ZINC & QUERCITIN: An Effective Treatment for COVID-19?

Before launching into this, if you have not read my first 2 blog posts on this subject, CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION AND TREATMENT from 3/15/20 and COVID-19 TREATMENT STRATEGIES from 3/27/20 I urge you to read those first, as this post is meant as a follow-up to those. This is some new information that I am creating as a separate post so those who have read those can readily find this information that I have not discussed in those posts.

I often update these posts and I will probably update this one as soon as 4/4 so if reading on 4/3 check back soon.

To reiterate, THERE IS NO PROVEN CURE FOR COVID-19 that is widely accepted, though there is good evidence for many promising treatments like hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin and IV Vitamin C therapy. There is also a new promising treatment, plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 that contains antibodies:
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763983

Also, the information discussed here has not undergone clinical trials and is purely theoretical. None of this information should be construed as medical advice and I advise you consult with your practitioner before trying any treatments.

There is information that suggests that the trace mineral zinc, combined with the flavonoid quercitin may be beneficial in treating COVID-19.
Zinc is, of course, an essential nutrient that plays a key role in immune function. It is a commonly deficient in our diets, in fact the USDA says 42% of Americans do not get the Daily Recommended Intake of Zinc, and that amount is not the optimal level but the bare minimum most people need. One of my mentors, Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD has found that most patients with chronic Lyme disease have a condition known a pyrroluria (which is induced by the Lyme microbe) which induces a deficiency of zinc and thus supplementing with high doses of zinc is essential for them. He says that zinc is so essential for immune function that a white blood cell without zinc is like a gun without bullets. But the mechanism by which zinc may help treat COVID-19 has nothing to do with improving white blood cell function but instead is via blocking viral replication.

For the COVID-19 virus to reproduce, once it enters our cells an enzyme called RNA Dependent RNA polymerase makes more copies of the virus. However, zinc inhibits this enzyme and at high enough concentrations within the cell may entirely inhibit the virus from replicating. This was found in a research study published in 2010 on SARS, another coronavirus that is a close cousin of COVID-19. However, it is important to know that this was an in vitro study (done in the lab rather than in humans or animals). See https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1001176

However there is a big catch. Zinc is an ion with a 2+ charge and does not readily enter our cells. For zinc to reach a high concentration inside our cells requires an agent called an ionophore that is like a tunnel through the cell membrane that allows zinc to enter. Of interest, in 2014 researchers found that chloroquine is a zinc ionophore. Some have theorized that the reason both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine may be helping many patients with COVID-19 is at least in part because it is a zinc ionophore, dramatically increasing the amount of zinc that gets inside cells.

However, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not entirely benign and also are not available to everyone. They require a prescription, are in high demand and have the potential to cause serious side effects. On 4/2/20 I (and I presume other doctors in CA received the following email from the Medical Board of California:
“The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is aware of recent news and social media reports of prescribers wrongfully hoarding and prescribing for themselves and family members certain medications referenced in the media relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Several states have recently issued emergency restrictions on how the drugs can be dispensed. Many require that medications be prescribed and dispensed only to patients with a legitimate and current medical condition. Further, the FDA recently issued an Emergency Use Authorization to allow for the use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products donated by the Strategic National Stockpile for certain hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

DCA, the Medical Board of California, and the California State Board of Pharmacy remind health care professionals that inappropriately prescribing or dispensing medications constitutes unprofessional conduct in California. Prescribers and pharmacists are obligated to follow the law, standard of care, and professional codes of ethics in serving their patients and public health.”

Such policies make it difficult to prescribe chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for anyone not proven to have pneumonia caused by COVID-19.

However, another study from 2014 found that the flavonoid quercetin is also a zinc ionophore that increases the amount of zinc in cells (this study was done on liver cancer cells in mice but it is likely it will also increase zinc levels in more normal cells). Epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG), a substance found in green tea, was also found to act as a zinc ionophore. Quercetin has been found to have antiviral activity in Influenza A, Ebola and Zika viruses. In the studies on Ebola and Zika viruses researchers used doses of 3000-7000 mg a day, which are very high doses. However, quercetin is notoriously poorly absorbed. For many years I have recommended Apha-glycosyl Isoquercetin, a form of quercetin that is about 18 times better absorbed than standard forms of quercetin (this is available from Integrative Therapeutics).

ZInc is safe and well-tolerated. For most people 30 mg of zinc picolinate should be an adequate dose. While better absorbed on an empty stomach, the most common side effect is nausea and that is much less common when taken with food, so I advise taking it after a meal.

As for quercetin I advise Alpha Glycosyl Isoquercetin in a dose of 100 to 200 mg/day if you have symptoms of COVID-19. This is best taken at a separate time from Zinc as quercetin can bind to (chelate) zinc.

For more information please see this article, which includes 2 youtube videos by Roger Seheult MD which explain this in more detail:

https://nutritionalpharmacology.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/combating-covid-19-with-zinc-and-quercetin/

In considering novel treatments I always ask 3 questions:

Is there sound science to suggest the treatment may be plausible?

Does it appear to be safe/non-toxic?

Is it affordable?

When the answer to all 3 are yes then it is worth considering.

COVID-19 TREATMENT STRATEGIES

In part one of this post I discussed prevention of COVID-19. However, some people are going to get infected despite their best efforts to prevent it, such as health care workers (like me) who will likely be exposed in our efforts to treat our patients, or someone who is a checker at a store who is having relatively close contact with a lot of different people (so be grateful to those who are putting themselves at risk to help others). Unfortunately this is spreading like wildfire in certain areas despite people best efforts to avoid getting and spreading it. So this post is about how to treat COVID-19 infections.

One of the main reasons people are so concerned about COVID-19 is that conventional medicine does not yet have any effective treatments. But this does not mean that there are not effective treatments out there. I believe there are many effective treatments including nutritional supplements, herbs, homeopathy and ozone. While none of these treatments have been proven, for all of them there are good reasons to presume they can help. When evaluating ANY treatment, be it conventional or alternative, I ask three question
1. Is there a scientific rationale to believe it might be effective?
2. Is it safe/are there significant potential side effects?
3. Is it affordable?

This has taken me over 11 days to write because there is no much information and the information keeps evolving so, as usual, please consider this a work in progress as I expect to be updating and expanding this.

In discussing treatments of COVID-19 the first point I want to make is THERE ARE NO PROVEN TREATMENTS FOR COVID-19.
There is some evidence to support all of the treatments I will be discussing but none of these are likely to help everyone who tries them. Treatment is best individualized and a treatment that may help one person may harm another so none of this is meant as medical advice and I recommend you discuss any potential treatments you try with your personal practitioner (though, especially if he or she is a conventional practitioner they will likely know little or nothing about most of these).

While the main information we have on treatment of COVID-19 comes from China, there were two other varieties of coronavirus that have caused outbreaks, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which had an outbreak in China from 2002-2004, resulting in 8098 cases with 774 deaths and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome which was first reported in 2012 and has had 100-492 cases per year, mostly in Saudi Arabia. There is information on treatments that helped those types of coronavirus and it is reasonable to presume that such treatments are likely to help COVID-19.

The most important thing to be aware of is that at least 80% of those infected have mild symptoms, with many having no symptoms at all. So this advice is primarily for those who develop symptoms. The most classic symptoms are fever, dry cough with shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue with the most serious complication, in a small minority being pneumonia, which can be fatal, esp. in the elderly, especially those with chronic disease such as diabetes and chronic lung disease, as well as those who are immunocompromised.

My recommendations are based on the advice of a variety of experts that I respect.
I previously discussed the recommendations of herbalist Stephen Buhner for prevention. For treatment he advises the same herbs as recommended for prevention in higher doses, as well as the addition of Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum).

1) Core formulation: Scutellaria baicalensis (3 parts), Polygonum cuspidatum (2 parts), Pueraria (2 parts), Glycyrrhiza (1 part), decocted Sambucus leaf tincture (1 part). Dosage: 1 tsp 3x day, if acute 1 tsp 6x day.

2) Immune formulation:Cordyceps (3parts), Angelica senensis (2parts),Rhodiola (1part), Astragalus (1 part). Dosage: Same as number one.

3) Cellular protection/cytokine modulation/spleen-lymph support:Salvia miltiorrhiza (3parts), Ceanothus (2 parts), Bidens pilosa(1 part). Dosage:Same as number one.

For active infection strong boneset tea 6x/day

Buhner also advises as a “General protective: Shuanghuanglian formulation. (Note: this was found in the earlier SARS outbreak in China to help considerably – a review of the already mentioned mechanisms indicates why. It is now being tested in clinical
trials in China for treatment of Cov-19 infections. The formulation is composed of Forsythia suspensa fruit (2 parts), Lonicera japonica(1 part), Scutellaria baicalensis (1 part).”
This formula is available on Amazon.

In his essay Buhner discusses the mechanisms via which COVID 19 causes illness and the physiological rationale for each of the herbs he recommends (linked in part 1 of this published on 3/15).

At least one company, Sage Woman Herbs, has created formulas based upon his recommendations, but it is currently out-of-stock but hopefully will be available again soon. See https://www.sagewomanherbs.com/buhner-cvs1-bundles.html?id=42785265&quantity=

It may not be possible or necessary to do all of the herbs Buhner recommends to have success. My personal streamlined protocol for someone who is infected is


Andrographis (ideally from Paradise Herbs) 2 capsules (or 1 dropperful of tincture) 4-8 x/day

Japanese Knotweed (aka polygonum cuspidatum) sold as Resveratrol from Paradise Herbs or Source Naturals, 3 capsules 2-3x/day

Vitamin C 1000 mg 4-6x/day

Cordyceps (I like Aloha medicinals) 3 2x/day

Rhodiola 200 mg/day

Ceanothus (Red Root) 1 dropperful 3x/day

Salvia miltiorrhiza (Red Sage) 1 dropperful 3x/day

Astragalus 1 dropperful/day

Licorice Root 1 dropperful 2-3x/day

and ideally Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria baicallensis) the hardest one to obtain, 1 dropperful 3-4x/day; do not use American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) as a substitute; my favorite source is woodlandessence.com but they are closed for at least a week but you can find it from other companies on Amazon etc.

My next expert is Detrich Klinghardt MD PhD who discusses published research such as an in vitro study published on 2/20/20 suggesting the pharmaceutical Chloroquine phosphate 500 mg 2x/day for 10 days for those with pneumonia from COVID-19 (see the 18 minute mark of his video presentation for the reference to this study). Another study suggested the combination of hydroxychloroquine (a close cousin of chloroquine phosphate) 200 mg 3x/day and Azithromycin, a commonly-used antibiotic at 500 mg/day was very effective in treating those with COVID-19. While a small study it was very impressive, helping all 20 who were treated- see https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Hydroxychloroquine_final_DOI_IJAA.pdf

However, I urge caution in using these drugs as they are not entirely benign. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have a long list of serious side effects, though, as typical, the side effects are often related to the dosage and how long they are taken. One concern is that these drugs, as well as Azithromycin, are known to result in a change in our heart function known as a prolonged QT interval which can result in cardiac arrhythmias and even cardiac arrest. So I only advise trying this treatment in those who are confirmed to have pneumonia caused by COVID-19 and NOT as a preventative. HOWEVER, Dr. Kilnghardt believes a natural alternative to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine is the herb Artemesia annua, aka Sweet Annie, 1 dropperful 4x/day (or more)

Nitazoxanide (brand name Alinia), widely used to treat parasites, was found to be very effective in treating MERS and thus can be expected to be effective for COVID-19. Like chloroquine it has been shown to inhibit COVID-19 in in vitro studies, This drug is generally safe and well-tolerated (much more than chloroquine) though rather pricey in the US (60 tablets from a Canadian pharmacy costs less than 1 tablet from a US pharmacy, though it can be relatively affordable from compounding pharmacies. A dose of 500-1000 2x/day is recommended. (again, see Dr. K’s powerpoint presentation at the 18 minute mark for the reference). It may also be available at reasonable prices from your friendly neighborhood compounding pharmacy, but it does require a prescription.

A press release from a Chinese hospital specializing in infectious disease stated that intravenous Vitamin C in doses of 100-200 mg/kg given 3 days in a row was extremely effective. This would translate to a dose of 7.5-15 grams for a 180 pound person. This is a very safe dose as doctors who administer IV C routinely give doses of 25-50 grams for acute and chronic infections. The only people who may not tolerate high doses of Vit C are those with a relatively rare genetic condition called G-6PD deficiency, which affects about 5% of people, but even those people can tolerate 15 grams of IV C.

Vitamin C, safe and simple as it is, has a long history of use in treating infections, dating back to the 1950’s when pioneering doctor Franz Klenner successfully cured polio with it. I have used it on hundreds of patients (including myself) with tremendous success for treating many different infections. Nowadays there are not only many integrative MD’s, DO’s and naturopaths who administer IV C but freestanding centers that administer IV nutrients.
If I felt I might be infected with COVID-19 this would be the first treatment I would try.
There is an impressive report on the use of IV Vitamin C in China for those hospitalized with COVID-19.
Quoting from the article below:
(IVAA stands for IV Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C))

“Chinese facility patient load: 358 total Covid-19 patients as of March 17th, 2020.•Facility treated approximately 50 cases (of the 358) of moderate to severe COVID-19 infection with IVAA. •The IVAA dosing was moderate and affordable (detail below) and dose determined by clinical status.•All patients who received IVAA improved. •There was no mortality in the IVAA group. •There were no side effects reported from any patients in the IVAA group.•Average COVID-19 patients had a30-day hospital stay, but COVID-19 patients that received IVAA had a hospital stay that was3to 5 days shorter than the non IVAA treated patients.”

Also see
http://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n01.shtml
to learn more about IV C.
However, if this is not available to you there should still be some benefit to taking high doses of oral Vitamin C. If you feel you are becoming ill take 1000-3000 mg of Vitamin C every hour until you reach what is called “bowel tolerance.” Normally we can only absorb about 5000 mg of Vit C a day but when we are ill we absorb much higher amounts. When we reach the point where we have ingested all we need then we stop absorbing it and the unabsorbed C stays in our intestines and acts as a laxative. See http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html for the classic article on taking Vit. C to bowel tolerance.

There are many more supplements that are wise to take but before discussing those Dr. Klinghardt discusses something that he believes is crucial, which is to reduce/minimize our exposures to EMF’s (electromagnetic fields), especially wi-fi and frequencies from cell towers.
This is controversial as there are still some clueless scientists who claim these frequencies are harmless but there is a tremendous amount of sound science showing how harmful they are. This is a sensitive subject because you can not see, smell or hear EMF’s; they are omnipresent and insidious and our modern life (more than ever in this era of social isolation) relies a great deal on being connected via the internet and cell phones. Thus, for those interested in the science on this here is a good thorough yet relatively concise overview with many links for further exploration:
https://mdsafetech.org/featured-page-one/join-mdsafetech-org/

While all Wi-fi has deleterious effects 5G is especially harmful. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that the first city in the world fully wired for 5G was Wuhan, China. Milan, Italy is another center of 5G roll-out. Kirkland, WA is one of the leading centers for 5G in the US. At Evergreen Hospital, which has the highest level of EMF’s ever measured at a hospital, 6 of 10 patients with COVID-19 died.
Here is a brief video by another brilliant doctor from San Francisco, Dr. Thomas Cowan, where he explains his take on the connection between 5G and COIVD-19:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUw1Rzbde5U

There are simple steps to reduce EMF exposures. One is to, as much as possible, not keep your cell phone on your body and, if you do, keep it on airplane mode as much as possible. When talking on your cell phone it is ideal to put it on speakerphone and hold it a couple feet from your body- the farther away from you the less the amount of EMF’s. And for computers and iPads, it is ideal to have an old-fashioned wire modern but few of you will probably do this, so the simplest thing is to turn off your wi-fi router whenever you are not online, esp. at night while you are sleeping. EMF protective clothing is another option to consider.

One of the things wi-fi does is lower our melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone produced by our pineal glands and is important in immune function. One way to enhance immune function to prevent infections as well as to treat it is to supplement with melatonin in doses of 40-60 mg at bedtime.

Next i will discuss something advised by both Dr. Klinghardt and another renowned researcher, Dr. Marco Ruggiero MD, PhD, a molecular biologist from Italy who is the author of 225 peer-reviewd papers. Both Dr. Klinghardt and Dr. Ruggiero have discussed the important role of FURINS in the biology of COVID-19 infections. Furins are enzymes in the wall of all our cells that break down proteins (known as proteases). This is complicated so I will try to keep it simple: when COVD-19 infects us it is initially in a form that is inactive; our bodies attack the virus with furins but the furins activate certain proteins in the virus that make it much more infectious (you can see Dr. Klinghardt’s and Ruggerio’s presentation for more detail). So inhibiting furins appears to be one of the best strategies for fighting this infection. Furins are also involved in the activation of other infections such as HIV and Anthrax so there is successful experience in inhibiting furins to treat those infections.

Dr. Klinghardt recommends the herb Andrographis, which has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, as a potent furin inhibitor. This herb also has many other properties as a natural antimicrobial, immune booster and anti-inflammatory. Dr. Klinghardt believes blocking furins is the best way to prevent the infamous Cytokine Storm that COVID-19 can trigger.
He advises a dropperful of the tincture 4x/day as a preventive and a dropperful every hour for active infection.
Vitamin C in high doses also has anti-furin properties.
Other furin inhibitors include Folic acid, a B vitamin (though I advise taking the methylfolate form), L-arginine, which is an amino acid, Milk Thistle extract, Glutathione, an endogenous enzyme that can also be taken as a supplement and epigallocatechin gullate (EGCG) from green tea.

Dr. Ruggiero also discussed how the spike proteins on the COVID-19 (which, of interest, appear to be identical to the spike proteins on the HIV virus) have a strong positive charge and substances with a high density of negative charges should inactivate it. He proposes a novel type of chondroitin sulfate produced by microbial fermentation that he has been developing since 2011. His product that has this is called “imuno.” The bad news is that a 3 ml vial costs $650 (though if you get 3 vials it is 4% off) so I am not recommending it, esp. since the idea it can help is purely theoretical, but you can get it here https://naturalsolutions.nz/imuno/imuno-3ml-vial?product_rewrite=imuno-3ml-vial

To listen to Dr. Ruggiero’s detailed presentation go to http://www.sophiaeducate.com/vulnerability/
It is long (slightly over an hour) but there is also a transcript and slides on that page.

Dr. Klinghardt also discussed the Inflammasone which are part of the immune system that activate inflammation. Again, inflammation results in a cytokine storm, the over-reaction of the immune system which can be fatal. The mechanism is activation of the NLRP-3 Inflammasone. Strategies for calming this over-reponse include high doses of Vitamin C, Melatonin in doses of 40-60 mg/day at bedtime, Propolis (a natural anti-microbial produced by bees) and, interestingly enough, humming! Viruses stimulate our cells create proteins called viroporins that basically create holes in our cell walls that allow new viruses to leave the cell but also cause calcium to enter the cells, causing an inflammatory response. Wi-fi also facilitates entry of calcium into cells, aggravating inflammation. Nitric oxide, a substance found in every cell of our body, also inhibits NLRP-3 activation and one way of stimulating nitric oxide production is the amino acid L-arginine. However, for those with recurrent herpes or chronic Epstein-Barr virus infection L-arginine can aggravate those, so a safer way to stimulate nitric oxide production is to eat beets, beet juice or beet powder (this is not Dr. Klinghardt’s advice but my personal advice). But Dr. Klinghardt has found that simply humming as one exhales immediately increases nitric oxide in the sinuses and nasal passages which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and has been used as a successful treatment for chronic sinusitis.

A common medication for high blood pressure is a family of drugs known as ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitors (Lisinopril/Zestril, Ramipril/Altace, Quinapril/Accurpril etc.). COVID-19 enters our cells by binding to the ACE receptors so at first glance it might seem like ACE inhibitors would be a good thing, but the body responds to ACE inhibitors by creating more ACE receptors so those on these meds may be at greater risk. However, another group of drugs called Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (Benicar/Olmesartan, Diovan/Valsartan, Cozaar/Losartan etc.) may actually be protective.

Selenium is a trace mineral that is considered a strong anti-viral supplement but selenium is also a natural ACE inhibitor so Dr. Klinghardt advises avoiding it. However, I have also heard about a study showing that those in China with COVID-19 who had low levels of selenium had a poorer outcome and many other holistic practitioners are advising selenium. So this is probably a situation where you want to make sure you are not deficient in selenium but also want to avoid very high doses- the Goldilocks dose.

While Dr. Klinghardt advises high doses of Vit C, Andrographis and melatonin as his initial measures, there are many other herbs that may help, including Calendula, Licorice, Baikal Skullcap, Artemesia annual and Dandelion.

In terms of treatments to avoid, you may have heard it is best to avoid Nonteroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibupofen (Advil/Motrin), Naprosyn and Aspirin, as they may make the lung involvement more severe. But the main reason I advise avoiding these, as well as drugs like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) because they sabotage our immune system. The human race (and our primate ancestors) has co-evloved with microbes for millions of years and our primary strategy is to respond with a fever. Not only do microbes such as COVID-19 not survive as well at high temperatures but our white blood cells function much more efficiently. Lowering fever disrupts this process.


During the great 1918 influenza pandemic up to 30% of those who sought care from conventional allopathic doctors died while it is documented that only about 1% of those who were treated by homeopaths died. I would like to believe that is because how wonderfully effective homeopathy is for infections but it also appears that one of the reasons is that allopaths gave their patients massive doses of aspirin and that interference with their immune function contributed to the death of many. See this fine article by my friend Dana Ullman MPH:


https://prepareforchange.net/2018/12/20/lessons-from-a-century-after-the-flu-epidemic-of-1918-how-conventional-medicine-killed-millions-and-how-homeopathic-medicines-saved-millions/

I am about to dive deeper into homeopathy but first want to mention 2 treatments not discussed by Buhner, Klinghardt or Ruggiero but which is likely to help a great deal. The first is N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), a form of the amino acid L-Cysteine, which is a natural expectorant (an agent that thins mucous). COVID-19 seems to often result in a lot of thick mucous in the lungs, which can be difficult to clear, so anything that thins mucous is likely to help. Not only does NAC thin mucous but it reduces inflammatory cytokines so may well help suppress cytokine storms. Also, NAC is a precursor of Glutathione, an endogenous antioxidant that is a good immune booster and which is also inhibits furins. I advise 1200-`1800 mg 2x/day for anyone with a cough caused by COVID-19, taken at least 2 hours after protein (and no protein for 45 minutes after)- first thing in the morning and bedtime may be best.

Another excellent natural expectorant that is also a strong anti-microbial is Iodine. I advise Lugol’s iodine (I like J, Crow’s brand), available at many health food stores, as well as Amazon) 6 drops in a glass of water 3-4x/day. See https://drsircus.com/general/dosages-and-treatments-for-coronavirus-infections/ for advise not only on iodine but other supplements that can help COVID-19.

Now for something that is really important though somewhat controversial, homeopathy.
As a holistic medical doctor I have studied virtually every system of healing: allopathic medicine, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine etc. The system of healing that has impressed me most is homeopathy. But it is not only not accepted but ridiculed by the mainstream. For example, if you look up homeopathy on Wikipedia it says “Homeopathy or homoeopathy is a pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine…All relevant scientific knowledge about physics, chemistry, biochemistry and biology gained since at least the mid-19th century confirms that homeopathic remedies have no active content. They are biochemically inert, and have no effect on any known disease.”

These statements are outright lies and a great example of why one can not trust much of the information that is online. There is a huge body of impeccable double-bind controlled studies in the peer-reviewed medical literature proving that homeopathy is an effective system of healing. Anyone who is skeptical about homeopathy or who wants to see why Wikipedia is incredibly biased and inaccurate on this subject is encouraged to see https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dysfunction-at-wikipedia-_b_5924226

As a graduate of a 4-year postgraduate training program, the Hahnemann College of Homeopathy, as well as someone who has practiced homeopathy for over 30 years I can testify that it is capable of producing astounding cures of conditions considered incurable by conventional medicine. And it is remarkably safe as well as very affordable, a true “people’s medicine” which is why the Pharmaceutical Industry is so threatened by it and has gone to great lengths to discredit it.

There is a long historical record of homeopathy being very successful in treating epidemics from the 1918 Influenza epidemic to epidemics of cholera, malaria, polio etc. This article discussed prevenitve treatment known as homeoprophylaxis:

https://www.homeopathycenter.org/news/homeoprophylaxis-human-records-studies-and-trials for details

Homeopathy is famous for being an individualized treatment; for example 10 people with influenza may need 10 different remedies. When there is an epidemic often homeopaths find one of two remedies that work in almost everyone who acquires the illness but, in this case, homeopaths have not found it so simple. There are many homeopaths in China, India, Japan, Italy etc. who are reporting great success in treating COVID-19 but there are many different remedies that have been found to be successful. Among the remedies that are suggested by leading homeopaths are

Aconitum
Antimonium tartaricum
Arsenicum Album
Baptisia
Belladonna
Bryonia
Eupatorium perfoliatum
Ferrum phosphoricum
Gelsenium
Lycopodium
Mercurius
Phosphorous
Phosphoric acidum
Rhus toxicendron
Squilla maritime
Stannum
Sulphur

You can read about these remedies at https://abchomeopathy.com/

One more treatment I want to mention is ozone therapy. I have learned about ozone therapy from another extremely brilliant doctor, Robert Rowen MD. He believes that IV ozone is a treatment that is almost certain to be very effective for COVID-19 based upon his extensive clinical experience with it. This is not as widely available as the other treatments mentioned but a growing number of innovative practitioners offer it (most are listed on Dr. Rowen’s website).

To learn more about ozone therapy see
https://drrowendrsu.com/recent-published-articles/a-plausible-penny-costing-effective-treatment-for-corona-virus-ozone-therapy/

That’s it for now but check back for regular updates.

And, while I would never dream of charging for this information, it took me many hours to assemble this and if you find it of value even a small donation would be most appreciated by going to paypal (https://www.paypal.com/us/home) and then sending your donation c/o
drrandybaker@baymoon.com
Thanks and Blessings,
Randy Baker MD

CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION & TREATMENT

Many patients, friends and family are asking my advice about the current coronavirus outbreak. Here is the first part of my blog post on this topic. There are two main aspects to discuss, prevention and treatment and this first part is focusing on prevention and I am trying to keep it simple. As always, this is a work in progress that I will update frequently as new information becomes available.

Obviously this is meant as general advice based on the best available information but there is a great deal we don’t know yet about this virus. While my recommendations are based upon information by experts I trust and respect, most of it is theoretical in nature, based upon experience treating other viruses in the coronavirus family (namely SARS and MERS) and animal and in-vitro studies, as I am unaware of any controlled research studies on COVID-19. This is what I am doing myself and recommending for my patients but may not be equally appropriate for everyone. This is not intended as formal medical advice and, of corse, not a substitute for advice from your own health practitioner(s).

We still don’t know exactly how many people currently are infected or exactly how contagious this virus is but it is spreading rapidly and is likely to ultimately infect millions in the US. This illness in unusual in that it has a long incubation period, which is the time between when someone is exposed to the illness and when they first experience symptoms, of 2-14 days and what it worrisome is that people may be contagious during this time when they have no symptoms. Also, this virus is unusual as it may survive for several hours (or even a few days) on surfaces outside the body.

Fortunately, most people (about 80%) only experience relatively mild symptoms and there are many who have tested positive who have no symptoms at all. On the other hand, in some people it is very serious and appears to cause death in up to 2% of those who have it, mostly the elderly with chronic illnesses like diabetes and chronic lung disease and those who are immunocompromised. But we don’t know the exact mortality rate as we don’t know how many people have it; those will few or mild symptoms have not been diagnosed so the mortality rate might be quite a bit less, probably closer to 1%. But even for the majority of us who will only have mild symptoms it is important to do everything we can to avoid contracting it so we don’t pass it on to others who could be more severely affected.

With any infection there are two main aspects to consider, the microbe and the terrain, referring to our immunity and ability to fight the infection. Obviously we want to minimize our exposure to the coronavirus, which is the reason large public gatherings are no longer happening as part of “social distancing” as well as frequent hand washing. When we are out in public we might be exposed from something as simple as handling money, touching a doorknob, entering our PIN on a touchscreen or picking up a pen to sign our name. Even after washing our hands in a public bathroom we might be exposed from touching the doorknob. It’s a scary world out there. But just getting the virus on your fingers is not a problem unless you touch your mouth, nose or eyes so as long as, after being in public, you wash your hands well before touching your face you should be okay (though it may also be airborne which is why it is advised to try to not stand too close to others in public).

But you probably already know all that so what I rally want to tell you is how to boost your immune function. First, there is no substitute for a healthy diet. Emphasize organic vegetables and fruit and quality proteins. Minimize sugars and foods fried in unhealthy oils (like canola, corn and soy; the healthiest oils are coconut, olive, avocado and sustainable palm). Avoid GMO foods.

Vitamins and minerals play a huge role in immune function. Vitamin D is essential for proper immune function and this time of year virtually everyone who lives in the Northern Hemisphere (unless in the tropics) is deficient in Vit. D unless they have been supplementing with it. Most people need at least 2000 iu/day. If you have not been supplementing with D then your tank is empty and I would consider taking 20,000 iu/day for 10 days, 10,000 iu/day for 10 days and then 5000 iu/day. While it is possible to become toxic from excessive amounts of Vit D this is a safe way to quickly boost your levels. If you have been taking 2000 iu or less a day it might be wise to increase to 5000 iu/day. Another way to boost immune function is Vitamin A, which does not get much respect but can really help; 10,000 iu/day is a reasonable dose. But most important may be good old Vitamin C. I recommend at least 1000 mg twice a day as a preventive dose. Another crucial nutrient that many people are deficient in is zinc. I advise 15-30 mg/day, which you can take as an individual supplement or as part of a good multivitamin; my favorite is O.N.E. Multivitamin from Pure Encapsulations but there are other good brands too.

Lifestyle also plays an important role. Adequate sleep (at least 7 hours though many need more) is crucial. Adequate hydration is also important; many of us do not drink enough. Obviously the best thing to drink is water; most tap water is not that healthy, esp. in areas with fluoridated water, but I am also not a fan of water in plastic bottles. A good countertop filter is good but if your water is fluoridated that will not remove fluoride and I would advise bottled spring water. If water does not excite you try herbal teas; green tea and Holy Basil (aka Tulsi tea) are especially good choices.

It is well-known that our mental attitudes an emotions also play a huge role in immune function. Stress can severely impair immune function. I am seeing many people experiencing extreme fear/anxiety about this pandemic and, while that might be somewhat justified that does not help our immunity. Stress is aggravated by a feeling of helplessness/hopelessness/lack of control. Hopefully following the measures I am suggesting will help you feel like you do have some power over reducing your risk of infection and effectively fighting it if you do become ill. But stress-reduction techniques like meditation and exercise can also be very helpful.

Of course many herbs can boost immunity as well. My favorite herbalist, Stephen Buhner, has recommended 3 formulas, in low doses for prevention and higher doses for treatment:

“Core tincture formulation: Baikal skullcap (3 parts), japanese knotweed root (2 parts), kudzu (2 parts), licorice (1 part), decocted elder leaf tincture (1 part). Note, the berry will do i guess but it is about 1/3 as effective as the decocted leaf (which no one sells, you have to make it yourself). Dosage: 1 tsp 3x day, 6x if active infection.

Immune system, cellular protection, cytokine interruption tincture formulation, supportive for core tincture activity: Cordyceps (3 parts), Dong Quai (2 parts), rhodiola (1 part), astragalus (1 part). Dosage: same as above.
Cellular protection, cytokine interruption, spleen/lymph support tincture formulation: Dan Shen (3 parts), red root (2 parts), Bidens pilosa (1 part). same dosage as above.

With active infection: very strong boneset tea, to 6x day.”

For an extensive article with more details please see

I do not believe it is necessary to take all of these aforementioned herbs to get benefits. A streamlined approach might include Cordyceps, Japanese knotweed, Astragalus, Dan Shen (aka red sage) and Red Root (aka Ceanothus). But I also highly recommend Andrographis, a great immune-boosting and anti-microbial herb which my mentor Dietrich Klinghardt MD believes may be the best herb for prevention of COVID 19.

Dr. Klinghardt gave an online talk on 3/9 which includes a powerpoint presentation with numerous research studies on herbs, nutrients and even pharmaceuticals for coronavirus that I highly recommend
But he also created a new update on 3/19 so it might be best to start with that one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NctiERzrny4
Below is the 3/9 talk but click on the link just above for the new one…

Something that is not obvious to many is the insidious effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) on our health. It is omnipresent and we can’t see it or smell it or hear it but that does not mean it does not have a serious effect on our health. It is best to not keep a cell phone on our body if it is on, to use it on speakerphone if you are an old-school person who actually uses their phone to talk and, most importantly, to turn your wi-fi router off at night. For those interested in learning about the large body of science on the effects of EMF’s upon health please see


https://mdsafetech.org/featured-page-one/join-mdsafetech-org/

Two other products recommended by Dr. Klinghardt are hypochlorous acid and propolis.
Hypochlorous acid (HOCL) is a chemical produced by our white blood cells to kill microbes.
While one can buy devices that produce it from water and salt such devices are hard to get these days so you can buy it as a spray to disinfect the air and surfaces as well as a form you can gargle with. A leading producer is

https://www.briotechusa.co

Dr. Klinghardt also advises propolis, a substance produced by bees that is a good antimicrobial. I have recommended it for many years for throats.
Apparently the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) colonizes our throats and nasopharynx (the region behind our nose) for about 5 days before moving down to our lungs. Spraying propolis into our throats several times a day may kill SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and thus be effective for both prevention and treatment of the early stages of infection.

Propolis should be available at most health food stores and we also have some at my office.

Dr. Klinghardt also recommends diffusing propolis as a mist into the air as a disinfectant. However, the devices designed to do this are currently unavailable. A good source for when they are back in stock is

https://beehealthyfarms.com/17-propolair-diffusers-vaporizers

Last but not least is the use of homeopathy. Homeopathy is the most controversial of my recommendations as the mainstream medical community strongly dismisses homeopathy as worthless. However, there is a large body of scientific evidence demonstrating that homeopathy is very effective; if you are a skeptic re: homeopathy please see this fine essay from my friend Dana Ullman MPH:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-case-for-homeopathic_b_451187?guccounter=1

Homeopathy has a long history of being extremely effective in epidemics. There are two ways to use it: to take it if you become ill (which I will discuss in the second part of this where I will discuss treatment) and as a preventative. The use for prevention is called homeoprophylaxis. Here is a good concise discussion of the history of homeoprophylaxis with multiple references:

https://www.homeopathycenter.org/news/homeoprophylaxis-human-records-studies-and-trials

One way of doing homeoprophylaxis is using a remedy called a nosode, which is a homeopathic preparation made from a microbe, in this case COVID 19. Taking this daily is the homeopathic equivalent of a vaccine, though all vaccines have potential side effects and nosodes are very safe (there is no way to get the illness from a nosode). I have a nosode on the way which I will convert to a tincture for my patients, but anyone can order this nosode here:

But another approach is rather than taking the nosode taking a more classic homeopathic remedy for prevention.

The government of India has a department called the AYUSH ministry (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy) which officially recommends the common remedy Arsenicum album 30c, 2 pellets 3 days in a row, to be repeated once a month, though others advise taking a dose every week. This recommendation was met with ridicule by many critics, even in India, but is certainly harmless and might be worth a try.

But other homeopaths believe a better preventive remedy is Gelsemium. With limited experience and no research it is hard to say if either Arsenicum or Gelsemium will be effective but these remedies are very affordable, widely available and at the very least harmless.

In the very near future I will write about treatment strategies for anyone who is actually infected but I believe the above measures can significantly reduce both risk of infection and help if we do become infected.

Please be assured that there many very effective treatment strategies in the world of natural medicine for the many who will become infected…

RETROVIRUSES and Chronic Illness- a potentially major breakthrough

As a doctor who specializes in treating patients with chronic complex health problems such as Lyme-Related Complex (which I discussed in detail in my last blog post) I always have more to learn. Until all my patients are all better I will always have more to learn.

A big part of my job is to continue to seek out new information on healing by attending conferences and (mostly) by reading, but obviously not everything I read proves to be useful. I find some teachers more helpful than others.
I have studied with many master homeopaths like Rajan Sankaran and brilliant experts in nutrition and functional medicine like Jeff Bland. But perhaps the biggest overall influence in my practice has been Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD, who first taught me about Lyme-Related Complex in 2002. Most of the information in my last blog post on this was taught to me by Dr. Klinghardt. Now Dr. Klinghardt has made a new discovery that he believes is a game-changer in not only treating Lyme-Related Complex but in treating virtually all chronic disease.

To quote Dr. Klinghardt: “Lyme Disease is not a bacterial illness; it is an activation of retrovirus caused by the bacterial infection.”

Based upon a variety of data and recent clinical experiences, Dr.Klinghardt believes that retroviruses play a significant role in most chronic illness. The most notorious retrovirus by far is HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which is considered to be the cause of AIDS. But there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of other retroviruses and they have been implicated as causes of neurological disorders such as MS, Schizophrenia, ADHD and Autism, Rheumatoid Arthritis , Lupus and other autoimmune diseases, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and various forms of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer and lymphoma.
Retroviruses are so common that everyone has retroviruses, in fact we are born with them, but they can also be acquired. While most viruses are DNA viruses, retroviruses are RNA viruses that work via the enzyme reverse transcriptase to force a cell to create viral DNA which then can become integrated into our genome. It is estimated that 6-8% of our DNA is retroviral DNA which we inherit. These are called Human Endogenous Retroviruses. Retroviruses can also be acquired from insect bites and also transmitted from person to person. There is also evidence that vaccines are often contaminated with retroviruses, just one of many reasons vaccines are hazardous (this is a fascinating story- the person who discovered this, Judy Mikovits PhD, was asked to retract her findings after her research on this was published. When she refused to do that she was arrested and jailed and given a 4 year gag order by the court. She discusses this in her book Plague but summarizes her findings in this article):
https://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/09/07/every-vaccine-may-be-contaminated-with-at-least-one-animal-retrovirus-family-all-are-associated-with-cancers-chronic-liver-disease-aids-als-mecfs-autism/

Like all infections, the degree to which they affect us has a great deal to do with the state of our immune system. Thus, a healthy person has many retroviruses in their bodies but keeps them in a mostly inactive state that does not cause any symptoms.
When someone has poor immune function related to environmental toxins, vaccines, emotional stress and other chronic infections like Lyme and co-infections then retroviruses become activated and, once that happens, they become the main infection that creates symptoms. Dr. Klinghardt has found that treating retroviruses is the key to helping his chronically-ill patients recover. 

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 2.35.37 AM

One of the problems in assessing this is that there are no direct ways to test someone for retroviruses. There are a variety of lab test that show indirect evidence of retroviruses such as nagalase, though this is not a commonly available test and there can be other causes of elevated nagalase, especially cancer.

However, it turns out may of the treatments that help retroviruses are also effective for Lyme disease and tend to be safe and non-toxic so it appears reasonable to try these on an empiric basis even if we can not obtain clear evidence that someone has retroviruses as a significant component of their illness. 

Some of the treatments Dr. Klinghardt has found most effective include Chinese (Baikal) Skullcap, Cistus tea, Broccoli sprouts, Selenium in the form of selenocystiene or selenomethionine, St. John’s Wort, Eklonia Cava (a variety of seaweed sold as Seanol or Fibrinol), Pantethine, Luteolin and a homeopathic preparation of a very old medicine called Suramin. As always, treatment is best individualized; not everyone will need all of these remedies and not everyone will tolerate all of them.

I could go into more detail but the purpose of this post is to provide a brief introduction and overview of this new approach. For details I refer you to this article by Dr. Klinghardt:

https://klinghardtinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IHCAN-Dr-K-article-HERV-05.1.pdf

For even more detail on this including details on treatment see this video of a lecture from an autism conference. Be sure to click on the link below the video to see the slides that went with the talk as they are loaded with relevant information: 

https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=_Fd3FYE6zZk&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dkd3ft5SI01E%26feature%3Dshare

Also, here is an interview on this topic done by journalists Scott Forsgren for his superb website betterheathguy.com

https://www.betterhealthguy.com/episode78

I have always loved the term “medical practice.”
A good doctor should always be practicing, in the sense of trying a variety of treatments and approaches to see what works and what does not.
When I learn paradigm-shifting information from a trusted source I check it out by having my patients try it and see how my patients respond. I am just starting to try these treatments with my patients. As of this writing I just saw one of the first patients I started on elements of this protocol back after 3 weeks on it. Ken (who is OK with my using his name) has suffered from Lyme-Related Complex for about 20 years. With the treatments we have done in the past he has improved but he seems to have plateaued and was suffering from significant pain (also related to osteoarthritis) and fatigue. I was very pleased to see that he was feeling much better just 3 weeks into this regime, with less pain and more energy.
Like every treatment I have ever given I am sure it will help some more than others and it will probably take some time to assess how well it works, so I will be adding to this article in a few months with more information on my and my patients’ experiences. 

 

If you enjoy this article please share it with friends and family.
You may also enjoy some of the other posts on this blog.
If you find this information useful and want to thank me with some financial support, donations of any amount would be very welcome and can be made by going to https://www.paypal.com/myaccount/transfer/send

and entering drrandy@baymoon.com

Most people think all doctors are rich, but I make less money than any doctor I know (despite the fact that I am fully booked 2-3 months in advance) as I spend so much time with my patients, strive to keep my rates affordable and see many people who are on Medicare, whose fees do not even cover my overhead. I do not own a house, live in a tiny rental and drive a 12 year-old used car. I exhausted most of my savings when my wife was terminally ill for 2 years.
I did not create this blog for fiscal rewards but I believe that it is good karma to give out a bit of positive energy in exchange for valuable information, so again, any donations would be truly appreciated. Maybe one in a thousand people who read this blog send any donations and I am grateful for that support, but YOU can help increase that percentage. Money I receive will be used for continuing medical education, buying equipment to help my patients and subsidizing care for those who are indigent.
Thanks and Blessings,

Randy Baker MD

LYME RELATED COMPLEX: unraveling a common controversial and complicated condition

As a holistic MD I endeavor to get to the root causes of illness.
I attract many patients who suffer from chronic illness; an archetypal patient who has come to see me over the years suffers from chronic fatigue, chronic muscle and joint pains, abdominal distress, anxiety, depression and problems with memory and concentration. He or she has usually been to many other doctors and in most cases the lab tests come back as normal. They are told they have depression and/or fibromyalgia and offered antidepressants, which, if they try, often make them feel even worse.
But when I evaluate them the vast majority of the time I discover they have chronic Lyme Disease and almost always co-infections such as Babesia, Bartonella and Mycoplasma. While these are not easy to treat, they can be treated and these people can be restored to good health.

I have looked for an article that provides a good overview of Lyme and Co-infections to recommend to my patients but I have not been able to find any that I really like, so I finally decided to write it myself; here it is!

Few topics in medicine are more controversial than Lyme Disease. There is a major split within the medical profession.
The mainstream view is that Lyme Disease is not all that common, easy to diagnose and easy to treat.
While it is true that if someone receives adequate treatment within a few days of contracting Lyme they can usually be cured with a few weeks of antibiotics (though unfortunately many doctors fail to adequately treat acute Lyme; Lyme specialists advise Doxycycline 200 mg 2x/day for 20-30 days; some doctors give a single dose!), the mainstream view is that even chronic Lyme can be cured with six weeks of antibiotics and, unfortunately this is almost never the case.
The alternative perspective, held by most “Lyme-literate doctors” (doctors with extensive knowledge and experience in treating Lyme) is that Lyme Disease is much more common than most doctors realize and requires a complex nuanced multi-faceted approach to treatment. However, there is also a split amongst Lyme-literate docs, as some believe that intensive and prolonged use of antibiotics is necessary to treat chronic Lyme while others (such as myself) believe that antibiotics tend to do more harm than good and the best treatments involve herbs, nutritional supplements, homeopathy and other natural therapies.
Here is an excellent article from The New Yorker about “The Lyme Wars” between conventional and alternative medicine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/07/01/the-lyme-wars

Lyme disease is extremely common. The CDC reports that there are 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the US each year (some doctors believe that this is a vast underestimate). 40% of these people develop long-term health problems. That means there are millions of people in the US with chronic Lyme. It is well-known that Lyme disease is often transmitted by ticks but less than half of those with proven Lyme recall ever being bitten by a tick. Undoubtedly some of those people were bitten by a tick and did not know it, as the ticks that transmit Lyme can be as small as a poppyseed, bite someone and leave without them ever noticing it, but there is good evidence that Lyme can be transmitted by stinging flies, mosquitoes, spiders and other insects. While not acknowledged by authorities, there is evidence that Lyme can also be sexually transmitted, and some babies whose mothers have Lyme are born with congenital Lyme.

Fortunately, not everyone who is bitten by a tick becomes infected. Only some types of ticks carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme; the main culprit is the deer tick, known as Ixodes scapularis (the main type in the Eastern and north-central US) and Ixodes pacificus in the West. Not all of these ticks carry Lyme. The longer the tick is attached the more likely it will transmit it. It is thought that ticks are unlikely to spread it unless attached at least 24 hours, but there are rare cases where it appeared to be transmitted within an hour
(towards the end of this essay I have added a section on what to do if you are bitten by a tick).

If a tick bite has caused Lyme (and/or co-infections as discussed below) they will most likely experience mild-flu like symptoms within a few days such as general achiness, headache and low-grade fever. It is typical for there to be some redness in the area around any tick bite, whether it carries infection or not, but a classic sign of Lyme disease is  Erythema migrans, the bullseye rash. This rash has a red central area, then a clear area and then a ring around that. If this is present it is a certain sign of Lyme infection. However, less than half of those proven to have Lyme have noticed this type of rash, and some Lyme specialists now believe it only occurs in those who were already infected with Lyme and have been exposed again! So if it is present you can be sure you got infected, but its absence is not a sign that you were not infected.

Perhaps the main reason there is so much controversy about Lyme is that there is no definitive test that proves someone does or does not have Lyme at any given time. The most commonly used screening test misses over half the cases and a more definitive test, the Western Blot, also misses a high percentage of cases. The largest national labs, Quest and LabCorp do a incomplete version of this test that misses many cases, for no good reason. The best version of the Western Blot test is offered by IgeneX in Palo Alto, CA. But this test still misses at least 20% of cases as it is looking at our bodies’ immune response to Lyme and those who are very sick with Lyme have a suppressed immune response so, ironically, those who are most ill from Lyme have the poorest chance of a lab test being positive. However, a new type of test, the EliSpot test, shows potential to be the most sensitive Lyme test yet.
As poor as Lyme testing is, testing for Babesia and Bartonella is even worse as there are at least 20 strains of each and there are only tests for 2 or 3 of these strains.
But Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt has a new technique that involves collecting a urine sample after deep tissue massage and/or ultrasound and looking for evidence of microbes in the urine. Again, this techniques holds great promise.
For a good overview on various tests for Lyme and co-infections see http://www.betterhealthguy.com/lyme/testing
For more information from IgeneX see
https://igenex.immdemo.com/physician/test-methodologies/
For more information on the urine testing via PCR see
https://dnaconnexions.com
And for information on how to get the best results from a urine PCR test see
https://thescipub.com/pdf/10.3844/ajisp.2017.114.126

The cause of Lyme disease is the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. While Borrelia burgdorferi was not discovered until 1982 by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, there is evidence that the 5,300-year-old ice mummy dubbed Ötzi discovered in the Italian Alps was infected with this bacteria.

However, not everyone infected with Borrelia bacteria develops Lyme disease.
Some who become infected get few if any symptoms while others become completely debilitated, with a huge range of symptoms and severity in between. Lyme is sometimes called the great imitator because it can infect every organ and cause virtually any symptom, thus mimicking just about any disease. As to why the symptoms are so variable in type and severity, it depends on many factors. There are many different strains of Borrelia bacteria and some are more virulent than others.

One of the leading authorities on Lyme, Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD states that in Bavaria he knew a medical school professor who could guess which valley a Lyme patient came from based on their symptoms, as each valley had a different strain producing distinct symptoms.

The Lyme bacteria has the most complex genome of any known bacteria. Strep bacteria has 8 genes, Syphilis has 27 genes but Borrelia has over 800 genes.
Of course these days there are conspiracy theories about everything and some believe that that the natural Borrelia bacteria was genetically modified to become a biological warfare agent and escaped the lab (the purported site of this is Lab 257 on Plum Island in Long Island Sound which is a mile from Lyme, Connecticut, where the first outbreak was reported. Deer, which often carry infected ticks, are known to swim between Plum Island and the shoreline of Lyme, CT).

There are also differences in our own genetics, with some individuals being much more susceptible to Lyme than others. There is a genetic test called HLA-DR that can determine, in part, susceptibility to Lyme:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828865/

But the biggest difference is the presence of co-infections, our toxic load and stress.
If someone who has good genetics and otherwise good health is infected with Borrelia they may have virtually no symptoms. They may have some Borrelia persist in their bodies but essentially peacefully co-exist with it. I would say someone like that, while having Lyme infection, does not have “Lyme disease”.
(PS, a very common mistake made not only by patients but doctors is to call it “Lyme’s Disease; the proper term is Lyme, not Lyme’s.)

The sicker someone is, the more likely they have genetic susceptibility to Lyme as well as co-infections of Babesia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma and Anaplasma, intestinal parasites, intestinal yeast overgrowth, intestinal dysbiosis, chronic viruses such as Epstein- Barr Virus and retroviruses, heavy metal toxicity (and toxicity with aluminum, a light metal), toxicity with pesticides and herbicides such as Round-Up, mold toxicity, sensitivity to electromagnetic fields etc. Also, those who have high levels of stress are much more likely to suffer serious symptoms.

Thus, those who are infected with just the Borrelia bacteria are unlikely to be nearly as ill as those who have co-infections as well, which is why I prefer the term Lyme-Related Complex (LRC) to Lyme Disease. In most cases the co-infections cause more symptoms and problems than the Lyme bacteria, but the Borrelia bacteria suppresses the immune system and makes it more difficult for our bodies to handle these other infections, so it acts as an enabler for these other infections.

Lyme and Lyme-Related Complex can be the ultimate cause of virtually any symptom; it is sometimes called the great imitator. But the most common symptoms are fatigue, muscle and joint pains and neurological symptoms including “brain fog” (problems with memory and concentration), trouble finding the right word, variable vision and tingling and numbness. It can trigger auto-immune disease so anyone with a diagnosis like Lupus or Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis should be evaluated for this. Dr. Klinghardt has found that virtually every patient with Multiple Sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease; it is interesting that Lou Gehrig lived near Lyme, Connecticut, where the first outbreaks were reported), and Parkinson’s Disease that he has seen in recent years has LRC. This does not mean that Lyme and co-infections are THE cause. Most with LRC, fortunately, do not get these syndromes, but these microbes may trigger them in those with genetic predispositions, a history of certain types of trauma and toxic exposures. There is also evidence that LRC is often a causative factor in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Treating Lyme-Related Complex successfully requires a very nuanced holistic approach, in fact I know of no other illness that demands such a multi-faceted approach. An analogy I have thought of is that treating LRC is like a game of pick-up sticks. You have to carefully treat it in just the right order or you might create a major disruption. Another analogy is by my colleague Wayne Anderson ND who compares treating LRC to a game of chess. We (the doctor and patient) makes a move, then it makes a counter-move, then we have to make another move etc. etc. It is a moving target and treatments often have to be adjusted.

The mistake most doctors make is to assume it can be treated like other infections; just give antibiotics and that will take care of it. The reason antibiotics generally don’t do the trick (other than in the earliest stages) is that the Lyme bacteria is very adaptable. As mentioned, Borrelia burgdorferi has the most complex genome of any known bacteria; if you could ascribe intelligence to a bacteria it is the most intelligent bacteria known and has many ways of eluding our immune system, as well as eluding antibiotics. It is also pleomorphic bacteria, which means it can shape-shift. While it is commonly considered a spirochete (which means  corkscrew shaped) it can convert to something called the L-form, which can exist inside our cells without a cell wall. This is significant because most antibiotics work by attacking the cell wall, but since Borrelia can exist without a cell wall most antibiotics will be ineffective against this form. Also, it is more difficult to get therapeutic levels of antimicrobials inside the cell than in blood and other extracellular fluids. And if you find a way to destroy the L-form it can then convert into the cyst stage. The cyst stage is inactive, sort of like circling the wagons to wait out an attack. The cyst stage is impervious to antibiotics, hydrochloric acid and temperatures of 600 degrees. Thus, even the most aggressive Lyme treatments will do no more than convert Borrelia into the cyst stage. With our current technology we can not eliminate the cysts However, once all Borrelia is in the cyst stage it will not cause illness, so my goal is to kill as many as we can and drive the rest into the cyst stage and keep them there.* Thus patients can be clinically cured, but must maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle and keep their immunity strong so the cysts do not convert back to active forms.

*9/19 update: In July of 2019 an article by Daniel Kinderleher MD on the potential benefits of disulfuram, aka Antabuse, an old drug used to treat alcoholism, in treating and even potentially curing Lyme disease created quite a splash and many Lyme patients are trying it. While very promising, many who are trying this are experiencing severe side effects so I think more needs to be learned on how to use this powerful medicine more safely. I will write more abut this soon. Here is that article:

Disulfiram–breakthrough drug for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases?

While it may be impossible to fully eradicate Borrelia bacteria from the body, it IS possible to fully eradicate co-onfections like Mycoplasma, Bartonella and Babesia (usually in that order) and when those are eliminated it is much easier for our immune systems to keep the Borrelia in check. It should be noted that some people may only have these co-infections and not Borrelia infection; having even one of these, like just Mycoplasma or just Bartonella can cause significant illness.

Thus, my general approach to treating Lyme disease is what I call “the indirect approach.” I will enumerate the components of this here:

A crucial aspect of treatment involves DETOXIFICATION of metals, other common environmental toxins like pesticides and herbicides (esp Roundup, as this omnipresent herbicide causes our bodies to absorb much more of the aluminum in our food), phthalates and other plastics, PBB’s, dioxins, fire retardants etc.
It is also important to detoxify the microbial toxins produced by Borrelia and co-infections, discussed further below.

TREATING both tick-borne CO-INFECTIONS like Babesia, Bartonella and Mycoplasma, and chronic viral infections like retroviruses, Epstein- Barr and HHV 6, treating intestinal (and systemic) parasites and imbalances of intestinal flora including candidiasis (yeast overgrowth) and dysbiosis including infections like Helicobacter Pylori, as well as other infections like chronic sinusitis; I primarily rely on herbs for this but IV vitamins and IV ozone can also be very helpful.
Once the co-infections have been treated we can focus on treating Borrelia directly.

HEALING “LEAKY GUT SYNDROME” or increased intestinal permeability caused by intestinal infections, many pharmaceuticals and food allergies;
healing the gut is a key strategy in reducing inflammation; inflammation is central in the symptomatology of Lyme so reducing inflammation may be the best way to improve symptom.

AVOIDING ALLERGENIC FOODS: Most with LRC need to avoid gluten for awhile, and many need to avoid dairy, soy and other common allergens.

Eating a NUTRITIOUS DIET based on organic unprocessed vegetables, nuts and fruits and quality protein while minimizing sugars, simple starches, fried foods and unhealthy oils and avoiding GMO’s.

JUDICIOUS INDIVIDUALIZED SUPPLEMENTATION, such as a high-quality multivitamin and extra Vitamins C and D and omega 3 fatty acids. Many with LRC have a metabolic imbalance induced by Lyme called pyroluria that results in need for high amounts of zinc and Vit. B6. This is often a missing piece of the puzzle and the reason some who have undergone intensive therapies for Lyme have experienced little benefit.

See http://www.betterhealthguy.com/images/stories/PDF/kpu_townsend_2017.pdf

for a thorough discussion of pyroluria.
AVOIDING ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS: we live in a very toxic world. Many common household objects contain and emit chemicals such as VOC’s (volatile organic chemicals) and most personal care products and household cleaning products contain toxic chemicals.

Additionally many homes and offices contain mold, often hidden. Mold toxicity can cause most of the same symptoms as LRC. If someone with LRC is regularly exposed to mold they will not get better until that is addressed. Some who think they have LRC may actually have mold toxicity as the primary cause of their symptoms. See
http://www.betterhealthguy.com/mycotoxins  for a good discussion.

A nearly omnipresent and insidious toxin is the electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) produced by electronics, such as the laptop I am typing on, cell towers, cell phones, wi-fi and “smart meters”. Many Lyme patients are very adversely affected by these frequencies and do not realize it. One of the most common symptoms of EMF sensitivity is insomnia, and lack of adequate sleep worsens all symptoms and prevents a meaingful recovery. Minimizing exposure can be a crucial aspect of recovery though is easier said than done.

ADDRESSING anxiety, depression and past hurts, griefs, anger and resentments, what many call “UNRESOLVED EMOTIONS.” While LRC can cause anxiety and depression, those need to be addressed, as being depressed is not only very painful but interferes with our ability to heal. Counseling, treatments like biofeedback, Emotional Freedom Technique, EMDR and hypnosis can be very helpful, and constitutional homeopathy can be miraculous.

STRUCTURAL WORK from a good bodyworker can help relieve pain, improve the flow of energy in the body and help to resolve past emotional traumas.

ENERGETIC MODALITIES such as homeopathy and acupuncture are also very helpful. Some cases of LRC have been cured primarily by homeopathy!

Some of the main toxins that need to be cleared in treating LRC are microbial toxins, that is toxins produced by the Borreiia bacteria as well as co-infections. In fact most LRC symptoms are caused by these toxins and the inflammation they induce. I tell my patients that if I had a magic wand that could instantly remove all the unfriendly bacteria from their bodies they might not feel any better because what is causing their symptoms is the toxemia produced by the microbes. Likewise, if I could remove all the toxins and not kill amy microbes they would likely feel almost 100% better (and with the toxins removed our immune system could do a much better job of fighting these infections and keeping them contained).
When we use antibiotics or herbs (or ozone or electromagnetic frequencies) to kill microbes they die, releasing more microbial toxins into our bodies. The official name for this is a Jarisch-Herxheimer reacton, more commonly called a Herx reaction or herxing but even more commonly called a die-off reaction. These reactions can be quite severe: extreme fatigue, brain fog, headaches, sort of like the worst hangover you’ve ever had.
One of my mottos is that you never want the treatment to be worse than the disease so it is generally important to focus on detoxification of microbial and environmental toxins and supporting the detox pathways before focusing on killing microbes, and to introduce anti-microbial agents slowly and gradually increasing the doses. Many doctors make a huge mistake in pushing antimicrobial agents while the patent is still too toxic.

The doctor who first taught me about LRC (at workshop in 2002) is Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD, one of the most brilliant people I have ever met, and his approach to Lyme is still my greatest influence.
Dr. Klinghardt recently stated that “right now the modern thing in our medicine is everybody has Lyme disease or everybody has chronic fatigue and viruses and if you can bring to the table a powerful accurate method of metal detox then these chronic infections become almost irrelevant, they become smaller items than they seem now and people do so much better if you do Lyme disease treatment while also addressing the metals; people with chronic fatigue do so much better taking the metals out along with antiviral strategies.”
Dr Klinghardt has observed that most with LRC have particularly high levels of aluminum and that toxicity with RoundUp, the ubiquitous herbicide found in high levels in many GMO foods, but which contaminates even organic foods, causes our bodies to absorb much more aluminum from our diets and thus measures to reduce the amount to RoundUp in our bodies can be an imporrtant step in detoxing metals. Another common metal in those with LRC is mercury. Many may have mercury residues from childhood vaccines, though since the early 2000’s most mercury in vaccines was replaced with aluminum, which is nearly as toxic, but mercury is still used in some vaccines, esp. most flu vaccines.
Many still have mercury residues from amalgam (silver-colored) fillings, even if those fillings have been removed (Dr. Klinghardt will not see a patient until they have had all of their amalgams removed as he feels people can not fully heal until that is done). Mercury is also commony found in seafood, though some (such as wild salmon, shrimp and sardines) have only trace amounts whie other types such as swordfish and most tuna have fairly high levels. Dr. Klinghardt has also observed a crucial connection between unresolved emotions and metal toxicity, with emotional healing playing a critical role in helping us to release toxic substances.
Testing for heavy metal toxicity is problematic but a new test called an OligoScan is quick and non-invasive and shows tissue levels of essential minerals like magnesium, zinc and chromium as well as heavy metals.
There are a variety of strategies for detoxing heavy metals.
One of the best is saunas, as sweat has lots of metals as well as other toxins like pesticides.

One final thing I want to mention is that Byron White, a naturopath who has created some powerful herbal formulas for LRC, notes that there is a certain type of energy associated with each disease (of course this is also observed by homeopaths) and he has observed that the energy around LRC involves an unfortunate lack of empathy on the part of friends, family and most health care practitioners. People with LRC often don’t look sick even if they feel terrible. When someone is suffering from LRC, instead of getting much-needed support from loved ones they are often told something like “sorry you’re sick, give me a call when you’re better.”
This is, of course, not conducive to healing.

WHAT ABOUT RECENT TICK BITES?
A common question is what to do if you have been recently bitten by a tick.
PLEASE NOTE: Even if you already have Lyme a new tick bite can be a threat. One can become newly infected with a different strain of the Lyme bacteria and/or get new co-infections.
The best way to remove the tick is to have a special tool to remove ticks but, if like most people, you do not have one, try to grab the tick as close to its mouth as you can with tweezers and pull it straight out- no twisting, and do NOT try to apply heat or Vaseline or anything else as that often irritates the tick and increases the odds of getting infected!
It is ideal to identify the tick. See
http://www.tickencounter.org/tick_identification

While other types of ticks can spread other infections, Lyme is primarily spread by Deer ticks.
The longer the tick has been attached the greater the risk of infection. If it has been attached less than 24 hours the odds of infection are relatively small.
It is normal to get redness around the site of the bite, even if not infected. If infected you will likely get mild flu-like symptoms such as headache or achiness within a few days. The famous bullseye rash can take a few days to appear but may not appear even if you are infected. One can send the tick to a lab such as IgeneX and have it tested not only for Lyme but co-infections, but if you think you have been infected do NOT wait for those test results, as the sooner you start treatment the better.
Even if the tick comes back as positive for Lyme or co-infections it does not mean that you got infected! If it was not on for very long, not engorged and you feel fine no treatment may be needed (though Ledum and Astragalus might be prudent no matter what- see doses below).
The best treatment is Doxycycline 200 mg 2x/day with food for 21-30 days, but, while effective for Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasma and Mycoplasma may not protect against Babesia and Bartonella. I advise also taking the homeopathic remedy Ledum Pallustrum 1M as a single dose then 30c twice a day for 2 weeks, Andrographis 400 mg 3x/day and Japanese Knotweed 300 mg 3x/day, as well as a good probiotic. Renowned herbalist Stephen Buhner advises “astragalus – 3,000 mg daily for 30 days, 1,000 mg daily thereafter, indefinitely. Also: using a paste made of andrographis tincture mixed with green clay, the paste applied on the tick bite area can often prevent an active infection.”
One way to get a quick determination of whether you were infected is to find a doctor who does Autonomic Response Testing (also known as muscle testing). These tend to be Lyme-literate holistic/integrative MD’s/DO’s/ND’s and chiropractors.
It may be difficult to find a doctor willing to write a prescription for appropriate doses of doxycycline. Contacting ILADS (the International Association of Lyme and Associated Disease Specialists can let you know about Lyme specialists in your area, though many doctors who know how to treat Lyme (such as myself) are not members.
http://www.ilads.org

This is a bit longer than I intended so rather than write a book I will give you some resources for further study.
If you search online for information about Lyme you will find thousands of sites, much of which is incorrect as there is a tremendous amount of misinformation.
I can not recommend the website http://www.betterhealthguy.com highly enough.

It is the only website you need. It was created by Scott Fosgren, a LRC patient who, in his search for effective treatments became a professional journalist reporting on LRC. There is a world of information on this site that would take several weeks to read, but to orient you I esp. like the sections on testing (linked where I discussed testing), the articles he has written for publications like the Townsend Letter such as
http://www.betterhealthguy.com/kpu-2017
http://www.betterhealthguy.com/unraveling
http://www.betterhealthguy.com/mycoplasma
and http://www.betterhealthguy.com/mycotoxins

and the section called Blog

Scott performs the incredible service of going to just about every cutting-edge conference on LRC and taking great notes that he presents in easy-to-digest bullet point form, so you can benefit from the latest expertise of the top practitioners in the field.
Here is a link to one recent great post:
http://www.betterhealthguy.com/klinghardt-2017

There are a growing number of books about Lyme. I particularly recommend the books of Stephen Buhner, the leading herbalist in this field, especially Healing Lyme (make sure to get the second edition) and
Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma
and Natural Treatments for Lyme Coinfections: Anaplasma, Babesia, and Ehrlichia
I also highly recommend
New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies That Work by Connie Strasheim with chapters by Dietrich Klinghardt, Wayne Anderson, David Jernigan and 7 other leading practitioners.

This is a lot of information to digest but, whether you are just learning about LRC or have been struggling with it for years, I hope you will find it helpful.

As I mention below, I add new important information as I learn about it and there is a new MAJOR development in this field, as my Lyme mentor Dietrich Klinghardt now believes that the most significant cause of disease in Lyme-Related Complex is not Lyme, Babesia, Bartonella or Mycoplasma but a variety of retroviruses.  This is so important that I wrote a separate blog post on it here:

https://drrandybaker.com/2018/09/16/retroviruses-and-chronic-illness-a-potentially-major-breakthrough/

PS My blog posts tend to be works in progress. I have already added an expanded discussion of symptoms of LRC, expanded on the way Borrelia changes forms and the emotional impacts of LRC and will probably be doing further fine-tuning and adding new links. so feel free to check back here for new information.

If you enjoy this article please share it with friends and family.
You may also enjoy some of the other posts on this blog.
If you find this information useful and want to thank me with some financial support, donations of any amount would be very welcome and can be made by going to https://www.paypal.com/myaccount/transfer/send

and entering drrandy@baymoon.com

Most people think all doctors are rich, but I make less money than any doctor I know (despite the fact that I am fully booked 2-3 months in advance) as I spend so much time with my patients, strive to keep my rates affordable and see many people who are on Medicare, whose fees do not even cover my overhead. I do not own a house, live in a tiny rental and drive a 12 year-old used car. I exhausted most of my savings when my wife was terminally ill for 2 years.
I did not create this blog for fiscal rewards but I believe that it is good karma to give out a bit of positive energy in exchange for valuable information, so again, any donations would be truly appreciated. Money I receive will be used for continuing medical education, buying equipment to help my patients and subsidizing care for those who are indigent.
Thanks and Blessings,

Randy Baker MD

Preventing and treating influenza

Note: this was first published on 2/10/17 but I have revised this many times, most recently on 12/2/19

Flu season is here again and, as always, we are besieged with ads for the flu vaccine on TV and radio, in grocery stores and pharmacies. It seems like every year authorities warn that the coming flu season will be unusually bad but we don’t know yet how severe this year’s will be. In the past decade, according to the CDC  there have been an average of 25 million cases of influenza in the US each year, so about 1 out of 13 people will get it, though in the 2017-18 season there were about 49 million cases. However, when laboratory testing is one on those suspected to have influenza only about 16% of the time is it actually confirmed, so it is probable than the true chances of getting true influenza are less than 1 in 75 most seasons, with the others being “flu-like illness” rather than actual influenza. And the flu vaccine can not possibly prevent the 84% of flu-like illnesses that are not true influenza.

Influenza is a viral illness that can be quite severe. The term “flu” is used casually and people talk about things like stomach flu, but stomach flu is not influenza. The best description I ever heard of influenza was one that I heard in medical school, which is that when you have influenza you feel like you have been hit by a truck. It tends to come on quite suddenly, and people usually get a high fever, are exhausted and achey all over and unable to function, along with a sore throat and cough.  It generally lasts about a week. While influenza can rarely be fatal, those who die generally die from secondary infections, especially bacterial pneumonia. There are 3 main types of influenza, Types A, B and C, though most of the seasonal flu epidemics are Type A. There are many subtypes or strains of the flu and these strains are constantly changing.

Public health authorities and most doctors recommend the flu vaccine as a main strategy for preventing the flu, but, unfortunately, a large amount of mainstream research shows that not only is the influenza vaccine largely ineffective, but that it may do more harm than good. There are many excellent articles reviewing the science on this, so rather than repeating the information in these articles I am linking them.
If you were to just read one I recommend this excellent summary of the science by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:

Here is an article from a very mainstream source on the lack of effectiveness of influenza vaccine:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/855937

For the majority of you who are not clicking on those links now, the mainstream Cochrane Collaboration reviewed the best research and concluded

“71 people would need vaccination to prevent one case of influenza (95% CI 64 to 80). Vaccination shows no appreciable effect on working days lost or hospitalisation.”

And that is in seasons where the vaccine is considered a good match; as you probably know, there are many strains of influenza that circulate and every year vaccine manufacturers have to guess which strains will predominate. Since the 2014-15 season vaccine effectiveness has been estimated to be 19%, 48%, 40%, 38% and in 2018-19 29%, meaning that in recent years most of the strains circulating aren’t covered by the vaccine.

And it is even questionable if the vaccines are very effective in preventing the strains when they get them right because the virus often mutates during the process of manufacturing the vaccine! See
https://newspunch.com/university-pennsylvania-flu-vaccine-hoax/ for a discussion of this study:
https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1006682

Given the lack of sound evidence to support the effectiveness of flu shots it is very disturbing that public health authorities put so much effort into promoting flu vaccines. What especially concerns me is that the CDC is very adamant in recommending everyone get the flu vaccine when the best available science does not support this, and this is obvious to anyone who investigates the matter. So by doing this, the CDC destroys its credibility and in light of this it is reasonable to then question all of their other recommendations regarding vaccinations (something that, unfortunately, really does deserve to be questioned)!
This is an excellent essay by Peter Doshi from the British Medical Journal, who was a postdoctoral fellow in Public Health at Harvard at the time he wrote it, questioning the rationale for these irrational policies:

One of the problems with vaccines is that there tends to be a paucity of controlled studies on their effectiveness. A rare placebo-controlled study on flu vaccine was done in 2008-9, with 115 subjects age 6-15 receiving flu vaccine or a saline placebo shot. They were then followed for 9 months. There was no significant difference in the incidence of influenza between the 2 groups, but those who got the flu shot had 5.5 times the incidence of non-influenza respiratory infections (colds, sinus infections, bronchitis) than those who got the placebo vaccine!
See

and

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/54/12/1778/455098/Increased-Risk-of-Noninfluenza-Respiratory-Virus

I just learned about a 2009 study done at the Mayo Clinic that found that “children who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization, as compared to children who had not received the vaccine,” a rather disturbing finding!
For more on this study see
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519172045.htm

There is also evidence that, while getting the flu shot slightly decreases one’s chance of getting the strains of flu included in the vaccine, it appears to actually significantly increase one’s chances of getting strains not covered by the vaccine:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/18/flu-shot-increases-flu-illness.aspx

Unfortunately many health practitioners (doctors, nurses and even ancillary staff like receptionists) are mandated by hospitals and medical practices to get influenza vaccines even though there is absolutely no research that suggests that this has any significant benefits for them or their patients.
A study published in Jan. of 2017, Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Workers: Critical Analysis on the Evidence for Patient Benefit Underpinning Policies of Enforcement” concluded “current scientific data are inadequate to support the ethical implementation of enforced HCW (healthcare worker) influenza vaccination.”

See https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0163586&fbclid=IwAR0aIwm3FRwzOGLFhOdVr9DfuJlmYLiE3vZ9o8CImrFavjtDhUskdtQWHGU

Thus, while I believe no one who knows the science should ever choose to get the flu vaccine, many who work in healthcare facilities and even some who work in schools are mandated by their employers to get the flu vaccine. However, there are options they may take; in some cases they may qualify for a medical exemption or personal belief/religious exemption, though in many cases those who decline are forced to wear a mask at their workplace during flu season. For those who have to get the shot, be aware that most flu shots have toxic levels of mercury in the form of thimerosal, but one can make sure they get the form in a single-dose syringe, which has no mercury. Another alternative to consider is the Flu-Mist spray, which, unlike the shot, has a live though attenuated (weakened) version of the influenza virus. This form can still have serious side effects and some people actually get a form of influenza from it, but I have heard that some people will put cotton and vaseline up their nose before taking the spray, then removing that as soon as possible while rinsing their nostril, to minimize the amount that gets into their body. This would appear to be a viable strategy for those forced to do this against their will.
(I am not formally advising this, just sharing information, and I would not share it if there was sound evidence that the flu vaccine significantly reduced the risk of those receiving it actually getting influenza and/or passing it on to others.)

This is a wonderful blog post by a doctor on the lack of efficacy of the influenza vaccine and how ignorant most doctors (and even some CDC officials) are on this important topic:

https://bentonintegrative.blogspot.com/2017/10/why-this-doctor-doesnt-get-her-flu-shot.html

Not only does forcing healthcare workers have no appreciable effect on risk of them spreading flu to patients but there is evidence it may put their patients at increased risk!
A study published in January of 2018 had the very disturbing finding that subjects who had influenza despite being vaccinated both that season and the year before shed 6.3 times more influenza virus in their breath than those with influenza who had not had the flu shot!!!

A main gambit of Public Health authorities is that it is important to get the flu shot not just to protect ourselves but to protect others from getting the flu. This study suggests that getting the flu shot dramatically increases the risk of spreading influenza to those around us, as it has not been shown to significantly reduce our risk of getting the flu and those who do get the flu after the shot are much more contagious.

See
https://www.thewilddoc.com/cdc-funded-study-shows-the-vaccinated-shed-6-3-times-more-flu-virus-just-by-breathing/  for a discussion and

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/01/17/1716561115

for the actual study.

That the flu shot appears to actually increase one’s risk of becoming ill and may make those who get influenza more contagious than those who don’t get it is reason enough to avoid it, but we also should consider the numerous side effects, many quite serious, that are caused by this vaccine. The most serious is death and there are a disturbingly large number of cases of generally healthy people dying within days of receiving influenza vaccine, and thousands more who get Guillan-Barre Syndrome, an auto-immune condition resulting in temporary (though at least many months) or permanent paralysis. I have been surprised at how many of my patients know someone who has suffered from this side effect.

Quoting https://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/influenza/vaccine-injury.aspx

“As of July 31, 2019, there have been more than 166,178 reports of influenza vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following influenza vaccinations made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), including 1,673 related deaths, 13,373 hospitalizations, and 3,358 related disabilities. However, the numbers of vaccine-related injuries and deaths reported to VAERS may not reflect the true number of serious health problems that occur after influenza vaccination. There is evidence that only between 1 and 10 percent of serious health problems that occur after use of prescription drugs or vaccines in the U.S. are ever reported to federal health officials…

Published studies have linked the influenza vaccine to numerous serious adverse events including Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, stroke, brachial neuritis, encephalopathy, arthritis, bullous pemphigoid, vasculitis, myocardial infarction, transverse myelitis, optic neuritis, Bell’s Palsy, and more.”

But perhaps the most important reason to be cautious about receiving this (or any other) vaccine is evidence that vaccines are often contaminated with live retroviruses. Retroviruses can cause life-long infections that undermine our immune systems.
This is a fascinating story- the person who discovered this, Judy Mikovits PhD, was asked to retract her findings after her research on this was published. When she refused to do that she was arrested and jailed and given a 4 year gag order by the court. She discusses this in her book Plague but summarizes her findings in this article:
https://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/09/07/every-vaccine-may-be-contaminated-with-at-least-one-animal-retrovirus-family-all-are-associated-with-cancers-chronic-liver-disease-aids-als-mecfs-autism/

It is especially disturbing that the CDC (and thus most doctors) strongly recommend giving flu vaccine to pregnant women, when there have not only been no safety studies but there is good reason to believe this practice is killing many babies in utero! And the majority of developing babies who are, fortunately, not killed by this vaccine are being exposed to the potent neurotoxin mercury at a time when their systems are most susceptible to it. This is insanity!

See https://vactruth.com/2012/11/23/flu-shot-spikes-fetal-death/

and

Click to access ayoub.pdf

So, given that the flu shot appears to do more harm than good, how can one reduce their risk of getting influenza?  A lot of it comes down to common sense: a healthy diet (esp. avoiding large amounts of sugar, which lowers immune function), a quality multivitamin, adequate sleep and stress reduction (exercise, meditation etc.) and minimizing exposure to those who are ill can go a long way to reducing risk of getting the flu.
Adequate Vitamin D is also very important; it is thought that cold and flu season occurs in fall and winter because  many people are deficient in Vitamin D that time of year.

We get Vitamin D mostly from the sun but in fall and winter months in most of the US  it is impossible for us to get any Vitamin D from the sun because it is not high enough in the sky. Most adults need to take 2000-5000 iu of D3 per day in fall and winter to achieve optimal levels of Vitamin D. See

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/vitamin-d-why-you-are-pro_b_585311.html

Immune-boosting herbs can also help prevent influenza. My favorite is Andrographis, a herb widely used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. One controlled study showed that those taking Andrographis 200 mg 5 tines a week had half the number of viral upper respiratory infections than controls. But there are also many other excellent immune-boosting tonic herbs, including Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) and medicinal mushrooms including Reishi, Turkey Tail, Shiitake and Cordyceps.

N-acetyl cysteine, an amino acid (often labeled NAC) has been shown boost immune function to reduce influenza-like illnesses when taken preventively at a dose of 600 mg 2x/day.

But what if you have gotten the flu?

First a few words about the conventional mainstream treatment for influenza, the rather expensive drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate). There is surprisingly little evidence that this drug is effective. If you have true influenza and start it right away it may help you recover about 1 day sooner. However, when someone has flu-like symptoms to the degree that a doctor diagnoses influenza, studies show that it is only true influenza about 1/3 of the time and Tamiflu will not only have no benefit in those infections but may cause considerable side effects including all the symptoms of influenza. Plus some of the side-effects of Tamiflu are life-threatening!
See

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/23/tamiflu-side-effects.aspx
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/28/science-behind-tamiflu.aspx

and

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/07/recommended-tamiflu-has-flawed-results.aspx

While the flu can come on quickly, aggressive measures at the first sign you are getting ill may help head it off. One useful thing to try is Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy. A mainstream review of research on Oscillococcinum by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that there is sound evidence that Oscillococcinum does reduce the length of influenza:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14973976

Like all medicines (and even more so for homeopathic medicines) it will not help everyone, but some people experience magical recoveries. But since it may work best if taken as soon as one gets symptoms, I recommend everyone get some to keep in your medicine cabinet. It will stay good for many years (while the manufacturer advises taking an entire vial as a dose, that it a lot of pellets and a lot of sugar; I advise taking about 1/3 of the vial at a time and repeating that every few hours).

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 3.19.09 AM

Another preventive strategy is taking Influenzinum which is a homeopathic dilution of the influenza vaccine, which, like the vaccine, is updated each year. This is available in various potencies though a good choice for most is 9c and one can take 3 pellets once a week.
Many swear by this though I am not aware of formal research proving it is effective. However, at the very least, unlike the actual flu vaccine it will not have side effects, will not make you more likely to get sick and not make you more likely to spread the flu if you do get ill.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 7.21.45 PM

Another good strategy, which also helps the most at onset, is high doses of Vitamin C. When someone is healthy they will usually only absorb 5-10,000 mg of Vitamin C. After they have absorbed all they need the unabsorbed C will stay in the intestines and act as a laxative. But the sicker one is the more C one needs so it is not unusual for someone with influenza to absorb 100 grams or more. It is thus recommended to take about 3000 mg every 20 minutes at the onset of illness until they get loose stools (which is known as bowel tolerance). Obviously it is wise to use Vitamin C in powder form when doing this; most Vit. C powders have 2-3000 mg per tsp. Once you determine how much you need it is advised to take that amount in about 6 divided doses per day. While doing this at onset may help head off the flu, it is likely to help at any stage, but, again, it is useful to have Vitamin C powder on hand at home so you will have it when you need it. Another good option is liposomal vitamin C, the best-absorbed oral form, discussed in the first link below:

http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/surefire.php

http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v05n07.shtml

http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/www.orthomed.com/titrate.htm

A related approach requires the help of an integrative physician like me, who can administer Vitamin C as an IV drip. 50 grams is usually very effective. It takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours to do this.

One of the most powerful treatments for influenza also requires a physician. This is IV ozone, wherein a catheter is inserted in one’s vein, blood is removed and mixed with ozone and oxygen and then re-infused. However, this innovative treatment is not yet widely available and is fairly expensive, so I would reserve if for severe cases that have not responded to other treatments. As wonderful as it can be, something noninvasive  and inexpensive like the proper homeopathic remedy may work just as well (this is discussed further below).

Extra Vitamin D is also helpful, esp. if you have not been supplementing. Taking 50,000 units of D3 a day for a week is reasonable. While one can get toxic from excessive Vit. D, for toxicity to occur one must take at least 40,000 iu/day for months to reach toxic levels.

Herbs can be very helpful as well. The best-proven is an elderberry extract known as Sambucol, widely available at health food stores. I recommend Organic Sambucus by Nature’s Way. See

The aforementioned Andrographis is useful not only for prevention but treatment. I advise 400 mg 2 to 3x/day (I like Paradise Herbs brand) or 2 droppersful of tincture from HerbPharm 2-3x/day (it is bitter so add to a little juice).

Lomatium is a herb native to the American West with a history of folk use for influenza and other viruses and may be the strongest herb for influenza. It is said to be especially helpful for Influenza A, which is the main strain that is currently circulating. It is quite safe, although about 1% of those who take it get a rash which disappears after you stop it. I advise 30-40 drops of the tincture 3-4 times a day.

See
http://debrasnaturalgourmet.com/lomatium-root-possibly-the-best-anti-viral/

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) can be another beneficial herb for influenza and can be taken as a tea or tincture:

http://www.naturalnews.com/032076_Boneset_fever_remedies.html

Astragalus is a herbal tonic with a long history of use in Chinese medicine.
2 droppersful of the tincture 3-4 times a day is a decent dose:

http://www.naturalnews.com/027302_astragalus_swine_flu.html

Essential oils can also be very helpful, especially oregano oil, which is a powerful anti-viral. It can be taken as capsules or by adding the oil to water and drinking. However, this should be used with caution. For detailed instructions on how to use it see

and

The above article also mentions N-acetlyl cysteine (NAC) 600 mg 2x/day as reducing severity and duration of flu-like illnesses according to a 1997 study. At the very least NAC is a great expectorant, supports our liver and enhances our body’s ability to produce glutathione, an endogenous anti-oxidant and immune-booster.

Colloidal silver is another natural remedy that has anti-viral activity, though I prefer silver hydrosols, which appear to be even safer and more effective.
I recommend 2 brands- Sovereign Silver or Argentyn 23 from Natural Immunogenics (Sovereign Silver is widely available at health food stores) and Silvercillin from Designs For Health. A good dose is 2 tsp every 3-4 hours, best on an empty stomach, though if you have a cough it can also be administered via nebulizer: add 1-2 tsp into the chamber and breathe in the nebulized solution every 3-4 hours.

Another promising treatment for influenza is olive leaf extract. In vitro studies show that olive leaf extract can kill a wide variety of bacteria, viruses and fungi, including Influenza A, but there has been no research studies proving it works in humans. It does appear to be very safe and there are many anecdotal reports of it helping for the flu and other infections, but I do not recommend it as highly as some other remedies due to the paucity of research on it. Due to the lack of research it is also hard to recommend what dosage to take. It often comes in capsules that contain 500 mg, and is also available as tinctures. Taking 500 mg 3-4 times a day for influenza may be worth a try, though I would also include more proven remedies.
For the best summary of the limited research on it see

https://examine.com/supplements/olive-leaf-extract/

A favorite treatment that can be very powerful for influenza is individualized homeopathy.
Homeopathy is known to be very helpful for influenza, in fact the validated information on homeopathy’s success in the 1918 flu pandemic is still among the best evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy.

It is documented that in the 1918 pandemic up to 30% of patients seeking conventional care died. However, almost all of the deaths were not directly from influenza but from secondary pneumonia. This was before the discovery of antibiotics, and undoubtedly western medicine today is much better able to successfully treat pneumonia. However, during the 1918 pandemic it is documented that those treated with homeopathy had dramatically better outcomes.

The following is a fascinating extract from an article entitled “Homeopathy In
Influenza- A Chorus Of Fifty In Harmony” by W. A. Dewey, MD that appeared
in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1920 (thanks to
Julian Winston and David Warkentin for this).

“Dean W. A. Pearson of Philadelphia collected 26,795 cases of influenza
treated by homeopathic physicians with a mortality of 1.05%, while the
average old school mortality is 30%.

Thirty physicians in Connecticut responded to my request for data. They
reported 6,602 cases with 55 deaths, which is less than 1%. In the
transport service I had 81 cases on the way over. All recovered and were
landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the
way. H. A. Roberts, MD, Derby, Connecticut.

In a plant of 8,000 workers we had only one death. The patients were not
drugged to death. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy used. We used
no aspirin and no vaccines. -Frank Wieland, MD, Chicago.

I did not lose a single case of influenza; my death rate in the pneumonias
was 2.1%. The salycilates, including aspirin and quinine, were almost the
sole standbys of the old school and it was a common thing to hear them
speaking of losing 60% of their pneumonias.-Dudley A. Williams, MD,
Providence, Rhode Island.

Fifteen hundred cases were reported at the Homeopathic Medical Society of
the District of Columbia with but fifteen deaths. Recoveries in the
National Homeopathic Hospital were 100%.-E. F. Sappington, M. D.,
Philadelphia.

I have treated 1,000 cases of influenza. I have the records to show my
work. I have no losses. Please give all credit to homeopathy and none to
the Scotch-Irish-American! -T. A. McCann, MD, Dayton, Ohio.

We treated over 300 cases of influenza among the members of the Student
army Training Corps with no deaths.Gelsemium, Bryonia and Ferrum
phosporicum were the leading remedies. Only in those cases having had
aspirin was convalescence delayed and pneumonia produced.
C.B.Stouffer, M.D
Ann Arbor

One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew any
better than what he was doing, because he was losing so many cases. “Yes,
Doctor, stop Aspirin and go down to a homeopathic pharmacy, and get
homeopathic remedies.” The Doctor replied; “But that is homeopathy.” “I
know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have nursed have not lost
a single case.”
W.F.Edmundson, M.D
Pittsburgh

Three hundred and fifty cases were treated and I only lost one.
Cora Smith King, M.D
Washington D.C

Eleven men reported 3,600 cases with 6 deaths. My records show 750 cases
with one death.Gelsemium, Bryonia and Eupatorium were the remedies
chiefly.
F.A.Swartwout, M.D
Washington D.C.

In the Public Health service in New Mexico among the Mexican population
chiefly Veratrum viride, Gelsemium and Bryonia were introduced and
excellent results followed their use in influenza. No cases died under
homeopathic medication.
E.Fisher, M.D
Chicago”

While it is optimal to consult with a homeopath, one of my favorite things about homeopathy is that it is truly a people’s medicine, in that by reading about the symptoms associated with the most common remedies for flu there is a good chance someone can figure out on their own which remedy is most likely to help. It is very safe to try; if you try a remedy and do not notice improvement within several hours then it is safe to try a different remedy until you find the right one.
See

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/12/26/influenza-homeopathic-treatment.aspx

and

for advice on choosing the proper remedy. These remedies are widely available at heath food stores.

As mentioned previously, one treatment NOT to try is Tamiflu. This is a toxic and dangerous drug with many side effects and minimal benefits at best. See

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/10/21/major-tamiflu-scam.aspx

Another treatment to minimize is drugs to reduce fever, such as aspirin, Tylenol and ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil). Fever is how our bodies fight infection; when we have a fever our immune system functions better and microbes do not survive as well. Thus, lowering fever sabotages our immune system and prolongs illness. Indeed, it is thought that one of the reasons people who saw homeopaths in the 1918 flu pandemic had such dramatically better survival than those treated by allopaths is that allopaths recommended aspirin whereas homeopaths did not.
Many people worry that fever can cause brain damage or other organ damage. This will not happen unless one’s fever exceeds 105 and that almost never happens (though there is some evidence that a prolonged fever of 104 may be hazardous).
The one instance where you can make a case for fever-reducers is if one is absolutely miserable, in which case you may want to take something to reduce your suffering. That is OK as long as you realize that while you will suffer less, you will likely suffer longer.

Obviously rest and plenty of fluids are essential (it is usually not an option to not rest if you have the true flu). Chicken soup has proven benefits too!|

One common mistake that people make is trying to do too much when you are just getting over the flu. One is often still weak and fragile and it is easy to get another illness if you try to overdo it, so it is wise to not overdo things when you are recovering.

I hope this advice helps. Remember, no matter how miserable you feel, you will get better and some feel that this is a great way for our bodies to detoxify and to exercise our immune system. When one does get the flu it usually provides natural immunity to the flu for many years to come.

If you enjoy this article please share it with friends and family.
You may also enjoy some of the other posts on this blog.
If you want to thank me with some financial support donations of any amount would be very welcome and can be made by going to https://www.paypal.com/myaccount/transfer/send

and entering drrandy@baymoon.com

PS  I am really delighted that since I posted the revised version of this article 5 days hours ago over 5000 people have read it. Please share it with friends and family.
And I have now received a couple of generous donations which makes me very happy as well.
My favorite number is 18. Given that the average doctor’s visit costs well over $100 it seems like $18 is not too much for information that could prevent a serious illness or even save a life. If just one out of 18 people who read this had donated $18 that would add up to  $5000 and believe me, that would make a huge difference in my life (another favorite number of mine is 108. If any millionaires are out there $108 would be a great donation, but $10.80 is an amount that would be most welcome and for those on a budget $1.80 or even $1.08 would be welcome- if one third of you donated $1.08 that would add up to a nice amount).
Most people think all doctors are rich, but I make less money than any doctor I know (despite the fact that I am fully booked 2-3 months in advance) as I spend so much time with my patients, strive to keep my rates affordable and see many people who are on Medicare, whose fees do not even cover my overhead. I do not own a house, living in a tiny rental and I drive a 13 year-old used car. I exhausted most of my savings when my wife was terminally ill for 2 years.
I did not create this blog for fiscal rewards but I believe that it is good karma to give out a bit of positive energy in exchange for valuable information, so again, any donations would be truly appreciated. I would use any money for continuing medical education, buying equipment to help my patients and subsidizing care for those who are indigent.
1/20/18 update: 0ver 6000 people have read this in the week since I have posted it.
I am SO grateful to the 2 people who made generous donations but was hoping more than one out of every 3000 people reading this would give a bit in return.
I don’t want anyone to donate if it would create a financial hardship for them, but would expect that most of you might be able to share even a token amount.
I will continue to donate many hours of my time to share health info online even if I never get any donations in return, as my main reward is helping others.
Whether you donate or not thanks for reading this far. Sending prayers and blessings to me, my daughters and patients would be another great way to send positive energy in return.

Thanks and Blessings!

Randy Baker MD

My thoughts on this bizarre election

While as a holistic physician, the focus of this blog is health, from a holistic perspective our physical and emotional health is inextricably intertwined with the environment we live in. The outcome of this coming election may have a profound effect on the health of every person on this planet. And, no matter the outcome, our electorate has never been more polarized and our nation will have a lot of healing to do following the election. So I hope that even those who do not share my political views will find my perspectives of interest…

This current election cycle is widely considered the ugliest in American history, with the average voter disgusted, dismayed and unhappy with our choices. While there are certainly some Democrats who love Hillary and are excited that she will probably be our next president, and certainly many Republicans who see Trump as their savior, there are undoubtedly many Democrats who dislike Hillary and many Republicans who are still stunned that Trump was nominated, are embarrassed by him and reluctant to support him. Of greatest concern to me is the extreme polarization of the electorate. Many Democrats see Trump as a complete buffoon, a narcissist who only cares about himself, who will not listen to the advice of experts, who will be easily manipulated by Russia and who wants to be a Hitler-like dictator. Meanwhile, Trump and his supporters paint Hillary as corrupt and evil, a tool of corporations, a war-monger who will lead us into a nuclear war with Russia. Each side appears to fear the opponent more than actually embrace their candidate.

Adding to the polarization is social media. I have seen Clinton supporters ban those who support Trump from posting on their page or asking Trump supporters to de-friend, and I have no doubt many Trump supporters have similar policies towards Clinton supporters. On sites like Facebook birds of a feather tend to flock together, creating reality tunnels where people mostly see posts from like-minded people supporting their views and have little exposure to opposing perspectives. But a few weeks ago when I posted an article “Trump’s refusal to accept intelligence briefing on Russia stuns experts”
(http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-intelligence-briefing-russia-20161014-story.html) a mini-war erupted in the comments with some people (mostly not my fb friends but friends of my fb friends) defending Trump and inciting inflammatory responses from my friends. Things got rather nasty (it should be noted I wrote this before Trump’s “nasty woman” comment). The rancor has continued with comments on my posts in recent days.

So no matter who wins on Nov. 8th (and while I still think the odds are with Hillary, it certainly seems possible that Trump might win), about half of the country is going to be very upset and also afraid. As a segment of Trump supporters are white supremacist extremists and Trump has fanned the flames of their extremism and outright said that if he loses it will be only because the election is rigged, I think there is, unfortunately, a high chance of violence in the streets if Hillary wins, and there may be people who will try to assassinate her.

There is so much going on. I don’t pretend to have all the answers but am just riffing here on how intense and crazy it all is and trying to make some sense of it all.

Of course everyone comes to this election with their own perspectives and biases. I was a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders because I feel the most pressing issues are the incredibly high concentration of wealth in our society (do you think it is reasonable that the top 0.1% in the US has as much wealth as the lower 90%?- see https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/13/us-wealth-inequality-top-01-worth-as-much-as-the-bottom-90 ), the inordinate amount of political influence that the very wealthy have, so that we are much more a corporate oligarchy than a true democracy, and the degradation of our environment in the name of corporate profits, all of which were central concern of Sanders’ campaign and have barely been mentioned in the campaign since the conventions.

The Sanders campaign generated tremendous hope and enthusiasm among the young, the idealistic and those who are very frustrated by the injustices of our current society. Those who supported Bernie tend to believe that the Democratic primary process was rigged against him, with the large role of super-delegates (the vast majority of whom were committed to Hillary before the voting began), irregularities in many state primaries and caucuses and the clear and now-admitted bias that the DNC had for Hillary. I know Bernie delegates who went to the convention and told me horrific stories about how very poorly Bernie’s delegates and supporters were treated by the Clinton machine, often being barred from even entering the convention hall let alone being able to participate. It seems like Bernie’s supporters were FAR more enthusiastic than Hillary’s, so Bernie’s supporters now believe that the nomination was stolen from Bernie and many are still holding a strong grudge against Hillary. Of course, her supporters point out that during the primaries Clinton won 16.9 million votes to 13.2 million for Sanders nationwide (and detractors going out that these results would have been far different if independents had been allowed to vote in the Democratic primaries in the many states where this was not allowed, and feel some of the votes may have been rigged).

Trump surprised many mainstream Republicans who first expected Jeb Bush and then later expected Rubio or Cruz to get the nomination. Trump did a masterful job of playing the media and casting himself as the rebel outsider. Many consider Trump to be stupid but he is a very sharp and shrewd politician and I think he knows just what he is doing. This is what makes him so dangerous and why he still has a chance to win.

I have many fb friends who were Bernie supporters who are frequently posting the most venomous, vitriolic things about Hillary, memes etc. that paint her as evil incarnate and draw right from the Trump playbook of demonizing her. They accuse her of not only being a totally corrupt tool of big business including Big Pharma but a warmonger likely to start a nuclear war with Russia. They also believe she is complicit in the murders of many who have opposed the Clintons. One friend noted that the articles and memes circulated by those left-wingers are the same ones their Trump-supporting uncle sends them.
These friends never post anything critical of Trump. When I ask them if they think Trump is a better choice and if they plan to vote for him they usually say they plan to vote for Jill Stein. They certainly realize that Stein has no chance of winning, but their idea is to vote their conscience and hope that the Green Party gets 5% of the vote, which would qualify them for Federal funds and make it easier for them to get on the ballot for the next election. This may be a reasonable luxury in a state like California where the odds are extremely high that Hillary will win, but could cost her the election if many people did this in the “swing states” like Florida and Ohio.

Of greater concern to me is the notion some of my Bernie/Green supporting friends have advanced that there is no real difference between Trump and Clinton so it does not matter who wins. I could not disagree more.
Tonite my wife’s cousin Gabe wrote on fb “If my only worry were which piece of Halloween candy to eat next and not that a racist, sexist, homophobic, inexperienced, misogynistic, ignorant, mean spirited narcissistic child rapist might have a rats ass chance of being our next president. Ugh.”
While that characterization is extreme, it unfortunately seems surprisingly accurate, and it boggles my mind that Trump still has a real chance of winning. In trying to understand why so many people support Trump, clearly he does attract the KKK/neo-Nazi ultra right-wing fringe, but I would hope that is a fairly small fraction of the electorate. Some of the people I know are also largely one-issue voters, that issue being abortion, so they support Trump/Pence because of their avowed opposition to abortion. However, I find it very difficult to believe that in his heart of hearts Trump is really anti-abortion; it seems a very insincere politically-expedient stance. Those Right to Life voters tend to be religious Christians and I find it sad and ironic that they look to a man who advised others to “grab them by the pussy” as someone who will uphold Christian values.
While most evangelicals appear to support Trump, it is refreshing that “80 evangelical Christian leaders, many well known across America, have joined together to publicly denounce the “morally unacceptable” candidacy of Donald Trump.”
http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/80_evangelical_leaders_denounce_morally_unacceptable_donald_trump

I believe many Trump supporters are the disaffected working class who are fed up with our current system, understanding that the public has been largely disenfranchised and have little power, and believe Trump when he promises to “drain the swamp” and shake thing up in DC. Unfortunately, he appears to have little concrete plans to do this, just assurances that only he can fix things, and I have a hard time believing that making things better for the working poor is high on his agenda. And there are many who are afraid, afraid of immigrants, terrorists, African-Americans, hispanics, the LGBT community etc. and Trump is fanning those flames of fear. It is the politics of fear, divisiveness, us versus them and scapegoating.

I believe that our country is more an oligarchy than a true democracy. This is not just my opinion but that of President Jimmy Carter and many political scientists. See http://www.inquisitr.com/2850287/president-jimmy-carter-speaks-out-calls-the-u-s-an-oligarchy/
In that sense, I believe that no one can be elected president unless the powers-that-be behind the scenes approve that candidate. Usually both candidates have been vetted by the powers-that-be, but in this case I don’t think they really approve of Trump. Hillary is clearly their person, someone who is well-ensconsed in their structure, whereas Trump, rather than being subservient to them, covets power to be “the decider’ for himself and is a bit of a loose cannon. This is why I will be surprised if Trump wins. The one thing I DO like about Trump is that he is not yet totally bought and sold by those people. He has the courage to speak out and say things like our elections are rigged. I believe that George W Bush only became president in 2000 because the Florida vote was rigged, and only won in 2004 because the vote in Ohio was rigged, and, for that matter, Kennedy probably only won in 1960 due to rigging in Illinois, so yes, I agree that our elections are often rigged (I also appreciate that Trump understands that vaccines can have significant hazards, a stance for which he is widely criticized and which the ignorant use to demonstrate that he is ignorant).
I know many people who feel Trump is part of a conspiracy to elect Hillary as he is the only candidate that she can beat. This makes a certain amount of sense, though I don’t know if Trump would willingly choose to be humiliated by losing the election. But it sometimes seems that Trump’s candidacy has been a performance art piece of sorts, where he is deliberately trying to say inflammatory things that will alienate voters and ruin his chances, but it backfires and the more outrageous things he says the more his followers love him. It is like a surreal satire come to life.
But some wonder if the powers-that-be are orchestrating this campaign to increase fear, division and divisiveness among the electorate. If so, I wonder what their game is, though it is speculated that by keeping the populace at odds with one another it distracts them from focusing their attention on the 0.001% behind the scenes who they should really be angry with. That is why some of my friends feel supporting either major party is a trap and why people should vote for a third party this time.

My greatest concern about Trump is that he does appear to be a textbook example of someone suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. While it is a bit dangerous to psychoanalyze someone from afar, there is every indication from those who know Trump well that his private persona is no different from his public persona and what you see is what you get.
Here are 2 good articles on what this means: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/
and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/does-trump-have-narcissis_b_11402754.html
For the many of you who will not click on those, the DSM-V criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are
1 Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment by others.
2 Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
3 Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions.
4 Needing constant admiration from others.
5 Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others.
6 Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain.
7 Unwilling to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes, or needs.
8 Intensely jealous of others and the belief that others are equally jealous of them.
9 Pompous and arrogant demeanor.

One looks at those traits and thinks of Hitler as well as Trump, one of the reasons many have made such comparisons. But I do like this article that examines this comparison in detail:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/09/13/dont-compare-donald-trump-to-adolf-hitler-it-belittles-hitler/
Quotes from this article:
“Is Trump a megalomaniacal demagogue? Yes. Is he a sociopath? Undoubtedly. Is he dangerous? Maybe.”
“Hitler was a megalomaniacal psychopath who should burn in Hell for eternity… who actually believed in something.
There’s a difference. Trump is a two-bit con man. He’s playing the fools.”
However, the dangers of a narcissist like Trump is that they are over-confident in their own knowledge and opinions and generally uninterested in the counsel of others, such as Trump’s famous statement “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.”
Narcissists tend to be very aggressive and take big chances, not the qualities I seek in a commander-in-chief.

As for Hillary, she seems to be an old-school politician who milks the system for personal gain and kow-tows to the banks and corporations who run this land, but I do not see her as any more evil than our recent string of presidents.
Here are a few of well-written articles in defense of Hillary:

http://www.scarymommy.com/hillary-clinton-myths-debunked/?utm_source=FBOnsite

http://benbosophy.blogspot.ca/2016/10/178-reasons-hillary-clinton-is.html

http://billmoyers.com/story/last-night-3/ (nice piece by Bill Moyers on how the media manufactured hatred for Hillary)

While there are many other people I would prefer to be the Democratic nominee, I believe Hillary is a MUCH better option than Trump. Hillary voted in tandem with Sanders in Congress 93% of the time.
She does not plan to gut environmental regulations as Trump does. She does not plan to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would make abortion illegal and even further abridge civil rights. The justices appointed by her would hopefully overturn the Citizens United decision.
Hillary is not campaigning to build a wall or deport millions of immigrants.
She is planning to increase taxes on the rich rather than give them a huge tax cut.
And in supporting Hillary vs.Trump I am also supporting the Democratic Party platform, which is FAR more progressive than the Republican platform.

As previously mentioned, I believe the health of our environment is critical to human health. While I believe Hillary is still far too influenced by the oil, natural gas and coal industries which are the main cause of global warming, her environmental policies are FAR more progressive than Trump, who does not believe in global warming and promises to roll back many of our hard-won environmental protections. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/clinton-trump-energy-environment_us_57d1dc06e4b06a74c9f3d6c0     for a comparison of their environmental policies.

I have one fb friend who has been continually criticizing me for “fear-mongering” every time I post an article that is critical of Trump. I believe that the opposite of love is not hatred but fear (though from fear comes hatred). So I generally am not a “fear-monger.” But sometimes fear is appropriate. Fear prevents people from doing things that might be dangerous and from breaking laws such as those that encourage safe driving. This is not a black-and-white world and at times fear is appropriate. An old saying is fight fire with fire, and indeed, sometimes firefighters do start backfires to prevent fires from spreading. As a homeopath, this concept appeals to me. It seems appropriate to fight the fear that is motivating many Trump supporters with enough fear to motivate those who oppose Trump to vote.
I do not feel it is wrong to admit that I am afraid of a Trump presidency, very afraid.

The biggest threat in this election is apathy (and disgust). I do have the impression that many Trump supporters are more enthusiastic than Hillary’s supporters.
Studies show that the majority of Americans have surprisingly progressive views, which makes it surprising that this election is forecast to be so close. Bur studies also show that those with progressive views do not turn out as much as more conservative voters:
http://www.seanamcelwee.com/2016/02/11/why-voting-matters-the-progressive-majority-that-doesnt-show-up/            The best thing that could happen for Trump is if Democrats, especially the significant percentage who supported Bernie, either do not vote or vote for a third party.
I believe it is crucial for Democrats and Independents and responsible Republicans to go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for Hillary Clinton and make a statement that we will not allow Trump to be president. Hopefully they voters will also replace the many Republican Senators and Representatives who have vowed to obstruct a Clinton presidency.

As Bernie Sanders said on 9/5/16, “When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.”

Postscript:

As I said when I wrote the above shortly before the election, there appeared to be a real chance of Mr. Trump winning.
On the nite of the election I wrote the following on facebook and thought I would add it here:

DONALD TRUMP IS ELECTED PRESIDENT IN STUNNING REPUDIATION OF ESTABLISHMENT” reads the headline of today’s New York Times.
“So many people are trying to move to Canada that the government’s website” reads another.
Many people (in fact the majority of voters, since Hillary appears to have won the popular vote) are unhappy and a good percentage are really frightened at having someone they see as an obnoxious, narcissistic, racist, sexist homophobe as President. They are strongly opposed to his announced intentions to make abortion illegal, deport millions of immigrants while closing our borders to the 1.6 billion followers of Islam, roll back environmental regulations, restrict LGBT rights etc. They are dismayed that so many of their fellow Americans voted for Trump and concerned that all those people condone racism, sexism etc.
In recent weeks when I posted things critical of Trump the people who came to his defense, mostly by denigrating Hillary, were not Trump voters but disaffected Bernie supporters who were very angry at Hillary and the DNC. These leftist folks are happy that Trump won, because they saw Hillary as totally enmeshed in the corporate oligarchy/military-industrial complex/Big Oil/Big Pharma/Monsanto/globalist elite and see Trump as nationalist who will fight the globalists who are marching us towards fascism. So while many who abhor Trump fear he is a fascist, my leftist friends saw Hillary as an even greater threat to continue our transition to fascism.

Besides watching some of the coverage on PBS, MSNBC and CNN tonite
I listened to George Noory on Coast-to-Coast AM. This show presents a balanced spectrum of political commentators, but most have the perspective that globalism is a serious threat to our democracy as they talk about the Illuminati, the Bilderberg group etc. Most of the many people on that show saw Trump as an opponent of the globalists and see this election as the people’s rebellion against this. One of the guests was John Hogue, who had successfully predicted the outcome of the past 12 presidential elections over the past 48 years. He has written a book about Trump and a book about Hillary, based on their astrology, and predicted a Hillary win this year, but he had hedged his bets by saying he could foresee a possibility of Trump winning. Of interest, though he forecast that if Hillary won he foresaw a difficult first term by her with a possible nuclear war or huge scandal leading to impeachment. However, he sees in Trump a potential to be a good president and make positive changes. He felt based on his chart that Trump is very bright, complex and unpredictable but could rise to the occasion. His website (which at the moment still has his Hillary winning prediction up) is here:
http://www.hogueprophecy.com

 
The point of this all being that, while I disagree with many of Trump’s avowed policy plans, am concerned about his narcissism and temperment and am very concerned about his tendency to be intolerant of others and fan the flames of fear and hatred in the populace as shown in this election, there is the yang to his yin (or is it the yin to his yang?), the side of him that challenges the assumptions that vaccines are safe, that favors labelling GMO’s, that opposes the TPP and is not a puppet of the powers that be. So there may be a major silver lining to this huge political upset.
The most hopeful advice I can give to my fellow Democrats, Greens and Socialists is yes, we did not get what we wanted but maybe this will be the sometime where we are surprised to find we get what we need…


And if Trump is the disaster so many fear, hopefully 4 years from now the Democrats will nominate a Sanders-style progressive and we will change Congress and get the type of change so many voters on both sides were hoping for this election…
(unless Trump cancels the next election 😉 )