Nutrition Myth Busters: Coronavirus Cure and Prevention Edition.
And as you know, I love to debunk bullshit. Especially when it’s targeted at desperate, vulnerable people who are looking for answers or in this case, a coronavirus cure or prevention tactic.
The truth is, that we have none of those things. All we can do is wash our hands, and isolate ourselves.
But disaster capitalism is rampant, so here are some of the biggest coronavirus cure and prevention myths:
The ketogenic diet is being promoted as a prevention tactic for coronavirus because apparently, it reduces inflammation. The thought process here (or lack thereof) is that covid-19 and flu can cause inflammation in the lungs, which a 2019 rodent study out of Yale University found can be reduced by the keto diet. Additionally, the keto mice had a higher survival rate than the mice given an ordinary diet.
Does all this mean that the keto diet prevents coronavirus?
Oh, hell no. NO NO NO.
A lame mouse study that hasn’t been replicated in humans is in no way evidence of anything.
The keto diet won’t give you supercharged immunity, and it certainly won’t prevent coronavirus.
Also: the carnivore diet won’t prevent anything, either.
I’ve seen certain people on social media basically giving the nutrition version of ‘thoughts and prayers’ by telling people to ‘eat organic’ and ‘use essential oils’ to prevent the virus.
Fuck those people.
Honestly, organic food has never been proven to be healthier in any way from conventional food. Sure, it may have more antioxidants, but in the long-run? It’s probably not going to make much difference if you eat organic and then come into contact with the coronavirus. What’s more important is the quality of your diet overall – meaning, in the past little while, have you been eating a wide variety of foods, fruits and vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, and the micronutrients your immune system needs to function normally.
The way people are behaving at the grocery store, you’re lucky if you can even find the food you want…so don’t worry about buying organic.
I’ve had it with people who are promoting garbage bullshit like colloidal silver. Long before the covid-19 came into being, the NIH and FDA put out statements that this supplement is without evidence to back up any health claims, and can be dangerous to consume.
Since this coronavirus has happened, the FDA has started warning companies that are selling it for coronavirus cure or prevention. Stupid idiot Jerry Falwell has been sued for selling his shitty colloidal silver brand…although he’s completely insane. Not sure why he’s still around or why people are still listening to him, but I guess covid-19 has made us all a bit out-of-sorts.
Aside from impacting how certain drugs are absorbed into your system, a very interesting side-effect of colloidal silver is that it turns skin blue-grey…PERMANENTLY.
Which, I have to say, is what you get for listening to random idiots and pouring random shit into your body.
The research on elderberry is spotty. In this study done on cells in a lab (you are not a petri dish of kidney cells), elderberry was found to have anti-influenza properties. Note: coronavirus is not influenza.
Other research found that elderberry reduced severity of symptoms and duration of colds in travellers, and is anti-inflammatory (in rats).
I think it’s fair to say here that elderberry is safe as far as I know (always ask your pharmacist or doctor), so if you’d like to try it, go right ahead. Just don’t expect miracles or, treat it as if it makes you invincible.
The Medical Medium:
I’m dedicating the next section of this post all to Anthony William, aka The Medical Medium.
He deserves all of my vitriol, bad thoughts and feelings, bad vibes, angry missives, fucking swearwords and eyerolls. All. Of. That. And. More.
Normally, William is a fraudulent scamming piece of crap that preys on vulnerable people. But he has outdone even himself by coming out with a useless, fear-mongering free e-bible of coronavirus bullshit called, predictably, Virus Protection.
Because the spirits have spoken, and they told fucking asshole shitface to milk this virus, and all of our fear and anxiety, for every dime he can. Because nothing says you care like being opportunistic and taking advantage of panicked people.
I actually hate Anthony William now more than I hate Gwyneth Paltrow, and I didn’t think that was actually a possibility.
William is offering his trash virus book for free, but let’s be serious here: nothing in life is free.
I held my nose (and my vomit, TBH) and downloaded his steaming pile of “Virus Protection,” and I was rewarded with knowing that everything I feel about the Medical Medium is right on point.
First of all, he advertises and links to his horrible, spit-in-the-face-of-science books throughout Virus Protection. Books like, ‘Cleanse to Heal,’ which he’s probably hoping those who get sick will want to buy. BECAUSE CLEANSES!!
I didn’t have to read far to find all sorts of false claims.
From page 3:
“The number one food viruses like to feed on is eggs. Other foods viruses love to eat include dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, kefir, and other forms of dairy; gluten; and corn. If these foods are in your diet, it becomes very difficult to combat viruses.”
Okay. Let’s just stop there for a second. It sounds like viruses have a better diet than most people. But is that true?
NO! OF COURSE IT ISN’T!!
Viruses don’t eat eggs, dairy, gluten, or corn. Is he even fucking serious right now?
Viruses for vaccines are grown in chicken eggs because they only grow in cells (ie not in a lab dish). It’s completely absurd to extrapolate that to ‘eating eggs feeds your viruses.’
Un-fucking-believable. Viruses don’t eat eggs, they incubate in egg cells.
And no, chicken eggs don’t carry these viruses, either. Don’t even go there.
To find out how viruses eat dairy, gluten, and corn, Williams says we have to buy Cleanse to Heal.
That won’t be necessary. I don’t need to spend a cent on anything he sells to tell you that it’s all bullshit.
Moving on, page 4:
He instructs readers to eat a low-fat diet.
“When your blood is constantly filling up with fat from the foods you eat, it lowers oxygen levels in your bloodstream. Oxygen is needed in the blood to help reduce viral proliferation. Oxygen is antiviral in nature.”
Give me a break, please.
One role of the blood cells is yes, to transport nutrients. Another role is to transport oxygen. I know Williams has never taken a physiology course in his idiot life (and he obviously hopes that none of you have, either), but if he did, he’d understand – or maybe not – that the hemoglobin in red blood cells bind to the oxygen we breathe in, and carry it through the body.
Fat will not and does not bind to hemoglobin.
When you eat fat, it’s absorbed through the wall of the small intestine and into intestinal cells. There, in a part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum, the lipid particles are turned into triglycerides and coated in protein so they can be transported (read more here). These are called chylomicrons.
In the end, the chylomicrons are absorbed into the lymph system and the blood as their own beings, not bound to blood cells.
So, what Mr. Medical Medium doesn’t make any sense. What a shock, I know.
In the last pages of his stupid guide, Williams offers recommendations for various immune supplements. There are a million affiliate links to these supplements, because OF COURSE THERE IS.
And yes! In case you were wondering, he tells us to drink celery juice, with their mythical ‘cluster salts’!
“These sodium cluster salts fight off viruses and kill off viral overgrowth”
Um, sorry honey, no. Cluster salts aren’t even a thing. Like, they don’t exist. (Read my blog about celery juice here)
William doubles down on the juice bullshit by saying that cucumber juice reduces fever:
“(It’s) a wonderful fever reducer for both children and adults when you contract a virus. It’s the juicing of the cucumbers that unleashes their magical anti-fever compounds and agents that help calm a fever like water on a fire.”
What a load of shit! Right, so when your kid gets a fever, you can bypass the Tylenol for ‘magical’ cucumber juice!!
NOT CUCUMBER THO!!! It’s the JUICING that makes it magic!
I fucking can’t. Why do I want to punch something right now?
Miranda Kerr, that Victoria’s Secret model, posted Virus Protection on Instagram and promoted it to her millions of followers. I was heartened to see so many comments against her posting it.
I personally posted on her feed and reported her post. Because misinformation. And apparently, Debra Messing has been telling people on social that holding your breath for 10 seconds is a way to check if you have the virus. GAWD.
Remember that if any of this stuff worked, we wouldn’t be experiencing this outbreak right now.
Wash your hands. Stay home. Stay safe.
Abby Langer is a registered dietitian (RD) based in Toronto.