is a lot of tumor cell destruction and the contents of the cells end up in the blood. This makes the patient rather sick for a few days. There can be serious electrolyte abnormalities that have to be countered with intravenous fluids. The toxins can also cause kidney damage, which physicians monitor closely.
    • Cytokine release syndrome: With this syndrome people develop a high fever, nausea, vomiting, much like a severe flu. They also develop muscle aches and joint pains. Patients can develop extremely low blood pressure. This occurs because fluid leaks into the lungs, which also causes problems breathing.
    • Neurologic toxicity: There can be a loss of speech and thought disturbances. Seizures can develop and the patients may turn comatose. Nevertheless most patients recover from this spontaneously.

    Details of one case of CLL with successful treatment

    Doug Olson was one of the patients who was studied in the publication in Nature. His original diagnosis was chronic lymphocytic leukemia when he was 49 years old. For 6 years he did not need much treatment. But then his leukemia flared up and chemotherapy got his CLL into remission for 5 years. Generally, leukemia behaves this way that treatment gets it into remission (meaning the leukemia is controlled). But on another occasion, it gets into a relapse, which means the leukemia flares up again. 11 years after the original diagnosis of the CLL there was a rapid decline due to another relapse. In a bone marrow biopsy 50% of the white blood cells were CLL and 50% were normal.

    Infusion of CAR-T cells

    He received his first infusion of CAR-T cells in September of 2010. Following this he became very sick and the oncologist hospitalized him for three days. One week later the oncologist could not find any more cancer cells in his body. But the cancer specialists were very reluctant to call it a cure at that time. Fast forward 10 years. And now there are still no cancer cells in Doug’s body. The blood analysis showed that active CAR-T cells are in Doug’s blood monitoring for him that no CLL cells reoccur. Now, 21 years after the initial diagnosis of his CLL the oncologists are convinced that the T-Cell Immunotherapy was what cured Doug.

    Discussion

    CLL is a special form of blood cancer. Chemotherapy has been successful in increasing survivor rates over the years. But the end of the patient with CLL comes from a final relapse of this leukemia form, which eventually no longer responds to chemotherapy. The researchers in this publication used a novel immunotherapy approach, where they introduced a chimeric antigen receptor into immune cells of patients in the lab. Subsequently they transfused this back into the leukemia patients.

    T-cell Immunotherapy used surveillance T cells successfully

    These modified immune cells became the “surveillance team” that eradicated new CLL cells and destroyed them on an ongoing basis. This immune therapy is getting rid of the last CLL tumor cell. The two cases described in this paper and investigated thoroughly after 10 years of immunotherapy intervention were completely free of CLL cells in their bone marrow biopsies. Two cases are not enough data, but it is a powerful result for a pilot study. Oncologists have to produce much larger clinical trials with more patients. This establishes that this new immunotherapy is superior to conventional chemotherapy and indeed prolongs survival compared to chemotherapy alone.

    T-Cell Immunotherapy Cures Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

    T-Cell Immunotherapy Cures Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

    Conclusion

    This pilot study showed that the immune system can be stimulated to suppress and eradicate leukemia (CLL) cancer cells. The authors introduced a chimeric antigen receptor into immune cells that were taken from patients. The researchers obtained blood samples. Then they introduced a chimeric antigen receptor into immune cells in the lab. Subsequently they injected these CAR-T cells back into the CLL patients. In these patients the CAR-T cells behaved like surveillance cells, which eradicated leukemia cancer cells on an ongoing basis. After 10 years of follow-up in two patients in this pilot study the clinicians could not find any CLL cancer cells in their bone marrows, but the CAR-T cells were still present. This type of study is encouraging as it is a model for immunotherapy of other cancers. It is a promising start, but obviously researchers need to do more studies to fine-tune cancer immunotherapy.

    Feb
    20
    2022

    Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival

    Notably, conventional medicine has nothing to offer against advanced cancer, but stimulating the immune system leads to better cancer survival.

    Dr. Hoffer’s survival experiment with incurable cancer patients

    The following is a description of a 9-year follow-up of incurable cancer patients. They were given supplements known to stimulate the immune system and their survival rates were recorded. Ref. 1 describes the experiment by Dr. Hoffer, the father of orthomolecular medicine. It is important to realize that this is a branch of medicine that uses large doses of vitamins and minerals. This can rectify metabolic changes in various diseases. Dr. Hoffer treated 131 advanced cancer patients between 1976 and 1988 with a mixture of mega vitamins and minerals. There was a control group (not taking any supplements) and the experimental group.

    Results regarding incurable cancer patients over 9 years

    In fact, the results of this 9-year follow up study are depicted in the image below. The Y-axis represents the % of survival (at the zero point of time 100 % of each group were alive), the X-axis shows the time of survival in years. To clarify, the group of cancer patients taking meta vitamins is depicted with orange columns, the control group with blue columns. At 7 years of follow-up none of the controls survived. Explicitly, there was an 8-year survival advantage of the mega vitamin group versus the control group (control group 28% survival at year 1 of follow-up, mega vitamin group 34% survival at year 9 of follow-up).

    List of supplements patients in the experimental group took daily

    With this in mind, here is the detailed list of the supplements that Dr. Hoffer instructed his experimental group cancer patients to take daily.

    Vitamin C, 10,000 to 40,000 mg orally daily; B3 vitamin (niacin or niacinamide) 300 to 3,000 mg; vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 200 to 300 mg; folic acid 1 to 30 mg; vitamin E succinate 400 to 1,200 IU; Coenzyme Q10 300 to 600 mg; selenium 200 to 1,000 micrograms daily; zinc 25 to 100 mg; calcium and magnesium supplement (2:1 ratio); mixed carotenoids as carrot juice; multivitamins and minerals.

    Ref. 1 (page 347) explains that in this case the Mayo Clinic did a study where they “duplicated” Dr. Hoffer’s study by using only high doses of vitamin C. It is important to realize that they failed to show any cancer fighting effect. However, they neglected to include all of the other cancer fighting supplements listed above. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that stimulates the immune system partially, but does not fight cancer by itself.

    Strengthen your immune system by taking 14 supplements

    In the following I like to share what I found when I investigated what supplements are necessary for optimal immune responses. The Linus Pauling Institute wrote a detailed review of the literature on the topic regarding “Immunity in depth”. It is published by the Oregon State University.

    Essentially, there were 14 supplements that are listed below that were critical for the immune system to fully respond.

    In the following I listed the 14 supplements, but, if they were present in Dr. Hoffer’s clinical cancer trial, I inserted them right after each item. 8 out of 14 supplements overlapped between Dr. Hoffer’s supplements and the supplements necessary to stimulate the immune system. There is a total overlap of 57%.

    • Vitamin A: mixed carotenoids as carrot juice
    • Vitamin B6: vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 200 to 300 mg
    • B12 vitamin
    • Folic acid: folic acid 1 to 30 mg
    • Vitamin C: Vitamin C, 10,000 to 40,000 mg
    • D3 vitamin: Ray Schilling’s answer to Can vitamin D lower your risk of CoVID-19?
    • E vitamin: vitamin E succinate 400 to 1,200 IU
    • Iron
    • Copper
    • Selenium: selenium 200 to 1,000 micrograms daily
    • Magnesium: calcium and magnesium supplement (2:1 ratio)
    • Zinc: zinc 25 to 100 mg
    • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Probiotics

    Dr. Hoffer’s additional vitamins and minerals were: multivitamins and minerals; Coenzyme Q10 300 to 600 mg; and vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinamide) 300 to 3,000 mg. The 5 items that were missing in Dr. Hoffer’s clinical trial were vitamin B12, vitamin D3, iron, copper and probiotics.

    Discussion

    During the Covid epidemic the importance of the immune system for survival became very clear. One of the current mysteries regarding the immune system is why some people develop only very mild symptoms with Covid, while others get deadly sick. The other question has been around much longer: when it comes to cancer survival, why are there long-term survivors with some advanced cancers, but others perish. I believe that the key is how well the immune system is functioning. Dr. Hoffer’s end stage cancer survival trial achieved a 34% survival of cancer patients at year 9 of the clinical trial. At that time 100% of the control group were dead. Indeed, this is a remarkable finding.

    Supplementation with vitamins and minerals prolonged cancer survival

    The only difference was the supplementation with 57% of the Oregon University list of supplements necessary to stimulate the immune system. One of the more important supplements, namely vitamin D3 was not even included and yet there was a 34% survival in the experimental group after 9 years. Conventional medicine concentrates on surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy as the major therapeutic tools to fight cancer, but there is rarely if at all the mention of supplements. Ordinarily end stage cancer patients live on average 3 to 6 months.

    Mayo Clinic’s attempt to jeopardize Dr. Hoffer’s cancer survival findings

    When the Mayo Clinic got wind of Dr. Hoffer’s clinical trial they quickly attempted to “duplicate” the findings, but they left everything out except mega doses of vitamin C. Then they proclaimed that Dr. Hoffer’s data were flawed. In reality they failed to duplicate the findings, because they were poor copycats. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, but it won’t be of help to cancer patients on its own. As the Oregon State University publication showed, there are 14 supplement that are necessary to work in symbiosis to stimulate to immune system to fight cancer.

    It is significant that there was a 57% congruence between Dr. Hoffer’s list and the Oregon State University list of supplements to stimulate the immune system. Future cancer clinicians should revisit Dr. Hoffer’s clinical findings and finetune them to increase the long-term cancer survival times. For one, the supplement list should include vitamin D3, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival

    Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival. (Image source). 

    Conclusion

    Dr. Hoffer did a clinical trial that lasted 9 years between 1976 and 1988. Some patients were recruited earlier than others, but all were observed for a total of 9 years. He treated end-stage cancer patients with vitamin and mineral supplements. A control group that did not take any supplements was included in the trial. After 9 years the experimental mega vitamin group had a survival of 34%. None of the controls that did not take any supplements were still alive after 7 years. The literature by the Oregon University showed that 14 supplements are necessary to support the immune system. Dr. Hoffer’s clinical trial used 57% of these supplements. I am postulating that the good results of the mega vitamin group with respect to cancer survival likely comes from a strengthening of the immune system with the supplements.

    The future of cancer treatments

    Cancer treatments are entering a new phase where with the help of multiple treatment modalities combined (photodynamic therapy or PDT, immunostimulation, oxygen therapy and low-dose laser activated chemotherapy) it is now possible to cure many cancers that were untreatable in the past. The tunnel vision approach of conventional oncology with only a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy is obsolete for cases where cancer has metastasized. At this point the methods described here are promising, but have to be still considered experimental until larger clinical trials confirm Dr. Hoffer’s findings.

    Reference

    Ref. 1: Andrew W. Saul, PhD: “The Orthomolecular Treatment of Chronic disease”, Basic Health Publications Inc., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 2014.

    Dr. Hoffer’s cancer survivor experiment (part of the above) was previously published here.

    Feb
    13
    2022

    How healthy are Carbohydrates?

    A recent review article asked: how healthy are carbohydrates? The three food components that occur in natural food are carbohydrates, fats and protein. Among the carbohydrates it is important to distinguish between simple carbohydrates (such as sugar) and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are readily absorbed into the blood, which causes an insulin peak. After a few hours the peak is gone, and there is a “crash”. You will know the feeling of feeling hungry just a few hours after eating doughnuts! Complex carbs like peas, beans, fruit and vegetables take longer to get digested. The final breakdown product of the digestive process is sugar as well. But this process takes longer meaning that the concentration of sugar in the blood is much lower. There is also no “crash”. The result is that complex carbs cause less insulin secretion into the blood.

    Long-term effect of eating too much sugar

    Integrated over several decades of life, this means that a person who constantly consumes beverages with sugar and snacks containing sugar is at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In contrast, a person who eats well balanced meals where the insulin secretion is low, will not develop diabetes and have much less hardening of the arteries. This translates into a lower risk to develop heart attacks and strokes.

    The types of carbohydrates

    Before I discuss the health effects of various carbohydrates, we need to look at the types of carbohydrates.

    Simple carbohydrates

    Table sugar is a disaccharide, which consists of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose.

    The enzyme amylase very quickly breaks down the chemical bond between fructose and glucose and creates these monosaccharides in the small intestine from which they are rapidly absorbed. Milk sugar is a disaccharide, which consists of a molecule of glucose bound to a molecule of galactose. Milk contains 2 to 8% of milk sugar. We have to watch these simple carbs, because they trigger insulin production and lead to accelerated hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes.

    Complex carbohydrates

    In contrast, complex carbs are healthy, because they take some time to be digested in the digestive tract. They consist of polysaccharides, long chains of sugar molecules. Both starches and dietary fiber consist of complex carbohydrates. They often are present in vegetables and many fruit. Complex carbs slow down the absorption of their breakdown products and minimize the insulin response. Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of fruit and vegetables. It contributes to good gut health as the beneficial gut bacteria can multiply on the fibre particles.

    Healthy carbs

    When simple carbohydrates dominate in our food intake, we are in trouble because they are loaded with calories. Overconsumption of them leads to weight gain and obesity, to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and even cancer. On the other hand, consumption of complex carbohydrates is healthy. We get them from eating apples, bananas, berries, vegetables like spinach, tomatoes and carrots. Other healthy complex carbs are whole grain flour, quinoa and brown rice. Black beans, lentils, peas and garbanzo beans are also healthy complex carbs. Dairy products like low fat milk, yogurt and ricotta cheese are healthy as well.

    Mediterranean diet as an example of a healthy, balanced diet

    In 2019 a study was published where women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) were either put on a Mediterranean diet or not. This study showed that a Mediterranean diet was anti-inflammatory, reduced insulin resistance and reduced testosterone levels in PCOS patients.  But the same is true in a general population. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy, balanced diet with complex carbohydrates. It prevents insulin resistance, inflammation and hormone disbalance. Other diets have similar effects like the DASH diet, the Zone diet and the Pritikin diet.

    Quantity and quality of your food intake matters

    A 2018 study from India showed that it matters how many carbohydrates we consume.  On average Indians eat a diet with 65-75 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates. Many of these carbs are the unhealthy simple carbohydrates. How healthy are  carbohydrates? The authors recommended to reduce complex carbohydrates to 50-55% and to add 20-25% protein, mostly from vegetable sources and add 20-30% from fat. The fat consumption needs to include monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive oil, nuts and seeds). Among the carbs a lot of green leafy vegetables help to balance the diet. This prevents the development of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

    The above addresses the issue of quality of food. But it is also important what quantity of food we are eating. This is where counting or estimating calories comes in. If we overeat, we will very quickly gain weight and eventually can develop obesity.

    The glycemic index and glycemic load

    In order to help you with the choice of right carbohydrates the glycemic index was developed.

    Here is another reference about the glycemic index/glycemic load.

    In table 1 towards the end of the last link you find a column designated “GI” for glycemic index. All the foods that have a value less than 55 are foods that you can eat freely.

    Problematical carbohydrate foods

    Baked russet potatoes and boiled potatoes are very high on the GI index list. Puffed rice cakes, doughnuts, jelly beans and corn flakes measure high on the glycemic index list. But water melons, dried dates, white bread and white rice are also items to be avoided.

    You best avoid anything with a glycemic index above 55. The column to the right of GI shows you a serving size and the last column on the right the glycemic load. The lower the glycemic load per serving, the better it is for your health. The glycemic index and the glycemic load are useful concepts of helping you to sort out your diet items.

    My wife and I used this in 2001 to shed weight. We both lost 50 pounds (=22.72 kilograms) each in a period of 3 months.

    Fasting mimicking diet (FMD)

    According to Dr. Longo intermittent fasting stimulates the stem cells of the bone marrow. This leads to new clones of lymphocytes (B cells and T cells), which are part of the immune system. Your immune system becomes stronger from this.

    Dr. Longo has done detailed mouse experiments, which inspired him to develop a new diet plan. Patients would receive a fasting mimicking diet (FMD) on 5 consecutive days per month. The rest of the month consists of a normal, balanced diet. 5 days of the month the person consumes a low 600-800-calorie diet. This reduced calorie intake is enough to ensure adherence to the diet, but low enough to lead to enormous positive metabolic changes including youth-preserving stem cell stimulation.

    I am following the FMD

    I have followed a FMD since December 2017. It helps me to keep my weight (BMI) in the 21 to 22 range. I feel more energetic and have managed to stay in good health.

    The above chapter on the FMD was previously published here.

    How healthy are Carbohydrates?

    How healthy are Carbohydrates?

    Conclusion

    Healthy eating consists of 50-55% calories from complex carbohydrates; add to this 20-25% protein, mostly from vegetable sources and add 20-30% of total calories from fat. The fat consumption needs to include monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive oil, nuts and seeds). Unfortunately, most “convenience foods” (=processed foods) are incompatible with a healthy lifestyle. They contain too much simple carbs (sugar). Many people live on 65-75 percent of calories coming from simple carbohydrates, which are too many carbs. It should be complex carbs that digest slower and that do not induce insulin resistance. The glycemic index and glycemic load are useful concepts to help you chose the right foods that keep you healthy. The fasting mimicking diet can help you to take the last few pounds off that may be difficult to shed. Weight loss and weight maintenance are possible when you choose the right foods.

    Jan
    22
    2022

    Booster Vaccinations Against Covid-19 Variants are Very Effective

    This article will inform you that booster vaccinations against Covid-19 variants are very effective. Studies in patients from Israel who received a third vaccination (booster shot) showed much less omicron infections. Researchers compared the number of omicron infections in patients with only two shots and another group with three vaccinations (regular vaccination+booster shot). In patients who had booster shots infection rates were 10-fold lower.

    Antibody titers matter

    What seems to be happening is that antibody titers against Covid-19 rise after each vaccination providing more and more protection against the virus. Patients in this study had 90% less Covid-19 infections after a booster (=3 shots with the Pfizer vaccine) when compared to a double vaccinated group. Researchers compared nursing home residents who were previously sick with Covid-19 versus those who were not. They did PCR tests in April or June of 2020 to identify that there was a past history of Covid-19 infection with a subsequent recovery. Within 3 weeks after one dosage of an anti Covid-19 vaccine their antibody tests rose to above 40,000 arbitrary units (AU) per milliliter. The threshold was 50 AU to be positive.

    The Israeli experience

    An Israeli study was published on Nov. 5, 2021. Researcher determined the antibody titers in blood samples after anti-Covid-19 vaccinations. They investigated the antibody titers after two vaccinations and compared them to antibody titers after three vaccinations. The latter vaccination is often referred to as a booster shot. 97 study participants had blood tests taken after two vaccinations with an average antibody titer of 440 AU/mL. Any value above 50 was considered to be seropositive. However, 10 to 19 days following the booster shot the average antibody titer rose to 25,468 AU/mL, which is an enormous increase.

    Older age patients and kidney transplant patients responding to booster shots

    After two vaccinations there were lower antibody titers in older patients aged 67-74 compared to patients age 18-55. But after the booster shot this age difference was no longer present. On the sideline the researcher also followed a group of kidney transplant patients. These would be considered to be patients with a chronic disease. Initially, following the standard two vaccinations these patients were negative for an antibody response. But after the third vaccination (booster shot) 49% of the kidney transplant patients showed a positive antibody test.

    Antibody titers in patients with past natural Covid-19 infection

    Researchers also investigated the antibody response of patients against the spike protein of Covid-19. As this publication shows after a natural Covid-19 infection plus one vaccination of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine the antibody titer was 20,120 arbitrary units per milliliter. In contrast, the other group consisted of two vaccinations of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine. They had antibody titers of 22,639 arbitrary units per milliliter. This was not significantly different from the first group. It also did not matter whether in the first group the prior natural Covid-19 infection was 1, 2, 3 or more months before the first vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine.

    Discussion

    New information emerged since the beginning of the Covd-19 pandemic. There was confusion about how often people would need a vaccination before they would be immune against Covid-19. After one vaccination with the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine the protection rate against Covid-19 is around 50%. After two vaccinations the protection rate is around 95%. Experience with the booster vaccination teaches us that the protection rate is almost 100%. There was no difference between the antibody response of the group with the age of 18-55 and the group with the age of 67-74 after the third shot (booster shot).

    But there is a proviso: the immune system must be capable of full activation to produce enough antibodies by the B cells. B cells are the lymphocytes that traveled through  the bone marrow after which they started producing antibodies against viruses. As the results with the kidney transplant patients showed, only 49% of them were able to produce positive antibody titers. The reason for this is that kidney transplant patients must take immune system suppressing drugs to avoid a rejection of the kidney transplant.

    Other reason for poor antibody response

    Other patients with chronic diseases (diabetics, autoimmune disease patients etc.) and patients older than 60 can also have a weaker immune system. Part of this can be when one or more of the 14 supplements is missing that are necessary for a full immune response. It is important before the Covid-19 vaccinations to take the 14 necessary supplements to get a good antibody response.

    Booster Vaccinations Against Covid-19 Variants are Very Effective

    Booster Vaccinations Against Covid-19 Variants are Very Effective

    Conclusion

    Several studies showed that the antibody response after the anti-Covid-19 vaccine increases significantly. The measurements revealed that after two injections the antibody titer was 440 AU/mL. After the third (booster) injection the antibody titer increased significantly to 25,468 AU/mL. This explains why some people after one or two vaccinations still may be able to come down with Covid-19, but after the additional booster injection (3rd vaccination) the immune response in terms of antibody production is 58-fold higher than after the second vaccination. This gives the immune system a full response. Some patients with chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases etc.) will have certain immune deficiencies. This explains a higher infection rate among these people as well as a higher mortality rate. We all can take the booster vaccine against Covid-19. In addition, we can take the 14 immune supplements to stimulate our immune system.

    Jan
    08
    2022

    Sleep Training to Prevent Insomnia and Depression

    A new study describes that sleep training to prevent insomnia and depression is desirable. Notably, the study published in JAMA Psychiatry took 291 people age 60 years and older and followed them for three years. In this case half the participants received treatment with sleep training, the other half treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy. The other half was the control who received sleep education therapy from a public health educator. It is important to realize that both groups received 120 minutes weekly group sessions for two months. That is to say, following training of 2 months the subjects were followed for 36 months. It must be remembered that they completed monthly questionnaires to monitor for depression and insomnia. At the end of the study almost 1/3 of the cognitive behavioral group still were free of insomnia.

    The control group who received sleep education therapy initially showed no longer any

    improvement. In other words, the initial progress did not last with sleep education only. The study was also published in CNN.

    Results about rates of depression

    Those subjects of the cognitive behavioral therapy group who had a sustained remission of their insomnia disorder had a rate of 82.6% less depression. This was in comparison to the subjects who did not sustain their treatment against insomnia. Dr. Pim Cuijpers commented that the results of the study show “a completely new and innovative way” of tackling the growing problem of depression. Dr. Cuijpers is a professor of Clinical Psychology at the Free University of Amsterdam.

    A brief background about depression in older patients

    Depression is common in people above the age of 60. About 30-50% of this age group develop depression. Part of this could be that older people often do not get enough sleep as middle-age or younger adults do. Melatonin production declines with older age and this may play a role in insomnia of older people. On the other hand, one of the major symptoms of depression is a lack of sleep. It seems that a lack of REM sleep, the deep sleep that makes us dream, is responsible for both troubles, sleeping (insomnia) and depression.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy administered by a therapist is effective for insomnia

    It is important that a therapist administers the cognitive behavioral therapy. There are recordings available online that provide cognitive therapy, but they are not individualised. Dr. Irwin said: “That’s why CBT-I is so effective in person, because the therapist is helping that individual navigate and negotiate with themselves — and it can be really hard work,” Irwin added. “I believe that’s also why CBT-I apps or online tools often don’t work — people get frustrated, disappointed or angry at themselves, and they basically stop the work.”

    The rationale for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

    CBT for insomnia has five components: Stimulus control, sleep restriction, sleep hygiene, relaxation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Researchers gave the program the name CBT-I. Sleep hygiene and relaxation involve these sleeping habits: going to bed at the same time every day, eliminating noise and blue light from electronic devices. Also, you want to keep your bedroom cool, take warm baths and do yoga for relaxation.

    Stimulus control and sleep restriction

    Stimulus control involves getting out of bed, if you can’t sleep. Dr. Irvin said: “Most people stay in bed, fretting about not falling asleep, which then turns the bed into a negative space. Instead, people are taught to get up after 10 minutes of tossing and turning, do quiet, non-stimulating activities, and not to come back to bed until they are sleepy.” Sleep restriction means that a person lies in bed only to sleep plus 30 minutes. It is a way to make people with insomnia get out of bed instead of lying there awake.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy

    Cognitive behavioral therapy disrupts irrational thoughts and beliefs about sleep. Patients with insomnia often think “I can never sleep” or “I might die if I don’t sleep tonight.” A therapist has training to help the patient find a way back to a more realistic mindset. Eventually the patient accepts the bed as a welcoming place.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in preventing depression

    Dr. Irwin pointed out that chronic insomnia often leads to depression. A dangerous consequence of depression can be preoccupation with suicide. A certain percentage of patients with depression in any age group want to kill themselves. This is where cognitive behavioral therapy can intervene and make a huge difference. As mentioned earlier almost 1/3 of patients who received cognitive behavioral therapy for two months retained their normal sleep pattern. It was among this group that 82.6% had no depression compared to a control group. These are very important statistics. Dr. Irwin said: “We have shown that we can actually target insomnia with cognitive behavior therapy and prevent depression from occurring”.

    Sleep Training to Prevent Insomnia and Depression


    Sleep Training to Prevent Insomnia and Depression

    Conclusion

    A new study in JAMA Psychiatry describes that sleep training to prevent insomnia and depression is feasible. Sleep researchers used cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for two months on subjects who suffered from insomnia. The treatment group had profound effects with respect to improving insomnia and depression. Almost 1/3 of subjects treated with cognitive behavioral therapy returned to a normal sleeping pattern. And this subgroup of patients had 82.6% less depression. The lead author, Dr. Irwin thinks that cognitive behavioral therapy could become the new way of how to treat and prevent depression.

    Dec
    25
    2021

    Drugs that May be Useful in the Treatment of Covid-19

    This article deals with drugs that may be useful in the treatment of Covid-19. There are several drugs that may be useful in the treatment of Covid-19. Lately an antidepressant like Luvox has been in the limelight. But antiviral drugs like ritonavir from Pfizer and remdesivir from Gilead Sciences also reduced the number of hospitalized patients with Covid-19. Finally, Merck introduced molnupiravir, an antiviral drug against Covid-19. The health authorities in Great Britain recently approved this drug for use in Covid-19 patients in Great Britain. Apart from drugs, vitamin D3 is still an important factor in preventing and treating Covid-19 as I will mention below.

    Luvox for better survival from Covid-19

    The Lancet published a study on Oct. 21, 2021 about the effect of Luvox on patients with Covid-19 symptoms. 741 patients received the antidepressant Luvox, 756 received placebo pills. In the Luvox group patients received 100 mg of Luvox twice per day for 10 days. From the Luvox treated patients only 11% had to go to tertiary care for treatment. In contrast, from the placebo group 16% had to go to tertiary care. There were 17 deaths in the Luvox group and 25 deaths in the placebo group. The Luvox group definitely showed a positive effect, although the results were not outstanding. In the following I am discussing other drugs that may be useful in the treatment of Covid-19.

    Antiviral agent Remdesivir Improving survival from Covid-19

    Here is a run-down of the survival statistics with remdesivir. This drug is manufactured by Gilead Sciences in cooperation with Pfizer. 541 patients received a loading dose of 200 mg on day 1. Subsequently they received 100 mg daily for another 9 days. 521 received placebo pills. The median recovery time in patients with remdesivir was 10 days. Those on placebo pills recovered only after 15 days. The mortality rates were 6.7% with remdesivir and 11.9% for the placebo group on day 15. There was a mortality of 11.4% with remdesivir and mortality of 15.2% with placebo pills on day 29. Although the effect between the remdesivir group and the placebo group was significant, the effect would not be enough to stop transmission of the virus on a population basis. Health Canada made the decision to use remdesivir in severe COVID-19 disease cases.

    Merck introduced molnupiravir, another antiviral drug against Covid-19

    Molnupiravir was approved in the UK as an antiviral drug for early and moderately severe cases of Covid-19. It is difficult to get data on the Merck’s molnupiravir drug. But this publication states that there is a 50% reduction of mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 cases with molnupiravir. Professor Peter Horby from the University of Oxford pointed out “the proportional reduction in the risk of hospitalisation or death is impressive. But it is important to remember that the absolute risks were 14% reduced to 7%, so quite a lot of people need to be treated to prevent one hospitalisation or death.” Others pointed out that the side-effects are very similar between placebo pills and molnupiravir pills. Overall molnupiravir appears to be a useful addition in the treatment of Covid-19.

    Higher doses of vitamin D3 effective in treating and preventing Covid-19

    Higher doses of vitamin D3 will mitigate the course of influenza and of Covid-19 coronavirus. Researchers outlined 3 mechanisms of how vitamin D works:

    • Maintaining tight epithelial junctions making it more difficult for the Covid-19 coronavirus to penetrate.“
    • Killing enveloped viruses through induction of cathelicidin and defensins.” These powerful antiviral polypeptides can kill viruses that have invaded the bloodstream within 1 to 2 days.”
    • And reducing production of proinflammatory cytokines by the innate immune system, thereby reducing the risk of a cytokine storm leading to pneumonia.” It is people who get the viral pneumonia that are at a high risk of death. By bringing the blood level up to the higher range of normal, between 50 and 80 ng/mL, patients that have encountered Covid-19 coronavirus are more likely to survive.
    Drugs that May be Useful in the Treatment of Covid-19

    Drugs that May be Useful in the Treatment of Covid-19

    Conclusion

    Beside distancing, the wearing of masks and frequent hand washing other methods are emerging to fight the virus that causes Covid-19. Vaccinations are very effective, although they are less effective in patients with a weakened immune system. But there are also drugs that may be useful in the treatment of Covid-19. Newer studies have shown that the antidepressant Luvox has a mild effect on helping Covid-19 patients. Last year remdesivir came into the market. And this year Merck added molnupiravir, another antiviral pill. We should not forget that vitamin D3 is an effective antiviral vitamin. But it is only effective, provided the patient takes enough vitamin D3. The blood level must reach the high normal level of 50-80 ng/mL vitamin D in the blood. Up to now vaccinations and booster shots are the most effective way to prevent Covid-19 infection. Vitamin D3 and molnupiravir are also very effective.

    Part of the above was previously published here.