The Pre-Existing Conditions for Covid-19 That No one is Talking About

Monday, November 30th, 2020
Both the science and media have been talking about the link between SARS-Cov-2 and metabolic disease, but what causes heart disease, inflammation, strokes, and diabetes that encompass metabolic disease? What underlying conditions make some susceptible to disease progression? Parasites and viruses are often overlooked and our tests are lacking. So could we be ignoring the root cause pathogens that underlie and fuel the other viral pathogens?

Terrain Theory and Covid-19

Way back at the beginning of the Coronavirus panic, Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said we don’t just need to treat the acute disease, we need to treat the underlying condition that makes people more susceptible to serious disease progression. Since then, multiple notable doctors throughout the wellness community have echoed Dr. Frieden’s sentiments, urging public health measures to focus on heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension. The fear for many people is that although they may survive Covid, there may be long lasting post-Covid complications.

Dr. Frieden calls for better management of people’s underlying health problems to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and I agree -that’s headed down a better path. I would take this one step further and say we need to go beyond managing chronic diseases and inflammation and find the pathogens that underlie and fuel their pathologies, causing said inflammation. THIS is getting to the root cause –asking why until you cannot ask why anymore.

When I left the hospital system, I began to dig deeper with my chronic disease and “mystery disease” patients. The more I explored, the more I realized it was usually some pathogen or toxicity within the body that did not belong there, that was eliciting the systemic problem. I eventually started treating my patients with parasite cleanses, and tick-associated diseases and saw great success. I grew in my knowledge and expanded this mission to breast implants, mold toxicity, and dental infections. I learned many such infections, often overlooked in medicine today, are overlapping, synergistic, and can present as a number of chronic illnesses.

I learned the best way to prevent disease is to strengthen the immune system, by focusing on such basics as nutrition, having regular bowel movements, exercise, sleep, and emotional balance. When it comes to chronic illnesses, my belief is that we should not fight symptoms, a diagnosis, or a syndrome, but improve the biological terrain, and counter the threats that come, ultimately, from a body out of normalcy or homeostasis.

We have all heard the staggering numbers of morbidity and mortality brought on by Covid-19, with deaths upwards of 250,000. Despite Johns Hopkins recently published a study that questions the classification of Covid deaths and how dire it has actually been, the post-Covid complications alone have been concerning for some people. Covid-19 is known to trigger TH1 overdominance and initiate a cytokine storm. In a study published in April 2020 for the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers found that the majority of those hospitalized due to COVID-19 have preexisting conditions—about 90% of patients with available data had one or more underlying conditions. The most common, per the CDC, include hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes mellitus (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). So what is the underlying cause of those metabolically driven diseases?

In addition to preexisting heart, lung, and metabolic conditions, another major risk factor is an overactive immune system, as I mentioned before, what’s known as a “cytokine storm.” This hyperimmune response is marked by high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-6, IL-2, and TNF-α. High levels of IL-6 are associated with increased severity of disease in COVID-19. In certain, susceptible individuals their immune cells continue signaling to the adaptive immune system, but since the body is out of homeostasis, or imbalanced so it continues to spin out to its own demise. This finally exhausts the body and the person! In a simplified way to describe the immune system, it is divided into TH1 and TH2, which fight their own respective pathogens. The cytokine storm triggered by Coronovirus seems to be more of a TH1 mediated overdominance.

In their misguided bid to keep the body safe, these cytokines attack multiple organs including the lungs and liver, and may eventually lead to death or disease through rampant inflammation and clotting issues.

Here’s what I’ve learned in my medical experience, the diverse medical mystery patients that I attract, and the hospital and outpatient time I’ve had– The asymmetric threats most often overlooked are parasites, mold, tick-associated illnesses, and dental problems. We all are exposed to these threats on differing levels, but no one is immune.

Parasite Viruses

Have you ever heard of a parasite virus? They do exist and I talk about how this works in my educational courses. Studies have shown viruses that live in and are reactivated by parasites. One example is Leishmania and its respective virus, Leishmaniavirus, or the newly discovered mega virus, which is found in acanthamoeba. What’s interesting about mega viruses is that they code for thousands of genes whereas most viruses, only a handful. Could Covid be worsened by an underlying parasite?

Viruses could even be technically considered part of parasites, a gray area between living and nonliving: they cannot replicate on their own but need a host to do so.  They have only a strand of DNA or RNA inside an empty protein capsid. Not only have viruses evolved with us, but they are thought to have helped encode our genetic material. They can stay dormant for many years, re-activating opportunistically, or can be active seasonally, and are capable of growth and multiplication only in living cells as unwanted guests, just like parasites.

Remember, parasites are also as old as we are and are thought to have evolved with and possibly influenced our DNA. Previous research shows that at least half the human genome is made up of bits of DNA left behind by viruses and other virus-like parasites, known as transposons, which slipped into cells of our primate ancestors over the past 50 million years. Moreover, studies have shown parasites are not only capable of carrying and re-activating viruses, but heavy metals as well. To read more on the science of parasites, read here.

There is a microbe soup within your body and the interplay determines your symptoms or health.

 Why Are Some People More Susceptible to Covid than Others? Underneath the Pathology

We’ve learned a lot about Covid-19 in recent months so the good news is that fewer people are dying since we know more about the virus. However, the general trend is that the virus can aggressively attack a vulnerable, aging population, the immunosuppressed or chronically ill. Due to the overuse of antibiotics, antidepressants, diabetes medications, long-term stealth infections, or other environmental toxicities, mitochondrial damage is becoming more and more common, even in younger populations. Remember mitochondria make cellular energy which runs every reaction in your body. Patients with mitochondrial damage are at a disadvantage when it comes to supporting their immune system as mitochondria are not built to make cellular energy and run our immunity at peak performance. they can’t do both, so the patients can rapidly succumb to viral infections or any number of environmental toxicities.

By the time one develops a severe respiratory infection, COVID-19 may activate dormant, inactivated bacteria, fungi, mycobacteria, and viruses that were previously under the surveillance of the immune system. COVID-19 pneumonia patients may be fighting more than viral infection but also bacterial, mycotoxin illness, fungi, and reactivated parasites, including dental infections. Prevotella bacteria has been found in the lungs of COVID patients in three Asian studies; it is often found in dental infections. It is also a known autoimmune trigger.

“Periodontal pathogens such as Fusobacterium nucleatum, Prevotella intermedia, and Porphyromonas gingivalis have been identified as key pathogens contributing to periodontal progression and have been associated with several other chronic inflammatory conditions contributing to adverse outcomes. Similar to the imbalance that happens as oral biofilms become pathogenic and promote inflammation, microbial overgrowth in lung tissue can easily develop when a shift toward illness or systemic infection takes place.Periodontal pathogens can be aspirated into the lower tract of the respiratory system, initiating or worsening a respiratory condition such as pneumonia.The pathogens found in the mouth also get easier access to the bloodstream and cardiovascular disease.

A systematic review published in 2008 confirmed that good oral hygiene can help prevent respiratory infections, estimating that one in 10 pneumonia-related deaths could be prevented in the elderly by simply improving oral hygiene. It is also possible that improving oral hygiene might reduce risks for a severe outcome of another respiratory infection: COVID-19.

Do Parasites Harm or Help a Covid-19 Viral Infection?

Ok so the immune system, as I mentioned before, is divided primitively into the TH1 (T helper 1) and TH2 (T helper 2). In parasitic infestations, TH2 is dominant. In mold infestations in the body, TH1 is more dominant. Some research out of Africa is showing less severe Covid infections presumably due to the high levels of parasitic infections endemically there. Why would this be?

Since the cytokine storm is thought to be more of TH1 overdominance, then possible parasitic infections may balance that ratio out by activating TH2 immunity. So this interplay of microbe soup is hypothetical and quite complicated as you can see. Not all microbes are bad-some helped develop humans’ DNA and yet others might provide protection.

On the flip side, others argue that some parasites might not be helpful, as coinfections MIGHT explain why some Coronavirus patients responded to hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin, an antimalarial parasite medication. Of course, hydroxychloroquine is a zinc ionophore which facilitates the uptake of zinc, which interrupts viral replication.

How Do I Get Prepared for a Virus My Body May have never seen Before?

Pic courtesy of Nourish Medical Center

For prevention and prophylactic measures, I recommend extra vitamin C up to 10,000mg/day, 10,000 IU of vitamin D3, vitamin K2, selenium, zinc, quercetin, and EGCG or green tea. Glutathione IVs should be considered for patients who do not have a CBS mutation. If you know me, I will always try to get you to grasp when your body is IN or OUT of homeostasis or normalcy. This is usually indicated by poor sleep, fatigue and low energy, constipation or loose stools, mood swings,

I also really appreciate toxin binders and supplements that help to boost mitochondrial damage. For more info on Covid immunity and how to prepare, read here and here.

I am not saying this will prevent or stop COVID-19, but help you be in a stronger position to fight it.

Just as public health strategies of isolation, quarantine, and containment play a vital role in pandemics in addition to emergency medicine and targeted therapeutics there is an important role for preventive and integrative medicine. We need to treat the whole body and strengthen the biological terrain to be ready to confront both novel viruses and longstanding pathogens that contest for living among, within, and off of us. We need extra help in the face of the stealth threats we confront that may be fueling the pathology of this novel virus. Could this be why some seemingly healthy people get severe infections?

Much love, Dr. Jess

REFERENCES:

  • Cox MJ, Loman N, Bogaert D, O’Grady J. Co-infections: potentially lethal and unexplored in COVID-19. Lancet Microbe. 2020;1(1):e11. doi:10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30009-4
  • Scannapieco FA. Role of oral bacteria in respiratory infection. J Periodontol. 1999;70(7):793-802. doi:10.1902/jop.1999.70.7.793
  • Sjögren P, Nilsson E, Forsell M, Johansson O, Hoogstraate J. A systematic review of the preventive effect of oral hygiene on pneumonia and respiratory tract infection in elderly people in hospitals and nursing homes: effect estimates and methodological quality of randomized controlled trials. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2008;56(11):2124-2130. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.01926.x
  • Tawfig N. Proinflammatory cytokines and periodontal disease. J Dent Probl Solut. 2016;3(1):12-17. doi:10.17352/2394-8418.000026
  • Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Exposures Elicit Specific Cytokine and Chemokine Responses
    Rosenblum Lichtenstein JH, Hsu YH, Gavin IM, Donaghey TC, Molina RM, et al. (2015) Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Exposures Elicit Specific Cytokine and Chemokine Responses. PLOS ONE 10(5): e0126926. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126926
  • Th1 and Th2 responses: what are they?                                                                                                                                           BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7258.424 (Published 12 August 2000)
  • Immunology of Parasitic Helminth Infections
    Andrew S. MacDonald, Maria Ilma Araujo, Edward J. Pearce

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