Keeping Healthy

Preamble – my story. 28 years ago I recovered from a 3 year bout of ME & I have had the energy of someone much younger since my recovery. Since then I have studied nutrition with the remarkable woman who helped me recover and then I went on to teach various modules of an Environment & Health Degree including one on epidemiology. As a result I have been following the latest (& old) research about protecting ourselves against Covid-19. This is an attempt to clarify the confusing messages that have been circulating during the pandemic. I hope that you find it useful.  NB I advise you to research information for yourself & seek suitable professional advice rather than rely on the information I give below because each individual has different needs.

Although the pandemic has caused a lot of problems I also feel it is an opportunity for many positive outcomes including taking responsibility for our own health. The human body is very clever at healing itself if it has the right ingredients. We can live a life with so much less fear by feeling empowered by taking control of our own health.

THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS There is good evidence to suggest that ensuring that we provide our bodies with what they need, especially Vitamin D and zinc is much more effective than any vaccine. To help Vit D and Zinc work even better we should have adequate magnesium (which can be imbalanced by us taking too much calcium), Vitamin K2, selenium and Vitamin B6. Many of us are deficient in or have an imbalance which affects availability  in these minerals & vitamins. We can put some of it right by eating the right foods. Vitamin C (even more effective if it contains some quercetin too) is important too – no lack of that in our freshly picked and squeezed oranges in Morocco. Vitamin B12 levels should be adequate too – those who eat a vegetarian, espcially a vegan diet should be especially vigilant here.

Some Food sources Zinc rich foods – pumpkin seeds, shellfish, nuts, legumes; Vitamin D rich foods- sunflower seeds, egg yolks, wild caught fatty fish; magnesium rich foods – dark green vegetables, almonds, tahini; Vitamin K2 rich foods: eggs, liver, some cheeses; Vitamin B12: meat & fish and to a lesser extent eggs.

Details about Vitamin D “The Sunshine Vitamin”
The COVID-19 pandemic could be resolved quickly by raising the vitamin D levels among the general public – about 85% of the population are deficient. In the UK we cannot get enough in winter from the sun, and as we age our skin is less effective at making Vitamin D (adults over 50 need about twice as much sun exposure), so even in summer our Vitamin D levels may be low. Optimizing your vitamin D could reduce your risk of severe COVID-19 by 90% and your risk of dying from it by 96%; data from 20 European countries found the probability of developing and dying from COVID-19 is negatively correlated with mean population vitamin D status; both probabilities reach zero at vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L). Vitamin D is also radically reduces incidence of cancers and auto-immune diseases as well as being important to prevent or halt osteoporosis, reduce depression and tiredness.

Warnings about “excessive vitamin D intakes” being dangerous are misleading, as toxicity has not been demonstrated until you hit blood levels above 200 ng/mL (500 nmol/L) & as long as you take a  You also need Vit K2  so it is advised to take a supplement which contains the correct  ratios of Vitamin D3 & K2 especially in the winter or if you don’t expose your body to sun when it is high in the sky. Older people need higher doses.

Additional mineral & vitamins that help: zinc may further lower your risk of COVID-19, as well as time-restricted eating being metabolically flexible is another important lifestyle component. The reason for this is because insulin resistance makes you more susceptible to cytokine storm, a primary cause of death among COVID-19 patients. Quercetin — which acts similarly to the drug hydroxychloroquine administed with zinc  further lower your risk of COVID-19. Compelling evidence suggests the reason hydroxychloroquine appears so useful in the treatment of COVID-19 is that it improves zinc uptake into the cell. Quercetin (found in plant foods) has the same effect. In fact, one study has suggested the biological actions — which include antiviral effects — of quercetin may in fact be related to its ability to increase cellular zinc uptake. You best absorb zinc with adequate levels of Vitamin B6 and with selenium. Another mineral which is needed to activate Vitamin D is magnesium – many of us have an imbalance of calcium to magnesium as a result of too high a calcium intake from dairy food so eating magnesium-rich foods like (dark) greens &  swopping  almonds (which have a good Ca to Mg balance) for dairy products help.

It also helps if you reduce your eating window to eight hours (many people eat for 12-16 hours per day), making sure the last food you eat is at least three hours before you go to bed.

A compound found in licorice root  appears to prevent SARS-CoV-2 reproduction and inhibit proinflammatory cytokines, has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, modulates the immune system and helps improve lung function.

OUTDOOR EXERCISE AND SLEEP Forcing people indoors increases transmission of seasonal viruses by 18.7 times compared to open-air environments. Try to take plenty of exercise in the fresh air and ensure that you get enough sleep.

AIR TRAVEL  Fresh Air if you use your vent(s) A common myth about air travel is that if one person is sick on an airplane, all other passengers will get sick because they’re breathing the same air, but thanks to air quality control (via HEPA filters) this is not the case. These high-efficiency filters and the frequency the air is recirculated ensure that the air you’re breathing on your flight is  much cleaner and less contaminated than most office buildings. For example on modern Airbus Boeing planes  the entire air volume of the cabin is exchanged with outside air every 2 to 5 minutes. Additionally, the cabin air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system 25-30 times per hour  HEPA Filters: are required to capture 99.97% of all particles >0.3 micrometers (better than N95 respirators used in hospitals: are required to capture 95% of all particles >0.3 micrometers). Open the air vent(s) above your head to maximise the flow. The flow of the air itself is also designed to minimise infection risks because it flows vertically from above your head and evacuated from beneath your feet. So a passenger from row one, for example, cannot contaminate someone in row 20.  We are watching out for new research on safety. Facts such as this are reassuring: public health officials in Canada say they did not find any cases of further infection after two passengers on a flight from Guangzhou to Toronto were found to have Covid-19. The flight had 350 people on board and lasted for 15 hours. The thing to avoid is  short-range face-to-face conversations  which can result in aerosol transmission.

Seats Better to book a seat near the front exit so that you can get off quickly into the fresh air on landing and by the window rather than the aisle so you are more distanced.

Keep Hydrated NB When passengers are unwell after travel it is often due to dehydration & the dryness of the air in aircraft, so drink water regularly before, during and after the flight (we provide water on arrival) – you need more than normal when flying, and avoid coffee and alcohol because of their dehydrating effects. This will keep your mucus membranes in your nose & sinuses moist, enabling them to resist germs.

Keep the Bugs at Bay! If you put a few drops of Lugol’s solution (a form of iodine) on your mask this will kill any viruses that you inhale (the iodine is volatile). A little peppermint essential oil on the tongue will have the same effect in the mouth.

When you arrive at Agadir the airport is small and very airy. Our own staff will pick you up.

POSITIVE THOUGHTS  I hope that, armed with this information, you will let go of fear and as a consequence boost your immune system, and be better armed against future “threats” and that you will feel better than before.
A friend who knows someone who is very senior in the health service says that so much has been learned about how to treat Covid-19 that they feel confident about saving a much higher % of lives in future – the media don’t seem to report this type of news!