Covid: What’s the best way to top up our immunity?

Covid: What’s the best way to top up our immunity?

Claremont Colonic Center
There are marked differences in your immune system after a natural infection with coronavirus and after vaccination.
Which is better?

Even asking the question bordered on heresy a year ago, when catching Covid for the first time could be deadly, especially for the elderly or people already in poor health.

Now, we’re no longer starting with zero immunity as the overwhelming majority of people have either been vaccinated or have already caught the virus.

It is now a serious question that has implications for whether children should ever be vaccinated. And whether we use the virus or booster shots to top up immunity in adults. Both have become contentious issues.

“We could be digging ourselves into a hole, for a very long time, where we think we can only keep Covid away by boosting every year,” Prof Eleanor Riley, an immunologist from the University of Edinburgh, told me.

The anatomy of immunity

We need to understand a little bit about the key building blocks of both our immune system and the virus it is attacking.

The power-couple of the immune system that clears the body of infection are antibodies and T-cells. Antibodies stick to the surface of the virus and mark it for destruction. T-cells can spot which of our own cells have been hijacked by the virus and destroy them.

For all the trouble the virus has caused, it is spectacularly simple. It has the famous spike protein, which is the key it uses to unlock the doorway into our body’s cells. And 28 other proteins that it needs to hijack our cells and make thousands of copies of itself. (For comparison it takes about 20,000 proteins to run the human body).

There are four key areas to compare vaccine and natural infection with the virus.

Breadth

How much of the virus the immune system learns to attack

You get a broader immune response after being infected with the virus than vaccination.

Whether you’ve had Moderna or Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca, your body is learning to spot just one thing – the spike protein.

This is the critical part of the virus to make antibodies to, and the results – by keeping most out of hospital – have been spectacular.

But having the other 28 proteins to target too, would give T-cells far more to go at.

“That means if you had a real humdinger of an infection, you may have better immunity to any new variants that pop up as you have immunity to more than just spike,” said Prof Riley.

Strength

How well it stops infection or prevents severe disease?

We know there have been cases of people catching the virus twice (re-infection) and of being vaccinated and catching Covid (known as breakthrough infection).

“Neither gives you complete protection versus infection, but the immunity you get from either seems to protect you pretty well from serious illness,” said Prof Finn, from the University of Bristol.

Antibody levels are, on average, higher about a month after vaccination than infection. However, there is a huge gulf in antibodies between those who are asymptomatic (who don’t make very much) and those who get a severe bout of Covid.

The biggest immune response comes from people who caught Covid and were then vaccinated. We’re still waiting for data on what happens the other way round.

Duration

How long does protection last?

Antibody levels have been shown to decline over time, although this may not be important for preventing severe disease.

The immune system remembers viruses and vaccines so it can respond rapidly when an infection is encountered.

There are “memory T-cells” that linger in the body, and B-cells remain primed to produce a new flood of antibodies on demand. There is evidence of immune responses more than a year after infection and vaccine trials have also showed lasting benefit.

“In terms of durability, we’re still waiting to see,” said Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London.

Location

Where in the body is the immunity?

This matters. There is a whole different suite of antibodies (known as immunoglobulin As) in the nose and lungs, compared with those (immunoglobulin Gs) that we measure in the blood.

The former is more important as a barrier to infection. Natural infection, because it is in the nose rather than a jab in the arm, may be a better route to those antibodies, and nasal vaccines are being investigated too.

Prof Paul Klenerman, who researches T-cells at the University of Oxford, said: “The location of an infection makes a difference even if it’s the same virus, so we would expect important differences between natural infection and vaccines.”

Where does this leave the balance between more vaccine and virus?

There is clear evidence that adults who have not had any vaccine dose will have stronger immune defences if they do get vaccinated, even if they have caught Covid before.

But there are two big questions:

  • do vaccinated adults need to be boosted, or is exposure to the virus enough?
  • do children need vaccinating at all, or does a lifetime of encountering build a good immune defence?


The idea of regularly topping up immunity throughout life is not radical in other infections, such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) or the four other coronaviruses that infect people and cause common cold symptoms.

Each time you’re exposed, the immune system gets a little bit stronger, and this continues until old age, when the immune system starts to fail and the infections become a problem again.

“This isn’t proven, but it could be a lot cheaper and simpler to let that happen than spend the whole time immunising people,” said Prof Finn, who warns we could end up “locked into a cycle of boosting” without seeing if it was necessary.

However, he said the argument in children had “already been won” as “40-50% have already been infected and most weren’t ill or particularly ill”.

There are counter-arguments. Prof Riley points to long-Covid in children, and Prof Openshaw to nervousness around the long-term effects of a virus that can affect many of the body’s organs.

But Prof Riley said there was potential in using vaccines to “take the edge off” Covid, followed by infection, to broaden the immune response.

She said: “We really need to consider, are we just frightening people rather than giving them the confidence to get on with their lives? We’re close to just worrying people now.”

Of course, with cases continuing to rumble on, there may not be much choice.

“I’m wondering whether it’s inevitable,” said Prof Klenerman, as if the virus continues to spread then “there will be this ongoing boosting effect”.



Contributor: James Gallagher, Health and science correspondent – BBC News

Healing Benefits of Cilantro

Healing Benefits of Cilantro

Claremont Colonic
Cilantro, also called coriander and Chinese parsley, is the go-to herb for heavy metal detoxification. Cilantro’s magic in detoxifying the brain lies in the living water in its stems and leaves.

This is a critical aspect of how it can travel past the blood-brain barrier; in this living water are mineral salts comprised of minerals such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, which are bound to potent phytochemicals. When they enter the body, these precious salts join natural highways of other mineral salts that travel through the bloodstream, lymph fluid, and spinal fluid. As they come upon the amino acids glycine and glutamine in their travels, the mineral salts bind onto them, forming the ultimate neurotransmitters.

The brain is a magnet for mineral salts, and when it draws up these precious mineral salt compounds from cilantro, a surprise package is attached: phytochemicals that deliberately remove toxic heavy metals from the brain, freeing up neurons from toxic heavy metal oxidized residue, so that they can function at their best.

While many people love the rich, savory flavor of cilantro, others get a bad taste in their mouths whenever they eat it. Try not to get caught up in the trend that theorizes that a dislike of cilantro has to do with genes. This genetic concept hasn’t been studied widely enough—if it were, researchers would nd that there is not a gene that determines whether or not a person has an aversion to cilantro. There are no genes that tell us not to eat a certain food.

What’s really going on with cilantro aversion? When a person perceives an abrupt, harsh flavor from the herb, it means that she or he has a higher oxidative rate of heavy metals in her or his system. This doesn’t mean the person possesses a higher level of toxic heavy metals. Rather, the heavy metals (in this case, usually a combination of aluminum, nickel, and/or copper, at whatever level) in her or his body are corroding rapidly. Corrosion means that there’s toxic runoff, which makes its way into a person’s lymphatic system and saliva.

The moment cilantro makes contact with the mouth, its phytochemicals start to bind onto any oxidative runoff they encounter—if there’s a lot of this debris in a person’s saliva, it can result in a harsh sensation when eating cilantro. In other words, if someone dislikes cilantro, there’s a good chance she or he really needs it.

Cilantro is also very valuable for extracting heavy metals and other toxins from other body systems and organs, particularly the liver. In fact, it’s an amazing liver detoxifier in its own right. It’s one of the best adrenal support herbs, too, and wonderful for balancing blood glucose levels and staving off weight gain, brain fog, and memory issues. And just when you thought cilantro had enough flare and flash, it’s also antiviral—cilantro helps keep down levels of the Epstein-Barr virus, shingles, HHV- 6, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and other herpetic viruses in all their various forms, as well as HIV.

It’s also antibacterial; it helps to fight off virtually every form of bacteria and flush its waste from your body. Whether you like the taste of cilantro or not, parasites definitely don’t like the taste of it; cilantro is an incredible worm deterrent especially. For any chronic or mystery illness, whether diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed, cilantro is a must-have.

CONDITIONS
If you have any of the following conditions, try bringing cilantro into your life:

Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-de cit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)/mononucleosis, shingles, HHV-6, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Parkinson’s disease, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), Raynaud’s syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis (MS), migraines, vertigo, Ménière’s disease, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autism, eczema, psoriasis, urinary tract infections (UTIs), insomnia, all autoimmune diseases and disorders, fibroids, injuries

SYMPTOMS
If you have any of the following symptoms, try bringing cilantro into your life: Memory loss, brain fog, confusion, spasms, twitches, numbness, tingles, muscle cramps, foot drop, anxiousness, food allergies, sciatica, back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, headaches, dizziness, liver congestion, weight gain, trigeminal neuralgia, myelin nerve damage, mineral deficiencies, food sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity, blood toxicity, nervousness, constipation, inflamed liver, inflammation, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, joint pain, neuralgia, pins and needles, ringing or buzzing in the ears

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
When you and yourself getting easily flustered, a little dizzy when faced with life’s choices, perplexed about your life’s purpose or about how someone in your life is behaving, turn to cilantro. This potent herb brings clarity, so that you can find your path and head in the right direction without getting distracted by other options or others’ behavior.

SPIRITUAL LESSON
Cilantro teaches us that life is an ongoing cycle of extraction. It doesn’t stop at pulling heavy metals out of our bodies—we’re also meant to help our friends and family through life by listening to them without judgment as they work through difficult times. What pain can you help a loved one purge? What negative self-talk can you coach a friend to leave behind? Sometimes we hold on to beliefs or memories that no longer serve us, and we need some extra support to let them go. Just as cilantro is featured in cuisines from diverse cultures, emotional detox is a universal need. The next time you eat cilantro, think about who in your life could use a sympathetic ear. Try reaching out to that person, and—without overriding with your own opinion—let your loved one speak freely.


Contributor: Shelly Debin Toland-Author of “Pain Free-Drug Free”

The Best Way to Have Regular Poops and a Flat Tummy

The Best Way to Have Regular Poops and a Flat Tummy

Claremont Colonic Center
Dietary fiber is a good thing. In fact, it’s an excellent thing and something that most people don’t get enough of. The daily recommended amount of fiber is 20 to 30 grams. The best source of dietary fiber is vegetables, and sadly, most people aren’t consuming enough of this valuable food group.
Getting enough fiber offers a wide range of health benefits, including:

  • Better cardiovascular health
  • Weight management
  • Blood sugar control
  • Better skin
  • Decreased risk of stroke
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Lowered risk of hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones, and kidney stones


I eat muffins and cereal, does that work?

Eating whole wheat bran muffins and cereal is actually not a great way to get dietary fiber. It actually raises your insulin levels and promotes leptin resistance, which causes all sorts of other health issues on top of weight gain. Sorry to all those cereal and muffin eaters out there!

The critical importance of both types of fiber

Did you know that there are two types of fiber? Soluble fiber is found in foods like nuts, berries, and cucumbers. Insoluble is found in dark green leafy vegetables, celery, and carrots, and helps bulk up stools, and allows food to move quickly through the digestive tract for healthy elimination. There are some foods like fruits and vegetables that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber provides bulk to the intestines and balances the pH levels in the intestines. This type of fiber promotes regular bowel movement while preventing and relieving constipation. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water – hence its name. It also doesn’t ferment with the bacteria in the colon. It is thought that insoluble fiber helps to prevent diverticulosis and hemorrhoids and ushers out toxins from the body.

Soluble fiber is similar to insoluble, although it makes a gel and binds with fatty acids. This slows the emptying of the stomach and allows for nutrients to be readily absorbed. Soluble fiber can lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for those with pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Grain and anti-nutrients

Unfortunately, getting your fiber from grains can harm your health, as the high-fiber bran portion of the grain (which is what makes it a whole grain) actually contains anti-nutrients.

Gliadin and lectins, which are substances found in grain, can increase leaky gut syndrome and contribute to all types of digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps. It can also result in other symptoms like allergies, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, mental disturbances, and much more.

On the other hand, a diet that includes plenty of high-fiber fruit, nuts, seeds, and veggies like berries, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes almonds, flax, and chia seeds, will help improve gut health. Plus, it will keep your appetite under control and may even help people with heart disease live longer.

One study found that those who ate the most fiber had a 25 percent decreased risk of dying from any cause than those who didn’t get enough fiber. After suffering a myocardial infarction, people who increased fiber consumption were also able to reduce their risk of dying from any cause, including other heart-related events.

The bottom line is, you’ll reap a wide range of benefits from consuming dietary fiber, as long as it’s coming from organic vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds rather than processed grains, which promote chronic disease and do nothing for your health.

It’s just one more reason to give up those “junk” foods and add more veggies to your diet. If you have an aversion to vegetables, adding them to a smoothie can help make it easier to feed your body what it needs.

Delicious high fiber foods

Here is a list of 21 delicious high-fiber snacks that will keep you full and healthy.

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Hummus
  3. Avocado
  4. Nuts
  5. Coconut
  6. Figs
  7. Chia seeds
  8. Quinoa
  9. Parsnips
  10. Kale
  11. Broccoli
  12. Carrots
  13. Spinach
  14. Swiss chard
  15. Mushrooms
  16. Peas
  17. Cabbage
  18. Cauliflower
  19. Tomatoes
  20. Green Peppers
  21. Celery


What about supplements?

Although it is easy to find a fiber supplement, even the best supplements on the market only provide a small amount of the fiber we need daily, and the sources of this fiber are not always the best. If you must take a supplement, never take one that contains methylcellulose (fake cellulose), calcium polycarbophil, or wheat dextrin. These ingredients have no nutritional value at all.

As you plan your meals, keep in mind the importance of plenty of fiber of both kinds. Your body will thank you, and you will be more regular than you have ever been!!


Contributor: Susan Patterson, Alternative Daily

8 Myths and Facts About High Cholesterol

8 Myths and Facts About High Cholesterol

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
High cholesterol affects as many as 93 million. U.S. adults over the age of 20. As common as the condition may be, many people have misconceptions about what it is and how to manage it.

The following myths and clarifications offer insight into what cholesterol is and how it’s linked to cardiovascular health.


Myth #1: You’d know if you had high cholesterol

Most people with high cholesterol don’t have any symptoms. While some develop yellowish growths of cholesterol deposits on the skin called xanthomas, these growths usually don’t occur unless cholesterol levels are extremely high.

Many people only experience symptoms when they have complications from atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries. High cholesterol commonly causes it.

In people with atherosclerosis, plaque made up of cholesterol, fatty substances, and other materials builds up in the arteries. As the plaque builds up, inflammation can occur.

As the arteries narrow from the plaque, blood flow decreases to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body. This can cause complications such as:

  • angina (chest pain)
  • gangrene (tissue death)
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • kidney dysfunction
claudication, or pain in legs with walking

It’s a good idea to learn whether you have high cholesterol early on to reduce your risk for these complications. You can screen for high cholesterol easily with a simple blood test.

Myth #2: All types of cholesterol are bad

Cholesterol is a vital substance that helps the body function properly. The liver makes cholesterol to produce cell membranes, vitamin D, and important hormones.

Cholesterol moves through the body on lipoproteins (a combination of the lipid and its protein carrier), hence the names for the two main types of cholesterol:

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the “bad” cholesterol. It raises the risk of heart attack or stroke. Too much LDL can build up in the arteries, creating plaque and restricting blood flow. Lowering LDL reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the “good” cholesterol. It carries cholesterol back to the liver, which removes it from the body. High HDL levels can reduce the risk of stroke.

A cholesterol test reports:

  • total cholesterol
  • LDL
  • HDL VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein)
  • Triglycerides

When it comes to cardiovascular risk, your doctor is most concerned with LDL and VLDL, then with triglycerides, and finally with HDL.

Myth #3: Everyone should aim for the same cholesterol targets

There’s no universal target for blood cholesterol levels. Your doctor will look at your cholesterol numbers in the context of your other risk factors that indicate you may be at greater risk for heart disease.

Doctors typically consider above-optimal cholesterol levels to be:

  • total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or more, or
  • LDL cholesterol of 100 mg/dL or more
These targets change if a person has higher risk for heart disease due to family history or other factors and hasn’t had a previous heart attack or stroke.

Doctors may not recommend the same treatment for two people with the exact same cholesterol levels. They instead create a personalized plan using a person’s:

  • cholesterol measurements
  • blood pressure
  • weight
  • blood sugar levels
  • prior history of atherosclerosis, heart attack, or stroke


These and other factors help your doctor determine what your cholesterol “targets” should be.

Myth #4: Women don’t have to worry about high cholesterol

High cholesterol is a leading cause of heart disease. And heart disease is the number one cause of death among women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It affects women and men in about equal numbers.

Some conditions can affect cholesterol levels specifically for women, such as:

  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • hormonal changes
  • menopause


Certain risk factors, like having low HDL, are worse for women compared to men.

Myth #5: Cholesterol levels are all the result of exercise and diet

Exercise and diet are important factors that contribute to cholesterol levels. But there are other factors at play, including:

  • smoking or being around secondhand smoke
  • obesity or excessive weight
  • heavy alcohol use
  • genetic factors that result in high cholesterol


Myth #6: I take medication for high cholesterol, so I don’t need to worry about diet

Two sources affect your blood cholesterol level:

  • what you eat
  • what your liver produces


Common cholesterol medications like statins reduce the amount of cholesterol your liver makes. But if you don’t eat a well-balanced diet, your cholesterol level can still go up.

Cholesterol is just one factor in an assessment of heart health. Statins can provide a false sense of security.

A 2014 study involving more than 27,800 people found that calorie and fat intake went up among people who used statins while it remained stable for those who did not use statins.

Body mass index (BMI) also increased among statin users.

Myth #7: Dietary cholesterol is the most important part of my diet

Researchers now know that eating foods high in cholesterol doesn’t necessarily lead to high blood cholesterol levels.

A more direct culprit may be saturated fat. Foods that are high in cholesterol are also often high in saturated fat.

Still, dietary cholesterol can make a difference. A 2019 review of research found that each additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol or more per day was associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

Counting any one nutrient isn’t the solution. To improve cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association’s 2019 science advisory suggests doctors focus on helping their patients improve their overall eating patterns.

That means eating more:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • lean meat


It also means cutting back on:

  • processed foods
  • packaged foods
  • fatty cuts of meat
  • full fat dairy


Myth #8: I don’t need to get my cholesterol checked if I’m under 40 and in good shape

High cholesterol affects people of all body types and ages. Even fit people and those under 40 years old should get tested.

The American Heart Association recommends checking cholesterol levels even if you’re at low risk for heart disease.

The American Heart Association advises the following test schedule for people who don’t have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors for the condition:

  • one test between 9 and 11 years old
  • one test between 17 and 21 years old
  • one test every 4 to 6 years for people over 20, as long as risk remains low


The CDC and Department of Health and Human Services recommend more frequent testing for people who:

  • have heart disease
  • have a family history of high cholesterol or premature heart attacks or strokes
  • have diabetes
  • smoke

The takeaway

High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and its complications, including stroke and heart attack.

Your cholesterol levels are just one factor your doctor will use to create a personalized risk assessment and management plan for cardiovascular disease.

Regular monitoring, proper use of medications, and a healthy lifestyle can all help keep your cholesterol levels in check.

Contributor: Healthline.com