How 90% of COVID Deaths Could Have Been Prevented

Introduction

Wow, here it is – a year dealing with this pandemic. I want to hit on a BIG topic: How the government could have easily reduced the death counts in the United States by up to 90%. I also want to hit on what is going on in India, the recent study with vitamin C and zinc in hospitalized patients with COVID, and my recommendations if you are going to get vaccinated.

Vitamin D3 for Everybody

O.K., to answer the question on how the death rate due to COVID could have been reduced by 90%, I want to revisit the data that I have shared previously on the relationship of blood levels of vitamin D and mortality due to COVID along with some new data.

First of all, considerable evidence indicates that approximately 70% of the population have insufficient levels of vitamin D (blood levels below 30 ng/ml) And a high percentage (e.g, 60%) of nursing home residents, African-Americans, and those with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other comorbidities associated with more severe morbidity and higher mortality due to COVID have blood levels of vitamin indicative of severe deficiency (less than 20 ng/ml).

Generally a deficiency reflects a vitamin D levels below 25 ng/ml. Take a look at the graph below. A new study has just been published that further substantiates these findings.1 The key point here is that mortality rate due to COVID was nearly 100% when vitamin D levels were below 19 ng/ml. At 25 ng/ml the death rate was still high at 85%. Contrast that with a level of 34 ng/ml had a 0% mortality rate. Many vitamin D experts recommend trying to achieve a serum 25(OH)D3 level between 50-80 ng/ mL (approx. 145-200 nmol/L) as the optimal level, but certainly getting to at least 34 ng/ml may be critical in having the best odds of surviving COVID-19.

Recently, there is a movement in the UK for the government to distribute vitamin D supplementation to people most at-risk of COVID-19. Based upon the data from the Andalusia region of Spain, which began giving a vitamin D supplement to nursing home residents in November. Since then, Andalusia’s figure for deaths per million from COVID-19 has dropped 82%.

So, here is my point, given the data above, if the US government would have established an aggressive campaign to give every American, especially those at highest risk for COVID, a bottle of vitamin D3 when this pandemic first hit my belief is that it would have reduced the number of deaths by 90%.

Vitamin D3 is inexpensive and could have easily been incorporated into the government’s economic stimulus package for EVERY American. Case in point, iHerb is currently offering a 90-count bottle providing 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per capsule at a trial price of $1.00. That is about one penny a day!

A search of ClinicalTrials.gov reveals there are currently about 40 ongoing clinical trials with vitamin D3 in for either the prevention or treatment of COVID.

We Don’t Have Time to Wait

My feeling is that we don’t have time to wait, we need to get everyone’s vitamin D level up into the safe zone of greater than 34 ng/ml. If we wait until it becomes accepted into conventional medicine, too many people will die needlessly.

 

Here is an analogy. The discovery that folic acid supplementation (400 mg per day) in early pregnancy can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by as much as 80% has been referred to as one of the greatest discoveries of the last part of the 20th century. This discovery was known for 30 years before it was adopted into medical practice. During the time is was known until it was “accepted” nearly 100,000 children were born with a debilitating birth defect that could have been prevented.

 

Folic acid was safe and should have been recommended as soon as the association was shown. Vitamin D3 is safe, even at 5,000 IU per day, and should be given at dosages ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 per day to boost blood levels of vitamin D into the safe zone of greater than 34 ng/ml, but hopefully in the 50 to 80 ng/ml ideal range.

COVID in India

In case you are not aware, something really interesting happened in India. COVID case counts, hospitalizations, and death counts have plummeted.2 Herd immunity appears to have been achieved, especially in the major urban areas. What is going on?

Here is my thought. The Indian population is used to having their immune system challenged. What we are learning about COVID is that speed and strength of the initial immune response is critical to winning the fight against SARS-CoV-2.

Vitamin C and Zinc Ineffective in Patients with COVID

In a study conducted at the Cleveland Clinic, 214 patients with patients COVID were randomized to receive either 10 days of zinc gluconate (50 mg), ascorbic acid (8000 mg), both agents, or standard care.3 The results showed no significant difference in the duration of symptoms among the 4 groups. Why not? Well, what we now know about this virus is that the immediate response by the immune system is critical in determining infectivity and the severity. In people many people with COVID, especially more severe cases, the infection is full blown. Here is my analogy. That fire extinguisher most of us have under the sink is extremely valuable in putting out a small kitchen fire, but if the whole house is burning down, it is just not going to be able to do the job. Does that mean the small fire extinguisher is useless? Of course not, it can do the job it was designed. The same is true for vitamin C and zinc. They are very important for stopping that infection before it gets out of hand, but once the infection has overwhelmed the body they are of little benefit.

Recommendations if Opting for the Vaccine

If you opt to get the vaccine, here are some recommendations to reduce the risks for side effects and also to enhance the vaccine’s effectiveness:

These are the same recommendations for supporting your immune system during the pandemic. There is data to support many of these nutrients in enhancing vaccine effectiveness. I will delve into this data more extensively in an upcoming webinar.

For now, be proactive, protect yourself, feed your immune system the support it needs.

Be well,
Dr. Michael T. Murray

P.S., this week iHerb is once again offering its Immune 4 on trial with a 30 day supply for only $1. If you have not previously taken advantage of this offer, I urge you to do so. If you have, please pass it on. It is a great bargain.

References:

  1. De Smet D, De Smet K, Herroelen P, Gryspeerdt S, Martens GA. Serum 25(OH)D Level on Hospital Admission Associated With COVID-19 Stage and Mortality. Am J Clin Pathol. 2021 Feb 11;155(3):381-388.
  2. Biswas S. Coronavirus: Is the epidemic finally coming to an end in India? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56037565
  3. Thomas S, Patel D, Bittel B, et al. Effect of High-Dose Zinc and Ascorbic Acid Supplementation vs Usual Care on Symptom Length and Reduction Among Ambulatory Patients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection: The COVID A to Z Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Feb 1;4(2):e210369.

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