Hi, I’m Dr. Chad Larson. I was just driving home from work listening to the news, and it’s all a discussion of the increased expanse of the mandates. And I just thought I’d pull over because I had some thoughts and wanted to shoot a quick video on them. Sorry for the poor video quality, but it was spontaneous.
So, the idea is that the nature of what we’re dealing with is a public health crisis. And while that’s probably true to some degree, what’s a bigger deal is that the facts would actually point more toward this being a personal health issue more than a public health issue. Because if you look at the statistics on a poor outcome of Covid, in other words people who have to get hospitalized, ninety-five percent have four underlying conditions or comorbidities. That’s a personal health issue. Yet none of the officials and public health experts are discussing this, at all, whatsoever. That’s just a really surprising lost opportunity to explain the true underlying causes that lead to a worsening outcome when somebody gets Covid. So I thought I’d just throw some of these things out there instead of just wishing and hoping that some public health official is going to say this. Somebody needs to speak up about it because it’s just not being talked about.
There are a few really basic points that I want to put out there. Let’s discuss this in the context of the current framework. We’re in a pharmaceutical based culture. We use more pharmaceutical drugs by far than any other country, and certainly more than we ever have in human history. The pharmaceutical companies have a real stranglehold on a lot of our institutions and systems, and they’re largely dictating what gets recommended and what studies should be run and so forth.
And just to be clear, I prescribe medications. It’s part of my practice. I prescribe pharmaceuticals. I’ve got lots of other tools in the toolbag that I use: diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and so many other things like that. But I just want to preface my remarks by saying that there’s a place for pharmaceuticals. However the idea that we’re dealing with right now is that a drug is the only way to be healthy in our current culture. And based on the statistics, that’s just factually incorrect.
We know that the underlying conditions people have created an unhealthy immune system by which their body has to deal with Covid. So they often have a worse outcome and they have to be hospitalized. And I want to talk about those things, just some really low-hanging fruit that we all could start to implement right now. The beginning of the pandemic would have been a really great time to discuss these things, and I’ve been discussing these things through this channel since pretty much the beginning. But I think more and more people need to discuss these very basic things that have very obvious clinical and scientific proof. So let’s go down a few of the things that I want to emphasize.
-Dr. Chad Larson
The Importance of Vitamin D
Number one, and probably one of the most well-understood of the low-hanging fruit, is vitamin D. I hope by now most people have heard about vitamin D, that they’re trying to increase their vitamin D or at least have had their vitamin D levels tested to see if they need to increase it. The optimal values seem to be about 50 or higher on a standard blood test looking at 25 hydroxy vitamin D. Often in my practice, I use that as the objective point of reference to know the dose I should suggest to a patient. So I hope people are at least doing that and then trying to increase their vitamin D levels.
You can see that the sun is shining in my face right now. Your body can make vitamin D from the sun. But at certain latitudes, I think above the 37th parallel as we get into fall and winter, there’s more and more atmosphere that the UV radiation has to travel through in order to make vitamin D in your skin and then the rest of your body. Then people in those areas might have to rely more on supplementation. But I’ve made other videos on vitamin D, and the point that I wanted to make now is that there are dozens of studies, not just in the context of general health but specifically for this particular virus, that vitamin D is absolutely crucial. People that end up getting hospitalized, the vast majority are deficient in vitamin D. And we know the really comprehensive and clear effects it has on the immune system and so many other systems of our body. So vitamin D is a very low-hanging fruit, very easy and free to get, or if you do have to supplement, it’s a very cheap nutrient. Very easy to find Vitamin D here.
Obesity and Covid
Another thing that’s just not being brought up is the number one risk factor when we talk about these four underlying conditions and comorbidities that often lead to hospitalization. The top one is obesity, and nobody’s talking about it. It’s such a loss. I guess maybe there are some issues around whether we are shaming people if we talk about obesity. But we have to get past that and just discuss it. This is a real thing. Obesity is a major risk factor for a poor outcome of Covid, and it needs to be addressed. It can be talked about in a very practical and clinical and compassionate way.
We’re going on two years of the pandemic now. If we’d started this discussion two years ago, think of all the people who would have taken it seriously when they heard a public health official recommending some very basic tips that people can do to start losing weight and decrease this major risk factor. And many of the other comorbidities, the underlying factors that are found in ninety-five percent of those who get hospitalized, are these metabolic conditions.
I’ve talked a lot about metabolic syndrome and metabolic conditions, and I’ll talk more about them in the future. But they’re on the list of risk factors. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and these kinds of conditions are very treatable, and yet there’s crickets. There’s absolute silence instead of discussing this with the public. So again, it’s not a public health issue, it’s a personal health issue. These things need to be done on an individual basis. But it would certainly be helpful to get some encouragement from our public health officials to open the discussion about this. Or at the very least, I hope your primary health care provider is discussing this with you and giving you some really important actionable items that help to decrease the risk factors.
Get Outside and Into Nature
Another really key thing, as clearly shown in the studies, is spending time in nature, whatever nature there is in your area. The number two risk factor for hospitalization with Covid is fear and anxiety disorder. There’s just a ridiculous amount of scientific literature that shows that spending some time in nature has a dramatic effect on your whole HPA axis, your hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is your stress system. We’re not talking about days and days, or even hours and hours. It can be minutes, fifteen or twenty minutes of just sitting in a natural setting. This would be a great thing for our public health officials to discuss. But despite being the number two risk factor behind obesity, it’s not being talked about. And it’s a very simple, very free thing that you can do. And, hey, go walking in nature and that’s like bonus points. You’re walking, you’re getting some exercise, getting the heart rate up, getting the respiration rate up, and doing something good for your body, and you’re doing it out in nature. That’s kind of a double bonus.
But I just wanted to give you these three very basic, totally free things that you can start to implement that can have a major influence on your overall health and wellbeing and support your immune system in such a way that it helps to decrease the risk factors. Because taking a drug is not health. It never has been; it never will be. “You’re healthier when you take this drug.” That’s not really an accurate way to discuss what pharmaceuticals are supposed to do. But there are some tried and true and scientifically accurate things that we can do to support our immune systems and to decrease our risk of being hospitalized in this pandemic era.
So, to summarize 3 Ways to Boost Your Immune System:
1) Vitamin D. Getting tested first of all would be my suggestion, and most experts would agree that the 25 hydroxy test should be somewhere between 50 and 100. Then you can take an appropriate dose or get into the sun an appropriate amount of time to make the right amount of vitamin D. Just as a quick side note, along with vitamin D I often supplement vitamin A. It’s a little trickier, but you can speak with your qualified health care practitioner to discuss how much vitamin A might be appropriate. But these basic nutrients can be really key. You can learn more about Vitamin D here.
2) Spending time in nature. We know the number two risk factor is anxiety and fear disorder. We’re subjected to so much negative, fearful information. It’s extremely imperative that you have enough going on in the way of stress management to keep that in check. Spending time in nature is a very easy, simple tactic that a majority of people can do.
3) Overweight or Obese: If you’re significantly overweight or obese, get the proper help or proper education to figure out what you need to do to lose weight. I’ll have more on this coming up in the future. It’s such a key and very treatable issue, I’ll certainly provide more content about it, but there are lots of providers out there who can help in that regard.
Those are the free, very basic, very easy things to do. Spend some time in nature. Work on losing weight, if that’s appropriate for you. And get your vitamin D. These things are free, they will truly help to improve your health, and they’ll support your immune system.
Hopefully that’s helpful. I just wanted to put these thoughts down. Sorry about the poor quality of the video. I will keep reading the studies and bringing you the information. Until then, Keep It Real.