Immune Reboot with Dr. Robert Silverman: Rational Wellness Podcast 293
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Dr. Robert Silverman discusses How to Reboot Your Immune System with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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1:54 One of the biggest health problems is that Americans are unhealthy. The average American consumes 160 lbs of sugar per year and sugar is deleterious, esp. to the immune system. 300 calories of sugar will decrease your immune system by 50% over a two hour period. The average American consumes 146 pounds of wheat per year in gluten, and we all know gluten is damaging to overall health, especially our gut health where 80% of our immune cells are housed. The average American also consumes 142 pounds of artificial sweeteners, which are extremely ruinous to gut and brain health.
3:50 We have had so much discussion during the pandemic about acquiring immunity to the virus, but to be able to get immunity requires your immune system to function properly. You can’t control the virus, but you can control the host.
5:20 We need to make the host inhospitable to the virus and other pathogens. Dr. Silverman lives in New York blocks from where the pandemic had its most severe crisis in the United States, where hospitals were overflowing with the sick and the dead from COVID. This is one of the reasons for Dr. Silverman to write this book. The immune system has three levels of defense. The skin is a barrier system that prevents entry of pathogens, but the surface of our gut is a vulnerable place for pathogens to get into our system. The use of digestive enzymes and stomach acid and probiotics can be very helpful.
8:20 Intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting technically means taking a day off from eating, so really what we are referring to is time restrictive eating. We are talking about going 14 hours without eating, which stimulates autophagy, which is how the body cleans out broken down old cells and this stimulates new cells. We will call this intermittent fasting. Dr. Jeffrey Bland has called this immuno rejuvenation
Dr. Robert Silverman is a Chiropractic Doctor, clinical nutritionist, and founder and CEO of Westchester Integrative Health Center. His website is DrRobertSilverman.com. He is a respected and sought after international speaker on nutrition and his first book, Inside-Out Health was an Amazon #1 bestseller. The ACA Sports Council named Dr. Silverman “Sports Chiropractor of the Year” in 2015. Dr. Silverman’s new book, Immune Reboot: Your Guide to Maximizing Immunity, Restoring Gut Health, and Optimizing Vitality, filled with science-based guidance for boosting immune health.
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for Functional Nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss and also athletic performance, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111. Dr. Weitz is also available for video or phone consultations.
Dr. Weitz: Hello Rational Wellness podcasters. Thank you again for joining us. Our topic for today is immunity. How does our immune system work, how to maximize immunity, and what to do when the immune system becomes dysfunctional? We’ll be speaking with my friend Dr. Robert Silverman about his new book, Immune Reboot: Your Guide to Maximizing Immunity, Restoring Gut Health, and Optimizing Vitality, filled with science-based guidance for boosting immune health. Dr. Silverman is a chiropractic doctor, clinical nutritionist, and founder and CEO of Westchester Integrative Health Center. He is a respected and sought after national and international speaker on nutrition, and his first book, Inside Out Health, was an Amazon number one bestseller. The ACA Sports Council named Dr. Silverman Sports Chiropractor of the Year in 2015. Rob, thank you so much for joining us today.
Dr. Silverman: Ben, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m excited to talk with you and share some clinical gems.
Dr. Weitz: Good. So Dr. Silverman, what’s the number one health problem today?
Dr. Silverman: Wow. I mean, do we have three hours?
Dr. Weitz: It’s keeping secret documents in your house. No, I’m kidding. Just kidding, sorry.
Dr. Silverman: I think one of the biggest problems is without question Americans are unhealthy.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: And we go through this all the time. The average American consumes about up to 160 pounds of sugar per year. Sugar is extraordinarily deleterious and especially so through your immune system. 300 calories of sugar will decrease your immune system by 50% over a two hour period. So I used to travel a lot and we all used to have to wear the masks and this is not a mask mandate conversation. I would be in the airport and everybody’s wearing a mask, but everybody’s drinking a frappachino, I mean, talk about something that was incongruent. The average American consumes 146 pounds of wheat per year in gluten, and we all know gluten is damaging to overall health, especially our gut health where 80% of our immune cells are housed. So if anything, let’s all have better gut health. What have you done for your guts lately? The gut communicates with the immune system. Again, the average American consumes 142 pounds of artificial sweeteners, extremely ruinous to gut and brain health. On and on and on. You and I have talked about it. We think that three stage pandemic is probably obesity, diabetes, and high blood sugar. Even though, did I miss one?
Dr. Weitz: I guess you could say heart disease.
Dr. Silverman: Heart disease, but we know that the other ones lead to heart disease. So Dr. Mark Hyman coined a phrase diabesity, where you have this parallel lines between obesity and diabetes. 93.2% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy. 7% of us are metabolically healthy. So I always ask my patients when they come in and a real, what I like to think is a pointed question, what have you done for immune support lately? What have you done for immune health lately?
Dr. Weitz: It’s kind of ironic. We’ve just been living through this pandemic, whether it’s over or it’s almost over or anyway, and there’s been just so much discussion of the virus and we’ve got to get immunity and nobody’s really talked about the immune system and most people really don’t know much about the immune system. All they know is, you got to get immunity to get protection. But a lot of it depends on the status of your immune system. Maybe we need to know more about the immune system. That’s one of the great things about your book is you go into this very, very interesting, well thought out explanation of how the immune system works. So give us some more information about how the immune system works.
Dr. Silverman: Love to. Love to. We’re only as young or healthy as our immune system is functioning. The interesting thing about our immune system is that it works 365, 24-7 and we never know that it complains till it becomes dysfunctional or we overwrought it. So what I like to say, and a lot of the immune system conversation obviously is pointed towards COVID-19 and viruses. So I always open up with most patients by saying, you can’t control the virus, but you can only control the host.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: I can’t control that virus, Ben. There’s no way.
Dr. Weitz: Absolutely.
Dr. Silverman: We can control the host, we can make that host inhospitable, that host, our patients.
Dr. Weitz: Yep.
Dr. Silverman: Our friends, our family.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: Inhospitable. So these pathogens, these bacteria, these viruses just can’t get in. And I agree with you. I was searching, and this is the reason that I actually wrote the book. I’m in New York, I’m in Westchester County, and the whole idea of the long COVID and everybody getting sick really occurred right outside of New York City, six blocks from where I live. So a lot of my neighbors, friends, and family got infected and I was searching like, who’s the immune guru? And there were some out there, but it was not like if we said who’s the blood sugar guru? Who’s the muscle guru? Who’s the gut guru? I mean, we have a lot of answers and we have a litany of people that we could look at. But the immune system is fascinating in that there’s three levels of defense against disease causing organisms that we need to know. Number one, it’s our barrier system. It needs to prevent entry and that is our skin in our mucus membrane. Our largest organ in the body is skin. And an interesting thing about the skin, when we get a cut in the skin, we know to put a band-aid on it. If we get a cut in the skin that’s big enough, we know to stitch it. However, when we cut our gut, we don’t know always to put a band-aid on it or to stitch it up, just as a little food for thought, if you will. Stomach acids and digestive enzymes-
Dr. Weitz: Let’s just stick on that point for just a second. I don’t think people realize that the mucosal lining of your gut from your mouth all the way down to your anus is this amazing interface with the outside world. We think of it as inside our body, but that’s how the outside world interfaces with it and the health of that mucosal lining is crucial for our overall health.
Dr. Silverman: Without question. It has been purported that the first time the outside world sees the inside world is when something goes through the small intestine, it gets digested and gets into our bloodstream, into our secondary immune system. It’s a great point. Getting back to some of the other things, to piggyback on what you just said, stomach acid and digestive enzymes are a critical element. Lastly, beneficial bacteria that live in the colon, our microbiome or microbiota is also a critical element. So I was talking to one of my colleagues who was a medical doctor and he made a great point. He said you know that first part, that barrier system is so strong because when you eat something that you’re not supposed to either comes up or goes back out because your body’s trying to correct itself from absorbing it. So it’s truly the first barrier.
Dr. Weitz: Right. So yeah, I mean if you don’t have a healthy, balanced, well-functioning immune system, you’re not going to create antibodies no matter what you do. So that’s something we’ve got to really understand more about. What are some of the best ways to stimulate the immune system? In your book, one of the things you mentioned is intermittent fasting.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah. Everybody gets excited about intermittent fasting and let’s have some definitions. I mean, I know everybody who listens to you gets high level information, so everybody knows what intermittent fasting is. But a cursory, you look at it is real simple. Intermittent fasting actually technically means taking off a day from eating. What we’re really referring to is time restrictive eating where you fast during a certain part of the day and you feed during a certain part of the day, but we’ll use intermittent fasting synonymously with that.
So for me, intermittent fasting is perfect in that a 14 hour fast and a 10 hour feed. There’s other numbers like 16 and eight, I think that you may adhere to that. But the real key to intermittent fasting, why it’s so potentially powerful for immune health is because intermittent fasting stimulates something called autophagy, which won a 2016 Nobel Prize. Autophagy is the body’s own cleaning process of breaking down old cells, old macrophages, old immune cells, breaking them down and regenerating new cells. You’re actually allowed to get a term that Dr. Jeff planned coined immuno rejuvenation and it’s specific autophagy to immuno senescence cells, which are cells that die and become dysfunctional as you age that pertain to the immune system. So for me, a lifestyle hack for everybody and especially for a stronger robust immune system would be intermittent fasting.
Dr. Weitz: And of course autophagy is a key factor in longevity and a lot of people are doing things like intermittent fasting and other strategies to try to promote longevity.
Dr. Silverman: Absolutely. What turns on the longevity switch is autophagy. What turns on the autophagy switch is decreased sugar and starch in eating over a period of time.
Dr. Weitz: Great. Yeah. So let’s talk about one of the biggest health challenges today. You mentioned long COVID. How do we know when someone has long COVID? What is long?
Dr. Silverman: It’s funny, everybody always asks me. So here is basically a definition. It’s the continuation of development of new symptoms three months after the initial SARS-COV-2 infection with these symptoms lasting for at least two months with no other explanation. So your symptomology goes on for a period of time, and I know we’re going to dig in a little later on how do you diagnose it? Right now the best way unfortunately to diagnose long COVID is symptomology, but I think one of the biggest problems in pertaining to long COVID is the fact that we have a dysfunctional immune system. So piggybacking back to the question you asked about the immune system and the three levels, there were two that I wanted to dig into and that was the innate immunity. Everybody has it. It’s actually your security guard of your immune system. It’s a general surveillance, but man, when they have to go, they’re like Marines.
Those white blood cells call neutrophils and macrophages, they engulf and destroy foreign I invaders and eat damaged cells very efficiently. Your innate immunity can then flick a switch. And by the way, if we want a little functional medicine factoid, dendritic cells are the cells that switch innate immunity into adaptive and acquired immunity. Now we use the term acquired because we acquired over a lifetime. It’s adaptive because it’s quite flexible. It’s a specific defense because they produce both B and T cells. You made a great point about antibodies and I’m going to dig into that in a second. T-cells traditionally come from the thymus glands. That’s why they call them T-cells. The problem with the thymus gland, it’s the first gland to go through involution in the body. It actually begins-
Dr. Weitz: It shrinks, yeah.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah. Shrinks as a teenager. And our B-cell come from our bone marrow. They’re our antibodies. So we have IGE, which we’re probably really not going to talk about it because that’s an allergic reaction. IGA, which is very big in functional medicine. It’s secretory at the gut lung, mucosal membrane levels. IGM, which is early, and of course IGG, which is the most populated one. It’s very small. IGG is interesting because it passes the placenta and gets to the fetus. But the big thing about IGG is it has a lot of properties of protection because it actually blocks the docking of ACE-2 receptor sites. Unfortunately, you should have a normal response to infection, which you don’t during COVID, the normal response would be inflammation. We’re supposed to raise inflammation, we’re supposed to stimulate our innate immunity, we’re supposed to get some specific immunity, we should get resolution and we should get a memory. And that memory is in those antibodies. The problem is it becomes too high with COVID. And now we have something and everybody who’s listening, this is one thing to write down. We have something that’s going on in our bodies called immune imprinting or original energetic sin.
It’s a phenomenon in which the body preferentially repeats its immune response to the first variant encounters despite being alerted to a new variant. So essentially we take a picture of the first virus that attacked us, but these variants, these mutations, we’re taking the same antibody picture. And that’s one of the reasons why when we get infected the second time and certain things don’t work as well, is because of immune imprinting. MIT and Harvard actually did over a hundred patient study to look at neurological long COVID symptoms and found they had inflammation of the brain with cognitive defects. What they truly found was an underwhelming amount of antibodies to COVID, but an overwhelming amount of antibodies to the coronavirus. So you asked me about the definition of long COVID, I kind of segued into some other areas and I’m sorry, one more fact about long COVID-
Dr. Weitz: Wait, wait, what did you mean by antibodies to COVID versus antibodies to the coronavirus?
Dr. Silverman: Well, coronavirus, there are coronaviruses that were colds before.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: This wasn’t the first coronavirus. This is a very specific, unique, gnarly virus. And that’s the problem. For me, I like to call it the prober or it’s the magnifier of what’s going on inside. And it looks, seems to find our immune weakness where other viruses may not looking in that same manner. This is a nasty guy. I mean unfortunately, but one thing I wanted to hit you with, and it’s a wow for me, estimates have shown that long COVID has cost the US economy three point trillion and still growing. When you compare and contrast it with the great recession of 2000 and 2007 to 2008, it’s the same money and we’re still going. So we have a healthcare dilemma coupled with a healthcare cost dilemma. Nobody better suited than the people on this podcast to help the current population.
Dr. Weitz: You mean functional medicine practitioners in particular?
Dr. Silverman: Functional medicine practitioners in particular because if they look at the body from the inside out, they’re willing to adhere to alternative protocols in conjunction with other protocols. And I think that their eclectic ness and getting to the root cause resolution really enables them to have a more optimized outcome.
Dr. Weitz: So what are some of the symptoms that alerted us that a patient might be suffering from long COVID or is suffering?
Dr. Silverman: Well, it’s interesting how they’ve changed with the different mutations, but the typical ones that we see are fatigue. That’s number one. And if we dig into that, it’s a fascinating reason why. Number two is post exertional malaise. So those are one and two. So you’re tired and then you try and exercise and you’re tired. So obviously that poses an issue. Diarrhea is a big one, and I know we’ll talk about it a little later. Diarrhea typically comes from the vagus nerve. Some other typical ones are cognitive dysfunction, sensory motor symptoms, headache, memory. And now what we’re getting a lot of is a lot of respiratory issues, a lot of cold like things. And hopefully we’ll get to dig in as I seed you, hopefully we can talk about some obvious things and people that talk about the loss of sense of smell and taste and things of that nature.
Dr. Weitz: Right. So is there a way to diagnose long COVID other than the symptoms?
Dr. Silverman: There is no single diagnostic tool. And it’s a great question, but the symptomology is the driver. There are some serum tests that have been shown to be elevated. So we get into the cytokines. We’ve got our interleukin one beta, we got our interleukin six, we got-
Dr. Weitz: Right. I know Bruce Patterson and certain researchers are looking at cytokine tests. I know diagnostic solutions has a cytokine test.
Dr. Silverman: All great.
Dr. Weitz: And Dr. Vojdani and Cyrex have the immune test as well.
Dr. Silverman: Right. Interleukin 17, TNF alpha. So that’s great, I mean these things are elevated, obviously your immune system’s on overdrive. So some of the other things that you could look at, and I actually wrote it down on a piece of paper here because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t forget what it was and well figures the paper’s not, ah, there we go. I wrote it down. I knew-
Dr. Weitz: By the way, I can’t help but when we describe the symptoms of long COVID, the first thing that jumps out is, hey, this is chronic fatigue. We know often has a postviral [inaudible 00:18:00].
Dr. Silverman: But it looks like chronic fatigue. And that takes us to another thing. So let me hit you with, you could look at white blood cell differential, C-reactive protein, you may look to get into your immune system, vitamin D, zinc, iron, ferritin, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. But to talk about fatigue, that’s a great point. And let’s dig in. I mean, you’ve treated people with COVID. Everybody’s tired.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: Everybody complains about fatigue. And the reason is the mitochondria is not functioning well. And that poses a tremendous issue. But more so than that, I believe that long COVID actually exhausts the body. So there’s four factors for increasing the risk and decrease in immune system and leading you to this mitochondrial dysfunction. Number one is high levels of viral RNA during an infection. So you and I may be out, there could be 500 people, 200 people have the infection. So we’re susceptible to a bigger load. In addition to that, you look at the presence of autoantibodies. Now we talked about antibodies before, doc, right?
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Dr. Silverman: So antibodies protect us from a pathogen and antigen. Autoantibodies attack ourselves. So they are proportion of molecular mimicry and they lead us down a path of autoimmunity, which is a tremendous byproduct of COVID and leading us into long COVID. And you talked about fatigue. One of the things that we’ve got to bring up is the reactivation of Epstein-Barr. I mean, I was sitting here about 16 months ago taking everybody’s blood, an Epstein-Barr, and everybody post COVID was elevated. And I’m like, everybody’s 50. I mean everybody’s got the kissing disease mononucleosis, was I missing something that was going on in my neighborhood? I mean like what’s going on?
But the reactivation of viruses, and this is a clinical gem, viruses lay dormant in your body, in our central nervous system because we’re both originally chiropractic just now, we’ve added things to our armamentarium. That said the reactivation of not just Epstein-Barr, but herpes and other viruses really become very fatiguing to our overall body. And another thing, and we touched on it before, having type two diabetes also exhausts the body. So ultimately these long COVID patients have an immune dysfunction, circulatory problems, and you want to talk about fatigue. How about brain fog?
Dr. Weitz: That reactivation of dormant viruses, that’s a major thing people don’t realize is every virus you’ve ever had, usually some remnant of it exists in your body in a dormant state. And it’s interesting how the SARS virus, SARS-COV virus can reactivate some of these dormant viruses and that being a major factor in some of these long COVID symptoms. And that’s something that we’ve looked at before as a factor in chronic fatigue. So it’s not that surprising that this might happen again with this particular virus.
Dr. Silverman: Without question. And again, I think at some point we’ll dig in about why the mitochondria poses an issue, but it looks like chronic fatigue. Now the real question is it the decrease in dysfunction of mitochondria because of COVID? Is it the elevation of Epstein-Barr or is it the combination of the two? And that’s a question that the doctor has to ask.
Dr. Weitz: Sure. And the in inability of our immune system to keep these inactivated viruses inactive.
Dr. Silverman: It isn’t it amazing that we’re standing here? I mean when you think about it, a virus’s sole goal is to infect us, stay with us and have me share it with you and me get it again.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: And people unfortunately were perishing because they weren’t in a physical state to hand this gnarly virus. And that’s why if you believe in the idea that it actually has some sort of intelligence, it’s mutating to become more contagious but not as detrimental.
Dr. Weitz: Yes.
Dr. Silverman: But again, waking up a virus with the Epstein-Barr, the shingles, the herpes, and all these other viruses at the cell level order immunity, man, it is not a fun trip and it’s not just the flu. So we as practitioners need to really segue into building up that wall, that immune wall and also understanding once they get it, what they need to recharge those batteries.
Dr. Weitz: And you also mentioned molecular mimicry, which is what many of us know is one of the main mechanisms leading to autoimmunity. And maybe you could explain what molecular mimicry is.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, molecular mimicry. The way I like to share it with my patients and my other docs is it’s a molecule that mimics another molecule. So having said that, there’s something called a motif or a protein sequence. And when the protein sequence of a foreign body is close to something in the body and the immune system is a little overrun or dysfunctional, it attacks that part of the body. So one of the classic things that we use is gluten, because gluten has a similar motif or protein sequence to the cerebellum. So the same thing happens, but it is a dysfunction in our immune system. So we all talk about longevity, we all know the big names that bring on longevity books. Longevity is the matching of health and lifespan and it’s great stuff. David Sinclair’s done some great work out of Harvard. Dr. Mark Hyman without question has a new book, Peter Attia, and all that. But the bottom line is if your immune system isn’t robust and resilient and versatile, you’re not going to have great longevity. So molecular mimicry is the backbone of why we get autoimmunity. Interestingly enough, people ask which immune system or which part of the immune system leads you to autoimmunity? And that’s the adaptive and acquired one because of those antibodies. It’s not the innate.
Dr. Weitz: Right. And we know that patients with certain chronic health conditions, like we already talked about, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, tend to do worse with long COVID, and why is that?
Dr. Silverman: Well, first off, one of the reasons that it does worse, it’s really simple is we’re not as healthy if we have these pro-inflammatory conditions. So you said obesity, well we really should call it cov-obesity. So you have an increased incidence of COVID if you have obesity and if you get COVID, you typically gain some weight. We’ve all heard of the freshman 15. Well COVID-19 has put anywhere from 15 to 50 pounds on people because they’ve been so sedentary post COVID. Some of the other factors like you said, and when you hear the list you really understand they’re all inflammation based. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, we talked about metabolic syndrome. Age unfortunately is also a problem because as we get older, immune system isn’t as resilient, as strong, we lose our thymus gland, any kind of pulmonary disease, liver, kidney disease. Obviously if we have pre autoimmune conditions, we have a dysfunction in our immunity. Chronic neurological diseases, any problems with brain, heart and or lungs. And the big reason is fat cells. And that’s what your fat cells expanded when you’re obese is the depository for toxins. So again, you’re pre inflamed.
Dr. Weitz: You, you know what just occurred to me, it would be interesting to start screening patients for their thymus gland status. We now can do functional MRIs of the brain and we see patients suffering with dementia. The brain shrinks. Well, if we know the thymus gland can shrink with age and that’s a mark of decreased longevity, maybe we should come up with a scan for the thymus gland that we do as another marker of longevity status.
Dr. Silverman: I agree. I think that would be fabulous. I mean those are the T-cells. Then we always get to the argument, do you want to test the antibodies? Do you want to test the T-cells?
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: And it’s a great question because with the current population having most people, I think it was 97% of people, it was a Harvard and Yale study, people had antibodies. Now they didn’t differentiate did they have antibodies to the virus, to the vaccine or both. But basically everybody has antibodies. We’re still getting reinfected at a unfortunate rate. Maybe we need to look at that T-cell and that thymus because that is what’s recognizing that intruder because we all know that we’re getting that immune imprinting. We’re taking that picture of that original virus and we’re not adapting. And even though we have antibodies, the antibodies, if they’re not the exact right antibodies, more of a pawn in the game versus being a queen that’ll protect the king, if you will.
Dr. Weitz: I see. So we have antibodies to an older variant and a newer variant, somewhat eludes those antibodies.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, I mean when you think about it, we have antibodies, which is a good thing, but it’s not the perfect thing that we’ve seen. We have auto antibodies, which is not good. And then COVID makes these anti ideotype antibodies, which are antibodies that attack our own set of antibodies and make them and turn them into the antigen or mirror the antigen to our immune system. And that’s a no bueno. That’s when chaos and mayhem goes on. The problem is, and I know I’ve said it and I’ll probably say it a few more times, please forgive me for being redundant, we have a dysfunctional immune system in the large portion of the American population and our lifestyle, our food and our environment can make an indelible mark of improving our outcomes if we just get our patients to change.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, we’ve got to recognize that all those factors that you mentioned like food and exercise and our environment can lead to inflammation. And if we’re already inflamed going into an infection when we need our inflammatory levels to up-regulate, then we’re increasing the possibility that we have this runaway inflammation, which with COVID is called the cytokine storm.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, the cytokine storm. What a great conversation. I know you were prefixing that question to have me jump in on that. Cytokine storm. So is it the storm or is it the cytokine drizzle that we’re worried about? So the cytokine storm, the way I explain, I’ve been drinking water out of this mug. So think of cytokines as the water in the mug. If everybody’s pre inflamed, they already have water in the mug, and then you get sick, you pour more water in and it flows over the side and you have this storm, you have this mass of water.
However, if you’re in good condition and there’s no water, ie metaphorically cytokines, you’re not going to have this storm. However you get the storm because of a drizzle, because you and I both talk about it all the time. The one thing that we want to do, our credo is to manage and modulate inflammation and to decrease it because we don’t want it to go too high. We don’t want it to last too long. So a constant low level of inflammation or pre inflammation is like a cytokine drizzle which leads and adds to the storm. So it’s not just one isolated incident where immune system overworks, it’s probably something building up to that. And then it goes over the top, if you will.
Dr. Weitz: Right. Which is one of the reasons why these chronic diseases, which really are the major killers today, I don’t know how many people realize this, but despite the number of people who died from COVID, more people died from heart disease in 2000 and 2001. So these chronic diseases that create this chronic level of inflammation are what we really have to pay attention to getting under control.
Dr. Silverman: I agree. Chronic disease, I think 60% of Americans have one chronic disease and 40% of Americans have more than two. And I think that really segues into poor immunity. So let’s put this together in a nice tight bow. There was a study that came out where it compared the US population and the Japanese population, and let’s go through some numbers. COVID cases in the US were 12 times higher than in Japan. Death was 17.4 times higher than Japan. The American man is 7.4 times greater propensity towards obesity and the American woman is 10 times greater. So where, where’s the crux? Where’s the nexus? Well, diet. So we eat more saturated fat and obviously it’s going to be bad saturated, probably coming from grain fed animals, less fish oils than in Japan. We also consume more beef, 400% more beef. Sugar and sweeteners, 235%. The Japanese population eats more fish, a little more rice only like 11.5% and they also consume 55% more green tea. 2020 March, there was a study that came out when COVID just really came to the forefront and it was on EGCG green tea and they had 18 nutrients and drugs. Some of those drugs were drugs that they use now to help attenuate much of the symptomology of COVID-19. And a lot of the nutrients were things in my protocols that I’ll share with you. Green tea was the best at blocking the docking of the ACE-2 receptor sites with the nasty spike protein. So when you look at those numbers, you realize, hey, guess what? They’re not as heavy. They’re eating better. They didn’t get as many positive tests and death rate was lower. We’re 4.24% of the world’s population here in the US, yet we had 15% of the world’s death. So I believe that food plays a role that makes us unhealthy and predisposed to COVID-19.
Dr. Weitz: And by the way, the Japanese have much longer longevity. In fact, they have the best longevity statistics, whereas the US ranks like 25th or 26th. And this is the reason why is this chronic disease epidemic that we’ve got to start focusing on.
Dr. Silverman: I agree. And I think it all starts with lifestyle.
Dr. Weitz: Yes.
Dr. Silverman: I think our medical doctors are great. I mean we’ve seen things that they’ve done recently that has just been stupendous and I think they’re able to add to our lifespan. I think what we all need to get together and really discuss is how do we get the health span to equal our lifespan? And I think one of the missing links is clearly immunity.
Dr. Weitz: Right. And getting those chronic diseases under control, the best way is not to do it by taking the latest GLP-1 inhibitor and eating a bunch of processed junk food.
Dr. Silverman: Processed foods. I’m sorry. 63% of our caloric intake come from ultra processed food.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. Associated with increased mortality and we’ve got to focus on that. We’ve got to get people eating healthy and exercising and sleeping and taking basic nutrients.
Dr. Silverman: Absolutely. With the idea of mortality on processed food, ultra processed food, for every 10% increase in calories in ultra processed food, it’s a 14% increase in mortality, just like you said. The numbers speak volumes for what we need to do.
Dr. Weitz: How can our listeners support their immune system?
Dr. Silverman: Well, number one, there was a study in Frontiers Public Health in February of 2022. Nutrition could play a key role in the management of post COVID syndrome and stimulating the immune system. So that would be number one. Number two, let’s talk about interesting stuff like controlling the host. We talked about you can’t control the virus, but you can control the host. Let me give you some easy lifestyle tips or hacks. Number one, let’s avoid certain foods. I’ve got a couple acronyms I’ll share with everybody, and it’s in my book. Number one, GPS, no gluten, no processed food, no added sugar. And y’all, thank you Dr. David Perlmutter who talked in Drop Acid about fructose. Let’s decrease the amount of fructose that we consume also. Another acronym, DNA, no dairy, no nicotine, no artificial sweeteners, no deep fried foods. And guys, when you go out to eat, the number one oil that they use is canola oil. I mean, if you want something damaging to your body, consume canola oil. So I walk in and they always ask, are you allergic to something? And I go, yes. And they say what? But I say very simply, no gluten, no dairy, no vegetable oils. Now the gluten they can do because everybody’s, even when I go on the Delta lounge, they’re gluten free now. The cheese and the dairy, they move around. The vegetable oils, they’re scrambling because they don’t know what to do. Most places don’t consume or cook with olive oil. And in that you can say it’s olive oil if it’s 51% olive oil and still 49% canola oil. So we want olive oil.
My wife and I, I’m going to admit this, she’s going to kill me, but what the heck? You know she’s married to me long enough. I get a couple of demerits, she’s not going to toss me. So we walk around with avocado spray in the areas that we eat and we ask them if they’ll use this. And they’re very happy to, I’m not telling everybody they should do that. That may be over the top. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Control your glycemic index and load, eat lower carbohydrate foods. Jack LaLanne, who was a chiropractor, once said, if man makes it, I won’t eat it.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: Michael Poland, I think his name is.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, Michael Pollan.
Dr. Silverman: Right. He said, if it’s made in a plant, no good. If it comes from a plant, it’s great. Same thing. And for me, one of the hidden issues or drivers of inflammation would be avoid food sensitivities coupled out with environmental overloads. Eat a clean, healthy diet. Eat more organic foods if you can. And if you’re going to choose proteins, go for wild SMASH fish. Another acronym, SMASH, salmon, mackerel, anchovy, sardines, herring. Consider a plant-based or really a plant forward diet. Tom Brady’s got it. 80-20, not bad. Fruits, some fruits, low sugar fruits, lots of vegetables, grass-fed meats, high fiber, nuts and seeds, bone broth. And by the way, if you’re going to drink coffee, it’s got to be organic and it’s got to be organic in a filter. Obviously intermittent fasting, we talked about that before-
Dr. Weitz: And if you can use a brown paper filter rather than white because then you avoid the bleach.
Dr. Silverman: There you go. I mean, when you think about it, hello, Mr. And Mrs. Patient, just switch to organic coffee. And a good filter. Will make a tremendous mark in your health. Just that. Just take some gluten out. Watch your sugar. Prepare food at home. 50% of Americans spend their money eating out.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Silverman: We spend 9% as Americans on our food of our total income. Europeans spend 20, and I’ve been in Europe, their restaurants are no more expensive than us. We’re choosing poor foods. Get that sleep, exercise. Hey, chiropractic care, why not? Low level laser therapy, big thing to help mitochondrial function. Modify your stress and consider supporting your immune system. And one last thing on that section, the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. JFK said that. So for me to extrapolate it, he was saying, please be proactive with your health. Don’t be reactive.
Dr. Weitz: So one of the issues with COVID and long COVID is patients have a tendency to lose their sense of smell and taste.
Dr. Silverman: Oh my God.
Dr. Weitz: What can we do about bringing that back?
Dr. Silverman: You know what? That is the number one thing. Right now, a third of long COVID patients suffer from persistent smell loss. It was up to 80%. You talked about a functional MRI. The protocols that I’m going to share have had really good responses. However, if they don’t respond in 30 days, you may want to get a functional MRI and see about the brain mass in the frontal lobe. So I use essential oils to determine what’s your sense of smell. I use that as a baseline. So my nutritional protocol is alpha lipoic acid for 600 milligrams, zinc for 60 milligrams, pro‐resolving mediators over a 30 day treatment protocol.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Silverman: And that would be just a sense of smell. It’s worked like a champ. I also use some laser the cranial nerves. Very interesting thing. The higher your interleukin six, the worse the loss of sense of smell. So if that 30 day period doesn’t work, you better go buck wild on decreasing that interleukin, those inflammatory markers. Loss of taste, which isn’t as common. That’s actually more involved because you need restoration of mucosal epithelial integrity, restoration of nerve endings, removal of cellular aggregates, inhibition of inflammation, and of course decrease of interleukins. So here you go, glutamine, 2.5 grams, NAC, 500 milligrams astragals, about a gram, glutathione, the master antioxidant, a preferred form would be liposomal about 500 milligrams, Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA preferably from salmon oil, four grams and curcumin one gram.
Dr. Weitz: Why preferentially from salmon?
Dr. Silverman: You know what a lot of people consume a lot of fish oils. Those who are consuming it and they’re getting some food sensitivities. And sardines is one of the high food sensitivities, even though it’s in my SMASH fish. Salmon and of course wild salmon is not.
Dr. Weitz: Interesting. I always worry-
Dr. Silverman: I mean, I got popped.
Dr. Weitz: I always worry about fishing out the salmon now.
Dr. Silverman: Right. And one thing is we all know that the farm raised salmon is one of the, to most toxic foods that we can eat, we go into a sushi place, that’s a question I ask everybody-
Dr. Weitz: Especially now that they have genetically modified farm salmon.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, I mean they’ve, they’ve taken it from farm to GMO. So forget it. If it’s not wild salmon just I pass on it.
Dr. Weitz: Right. It’s really hard to get wild salmon, it’s really hard to get wild fish in any restaurant. And just for our listeners, in case they don’t know if you see wild Scottish salmon, it’s not wild. It’s grown in pens in the ocean and they’re claiming it’s wild because it’s grown in the ocean, but they’re in pens are being fed, cornmeal and things like that. And it’s not wild.
Dr. Silverman: And that’s a great takeaway away for everyday lifestyle. And like I said, that’s the beauty of functional medicine. It’s these little additives that we share that really help the body to heal.
Dr. Weitz: What is the role of gut immunity?
Dr. Silverman: Wow. Well, to me, the epicenter of your health is your gut. 80% of your immune cells are in your gut. It’s where your macro and micronutrients are absorbed. And it kind of makes a lot of sense because what is under siege the most daily but your gut, because look at the tons and tons of food that we eat and everything gets flushed through your gut. So critical element. By the way, most people where there was always this discussion on shedding the virus. Well, where do you shed the virus? Memo, you shed the virus through the gut. You have particles that come through your nose and your mouth, but you shed the virus through the gut. There was the most viral reservoirs in people’s guts.
Now there’s a direct correlation between leaky gut and hyper infection and inflammation in COVID-19. So essentially if you add a leaky gut, it makes a lot of sense that this virus that you were trying to shed that had already infected you was going through this leaky gut and getting into your bloodstream and you’re starting on that hamster circle again.
There’s new data that indicates an elevation or an expansion of B-cells. Antibodies does not allow the gut to heal because it doesn’t allow epithelial and stromal cells to come together, which are critically needed to knit up to prevent leaky gut. Zonulin, which is a tight junction marker that you know well has been shown to be increased during COVID. As a matter of fact, studies have shown dysbiosis, an unleveling of good and bad bacteria in the gut, has been seen one year after COVID-19. So without question, if you’re going to do anything, you may start thinking about keeping your gut healthy. Because once again, for me, the gut is the epicenter of your health. And that’s why I spent a whole chapter in my book on my super seven R action plan. Now everybody knows the Rs. Dr. Bland started with the four Rs and we’ve evolved up to seven and eight Rs.
Dr. Weitz: It’s interesting. Diagnostic solutions offers a COVID stool test. I’m wondering how many of these patients with long COVID might still test positive for COVID in their stool because they have those residual viral particles in their gut.
Dr. Silverman: I mean, that’s a great test to do. What I’ve been doing in my office, I’ve been testing the barrier. So my suggestion to practitioners is, here’s the question. Have you had Mr. And Mrs. Patient COVID-19? Have you had it recently? Recently, in the last three years, so obviously that’s a timeframe. If they have, I really believe everybody would benefit and behoove themselves to test the gut barrier. Because if your gut, obviously if your gut is leaky, if you have increased intestinal permeability, if you have an overgrowth of candida, if you have dysbiosis where you have this overgrowth or over abundance of parasitic bacteria, you’re not going to function well. Your immune system isn’t going to function well. So that’s a standard for me as well as the CBC, et cetera, et etcetera.
Dr. Weitz: So you’re testing Zonulin in the serum versus the stool?
Dr. Silverman: I much prefer the Zonulin in the serum. I do Zonulin, I do occludin.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Silverman: LPS is also a great thing to test for, but I know we didn’t want to get into the depth of the gut today.
Dr. Weitz: Lipo polysaccharides, which are toxins secreted by certain types of bacteria.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, LPS. If that harbinger’s out of the gut and gets onto any one of your organs, it’s just a bad day. So again, you have to have a compromise at the gut level. And when you really test people, you’re going to realize that there’s a percentage of people that do have leaky gut and there’s a percentage of people that have an unleveling in their ecosystem. So real quick, on the left side, you’re supposed to have symbiotic bacteria in the gut. These are type of bacteria that can really populate, almost multiply. The bulk of it is commensal and commensal I like to refer to as real estate. Then on this side, you’ve got that parasitic. As long as that parasitic is below 15%, all is well.
I like to use an analogy, I’m a basketball guy and I loved Dennis Rodman. He’s a little crazy. If one Dennis Rodman’s on the team life is great because he does all these things that nobody wants to do and he drives the other guy crazy. So he is like the parasitic bacteria, if you will. However, if you have three Dennis Rodmans on the team, it’s chaos and you have dysbiosis in your ecosystem, in your gut.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, Draymond Green is the same type of player. I was just listening to his podcast this morning.
Dr. Silverman: My type of player. Absolutely. Yep, you got it.
Dr. Weitz: So what is your role of the vagus nerve in immune health, in COVID, in gut health?
Dr. Silverman: Vagus nerve, cranial nerve number 10 goes from the medulla oblongata down through the transverse colon. The key nerve that allows bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain and the brain and the gut. The anatomy’s very interesting because when it attaches to the transverse colon, it actually attaches to something called a neural pod. So here’s your gut. This is the inside, this is the outside of your gut. This is a clip. This clip is a neuro pod. This finger is the vagus nerve. Because it’s attached to the neuro pod, it is able to sense what’s going on inside your gut and communicate in a millisecond with your brain. So therefore it’s sensing what’s going on in your gut. 80% of your immune cells are in your gut. It’s communicating with your brain. But they found that in long COVID, there were symptomologies linked to vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve was thicker. You had trouble swallowing because that’s one of its functions and you had some impaired breathing. So when you really dig into it, I said earlier one of the bigger symptomologies was diarrhea. 66% of people had a vagus nerve issue, had a diarrhea problem. However, studies have shown, and this is not chiropractic studies, these are medical journals talked about the idea of increasing vagus nerve tone. So we know vagus nerve is captain of the ship of the parasympathetic nervous system. So there’s sympathetic and parasympathetic. They’re like volumes. They’re, they’re like a seesaw. So when your sympathetic system goes up, you’re in a fight or flight, you’re excited, digestion is shut off. Vagus nerve is a rest and digest nerve. And your vagus nerve also communicates with your central nervous system. So when you’re able to up the tone of your vagus nerve and decrease the tone of your sympathetic system because of the parasympathetics go, you’re getting a balancing. Stimulating the vagus nerve increases acetylcholine, reduces inflammation, has shown to improve outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis and actually inhibits cytokine storm. Studies have shown that increasing the tone of the vagus nerve leads you down a path of decreasing the symptomology of long COVID.
Dr. Weitz: How do we stimulate the vagal nerve?
Dr. Silverman: Well, for me, in my office, I use a low level laser. I found that a low level laser with multiple wavelengths with multiple colors like red is a 635 nanometer. The violet is a 405 nanometer, works in a one to three minute manner. And how did I find that out? I tested with heart rate variability. There’s some also everyday things that I suggest. Something that a guy that we talked about a lot, Andrew Huberman, he talked about a physiological sigh. So a physiological sigh, it’s kind of like when I get excited or anybody gets excited, it’s too short, breaths, hold, and one long breath. Gargling also helps. And there’s some nutrition that works really well. Omega-3 fatty acids, L citraline, intermittent fasting, vitamin D, and getting some good rest and exercise will help level both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. That vagus nerve now is one of the biggest conversation pieces that you’re going to have in any kind of medical or alternative medical journal.
Dr. Weitz: Good. So I think we’re pretty much out of time. Do you want to, any last final thoughts you want to leave us with?
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, you know what I did, I wanted to share with everybody, I know you wanted me to close up and I truly-
Dr. Weitz: Oh no, that’s fine. Yeah, go ahead.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, no, I wanted to share something. I wanted to talk about why is the mitochondria, I want to finish with that. Why is the mitochondria shut down? It’s something-
Dr. Weitz: By the way, for everybody who’s listening, the mitochondria are the energy producing organelles of the cell.
Dr. Silverman: Right. They’re your power plants, your batteries. They make ATP, everybody knows ATP from high school biology. So what goes on? Well, interestingly, mitochondria originates from the gut and bacteria, so it still communicates and it’s a cousin and a sister to the gut. Having said that, interestingly enough, they also have a secondary function other than producing ATP in power. And that second function is to help with the innate immune system. So when you infected with COVID, your immune system is an energy drainer, it drains up to like 55% of your overall energy. And your mitochondria says, wow, it sees this drop in energy. The mitochondria senses this as a threat. It results in the mitochondria changing its primary function from energy production to cell defense. This switch, this button is called cellular danger response. And you get tired.
So you’re typically tired when you’re sick, but you come more tired when you get sick with COVID and then you’re not responding. So you’re out. I mean, you’re just there. And people have called me and said, I can’t get off the couch. I’m too truly fatigued. However, that’s a button that switches off. The button to switch on, goes through a whole process. It’s like a circle process. It’s three parts. So I ask everybody, what have you done for your mitochondrial support recently to help turn your mitochondria on? And therein lies the rub and therein lies why so many people are suffering from fatigue because their mitochondria shuts off, but they’re not in shape to get their mitochondria to turn on in an efficient, timely manner.
Dr. Weitz: What’s the best way to turn the mitochondria on?
Dr. Silverman: Well, I would tell you to turn it on by exercising, but if you’re tired, that’s not going to work. So I’m a big proponent, yeah, it’s just not going to work. Here would be my protocol to help with fatigue and turn the mitochondria on. B vitamins, coenzyme Q10, acetyl L carnitine, [inaudible 00:53:40] acid, glutathione, magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamin C and if you can get some NAD plus, and if you wanted to balance your immune system, let’s talk about one last thing. Let’s get some mushrooms in there.
Dr. Weitz: You’re talking about immune strengthening mushrooms, yeah.
Dr. Silverman: Yeah, I guess I should’ve said that.
Dr. Weitz: You’re not talking about doing some psilocybin.
Dr. Silverman: Right. Apologize for the Freudian flip.
Dr. Weitz: Thanks Rob. How can our listeners and viewers get ahold of the book and find out more about you or contact you if they want your help with health problems?
Dr. Silverman: Well, I’m here in New York. We do do telehealth. Thank you for the shameless ability to plug, drrobertsilverman is my website. It’s all my social media. My name of my book is Immune Reboot. You can go to immunereboot.com or go on Amazon and get it. Let me know what you thought about the podcast. Let’s talk about getting the message out there. I’m all about that. Remember Jim Rome once said, take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great. Thanks, Rob.
Dr. Silverman: My pleasure.
Dr. Weitz: Thank you for making it all the way through this episode of the Rational Wellness Podcast. For those of you who enjoy listening to the Rational Wellness Podcast, I would certainly appreciate it if you could go to Apple Podcasts or Spotify and give us a five-star ratings and review. That way, more people will be able to discover the Rational Wellness Podcast. I wanted to say thank you to all the patients that we’ve been working with at our Weitz Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition Clinic, who many of whom, most of whom we’ve been able to help with a range of various health conditions, from various types of gut disorders, to thyroid and hormonal issues, autoimmune diseases, and various other cardiometabolic conditions. I very much appreciate you and I’m excited about going forwards, helping you to improve your health on your journey towards optimal health. I wanted to let everybody know that I do have a few openings now for new clients. You can take advantage of that by calling my Weitz Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition Santa Monica office at 310-395-3111, and we can set you up for a new consultation for functional medicine, nutrition, and we can get that going as early as the new year, so give us a call. I’ll talk to you next week.
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