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Why Metabolic Health is More Important Than Ever

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Last Updated: Oct 24, 2021

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As some of you might know, back in July I got infected with SARS-CoV2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. For this edition of the newsletter, I want to talk about the steps I’ve taken to strengthen my immune system over the past few years and how effective they were at lessening my COVID symptoms. Plus, I want to touch on a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the course of this pandemic.

I should also mention that I wasn’t the only person in my orbit who contracted the virus. My wife and three of our closest friends also got sick at approximately the same time. We don’t know (and don’t care) who infected who, but having had four people test positive at the same time (a fifth person got sick a few days later) made for an interesting case study. 

Considering the parallel onset of the tell-tale symptoms — such as fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, nausea, fever and (later) the loss of taste and smell (for some of us) — we decided to get tested using Abbott’s BinaxNOW antigen test.

The biometrics captured by my WHOOP Strap while I was sick reflect how little the virus impacted my body.
The biometrics captured by my WHOOP Strap while I was sick reflect how little the virus impacted my body.

In comparison to quantitative PCR tests, antigen tests are qualitative tests that have a higher rate of false negatives. But if you test positive on an antigen test, it’s a strong indication that you have COVID-19. 

Unsurprisingly, all four of us tested positive.

My hypothesis going into this experiment was that if you’re metabolically healthy (which is different from having a slim, fit or strong physical appearance), contracting COVID-19 won’t be much different than having a cold or the flu.

That doesn’t mean it’s great to have a cold or the flu. Being sick sucks. Just ask my wife, who got “sick of being sick” about a week into the recovery process.

Fortunately, I came out of this entire experience relatively unscathed. I had a stuffy nose, a mild headache, some joint pain in my ankles for a few days, and I lost my sense of smell for two days. 

As you can see in the screenshot above, the biometrics captured by my WHOOP strap showed no sign that my body and immune system were struggling to fight off the virus. Most people who have COVID experience significant increases in respiratory and resting heart rate and a decline in heart rate variability. 

Both my resting heart rate and respiratory rate went down, a sign that my cardiovascular system wasn’t stressed by COVID and my HRV remained within normal range — an indication that my autonomic nervous system was in balance.  

So for me, this entire experience made a couple of things crystal clear:

  1. As I told my wife and my friends, the only person who made it through COVID with virtually no symptoms was the one who followed all of my advice to the letter — me!
  2. Improving your metabolic health is the best way to mitigate the risk of getting sick, regardless of if you’re dealing with an infectious or a chronic disease. 

What’s so mind-boggling is that this isn’t something we just discovered when this virus emerged — we’ve been a nation of sick people for decades. 

So why has this pandemic not been a wake-up call to get healthier? Why aren’t we talking about removing processed junk food and industrial seed oils from our diet in an attempt to significantly lower the risk of bad COVID-19 outcomes?

Instead of promoting a species-appropriate diet consisting of foods that humans have thrived on for millions of years, we keep pushing fake meat, industrial seed oils and highly-processed carbs while also considering raising taxes on meat production. 

And then there’s misguided individuals like New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promoted free french fries from Shake Shack as a reward for getting vaccinated

While I don’t discount the value of vaccines overall (I’m not an anti-vaxxer), it’s mind-boggling that the very foods that got us into this mess are the ones being promoted. 

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind if you decide to get vaccinated, but I certainly hope your decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine is based on a thorough risk-reward analysis and not on the prospect of getting a free donut or some other junk food.

As I’m sure you know, every pharmaceutical (including vaccines) has potential side effects, and the mRNA vaccines are no different. However, most vaccines undergo clinical trials that last several years so we can find out exactly what the potential (long-term) side-effects are. 

The current mRNA vaccines haven’t been around long enough for us to fully understand their long-term effects. So there are things we don’t yet, which makes risk-reward analysis more difficult. 

What we do know is that COVID vaccines are associated with almost 7,000 deaths in the United States so far (that’s a rate of 1 in 50,000), based on the Reported Adverse Events page of the CDC. That number appears to be significantly higher than the “one in a million” chance of serious adverse side-effects, such as a serious allergic reaction, from other common vaccines.

And yes, I do understand the difference between causation and correlation and just because the vaccine is associated with almost 7,000 deaths doesn’t mean they were caused by it. But considering that COVID death numbers we hear from the CDC and mass media are also based on associations, I felt it was only fair to apply the standard.

So you’ll have to compare a potentially higher risk of adverse reactions and unknown long-term risks with the fact that the current vaccines don’t prevent you from contracting COVID or transmitting it (if you got it) to someone else. 

If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you can spread the virus to others. People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated. (CDC.gov)

However, the vaccine does appear to reduce the risk of severe COVID outcomes. 

In a nutshell, you’ll have to decide if your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID (maybe because of preexisting conditions and your metabolic health) warrants the shot. For some people, including my grandparents who are approaching their 90th birthday and suffer from autoimmune and other chronic conditions, the benefits of getting the vaccine outweighed the risk. 

I never had any intention of getting the vaccine and that has obviously not changed now that I’ve built natural immunity. I’m not talking about antibodies (which may fade over time), but rather t-cell immunity, which (based on what we’ve seen so far) remains active for decades, if not a lifetime. It even recognizes recent Covid variants.

Soon after we found out that we had COVID-19, we started taking a stack of supplements to support our immune system. These consisted of Zinc Supreme, Vitamin D Supreme, Equip Immune Support Booster, Equip ViraGuard. My wife also started taking Ivermectin and Azithromycin to potentially speed up the recovery process.

The latter two are off-label meds that require a prescription. But they’re super cheap and have been shown in recent studies to reduce the chances of death from COVID. I don’t know that taking the prescription meds sped up my wife’s recovery, especially because she started taking them way too late. But I wanted to mention them in case one of you contracts COVID and may benefit from knowing about them.

Of course, we also continued taking grass-fed beef liver capsules to ensure our bodies have all the micronutrients they need in the most bioavailable form possible.

Before I wrap it up for today, here are a couple of left-over thoughts…

The U.S. and most other countries continue treating symptoms instead of fixing the root cause of major health issues. For example, if you have Type 2 diabetes, you get insulin instead of removing the very foods that cause it from your diet. 

If you want to mitigate the risk of a COVID-19 infection, you wear a mask, socially distance, put up with lockdowns and get a vaccine instead of taking care of your metabolism and immune system. 

I’m not saying that some people shouldn’t do both. But “fixing the underlying cause of severe health outcomes associated with COVID-19” isn’t even part of the discussion, and that pisses me off.

Also, stress has a major impact on your overall defenses. And chronic stress, especially if not managed well, can negatively impact your immune system — even when you’re (otherwise) metabolically healthy. 

Our kids showed zero symptoms and never complained about headaches or anything else. At the same time, we shared forks, glasses and plenty of kisses — less so my wife while she didn’t feel good, but I never held back (and secretly reused my wife’s water glasses to double down on my viral load. You know, just in case).

But enough about us. Let’s talk about you and what you can do to reduce the risk of complications if and/or when you finally contract COVID-19.

After all, it’s probably just a matter of time.

In a nutshell:

  • Protect your sleep.
  • Eat a species-appropriate diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Manage stress.
  • Avoid environmental toxins.

You can find more information about these recommendations in the following blog posts:

Have you had COVID-19? If so, I’d love to hear how you experienced the symptoms. Just hit reply and let me know.

In good health,

Michael

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