This article was published 2/21/2020 when it was thought the disease was deadly. Many essays followed that tell a differnt tale. But the advice regarding personal immunity is still spot on.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus is a highly contagious and deadly virus for which there is no known cure and no vaccine. Coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely do animal coronaviruses infect people and then spread between people. But COVID-19 does.
What makes this virus so dangerous is that when people are infected only their personal immunity stands between them and death. This is why our personal immunity is so critically important and knowing how to keep it in tiptop shape should be on everyone’s bucket list. But first, some background.1
On December 31, 2019, the government in Wuhan, China, confirmed that health authorities were treating dozens of cases. By February 21, 2020 there were 77,290 confirmed cases in 32 countries and 2,250 deaths. Of the closed cases (cures and deaths) the death rate is 10.6%. Does this mean the COVID-19 virus is officially a pandemic which is “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people?” Population immunity, virology, or disease severity are not defining terms so having reached 32 countries is a big check in the box. Maybe a few more cases are required for the “p” word to become official.2
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, has been suggesting that the coronavirus is connected to the National Bio-safety Laboratory in the virus’s epicenter of Wuhan, China. He also says there’s no “evidence that this disease originated there,” although he believes officials “need to at least ask the question.” Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, says, “There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered. The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.”3 4
But does the source of the virus really matter? The virus exists and it’s spreading. Who is to blame plays second fiddle right now. Combating it is the first priority. In aviation, during in-flight emergencies, pilots are taught the axiom “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.” In other words, fly the airplane first, then navigate, and once the situation is under control, communicate. Right now we have to keep flying while being more proactive than ever in avoiding disease before spending energy worrying about “whodunits.”
For perspective, according to U.S. News & World Report as of February 21, 2020 our domestic 2019-2020 influenza season has had 26 million people fall ill with flu symptoms, roughly 250,000 hospitalizations, and 14,000 deaths. This death rate is 0.054% overall or 5.6% of hospitalizations. Comparatively, what is now a 10.6% death rate for COVID-19, is significantly higher. Yet even though the flu bug is deadly, it still kills people when they have poor immunity. Therefore, if people fear the flu they should be many times more concerned about their immunity’s ability to fend off COVID-19.5
COVID-19 symptoms are:
Shortness of Breath
Common flu symptoms are:
Fever or Feeling Feverish/chills
Runny or Stuffy Nose
Muscle or Body Aches
Possibly Vomiting and Diarrhea
People testing positive to COVID-19 are quickly isolated. The worst cases are provided oxygen because COVID-19 is a lung ailment. Drugs are often required to address other symptoms caused by COVID-19 such as problems with blood pressure, heart performance, or infection control. But bottom line, it’s the person’s immune system, rather than the doctors, that does the hard work of fighting off the infection.1
When it comes to fighting off COVID-19, trying to “boost” immunity with quick fixes is rather futile. What’s required is the fundamentally powerful, natural immune system that our bodies were designed to have. Our bodies, which include our immune systems, function best when bolstered by broad-based healthy-living strategies such as:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation
Get Adequate Sleep
Minimize Stress and Anxiety
Eat Nutrient High Foods Emphasizing a 1:1 Balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3
All steps are important, but when the food component is deficient the other steps are relatively ineffective in preventing autoimmune issues. When autoimmune issues occur (from Arthritis to MS to Vasculitis) one knows for sure their immune system is already compromised. What is it about diet that weakens the immune system? Malnutrition!6
Even in affluent countries there’s rampant malnutrition known as “micronutrient malnutrition.” This is when people are deficient in some essential vitamins, trace minerals, and lipids that are obtained from or supplemented by diet. For example these deficiencies may include zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), or vitamins A, B6, C, and E. Immune systems require these nutrients which must be in proper balance with all other essential nutrients.
Unfortunately modern dietary guidelines, Internet marketers, the medical community, school lunch programs, the restaurant industry, the media, and social settings steer people away from the best nutrient-rich foods. That’s because, when it comes to eating, they emphasize enjoyment followed by fruit and vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts, treats, and modest helpings of meats without specifying grass-fed or Omega-3 meats. Consequently even the wealthiest people are undermining their immunity rather than building their immunity.
For more than 50 years researchers in biology and nutrition have emphasized the importance of Omega-3 EFAs in supporting the immune system. But their definition of the Omega-3 deficiency is universally misunderstood. It’s not just about having some Omega-3 in the diet or popping an Omega-3 pill. The appropriate quantity of Omega-3 EFAs in the diet is determined by their weighted balance with Omega-6 EFAs. For millions of years mankind’s EFA ratio was 1:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 up until the invention of farming about 10,000 years or so ago.
As mankind’s diet of mostly grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood began to include more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and grain, he skewed his EFA ratio from being around 1:1 to where it’s now between 10:1 and 15:1. These high ratios DEFINE the Omega-3 deficiency. When a society has a high EFA ratio, the incident rate of its auto-immune diseases is way higher than societies with ratios of 2:1 or less.7
Following World War II Americans saw a big shift in their diet away from grass-fed meats and vegetables (many home grown) to grain-fed meats, far more carbohydrates from vegetables and grain, more grain-based concocted foods, more nuts, and way more sugar and syrups of all kinds. So, in the past 70 years obesity has become ubiquitous, chronic diseases of all kinds are referred to as epidemics, and medical bills have become huge burdens for not only individuals but also the State. And, wouldn’t you know it, all this sickness and expense is assumed to be natural!
Every individual is responsible for protecting their general long-term health which requires a strong immune system. And we know that without a vaccine the only way to survive the COVID-19 virus depends, not on drugs, but the ability of one’s own natural immunity to destroy it. A key essential nutrient for optimizing the effectiveness of our immune system and for suppressing inflammation is the family of Omega-3 EFAs. But Omega-3 EFAs can’t fine tune the immune system unless they are balanced very close to 1:1 with Omega-6 EFAs.1 8 9
Most of the foods Americans eat are loaded with Omega-6 EFAs and deficient in Omega-3 EFAs. Relying on Omega-3 supplements to lower the EFA ratio below 2:1 is not the best way nor safest way to achieve a 1:1 ratio. Eating properly balanced whole foods with only a daily tablespoon or so of fish oil supplement is best. Supplements are like taking drugs which are mostly focused on single pathways. On the other hand, eating whole foods is a metabolical approach that addresses multiple modalities.10
I highly recommend the Omega-3 test at www.omega3test.com to everyone. Put slanker in the offer code for a significant discount. This simple blood test focuses on heart health although the same EFA ratio applies to the immune system as well. Ratios exceeding 4:1 are not good. The typical American has a ratio of 15:1 which is horrible. Ratios of 2:1 or less is more reassuring. With a strict diet of proper foods the EFA ratio can be lowered from 15:1 to less than 4:1 in 10 weeks. It’s not instantaneous, but fast enough. Even still, years of damage can’t always be straightened out in 10 weeks. But lots of progress in heart health, diabetes, immune dysfunction, arthritis, and many other issues can occur quickly in less than ten weeks. So how do we make these improvements?11 12
The foundation food for animal life, on land or in the sea, is the green leaf. As a food the green leaf provides the complete spectrum of energy, vitamins, protein, amino acids, minerals, fat, and EFAs in proper balance. Not one other plant part (stems, roots, seeds, fruits) approaches the green leaves in terms of providing the full spectrum and proper balance of nutrients animals need. Unfortunately only certain animals can efficiently utilize green leaves. Some animals do best by eating other animals. Some animals can thrive on green leaves and animals. And all animals do best when they keep the green leaf at the bottom of their food chain one way or the other.13
The best nutrient dense and diverse whole foods will be grass-fed meat, Omega-3 meat, and wild-caught seafood. They are easily digested plus their nutrients match what people need. Next are the green leafy vegetables. The top of the food list for optimizing health and immunity ends there. That’s because the chemistry of fruits, nuts, seeds, and roots are not the same as green leaves.
The nutritional attributes of the whole foods required by our animal bodies are the same as one million years ago. They are:
● Low Glycemic
● Nutrient Dense and Diverse
● Have 1:1 balances of Omega-6 to Omega-3 EFAs14
Any food item not meeting all three criteria actually dilutes the diet and introduces deficiencies and often inflammation. Yes, for optimizing our immune system many of today’s favorite foods are excluded. But living a healthy life may be worth it.
What have you got to lose?
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
Don’t miss these links for additional reading:
1. There’s No Specific Drug That Kills Coronavirus. But Doctors Have Ways To Treat It by Richard Harris from NPR’s All Things Considered
2. Tracking the COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak from World O Meters
4. Wuhan Institute of Virology from Wikipedia
5. Influenza B Leading the Charge in 2020 Flu Season from Medical Economics
7. The Importance of the Ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids by A. P. Simopoulos, PhD
8. Immune Responses to Viruses by Kerry Laing
9. Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells by Saray Gutiérrez, et al.
10. Fish Oil: Hazardous to Health? By Ted Slanker
11. Omega 3 Test use slanker as an offer code and save
13. Man Is an Extension of the Leafy, Green Plant by Ted Slanker
14. New Food Analysis Tables by Ted Slanker
What Vaccinating Vampire Bats Can Teach Us About Pandemics by ecologist Daniel Streicker TED Talk
Immunity and You by Ted Slanker
We Need Inflammation, but . . . by Ted Slanker
Flu Season That's Sickened 26 Million May Be at Its Peak by Dennis Thompson from U.S. News and World Report