Way back in 1968, the World Health Organisation published a report to tell us that NUTRITION can help to lower the risks associated with viral infection. Maybe this knowledge has just got lost in time? Or maybe they’re so focussed on drugs and vaccines that nutrients and their anti-infective properties have been overlooked? I’ve taken some extracts from my book, The Tip of the Needle to offer some solutions for those who are worried about the current pandemic.
In a UK TV documentary in April 2014, scientists reported their findings after exhuming victims of the Great Plague in London where, during a period of weeks, six in every ten people died of the bubonic plague. Archaeologists found that it came after weather changes had made food scarce, and plague victims’ bones showed they were suffering from severe malnutrition. Malnutrition causes epidemics; malnutrition enables viruses and bacterins to create harm. It was malnutrition that allowed bubonic plague to see over half the population of London off.
In another example, malnutrition was assessed in relation to whooping cough in the UK. Mathematical modelling showed that epidemics were driven by seasonal weather conditions and increases in wheat prices. These two factors predicted the force of infection and the number of people who died. The same authors found a correlation between malnutrition, population size, weather, and measles epidemics. (10,11)
Another paper states: “Infection and malnutrition have always been intricately linked. Malnutrition is the primary cause of immunodeficiency worldwide … There is a strong relationship between malnutrition and infection and infant mortality, because poor nutrition leaves children underweight, weakened, and vulnerable to infections, primarily because of epithelial integrity and inflammation.” Essentially, without proper nutrition, specifically vitamin A, the body’s digestive and mucosal barriers are impaired, leading to inflammation and infection. (12)
A Cochrane review found that vitamin A megadoses lowered the number of deaths from measles in hospitalised children under the age of 2 years. A later Cochrane review found that vitamin A supplements actually reduced the incidence of measles in healthy children aged 6 months to 5 years. (13)
Another paper showed that zinc increases the competence of the immune system, producing a greatly enhanced response to infection. (14)
The risk of children suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D, doctors in Japan found. Vitamin D, which is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight, has no significant side effects, costs little and can be several times more effective than anti-viral drugs or vaccines. (15)
Another journal argues that it’s possible that selenium deficiency may foster viral replication, possibly triggering outbreaks of ebola, in this case, and perhaps even facilitating the emergence of more virulent viral strains. (16)
In 1968, the World Health Organization published “Interactions of Nutrition and Infection,” which suggested that the relationship between infection and malnutrition was a synergistic one. (17) The Copenhagen Consensus project on hunger and malnutrition even suggested that “efforts to provide vitamin A, iron, iodine, and zinc generate higher returns than do trade liberalization or malaria, water, and sanitation programs.” (18)
Farmer Dick Roper proved the nutrition point with his dairy herd, reported before the UK launched itself into a massive badger killing spree. For almost a decade, Mr Roper had been leaving cakes made from sugary molasses laced with supplements, including high doses of selenium, near the badgers’ setts on his land as a way of keeping their immune systems in prime condition.
“Everything I read pointed to the trace element selenium being the solution,” Roper said, “so I decided to make cakes of molasses with the highest dose of selenium permitted. I got Ministry permission and started leaving my cakes outside the setts in the woods. This has worked for nearly a decade in a TB hot spot but I can’t understand why Defra has not done more research into my theory…I don’t believe badgers have to be shot.”
The Badger Trust and Soil Association also called for research. The Soil Association said: “We back Dick Roper’s call for more research into the effects he has discovered. It is a health strategy which would be far preferable to culling.” Defra declined to comment. (19)
So, if you’re in one of the vulnerable groups, and even if you’re healthy and want to either avoid getting Covid-19 or reduce its worst effects, start taking vitamins D, C and A, selenium, zinc, and possibly iron and iodine. I would also recommend you take Transfer Factor, ‘mothers milk’/colostrum, as it’s effective against hundreds of pathogens.
As an aside, I notice that they’re not pushing Tamiflu in the fight against Coronavirus, and a good thing that is, too. In the July 2009 Canine Health Concern newsletter, we looked into the advisability, in the face of a potentially deadly flu epidemic (that never materialised), of grasping for the Tamiflu drug, finding – even then – that there was little to support its use, and plenty to be concerned about.
Newspaper and internet reports were telling us that Tamiflu wasn’t terribly effective, and it could make some people’s condition worse – some patients with influenza are at a higher risk for secondary bacterial infections when on Tamiflu.
Also, Tamiflu wasn’t very well tested in the field. Authorities in Japan were expressing concern as some people who took the drug were ‘falling from windows and balconies or running into traffic’. According to Roche, two people under the age of 21 died from brain infection, and seven deaths from neuropsychiatric symptoms had also been attributed to use of Tamiflu by adults.
In 2014, Tom Jefferson revealed that the makers of Tamiflu had buried unfavourable reports on the drug, leading to a misleading review by the Cochrane Collaboration. By this time, Tamiflu had generated sales in excess of $18 billion. When, eventually, the Cochrane research team managed to wrestle unfavourable Tamiflu studies from the arms of Roche, the Cochrane team concluded that the benefits of Tamiflu didn’t outweigh its harms.
“Worryingly, the welfare of patients seems a secondary consideration for all stakeholders,” wrote Jefferson. “The crux of the saga remains the ability of independent analysts to quickly access the full clinical data on any product or device. Initiatives supported by regulators and the industry are being introduced to try to prevent future scandals, but data on existing drugs remain hidden. Everything for me is marketing and publicity, unless proven otherwise. Companies, regulators, politicians, and researchers might consider the lessons of Tamiflu and put patients first and making a nice little earner a distant second.” (11)
A Guardian article concerning the Cochrane Collaboration’s experience over Roche’s Tamiflu stated: “Since percentages are hard to visualise, we can make those numbers more tangible by taking the figures from the Cochrane review, and applying them. For example, if a million people take Tamiflu in a pandemic, 45,000 will experience vomiting, 31,000 will experience headache and 11,000 will have psychiatric side-effects. Remember, though, that those figures all assume we are only giving Tamiflu to a million people: if things kick off, we have stockpiled enough for 80% of the population. That’s quite a lot of vomit.” It’s also a lot of young people going mad and jumping out of windows to their deaths.