Possibilities of reducing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and increasing natural resistance to the disease via nutritional intervention
We recommend a thorough examination of the following medical facts for the benefit of the Hungarian population. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the efficient fight against the current epidemic of SARS-CoV-2 and to rapidly reduce the number of fatal complications.
The scientific facts we put forward have been known for a long time; although they have been confirmed by recent research, they have not been established in clinical protocols yet. Of course, this concerns the spread and course of infectious diseases. We are not infectologists, but our special field of expertise has been nutritional science and nutritional intervention for 10 years. Based on international literature and clinical experience we argue that there are some simple solutions that can be applied quickly and effectively in everyday life to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and to drastically reduce the severity of complications.
It has long been known that an increased carbohydrate intake increases the risk of infectious diseases. It has also been known for a long time that an increased carbohydrate intake increases the vitamin needs of the body. This is well-established medical knowledge; it is included in textbooks on biochemistry and physiology written several decades ago. Current diets, however, are mainly carbohydrate-based or high in carbohydrate, which is the result of cultural trends and mainstream dietary advice. Unfortunately, this is not at all favourable in the current epidemiological crisis. The development of age-related chronic medical conditions in the elderly further exacerbates the consequences of insufficient carbohydrate-based diets. The seriousness of the situation is worsened by the fact that dietetics has repeatedly made recommendations based on flawed principles and there are no specific medical recommendations.
The reality of this situation is difficult to recognise because public health care does not have specific medical experience in comparing different dietary habits, this task is delegated to experts of dietetics; however, dietetics has no real clinical feedback. Catch-22.
In this critical and alarming situation, we would like to draw attention to the fact that changing diets can cause drastic changes in the course of the COVID-19 epidemic in both positive and negative directions. This partly explains the significant difference in mortality rates between countries and different cultures.
The consumption of carbohydrates significantly contributes to viral replication and increases the body’s need for vitamins. These two known facts alone significantly influence the development and course of the disease. Extensive carbohydrate intake may even interfere with the physiological function of the immune system, thus significantly reducing the body’s defence capacities.
This is due to known scientific phenomena. vitamin C and vitamin D are two key elements in the physiological functioning of the immune system. The human body’s supply of these determines the extent to which the infection affects the body and whether complications emerge. All studies to date have confirmed that the levels of these vitamins are significantly lower in case of infectious diseases and chronic medical conditions, which severely worsens patients’ chances of recovery and pose further health risks. This is what makes the elderly the most vulnerable age group. However, many studies have also shown that additional intake of these vitamins through supplements is ineffective and does not affect morbidity or mortality. These physiological and immunological phenomena can be traced back to the following factors:
- As for vitamin C, there is the so-called Glucose-Ascorbate antagonism due to structural similarity between vitamin C and glucose molecules. Even if the blood plasma contains a lot of vitamin C, it cannot efficiently enter cells if it is inhibited by the concomitant presence of glucose, which is a competitive antagonist. As a result of this phenomenon, the ascorbic acid content of cells and the blood glucose level are inversely proportional: the higher the blood glucose level, the lower the cellular ascorbic acid level. This is especially true for cells involved in immune defence, which ideally may accumulate up to 100 times the level of ascorbic acid in the blood. High levels of vitamin C in immune cells are key to effective immune function. As a result, a high-carbohydrate diet will inhibit the function of vitamin C, so the reduction potential of vitamin C, which is the basis of immune response, will not prevail, resulting in a “weak” immune response.
- Vitamin D can be biologically inactive and active. The conversion of an inactive form to an active form is catalysed by the enzyme 1-alpha-hydroxylase predominantly in the kidney but in other cells too. Even the smallest increase in fructose levels in the kidneys blocks the enzyme 1-alpha-hydroxylase, which makes the inactive-active vitamin D conversion impossible. This phenomenon fundamentally affects the physiological function of vitamin D. Fruit consumption may significantly reduce or even stop the conversion of vitamin D to its active form for a long time; all other food containing fructose can do this. This requires a radical change in the interpretation of the physiological effects of fruit consumption.
- The real physiological effects of artificial vitamins have been the subject of heated debates. An extensive survey carried out by the Danish government revealed that the vitamins needed by humans were found in animal offal. Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the earlier view that vitamins disintegrate when exposed to heat, that is during cooking, is a misconception; it is true only for vitamins in plants. Animal offal (containing vitamin C with up to 50 to 100 times higher concentration), surprisingly, has a very high heat stability, meaning that the vitamin C content does not decrease during cooking.
These are scientific facts, which, although discussed in the literature, are not yet widely known. Their practical implementation is basically non-existent in current nutritional recommendations, especially in a clinical setting.
Canadian authorities and experts conducted research into the H1N1 outbreak; it was clearly established that the highest risk factor was extensive carbohydrate intake and most people severely affected by the virus were diabetics.
Unfortunately, ketosis is an unknown concept in clinical and medical practice, even though a team, led by Professor Miklós Julesz, conducted relevant research between 1930 and 1960. Ketosis is the exact opposite of a carbohydrate-based diet. Here, we would like to draw attention to a very recent study that has shown that non-carbohydrate-based energy recovery, i.e. ketosis, can provide protection against infections. The specific physiological process is also known.
The above facts are based on physiological and biochemical knowledge. Obviously, there is a reason why they have not gained ground widely in the clinical mindset.
Now, in this crisis, it may be time to reconsider basic nutritional principles in order to manage COVID-19 and protect the population. This requires an unorthodox approach, which sooner or later will be inevitable.
What can and should be done in the current situation:
According to the scientific facts mentioned above, a decreased carbohydrate consumption significantly reduces the risk of serious infections. The daily consumption of a small amount of animal fats (10 dkg, ca. 3,5 ounces) is important for our vitamin and energy balance. The most effective sources of vitamins, as argued, are pieces of animal offal, which need to be implemented regularly in the diet.
Traditional Hungarian diet and gastronomy are suitable for this and are familiar to Hungarian people.
There is no doubt that this knowledge is contradictory and astonishing, but it is scientifically and clinically validated.
We would also point out that this simple methodology tends to meet superficial evaluations and is usually rejected without consideration. Such scientific and generally human behaviour is called “Semmelweis Reflex” in international literature. We don’t need to explain why.
The scientific validity of our statements is to be understood in light of the results of relevant human clinical and animal trials.
Of course, we think that the epidemiological measures taken by the Hungarian Government and the Operative Team are of great importance.
In order to effectively combat the current epidemic, and in order to rapidly reduce the risk of fatal complications, we recommend a thorough examination of these facts. We are ready to pass on the knowledge accumulated throughout our nutritional intervention practice.
Dr Zsófia Clemens PhD, neurobiologist, Head of Institution
Dr Csaba Tóth, GP, nutritional intervention physician
Dr Andrea Dabóczi, nutritional intervention physician
Dr Enikő Andrásofszky, former Chief Medical Officer, radiologist, nutritional intervention physician
Dr Réka Horváth, nutritional intervention physician
Dr Gábor Kolonics, GP, occupational physician, nutritional intervention physician
Publication list: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Zsofia_Clemens