This is how the risk of getting Covid-19 is usually explained: in terms of EXPOSURE.

In fact, there’s a much better way to assess your likelihood of getting Covid – and whatever other bugs are going around: THE HEALTH OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.

This is an important difference in perspective. In the first view, there’s nothing you can do to stay healthy except avoid exposure. In the second view, you can do lots to stay healthy by taking specific measures to strengthen your immune system. And, since 80% of your immune system resides in your gut microbiome, improving the health of your gut microbiome will also protect you against most of the diseases and conditions usually considered just part of aging.

Clearly a huge win-win for you with nothing to lose and everything to gain.


The second perspective is how Functional Medicine practitioners approach healing – not as a series of symptoms to be modified but as seeking the root causes of those symptoms and repairing those underlying imbalances.


This video gives a brief explanation of the relationship between the health of your gut microbiome, where 80% of your immune system lives, and what’s going on with your overall health.

Covid and other viruses spread among people whose immune systems aren’t working properly, making them vulnerable to pathogenic bugs. We often hear people express surprise that someone in ‘good health’ got Covid, a Clostridium difficile infection or some other nasty illness.

At issue here is how we think of ‘good health’. If you define it as not having been diagnosed with a disease, then you’re missing the important role of the gut microbiome. Modern conventional medicine tends to focus on and treat the symptoms of chronic poor gut immunity, dividing the various organs up into medical specialties. Functional medical practitioners view the body as an integrated system and treat the whole system by helping people correct the underlying causes of their various symptoms.

An example from my life. My husband suffered from autoimmune conditions starting early in his childhood: frequent, severe migraines and rheumatoid arthritis. In his 40’s, some of his liver functions were off. I went with him to his doctor’s appoint and heard the doc commend him for his good health because he had such low blood pressure. We were told not to worry about the liver imbalance. My husband went on to develop other autoimmune conditions, including, eventually, life-threatening myesthenia gravis, which caused him great suffering.

This doc was a very nice guy. He surely had gone into medicine to help people stay healthy but his way of understanding health was sorely lacking.

How autoimmune problems develop:    

Chronically poor condition of the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) ––> leaky gut ––> chronic low level inflammation in the body, which eventually ––> autoimmune diseases and conditions


To this end, a group of scientists have created a way for you to assess your real risk of getting COVID and provided clear information on what you can do to build up your immune system so you don’t get it – while also improving your overall health at the same time.

Go to their #STOP COVID COLD site to calculate your Covid risk. After you’ve submitted your answers to the quiz, you’ll see your score and can learn what you can do now to keep from getting the virus and also improve your general health picture.

The video by Dr Mercola at the top right of the page explains it well as do the two Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold e-reports you’ll find near the bottom of the page to download. (#StopCovidCold, 2020)

You can also download one or both of the Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold reports here.

See the About page on the Stop COVID Cold site for bios for the coalition of experts and organizations who provided the information on the site.


Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is highly protective in preventing and achieving overall health. A 25-hydroxyvitamin D test is the usual way to measure its level in the blood.

For more information on why an adequate amount of Vitamin D is necessary for a healthy immune system and achieving overall good health, see Vitamin D Benefits Bones, Immunity, Skin & More (Levy, 2020)

Lymphocyte Value

Lymphocytes are white blood cells that are one of the body’s main types of immune cells. They are made in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph tissue.

A high lymphocyte blood level indicates your body is dealing with an infection or other inflammatory condition. Severe or chronically low counts can indicate a possible infection or other significant illness.

Neutrophil Value

Neutrophils are the most plentiful of the white blood cells in the body’s immune system, making up 55-70% of the white blood cells.


  • Researchers with the Singapore General Hospital and Duke-NUS Medical School set out to determine if a combination of vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 would improve outcomes among COVID-19 patients aged 50 and older
  • Seventeen of the patients received oral vitamin D3 (1,000 IU), magnesium (150 milligrams (mg)) and vitamin B12 (500 mcg) — together known as DMB — upon admission for a median of five days while 26 patients who did not receive DMB served as the control group
  • Significant benefits were seen among the DMB group, with only 17.6% requiring initiation of oxygen therapy during their hospitalization, compared to 61.5% of those in the control group
  • Vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 may present a unique three-pronged approach for tackling COVID-19 by modulating the hyper-inflammation often seen in the disease

– Midlands Directory. (8/24/2020)


In case your risk of getting Covid is high and you need to supplement with the vitamins and mineral mentioned in the previous section about improving outcomes for Covid patients – also important for preventing getting Covid, here’s a list of the supplements I like and use in case my diet isn’t providing adequate amounts. These amounts work for me. You should check with your own health care provider:

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 5,000 (Metagenics). I take 1 gel cap daily and 2 every 3rd day during the pandemic – and have 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood tests every three to six months to check my D blood serum level. It was 63 in early March 2020 (good) and I’d gotten it up to 90 by September 2020 (very good).


Magnesium Glycinate Chelate  (Nested Naturals). I take 2 capsules in the morning.             

Neuro-Mag (l-threonate) (Designs for Health). I take 1 capsule after lunch + 2 in the evening.                    

Vitamin B Complex

Dr Mercola’s Vitamin B-Complex (I take 2 capsules each morning)

Keep your gut microbiome healthy so the rest of you can be healthy too.


Levy, J. (2020). Vitamin D Benefits Bones, Immunity, Skin & More. Dr Axe. See:

Midlands Directory. (8/24/2020). Dr. Mercola Introduces Stop COVID Cold. See:

#StopCovidCold.(2020). Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold. See:

#StopCovidCold.(2020). Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold. See:

#StopCovidCold. (2020). About. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Vitamin D Blood Level Affects Covid-19 Severity

Source: Plant Based News

It is estimated that up to 85 percent of people have insufficient levels of vitamin D and are unaware of their deficient state…. Over 95 percent of senior citizens in the US may possibly be deficient…. The late winter average vitamin D level was found to be about 15 to 18 ng/ml, which is far below optimal levels.

Mercola, Vitamin D Research Page, 2020

Source: Dr Joseph Mercola

A short article describing research by Vadim Backman, a Biomedical Engineer at Northwestern University, presents additional compelling evidence for the importance of having a Vitamin D serum level high enough to protect yourself from experiencing severe complications or dying from Covid-19.

This is the article in its entirety, How Does Vitamin D Affect COVID-19 Infection?:

New research from Northwestern University suggests Vitamin D levels could play an important role in the body’s reaction to the COVID-19 disease. After analysing data from 10 countries, the team noticed a link between hyperactive immune systems and Vitamin D deficiency. Lead author of the study Vadim Backman warns lack of Vitamin D can increase mortality rates, with severely deficient patients 50% more likely to experience potentially fatal complications due to COVID-19.

Boosting the immune system

Used to describe a cluster of fat-soluble secosteroids, Vitamin D increases intestinal absorption of important minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphate. This ramps up immunity and prevents the immune system from ticking into overdrive, which can be fatal during a COVID-19 infection.

Backman and his team were prompted to explore the role of Vitamin D levels after noticing significant mortality rate differences between countries. For example, COVID-19 mortality rates were noticeably higher in the UK, Spain and Italy. While some experts put this down to age demographics, testing rates, quality of healthcare and even the possibility of different and more severe coronavirus strains, Backman suspected it could be driven by something else.

“None of these factors appears to play a significant role,” asserts Backman. “The healthcare system in northern Italy is one of the best in the world. Differences in mortality exist even if one looks across the same age group. And, while the restrictions on testing do indeed vary, the disparities in mortality still exist even when we looked at countries or populations for which similar testing rates apply.

The risk of cytokine storms

After analysing data, the team found a high COVID-19 mortality rates correlated with low Vitamin D levels. For Backman the findings could explain why symptoms can vary so drastically, as well as why children are unlikely to die from the disease. “Instead, we saw a significant correlation with Vitamin D deficiency,” he said.

Postdoctoral research associate and first author of the study Ali Daneshkhah says cytokine storms, which can cause severe damage to the lungs and trigger fatal acute respiratory distress, are often the cause of death in COVID-19 patients. They’re caused by misdirected attacks from the immune system, with Daneshkhah musing that Vitamin D can help prevent this sort of pattern.

“Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” says Daneshkhah. “It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

Experts warn against hoarding

The researchers caution that while Vitamin D is being explored as a potential preventative treatment for COVID-19, hoarding supplements is not advised and could even be dangerous for people with balanced levels of Vitamin D.

“While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don’t need to push vitamin D on everybody,” adds Backman “This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area. The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets.”

– (Labmate Online, 6/14/2020)

Vitamin D deficiency. symptoms and diseases caused by insufficient vitamin D. Symptoms & Signs. Human silhouette with highlighted internal organs

Source: Dan Hammer Health LTD

Here’s the original article about Dr Backman’s work published last month by Northwestern University in case you want to look at it: Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates: Patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience severe complications, including death. (Northwestern University, 5/7/2020)


Source: Dr Josh Axe

Dr Joseph Mercola’s Vitamin D Resource Page is a good source of information on why Vitamin D is essential to almost all aspects of our health. If you’re interested in preserving your health, I strongly recommend looking at it. (Mercola, 2020)


For additional information on the vital importance of Vitamin D – including the many diseases and conditions it protects us from and why Vitamin D3 is the one to take as a supplement, see Vitamin D for Coronavirus … and Much More. (Hardin, 5/3/2020)

Source: Daily Mail


Hardin, J.R. ( 5/3/2020). Vitamin D for Coronavirus … and Much More. See:

Labmate Online. (6/14/2020). How Does Vitamin D Affect COVID-19 Infection?. See:

Mercola, J. (2020). Vitamin D Resource Page. See:

Northwestern University. (5/7/2020). Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates: Patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience severe complications, including death. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Nasal Irrigation with a Neti Pot May Be the Magic Bullet Against Coronavirus-19

Amy Baxter, MD, holding a Buzzy, the physiologic pain blocker she invented

Amy Baxter, MD, is a pediatric emergency physician, pain management researcher, engineer, writer and mom as well as the founder and CEO of Pain Care Labs in Atlanta. Baxter is probably best known as the inventor of the Medical Design Excellence Award winning Buzzy® physiologic pain blocker. She’s a doctor known for creative solutions to medical challenges.

And now she’s got an idea for lessening the impact of Coronavirus-19 and the severity of COVID-19.


Source: Library of Congress

While Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Central China’s Hubei province, and other parts of China have been hard hit by Coronavirus-19, nearby Thailand, Laos and Vietnam have had a remarkably low number of cases. Baxter’s take on this is that nasal irrigation (also called nasal wash), a personal hygiene habit  widely practiced in Thailand but not in China, helps explain the difference. 

Performing regular nasal irrigation with a solution of sea salt and warm water is an easy and effective way to clear nasal secretions; improve nasal congestion; decrease post-nasal drip; stop runny nose, sneezing and coughing; alleviate sinus pain and headaches; improve taste and smell and even improve sleep quality. It’s also an inexpensive natural remedy with a very low risk of side effects. (Piromchai, 2019)

 Nasal irrigation has long been considered a good way to remove viruses and bacteria from sinus cavities. Baxter points out that recent clinical trials demonstrate that nasal irrigation reduces the duration and symptoms for other viral illnesses like flu and the common cold. Baxter has multiple reasons for believing that this approach can also be effective with Coronavirus-19. She notes that “SARS-CoV2’s viral load is heaviest in sinuses/nasal cavity.”

Also, the known sex and age discrimination of COVID-19 supports her conclusion. “Children don’t develop full sinuses until teens; males have larger cavities than women, and the cavities are largest [in those] over 70 years,” Baxter says. At least so far, children have been the least affected by COVID-19 while the elderly and men are dying at faster rates.

Regarding the very low COVID-19 death rates in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, Baxter says, “Yes, they wear masks, and yes, they bow and don’t shake hands, but the biggest difference between them and places like South Korea or Japan is that nasal irrigation is practiced by 80 percent of people.” Laos has had less than 20 reported cases, and Vietnam roughly 300. (Hall, 4/20/2020) & (Hall, 5/16/2020)

Last week, on May 15 2020, Thailand reported they had no new cases of COVID-19 and and no deaths from it. “Since the outbreak started, there have been 3,025 reported cases of the coronavirus in Thailand, leading to 56 deaths. These numbers are surprisingly low in a country with a population of 70 million inhabitants that is also a popular tourist destination. (Hall, 5/16/2020)


SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient and imaged using a transmission electron micrograph. (Credit: NIAID)

Source: Discover Magazine

Viral load is a measurement of the amount of a virus in an organism, typically in the bloodstream. It’s usually stated as virus particles per milliliter.  A high viral load jump starts the virus’s effort to make its host sick.

Having a high viral load may increase the odds that the recipient will develop COVID-19 while also raising the risk of that person’s immune system’s becoming overloaded in its battle against the virus. An often cited example of this explanation is that someone who becomes infected indirectly by touching a door handle may develop a mild case of COVID-19 compared to a person who inhales a large load of the virus from an infected person’s sneeze or cough. (Boyd, 5/6/2020)

Some disagree but many in the medical community believe that the size of the initial viral load of Coronavirus-19 influences whether or not an individual develops COVID-19. Baxter points out that flushing the build up of viral particles from the sinuses once or twice a day “gives the immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy.” (Hall, 5/16/2020)


Emerging research indicates that the relationship between viral load at exposure and being sickened by this coronavirus is probably more complex – and also different from that of other communicable viral respiratory illnesses like influenza, MERS and SARS.

Infectious dose refers to the number of viral particles needed to establish an infection. “We don’t know what this is for covid-19 yet, but given how rapidly the disease is spreading, it is likely to be relatively low – in the region of a few hundred or thousand particles, says Willem van Schaik at the University of Birmingham, UK.

“Viral load, on the other hand, relates to the number of viral particles being carried by an infected individual and shed into their environment. “The viral load is a measure of how bright the fire is burning in an individual, whereas the infectious dose is the spark that gets that fire going,” says Edward Parker at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“If you have a high viral load, you are more likely to infect other people, because you may be shedding more virus particles. However, in the case of covid-19, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a higher viral load will lead to more severe symptoms.” (Geddes, 3/27/2020)

“Depending on the virus, people need to be exposed to as little as 10 virus particles — for example, for influenza viruses — or as many as thousands for other human viruses to get infected.

“Scientists do not know how many virus particles of SARS-CoV-2 are needed to trigger infection. COVID-19 is clearly very contagious, but this may be because few particles are needed for infection (the infectious dose is low), or because infected people release a lot of virus in their environment.

“In the case of the original SARS or influenza, whether a person develops mild symptoms or pneumonia depends not only on how much virus is in their lungs, but also on their immune response and their overall health.” (Lakdawala & Gaglia, 4/18/2020)

Whether viral load or infectious dose turns out to be a deciding factor for becoming ill with COVID-19 and/or having a severe case of it, it’s clear that the state of your immune system and your overall health is of the utmost importance. When our sinuses are blocked with gunk, we can’t breathe well through our noses. And we all know from personal experience that being able to breathe freely is vital to our physical and mental health. Nasal irrigation washes out nasty viruses, bacteria and fungi from our sinuses and nose – and helps us breathe fully and easily.


Clinical trials have shown that practicing nasal irrigation reduces the symptoms and duration of viral illnesses like the common cold (a simpler coronavirus is one of 100 viruses causing a ‘cold’) and the flu. Its impact on Coronavirus-19 hasn’t been fully studied yet but Dr Baxter “believe[s] strongly that nasal irrigation is the key to reducing COVID-19 progression of symptoms and infectivity.” She points out that the viral load of SARS-CoV2’s is heaviest in the sinuses and the nasal cavity. (Hall, 5/16/2020).

Many in the medical community believe that the viral load of Coronavirus-19 influences whether or not an individual develops COVID-19. Baxter points out that flushing the build up of viral particles from the sinuses once or twice a day “gives the immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy.” (Hall, 5/16/2020)

Nine new registered trials investigating the effects of nasal irrigation on Coronavirus-19 are currently underway: at Stanford University, the University of Kentucky, NYU Langone Hospital, University of Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt University and elsewhere. (Hall, 5/16/2020)

Dr Baxter recommends that anyone who has been exposed to or is positive for COVID-19 do nasal irrigation with the following solution:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of povidone-iodine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (see note below)
  • Mixed with 8 ounces of lukewarm boiled tap water

Povidone-iodine is a broad spectrum antiseptic solution commonly used for skin disinfection before and after surgery. It kills a broad range of pathogenic microbes – bacteria (Gram-positive and -negative), viruses, fungi and protozoa. Povidone-Iodine is also known as iodopovidone. Some brand names are Betadine, Wokadine and Pyodine, available at stores like CVS and on

My note: Use sea salt, not processed table salt in your nasal irrigator. Table salt is very harsh and will sting.


So I did a little research into povidone-iodine to see if I was willing to run it through my sinuses and found an article called Povidone-iodine: Safe Use of a Common Antiseptic posted by the National Capital Poison Center. Reading through the information there on how to use this antiseptic safely and the warnings about who should avoid using it, I decided it wouldn’t be safe for me. I have a thyroid condition and am generally hypersensitive to many substances (including a large number of pharmaceuticals) so will forego povidone-iodine and continue using sea salt and filtered water in my neti pot.

I recommend reading the National Capital Poison Center’s short and informative article to see if providone-iodine would be safe for you.


Using a neti pot is an inexpensive and easy way to irrigate your sinuses and nose. They often look like little tea pots or genie lamps and come in a large variety of shapes and materials.

Neti pots are gravity-based containers designed for pouring a saline solution into one nostril and having it flow out of the other nostril. They were developed in ancient India as part of a set of purifying and cleansing ayurvedic yogic practices. References to neti pots appear in Indian writings from 3,000 BC – though they were likely invented centuries before that.


Here’s a video of how to use a neti pot to irrigate your sinuses to remove any nasty allergens, bacteria, viruses and molds that have taken up residence in there. Though the process may look scary or disgusting, you’ll find it easy and highly beneficial once you get the hang of it. I recommend doing it in the shower.

A few suggestions:

  • You can buy those more expensive packages of neti pot salt or get a big container of pure sea salt and use some of it. I like to use Pink Himalyan Sea Salt (fine) or La Baleine Sea Salt (fine). Do not use processed table salt. It’s harsh & will sting.
  • I recommend getting a ceramic rather than a plastic neti pot – much easier to keep it clean. The ceramic ones can be sterilized in the dishwasher. I’ve used the same white ceramic model for a few decades.
  • Using warm, filtered water in lieu of distilled water should be fine too.
  • If you use your neti pot in the shower, you don’t have to worry about dribbling the salt solution down your shirt and can also lean against the shower wall to get your head at the right angle so the solution doesn’t run down the back of your throat.

That’s the basic way to use a neti pot to get the gunk out of your sinuses and nose – clean hands, warm water and sea salt.

See NATURAL TREATMENT FOR SEASONAL POLLEN & MOLD ALLERGIES for more information on using a neti pot to clear seasonal pollens, mold and fungal biofilms out of your nasal sinuses. (Hardin, 5/26/2019)

Many thanks to Christian Lillis, Executive Director of the Peggy Lillis Foundation, for sending me the 5/16/2020 article on nasal irrigation for Coronavirus-19. The mission of the Peggy Lillis Foundation is to build a nationwide Clostridium difficile awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates, and shaping policy.


Boyd, C. (5/6/2020). The AMOUNT of coronavirus you get infected with decides how severe the illness is, SAGE scientist warns. See:

Geddes, L. (3/27/2020). Does a high viral load or infectious dose make covid-19 worse?

Hall, C. (4/20/2020). Nasal Irrigation Is the Key to Reducing COVID-19 Progression, Doctor Says: Amy Baxter, MD, Say6s Nasal Irrigation May Be the Best Way to Treat Positive Coronavirus Patients. See:

Hall, C. (5/16/2020). This One Habit May Be Why Thailand Has So Few COVID Cases, Doctor Says: This Personal Hygiene Habit May Help You Avoid the Coronavirus. See:


Lakdawala, S. & Gaglia, M. (4/18/2020). What We Do and Do Not Know About COVID-19’s Infectious Dose and Viral Load: Two virologists share their thoughts about these often-used terms. See:

National Capitol Poison Center. (2019). Povidone-iodine: Safe Use of a Common Antiseptic. See:

Piromchai, P. et al. (2019). Effectiveness of nasal irrigation devices: a Thai multicentre survey. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Source: Probiotics NZ

This is for those of you seeking reliable information on how to choose probiotics that will help you achieve good health – acutely useful during this pandemic. It’s an article by Dr David Williams, a respected expert on nutritional supplements.

The term ‘probiotics wasn’t even in use when Dr Williams first began studying digestive health. “During his early travels, he experienced firsthand the digestive health benefits of lactic acid yeast and traditional fermented foods. Always eating and drinking what the locals ate and drank, yet rarely suffering from “tourista,” Dr. Williams became convinced that the fermented foods and drinks of the native cultures—along with the bottle of lactic acid yeast that he never left home without—helped protect and even promote his digestive health. As early as 1989, Dr. Williams devoted an entire issue of his Alternatives newsletter to the importance of bacterial balance, documenting the myriad health benefits of good bacteria in his seminal article ‘The Key to Solving a Thousand Problems’.” (Williams, 2019)


“Dr. Williams grew up on a farm in a small town in the Texas panhandle, an experience that keenly developed his problem-solving abilities and instilled in him the importance of simple values such as honesty and helping your neighbor. After graduating from Southwest Texas State University, Dr. Williams began working as an adjuster for a health insurance company. He observed that accident victims who received chiropractic care experienced better long-term outcomes than those who received conventional medical treatments. This insight prompted Dr. Williams to earn his Doctor of Chiropractic degree and led him to establish what became the largest non-invasive medical facility in central Texas at the time. His highly individual and holistic approach to treatment attracted many people with difficult concerns. To help these patients, Dr. Williams began devoting more time to research. Later, he sold his practice to pursue research full time.” (Williams, 2019)

Source: Parsnips and Pastries

“Over the last couple of years there’s been a surge in popularity of probiotic supplements. This has created a lot of marketing hype, resulting in several misconceptions and myths. Because of these myths, people do not experience the full benefits of probiotics. This is the primary reason why many people give up and stop using them completely.” (Williams, 11/30/19)

Here’s Dr Williams’ article:



Williams, D. (2019). Healthy Directions. See:

Williams, D. (11/30/2019). Best Probiotic Supplement: 7 Myths, Debunked. See:,%202020&emaildid=5951936&spMailingID=42499111&spUserID=Mzg3MDYzOTM2MDMzS0&spJobID=1761369393&spReportId=MTc2MTM2OTM5MwS2

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Using Visualization To Find Your Center

Source: Marcie Lyons

It’s easy to feel uncentered now in this prolonged time of Coronavirus-19. Perhaps you weren’t so good at feeling balanced even before the virus.

When you feel tense, stressed, unbalanced, off center, out of touch with your real inner self, anxious, worried, overwhelmed or obsessive, you’re unbalanced and not living in your center, where you’re calm and at peace.

Visualization is the process of imagining a relaxing scenario, experience, sensation or image in your mind’s eye. Visualization lets you harness your brain’s positive response to images to help you manage your emotions and life effectively, in a state of ease.

Some other descriptions of the feeling of being centered:

  • Feeling grounded
  • Feeling spacious inside
  • Feeling at ease
  • Feeling balanced
  • Feeling free

As Ram Dass (formerly known as Richard Alpert, a professor at Harvard) famously advised:

“Remember, be here now.”

Being present means you are simply here, now in this moment, instead of being focused on what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow. It’s about getting off autopilot and becoming aware of the automatic actions and reactions you are used to and finding a place of clarity and calm.

For several years there was a gallery in my neighborhood called The Time Is Always Now.

Visualizations can help you relax, step outside of the present moment and let go of immediate stress. This isn’t at all the same as being in denial. It’s a way to step back from whatever you experience as stressful to create some wiggle room just to be. Visualization provides a way to cope more easily with life’s challenges and become congruent with your true self.

“Emotions are powerful things. They can be like vortexes, pulling in all of our attention and causing behaviours we can’t seem to stop. The idea is that emotions are connected to our thoughts and collude to dictate our behaviours. A simple example would be the emotion of sadness, which can cause you to think negatively non stop, which can then cause you to constantly overeat or consume too much alcohol in order to escape those thoughts and feel better.” (Jacobson, 2015)

Some things visualizations can help you do:

  • Release stress and worry
  • Ease depression and anxiety
  • Reduce obsessive thinking
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Feel more capable
  • Change bad habits
  • Get motivated
  • Manage anger
  • Manage pain, both physical and emotional
  • Ease PTSD symptoms
  • Stop being so hard on yourself
  • Reduce performance anxiety
  • Let sex be more enjoyable
  • Improve relationships – both your relationship with yourself and with others



The Gut-Brain Axis in the body is what allows visualizations in our brain to change what happens in the rest of our body.

“During vertebrate embryonic development a single clump of fetal tissue divides to grow into the gut and the brain. One section becomes the central nervous system (the brain and spinal nerves) while another migrates lower in the body to create the enteric nervous system embedded in the sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon.

“The two separate nervous systems connect via the vagus nerves running from the brain stem into the abdomen. This major trunk line is one of the longest nerves in the body. The gut and the brain are constantly signaling each other, back and forth, along the vagus nerve and also via chemicals released by the gut and transported to the brain. When one brain gets upset, the other becomes upset too. They work in conjunction with each other along the Gut-Brain Axis, each heavily influencing the other.” (Hardin, 2014)

Thoughts happen in the brain. Feelings happen in the gut.


We’ve all had the experience of thinking about something that frightens us and finding our heart beating faster – and perhaps feeling anxiety or panic. This is an example of how our thoughts, via our sympathetic nervous system, trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response.

Visualization is “simply the opposite of this – by thinking of something going well, we can elicit a positive response from our body and lower our stress.” (Jacobson, 2015)

In a study at the University of Miami, after 13 weeks of guided imagery, subjects showed a marked decrease in their cortisol levels, the stress hormone linked to anxiety, depression and fatigue.

“A study at the NC Centre for Stress Management found that using mental imagery with ill patients even resulted in an increase in white blood cells count in every single participant.” (Jacobson, 2015)


One of them says to sit cross legged on the floor. Not necessary. You can sit in a chair or any other comfortable place. You can also recline. – if you can stay awake.


Hardin, J.R. (2013, updated 2014). Our Second Brain – The Gut Mind. See:

Jacobson, S. (2015). Guided Visualisation in Therapy – The Benefits Might Surprise You. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Vitamin D for Coronavirus … and Much More

Results from a recent data review by English scientists link COVID-19 incidence and deaths across Europe to Vitamin D deficiency. A good blood serum level of Vitamin D is needed for healthy immune functioning – including fighting off Coronavirus-19. Unfortunately, most of us are severely Vitamin D deficient.

“When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.” So you might want to rethink using sunscreen. “…Some studies estimate that sunscreen of SPF 30 or more reduces vitamin D production in the body by about 95–98%.” (Raman, 2018)

There are also dietary sources of Vitamin D: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, cod liver oil, egg yolks, cheeses, butter, shiitake and button mushrooms, sunflower seeds and sprouts, and high quality supplements.


An adequate blood serum level Vitamin D is vitally important for healthy immune functioning. Unfortunately, most of us are severely Vitamin D deficient.

Unlike other vitamins the body needs, Vitamin D functions like a hormone, “and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it.” (Spritzler, 2018)

Having a sufficient Vitamin D blood level is essential for maintaining good health and preventing a wide range of autoimmune and neurological diseases: Type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, cancer, Alzheimer’s, MS, susceptibility to infection (including viral respiratory infections) among them. (Hardin, 8/28/2015)

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It’s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood. According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans. (Spritzler, 2018)

This widespread Vitamin D deficiency is likely contributing to the incidence of Coronavirus-19 and the number of deaths from COVID-19.


  • Having dark skin
  • Being elderly
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not eating enough fish or dairy
  • Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round
  • Always using sunscreen when going out
  • Staying indoors

– Spritzler, 2018


  1. Often becoming ill, especially with colds or flu: A prime role for Vitamin D is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Vitamin D interacts directly with the cells responsible for fighting infection.
  2. Excessive fatigue or tiredness: Low Vitamin D blood levels can cause fatigue. “A large observational study looked at the relationship between vitamin D and fatigue in young women. The study found that women with blood levels lower than 20 ng/ml or 21–29 ng/ml were more likely to complain of fatigue than those with blood levels over 30 ng/ml.”
  3. Bone and back pain: A study found a relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and chronic back pain in 9,000 older women. Another controlled study found that people deficient in D were nearly twice as likely to have bone pain in their legs, joints or ribs compared to people with normal range blood levels.
  4. Depression: Controlled studies have shown that giving Vitamin D to people who are deficient helps improve depressed mood, including Seasonal Affective Depression.
  5. Impaired wound healing: Vitamin D plays a role in controlling inflammation and fighting infections, both important for proper wound healing. A test tube study suggested that Vitamin D increases the production of compounds crucial for forming new skin during the wound healing process. In an analysis of patients with diabetic foot infections, those with severe D deficiency were more likely to have higher levels of inflammatory markers.
  6. Bone loss: Low bone mineral density may be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Getting adequate D is important for preserving bone mass as you age.
  7. Hair loss: Hair loss is often attributed to stress but D deficiency may also be a cause. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss from the head and other parts of the body, is associated with rickets, a disease that causes soft bones in children due to Vitamin D deficiency.
  8. Muscle pain: Muscle pain can have many causes. There is evidence that D deficiency may be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults. In a study of 120 children with Vitamin D deficiency who had growing pains, a single dose of Vitamin D reduced pain scores an average of 57%.

– Spritzler, 2018


A few weeks ago, three medical researchers in East Anglia, England pre-published their data review testing the hypothesis that Vitamin D3 plays a protective role for SARS-Cov2 infections. They note that “previous studies identified associations between higher levels of ACE2 and better coronavirus disease health outcomes. In the lung, ACE2 protects against acute lung injury…. Vitamin D3 … pronouncedly (creates) enhanced expression of ACE2.”

Source: VitaminDWiki

“The primary aims of this study are to assess if there is any association between the mean levels of vitamin D in various countries and the mortality caused by COVID–19. The secondary aim was to identify if there is any association between the mean vitamin D levels in various countries and the number of cases of COVID–19.”

To limit confounding biases (eg, latitude), they focused on 20 European countries hit by Coronavirus-19. The researchers searched the health literature for the mean levels of vitamin D among the citizens in each country. Then they compared those figures with the numbers of COVID-19 deaths in each country as of 20 March 2020.

The researchers defined severe Vitamin D deficiency as a serum blood level lower than 30 nmol/L. (30 nmol/L = 12 ng/mL – ie, a very serious deficiency. Charts I’ve seen show the deficiency cut off at somewhere between 30-50 ng/mL so 12 ng/mL is very serious.)

The data demonstrated very significant correlations between the mean Vitamin D levels and the number of cases of COVID–19 in each country – as well as between the mean Vitamin D levels and the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in each country. People with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were significantly more likely to die from COVID-19 than people with adequate levels.

The scientists note that “Vitamin D levels are severely low in the aging population especially in Spain, Italy and Switzerland. This is also the most vulnerable group of population for COVID-19.”

Their conclusions: “We believe, that we can advise Vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection.”

– Illie, Stefanescu & Smith, 4/202020

You can see a pre-print of the paper on Research Square.

This 4 March 2020 MedCram Lecture video by pulmonologist Roger D. Seheult, MD on Vitamin D3 for Coronavirus-19 prevention is for those of you who want more technical information


The major circulating form of Vitamin D is considered to be 25-hydroxyvitamin D, measured in ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter). This blood test is currently considered the best indicator of the body’s Vitamin D supply. The reference range for the 25 Hydroxy D Test (also known as 25 (OH)D) is 25-80 ng/mL. (Nguyen 11/20/2019)

There’s Evidence These Vitamin D Blood Level Interpretations Are Too Low for Maintaining Good Health

Many scientists have long argued that setting 30 ng/mL as the dividing line between Vitamin D deficiency and adequacy (as in the commonly used chart above) has been dangerously incorrect. And now the Coronavirus-19 pandemic is apparently proving them correct.

This Chart Reflects the Vitamin D Blood Levels Needed for Good Health

Source: Angel Mobile Health Services

From an article on Vitamin D and Health by Dairy Nutrition:

“The evidence to date, largely from systematic reviews, indicates that higher levels of serum 25(OH)D may significantly reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and some cancers, such as breast and colon cancer. 

“Research also indicates that increased levels of 25(OH)D are associated with higher bone mineral content in older children and adolescents (6 to 18 years) and higher bone mineral content and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and elderly men. 

In some studies, higher vitamin D levels are also associated with beneficial immunologic outcomes, such as reduction in risk of acute lower respiratory tract infections. In addition, vitamin D appears to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis and is likely beneficial in its treatment.” (Dairy Nutrition, undated)

Source: Afro-American Newspapers

From a publication of the Mayo Clinic in 2017:

“The Institute of Medicine has placed the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for vitamin D at 600 international units (IU) per day for young adults and 800 IU per day for adults older than 70. Other experts suggest that adults’ vitamin D needs are much higher.” (Torborg, 4/25/2017)

Source: Multiple Sclerosis Research Blog

A recent recap by Dr Joseph Mercola on the importance of Vitamin D and the dangers of a deficiency. (This particular article is about Vitamin D and sleep):

  • Vitamin D deficiency has become epidemic in many parts of the world as we’ve been taught to avoid the sun. Lower vitamin D levels have produced two unexpected consequences: poor sleep and a dangerous change in the intestinal microbiome.
  • Vitamin D is needed to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps you get into the deeper, healing phases of sleep, and controls your normal paralysis during deep sleep
  • Certain B vitamins also play an important role in sleep. For example, B5 — pantothenic acid — makes coenzyme A, which you use to make acetylcholine.
  • If you’re healthy you have four types of gut bacteria living inside you. Those bacteria need your vitamin D to grow properly, and in return they make eight B vitamins that you need. Without enough vitamin D the healthy bacteria are replaced by others that don’t require vitamin D but are unable to make the B vitamins that you need to sleep normally.
  • Ideally, you need to normalize your gut microbiome so that your gut bacteria make all the B vitamins your body and brain need.
  • To normalize your gut microbiome, maintain a vitamin D level over 40 ng/mL and take B50 or B100 (all eight B’s at 100 mg each) for three months (Mercola, 3/1/2020).

Source: The Endocrine Society

Given the current Coronavirus-19 pandemic and also the very high incidence of other diseases influenced by a Vitamin D deficiency, it would be wise to get a 25-hydroxyvitamin to learn your actual blood serum level. If your score is below 50 ng/mL – or you have warning signs of a Vitamin D deficiency, you might want to take a high quality, bio-available Vitamin D3 supplement daily.


“Vitamin D3 ensures that calcium is absorbed easily and K2 (MK-7) activates the protein, osteocalcin, which integrates calcium into bone. Without D3 and K2, calcium cannot do its job effectively. Vitamin K2 (MK-7) activates matrix GLA protein (MGP) to bind excess calcium and promote arterial flow and flexibility.” (Better You, 2020)

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the absorption of calcium, regulates bone growth and is important for immune function. It exists in two main forms: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol – from plants) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol – from animals). The skin produces D3 when exposed to sunlight but it’s hard for those of us living farther from the equator to get adequate sun exposure – especially when we use sun screen and cover our skin with clothing.

Ask your doctor to do a 25-hydroxyvitamin test to learn your actual blood serum level. Based on the studies and recommendations above, if your score is below 50 ng/mL – or you have warning signs of a Vitamin D deficiency, you’d be wise to take a high quality, bio-available Vitamin D3 supplement daily for a few months then do a retest. If your repeat test level is 50 ng/mL or higher, you’re probably getting enough D3.

Dr. Joan Lappe and her colleagues looked prospectively at more than 400 postmenopausal women over a four-year period of time. Women in the study group were given 1100 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium daily. The control group did not receive this. Results: Women who took the vitamin D and calcium reduced their rate of cancer by 60%. The authors found that for every 10 ng/ml increase in a woman’s vitamin D blood level, the relative risk of cancer dropped by 35%.”


On the recommendation of my Functional Medicine health care providers, and consistent with research I’ve read, I’ve taken a softgel cap containing 5,000 iu of bioavailable Vitamin D3 (Metagenics) every day after breakfast for many years. I also take a capsule containing 150 mcg of K2 MK-7 (Health As It Ought To Be) at the same time. And I frequently eat fatty fish, eggs, butter and mushrooms so am also getting some D3 and D2 from my diet. Spending a lot of time inside an apartment in New York City, I’m pretty sure the amount of D3 I get from sunshine is negligible.

My Vitamin D,25-OH blood level in mid-March was 65 ng/mL. (Reference Range: 30-100 ng/mL) This made me and my doctor very happy. When a virus is going around, I sometimes feel my body fighting it off if I’m also feeling stressed but it hardly ever turns into a full blown case.

If you’re looking for a high quality, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free supplement that contains both 5,000 iu Vitamin D3, a balanced amount of K2 MK-7 and some calcium in a single capsule, there’s Dr Mercola’s Vitamin D3 & K2.

“Researchers from UC San Diego discovered that vitamin D levels of 48 ng/mL or higher were linked to a 67 percent reduction in cancer risk when compared to those whose levels were 20 ng/mL or less. Studies have shown that higher sun exposure throughout a women’s lifetime is linked to a 70 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. In 2018 The British Medical Journal revealed that high vitamin D levels were associated with a reduction in cancer risk of 20 percent when it came to liver cancer. It is also known that ovarian cancer cases were more than three times more likely to have low 25[OH]D levels.” (Sircus, 2019)

For additional information on Vitamin D & how to choose a supplement, see:



“Mayo Clinic: Vitamin D toxicity is rare in people who take supplements, researchers report.” The evidence is clear that vitamin D toxicity is one of the rarest medical conditions and is typically due to intentional or inadvertent intake of extremely high doses,” writes Dr. Hollick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine.” (Sircus, 2019)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your Vitamin D serum level should be monitored with periodic blood tests to make sure it’s high enough to protect your health.


Better You. (2020). Vitamin D and Vitamin K. See:

Dairy Nutrition (undated). Vitamin D and Health. See:

Nguyen, H.C.T. (11/20/2019). Vitamin D3 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. MedScape. See:

Hardin, J.R. (1/25/2015). Whole Food Supplements (Bio-available) vs OTC (Synthetic) Vitamins. See:


Hardin, J.R. (8/28/2015). Prediabetics Have Fewer Gut Bacteria. See:

HealthLine. (2020). Vitamin D2 vs. D3: What’s the Difference?. See:

Illie, P.C., Stefanescu, S., & Smith, L. (4/20/2020). The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 infection and mortality. See:

McRae, M. (5/1/2020). COVID-19 Deaths Are Being Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency. Here’s What That Means. See:

Mercola, J. (3/1/2020). The Importance of Vitamin D and B5 for Optimal Sleep. See:

Raman, R. (4/28/2018). How to Safely Get Vitamin D From Sunlight. HealthLine. See:

Sircus, M. (8/2/2019). Vitamin D Deficiency as a Cause of Diseases & Safe High Dose Vitamin D Treatments. See:

Spritzler, F. (7/23/2018). 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency. HealthLine. See:

Torborg, L. (4/25/2017). Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Q and A: How much vitamin D do I need? See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Coronavirus-19’s infection fatality rate is about the same as for seasonal flu: Stanford University Epidemiologist Dr John Ioannidis

Source: Stanford University

Dr John Ioannidis is Stanford University’s Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Population Health, and (by courtesy) of Biomedical Data Science, and of Statistics; co-Director, Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS). 

His research findings on the Coronavirus-19 pandemic to date demonstrate that the infection fatality rate for this virus is about the same as for seasonal flu.

“We realized that the number of infected people is somewhere between 50 and 85 times more, compared to what we thought… compared to what had been documented. Immediately, that means that the infection fatality rate… the probability of dying if you are infected [with coronavirus] diminishes by 50 to 85 fold because the denominator in the calculation becomes 50 to 85 fold bigger. If you take these numbers into account, they suggest that the infection fatality rate for this new coronavirus is likely to be in the same ballpark as seasonal influenza. Of course, there is still a little bit of uncertainty about the exact number, but it’s clearly very different compared to the original thoughts or speculation or preliminary data that suggested a much much higher infection fatality rate.” (Ioannidis, 4/20/2020)

In this April 20 2020 video, Dr Ioannidis discusses the results of his three preliminary studies, including his latest that shows a drastically reduced infection fatality rate. In the video, he also talks about the worrisome effects of the lock down, Sweden’s approach to the pandemic, data from Italy, the ups and downs of testing and the feasibility of ‘contact tracing’.


If you’re interested and have a lot of time on your hands, you can also watch the previous interviews with Dr Ioannidis presenting his Perspectives on the Pandemic:

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

These are links to his studies:

(4/14/2020). COVID-19 Antibody Seroprevalence in Santa Clara County, California. See:

(4/14/2020). Population-level COVID-19 mortality risk for non-elderly individuals overall and for non-elderly individuals without underlying diseases in pandemic epicenters. See:

(4/7/2020). What Other Countries Can Learn From Italy During the COVID-19 Pandemic. See:


The Vaccine Reaction. (4/27/2020). PERSPECTIVES ON THE PANDEMIC | Dr. John Ioannidis. 4/20/2020 interview; video published 4/27/2020. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Teddy Roosevelt on Citizenship in a Republic

After serving two terms as 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909, Theodore Roosevelt embarked on a tour of Northern Africa and Europe in 1910, attending events and giving speeches in places like Cairo, Berlin, Naples and Oxford.

On April 23 1910, Roosevelt delivered a speech on “Citizenship in a Republic” at the Sorbonne in Paris. In the speech, he spoke about his family history, war, human and property rights, and the responsibilities of citizenship. “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer,” he said. “A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities—all these are marks, not … of superiority but of weakness.” (McCarthy, 2015, updated 2020)

This month, April 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt’s inspirational, impassioned – and lengthy – speech. It was very well received and came to be known by many as “The Man in the Arena”.

This excerpt is the most famous paragraph:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Roosevelt, who had been sickly and had a speech impediment as a child, was known to be a masterful public speaker as an adult. “Citizenship in a Republic” was perhaps his greatest rhetorical triumph. The speech ran in the Journal des Debats as a Sunday supplement. It was sent to all the teachers in France by Le Temps. Librairie Hachette printed it on Japanese vellum. It was turned into a pocket book that sold 5,000 copies in five days. And it was translated into many European languages. Roosevelt, Morris writes, “was surprised at its success, admitting to Henry Cabot Lodge that the reaction of the French was ‘a little difficult for me to understand.’” (Young, 2017)

See Theodore Roosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic: The Man in the Arena to read the text of the entire speech.

Source: Voices of Democracy – University of Maryland

Roosevelt, who had been sickly and had a speech impediment as a child, was known to be a masterful public speaker as an adult. “Citizenship in a Republic” was perhaps his greatest rhetorical triumph. The speech ran in the Journal des Debats as a Sunday supplement. It was sent to all the teachers in France by Le Temps. Librairie Hachette printed it on Japanese vellum. It was turned into a pocket book that sold 5,000 copies in five days. And it was translated into many European languages. Roosevelt, Morris writes, “was surprised at its success, admitting to Henry Cabot Lodge that the reaction of the French was ‘a little difficult for me to understand.’” (Young, 2017)

See Theodore Roosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic: The Man in the Arena to read the text of the entire speech.

On October 14, 1912 while campaigning in Milwaukee for a third term as president, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest by John Flammang Schrank, a Bavarian born saloon keeper from New York City who had been stalking him for weeks with the goal of killing him. At his trial, Schrank claimed that William McKinley, the 25 President of the US, “had visited him in a dream and told him to avenge his assassination by killing Roosevelt”. McKinley’s assassination had made his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, President. (enWikipedia, 1 April 2020)

The bullet, shot at close range, “penetrated Roosevelt’s heavy overcoat and into the right side of his chest. Inside the breast pocket were two items that absorbed the impact and undoubtedly saved Roosevelt’s life. The first was a thick fifty-page speech manuscript folded in half. Behind that was a metal eyeglass case in which Roosevelt kept his spectacles.

“After he was hit, Roosevelt tottered a bit, then fell into the seat beneath him. Elbert Martin, his stenographer and a former football player, immediately jumped out of the car and wrestled Schrank to the ground, stopping the man who was aiming to fire again. “He doesn’t know what he is doing,” Roosevelt shouted, “Don’t strike the poor creature.” The wounded Roosevelt was able to restore order to the chaos at the scene before police arrived and took Schrank into custody.” (Thomas, 2019)

Roosevelt began his speech requesting his audience “to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot.”

The audience in the Milwaukee Auditorium “gasped as the former president unbuttoned his vest to reveal his bloodstained shirt. ‘It takes more than that to kill a bull moose,’ the wounded candidate assured them. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a bullet-riddled, 50-page speech. Holding up his prepared remarks, which had two big holes blown through each page, Roosevelt continued. ‘Fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet—there is where the bullet went through—and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.’” (Klein, 2012, updated 2019)

He then spoke for the next 84 minutes. Only after his speech had been delivered did he agree to be taken to a hospital in Chicago to be operated on.

Bullet holes in Roosevelt’s speech manuscript

Bullet hole in Roosevelt’s glasses case, carried in his breast pocket

After losing that 1912 election to pacifist Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt embarked on a seven month, 15,000 mile expedition into the Amazonian jungles of Brazil to explore the River of Doubt with his son, Kermit. After returning to the US, he spent the rest of his days writing scientific essays and history books. (Milkis, 2019)

“Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it. The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, 1894


Cain, A. (2017). US President Theodore Roosevelt once delivered an 84-minute speech after getting shot in the chest. See:

enWikipedia. (1 April 2020). John Flammang Schrank. See:

Klein, C. (2012, updated 2019). When Teddy Roosevelt Was Shot in 1912, a Speech May Have Saved His Life: “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” See:

McCarthy, E. (2015, updated 2020).Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena”. See:


Roosevelt, T. (2019). Theodore Roosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic: The Man in the Arena. Text of the entire speech. See:

Thomas, H. (2019). The Pocket Items That Saved the Life of Theodore Roosevelt. See:

Young, J.C. (2017). Was Teddy Roosevelt a Good Public Speaker? See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

A Systems Biologist Explains How Our Immune Systems Work

Dr Shiva Ayyadurai holds four degrees from MIT, including a PhD in Biological Engineering specializing in Systems Biology. His doctoral thesis focused on modeling the whole cell by integrating molecular pathway models. In 2007, he was awarded a Fulbright US Student Program grant to study the integration of Siddha, a system of traditional medicine developed in South India, with modern systems biology.

Dr Ayyadurai founded CytoSolve, Inc. in 2011 to fulfill his life long mission to promote human health and well being by developing medicines and protocols, and integrating ancient and modern science with Eastern and Western traditional medicine.

CytoSolve provides the world’s first computational systems biology platform for scalable integration of molecular pathway models to enable predictive and quantitative understanding of complex biomolecular processes and diseases to determine risk, toxicity, and efficacy UPFRONT in the product development process. CytoSolve’s technology platform is enabling innovative and visionary manufacturers to develop and deliver products to end-consumers that truly advance health and well-being, faster, cheaper, and safer.” (CytoSolve, Inc, 2011-2020)



In the video below , Dr Ayyadurai presents a fuller and updated explanation of the parts of the immune system and how they work in concert to protect us from illness, including the Coronavirus-19.

These parts include the Innate Immune System, the Interferon System, the Gut Microbiome, the Neural System and the Adaptive Immune System.


In the video, Dr Ayyadurai also explains why vaccines are not a healthy solution for preventing diseases. Vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies for a particular disease but also short circuit the complex balance among the various parts of the total immune system. These artificially produced antibodies create a constant low-level inflammatory response in the body which, over time, creates autoimmune diseases and conditions.

This is important information on a down side of vaccines:

Unlike antibodies the body produces when you’ve had and recovered from a disease, vaccines artificially over stimulate the production of antibodies, creating a chronic low-level inflammatory response in the body, eventually causing autoimmune diseases and conditions.


The following are excerpts from an article by Dr Josh Axe about how a leaky gut produces chronic inflammation in the body, eventually producing most of the diseases we get.

“As more Americans are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance, it appears that the prevalence of leaky gut has reached epidemic proportions. The medical profession is just now agreeing this condition may even exist, which is especially shocking to me because “intestinal permeability” (another name for leaky gut) has been discussed in the medical literature for over 100 years!

“Why should leaky gut syndrome concern you? Recently leaky gut has been called a “danger signal for autoimmune disease.” (1) If you’re wondering if you may be experiencing leaky gut, the first thing to do is access your symptoms. Keep in mind that it’s very common for people on a Standard American Diet to struggle with poor gut function and high levels of inflammation — but just because digestive issues and autoimmune conditions are common doesn’t make them “normal”! ….

“Here’s how a report published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology describes the pathology of leaky gut: (2)

The intestinal epithelial lining, together with factors secreted from it, forms a barrier that separates the host from the environment. In pathologic conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the bloodstream creating a ‘leaky gut.’

“When you have leaky gut, certain tiny particles that should never be able to enter your bloodstream start to make their way through. There’s also commonly abnormalities in the gut stemming from antimicrobial molecules, immunoglobulins and cytokine activities. This presents a major problem, as the vast majority of your immune system is found inside the gut.

“The result? A disruption of acute inflammation, and sometimes autoimmune reactions. A normal part of your immune response that serves to fight infections and diseases winds up over-performing, leading to chronic inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases.”

– Axe, 2018

See also INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES to read more about the serious consequences of chronic low-level inflammation in the body. (Hardin, 2015)


Axe, J. (5/8/2018). Leaky Gut Syndrome: 7 Signs You May Have It. See:

Ayyadurai, S. (1/2/2020). MIT PhD Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai Explains the Reality of the Modern Immune System. Video. See:

CytoSolve, Inc. (2011-2020). See:


© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Antibodies

Source: PBS


The US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a call for donations of blood plasma from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19. The idea is to use the antibodies in this plasma to help people currently fighting the infection.

“If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Because you fought the infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies. These antibodies provided one way for your immune system to fight the virus when you were sick, so your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease.

“Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in the blood against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection. Convalescent plasma is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease and there is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19.”

People eligible to donate “have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks…. COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other donor criteria. Individuals must have complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days before they donate, or alternatively have no symptoms for at least 14 days prior to donation and have a negative lab test for active COVID-19 disease.” (US FDA, 2020)

If you qualify, you can donate convalescent plasma by contacting the American National Red Cross or the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association to see the full list of eligibility requirements and find a donation site near you:


From a sampling of four recent articles:

This is from a Business Insider article published on 4/11/2020 titled New research raises questions about coronavirus immunity: 6% of recovered patients in one study didn’t develop antibodies at all:

  • A new study of recovered coronavirus patients found that patients develop different levels of antibodies to the virus. 
  • Ten patients of the 175 studied — 6% — didn’t have any detectable coronavirus antibodies in their systems. 
  • The study found that elderly and middle-aged people developed higher levels of antibodies.

“In the 10 patients in the study who did not develop detectable antibodies, ‘other immune responses, including T cells or cytokines, may contribute to the recovery,’ the researchers wrote.

“T cells are a type of white blood cells that aid in immune response, and cytokines are a type of molecule that cells release to fight infections. However, when too many cytokines are released, they cause inflammation — which has reportedly contributed to fatal outcomes in some COVID-19 patients.

“Even in patients who do develop coronavirus antibodies, scientists still aren’t sure how long they’ll last; the virus has not been around long enough to study long-term effects.

“Generally, once your body has antibodies to fight off a particular disease, you can’t get it again, though some types of antibodies weaken over time. Plus, with viruses that mutate — such as the common cold or seasonal flu — antibodies people build up against one strain aren’t effective against others.”

– Secon, 4/11/2020


A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article titled The Promise and Peril of Antibody Testing for COVID-19 raises questions about the current state of antibody testing.

“Unlike polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests—also referred to as molecular or nucleic acid–based tests—antibody tests aren’t intended to identify active SARS-CoV-2 infections. Instead of detecting viral genetic material in throat or nasal swabs, antibody tests reveal markers of immune response—the IgM and IgG antibodies that for most people show up in blood more than a week after they start to feel sick, when symptoms may already be waning.

“Serologic antibody tests not only can confirm suspected cases after the fact, they can also reveal who was infected and didn’t know it. Up to a quarter of people with SARS-CoV-2 infection may unwittingly spread the virus because they have mild or no symptoms….

“In their first therapeutic application, serology tests are being used to screen donor blood for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. Plasma containing the antibodies from recovered patients is then transfused to gravely ill patients in an experimental treatment known as convalescent plasma. Early results from a small number of Chinese patients, published in JAMA in late March, were promising….

“However, a substantial number of the new commercial COVID-19 antibody tests aren’t ELISA-based* (see note below). They’re lateral flow assays, which provide a simple positive or negative result, with no quantitative information. These kits are cheap and easy to use and, depending on how they’re employed, may be helpful for disease surveillance, Elitza Theel, PhD, director of the Mayo Clinic Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory in Rochester, Minnesota, said in an interview….

“Although commercial manufacturers claim their tests have high sensitivity and specificity, they haven’t published their data yet. This lack of transparency is worrisome, Theel said: “The question is, when following symptom onset were these samples collected to show that sensitivity and specificity?”

“Her laboratory has found that most people with SARS-CoV-2 don’t start producing antibodies—or seroconvert—until at least 11 to 12 days after symptom onset. “So, if we were using these rapid lateral flow assays at the point of care to test recently symptomatic patients,…they are more likely than not going to be negative,” she said.”

* Note: ELISA = an “enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay”, a common laboratory platform that can measure antibody titers.

– (Abbasi, 4/17/2020)

Source: Gulf News

An April 17 2020 article (updated today, 4/19/2020) titled WHO warning: No evidence that antibody tests can show coronavirus immunity states The World Health Organization “said there’s no evidence serological tests can show whether a person has immunity or is no longer at risk of becoming reinfected.” (Lovelace & Feuer, 4/17/2020, updated 4/19/2020)

See this 4/17/2020 video from WHO :

A fourth source of information, a New York Times article published today (4/19/2020) titled Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver, describes the many problems with COVID-19 antibody tests as they exist at the moment.

“The tests, many made in China without F.D.A. approval, are often inaccurate. Some doctors are misusing them. The rollout is nowhere close to the demand.” (Eder, Twohey & Mandavilli, 4/19/2020)



Let’s fervently hope the US government, which so far has seriously bungled the entire Coronavirus-19 situation, can grow up, act responsibly and somehow get it together now.

Our country was egregiously unprepared for this or any other pandemic:

  • Comprehensive testing was delayed and still remains inadequate
  • Health officials have been ill prepared to gauge the spread of the virus and identify carriers
  • Adequate essential supplies and equipment have been dangerously unavailable to health care workers
  • Information provided about the virus has been both inconsistent and inaccurate
  • Federal and state agencies have failed to coordinate their efforts

The magnitude of this dangerous public health failure is mind boggling.

See 5 Ways the U.S. Botched the Response to COVID-19, from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, for the gory details of these immense failures.

The article concludes with the question: So how can future public health crises be prevented? – and suggests these answers:

Sandra C. Quinn, chair of the Department of Family Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, stresses the importance of maintaining consistent funding for public health preparedness planning. She points out the sad fact that, “When the problem goes away, the funding goes away”.

Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPH, professor and associate chair of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, points out that, for decades, public health leaders have sounded the alarm that the Strategic National Stockpile had an inadequate number of masks, personal protective gear and ventilators to face a pandemic. Recent reports indicate that this stockpile is nearly depleted. “I hope this is a big wake up call,” says Burke. “We’re all in this together, and we need to reinvest in our health care system and our public health system.”

And this should also now be abundantly clear: “U.S. public health policy must be guided by science, including recommendations offered in the Global Health Security Index.”

– Scharper, J. (4/3/2020)

Source: Stanford University Graduate School of Business


Abbasi, J. (4/17/2020). The Promise and Peril of Antibody Testing for COVID-19. Journal of the American Medical Association. See:

American National Red Cross. (2020). Plasma Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients. See:

Eder, S., Twohey, M. & Mandavilli, A. (4/19/2020). Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver. The New York Times. See:

Lovelace, B. & Feuer, W. (4/17/2020). WHO warning: No evidence that antibody tests can show coronavirus immunity. CNBC. See:

Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association. (2020). Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Resources. Donating See:

Scharper, J. (4/3/2020). 5 Ways the U.S. Botched the Response to COVID-19. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. See:

Secon, H. (4/11/2020). New research raises questions about coronavirus immunity: 6% of recovered patients in one study didn’t develop antibodies at all. Business Insider. See:

US Food & Drug Administration. (Donate COVID-19 Plasma. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Are hospitals operating under an incorrect medical paradigm for treating COVID-19?

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This video posted on March 31 2020 by an ER/ICU doc in New York City who’s been treating a great many COVID-19 patients presents compelling evidence that COVID-19 does NOT produce a viral pneumonia causing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). His observation of his patients indicates they are suffering from a state of oxygen failure, NOT respiratory failure.

But COVID-19 patients all over the country are being treated for respiratory failure. If the medical paradigm is wrong, then the treatments being offered are also wrong.

Dr Cameron Kyle-Sidell is an ER/ICU physician at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City who has been working at the bedside of COVID+ patients. He says, “I believe we are treating the wrong disease and that we must change what we are doing if we want to save as many lives as possible. I welcome any feedback, especially from those bedside: doctors, nurses, xray techs, pharmacists, anyone and everyone. Does this sound wrong or right, is something more right? Please let me know. @cameronks “

Many thanks to my son, Josh Hardin, for bringing this video to my attention.

Here’s another video debating the ventilator question posted on April 14 2020, two weeks after the video above:

Doctors say the coronavirus is challenging core tenets of medicine, leading some to abandon long-established ventilator protocols for certain patients. But other doctors warn this could be dangerous.

In the two weeks since Kyle-Sidell posted his first video, he and like-minded doctors “continue to spark impassioned debate within the medical community, with some doctors moving away from the use of ventilators and others defending the current standard of care. What’s clear, though, is COVID-19 patients on ventilators aren’t doing as well as doctors would hope—and health care experts are scrambling to fix it.

“Mechanical ventilation always comes with risks: a tube must be placed into a patient’s airway to deliver oxygen to their body when their lungs no longer can. It’s an invasive form of support, and most doctors view it as a last resort. Under the best of circumstances, up to half of patients sick enough to require this type of ventilation won’t make it.

“But for COVID-19, the numbers are even worse. Only a small portion of COVID-19 patients get sick enough to require ventilation—but for the unlucky few who do, data out of China and New York City suggest upward of 80% do not recover. A U.K. report put the number only slightly lower, at 66%.” (Ducharme, 4/16/2020))



Ducharme, J. (4/16/2020). Why Ventilators May Not Be Working as Well for COVID-19 Patients as Doctors Hoped. See:

Kyle-Sidell, C. (3/31/2020) FROM NYC ICU: DOES COVID-19 REALLY CAUSE ARDS? (Video). See:

New York Times News. (4/14/2020). Doctors Face Troubling Question: Are They Treating Coronavirus Correctly? | NYT News. (Video). See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.



The informative article below, by holistic doctor Drew Sinatra, appeared in my inbox this afternoon. It explains in plain English the important role probiotics play in keeping us well – especially useful information in this time of Coronavirus-19.

Dr. Drew Sinatra is a well-respected, board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and self-described “health detective” with a passion for promoting natural healing, wellness and improving quality of life by addressing the root cause of illness in patients of all ages. His practice focuses on treating the whole person (mind, body and spirit) and finding missed connections between symptoms and health issues that are often overlooked by conventional medicine.

Drew Sinatra, ND

The following is his article, Benefits of Probiotics: What Doctors May Not Tell You, reprinted in its entirety:

When patients see me in my practice they often leave with a “prescription” to take probiotics. But to get the full benefits of probiotics you need to take the right ones in the right amount. Before I get to that, I want to explain what probiotics are and how they work.

Why You Need Probiotics

Probiotics are strains of bacteria that support your health. The term probiotic literally means “pro” for in support of and “biotic” pertaining to living organisms.

Probiotics help to:

  • Support healthy digestion,
  • Regulate your digestive function,
  • Boost your immunity,
  • Support your endocrine system,
  • Support cardiovascular health.

While there are many strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most common strains you may see on food and supplement labels. These strains of bacteria improve digestion and help with the absorption of nutrients. They also help to modulate immune system function, reduce inflammation in the intestines, and even reduce symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Research has also shown that certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics support the cardiovascular system by regulating the production and breakdown of cholesterol particles, as well as supporting healthy blood pressure and circulation.

Fermented Foods Give You the Benefits of Probiotics

Many cultures around the world prepare and eat fermented foods rich in probiotics, including:

  • Sauerkraut,
  • Kim chi,
  • Miso,
  • Tempeh,
  • Beet kvass,
  • Pickled vegetables,
  • Kefir,
  • Yogurt,
  • And other dairy products.

In fact, kombucha, which contains several strains of probiotics, is becoming a popular drink.

But in the United States, we use pasteurization processes to kill pathogens or “bad bugs.” Although pasteurization is a necessary treatment for many of our foods and beverages since it destroys pathogenic organisms, it also destroys much needed probiotics. Unfortunately this means that most store bought fermented foods, including yogurt, contain few probiotics—unless they’re added back in after pasteurization.

The best way to get probiotic rich fermented foods is to make them in your own kitchen, just as your grandmother did. One of my favorite books on how to make fermented foods is called Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.

There are also other foods that you can eat besides fermented foods that can positively affect your gut flora. A recent study from the British Medical Journal showed that increasing dietary fiber can increase the amount of Akkermansia muciniphila probiotics in the gut. These probiotics are associated with favorable cholesterol, a better waist-to-hip ratio, and reduced cardiovascular risk factors.

Other studies have also shown that that the bacteria in our gut can affect the way we store fat and balance blood sugar levels. So, getting enough probiotics in our diet—and through supplements—is critical to good health. Plus, you want to eat fiber with your probiotics, since non-digestible fiber compounds act as prebiotics, providing fuel for the probiotics.

If You Eat Fermented Foods Do You Still Need Probiotics?

If I had to answer this question 30 years ago I probably would have said “no.” Today, however, my answer is “yes” since the soil has become increasingly sterile with the overuse of pesticides and herbicides, and getting a steady influx of probiotics into your gut is absolutely necessary.

One of the most troublesome herbicides in our environment is a chemical called glyphosate. Glyphosate was actually patented as an antibiotic, and the antibiotic mechanism not only kills off bacteria and fungus in the soil, it also reduces beneficial soil microorganisms.

To add insult to injury, antibiotics have been overused in both the livestock we eat—and in us humans—over the last 70 years. While antibiotics can be lifesaving, they affect the gut microbiota by reducing healthy bacterial strains. This can lead to an overgrowth of fungus (candida) and other pathogenic bacteria (clostridium difficile).

How Can You Find a Good Probiotic Supplement?

There are many probiotic formulas available that can help to replenish and support your gut bacteria.

When searching for a probiotic, you want to:

  • Search for one with clinical studies that show it works.
  • Look at the label to see how many colony forming units (CFU’s), or number of probiotics are packed in a formula. While the optimal dose remains unknown, it’s generally recognized in the medical community that formulas should contain at least 100 million CFU’s for proper colonization. But doses can be as high as hundreds of billions. And for formulas that list their strength in milligrams, you want to look for one that contains at least 350 mg of probiotics.

Some people find that when they first take probiotics they develop more gas and bloating. This is actually quite common, and is likely due to the subtle shift in gut microbiota and a change in your bowel pH (acidity). If this happens to you, you can reduce the dose for a few days and within two weeks the symptoms should resolve. Plus, some probiotics contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which act as prebiotics to help stimulate the growth of probiotics. These FOS’s can also cause abdominal discomfort in a small population of people.

Should You Take Your Probiotics With, Or Without, Food?

There’s actually a debate in the medical community about the best timing when it comes to probiotic supplementation. Some people believe probiotics should be taken on an empty stomach so stomach acids won’t degrade the probiotics. I’ve also read research that recommends taking probiotics slightly before or with meals as this leads to greater assimilation along the GI tract. Personally, I recommend taking a probiotic whenever it’s most convenient for you.

In addition to taking probiotics, it’s important to:

  • Avoid foods that will affect your gut bacteria. I tell all my patients to eat an organic diet as much as possible as doing so reduces your exposure to glyphosate and antibiotic residues in foods that affect gut flora.
  • Reduce sugar! I can’t emphasize this enough. Sugar in its many forms provides fuel for yeast species like candida in the gut which alters the gut flora and can set you up for a whole host of ailments.
  • Invest in a water filter to remove chlorine from your tap water. Chlorine is a disinfectant that reduces the spread of viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms. But it can also reduce the “good” bugs including healthy gut flora, so you want to make sure you are eliminating chlorine exposure with water filtration devices.


Sinatra, D. (4/13/2020). Benefits of Probiotics: What Doctors May Not Tell You See:,%202020&emaildid=5951936&spMailingID=42232233&spUserID=Mzg3MDYzOTM2MDMzS0&spJobID=1741121820&spReportId=MTc0MTEyMTgyMAS2

Source: Harvard Health – Harvard University

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Answers to Top 11 Coronavirus Questions by Amy Myers, MD

Amy Myers, MD is a two-time New York Times bestselling author and an internationally acclaimed Functional Medicine doctor. Dr Myers specializes in empowering those with autoimmune, thyroid and digestive issues to reverse their conditions and take back their health. She is also a wife, mother and the  founder/CEO of Amy Myers MD®

The following is a useful article she wrote about Coronavirus-19 and posted on her own website: Your Top 11 Coronavirus Questions Answered. It’s her answers to the most common questions she’s been receiving about how to stay healthy or respond to Covid-19 should you get it.

These are her answers, copied from her own site. See the article as it appears on her site for links to the information sources she has used:

1. How does COVID-19 affect the immune system?

There are two ways the immune system responds to this virus. The less severe response is your typical adaptive immune response which is triggered by your body’s “intruder alarm system” and used to fight off an infection. This is the common response after being infected with the coronavirus. 

Once you recover from COVID-19, your immune system has learned how to fight yet another virus! It can use this information to fend off similar viruses in the future. 

A different response occurs if your immune system is severely compromised by the virus, leading to a “cytokine storm.”1 Cytokines are a group of proteins responsible for signaling and communication in your body, including regulating your immune response.2  

During a cytokine storm, your body releases too many cytokines into the blood too quickly.3 With COVID-19, this particularly affects lung tissue and prevents inflammation from going down. Then a build-up of jelly-like fluid in the lungs due to proinflammatory activity causes respiratory distress. This severe immune response may require medical attention.

2. I have an autoimmune condition. How will COVID-19 affect me?

Generally speaking, autoimmune conditions are a result of an imbalanced immune system rather than a suppressed one. Therefore for most people having an autoimmune condition does not inherently put you at more risk of getting COVID-19. The exceptions to this are those who are on immunosuppressive drug or have an autoimmune condition such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis that can impact lung function.

Following preventive measures, such as I write in my book The Autoimmune Solution, which support, rather than suppress, your immune system. Refer to this article for steps you can take to avoid COVID-19.

3. Are there special concerns for those with thyroid conditions?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Thyroid dysfunction is generally not related to an increased risk of viral infections. There’s no evidence that you will be in a higher risk group if you are not over 60 and don’t have any other underlying illness.

However, it is possible that if you were recently put on medication for hyperthyroidism such as propylthiouracil (PTU) or methimazole (also known as Tapazole),  you may be at higher risk of a complication if you are infected by the virus because hormone levels in your body are fluctuating. Contact your healthcare professional if you are concerned about your medications. Don’t stop or reduce medications without talking to your doctor.4 

In my New York Times bestselling book,The Thyroid Connection, I provide details on The Myers Way® to reverse the symptoms of thyroid conditions naturally. Now’s a great time to settle in with a book! 

You can also support a healthy immune system with the right vitamins and minerals. Try to ensure you’re getting optimal amounts of copper, folate, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D.5 I specially formulate my multivitamin for my thyroid patients to ensure the optimal amounts of these vitamins and minerals.

4. Am I more likely to get the virus if I’m taking immunosuppressive drugs?

You could be at increased risk because your body’s ability to defend itself against pathogens is lessened. Because there are a lot of variables including which medications you take, your age, and the severity of your symptoms, you should take every precaution to protect your health. Additionally, speak to your doctor about the advisability of reducing or changing your immunosuppressant medications during this time. 

Immunosuppressed patients who contract the flu may not get a fever. That means if influenza is suspected in an immunosuppressed patient with acute respiratory symptoms, even without a fever, they should be tested for the flu. 

That may also be relevant information for COVID-19. If you are immunosuppressed and are experiencing the following symptoms, even without a fever, contact your healthcare provider about testing for COVID-19.

Symptoms include:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sputum (mucus) production 
  • Tiredness
  • Aches and pains
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat 
  • Diarrhea

5. Is it ok to take NSAIDS for COVID-19?

I recommend following the instructions of your personal healthcare professional. Your conventional doctor will likely treat mild cases of COVID -19  with fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and NSAIDS including aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), and naproxen (Aleve®).6 

French researchers initially warned against ibuprofen because they hypothesized that an enzyme boosted by that anti-inflammatory drug could worsen the symptoms of COVID-19.7  However, the World Health Organizations, as well as other groups, have now determined that is not true.

However, NSAIDS can be extremely damaging to your gut, you may wish to add Omega-3 fish oil and/or my Liposomal Curcumin to your daily regimen. Both support a healthy inflammatory response. If you are recovering at home, rest and stay hydrated with plenty of fluids such as my gut-nourishing Bone Broth Collagen, which tastes just like a comforting bowl of chicken soup. Collagen from bone broth is full of amino acids and peptides that help maintain and promote a healthy gut lining health for optimum nutrient absorption.

6. What are the treatments
for more moderate cases of COVID-19?

Some more moderate cases are being treated with the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. These are primarily used to treat malaria and several autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. These drugs seem to make it harder for the virus to attach itself to a cell and enter it. If the virus does manage to get inside the cell, the drugs kill it before it can multiply.

These antimalarials have also been used in combination with azithromycin, an antibiotic that’s often used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and infections of the ears, lungs and other organs. You may have heard of a “z-pack” which is a five-day course of this medication.8

If you are given antibiotics, it’s especially important to support the good bacteria in your gut, the home of 80% of your immune system. My Probiotics 100 Billion contains 14 of the most important probiotic bacteria strains for maximum digestive and immune support.

When you’re under stress, your body quickly works through its natural supply of the critical detoxifier, Glutathione. Made in your liver, it’s your body’s number one free radical scavenger. You may also wish to support your liver, your body’s main detoxifying organ, with my custom-formulated Liver Support.

7. What’s the best supplement for me to boost my immune function now?

My number one recommendation right now is the product I custom-formulated to support immune function, Immune Booster Powder. It offers high-quality colostral whey peptides. These peptides are protein fractions from colostrum, which is teeming with beneficial compounds such as bioactive proteins and novel growth factors. 

Immune Booster Powder is a concentrated source of immunoglobulins, special proteins created by your immune system. Your white blood cells create these glycoproteins to bind to all kinds of antigens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and even inflammatory proteins from the foods we eat. Once they’re bound by immunoglobulins the antigens can be destroyed or carried out of the body through the bowel.

8. What are some other inexpensive ways I can support my immune system?

Whether or not you test positive for COVID-19, I recommend continuing  a diet of nutrient-dense, organic foods. This includes fruits and vegetables as well as grass-fed meats, organic chicken, and wild-caught fish. If you can’t purchase organic foods right now, concentrate on what you can do. Select foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Buy large sizes if you can — the big bags of frozen vegetables are less expensive than single-servings of fresh vegetables in the long run. 

Many food banks are actually gearing up to serve more people, not less. You may not be able to enter to select your groceries, however many sites offer pre-boxed or bagged groceries. Feeding America has a site that can help you find resources near you. Try to avoid resorting to cheap, toxic and inflammatory foods including gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol.

I know this is an extremely difficult time. Many families are facing economic hardships while they try to remain healthy. To help ensure my community has access to the supplements they need, I’ve extended free shipping on everything in my store for everyone in the contiguous US. You can also sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on promotions and special offers on my supplements and programs.

9. What personal care & cleaning products should I use?

The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds frequently. You don’t need any special antibacterial soaps! Just wash in hot water and work up plenty of lather because the foam actually breaks down the fat layer on the outside of the virus, causing the virus molecule to disperse and break down on its own.

Fortunately, there’s also no need to purchase expensive disinfecting supplies. You can use chlorine-free bleach and dilute it with ⅓ cup per gallon of water.9 A spray bottle of a solution of 50/50  isopropyl alcohol and water works great too.

10. Does drinking extra water help prevent COVID-19?

No amount of water will prevent you from getting the virus if you are exposed. However, staying hydrated with plenty of filtered water can support your immune system, and prevent dehydration from side effects of illness such as fever and/or vomiting. 

You may want to boost your hydration with a liquid that includes electrolytes such as an infused water. aHowever, if you have diarrhea or can’t eat, consider a beverage with some added carbohydrates. Instead of a sports drink, which can be filled with all kinds of colorings and additives you don’t want, you can get the same effect by mixing one quart of water with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup of the fruit juice of your choice such as orange (if you tolerate citrus) or cranberry.

11. If I take Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN), does that mean my immune system will work better?

There is no evidence that LDN bolsters your immune system against this virus in either protecting you from contracting the virus or lessening your symptoms.

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain. These receptors are meant to respond to endorphins — your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals. These effects may be beneficial for autoimmune patients due to the fact that endorphins play a role in immune system modulation. Autoimmune patients typically have lower levels of endorphins than people without autoimmunity.

No one knows exactly how endorphins help modulate the immune system or why they are decreased in autoimmune patients, yet studies have shown anti-inflammatory benefits. You can learn more about that in this article.

– Amy Myers, MD (4/10/2020)


Myers, A. (4/10/2020). Your Top 11 Coronavirus Questions Answered. See:

Source: Al Jazeera

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Conversations with Alexa

This afternoon I asked my Amazon Echo Dot, “Alexa, what’s the weather today?” She told me what it’s like outside in my zip code and I decided to thank her. She responded, rather warmly, I thought, “You’re very welcome. Have a good afternoon.”

My Echo Dot is an older model, 2nd generation, from 2016, so not as spiffy looking as the current models. If I can get used to having conversations with a 3″ voice-controlled smart speaker without feeling like I’ve gone round the bend, I think she’ll be helpful during this time of staying at home.

Amazon Echo Dot, 2nd generation from 2016

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

From BIOHM Health:Immune Health & COVID-19

Microorganisms live in the human digestive system and affect our health — scientists are trying to work out how

Source: NATURE

Mahmoud Ghannoum , PhD, MBA, FIDSA, is the Director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals.

He has been called “the leading microbiome researcher in the world” by the Washington Post and has published over 450 scientific papers on his research specialty: how bacteria and fungi impact our health.

With his son, Afif, Dr Ghannoum is the founder of BIOHM Health, the first company to create probiotics and microbiome tests that address bacteria and fungi in the gut. He is also the founder of where his team offers personalized coaching programs for optimizing your microbiome.

Dr Ghannoum lectures at major scientific institutions around the world, including the Institute Pasteur in Paris and the National Institutes of Health, which has extensively funded his research over the last three decades.

For more information on Dr Ghannoum, see Dr Ghannoum’s Story.

Source: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Below are a useful set of links to online resources and articles BIOHM Health sent yesterday (3/30/2020) as a BIOHM Science Report on the topic of Immune Health and COVID-19.

“During these unusual times, the team at BIOHM wanted to share some useful information, articles, research and resources from across the globe about things you can do to keep our immune system healthy and strong!

“We are also sharing information from various resources as it relates to COVID-19 and immune health.” (BIOHM Science Report: Immune Health and COVID-19, 3/30/2020)


Cleveland Clinic: Find Out Your COVID-19 Risk
Concerned about whether you may have COVID-19, but not sure what’s the first step?Try our free screening tool to find out your risk level, based on your symptoms and travel, and get the most appropriate care recommendations.
Cleveland Clinic – Start Your Screening Now

Johns Hopkins experts in global public health, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness have been at the forefront of the international response to COVID-19.This website is a resource to help advance the understanding of the virus, inform the public, and brief policymakers in order to guide a response, improve care, and save lives.
Johns Hopkins – COVID-19 Resource Center


How to Stay Healthy in the Time of COVID-19
Keeping ourselves and our family healthy is important especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.In the Philippines, the number of people infected with the virus is going up each day. With the country now declared in a State of Calamity and a Luzon-wide  “enhanced community quarantine” in effect, we need to level up our own defenses as well. 
Continue Reading on Greenpeace’s Website

The Science Behind Improving Your Immune System During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The thought of impending sickness has a lot of people on edge. It brings on anxiety, and when you’re anxious, you want to do something to relieve it. That’s why you see stories of people stockpiling toilet paper, and disinfecting wipes, and stealing face masks. (None of those things are going to help them stay healthy by the way!)
Learn More from Thrive Global


The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet
Continue Reading at Johns Hopkins

Coronavirus: How to Keep Your Gut Microbiome Healthy to Fight COVID-19
These are unprecedented times. COVID-19 (the illness caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Many countries have sealed their borders and put the population under voluntary or enforced lockdown. Cultural and sporting events have been cancelled or postponed – including Euro 2020 and the Glastonbury festival – pubs and restaurants are closing, and people are panic buying staples such as toilet paper and pasta. But although it can feel like the situation is out of control, there are still plenty of things you can do to protect your health and that of the people around you.First and foremost, follow national guidance for preventing COVID-19: avoid spreading the virus and cut your chances of catching it by regularly washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and reducing social contact. This is particularly important for protecting at-risk groups including people with existing health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women.
Continue Reading on The Conversation

COVID-19: How to Use Diet and Supplements to Maintain Immunity… and Sanity
A dietitian and founder of a ‘good mood food’ startup has shared her tips for maintaining good mental health during the uncertain times of this COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading on Nutra Ingredients

COVID-19 – Boosting Your Immunity: Is That Really Possible?
One of them being the ability to truly understand all the levels of interconnectedness and how to plug into that. There is no clear scientific evidence to date that clearly links lifestyle, food or vitamin supplements to a person’s immunity – a key to perfect immunity.Our immune system is quite efficient by itself, especially if you have the patience to let it function. It has the capabilities to manufacture its own antibiotics, but you need to wait it out.This is one of the prime reasons medical practitioners advise parents not to pump medications into babies for minor ailments. The building up of antibodies is what really boosts the immune system and that is a natural process. Nature cannot be rushed.
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This is a 3/19/2020 video of Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum and his son, Afif Ghannoum, co-founders of BIOHM Health, discussing the facts vs fiction around COVID-19 and immunity in general.

You can sign up to receive information from BIOHM Health and receive discounts on any of their products at the bottom of their FAQ page here.

Bacteria “make up our microbiome, an integral internal ecosystem that benefits our gut health and the immune system.” (Axe, 2016)

Source: Dr Josh Axe

Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist. In 2008, he started a functional medicine center in Nashville, which grew to become one of the most renowned clinics in the world.

I’ve always found the information on his site,, to be well researched, clear and useful. You can subscribe to Dr Axe’s Newletters here.

Source: Asian Scientist Newsroom


Axe, J. (2020). See:

BIOHM Health. (2020). FAQ. See:

BIOHM Health. (2020). Dr Ghannoum’s Story. See:

BIOHM Health. (3/19/2020). Dr. Ghannoum Explains Immunity and Gut Health: What You Need to Know? BIOHM Health Video. See:

BIOHM Health. (3/30/2020). Science Report: Immune Health and COVID-19. In an email sent to me.

Bradstreet, C. (3/9/2020). The Science Behind Improving Your Immune System During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Here’s the science nobody’s talking about. Thrive Global. See:

Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Find out your COVID-19 Risk. See:

Fields, H. (2015). The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet. Johns Hopkins Medicine. See:

Greenpeace Philippines. (3/20/2020). How to stay healthy in the time of COVID-19. See:, A. (3/23/2020). Gulf News. See:—boosting-your-immunity-is-that-really-possible-1.1584978287353

Hancocks, N. (3/19/2020). COVID-19: How to use diet and supplements to maintain immunity … and sanity. Nutra Ingredients. See:

Johns Hopkins. (2020). Coronavirus Resource Center. See:

Kurian- Murshed, A. (3/23/2020). COVID-19 – Boosting your immunity: Is that really possible? Gulf News. See:—boosting-your-immunity-is-that-really-possible-1.1584978287353

Levy, J. (2016). The Human Microbiome: How It Works + a Diet for Gut Health. See:

The Conversation. (3/2020). Coronavirus: How to Keep Your Gut Microbiome Healthy to Fight COVID-19. See:

Vouloumanos, V. (3/20/2020). Here Are 5 Of The Most Googled Coronavirus Questions, Answered: As backed by the CDC, WHO, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and a real-life doctor. Buzz Feed. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


The article reprinted below is by Dr Adria Rothfeld, DC, MS, CNS, an experienced nutritional professional. It contains a lot of timely information from Functional Medicine Research, most of it in abbreviated form.

Functional Medicine treats the whole patient, not the disease. It looks at the underlying causes of diseases and conditions in a particular person then works on rebalancing the body to return the person to full functioning. In comparison, Western Medicine (also sometimes referred to as Conventional, Traditional or Allopathic Medicine) generally looks at our symptoms and tries to match them up with medications to reduce those symptoms. In Western Medicine you’re often viewed as either ‘healthy’ or ‘sick’. If you’re ‘healthy’, you don’t need medication. If you’re ‘sick’, you’re generally prescribed something to control your symptom(s).

COVID-19 Functional Medicine Research Dr. Adria Rothfeld, DC, MS, CNS

 Adria Rothfeld on (3/28/2020)

About Dr Adria Rothfeld

Dr. Adria Rothfeld is a nutritionist in New Jersey and New York. With over 25 years experience, her qualifications include: DC: Doctor of Chiropractic, MS Clinical Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Specialist, First Line Therapy Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Certification, Member of the Professional Advisory Board for the Cancer Support Community of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, Lecturer at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Riverview and Centra State Hospitals, Former Nutritional Consultant for the Avon Corporation.

Dr Adria Rothfeld, author of the following article

The following is Dr Rothfeld’s article, reproduced from her own website:

I have compiled this document after a great deal of study as well as collaboration with highly respected colleagues in the field of integrative medicine. I would like to give credit to the following professionals who have devoted much of their time and resources to researching this topic:

  • Ilana Zablozki-Amir, MD: Together we compiled this document with research from multiple sources.
  • Designs For Health: Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, ND, Dr. Todd Lepine, MD, Dr. David Brady, ND for their informative presentation earlier this week
  • Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD of the Klinghardt Institute

Please be advised that I am not a medical doctor, I am a nutritional professional and this document covers evidence-based strategies to impact the pathways associated with viral spread and infection-it is NOT a substitute for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment. Do not implement without advice from your nutritional or medical professional. There can be interactions with medications as well as adverse side effects if done without appropriate guidance.

I will be updating this document often as additional information becomes available.

Stages of Viral Infection

Targeted Strategies for 4 Different Phases of Coronavirus:

  • Transmission/Incubation
  • Attachment to mucus membranes
  • Inhibit Replication: Cell division and advancement: Penetration to cell/nucleus to use our replicator machinery to create its own proteins.
  • Hijacking of immune system Cytokine Storm

A. Transmission-Preventing virus from entering the body

Surfaces: Can live multiple days on surfaces (depending on type ie cardboard vs metal vs plastic, etc. – average 3-9 days).

  • Use 70 percent alcohol-based cleaners, Hypochlorous acid, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Colloidal Silver
  • Heat over 108 Fahrenheit destroys the virus.

Hands: Most transmission is from hands to face. Biggest risk is touching face, mouth, nose, eyes.

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water thoroughly 30 seconds (see video called Proper Hand Washing Technique to see how easily areas are misse.d
  • Antibacterial triclosan cleansers/wipes are not indicated since they deplete our protective bacteria.
  • Gloves: Most gloves- disposable, washable, dish gloves, winter gloves, etc. Especially important to remind us not to touch our face. Nitrile, latex or rubber gloves. If not disposable, you can wash the gloves with soap or grease cutting detergent-to destroy lipid envelope around virus. You can wash these gloves throughout the day while wearing, like you would your hands, if waterproof. If you plan to wash in laundry, can presoak in steamy hot water before laundry since hot water may not be enough to kill the virus in the machine.

Masks: protect against droplet spray. N95/99.

B. Incubation- You’ve been exposed, the virus has entered your body, but you are asymptomatic (ex. 4-5 days before developing symptoms). We want to interfere with the ability of the virus to attach to our mucus membranes. I believe this is where most of us need to start since it is almost impossible to assume in our higher risk regions that we have not come in contact with the

Resides in respiratory tract – mouth, tongue, nose, throat. One study showed very high viral counts in the mouth, especially the tongue. May also reside in GI tract.

Goals for prevention of infection:

Wash them out

Interfere with first parts of their life cycle:

  • with lipid envelope around virus
  • with ability to attach to mucus membranes


  • Oil pulling: Helps remove because the virus has a lipid (fatty) envelope that attracted to oils. Swish 1 TBS oil around in mouth until completely saponified which means it loses its oily feel, and takes about 10-15 minutes of swishing/gargling around or so, then spit in trash not sink.

   Coconut oil is a good choice.

  • Toothbrush disinfection: 3 percent peroxide daily
  • Tongue Brushing

Herbs That Interfere with Viral Attachment: Those in the mint family: Target the structures on viral envelope that are responsible for attachment to our cell membranes.

Best is lemon balm, also oregano, mint, basil, sage, rosemary, savory, hyssop. Use throughout the day in meals and teas -no studies on how much but most important is a combination of herbs as they work better as a team.

Keep mouth bathed in herbs that block attachment: Herbal teas

Double strength-2 teabags per cup of hot water then as they cool can continue to drink or use as mouthwash/gargle. Lemon balm, caraway, Greek mountain tea, Elderberry which works well with green tea, ginger, mint, oregano: Mountain Tea from Traditional Medicinals. Stinging nettle tea: Upregulates antiviral cytokines.

Ellagic acid: Also interferes with attachment-berries

  • Blackberries, Raspberries, Rose hips, Pomegranate juice, Cranberries: in order from highest to lowest concentration.

Mannose Binding Lectins are inhibitors of SARS-like coronaviruses. Best food sources are leeks, garlic and onions. Fresh crushed garlic is probably the best source. Vitamin D also helps to raise MBL levels.

Colloidal Silver. ex ABL silver, Designs for Health Silvercillin- spray/swish in mouth, gargle

Throat Sprays-Honey propolis, Silver

Saltwater gargle

Nasal passages:

Aromatherapy with essential oils

Lemon balm, thuja, caraway, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage

Can bathe sinus passage-using diffuser

Or take Essential oil bottle, agitate closed battle with lid, the open and place bottle under nostril and slowly inhale at regular intervals throughout the day


  • Colloidal silver, spray -protects membrane barrier
  • Herbal Nasal wash- cleans out: Neti Rinse

GI Tract

Wash hands as above

Clean toilet seat

Protect GI Mucus Membranes

  • Pre and Probiotics
  • Zinc
  • Quercetin
  • Slippery Elm/Aloe
  • SBI protect powder

C. Penetration to Cell Cytosol and Nucleus and Replication:

The virus sabotages our cells for our machinery to replicate/reproduce, become powerful, and take residence.

Viruses are DNA or RNA type (or can be others like Retro, etc).      

Inhibit viral replication:

  • Zinc Lozenges 10-15 mg after meals
  • After each meal-good to bathe mouth and throat esp upper respiratory during initial days when the virus is replicating. Picolinate and oxide forms are least effective.
  • Oral zinc capsules, ideally with food or can get nauseous. Think Zinc deficiency in loss of taste, and/or smell that is associated with the virus.

Arginine Avoidance

Many Viruses love arginine since they need it to replicate.

Nuts, seeds, chocolate—may be best to limit when viruses are a concern. From highest arginine: Macadamia highest, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, pistachio, cashew, chia, flax, pecans. Coconut and chestnut are negligible so are fine.

L-Lysine, an amino acid, competes with arginine 1000-1200 mg/day, slows replication and works well in combination with vitamin C and green tea.

Lemon balm- Strongly protects against attachment viral replication for a wide variety of virus types-also calms anxiety without causing drowsiness. Teas, aromatherapy, supplements

ACE2 Receptors-Coronavirus enters our cells via a receptor (doorways) known as ACE2.

These are found on epithelial cells and very prominent in mouth and on tongue, respiratory tract/lungs.

The question hotly debated now is do you suppress expression of the receptors (fewer doors), or do you want to enhance them because the virus ultimately destroys them and they are critical component of homeostasis/balance in the body.

Selenium, A, C, D, E and calcium increase the doorways/receptors.

Blood pressure medications including Ace inhibitors and ARBs upregulate them too- but on some studies, especially for ARBS- these have been found to be protective.

Elderberry targets the lipid envelope and halts upregulation of ACE2 receptor. Targets the envelope and as discussed above, viral attachment.

In a 2019 study, which was not a human trial, Elderbery was found to be active against coronavirus. Dose: 700- 1000mg/day since that was dose recommended for flu and similar viruses. It is recommended to stop elderberry if sick at approximately day 8 or sooner if lung symptoms since it can aggravate the later inflammatory phase of the virus.

Another mechanism is instead of trying to alter the number of ACE2 receptors would be to interfere with the ability to use them as a doorway to enter the cell.

To travel through receptor/doorway the virus uses S protein spikes to unlock the gate.

Emodin containing herbs interfere with this interaction and help to keep the door closed: These include Japanese Knotweed, (Polygonum Multiflorum/Cuspidatum)

Chinese Rhubarb Root (Da Huang) Yellow Dock (Rumex)- Aloe Vera

Please speak to your health care provider as some of these can have a laxative effect.

D. Immune response Parasympathetic/Sympathetic Nervous System Balance:

The immune system works at its best when feeling calm, centered, balanced. When we enter the panic/fight or flight phase (SYMPATHETIC), the body prioritizes and shuts down the immune and digestive systems. We instead want to support and upregulate the rest and digest PARASYMPATHETIC RESPONSE.

Coherence strategies-Heartmath

Relaxation: Mindset, play, breathe, pray, meditate, movement, laugh, nature, etc.

Melatonin: 3-5 mg: Inflammasomes of the innate immune system activate the inflammatory process. The NLRP-3 inflammasome has been found to be key to activating ARDS and acute lung injury. C, melatonin and humming helps to silence the inflammasome. Propolis as well.

Vitamin C essential for an immune response especially early!!! 1 week prior to infection -so the bottom line is, start now.

  • Dosing for resp infections- minimum 4g/day-cautious if you have a history of kidney stones, or high iron levels. Smaller doses divided throughout the day and not more than 4 hrs apart.
  • Food sources not enough-but still recommended to eat because of bioflavonoids that help vitamin C do its job. (Peppers, Broccoli, Berries, Citrus)
  • High dose used in China Dr. Chang WuHan: Treated with 10-20g IV and no deaths in his group of 50 and they left hospital 3-5 days sooner. Can’t take these orally. You’d get diarrhea.
  • Our recommendation is liposomal vitamin C which uses phospholipids to enhance vitamin C’s absorption. Liposomal forms bypass the normal mechanisms of absorbing vitamin C so show higher bioavailability-meaning how well it absorbs into the system.

Other practical tips for supporting the immune system:

Fever: The body is intuitive:

Fever boosts immune function by activating immune cells at an accelerated rate. Fever suppressors can inhibit antibody production

How to support fevers that are 103 and under: Dress warmly, cozy socks, warm beverages-broth, tea, etc. If fever goes higher, you may want to cool things down:

  • Dress lighter, drink cooled peppermint tea.
  • Vitamin C can lessen discomfort

Controversy about Ibuprofen and aspirin- Known to inhibit antibody production more than Tylenol but Tylenol may also blunt antibody production. Tylenol also inhibits the glutathione pathway. Glutathione is immune supportive and antiviral. Treat fever that goes above 103 or if you are feeling miserable and Acetaminophen is the better choice for most. Low grade fevers do not always require medical intervention. Best to discuss with your health care provider.


Visualization/guided imagery to help guide immune response

Herbs- Immune-boosters vs Immune-modulators

When not to boost immune function is a big concern in discussions and a large source of confusion for many:

Lines of defense: All levels are communicating for our protection:

  1. Barrier defense- Included mucus membranes, bacteria and healthy viruses: like the walls and moat of a castle.
  2. Innate Immune Response- Destroys strangers/invaders: Natural Killer cells, macrophages (eat and present the invader to the Acquired Immune system), neutrophils (soldiers that fight the monsters).
  3. Acquired- T and B cells that are instructed by Innate. B cells make antibodies to alert the T
  4. IMMUNE Overload-this is what we want to avoid-The cell danger responses go awry- body sees all barriers and defenses as breached and sets up a no holds barred defense that comes in like a tsunami of inflammation to ward off invaders. This is what leads to the aggressive stages -ARDS-acute respiratory distress syndrome, and CYTOKINE

The Coronavirus hijacks our immune systems’ communication network by first suppressing the information and communication response and then it creates a storm of overload. That is when the respiratory symptoms become more severe, since the immune response is too aggressive. The cytokine storm is what kills people, not necessarily the virus.

Consider herbs this way which can help to sort out some of the confusion about what to use and when.

Days 0-5 or 0-7 Depending on symptom progression: Immune Stimulators/Boosters for early support and prevention:

Astragalus, ashwaganda, cordyceps, elderberry, garlic, panax ginseng,  mushrooms, zinc-here you actually want to support antibody production and a little bit of inflammation.

Day 8 or earlier if shortness of breath or lung symptomsRemember this is definitely the time to contact your health care provider if not sooner, this is when you would need medical intervention– Now is when we don’t want to keep stimulating the immune system, we want immune modulators:

Want to quench/modulate response:

Andrographis, rhodiola, eleuthero. Siberian ginseng and consider Stopping the earlier immune boosting herbs. Andrographis should be combined with Rhodiola or Siberian Ginseng.

Exact doses not known

Foundational Recommendations for Immune Support:

Avoid high glycemic foods: These suppress the immune response

Get enough sleep: Sleep has a restorative effect on the immune system

Encourage Autophagy: This is the body’s cleanup crew that is active only during fasting. This is when the immune system mops up infected cells. The number of hours between the last meal of the day and breakfast influences autophagy. 8 hrs. eating/16 hrs. fasting is optimal for immune function. Aim for at least a 13 hour overnight fast. More than16 isn’t better under these circumstances since that can instead activate stress hormones.

Exercise: Can profoundly influence the immune response. Prolonged intense exercise can actually depress immunity, while regular, moderate exercise is beneficial. Important to promote lymphatic circulation: Rebounder, jumping jacks, trampoline.

Reduce exposure to WiFi: WiFi is immunosuppressive. Suppresses melatonin production.

You’re sick: What actions to take: This always depends upon your symptoms, as we know this virus isn’t entirely predictable. At any point if you have difficulty breathing and lung involvement, you need to contact your medical professional.

Foundational Support for the phase where you are focusing on prevention with the possibility of exposure:

Good multivitamin/mineral: With aging we see micronutrient deficiencies that are associated with impaired immunity. A, C, E, B vitamins, folate, iron, selenium, zinc, copper.

Vitamin C 3-4g/day liposomal or ascorbic acid in divided doses. Also prevents cytokine storm.

Melatonin: 3-5 mg: Inflammasomes of the innate immune system activate the inflammatory process. The NLRP-3 inflammasome has been found to be key to activating ARDS and acute lung injury. C, melatonin and humming helps to silence the inflammasome. Propolis as well.

D3K2: Vitamin D helps block inflammatory chemicals.

GI support: Probiotics, SBI powder, Quercetin

Elderberry 750-1000mg

Zinc-lozenges or capsules

Quercetin: Sits on cell wall surfaces and can disrupt viral docking. Also supports intestinal barrier function. Can use high doses: 1g quercetin with 1g C several times/day.

Tocotrienols: Work along with quercetin: Quercetin is on the outside of the cell membrane, tocotrienols on the inside. They can block surface active proteins. Help quench the cytokine fire.

Herbal blends with Andrographis, Skullcap, Cordyceps, Astragalus, Japanese Knotweed

One formula is Wellness Herbal Defense (this would replace multivitamin but need addition of B complex) and additionally Skullcap, Japanese Knotweed and Cordyceps

Nettle Root Now Food Brands

Skullcap: Blocks viral attachment.

Cordyceps: Blocks viral attachment

NAC: Mucolytic, antiviral or Glutathione liposomal which also enhances immune function

L-Lysine: 1000-2000mg/day on empty stomach. Works well with green tea and vitamin   C.

SPM for its potent ability to resolve inflammation: Proresolving Mediators

Blocking IL-1b: which contributes to leaky lung/leaky vasculature permitting increased antigen penetration and further inflammation- Sulforaphane (cruciferous vegetables) as well as Melatonin, Quercetin, Cordyceps, Curcumin

Oil Pulling

Nasal/Sinus Support: Aromatherapy with essential oils: lemon balm, thuja, caraway, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage Can bathe sinus passage-using diffuser or take Essential oil bottle, agitate closed battle with lid, the open and place bottle under nostril and slowly inhale at regular intervals throughout the day

Nasal Sprays: Argentyn silver

Throat Spray: Honey gardens propolis, silver mouth/throat gargle

Dietary: Foods/Herbs/Teas: lemon balm, also oregano, mint, basil, sage, rosemary, savory, hyssop.

Double strength-2 teabags per cup of hot water then as they cool can continue to drink or use as mouthwash/gargle. Lemon balm, caraway, Greek mountain tea, elderberry which works well with green tea, ginger, mint, oregano: Mountain Tea from Traditional Medicinals. Stinging nettle tea root reduces inflammation.

Reduce Dietary Arginine: Nuts, seeds, chocolate—may be best to limit when viruses are a concern. From highest arginine Macadamia highest, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, Pistachio, cashew, chia, flax, pecans. Coconut and chestnut are negligible so are fine

Days 0-5 or 7: Immune Stimulators/Boosters for early support and prevention:

Astragalus, ashwaganda, cordyceps, elderberry, garlic, panax ginseng, zinc, C 3-4g dose, E lower dose-here you actually want to support antibody production and a little bit of inflammation.

Andrographis blocks furin which is a protein that allows viruses to enter cells and make them easily transmissible. Should be used early in the treatment of infected or suspected infection. Prevention: 1 dropper 3-4x/day.

SPM to support resolution of inflammation

Day 8 or earlier if shortness of breath or lung symptoms-Remember this is definitely the time to contact your health care provider if not sooner, this is when you would need medical intervention– Now we don’t want to keep stimulating the immune system, we want immune modulators:

Want to quench/modulate response:

Andrographis, rhodiola, eleuthero. Siberian ginseng and consider Stop earlier immune boosting herbs Andrographis should be combined with Rhodiola or Siberian Ginseng. Higher dose vitamin C with quercetin.

Melatonin in higher doses


With respiratory symptoms: Carnosine, Bromelain, Curcumin, SPM, Melatonin, Vitamin C higher dose.

May become hypokalemic: Low in potassium, important to support.

Blood type and COVID-19: If you are type A, boost up fermented soy products, great northern and fava beans and mushrooms as well as foods from the Allium family: Garlic, onion, shallots, leeks.

Research: I will post more research so keep an eye out

Melatonin: Prevents NLRP3 from activating the inflammasome that leads to runaway inflammation.

COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment

Vitamin C:


Cordyceps Militaris Alleviates Severity of Murine Acute Lung Injury Through miRNAs-Mediated CXCR2 Inhibition


Anti-H1N1 Virus, Cytotoxic and Nrf2 Activation Activities of Chemical Constituents From Scutellaria Baicalensis

Broad-spectrum Antiviral Properties of Andrographolide

Andrographolide Sulfonate Attenuates Acute Lung Injury by Reducing Expression of Myeloperoxidase and Neutrophil-Derived Proteases in Mice


Rothfeld, A. (3/28/2020). COVID-19 Functional Medicine Research Dr. Adria Rothfeld, DC, MS, CNS. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Breathing in the Time of Coronavirus-19

In this fraught time of the Coronavirus-19 pandemic, we’re being bombarded daily with frightening information (along with some misinformation) about the virus and how to stay well. And most people, already living in a high state of stress, become alarmed and fearful, getting stuck in an even higher state of stress, anxiety and even panic.

Wouldn’t this be an excellent moment in history to make information about how to calm ourselves widely available? In the interest of public health, how helpful it would be if children were taught breath work to be able to stay centered and calm. And what if every news show began and concluded with a segment demonstrating how to breathe properly. That would go a long way toward helping us deal with the news delivered in between.


Here’s a short video showing how to breathe properly so you can stay centered and calm yourself:

In this longer TEDx Talk, psychologist and breathing expert Dr Belisa Vranich explains more fully how incorrect breathing stresses and impairs our bodies. She also shows how to breathe properly.

From an article called “How shallow breathing affects your whole body” on (Rifkin, 2017):

“If you want to observe incredible breathing, watch a newborn. They naturally practice deep, or diaphragmatic, breathing by using the diaphragm, a muscle under the lungs, to pull air into the lungs. Visually, you’ll see the belly expand and chest rise as they inhale air through the nose and into the lungs. As they exhale, the belly contracts.

“For many people, this kind of breathing is no longer instinctive. Instead, many of us have become shallow chest, or thoracic, breathers—inhaling through our mouth, holding our breath and taking in less air. Over time our breathing patterns have shifted as a reaction to environmental stressors, like temperature, pollution, noise, and other causes of anxiety. Cultural expectations, including the desire to have a flat stomach, encourage holding our breath and sucking in our stomachs, further tightening our muscles. 

“When we breathe in a shallow way, the body remains in a cyclical state of stress—our stress causing shallow breathing and our shallow breathing causing stress. This sets off the sympathetic nervous system, the branch of the autonomic nervous system that primes us for activity and response. 

This kind of breathing locks the body and mind into a permanent state of stress. In fact, the body and brain are actually one and the same. You’ve no doubt noticed that your brain resides inside your body and they’re constantly interacting with each other.

“Long-term shallow breathing can seriously affect our health. According to Luckovich, the chronic stress that is associated with shallow breathing results in lower amounts of lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell that helps to defend the body from invading organisms, and lowers the amounts of proteins that signal other immune cells. The body is then susceptible to contracting acute illnesses, aggravating pre-existing medical conditions, and prolonging healing times. Shallow breathing can turn into panic attacks, cause dry mouth and fatigue, aggravate respiratory problems, and is a precursor for cardiovascular issues.”

I highly recommend reading the entire article.


This is a tutorial for my favorite breath work (pranayama) app, Universal Breathing, in case you’d use a breathing app on your smart phone:

Apologies to the spirit of Gabriel García Márquez and his wonderful novel Love in the Time of Cholera, which clearly influenced my choice of title.


Rifkin, R. (2017). See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Updated 3/16/2020

Source: Alan Freestone

A fact-checked post titled Top Health Official Cashes in on Merck Stock by Dr Joseph Mercola adds to the information about Gardasil, Merck’s HPV vaccine, in my article from a year ago, Is Gardasil Dangerous? Is It Even Useful? (Hardin, 2/23/2019)

For those of you who still believe this vaccine was well researched, effective and proven safe to be given to our children, the contents of Mercola’s post will be an eye opener and will also shed light on the inner workings of the huge and powerful vaccine industry in the US and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s role in mandating and promoting this and other childhood vaccines.

Alaska Department of Health, 2019

The chart below shows (as of 2019) the types of vaccines and also the number of doses US children receive. Compare it to the number of vaccines and doses shown for 1962 and 1983.

Note: I searched a long while for an easy-to-read childhood immunization schedule that included number of doses and was published by an official US governmental source and didn’t find one so decided to use this one by Informed Choice USA. They are “a coalition of physicians, nurses, medical researchers, scientists, legislators, attorneys, parents, professionals, and activists come together for a unified approach to restoring and protecting our personal, parental, medical, and religious  freedoms. We oppose medical mandates for employment, enrollment, or inclusion anywhere. “ (Informed Choice USA, 2019-2020)

This is Mercola’s verbatim summary of his post:

  • In January 2020, Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who after leaving the CDC became president of Merck’s vaccine division, sold half her Merck stock options for $9.11 million
  • Gerberding also cashed out in 2016, when she sold $5.1 million in Merck stocks, and 2015, when she made $2.3 million. In total, Gerberding has made $16,592,144 from her company stock options
  • Gerberding’s former high-level ties to the CDC likely has had enormous influence over Merck’s financial growth, considering Merck makes a majority of the pediatric and adults vaccines recommended by the CDC
  • Red flags have recently been raised about Merck’s HPV vaccine Gardasil, a vaccine Gerberding promoted in a 2004 report to Congress before it was fast tracked to licensure in 2006. The U.K. recently reported a 54% rise in cervical cancer among 24- to 29-year-olds, the first generation to receive the HPV vaccine
  • A January 2020 report in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine warns HPV vaccine trials have not been designed to detect whether the vaccine actually prevents cervical cancer. Trials have shown, however, that Gardasil raises the risk of cervical cancer by 44.6% among women with a current or previous HPV infection

For those of you who believe the Gardasil vaccine was responsibly researched, is effective and has been proven safe to be given to our children, the contents of Mercola’s post will be an eye opener. It will also shed light on the inner workings of the booming vaccine industry in the US and the CDC’s role in promoting other childhood vaccines – as well as on the revolving door that’s existed for decades between high level executives at the biggest pharmaceutical companies and the US governmental agencies that are supposed to be protecting us from being harmed by vaccines and other drugs.

Some highlights from the Mercola article:

 Robert F Kennedy, Jr, chairperson of the Children’s Health Defense, recently stated, “Last month, Cancer Research UK announced an alarming 54% rise in cervical cancer among 24-29-year-olds, the first generation to receive the HPV jabs.

The following day, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine published a withering critique of Gardasil’s crooked clinical trials, ‘It is still uncertain whether human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination prevents cervical cancer as trials were not designed to detect this outcome.’

As Gerberding knows, those trials revealed that Gardasil dramatically RAISES (by +44.6%) the risk of cervical cancer among women with a current infection or those previously exposed to HPV.

That may explain the cancer explosions in England and other nations with high inoculation rates in young girls up to age 18; Australia, Spain, Sweden and Norway. A 2019 study of Alabama girls found the highest cervical cancer rates in the state’s most heavily vaccinated counties.

With Merck’s efficacy pretensions circling the drain, a coalition of leading plaintiff’s lawyers are already in discovery in a suit alleging that Merck fraudulently concealed serious illnesses affecting half, and autoimmune diseases affecting 1 of every 37 girls in Gardasil’s clinical trials within 6 months of injection.

As Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director from 2002-2009, Gerberding helped Merck paper over these efficacy and safety problems.” (Kennedy, 2020)


As I discovered while researching my own post on Gardasil last year, it isn’t just the CDC that ‘s to blame for the Gardasil disaster. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – agencies both tasked with protecting our well being – along with Merck and big advertising agencies worked together in ways that placed profit over the health and well being of our children. (If you have the stomach for it, you can read my article to learn more.)

Source: Blaxill (2010)

When you look at the increasingly ill health of the US population during the years the US government has recommended and mandated more and more childhood vaccinations, the CDC’s collusion with Merck to allow the pharmaceutical giant’s Gardasil vaccine to reach the market can only strike you as appalling.

The following is an articulate summary of the US’s aggressive vaccination program’s dangerous impact on our children’s health. It’s from Michelle Goldstein’s 2017 article , How Do US Vaccine Rates, Policies And Children’s Health Compare to Other Countries?

“The United States has higher vaccination rates than any other country. The US also has very high infant mortality rates. American children experience epidemic levels of chronic diseases including autism, attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, autoimmune disorders, asthma, epilepsy and allergies.

“If vaccinations were so effective in improving the health of children, why do the statistics not bear this out? In fact, the opposite has been shown to be true. Increasing vaccination rates are correlated with growth in diseases for our children.

“Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and physician groups mistakenly maintain that vaccines are responsible for eliminating many frightening childhood diseases including measles, mumps, chicken pox and polio. These diseases and others targeted by vaccines are, in truth, minor childhood illnesses which cause few health problems.

“These medical groups recommend the current aggressive vaccine schedule, although vaccines have never been proven to be safe or effective. They fail to address the epidemic of chronic disease for today’s children and also deny that vaccines could be causing them, in spite of evidence to the contrary….

“US children are experiencing a health epidemic with more chronic diseases than ever before in our history. The US has the highest infant mortality in a study comparing America with 29 other developed countries. Children in the US suffered with more autism than in all other countries studied.

“Studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated show conclusively that unvaccinated children enjoy far superior health. Research and data demonstrate that vaccines cause neurological damage and contribute to significant health damage.

“Vaccines are a major contributing factor to today’s health crisis in our children. Vaccines wrongly credited with saving lives and improving health is instead responsible for destroying lives.

“Legal immunity granted to vaccine makers has contributed to a growth in unsafe vaccinations, which profit pharmaceutical companies while injuring our children.”

Source: CDC


“The U.S. has the very highest infant mortality rate of all industrialized developed countries, with more American children dying at birth and in their first year than in any other comparable nation—and more than half of those who survive develop at least one chronic illness.” (Kristen, 2020)

For instance, look at the main features of Japan’s vaccination programs and ask yourself which is more sensible and less risky – the US’s one-size-fits-all, multi-vaccination program starting at birth or Japan’s:

  • Japan has no vaccine mandates, instead recommending vaccines that … are either “routine” (covered by insurance) or “voluntary” (self-pay).
  • Japan does not vaccinate newborns with the hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine, unless the mother is hepatitis B positive.
  • Japan does not vaccinate pregnant mothers with the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.
  • Japan does not give flu shots to pregnant mothers or to six-month-old infants.
  • Japan does not give the MMR vaccine, instead recommending an MR vaccine.
  • Japan does not require the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

(Kristen, 2020)

Of the world’s industrialized developed countries, the US administers by far the highest number of vaccines and vaccine doses to infants in their first two years of life – yet our infant mortality rate is also the very highest among those countries.

If you want to read more about how why Japan LIMITS the number of vaccines given to children and adolescents there, see Japan Leads the Way in Child Health: No Compulsory Vaccines. Banned Measles Mumps Rubells (MMR) Vaccine; The Promise of Good Health; Are We Jumping Off the Cliff in the U.S.? (Kristen, 2020)

“Children in Japan are among the healthiest in the world, while children in the United States rate low on the list of developed nations for health outcome measures. Given that the U.S. spends more than any other country on health care to ensure the health and well-being of its children, what is behind this discrepancy?” (Raines, 2019)


A 2017 pilot comparative survey conducted by a group of public health scientists in the fields of epidemiology and biostatistics set out to address a major current health question: Whether vaccination is linked in any way to children’s long-term health. The recruitment letter sent to parents of home schooled children 6-12 years old in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oregon was written in a neutral tone: “Vaccination is one of the greatest discoveries in medicine, yet little is known about its long-term impact. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of vaccination by comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children in terms of a number of major health outcomes …” The results found the UNVACCINATED children to be HEALTHIER overall than the vaccinated.

Perhaps not what you expected.

  • The vaccinated children were found to have a higher rate of allergies and neuro-developmental disorders than the unvaccinated children: a learning disability, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Preterm birth coupled with vaccination was associated with an apparent synergistic increase in the odds of neuro-developmental disorders.
  • The vaccinated were less likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with chickenpox and pertussis, but more likely to have been diagnosed with pneumonia, otitis media, allergies and neuro-developmental disorders.
  • The interaction of preterm birth and vaccination was associated with a 6.6-fold increased odds of neuro-developmental disorders.
  • The vaccinated children were significantly more likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with: allergic rhinitis, other allergies, eczema/atopic dermatitis and any chronic illness.
  • “No significant differences were observed with regard to cancer, chronic fatigue, conduct disorder, Crohn’s disease, depression, Types 1 or 2 diabetes, encephalopathy, epilepsy, hearing loss, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, seizures, Tourette’s syndrome or services received under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act .” (But keep in mind that the children were only six by the end of the study.)
  • The authors bottom line conclusion from their data was that the vaccinated children were found to have a higher rate of allergies and neuro-developmental disorders than the unvaccinated children. (Mawson et al, 2017)

I also noticed in the survey’s published data that twice as many of the vaccinated children had taken antibiotics in the year prior to the data gathering: 30.8% of the vaccinated children vs 15.4% of the unvaccinated. (Mawson et al, 2017). This is significant on its own.

Presumably the vaccinated children were given antibiotics because they had a bacterial illness or infection. Since we know that systemic antibiotics kill the good (probiotic) bacteria along with any bad (pathogenic) bacteria in our microbiomes, this datum alone raises an alarm. The more antibiotics we take, the worse our health is likely to become over time:

  • Antibiotics can destroy the healthy flora in the gut and also cause bacteria to become increasingly resistant to treatment .
  • A 2018 study from Case Western Reserve University showed that antibiotics can damage immune cells and worsen oral infections by damaging white blood cells’ ability to fight off fungal infections, such as Candida. (Healthline, 2018)

This infographic from the CDC compares morbidity from common infectious childhood diseases in the US during the pre-vaccine era and 2015. You’ll note the efficacy of the vaccines against the diseases they target. Also note that the graphic compares only morbidity (becoming sick with an illness), not mortality (dying from the illness). Having and recovering from, for example, a case of measles in childhood is very different from dying from it.

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2015

Now add the information in this infographic to that information:

It would have been helpful if the CDCgraphic had added MORTALITY estimates to the MORBIDITY estimates for the pre-vaccine era numbers. Morbidity = getting sick with a disease. Mortality = dying from it. There’s a large difference between, for example, getting measles as a child, recovering and then having natural immunity for measles, and dying from the measles.

Have we successfully taken care of the 14 childhood diseases shown on the CDC graphic at the expense of increasing our children’s chances of suffering with a variety of autoimmune diseases and conditions throughout their lives?

The data below are from Mawson et al’s 2017 pilot comparative survey on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children:

                        VACCINATED           UNVACCINATED

Medication Use for Allergies:

       Yes             20.0%                                    1.2%

       No                 80.0%                                  98.8%   

Antibiotics Use in Past Year:  

       Yes           30.8%                                   15.4%                           

       No              69.2%                                   84.6%

Fever Medication Use 1+ Times:

       Yes           90.7%                                    67.8%   

       No                    9.3%                                    32.2%

(Mawson et al, 2017)

Don’t these few comparative percentages suggest that the unvaccinated children were healthier than the vaccinated?


“An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.

“The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.

“Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells.

“In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.

“Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affect the whole body.

“…. A 2015 study focused on another theory called the hygiene hypothesis. Because of vaccines and antiseptics, children today aren’t exposed to as many germs as they were in the past. The lack of exposure could make their immune system prone to overreact to harmless substances.”

– (Healthline, 2020)

From the abstract for the 2015 study, The hygiene hypothesis: current perspectives and future therapies, mentioned above,

“Developed countries have experienced a steady increase in atopic disease and disorders of immune dysregulation since the 1980s. This increase parallels a decrease in infectious diseases within the same time period, while developing countries seem to exhibit the opposite effect, with less immune dysregulation and a higher prevalence of infectious disease. The “hygiene hypothesis”, proposed by Strachan in 1989, aimed to explain this peculiar generational rise in immune dysregulation. However, research over the past 10 years provides evidence connecting the commensal and symbiotic microbes (intestinal microbiota) and parasitic helminths with immune development, expanding the hygiene hypothesis into the “microflora” and “old friends” hypotheses, respectively. There is evidence that parasitic helminths and commensal microbial organisms co-evolved with the human immune system and that these organisms are vital in promoting normal immune development. Current research supports the potential for manipulation of the bacterial intestinal microbiota to treat and even prevent immune dysregulation in the form of atopic disease and other immune-mediated disorders (namely inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes).” (Stiemsma et al, 2015)

For more information on chronic inflammation in the body, leaky gut and the development of autoimmune diseases and conditions, see The Gut’s Mucosal Lining & Leaky Gut (Hardin, 10/21/2017) and Autoimmune Disorders (Hardin, 12/22/2013).


Unlike children who’ve actually had measles, as an example, children who’ve received a vaccination against measles are not fully immune because a vaccine-induced immunity is only temporary while having had measles creates a strong, natural immunity. Because of this, children who’ve been vaccinated against measles can get infected when their temporary immunity wears off.

As Dr Ron Marsh, a Distinguished Fellow of the International Chiropractors Association who grew up in the 1950’s, puts it: “Why don’t doctors now tell parents what they told them then? That measles and other ‘childhood illnesses’ were just that — events of youth that strengthen the developing immune system. Unpleasant but rarely serious events that make kids healthier. (Repeated studies show that acute, febrile [fever-attended] infections of childhood protect against cancer later in life.)” (Marsh, 2019)

It seems to me the bottom line about vaccines and health is that we need to refocus our efforts to achieve health away from vaccines and other heavy duty pharmaceuticals and onto nourishment from a healthy diet and environment.

We also need a great deal more clear-eyed research on the risks and benefits of vaccinations so parents can make well informed decisions on behalf of their children’s health and safety.

In the meantime, keeping our, our children’s and our pets’ immune systems healthy and strong will provide lifelong benefits.


Here in New York, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus 19. While I understand his reasons for taking this action, I have to say I wish the dire state of our food, water and air supplies had people as ready to respond with emergency measures.

In 2014 when I was looking into the ebola virus spreading in Sierra Leone and other pandemics throughout history, I wrote “Throughout history, about 70% of  people who contracted smallpox survived – and apparently not everyone who was ever exposed to the virus became ill. Why?” (Hardin, 2014)

Isn’t the WHY the interesting question?

If you want to avoid getting whatever is going around – from coronavirus, ebola or the bubonic plague to the common cold and everything in between, doesn’t it make sense to keep your gut microbiome and the other microbiomes in your body as strong as possible?





I’m of the opinion that a great deal more clear-eyed, unbiased research into the risks and benefits of childhood vaccinations is needed so parents can make informed decisions.



CDC. (1/29/2020). Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger. See:

Goldstein, M. (2017). How Do US Vaccine Rates, Policies And Children’s Health Compare to Other Countries? See:

Hardin, J.R. (12/22/2013, updated 3/9/2014). Autoimmune Disorders. See:

Hardin, J.R. (11/2/2014). Staying Well: A Little Sanity About the Ebola Virus – and Other Epidemics. See:

Hardin, J.R. (10/21/2017). The Gut’s Mucosal Lining & Leaky Gut. See:

Hardin, J.R. (3/23/2019). Is Gardasil Dangerous? Is It Even Useful? See:

Healthline. (2018). Antibiotics Can Hurt Your Health If You Don’t Have an Infection: Study finds antibiotics may do more harm than good if you’re not actually sick. See:

Healthline. (2020). Autoimmune Diseases: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and More. See:

Kennedy, R.F. (2/5/2020). Merck’s Vaccine Division President Julie Gerberding Sells $9.1 Million in Shares—Is She Jumping Ship?. See:

Kristen, K. (2/14/2020). Japan Leads the Way in Child Health: No Compulsory Vaccines. Banned Measles Mumps Rubells (MMR) Vaccine; The Promise of Good Health; Are We Jumping Off the Cliff in the U.S.? See:

Informed Choice USA. (2019-2020). See:

Marsh, R. (2019). GUEST VIEW: Unvaccinated children are healthier. See:

Mawson, A.R. et al. (2017). Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12- year old U.S. children. Journal of Translational Science, 3:10. See:

Mercola, J. (3/6/2020). Top Health Official Cashes in on Merck Stock. See:

Raines, K. (7/3/2019). Comparing the Health of Children in Japan and America. See:

Stiemsma L.T. et al. (2015). The hygiene hypothesis: current perspectives and future therapies. Dove Press. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

ConsumerLab’s Evaluation of Natural Remedies & Supplements for COVID-19

Herbs, garlic and other plants have been used since ancient times as natural treatments to protect against and heal many illness, including viral infections.

“Due to their concentration of potent plant compounds, many herbs help fight viruses and are favored by practitioners of natural medicine.

“At the same time, the benefits of some herbs are only supported by limited human research, so you should take them with a grain of salt.” (Kubala, 10/21/2019)

Source: The Indian Spot

This post is for those of you who are curious about using some of these natural remedies and nutritional supplements as protection against the new coronavirus 19 and are looking for information on how they work and their effectiveness for this purpose.

The information I’m directing you to is an article called Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus (COVID-19) provided by Consumer Lab. (, 3/15/2020)

About ConsumerLab

“, LLC (“CL”) is the leading provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and healthcare professionals identify the best quality health and nutrition products. It publishes results of its tests in comprehensive reports at CL also conducts an annual Survey of Vitamin & Supplement Users. CL’s research is cited frequently by the media, in books, and at professional meetings. In addition to the products it selects to review, CL enables companies of all sizes to have their products quality tested for potential inclusion in its list of Approved Quality products and bear the CL Seal. Since its founding in 1999, CL has tested more than 5,600 products, representing over 850 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement for adults, children, and pets.” (, 2020)

The member-submitted question ConsumerLab addresses in Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus (COVID-19) is:
What are natural remedies for coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do supplements like zinc, vitamin C, or herbals work?

This is a link to their answers to that question.

The article discusses findings on these substances and supplements known to have anti-viral properties with regard to their possible effectiveness against COVID-19:

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Garlic
  • Elderberry
  • Vitamin D
  • Coconut Oil
  • NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
  • Echinacea
  • Miracle Mineral Solution (Sodium Chlorite) and Chlorine Dioxide Kits
  • Colloidal Silver

You can read more about ConsumerLab’s work here.

You can sign up here to have ConsumerLab’s newsletters sent to your email address. It’s free .

You can also become a member of ConsumerLab for $78 a year here and receive access to all their reports.

REFERENCES (3/15/2020A).  Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus (COVID-19). See: (2020). About See:

Kubala, J. (10/21/2019). 15 Impressive Herbs with Antiviral Properties. See:

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


In this time of alternative facts and rampant misinformation, and with the media whipping up a panic about the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world, stock markets heading downhill and people panicking, here are some REAL facts to put this latest virus in perspective.

Source: KETK

You can use this useful interactive web-based map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. The map is created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Data is gathered in real time from WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC, DXY and local media reports so you can check out the most up to date facts on it.

Here’s some data as of the time I’m writing this (Thursday March 12 2020 at noon):

  • TOTAL DEATHS WORLDWIDE:                             4,718
  • TOTAL RECOVERED WORLDWIDE:                  68,310

This means:

  • Half of the confirmed cases to date have recovered
  • Only 0.037% of the confirmed cases have died
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine


Many people seem to believe they have to keep themselves and their loved ones from getting EXPOSED to the virus – that exposure = getting it = dying from it.

In fact, we’re exposed to nasty viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens every day and usually don’t become sick from them.

Coronavirus: What are the chances of dying if you get the virus? – LBC


The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water as the best way to kill any virus on them. If you don’t have access to soap and water, the CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol. Alcohol-free sanitizers or ones with less than 60% alcohol content may get your hands cleaner but DO NOT KILL THE VIRUS. (Allen & Song, 3/6/2020)

Examples of alcohol-free hand sanitizers. They do not kill coronavirus-19.


Keep your immune system strong. This is of the utmost importance in this time of coronavirus and for maintaining good health throughout your lifetime as well.

“Your immune system will mount an appropriate response to the invaders and begin to kill off the virus cells. You develop a fever, which creates a hostile environment for the virus, and you’ll gradually get rid of mucus and buildup by coughing, and through your nose running. This is a completely normal immune response.” (CentreSpringMD, 2020)

Here are two useful articles on what you can do instead of panicking:

Can I Boost My Immune System?: Fears about coronavirus have prompted online searches and plenty of misinformation about how to strengthen the immune system. Here’s what works — and what doesn’t. (Parker-Pope, 3/10/2020)

You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus: Sanitizers that don’t contain the CDC’s recommended minimum of 60% alcohol are flying off store shelves and listed by sellers on Amazon for outrageous prices. Here is what you need to know. (Allen & Song, 3/6/2020)


Take a look at a sane article called COVID-19 Expert Reality Check published on 3/5/2020 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The article consists of questions about the virus and short answers written by recognized public health experts.

This is one of those answers, to the question “What is the best way to counter misinformation in the media?

“The best way to counter misinformation in the media is with an aggressive onslaught of facts. During an outbreak, information may be shifting, guidance changing, and questions multiplying, but the process is guided by adherence to reality and logic. Uncertainty is not an excuse for entertaining arbitrary assertions offered in defiance of the need for evidence. They should be identified as such and dismissed. 

“Experts, in addition to relating facts, should also explain the evidence that supports their conclusions and how recommendations are rooted in that evidence. This is a daunting task, as it involves more than information dissemination. It requires attention to what counts as evidence and an understanding of how to evaluate competing claims—some of which are grounded in evidence and some of which clearly are not.” (Johns Hopkins, 3/5/2020)

The author, Amesh Adalja, MD, is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Many thanks to Leif Olson for directing me to the useful Johns Hopkins Coronavirus-19 interactive map site.

Source: News Literacy Project


Allen, M. & Song, L. (3/6/2020). You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus: Sanitizers that don’t contain the CDC’s recommended minimum of 60% alcohol are flying off store shelves and listed by sellers on Amazon for outrageous prices. Here is what you need to know. ProPUBLICA. See:

CentreSpringMD. (2020). The Spread of Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself. See:

Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. (updated daily, 2020). Interactive webbased map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. See:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (3/5/2020). COVID-19 Expert Reality Check. See:

Parker-Pope, T. (3/10/2020). Can I Boost My Immune System?: Fears about coronavirus have prompted online searches and plenty of misinformation about how to strengthen the immune system. Here’s what works — and what doesn’t. The New York Times. See: 

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.