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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, February 1, 2022
How COVID Helped Me Regain Good Health
Editorial by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD
OMNS (Feb. 1, 2022) Most truly healthy people do not actually realize they are healthy, especially if they have never had a significant chronic disease or infection. And that is a normal reaction to being healthy. You just enjoy life without being focused on multiple ways in which you might eventually become unhealthy. Someone who has never suffered with headaches is not going to marvel that they are headache-free. Someone who has never had heartburn after a beer and pizza is not going to marvel at how good their stomach and gut feel afterwards. The person who is completely healthy and has always been so, who appreciates how precious that health is, and who works hard at doing everything possible to stay healthy is the rarest of individuals. Most people who are working hard at staying healthy have already been significantly ill in the past, and they have no desire to become ill again. It is human nature to notice and focus on feeling bad, not to celebrate feeling good.
I have never considered myself to be exceptionally healthy or sick. But I have always felt that, for whatever reason, my immune system was not close to working optimally at any time in my life. "Hay fever," sneezing, runny nose, and coughing from a postnasal drip have been with me since age 7 or 8 (I am 71 at the time of this writing.) My mother was able to get me a prescription for chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine on which I have relied for symptom relief for literally my entire life (long since available without a prescription). Even though I knew at a young age that using up a box of facial tissue every few days was not "normal," I had no choice but to accept it and work with it.
Similarly, my major health problem for most of my life has centered on easily contracting and then keeping colds and influenza. Such infections would always last weeks for me, with some severe chronic coughing and often just feeling poorly for months. A chronic nasal congestion made truly restful sleep an impossibility much of the time, along with the common spasms of coughing waking me after finally falling asleep. For many years, my chronic cough would be associated with a metallic taste in the back of my throat, which I felt was due to the iron-rich pathogens that had to be colonizing there.
Whenever I had X-rays at the dentist, air-fluid levels were consistently noted to be present in the sinuses directly above my upper jawbone (there should never be fluid in your sinuses). And even though I had infected teeth adjacent to those sinuses extracted in the past, it never really seemed to improve the chronic sinusitis with which I was afflicted.
It was these chronic conditions that resulted in my experimenting a great deal with the nebulization of a large number of different agents for several months to a year, starting several years ago when I first realized the therapeutic potentials of nebulization while researching the literature for my book, Magnesium: Reversing Disease. When I finally researched the physiology of hydrogen peroxide in the body and started nebulizing it, I achieved an incredible relief from much of the sinus-nose-throat symptoms described above. The scientific reasons for these clinical experiences are explained in my book, Rapid Virus Recovery, the eBook of which I have made available due to its ability to consistently hasten the resolution of respiratory tract viral infections, including COVID. (To download a complimentary copy, go to
www.rvr.medfoxpub.com). Past OMNS articles that address these and related issues also include:
On December 11, 2021, another of my OMNS articles was published
(http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v17n28.shtml) This article discussed the synergistic relationship between vitamin C and cortisol [hydrocortisone], especially in the context of their role in the response of the body to acute stress, infection, and toxin exposures. In a nutshell, the premise of the article is that all possible positive clinical responses to any condition are ultimately realized by normalizing cytoplasmic levels of vitamin C in the affected cells. Very high doses of vitamin C (doses of 50 grams intravenously or higher) are effective at doing this, but lower multi-gram vitamin C doses, orally or intravenously, appear to require the assistance of cortisol to realize optimal intracellular levels of vitamin C.
Ironically, this article appeared roughly two weeks prior to my having a prolonged, shaking chill directly prior to going to bed. The next morning my infection with COVID was well-established in my body. As there was no shortness of breath, my untested assumption was that I contracted the Omicron variant. Nevertheless, for the next 10 days, I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. The most prominent symptoms were profound fatigue and almost a completely inability to focus and think about anything. I had no appetite or hunger at all, and I promptly lost my ability to taste any food. It was actually too much effort to even want to chew. At its worst, I sustained what little energy I had with a couple of protein shakes a day. I think I might now realize how a zombie must feel.
After the first few days had passed, I decided to give myself some intravenous vitamin C. I did not do this at first because I simply did not have the energy or focus to do so. I put 25 grams of vitamin C in a 50-cc syringe and inserted a 21-gauge butterfly needle in my left arm. As I usually get very thirsty during such a procedure, I had a root beer ready to drink as I proceeded with my injection. Of note, my first sip before placing the butterfly needle had very little taste and only remotely was identifiable as root beer. After about 3 or 4 minutes during which I administered roughly 9 to 10 grams of vitamin C as an IV push, I took another drink of root beer. I was stunned. At that moment, I had completely regained my taste and the root beer was full-flavored. It was immediately clear that the rapid administration of a large dose of vitamin C intravenously could completely reverse the loss of taste associated with the COVID infection.
Not really having the desire to repeatedly go through the process of giving myself IV injections of vitamin C over the following few days, my befogged brain remembered the article I had written on vitamin C and cortisol. After discussing the situation with my friend and colleague, Dr. Ron Hunninghake of the Riordan Clinic, I decided to start taking oral hydrocortisone along with my oral vitamin C. Several times a day I took a 20 mg hydrocortisone tablet along with 4 grams of regular vitamin C and 3 to 10 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C from LivOn Labs. I rapidly started to respond positively.
Of additional note is that I had a good friend graciously taking care of me during this time period. She had just finished dealing with COVID about a week earlier, and she felt fine except for the continued complete loss of taste, which understandably distressed her greatly. Following my highly-dosed IV vitamin C injection with the rapid return of taste, I decided to give her 3 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C orally with 20 mg of cortisol. Several hours later she noticed some taste returning. This was repeated for the following 3 days with her taste returning to a near-normal degree after the full 4-day period of VC-cortisol therapy. It was very clear to me that the VC-cortisol combination was working some magic in getting vitamin C inside the cells.
As my VC-cortisol-aided recovery became complete, I realized my clinical surprises were only beginning. Not only did I finally completely resolve my bout with COVID after about a 2-week period of illness, I quickly noticed that my previous state of "health" had not only returned, but that I was feeling better than I had in literally 30 to 40 years. Upon discussing the situation with Dr. Hunninghake, I decided that my usual daily vitamin C intake needed to be optimized with an accompanying administration of cortisol. The chronic administration of low doses of hydrocortisone is discussed at length in William McK. Jefferies book, Safe Uses of Cortisol. After trial-and-error dosing based on a sense of well-being, I finally settled in with a dose of 3 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C accompanied by a 10 mg dose of hydrocortisone twice daily, once at 8 am and the other at about 4 pm.
The work of Dr. Jefferies made it clear to me that I had suffered from an advanced degree of adrenal fatigue with cortisol insufficiency nearly my entire life, but especially over the last 30 years. The vitamin C-cortisol protocol has had the following remarkable effects described below, improving or resolving a wide array of symptoms, nearly all of which had been present for decades:
- The complete elimination of runny nose and the associated allergy-like symptoms
- The resolution of a chronic left middle ear fluid/mucus accumulation, sometimes associated with vertigo, and a literal inability to sleep with the head turned to the left on the pillow without getting dizzy
- The return of free and easy breathing at all times, without periods of nasal stuffiness and the need to breathe through the mouth. Also, the loss of an "air hunger," a peculiar, seemingly neurotic, inability to take a "full" breath, but without a genuine underlying shortness of breath. It would "disappear" the moment I got distracted and started doing something other than concentrating on my breathing.
- The ability to consistently sleep soundly, something I had never known in my entire life
- The complete elimination of chronic cough (which had been greatly reduced but not completely eliminated by the hydrogen peroxide nebulization protocol); family and close friends had just accepted my "need" to cough hundreds of times daily, even in the absence of any acute respiratory infection. It is actually the minimal return of the desire to cough (a "sentinel" symptom) that allows me to increase, usually temporarily, the size or frequency of a cortisol dose with my vitamin C.
- The elimination of the need to continue my nebulization on a regular basis, as cough would tend to recur if not done at least every few days
- The complete disappearance of years of metallic taste in the throat
- A striking increase in energy, without the need or desire to take naps
- A striking decrease in pulse and a stabilization of often-elevated blood pressure (pulse from high 80s to low 90s now dropping as low as high 60s; BPs going from diastolics of 80 to 90 down to mid-60s to low 70s)
- The complete resolution of heartburn and an acid stomach, present for many decades with an enormous daily intake of sodium bicarbonate for relief, along with other agents
- An improvement in long-standing heat and cold sensitivity, along with a dramatic decrease in the occurrence of what had been daily soaking night sweats present for the past 8 years or so
- A significant decline in chronic lower back pain present for many years
- The loss of a tendency to be depressed
- The complete loss of sugar cravings, with very little desire to consume sweets even when readily available. I am still marveling at the disappearance of this lifelong "obsession."
Adrenal/Cortisol Insufficiency: The Unrecognized Pandemic
Realizing that most older individuals lose their ability to make adequate amounts of the sex hormones or of thyroid hormone, it became logically apparent, along with the information reported in Dr. Jefferies' book, that the vast majority of adults eventually reach a point where they are no longer capable of making enough cortisol, either at rest or following stress, to stay healthy. And as with any hormone deficiency, it can be minimal to severe in degree, depending on the individual. With my array of symptoms, it appeared that my deficiency has been substantial for most of my life, and arguably quite severe for the last 30 years.
The complete loss of cortisol synthesis and secretion by the adrenal glands is known as Addison's disease. Complete replacement cortisol therapy, which might require as much as 40 mg hydrocortisone daily in divided doses, can allow such individuals to live normal lives. However, without such replacement therapy, death will ensue very rapidly, often occurring in the context of a rapid and overwhelming infection, usually viral.
As discussed in the December 11, 2022 OMNS article cited above, a working diagnosis of some degree of adrenal fatigue/cortisol insufficiency can be made when you contract a respiratory infection but cannot resolve it in a day or less. The classical symptoms of acute influenza, for example, are essentially identical to the symptoms of just a profound deficiency of cortisol secretion in the body. However, when you have enough vitamin C and cortisol present, you simply do not (or more precisely, cannot) get a viral infection. And if you are subjected to an overwhelming large viral exposure, you will only get mild symptoms that promptly resolve. As a working rule of thumb, staying sick with a cold, flu, or COVID for several days is seen with mild adrenal fatigue. The longer the infection stays, however, the greater the degree of cortisol insufficiency can be expected to be present.
Basically, the pathogens that cause disease are always present, and the ability to keep normal levels of vitamin C inside the cells of the body (and the respiratory tract) is what keeps us well and the pathogens at bay. When this ability is compromised, infections always result, and eventually chronic diseases will follow.
Of course, the only way to be able to take supportive cortisol therapy with your vitamin C is to have an integrative physician willing to work with you. If you find a physician who is open to such a protocol, he/she can feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Cardiologist and attorney-at-law Thomas E. Levy is a Contributing Editor for the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. Dr. Levy serves as a consultant to LivOn Labs.)
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Editorial Review Board:
Albert G. B. Amoa, MB.Ch.B, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Seth Ayettey, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D. (Ghana)
Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
Ian Brighthope, MBBS, FACNEM (Australia)
Gilbert Henri Crussol, D.M.D. (Spain)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Ian Dettman, Ph.D. (Australia)
Susan R. Downs, M.D., M.P.H. (USA)
Ron Ehrlich, B.D.S. (Australia)
Hugo Galindo, M.D. (Colombia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Claus Hancke, MD, FACAM (Denmark)
Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Dwight Kalita, Ph.D. (USA)
Felix I. D. Konotey-Ahulu, MD, FRCP, DTMH (Ghana)
Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Alan Lien, Ph.D. (Taiwan)
Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Pedro Gonzalez Lombana, MD, MsC, PhD (Colombia)
Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
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Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Zhiyong Peng, M.D. (China)
Isabella Akyinbah Quakyi, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Selvam Rengasamy, MBBS, FRCOG (Malaysia)
Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
T.E. Gabriel Stewart, M.B.B.CH. (Ireland)
Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Garry Vickar, M.D. (USA)
Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)
Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
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Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
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