Dr Ross Walker – Heart Health Care and so much more Introduction
Today we are going in for a check-up with my cardiologist, Dr. Ross Walker. And now Ross is an absolute legend in Australia. He is an integrative cardiologist, which means he has an open mind to not only the use of pharmaceuticals but also an evidence-based approach to nutritional and environmental medicine.
He has written, I think, it’s up to six, seven books. He has a weekly national radio program and I always enjoy talking to him. I was visiting with him having my yearly Check-Up just a few weeks ago.
And I sat and spoke to him and I thought to myself, what a shame I didn’t have my microphone with me. So here we are sharing that conversation with you now. So I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Dr Ross Walker.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:09] Hello and welcome to Unstress. My name is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Well, today we are going in for a check-up with my cardiologist, Dr. Ross Walker. And now Ross is an absolute legend in Australia. He is an integrative cardiologist, which means he has an open mind to not only the use of pharmaceuticals but also an evidence-based approach to nutritional and environmental medicine.
He has written, I think, it’s up to six, seven books. He has a weekly national radio program and I always enjoy talking to him. I was visiting with him having my yearly Check-Up just a few weeks ago.
And I sat and spoke to him and I thought to myself, what a shame I didn’t have my microphone with me. So here we are sharing that conversation with you now. So I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Dr Ross Walker. Welcome to the show, Ross.
Dr Ross Walker [00:01:15] Thanks Ron, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:01:18] Ross, you know, we caught up just recently in my annual health check, which I always hate because you put me on that treadmill and I don’t usually run, but anyway, it was so good to catch up. And we started talking and I just said, listen, I gotta get you back on because, you know, there’s so much to cover. I mean, cardiovascular disease, where are we globally? Cardiovascular disease. Just remind our listeners how we’re going.
Dr Ross Walker [00:01:43] Mm hmm. Well, cardiovascular disease Ron is still the biggest killer in the world. There are around 17 million deaths every year from cardiovascular disease. Cancers is coming in a pretty close second, but it’s still cardiovascular diseases, number one. And even despite this pandemic, we’re all going through at the moment, nothing like cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, at the start of the pandemic, I went on television. I said, look, if everyone’s that worried about their health and security, stop stockpiling toilet paper, stockpile fruit and vegetables, and exercise equipment because one person dies in Australia every 12 minutes from cardiovascular disease, nothing like the death rate we’re seeing from COVID, which is still there. And it’s still modest, but it’s nothing like cardiovascular disease.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:30] We’ve become so used to or focussed on getting daily deaths. Death rates, isn’t it? When you start to say a person dies in Australia every 12 minutes.
Dr Ross Walker [00:02:42] Yep.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:43] And cardiovascular disease is a serious, what we’ve now referred to, chronic diseases, comorbidity that’s a term people are becoming familiar with. So it’s still a pretty major problem. I mean, we’ve been on this food pyramid and statins for over 40 years now. I would have thought cardiovascular disease would have been solved just following that advice, how we got it so wrong?
Dr Ross Walker [00:03:04] Now, we’ll get to that as we go along. But there’s a lot of factors with that one, my friend. I’ll talk about that when I answer your questions a bit later on.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:03:13] Okay. Well, let’s talk about what those risk factors are. Yeah. You know, what should people be looking at? I mean, this is like I’d like to think of this as my listeners visit to the cardiologist.
Dr Ross Walker [00:03:23] Okay. Well, first firstly, there’s three sorts of people that see me, three types of people. One what we call secondary prevention. And they’re people who’ve already had the heart attack, the stent, or the bypass. And they come for ongoing management because the point is, in my view, if you’ve had a heart attack, stent, or bypass, it should be one per customer.
And even if we had no further advancements in medicine, I believe we can keep people alive to their 100 with our current therapies, which also include lifestyle, which we will get onto in a second. So we have magnificent treatments now for people, both lifestyle, pharmaceutical, and natural therapies, but unfortunately, not everyone avows themselves to those therapies. But we can get onto that in a second.
So, yes, we have really had enormous advances and say, well, hang on, if we’ve had enormous advances, why is cardiovascular disease still the biggest killer? Well, let’s put it in perspective. In the 50s and 60s, we had the highest rates per head of population of cardiovascular disease in the modern world. And that’s been reduced by about 60 to 70 percent. I think you can still bring it down to close to zero, but it’s been reduced by 60 to 70 percent. So we have made enormous advancements.
Now, you and I Ron went to school together and I started medicine. You started dentistry in 1974. Back then if you had a heart attack, you had about a 30 percent in hospital death rate, 30 percent in hospital. Now it’s about at the very most, up to about three percent. And that’s for the sickest of the sick as well. That’s for very sick elderly people. And across the board, about a three per cent death rate but for fitter younger people say below the age of 75. You’re talking about less than one percent death rate going in with a heart attack as opposed to 30 percent, 40, 50 years ago. Significant, significant reduction.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:05:21] Yes, well, and you’re putting that down to the stents, the bypass, what are you putting that down to?
Dr Ross Walker [00:05:28] I’m putting that down to all of the above. So let me put this in perspective for you. Eighty percent of anyone’s management and we’ve got a lot better on this over the last 40, 50 years. Eighty percent has got nothing to do with doctors. Doctors aren’t that powerful. What is powerful is how you look after yourself. Before I get onto that. I want to make a big point here. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, diabetes. All of our modern killers are absolutely genetic.
You can be the healthiest person in the world and still drop dead in your 40s or 50s. If you have lousy genetics but your genes loads the gun, then your environment pulls the trigger. So if you’ve got moderately bad genes for heart disease, but you look after yourself very well, you might have a huge build-up of calcium in the wall of your arteries. But nothing actually happens.
We will get on the calcium scoring because it’s very relevant to this conversation, to what really goes into it. And I’ve been doing calcium scoring since 1999. I introduced into Australia back then. And so the good thing about a calcium score is it gives you a grading of how much muck you have in the wall of your arteries.
The calcium doesn’t matter a hang. But it’s a marker for how much fat you have. So a zero score is what you want. 50 percent of males age 50, 50 percent of females age 60 have a zero score. But if you’re a pessimist, that means 50 percent don’t. And they’re the ones who are at higher risk.
Now, even if you score zero, you’re not at zero risk. You’re just much lower risk. So I still occasionally see people who are in the much lower ranges of calcium scores up to about, say, 50. They still end up having a heart attack, but it’s caused by something different that we get onto a bit later.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:07:17] But just to remind our listeners, Ross, because you and I know what we’re talking about here, that’s the coronary calcium CT score, which is different from what a lot of people have had when they go in for an angiogram. Tell us to go back to you know, let’s assume our listeners never even heard of this coronary calcium score.
Coronary Calcium Score
Dr Ross Walker [00:07:37] Coronary calcium score is done on an advanced C.T. scanner. That and the ones we have these days are very low radiation. So you can forget about the radiation risk, especially if you’re over 50. There are only three advantages of being over 50. One is wisdom, two is grandchildren if you’ve got them. And three is you lose the cancer risk for medical radiation. So forget about getting a cancer out of the C.T. scan. Just not going to happen over the age of 50. So the C.T. scanner takes a picture, non-invasive picture, no dye, no injections, no invasive pitcher of the calcium build-up in the walls of your arteries. It doesn’t tell you about blockages. Doesn’t tell you about anything at all like that.
It just tells you how much calcium you have. The calcium doesn’t matter. So if you imagine a doughnut with a hole in the middle, that’s where the blood’s going. But all the fat sitting in the wall, the body then throws in calcium like a scaffold to stop it from breaking down.
So the calcium is actually a reparative response by the body to fat build up in the wall of your arteries. But it’s still been shown very clearly. The more calcium you have, the more muck you have in your arteries, more atherosclerosis you have. So what you want is zero. One to ten is trivial. Ten to one hundred is mild. 100 to 400 is moderate. And above 400 is… don’t read Tolstoy.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:08:55] Gosh, I remember you telling me that years ago and I hadn’t picked up that book. I was going to read it. But just following my cardiologist’s advice.
Dr Ross Walker [00:09:04] But that’s only if you do nothing about it. The European Society of Cardiology meeting in September last year that I had the pleasure of going to Paris. A fellow presented a paper showing clearly that if you coronary calcium, the score is below 100 over the age of 50. You do not need to be on a statin. So the only people who need to be on a statin are people who have either had heart attacks, stent or a bypass, or their coronary calcium scores above 100.
Once you get above 100, there’s a highly statistically significant benefit from being on a statin. I don’t care what your cholesterol is if you’ve got a zero score over the age of 50, you don’t need a statin. So I’ll give you one great example. I’ve got a 32-year-old woman and I would hardly ever do a calcium score, a 32-year-old because there is a small amount of radiation.
Younger people have more actively dividing cells. So they’re at greater risk of getting cardiovascular disease or getting targeting cancer from radiation. So so anyhow, this woman, I sent her downstairs for a calcium CT and her score came back at 48. Now, that’s in the middle of the mild range, but it’s a huge amount for a 32-year-old woman. So I’m hammering her cholesterol of 12.4 with a statin. 40 milligrams of Krestor, the strongest statin is a trial because I’ve got to get her cholesterol down because she will probably have a major cardiac event without that.
But I’ve got a 58-year-old woman with lifelong cholesterol of 9.5, again, familial hypercholesterolemia, and you give her a statin for a few days, she can’t lift her arms, sent her downstairs for a calcium score. Nothing. Came back zero. So she doesn’t need a statin.
Now, that’s almost medical heresy. Cholesterol 9.5 has got to be lowered with a statin. No, it doesn’t if you have no muck in your arteries. So don’t treat cholesterol, treat risk. But as I was saying before, 80 percent of anyone’s management. Is first, number one, have no addictions. You cannot be healthy and smoke, drink too much alcohol or snort cocaine. So anyone who has any addictions to anything is sick. Number two is good quality sleep. Seven to eight hours of good quality sleep is good for your body as not smoking. Number three is nutrition.
Now, everyone talks a lot about nutrition, but it’s very easy to summarise. It’s called eat less food, eat more natural food. That’s all you need to know. Number four is the second-best drug on the planet. Three to five hours every week of moderate exertion. And let me make the point here. If I give you a statin, I lower your risk for heart attack about 20 to 30 percent in an average dose. If I get you to have a three to five hour a week exercise habit, I reduce your risk for heart disease 30 %, cancer 30%, Alzheimer’s 30%, diabetes 30%, depression 30 %, osteoporosis 50%. Drop your blood pressure and you sleep better. There is no pharmaceutical preparation known to man that comes anywhere near exercise. Exercise is the second-best drug on the planet.
The best drug on the planet is a thing called happiness and stress management. So that’s 80 percent of our management. There’s a study called the Morgen Trial out of Holland showing that people who practice those five keys to the best of their ability compared to people who were the worst at doing, an 83% reduction in cardiovascular disease with no side effects as opposed to taking a pill, a 20-30% reduction in cardiovascular disease by taking a pill with the potential for side effects.
So I’m not saying you should either do lifestyle or take a statin. If you’ve got a high calcium score, you’ve had problems, do both. But don’t see the pill as being the key. This is what really disturbs me. People say I’m taking Lipitor or Crestor so I can eat what I like. That is complete and utter biologic nonsense to think like that. It’s a supplement that the pill is a supplement to your healthy lifestyle as are natural therapies.
A lot of people who take natural therapies and think I can losen a bit of my lifestyle because I take all these natural therapies, that’s nonsense as well. So those five keys are 80 percent of anyone’s management. And I think we should all be doing that. And then you build on that management based on the person’s level of risk.
So, again, if someone has a calcium score over 100, I’d give them a statin. Would I give them a baby aspirin? No, because the three major trials in 2018 showed that if you’re perfectly healthy and have a moderate risk for heart disease, then aspirin does absolutely nothing. But it may upset your gut may give you reflux.
If, however, your calcium score was well above 400, I’d probably add a baby aspirin then as well. Over the age of 60, this is absolutely key, high blood pressure is a much more important cardiovascular risk factor than cholesterol. So I’ve got people are on their 10 or 20 milligrams of Crestor or their Lipitor and they come in delighted that their cholesterol is 3.5 five millimoles per liter. And their blood pressure’s 160 on one hundred. And they’re about to pop a hole in their head. So you must manage cholesterol, manage blood pressure, regardless of somebody’s cholesterol or their cardiovascular risk. But cholesterol only needs to be managed, if you’re at high risk with a higher calcium score or a history of vascular disease, you’ve already had the heart attack, stent, or the bypass.
So we’ve got to really look at blood pressure management. That’s vital. We do all of those things. And then for people I see in my own practice who do the best, are people who a. Lifestyle is king. That’s 80 percent. The 20 percent lift is the appropriate use of pharmaceutical drugs, the appropriate use of high-quality evidence-based supplements because many conservative doctors think all supplements do is give you expensive urine.
But what I say is they also give you valuable blood. If you take the right ones with the right evidence behind them. But that’s the third component. So lifestyle, pharmaceutical therapy, if necessary, appropriate use of supplements. Number four is to go for regular follow-up. So there’s no point just having your one-off check to go I’m fine or not fine. If you’re very low risk, maybe every five years with you, with your cardiologists, if you need to see a cardiologist, if you’re at higher risk, maybe every one to two years, you need to come for regular follow up.
And here’s the final key point number five there. Is that if you have symptoms, you need to get a check. There was a study done of 22 people who died suddenly of heart disease, 21 out of 22 had told a doctor or a relative in the week before they had chest pain and they ignored it. And that’s why they died suddenly. You always get a warning before your vascular event. Because, as I said, doughnut, the fat sitting in the wall, it suddenly goes boom. But you first experienced that initial rip in the line of the arteries and gives you chest discomfort and then the clot that forms on top of that rip may occur over 10 minutes. It may occur over a few hours. It may occur over a few days.
But the quicker you get that chest discomfort or shortness of breath or whatever, it is sorted out. We say in cardiology, Ron, time is muscle. The longer you wait to get to that hospital, the more risk you have. And I’ve had people who’ve had bypass surgery have waited up all night with their chest pain to go away. It’s complete madness to do that. But the final thing we need to talk about is what makes a stable plaque unstable? What makes it rupture?
Because what puts it there in the first place is pure genetics. You might have insulin resistance. You might have a high lipoprotein like you might have familial hypercholesterolemia. You might have one of the more rare genetic conditions that put fat in the wall of your arteries. But that’s not what makes it go boom, which is the sudden rupture from stable to unstable. And it’s always some stressor. As you know, everything is in fives. Everything I talk about is in fives.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:13] Me too. Five fingers. Five digits.
Dr Ross Walker [00:17:17] You have five senses. There are five seasons if you count Frankie Valli. So everything’s in everything in fives. So what are the five stressors? The five stress was our number one emotional stress so please show me somebody who doesn’t have that. Number two is work stress and so there was a study called the Whitehall Study where they took 17000 British civil servants, followed them for 20 years, and they found that those civil servants who had the most heart disease were those who experienced job strain, which is defined as high demand, low control.
So it was the middle managers, that copped it more than the bosses. So work stress or mental stress is still very important, as is, of course, emotional stress. Number three is physical stress. And I’m not just talking about the physical stress of exertion because I’ve said before it’s the second based drug on the planet, but it’s the fat guy that runs for the bus who doesn’t exercise or in the US where they are shoveling snow or these idiots who climb Mount Everest. It’s not just the climb.
It’s the freezing cold temperatures and the low oxygen that can do that to your arteries or the stress of having an operation or the stress of chronic pain. Any physical stressor can do it. The physical stress of dehydration is so many different things that can bring on a vascular event. Number four is what we call pharmacologic stress. Now, what I’m talking about there is legal or illegal pharmacologic stress.
So we’re talking about, say, for example, it’s okay to have a couple of cups of coffee every day, but it’s not okay to have six. So people who have six cups of coffee every day, have a 20 percent higher risk for heart disease. So the dose is important. You might be a civilized human being that has one or two glass of wine per day. If you go out one night and have seven or eight. That might be enough to make your plaques unstable. Not that a sensible human being like you or me would ever do this Ron, but a snort of cocaine. I had a guy in his 30s with a very strong family history of heart disease. Who went out one night on a bucks night and had a few lines of coke… major heart attack.
These things are not harmless. So marijuana is a great discussion. I’m on the board of a company called NGC Pharmaceuticals that’s developing medical cannabis around the world. I totally believe in that. But you smoke one joint you increase your heart attack risk five times. If you’re a regular marijuana smoker, double the risk for heart disease. So any legal or illegal stimulant can bring on heart disease.
And then finally, infective stress, we’re living in the time of COVID. But it’s not just COVID. It’s also influenza. I spoke about my radio show recently about the fact that last year we had eight, eight hundred and thirteen deaths from influenza in the Australian winter season. So far we’ve had around 250 deaths from COVID. And only 35 deaths from influenza because of the social distancing, the washing the hands, the reduction of big events.
But any infective stress can inflame those fatty plaques and make them unstable and make them rupture. So when I see someone with a low calcium score who doesn’t have advanced atherosclerosis, they typically have very significant inflammation going on to their bloodstream. So we’re not just talking about cholesterol. We’re talking about cholesterol. We’re talking about blood pressure, we’re talking about inflammation, we’re talking about genetic predisposition to clotting. So these people that go on a plane from say, Sydney to Heathrow and they get out, they got a big swollen leg called the economy syndrome. They want to sue Qantas.
They should be suing their relatives for giving them the genetic abnormalities are about eight specific genetic abnormalities that thicken your blood. And then with some sort of predisposing factors such as mobilization, that genetic thickening can come out and also cause a clot in your leg or cause a heart attack or a stroke. A young woman goes on the pill and within a month she’s had a stroke.
She wants to sue Bayer because they made Yaz know she should be suing her parents who gave her the genes to thicken her blood. The oral contraceptive pill just precipitated the problem. So you can see there’s five significant stressors can bring out a problem if you have stable plaque. So I say to my patients. What’s the best way? What’s the best way for them to have a heart attack? That’s easy. I say start smoking, put on 20 kilos around your gut, eat whatever rubbish there is to eat. Do no exercise and make your life as complex and difficult as you possibly can. You’ll have a heart attack and I’ll have a sip of tea while you’re asking the next question.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:21:52] Ross, Ross, Ross, this happened the other night. The other day when I was sitting in your office and I thought I wish I had my microphone. Now I do and I get to ask you all these questions and you answer them. We love simple solutions, though, don’t we? And I hear you talk about it’s not all about cholesterol, but gee whizz your profession, the cardiologists. I mean, that’s not the message that we get from doctors and from cardiologists. I mean, how does.
Dr Ross Walker [00:22:18] I cannot tell you something. I was in this European Society of Cardiology meeting last year. One of the world leaders in cholesterol, one of the world experts, stood up and he said, I’m perfectly healthy, but I’d take five milligrams of Crestor every day just as insurance against having heart disease. And that is such a pathetic message to give people.
Now, I’m not against that in therapy, as you know. I’m just against the inappropriate prescription except in therapy and the emphasis to make people think that taking a statin is their major insurance. It is 10 percent of your management. 80 percent is lifestyle. 10 percent is pharmaceutical therapy and the other 10 percent is appropriate supplements.
But here’s the key, Ron. Here’s the key. Human beings are a sorry lot. Homosapiens are really sorry lot. If I line up 100 people and suggest the same treatment whether it be lifestyle modification, pharmaceutical medications, supplements, or whatever. After 12 months, 50 percent of people have stopped because our ability to follow advice is not particularly good. You’re one of the world’s greatest dentists. You said you tell people all the time, they should be flossing. And so they go home and they floss for a few days and they get sick of it and they stop.
Now, I’m an anally retentive neurotic, so I floss every day. As everyone should. People are just not that compliant and so you say Ross, why is there still 70 million deaths around the world from cardiovascular disease? Because a. people don’t look after themselves. Obesity diabesity is the major epidemic of the 21st century. So they’re still eating too much food. They’re still not exercising. Exercise available there to almost everyone on the planet. Only 50 percent of people do any exercise at all and only 25 percent of people do the prescribed dose of three to five hours every week. Twenty four. One in four. One in four. That means 25 percent are doing nothing. Sitting on the bums all day doing nothing and another 50 percent aren’t doing the right amount. So we’ve got 25 percent doing the right amount. 25 percent doing nothing. And 50 percent doing some. I mean, it’s just it’s dreadful.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:24:31] Now, you know, when we’ve done program and I know I’ve heard you say this as well about insulin levels and when I did a program on cancer, it almost seems like any single disease that we talk about, insulin levels are really important, which is the case here and yet, so much of the advice, you know, like I know I was on the Australian Diabetes Association website there.
Seventy-five year anniversary and they were giving us the 10 steps to living life and this was the key, I guess, with diabetes. Yeah. And step number one was have carbohydrates with every meal and stay on low fat. And you didn’t. And I guess the key here was with diabetes. If you wanted to live life without diabetes, you wouldn’t follow the advice of the Australian Diabetes Council. Yep. Yeah. What’s going on there?
Insulin levels are really important
Dr Ross Walker [00:25:24] Well, firstly, let’s talk about insulin resistance. 30% of Caucasians, 50% of Asians, and close to 100% of people with darker skin are insulin resistance. It’s a genetic problem. But as soon as you expose those genes to Western crap, that’s when the problem starts. This is why you’ve never seen a skinny Tongon, because their severely insulin resistance, and if you kept them away from Western rubbish, they would be thin, they’d be fine without any issues.
The Pima Indians in America in the 1920s were these svelte young men running around the American wilderness. Then they put them in reservations. They have the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the world. 60 % of Pima Indians are type two diabetics in Australia at six percent of the adult population. Sixty percent said ten times more in the Paymer Indians because they’re exposed to Western rubbish with background severe insulin resistance. And as you so rightly say high insulin.
Well, it’s not so much high insulin levels, insulin resistance with the insulin like growth factors, and all the other things not only associated with cardiovascular disease but also with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease as well. We’re now calling Alzheimer’s disease type three diabetes. And because we’re 70 percent of cardiovascular disease is directly related to insulin resistance, we have to start managing that. But the message out there is have carbohydrates.
I mean, look, this is what I call white death. White death is sugar. White death is white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes go straight to the gut and causes abdominal obesity. And that’s the issue. We have to start getting the right message out there. And one of them, one of the big things I say to people, I talk to me about diets and I don’t believe in any fad diets at all. I think every person should be having two or three pieces of fruit per day, three to five servings of vegetables, a serving is about a half a carrot.
And you say, well, let’s easy, Ross. If it’s easy, how come less than 10 percent of people do it and those who do it have the highest rates? Oh, the lowest rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes in the community. And it’s a simple thing to do. And it’s got nothing to do with your damn cholesterol levels. And we have this message about low fat and low cholesterol.
About 50, 60, 60 years ago, a lunatic called Ansel Keyes published this thing called the Seven Countries Study. Now, if you can figure this one out, Ron, you’re a smarter person than I am. He looked at 22 countries, published the results of six in a thing called the Seven Countries Study. Huh. I mean, seriously. Because obviously, the 16 countries didn’t fit his hypothesis that fat and cholesterol caused heart disease because fat and cholesterol don’t cause heart disease.
There is a component of cholesterol that causes heart disease, and it is small, dense LDL cholesterol. It is small, dense HDL cholesterol. So forget about this good and bad cholesterol, LDL, bad, HDL good mantra that people shove around all the time. It’s the components of the LDL and HDL that are bad. And if you’re a lot of small, that’s bad for you. This is where size is important. The larger you LDL, the larger your HDL, the healthier you are.
So you go to a doctor at zero calcium score. Your cholesterol is seven, your HDL 2.5, your triglycerides .7. “do you need a statin?” What where does this come from? And what you need to do is a shift from small to large LDL. So how do you do that? A high-quality fat, high-quality protein, low carb, low-calorie diet. That’s the way to do it. But we’re being told have. Have you your pastas and your white bread and everything else because it’s full of good carb? No, it’s not. It’s refined carbohydrates. So when this lunatic Ansel Keyes came out with the seven countries study at the same time, a guy called John Yudkin in Britain and said, hang on a minute, it’s not fat and cholesterol, it’s sugar.
Dr Ross Walker [00:29:23] He got shut down by the sugar industry because they are a more powerful industry than the meat and livestock industry. The “Pure Study” done by one of the best epidemiologists in the world, Salim Yousef, came out in a couple of stages over the last few years.
The first stage was 135,000 people monitored for 9 years in 50 different countries. And the “Pure Study” showed that those who had the highest refined carbohydrate intake 28% increase in deaths. Those who had the highest fat intake across the board, 23% reduction in death. Those who had the highest saturated fat intake go to any cardiac website, go to any nutritionist website, and see we should be avoiding saturated fat.
So the higher saturated fat intake and Salim Yousef’s trial, the “Pure Study” showed a 14% reduction in death. Hello. And then the most recent part of the “Pure Study”. 220,000 people, 9 year follow-up, 50 different countries, added another couple of cohorts. They found that if you had, wait for this, 100grams of red meat per day and two to three servings of high-fat dairy, high-fat dairy, not the low-fat rubbish, you had a 25 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and death just by doing that. Now, again, I don’t mind people making comments, but back it up with a bit of damn science.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:30:49] Ross Ross, I just have to remind our listeners, we’re listening now to, you know, a cardiologist giving us this kind of advice, which I love. But, you know, and back onto those small and large particles. Part of it also is that they’re oxidized. And that’s part of the problem with the insulin instability, too, isn’t it? That makes the whole thing more reactive. It’s why we take antioxidants to deal with oxidized problems like oxidized LDL,.
Dr Ross Walker [00:31:16] See again if you listen to conservatives, supplements don’t work because let me tell you why. And this is this really drives me nuts. There’s a little-known university in America called Harvard, one of the top three learning institutions in the world, Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard. And they’ve been doing for the last 30 years the male physicians trial and the nurses health study, and that they will take multivitamins for a second, which are not loaded with antioxidants, but just have a lot of good general nutrients in it.
And they found that if you take a multivitamin for up to 10 years, it does nothing. Waste of time. But when they analyzed the data in 10 years in the mail, this is a randomized controlled trial. There was an eight percent reduction in cancer and cataracts in the people who took a multivitamin every day.
Then they looked at the observational data at fifteen years in the nurses said, we’re talking 180,000 people in various guises in this trial. So a huge amount of data. So the nurses who took a multivitamin every day for 15 years compared with those who didn’t. So this was observational, not randomized control.
There was a 75% reduction in bowel cancer. 25% reduction in breast cancer. Twenty-three percent reduction in cardiovascular disease. Then they looked at the males at 20 years, those who persisted in taking a multivitamin for 20 years. And there’s not many people who do. You’re looking at one right now.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:32:40] You’re looking at one too.
Dr Ross Walker [00:32:41] Yes. So the people who did had a 44% reduction in cardiovascular disease just by doing that. And that’s the point I’m making. Reduction in heart attack, stroke, stenting the whole thing by taking a multivitamin every day. So, for example, people say “oh vitamin E is dangerous”. There was a study done in 2004 presented in 2004 meta-analysis by a guy called Edgar Miller in the Annals of Internal Medicine. And the title came out. “Vitamin E. not only is useless, but it may be harmful”. And when you looked at his stuff, he looked at 11 trials of high dose vitamin E. So we’re talking about somewhere between 400 to 800 units a day. And it showed vitamin E firstly didn’t prevent cardiovascular disease. And there was a slight trend towards extra deaths in that study.
But here’s the drum. They used synthetic vitamin E, which I agree is rubbish and shouldn’t be used. It’s the el cheapo version. So when you’re doing a big randomized trial where you’re supplying the vitamin, you get the cheapest version of it. But they’ve only been two trials in the history of evidence-based medicine where they used natural vitamin E, d-alpha tocopherol, not the synthetic stuff. Dl-alpha tocopherol and they combine it with vitamin C because a lot of people don’t realize this vitamin E doesn’t work without vitamin C, there’s sort of blood brothers that work together.
And in both of these trials, one called A.S.A.P., and the other one called IVUS. One is in a group of people with chronic atherosclerosis. And just watching the progression of that. Another was in people post-cardiac transplantation and they found a 25% reduction in the progression of atherosclerosis in the people who were given natural vitamin E with vitamin C. But you don’t hear any conservative doctor coming out with that because it doesn’t suit their argument.
So I’m saying when you hear people say vitamins just give you expensive urine, they might, but they also give you very valuable blood. And that’s the message we have to keep pushing. So I have an association with a company called Bergamet. They make this thing called Berga Met-Pro plus, which in my extremely biased view because I have an association with the company and I do all the research with the Italians, I’m an honorary Calabrian citizen because of my services to the bergamot fruit. So this is fruit grown in Calabria.
You’ve got to get this Calabrian product and this stuff is BergaMet Pro plus incredible benefits in activating AMP kinase, so keeping the white down, shifting you from small to large LDL. We publish stuff in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology on this. It enhances statin therapy. We gave people 20 milligrams of Crestor a statin, drop their LDL 56.5%.
Then we cut it in half to ten and added the Bergamet. We dropped their LDL 52.5%, but a much bigger drop in triglycerides and a much bigger rise in HDL in the people given the combination of lower dose statin with Bergamet. So it’s my view very biased view. That everyone over the age of 50 should be taking it twice today, just routinely, twice today, not once today. And because of its benefits on small versus of pushier from small to large LDL, reduces diabetic risk, fatty liver. I’ve published started with fatty liver and it also improves the micro-circulation to your brain.
Dr Ross Walker [00:36:03] A study out of the University of Manchester, not our lab in Italy, the University of Manchester showed that it also suppresses cancer stem cells. Why? Because it’s the juice of the burger, more orange that has a huge amount of polyethylene phenols, very strong polyphenols, or plant chemicals that have an effect on all aspects of metabolism, especially activating AMP kinase. But why aren’t people doing this?
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:36:27] Now, Ross, I was sitting at my desk here a few days ago and up flashed an article from “The Australian Doctor” which all doctors get in Australia and it was lauding this breakthrough, this breakthrough on coronary calcium CT score. Now, you know, this was a major thing and here we are. Where are we in 2020? August 2020. And you may the listener may have missed it, but you first were doing coronary calcium C.T. scores you introduced into Australia.
The Coronary Calcium C.T. Score was introduced in Australia
Dr Ross Walker [00:37:03] I introduced with the Sydney Adventist Hospital, another cardiologist called Dr David Grout in 1999. And I was saying exactly this back then. And I actually got vilified by many of my conservative colleagues for doing so. And I’ve been saying for years, this is the best predictive test for heart disease.
Now, this study out of a very fine place in Melbourne called the Baker Institute, headed by my colleague. Very, very good. And well-respected cardiologist, Professor Tom Marwick, superb cardiologist, one of the world experts in echocardiography. Tom came out in the news the other night suggesting that coronary calcium scoring was the best test for cardiovascular risk. And I’m thinking, really? Oh, that’s interesting.
And they took a thousand people with a strong family history of heart disease and they did calcium scores and it changed the management in 40% of cases. So people who were deemed high risk, now low-risk people were deemed low risk. Now high risk. So it means that you can then make appropriate decisions about statin therapy based on the coronary calcium score.
Now, I only said that in 1999, I saw a patient yesterday who I’d seen back in 2007, and I said exactly that in the letter that I wrote to the GP. So this has been around for years. The studies are just overwhelming that the coronary calcium score is easily the best predictive test. It’s my view, Ron, that all men at 50 or women at 60 should have coronary calcium score. I am 50-year-old male. I’ll get a PSA done. I’ll have my kidneys and liver looked at. My sugar levels checked, my cholesterol checked. But the best test you can have at that stage, the coronary calcium score. Why do I say men at 50? Women at 60? Because women are typically not always typically protected by their hormones until menopause.
Now I saw a woman three days ago who is in her early 40s and she already had a calcium score of 152. The last thing she wanted was to be on a statin from the age of 44. And I said, look, if it was me with a calcium score of 152, I’d take one. But I said it’s your body. So I gave her the Bergamet. I markedly reinforced the vital importance of lifestyle and she’s going to come back in 12 months and have another assessment, not another calcium score.
You only do them every five years. It is low radiation and when we’re talking about calcium score, I want to bring in something here about the intravenous C.T. coronary angiogram. The intravenous CT coronary angiogram is done on exactly the same technology. But the difference is, you get squirted with dye and it has. And there’s not one paper in the peer-reviewed literature showing any predictive benefit of the C.T. angiogram over the calcium score.
But what it does do is make your wallet five hundred dollars lighter. You glow in the dark for a few days afterward on some machines because the radiation dose and also you’re getting an intravenous dye that you could have an anaphylactic reaction to or may even damage your kidneys, may not saying will. So why are people doing this as a screen test? There’s no evidence at all. So there’s not, as I said, not one paper in asymptomatic people that the C.T. angiogram gives you any extra benefit, but it’s much more inconvenient.
And it’s also it requires intravenous dye and it’s more expensive. We just shouldn’t be doing it. It’s been done routinely by everyone around the place and it should not be done. Do the calcium score.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:40:22] Now, you know, part of the problem and you were talking about the expert on cholesterol getting up and still touting it all, is that people’s whole reputation? I mean, their whole professional life has revolved around a certain approach to this, and that’s just not going to be surrendered very easily. Not to mention how much money is generated. I mean, I think the figure of Lipitor alone is sold about 120 billion dollars worth of sales.
Dr Ross Walker [00:40:53] Biggest-selling drug in the market. And, you know, I would take Lipitor and Zocor off the market because they’re fat-soluble. I only use the Water-soluble statins rosuvastatin, Crestor, Pravastatin, Pravachol. If I think someone needs a statin if I think they do. And of the 19 million prescriptions written for statins every year in this country, I would suggest you probably 500000 to a million are necessary.
The other 18 million shouldn’t be prescribed. And when I say 19 million prescriptions, that doesn’t mean 19 million out of our 25 million with a script for statins. That’s 12 scripts per person per year. So the scripts last for a month. So it’s less than two million people. But still, two million out of 24 million is a hell of a lot of people. And most of those are inappropriate.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:41:36] And do you think I mean, I don’t want to get too technical here, but do you think people who are on statins should be on CoQ10 or other things like that?
Dr Ross Walker [00:41:47] Well, I think everyone who’s taking a statin. So if there’s a good reason to take a statin, I think everyone should be taking ubiquinol, not CoQ10. CoQ10 is the standard UBIQUITI known is the inactive version of CoenzymeQ10. Ubiquinol all is the active version. And what happens in the body is there an enzyme called diaphorase that converts you ubiquitin to ubiquinol.
But here is the problem when you hit 50, the diaphorase enzyme on drops off so you don’t get as much active ubiquinol in your mitochondria. Because what statins do is they work on a particular thing called Complex three in the mitochondria to deplete CoQ10, which is why it’s felt that people get aches and pains with statins. So I give all my statin patients 100 mg hundred to 150 milligrams of ubiquinol every day. I also give them magnesium orotate.
Now it’s not the magnesium, which is good for you anyhow. It’s the orotate that lifts up the CoQ10 in the mitochondria. So I give the magnesium orotate. Everyone gets Bergermet under, under, under my watch and I have to always talk about my association with the company there and I give them vitamin K2, what Vitamin K2, and it has to be a dose of 180 micrograms a day.
That’s the evidence-based dose. It takes the calcium out of your arteries and puts it back in your bones where it belongs. So you get two bangs for your buck with vitamin K2. And I also give them Kyolic aged garlic extract. Now there’s a wonderful preventative cardiologist in the US called Professor Matt Budoff. He works in Los Angeles and he’s done some really elegant work where he gave people four capsules a day of kyolic garlic.
And after 12 months he’d reversed their coronary artery disease with a completely natural product. So when you’re adding all of these things together, you’re getting a much better effect. I use a whole lot of other stuff. I’ve got to say Ron, I think we should have another session on the future of medicine.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:43:43] But I think what kind of what my notes are, I keep.
Dr Ross Walker [00:43:47] But I think one of the big deals in medicine is going to be and not 20 years away, I think maybe five the very most 10 years away. If you’re coming to see me and I say “Ron, I think, you know, this drug and these three supplements” and you’ll take that script around to a chemist, and they’ll compound it into a nano pill. So you might be on three or four pharmaceuticals and four or five supplements, all in one small pill you swallow every day. Time-release with the different nanoparticles.
And also the other exciting thing is the micro patch technology. So a patch the size of your fingertip goes on your arm so you don’t need vaccinations. You’ll get it all through this micro patch. You all these new therapies. And this is one thing they’re developing in Harvard now, diabetes, instead of pricking your fingers three or four times a day and injecting yourself, this patch monitors your real-time blood sugar level and delivers insulin into your system.
So you put a patch on every day rather than getting their pricking your fingers and inject you. So we’re talking it’s already been developed. We just have to just has to be commercialized. So many exciting things happen. So image your whole medical management being mostly lifestyle. Don’t forget lifestyle and then putting a patch on every day or swallowing one pill.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:45:01] And then all we’ll have to do is convince the 90 percent of the medical profession who’ve been saying all that’s a total waste of time. That maybe it’s worth considering. That’s going to be probably the biggest challenge of it all. Let’s just talk about a study.
Dr Ross Walker [00:45:15] Well hold on mate it’s only taken 21 years with the CT.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:45:17] And it’s actually a sobering story, Ross was that I read you will have known about Semmelweis and the fact that this guy had the audacity to come up with, of all things, the idea that maybe you should wash your hands. And it took the medical profession 10 years to accept that the guy ended up in a mental institution dying. But anyway, we digress. I want to talk about your thoughts on how we are approaching our current pandemic.
Dr Ross Walker’s thought about our current pandemic
Dr Ross Walker [00:45:47] Okay. Look, I think in many ways in Australia, we’ve done some good things, some good things. So I think shutting the borders down has been important. I think maybe New South Wales being a bit slow to shut the borders down between here and Victoria. I don’t agree with that. And we know what’s happening in Victoria has been a tragedy.
But I think the whole concept about pushing the social distancing, washing your hands regularly, wearing masks in public, and also shutting down big events, I think that’s been fine. But I have a concern, as I always have a concern. I don’t agree with the authorities on everything. And I remind you, we were told by some of these so-called health authorities at the start of all this, we would see one hundred and fifty thousand deaths in this country and 15 million cases.
I mean, seriously, where is the evidence for that nonsense. That’s and that’s scaremongering nonsense because the government had to take the advice of their so-called medical experts and we haven’t seen that. So we’ve had the country shut down because of this. Now, this is where I’m concerned about people’s knowledge of how these things work.
There’s a thing called herd immunity, which even the microbiologists suggest, and I don’t agree with them. Herd immunity is when 70 percent of the population had been infected or 70 percent of been vaccinated. And so therefore everyone’s protected. That’s not how I see herd immunity, how I see herd immunity, as you know, as a superb health professional. A virus is not a living organism, it needs a cell to exist at all, it basically is a bit of junk genetic material with a few spikes of junky protein coming off it.
So in the case of the Coronavirus or any coronavirus, it’s an RNA virus hooked up to these little spike proteins that you see with the newsreader and the things coming behind them as they’re chatting away. And when a healthy immune system, i.e., a child gets exposed to a bit of this junk protein and junk genetic material, its healthy immune system, chews up the stuff and spits it out into the environment. So you have a car crash and your headlights out there.
You still know that’s the headlight from the car it just doesn’t work anymore. So if the child spits out a little bit of immune material, they can still induce an immune response. So the body is still recognized by another body that it’s part of the virus, but it’s not going to cause an infection. So I think children should have been going to school from day one. Teachers below the age of, say, 60 should have been going to school and teaching them because you want to spread little bits of the virus.
You see, because there’s two components here. One is what I call viral load, and the other one is your own inherent immune system and so with viral load, it’s the dose. So if you’re a healthy health worker in a hospital looking after six or seven very sick COVID patients, they’re pouring a huge dose of the virus into the atmosphere. And even a healthy immune system can be overwhelmed by that. If you’re in one of these floating Petri dishes called a cruise ship with the recirculating air going through, the virus is coming through the whole thing.
People are packed in together. That’s viral load. So people can get very sick in that environment because of the huge dose of virus they get. But then the only other people who get sick from this are people who either sick, elderly, and vulnerable. And anyone listening to this it vulnerable. There is no such word as vulnerable. Always put the L in there. So sick, elderly, vulnerable people, and even with a bit of virus, they can get very ill and even die as we’ve seen with what’s happening in high dependency nursing homes.
But then occasionally we’ll hear 30 years old in Victoria died recently. And occasionally you’ll hear of younger people who die. But interestingly, there were two brothers in Holland who died from COVID19, one died and the other got severe COVID. So they mapped the entire genome of these brothers who were healthy up to that point. Both of them had a defect in the TLR, seven, toll-like receptor.
And they found that that was vitally important for the functioning of a normal immune system in terms of dealing with these sorts of viruses. So the problem with Ron, as far as any sort of health advice, you are never going to save everyone. And it’s a bit like we had a 15-year-old boy taken by a shark and killed a few weeks ago on the north coast of New South Wales.
Now, does that mean we stop everyone from going in the water? We see people die in car accidents. Should we stop ever driving cars? So we can’t shut society down because occasionally there will be younger people dying from this. So the way I would have done it and I’m not a public health person. I’m just a medical educator and doctor. I would have sent kids to school. I would say young people are doing what they normally do. I would have stopped the big events. I completely agree with that.
Now masks, social distancing, washing your hands, agree with all of that. And I would have quarantined to some extent, people over the age of 65 and being very careful with anyone who has an immune problem. Sick, old, vulnerable people. That’s how I would have done it. And let the virus spread through the community and healthy people.
Interestingly, a study came out the other day showing that the harmless coronaviruses which cause the common cold and see, one of the things is this transgenerational behavior, transgenerational living. If you’re a grandparent and you’re hanging around with the grandkids, they’ve always got a snotty nose.
And a third of the common cold is, are these weak coronaviruses? And it’s shown that if you have exposure to that, you have better immunity to the coronavirus. To be frank with you, I think I had COVID in February, I lost my taste for a week. This is before anyone even talking about this. And I feel crook. But I have 8 grandchildren with me all the time. And so I was sick for a week.
And also, interestingly, I had the BCG vaccination, as you would have had when you’re younger. As a health professional, you go to the BCG vaccination and some of the work shows that that gives you extra protection against getting really sick from COVID. So I think there are a lot of things which would probably not doing right. I interviewed Professor Tom Brady on my radio show the other night. He reckons he’s got a treatment for Coronavirus that’s highly effective and it’s already available, ivermectin, which is an anti-parasitic drug for scabies and other forms of parasitic infections. So he gives ivermectin on day one and day four, he gives doxycycline a well-described simple antibiotic, 50 milligrams twice a day for 10 days and gives 40 to 50 milligrams of zinc picolinate every day with that as well.
And he’s got some work out of California and Bangladesh and a few other places of Southeast Asia, where people who’ve had mild to moderate coronavirus have immediately or over a couple of days have got better very quickly with no progression to severe coronavirus. I think it needs to be done in a bigger trial. But hey, if you’re getting some good results, try it.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:52:50] I mean, it is interesting and I’d heard the statistic that between 1500 and 300 people a year die of influenza in Australia. And, you know, is that too high mean?
Dr Ross Walker [00:53:02] I think it’s somewhere between 800 really bad years it’s 1000.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:53:06] Yeah, but we’ve kind of and I and I agree with you. I mean I think the way we’ve approached it in the unknown, not knowing what we were dealing with, all that locked down, all the hygiene is a great idea. But I’m just annoyed that I don’t hear very much about our immune function, about ways of improving to me either this we’ve got the attention of the world now like never before on health and then they’ve heard about comorbidities. What an opportunity.
Dr Ross Walker [00:53:36] Well, can I just say the best way to keep your immune system healthy is the five keys of being healthy. Having fruits and vegetables and taking high-quality evidence-based supplements, having some vitamin C every day, having the BergaMet-Pro plus having your kyolic garlic, because just some examples of zinc, zinc been shown.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:53:59] Vitamin D?
All about Vitamin D
Dr Ross Walker [00:54:00] Let’s talk about Vitamin D. Yeah, some of the studies have suggested that those people who have the highest levels of vitamin D. Now, let me make the point. There are no studies showing treating COVID with vitamin D improves it. But the studies have shown that people have the highest vitamin D levels, have the lowest rates of COVID, the lowest rates of progression to severe COVID disease, and the lowest rates of death.
So I like people to run their vitamin D levels for many reasons at about 100. I think it’s nanomoles per liter or whatever that whatever the figure is, but around 100 with normal is about 50 to 150. And so people with a very low vitamin D really cop it. So I mean, it’s not just for COVID. It improves all aspects of your immune system.
It also reduces your risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, type two diabetes, depression, asthma. So why aren’t we even thinking about these things? And because everyone was vitamin D crazy about 10 years ago, the government really clamped down on people doing vitamin D levels. But I mean, much of these things are probably more predictive than cholesterol, and we’re not even looking at them. So this stuff does my head in Ron.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:55:09] The other one Ross was I’ve heard the way we thought of the complications initially, and I’m not being critical here because we didn’t know what we were dealing with was very different from because there’s something about the ACE receptors that are linked to the way the virus, you know, complicates things. Can you talk a little bit about that? I mean, what you know because you were talking about blood pressure and ACE inhibitors. Yeah. Common blood pressure. So there’s a kind of a catch 22 here, isn’t it?
Dr Ross Walker [00:55:41] No, I don’t think there is. It’s called the ACE 2 receptors. And that’s felt to be the way the spike protein hooks into the lungs and takes the virus into the lung cells in the immune system lining the respiratory tract. But interestingly, the severe version of COVID is felt to be a cytokine storm. Where the cytokines just pour into the lungs and melt the lungs away and eat the lungs up, and you left with these honeycomb lungs.
Well, the ACE inhibitors and the angiotensin receptor blockers actually block that cytokine effect. So if someone’s on an ACE inhibitor or RAD, they shouldn’t be stopping their drugs. Could they be more susceptible to getting a slight dose of COVID? Maybe. No one’s really proven that yet. Could they be susceptible? Could they be less susceptible to getting the severe COVID? Maybe. But there’s no evidence at all that taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs.
Gives you a bad dose of COVID. And I think one of the best things you can do is if you get COVID to get it, get an immune reaction to it, it’s gone. So, look, I’m not demeaning COVID at all. 80 percent of people who get COVID get a minor illness. They get over it in a few days. The 20 percent left, half of those people get a moderate illness where they get a bit sick, maybe like Boris Johnson, their oxygen drops a bit and then they recover. But the 10 percent of people get severe COVID. They’re the ones that are in trouble. A third of those die and typically the sick, older, vulnerable people. But of that 10 percent, many are left with problems.
They’ve done a few studies overseas with people who’ve suffered this, and they showed that 30 percent of people are still short of breath after four to five months and up to 50 percent can have some cardiac effect even if they didn’t have underlying cardiac disease. You mentioned comorbidities, but we’re talking about people still getting sick with it, with heart problems, even if they didn’t have heart problems. 20 percent of people have neurocognitive problems. Many, many people are tired. They feel dog tired. About 50 percent of people very tired and interesting, one study out of Italy where they took six out of 150 people actually lost a limb from it. Because what COVID does is thickens the blood. Right at the moment. This is how I’d be managing it.
Apart from working on the vaccine, which I think is very important. And there’s some very good work on the vaccine coming through, by the way. Study in rhesus monkeys. They gave the rhesus monkeys this adenovirus, hooked to an immunogenic spike protein of COVID. And they found in these monkeys that there was a robust immune response when they then exposed them to coronavirus two months later, none of them got sick. Nothing found in the lungs.
One monkey out of all of them had a trace in it in a nasal swab, and that was it. But none of them got sick from coronavirus. So that’s promising. The Oxford trials of this very similar vaccination in just over a thousand people showed that all almost all the people in the trial with one shot had a robust response with two shots all of them were protected against getting antibodies and a T cell response. They haven’t been exposed to COVID yet so we don’t really know if it’s working.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:58:52] So Ross, given your healthy respect for both pharmaceutical and appropriate supplementation. If somebody was experiencing the severe symptoms of COVID and moving into really emergency, what would you be? What would you be doing?
Dr Ross Walker [00:59:10] Well, firstly, to draw on Tom Brady’s comments. I would certainly if someone were moderately sick and with proven COVID, I’d be giving them the ivermectin doxycycline zinc regimen over 10 days. That would be the first thing. If they got sicker and had to go into a hospital and we monitor their oxygen levels, as soon as the oxygen drops to 94. That’s when you hit them hard with other stuff.
So I’d be giving the Remdesivir, which is an intravenous injection. I’d be giving them high Dexamethasone, steroids. And also, I’d be giving them some prophylactic blood thinner, along with oxygen therapy and possibly ventilation. I think at the moment that’s the evidence base we have. There’s a few newer things coming through which are being suggested, some pretty exciting, but that’s what I’d be doing at the moment until we had these are other treatments that they’re getting.
They’re getting in increasing evidence base. And as soon as we get the vaccination, I’ll certainly be putting my hand up for it. And I think that’s all we can do at the moment. Am I due hell of a lot more than we can do for, say, influenza? And I hear some people’s all look, this is much worse than influenza. Well, influenza can still cause I’ve seen people die from influenza.
I’ve still seen people get [UNAUDIBLE] from influenza, get severe pneumonia. So it is still a bad illness. And I think we should say are influenza’s COVID younger brother or younger cousin. It’s much older. And you think about 1918, 1919, 50 to 100 million people in a much smaller population died from the Spanish flu. So I’m not suggesting that we’ve ever seen an influenza like the Spanish flu since, but we just don’t know because influenza mutates every year, and maybe COVID will mutate. It’s mutated a little bit. I think it’s probably a little bit more contagious now, but I don’t think it’s any more virulent than it was when it started.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [01:00:58] It’s interesting to consider the Spanish flu because it came on the end of year of the Great War, which would have compromised many people’s immune systems on so many different levels.
Dr Ross Walker [01:01:11] When we had no idea about the immune system and but just it’s not even that. It’s coming back from the war. And the soldiers bought it back from the war when their immune system was just shot to pieces, whether we should use that dreadful comment. But I’m saying their immune systems would have been gone.
They would have had the enormous stress, the malnutrition from being in the war. They brought the Spanish flu back and no one had any idea about high-quality fruits and vegetables, for example. There was no such thing as vitamins, minerals, or trace minerals back there as being a treatment. So we’re in a completely different era. Modern medicine wasn’t invented it was pretty hopeless.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [01:01:51] Ross, just finishing up the last question now, because, you know, we’re going through some pretty challenging times on so many different levels. What do you think the biggest challenge is for us moving forward this time?
The Biggest Health Challenge
Dr Ross Walker [01:02:02] Well, I think the biggest challenge at the moment is getting through COVID. And you see that this is the point, Ron. We talk about the dreadful infection. But what about the incredible effect of social isolation, of losing your job. In America, they’re suggesting that 35 percent of the excess deaths around the time of COVID were due to the fact that people weren’t seeking attention for their heart disease or their cancers because they were scared of getting COVID. So they’re not getting proper medical attention.
So people should still be going to the doctors with all of their other issues to get those sorted out because you can die of heart disease or cancer or any of these things. That’s the first thing. Secondly, we’ve got to look at our medical system here, which, in my view, is the best medical system in the world because even the poorest person in this society can go to a major teaching hospital and get high-quality service.
In America, if you don’t have any money, you say you lose your job because of COVID in America, you can’t afford health care. So you don’t go to a hospital. And that’s one of the reasons these people are dying. And then finally, is the enormous stress of this illness. What? Just think of our Victorian brothers at the moment, having to stay home, having a curfew. You can’t go off after eight o’clock. And many of us in the first world problems of all, we can’t go to restaurants.
I mean, these people, their lives are shut down by this and many people are losing their jobs. So I think the real challenge now is rebuilding the society after this enormous effect of the virus. Hopefully, the virus will fizzle out. I can’t say that it will. But hopefully, it will. But even if it doesn’t, we are going to. Well, we hopefully will get an effective vaccine. We certainly are getting better treatments for anti-viral illnesses. But we also have to realize there are other things that are happening in society and they need to.
So I think the biggest, biggest challenge is looking at the global effect of this virus, not just from an infectious viewpoint, but from a societal and economic viewpoint as well, and a personal viewpoint of what it’s like.
For example, when you think about this from your dear sweet grandmother, who you have loved for years is in a high dependency nursing home. COVIDs is going through the nursing home. You can’t even go in and say goodbye to her. And imagine dying alone. I mean, I think that’s just an incredibly sad thing, that there are people who have to die alone because of this dreadful virus. So we’ve got to think of the emotional impact as well. And the long-term emotional effects of all of this.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [01:04:32] Yes. Thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate your time and your and sharing your wisdom with us.
Dr Ross Walker [01:04:40] My absolute pleasure, my dear friend. Thank you.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [01:04:43] So there it is. I guess the takeaway message is, I mean, there was so much in that episode, you really need to go back and have a listen to it. You need to have a read over the show notes. I know. I will. We’ll have links to that article about the coronary calcium C.T. score and I know that Ross has been talking about it for so long. And here we are 20 years later.
The rest of the profession has caught up. And I have to say the medical profession are slow to take on new information and they’re slow to embrace anything that doesn’t come from the pharmaceutical industry. I hate to say that, but it’s true. And I’ve covered that. And I will cover that in some other podcasts that I’ve done.
One particular one, the elephant in the room where I cover some of the issues about evidence-based medicine, but so many pearls in that and finishing on the note that we really have to be thinking holistically. I mean, I agree with Ross. I think the handwashing. You know, I say to my patients now, which I normally would go out to greet them in the waiting room and shake their hands. Oh, my God, that’s just so dangerous. And I’ve got a smile on my face. But when you think about it, shaking hands.
Well, maybe it was good for cross-contaminating in our microbiome, but it also potentially was a vector of disease. Who knows? But I think the idea of hygiene and being careful and not having big gatherings is really probably important during this next year or two and even not traveling. Maybe a good thing.
So I know I’m going to be exploring my state, New South Wales because I’m not going to be getting on a plane anytime soon. But looking at this thing holistically and looking at the effect that it’s having on our mental and emotional well-being as a society, really important.
So I enjoyed talking to Ross and I so respect his views on so many different things. So. Either way, listen, go and leave a review and a chance because I think these messages that we these topics that are talk about are really important ones and they need to get out there.
So push it pushes up the ratings. There’s my plug and we’ve got some amazing other exciting things planned for the latter half of this year. So stay tuned for that. I hope this finds you well during these very challenging times. So until next time, this is Dr. Ron Ehrlich. Be 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.