Late Spring Greetings!
June arrives this week! The summer solstice is just around the corner. We are now in a seven week run of the longest days of the year. The daylight lingers on into the evening and brightens our evening walks. The finest moments of the New England outdoor exercise season have arrived.
So get out there, and remember, we are most resistant to respiratory viruses when our exposure is in the open air. Concentrated exposures are where the risk lies. Outdoor recovery wards were hugely helpful in the Spanish Flu pandemic. During the Civil War, giving up the tents hugely changed the rates of respiratory illnesses amongst the rank and file. Enjoying nature squashes pandemics!
At the beginning of the week I talked with a colleague who works at BMC with the sickest COVID patients. I’m happy to say that she reported a drastic reduction in the case load as far as COVID goes! At Berkshire Center for Whole Health, we are seeing zero people with concerns for active infection. Our testing is connected with the support around reopening of businesses, and nothing else right now.
Shrinking Numbers Globally
UK researchers are thinking it might be tough to expose their vaccine volunteers to the virus because of the drastically receding case loads. Central China finished a two week campaign to test nearly 7 million people with nasal swabs! Guess how many positives they found in the population without symptoms: only 200! Out of millions of people!
Some scientists are talking about how the clearance of pollution levels, a striking consequence of the global coordinated economic shutdown, might be a sleeper factor in the shrinking numbers and have surprising implications for the future! Makes you want to ride your bike on your errands today.
Remember that exposure to pollution is the strongest correlation to COVID cases faring worse. Could clearing skies open the door to a best possible outcome? I think so.
Of the many possible scenarios, let’s not forget that there are best case ones. Let’s do more than that. Let’s picture the best case scenarios with joy and expectation in our hearts.
Let’s hope and pray for such outcomes, even as we prepare for and protect against the whole spectrum of possibilities.
The best case scenarios
Some things to bravely hope for:
- the virus weakens as it mutates and takes on the intensity of a common cold
- it disappears as mysteriously as it appeared
Besides these prayers for the world there are other elements we can expect to see, with the understanding that we don’t know for sure, but still are likely based on how other coronaviruses have acted:
- immunity after exposure will be found to last
- exposure to other coronaviruses might mitigate the syndrome caused by this one
- the amount of time it will circulate with intensity will be limited.
Reminder to remember the whole! Think of yourself as part of an ecologic community. Humanity is one organ in the earthy body. Just as your neighborhood is healthy only when each household is well, so too does the Human Race thrive only when every human’s inherent worth is truly appreciated.
Beyond that, our world community thrives only when:
- our natural resources (clean air and water and healthy soil) are recognized as our greatest treasures,
- the animal kingdoms are treated with profound respect and dignity,
- our medicine is recognized as an avenue for nature’s beings to reach their highest possible end.
As promised last week a word on Zinc. Everyone has been talking about zinc with COVID.
Zinc is important for immune function. Coronaviruses don’t do well in cells that have a good concentration of Zinc. There is one population that stands out for their low zinc levels: Vegetarians!
True: Plant based diet is best, for sure, as is low sugar and no processed foods. Eat well and your chances of avoiding the hospital are very good. But, vegetarians are more likely to have low levels of Zinc. Certain grains and legumes can inhibit its absorption. Furthermore, Zinc is concentrated in shellfish and red meat. Oysters are the best source.
Beans, nuts, whole-grains, dairy products and eggs are a good source of zinc for vegetarians. Supplementing is not unreasonable for vegetarians.
It’s also important to know that it is difficult for the zinc to get into our cells, even if there is adequate Zinc in the diet. Proper cellular absorption needs ionophores, agents that facilitate movement across the cell membrane. Important ionophores for zinc are:
- Green tea extract
- Hydroxychloroquine. Do any of the studies not demonstrating hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness have zinc in the protocol? If they don’t, I’d argue they aren’t relevant.
Have Zinc around. Dosages are low in lozenges but they can be a nice preventative measure. They work when they are actively in your mouth. Gloves and mask and a zinc lozenge might be the full defensive outfit when in the grocery store. During an early infection Zinc at higher dosages, 20mg plus, with an ionophore is part of my plan for you.
There are a lot of studies on saunas and their health benefits. They might be a part of your 2020 insurance policy plan to prevent COVID. People who frequently use saunas are 40% less likely to get pneumonia. They make you calmer and more relaxed. In fact, there are good studies that show Hyperthermia is helpful for depression. Even one session shows an antidepressant effect.
There are infrared saunas and dry saunas. There is more research on dry sauna but people swear by their infrared saunas (lower temps).
Results from sitting in a sauna mimic the benefits that we get from working out: BP goes down, heart rate variablility improves, cardiorespiratory fitness improves.
I’ll leave you with a quote I came across this week.
“Don’t shrink what’s possible to fit your mind, expand your mind to fit what’s possible”
-Brain coach Jim Kwik
Thinking of you all and wishing you the best!
Dr Cooney and staff