Monthly Archives: April 2020

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?

Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /home/allergi9/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp-spamshield/wp-spamshield.php on line 2033

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.