HEALTHY BITE | Focusing on Immune Function Backed by Science

One of the things that I am hoping will emerge from this pandemic is a new focus on health care. On health, on immune function, on boosting immune function to be optimal because we need it not only to overcome the epidemic of preventable chronic diseases that we face but also to face the complications of this virus and this pandemic and for that matter, any future pandemic.

Focusing on Immune Function Backed by Science

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the interview I did with Professor Ian Brighthope, I’d recommend it to you. I think it’s a really excellent episode and we covered some really important subjects, one of which being Medicinal Cannabis, which after having been demonized and as you will learn, criminalized since 1937 is re-emerging as an effective way of treating many, many conditions and even outlines the reasons for that in this blog. 

Medicinal Cannabis

Medicinal Cannabis is on the rise and there are many good reasons why that is so. But the first part of the discussion was really about Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. I asked him to define it and to explain to us why each and every one of us should be aware of it because there are literally trillions of biochemical processes going on in every cell in your body, every minute of your life and that is what Nutritional and Environmental Medicine focuses on. Ensuring that you have all the right nutrients for those processes to continue optimally. If that is the case, there’s a very good chance that you will enjoy good health.

It’s kind of a very important issue that is dismissed by so-called experts and I’m often surprised. To any regular readers of this blog, you know that one of the things that I am hoping will emerge from this pandemic is a new focus on health care, on health, on immune function, and on boosting immune function to be optimal because we need it not only to overcome the epidemic of preventable chronic diseases that we face but also to face the complications of this virus in this pandemic and for that matter, any future pandemic

Nutritional and Environmental Medicine is so important

Like most people who are infected with coronavirus, don’t experience symptoms. Those that are immune-compromised, whether they’re aware of it or not. I know we hear examples of people saying he was perfectly healthy and then he came down with this. Well, I would question whether that person really was perfectly healthy. Maybe they were going through a particularly stressful period in their life where they may not have been sleeping well, and if you haven’t been sleeping well for even a week, your immune system is compromised. We are all vulnerable and that is why nutritional and environmental medicine is so important.

If you go to government websites that ask the question: Can you improve immune function? Do vitamin pills protect you from Coronavirus?” The answer that government organizations give is: “No. It’s much better to get all your nutrients you need–” and I’m quoting now from the Health Direct website. “No, it’s much better to get all the nutrients you need for a strong immune system from a balanced diet.” Now it’s underlined —  the balanced diet and I think that it should be underlined because how many people are eating a balanced diet is open to question. 

Then the next part goes on to say, and with a couple of exceptions, “Folic Acid for pregnant women, for example, but most healthy people do not need to use expensive supplements”. There’s a problem in that statement because it’s healthy people that are not at risk from Coronavirus. It’s those people with underlying health conditions and I would argue that if you haven’t slept well for a week, you’re already setting yourself up for underlying health conditions. 

The thing that disturbs me about this is when it goes on in the next paragraph to say “Social media has been infiltrated by claims that megadoses of Vitamin supplements such as Intravenous Vitamin C can treat the flu-like symptoms of COVID but there is no evidence to back this up.” Now, I just want to stop there because this is a government website giving public health advice, telling you there is no evidence to back this up.

Immune Function Backed by Science

I’ll just segway into some of the evidence, for example, in this 2018 article in the Journal of Pharmacological Therapies, which is not some social media source of information. Its heading is, this was 2018, “Vitamin C for the treatment of Sepsis: The scientific rationale.”

In experimental sepsis models, Intravenous Vitamin C, in references in Intravenous Vitamin C reduces organ damage, injury, and improved survival. In addition, emerging evidence suggests that the combination of Vitamin C with Corticosteroids and Thiamine, which is a B2 Vitamin, may act synergistically to reverse sepsis-induced organ dysfunction. Sepsis is when the infection goes through the whole body. These findings are supported by a recent observational study. Randomized control trials are underway to investigate this novel approach. That’s one study.

The other study in 2020, Intravenous Vitamin C for the reduction of cytokine storms in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Now, cytokine storms occur when inflammation is gone rampant, is gone crazy. We review IV Vitamin C on immune system response, the antiviral properties of Intravenous Vitamin C, and finally the antioxidant properties of Intravenous Vitamin C to specifically address the cytokine storm characteristics of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome that occur in the latest cycle of COVID-19 infections. There is adequate data to support this so there is when they say there is no evidence to back this up, we could go back over the next twenty, last twenty or thirty years and look for evidence to back that up. 


I think the point here is there is a big difference between making a statement, which many health experts do make, which says there’s no evidence to support this, whereas what they should really be saying is they haven’t read the evidence to support it and therein lies a very big difference. 

It goes on the health advice here on says “Consuming high doses of certain supplements such as Vitamin A and D can, in fact, be toxic.” Now. the 2012 study, “Vitamin D toxicity is not an issue, more of an issue is the pandemic in Vitamin D deficiencies.” Vitamin D deficiency is a major issue and we’ve covered this in some of our podcasts. I actually spoke to Dr. Carolyn Dean about Magnesium and the importance of Vitamin D, and I actually spoke to Jason Bawden-Smith on Vitamin D deficiency because of not exposing to the sun. But you know, this is a 2012 article on an update of Vitamin D on human immunity. 

It’s very important in immune function, not just in healthy bones, but in immune function in general. This study looked at the polypotent responses to Vitamin D that have been recognized for many years. The pluripotent, which means that is important enough for so many reasons and our new perspective on non-classical Vitamin D function stems from two more recent concepts. 

The first is that Vitamin D status is common to so many populations across the globe that means deficiencies. This has prompted studies to explore the health impact of suboptimal circulating levels of Vitamin D, with association studies linking Vitamin D insufficiency to several chronic health problems, including autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and common cancers. These are chronic diseases, but we also refer to them as comorbidities.

Here is a 2012 study pointing out that actually Vitamin D impact or the lack of Vitamin D’s impact. On human immunity, immune function is really important and the study in 2013, again on vitamin D and immune function. In vivo data from animals and from human vitamin D supplementation studies have shown beneficial effects of vitamin D on immune function and in particular in the context of autoimmunity, there are over 100 autoimmune conditions. So this is a major, major problem. I could go on for ages. 

Here’s a 2018 study in Endocrinology connection. Again, not social media and refereed Class A journal, and this were on Vitamin D and critical illness, what endocrinology can learn from intensive care and vice versa. How’s this for an opening statement? In the abstract, the prevalence of Vitamin D deficiencies in intensive care units ranges typically between 40-70%. 

I come back to the original question and this original statement, which says “Consuming high doses of certain supplements such as Vitamin D and Vitamin A can, in fact, be toxic.” Well, yes, it can be but far more importantly, deficiencies are the issue. Interestingly, that then goes on to come back to Vitamin C and say Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means it’s not lethal but if you consume more than your body can store it is simply removed via urine so excess vitamin C literally goes down the toilet. Well, guess what, so does water, and does that mean we shouldn’t be having water?

I just make the point that this is an issue that we cover in more and more depth in the episode I did with Professor Ian Brighthope on Nutritional and Environmental Medicine and also on Medicinal Cannabis, I’d recommend it to you. I think it was a great episode. I learned a lot from it. I hope you do, too. Hope this finds you well.


This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.