Adaptogens, Bioregulatory Systems Medicine and Network Pharmacology

Have you ever wondered how life on Earth has managed to survive in the midst of volcanos, ice ages and asteroids? The answer is adaptation. Humans are remarkably adaptable. We’ve been able to adjust to almost any condition on the planet, while continuing to thrive as a civilization.

Think about this:

  • No other species lives in such a variety of places, including the Arctic, in deserts, in jungles, at sea, or in barren wastelands.
  • No other species has the ability to eat and digest such a wide variety of foods.
  • No other species is able to reconstruct their living environment to the degree that humans do.

Charles Darwin said it well: “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

Hormesis: The Key to Adaptation

The biological phenomenon of this adaptogenic quality of life is called “hormesis.” The principal pillars of my approach to health are to enhance adaptation, energy transfer efficiency, protection, and reproduction (hormonal health). Perhaps the most important of these is adaptation, but really, they are all interconnected. Everything is networked. Thus, the best approach to health is to support the networks of the body as a whole, to enhance robustness and our ability to auto-regulate and auto-organize at the molecular, cellular, and organ system levels. 

This is why adaptogenic formulas are the first step in building and enhancing robust health, and the most important supplemental support you can provide to your body. Every other supplement you take should be secondary to adaptogenic formulations.

Our approach to health and healing is not a fixed line, but a circle that is alive and in constant motion. It is not functional, but rather responsive, so although everything in our body has a function, ultimately what makes us alive and human is how our bodies respond.  Response implies a life-force that activates and regulates all components of energy transfer. This life-force is capable of listening to the “orchestra” (ie; network) and providing direction while constantly adapting. To function is robotic and programmed, while response is connected to wisdom and is alive. 

Medicine today continues to view the body in a fragmented way, including body systems, parts, genes, and microbiomes. Very few people, particularly in the medical profession, see the whole, but we have complex diseases that are characterized as polygenic and multifactorial. We are therefore best served with medicines—specifically plant medicines—that are pleotrophic, gentle, nourishing, strengthening, and assist in normalizing, or auto-regulating.

Thinking Outside the Current Medical Model

Herbal formulations contain multiple components that dock to multiple target sites and synergistically exert beneficial effects throughout a wide range of pathways. Through many years of clinical practice, I’ve realized that it is neither possible or appropriate to try and fit herbal medicine into or alongside the current conventional model. That is why I developed the Mederi Care model as a new way of thinking and combining various approaches that is inclusive of both holistic and allopathic medicine. The soul of this approach, however, is rooted in botanical medicine, combined with nutritional supplementation, food as medicine, life-style modifications, and spiritual care. Once this foundation is in place, then it is appropriate to evaluate if more specific, “heroic” (ie; pharmaceutical) medicine is needed, and if so, where it fits within the whole systems, unitive approach.

The molecular pathways that govern human disease consist of molecular circuits that coalesce into complex, overlapping networks. These network pathways are presumably regulated in a coordinated fashion, but such regulation has been difficult to decipher using only reductionistic principles. The emerging paradigm of “network medicine” proposes to utilize insights garnered from network topology (ie; the static position of molecules in relation to their neighbors) as well as network dynamics (ie; the unique flux of information through the network) to understand better the pathogenic behavior of complex molecular interconnections that traditional methods fail to recognize.[1]

Bioregulatory Systems Medicine

Bioregulatory Systems Medicine (BrSM) is a comprehensive, innovative approach in medicine. It embraces the complexity of diseases by supporting the general idea of autoregulation and addressing underlying dysregulating biological networks.

The objective of Bioregulatory Systems within the Mederi Care approach is to improve patient outcomes by supporting a patient’s autoregulatory capacity. This is accomplished through the Mederi Care toolboxes, specifically botanical and nutritional medicine, which is applied in a gentle, synergistic way. Botanical and nutritional medicine practiced within Mederi Care is primarily directed at enhancement of ‘Self-regulating Internal Community Networks,’ supporting and even directing, while allowing the freedom to improvise.

The poet and philosopher Mark Nepo says: “To be the best we can be, we have to meet the outer world with our inner world. I’ve always believed in the amazing resilience of the human spirit.” Nepo believed that life has been made just hard enough that we need one another. Through experiences of great suffering and great love, we are reduced to what is essential.

The most effective way to reduce the possibility of poor health and disease is to keep the root system healthy and robust. Adaptogenic herbs in combination have a synergistic and pleotropic effect.

Synergism Enhances the Actions of Plant Medicines

Synergistic plant medicines contain bioregulatory properties. Their actions are determined by both chemistry and synergy, as their biological activity often results from the additive or synergistic effects of their components.

Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts.”

― Buckminster Fuller

These synergistic strategies can be much more comprehensive and broader in their scope of effects than single-component drugs[2]. This concept is not new to science. Synergy is an ubiquitous phenomenon in nature, and is widely used in numerous scientific disciplines, including thermodynamics, biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and neurobiology.[3]

Herbal medicines are often combinations of botanical extracts that have additive or synergistic effects.  For example, combining the four herbal (S. baicalensis, D. morifolium, G. uralensis and R. rubescens) extracts significantly enhanced their activity compared with extracts alone in a prostate cancer model.[4]

It is important not to confuse synergistic effect with additive effect. Synergy occurs when two or more drugs/compounds are combined to produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual agents while an additive effect is an add up of individual effects where each individual agent is not affecting the other (no interactions).[5]

The synergy of biological effects of plants in medicine is well documented, and encompasses synergistic multitarget effects, physicochemical effects based on improved solubility, antagonization of resistance mechanisms, and elimination or neutralization of toxic substances.[6] As such, multi-combination and/or multi-system low dose medications, preferably of natural origin, are well suited for the bioregulatory medical approach and offer the potential for a graded response to treatment.[7]

Generally speaking, herbal and nutritional medicine within this model exhibits four fundamental advantages of a multicomponent, combinatorial strategy over a single-component strategy:

1. Synergistic effects target a wider range of information flow in disease-related biological networks;

2. Modest modulation allows for more efficient control of biological networks;

3. Low concentrations ensure higher safety of the whole combination;

4. Drug resistance is much less probable.[8]

According to Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), every living thing is sustained by the balance of two opposing forces of energy, Yin and Yang. Together they make up Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), which is the vital energy that flows in, through and around the body.

Network Pharmacology: A New Way of Understanding Herbal Formulations

Network pharmacology stems from several pioneering works. The holistic theory and practice of TCM, as well as other herbal medicine systems, play a key role in the origin and rapid development of network pharmacology. The original hypothesis referring to the biological associations between TCM syndromes, herbal formula, and molecular networks was proposed in 1999 and 2002.[9]

Network pharmacology has been used to study multiple protein/gene target diseases. It describes the relationship between biological systems, drugs, and diseases from the perspective of the network. This is consistent with the holistic pattern differentiation theory of TCM[10] as well as Mederi medicine.

Mitochondrial Network Medicine

The mitochondrial network is constantly in a dynamic and regulated balance of fusion and fission processes, which is known as mitochondrial dynamics. Mitochondria make physical contact with almost every other membrane in the cell, thus impacting all cellular functions.[11] 

“Qi,” as noted above, describes energy-dependent body functions. This can broadly be correlated with mitochondria-energy dynamics.

[12]

The term adaptogen was first proposed in 1940 by a scientist from the USSR. Lazarev described Schisandra chinensis and other herbs as plant-derived adaptogens that non-specifically enhance human physiology.[13]

Adaptogens are the material basis of the bodily response to the external environment and can act on the immune system and the stress response system, as shown below.

The non-specific response mode, especially the hormone response mode, occurs when homeostasis is not the driving force.[14]

Schisandra Fortifies Mitochondrial (Qi) Antioxidant Status

Schisandra

Schisandra berry or Wu-Wei-Zi, meaning the “the fruit of five tastes” in Chinese, is a commonly used herb in TCM. Ancient Chinese herbalists noted the berry’s beneficial effect on the “Qi” of the five visceral organs.  Schisandra is one of the main researched primary adaptogens that I use in adaptogenic formulations.  It is perhaps my favorite adaptogen, but I believe combination formulas have many advantages over single herbs.

Schisandra berry is well-known for it’s “Qi-invigorating” properties. The herb has been shown to fortify mitochondrial antioxidant status, thereby offering the body generalized protection against noxious challenges, both of internal and external origin. Given the indispensable role of the mitochondrion in generating cellular energy, the linking of Schisandra chinensis berry extract (SCBE) to the safeguarding of mitochondrial function provides a biochemical explanation for its “Qi-invigorating” action.[15]

SCBE is a potent adaptogen, and has been shown to improve disease and stress tolerance, while increasing energy, endurance, and physical performance.

SCBE is helpful in the treatment of neurological, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal disorders. It has been shown to decrease fatigue, relieve insomnia, reduce obesity, and provide protection from mitochondrial dysfunction. SCBE stimulates immunity, acts as a tonic, and exerts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, anti-aging, anti- diabetic, and liver- and skin-protecting activities.

Effects of Schisandra chinensis fruit extracts and their bioactive compounds in mitochondria.

[16]

SCBE has been shown to restore impaired mitochondrial function, acting as a mitoprotective agent. Studies show that schisandrin, the identified active ingredient in SCBE, restored cytochrome c oxidase activity, and protected the opening of mitochondrial permeability transition. Furthermore, schisandrin improved ATP production, citrate synthase activity, and the process of mitochondrial fusion and fission.[17]

Recent studies investigating the various active compounds within schisandra identified a total of 78 compounds consisting of 13 prototype lignans and 65 metabolites (including isomers).[18]

Combining schisandra extract with other adaptogens and tonic herbs provides hundreds to thousands of active compounds swimming together, bathing the cells and molecules throughout the body. Complex formulas no longer act like the single herb, but in an entirely new way. Think of an orchestra, and perhaps what a single member playing an instrument might sound like. Then consider the entire orchestra, and all of the instruments working in harmony. As a jazz musician and an herbalist with an interest in network pharmacology, this is a perfect analogy for the way that herbs work together when combined in appropriate formulations.

On Pubmed alone, there are now 30 articles illustrating the increasing interest in network pharmacology and traditional herbal medicine.[19] Understanding network pharmacology and Bioregulatory Systems Medicineis the foundation of Mederi Care. I am grateful that this comprehensive, harmonious system of healing is gaining the recognition it deserves.

References


[1] Chan SY, Loscalzo J. The emerging paradigm of network medicine in the study of human disease. Circ Res. 2012 Jul 20;111(3):359-74. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.258541. PMID: 22821909; PMCID: PMC3425394

[2] Lila MA. 2007. From beans to berries and beyond: Teamwork between plant chemicals for protection of optimal human health. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.1114:372–80

[3] Corning PA. 1998. “The synergism hypothesis”: On the concept of synergy and its role in the evolution of complex systems. J. Soc. Evol. Syst.21(2):133–72

[4] Adams LS, Seeram NP, Hardy ML, Carpenter C, Heber D. Analysis of the interactions of botanical extract combinations against the viability of prostate cancer cell lines. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Mar;3(1):117-24. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nel001.

[5] Zhou, Xian et al. “Synergistic Effects of Chinese Herbal Medicine: A Comprehensive Review of Methodology and Current Research.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 7 201. 12 Jul. 2016, doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00201

[6] Wagner H. Synergy research: approaching a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals. Fitoterapia. 2011 Jan;82(1):34-7. 

[7] Bioregulatory Systems Medicine. White Paper. Published February 2019 – Copyright © Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH. Rights Reserved

[8] Kong DX, Li XJ, Zhang HY. Where is the hope for drug discovery? Let history tell the future. Drug Discov Today. 2009 Feb;14(3-4):115-9. 

[9] Li S. (2007). Framework and practice of network-based studies for Chinese herbal formulaZhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 5, 489–493.  10.3736/jcim20070501

[10] Zhang R, Zhu X, Bai H, Ning K. Network Pharmacology Databases for Traditional Chinese Medicine: Review and Assessment. Front Pharmacol. 2019 Feb 21;10:123.

[11] Pijuan J, Cantarero L, Natera-de Benito D, Altimir A, Altisent-Huguet A, Díaz-Osorio Y, Carrera-García L, Expósito-Escudero J, Ortez C, Nascimento A, Hoenicka J, Palau F. Mitochondrial Dynamics and Mitochondria-Lysosome Contacts in Neurogenetic Diseases. Front Neurosci. 2022 Jan 31;16:784880.

[12] Tian J, Huang Y, Wu T, Huang HD, Ko KM, Zhu BT, Chen J. The Use of Chinese Yang/Qi-Invigorating Tonic Botanical Drugs/Herbal Formulations in Ameliorating Chronic Kidney Disease by Enhancing Mitochondrial Function. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Jun 24;12:622498. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.622498. PMID: 34248614; PMCID: PMC8264145.

[13] Liao LY, He YF, Li L, Meng H, Dong YM, Yi F, Xiao PG. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med. 2018 Nov 16;13:57.

[14] Panossian A, Wikman G, Wagner H. Plant adaptogens. III. Earlier and more recent aspects and concepts on their mode of action. Phytomedicine. 1999 Oct;6(4):287-300.

[15] Ko KM, Chiu PY. Biochemical basis of the “Qi-invigorating” action of Schisandra berry (wu-wei-zi) in Chinese medicine. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(2):171-6. 

[16] Kopustinskiene DM, Bernatoniene J. Antioxidant Effects of Schisandra chinensis Fruits and Their Active Constituents. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Apr 18;10(4):620. doi: 10.3390/antiox10040620.

[17] Piao, Z.; Song, L.; Yao, L.; Zhang, L.; Lu, Y. Schisandrin restores the amyloid -induced impairments on mitochondrial function, energy metabolism, biogenesis, and dynamics in rat primary hippocampal neurons. Pharmacology 2021, 1–11.

[18] Wu Z, Jia M, Zhao W, Huang X, Yang X, Chen D, Qiaolongbatu X, Li X, Wu J, Qian F, Lou Y, Fan G. Schisandrol A, the main active ingredient of Schisandrae Chinensis Fructus, inhibits pulmonary fibrosis through suppression of the TGF-β signaling pathway as revealed by UPLC-Q-TOF/MS, network pharmacology and experimental verification. J Ethnopharmacol. 2022 May 10;289:115031. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2022.115031. Epub 2022 Jan 26. PMID: 35091014.

[19] Lai, Xinxing et al. “Editorial: Network Pharmacology and Traditional Medicine.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 11 1194. 4 Aug. 2020, doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.01194

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Resveratrol – “Privileged Structures” with Unique Advanced Health Promoting Properties Acting as an Epigenetic Modifier of Cancer Risk –

Many plant molecules, such as polyphenols, interact with and modulate key regulators of mammalian physiology in ways that are beneficial to health. The more we understand about this interaction, the more effectively we can target both the prevention and treatment of disease.

Polyphenol compounds, when ingested, interact with receptors and enzymes within the consumer. The fact that stress-induced plant compounds tend to upregulate pathways that provide stress resistance in humans and animals suggests that plant consumers may have mechanisms to perceive these chemical cues and react to them in ways that are beneficial. The term xenohormesis is used to explain this phenomenon (from xenos, the Greek word for stranger, and hormesis, the term for health benefits provided by mild biological stress, such as cellular damage or a lack of nutrition).[1] 

Continue reading “Resveratrol – “Privileged Structures” with Unique Advanced Health Promoting Properties Acting as an Epigenetic Modifier of Cancer Risk –”

What the Science Really Says About Natural Immunity vs. Vaccine Immunity, Strategies for Dealing with Ongoing Variants, and the Latest Research on the Risk of Breakthrough Infections in Cancer Patients

Immune response to coronavirus
Image: Health Matters

When it comes to the question of vaccine immunity verses natural immunity, the stance taken by the CDC is that vaccine immunity is stronger, which they maintain is confirmed by research. But when you analyze the study they use and compare it to, for example, the Israeli study that states the opposite, there is an enormous discrepancy. And this discrepancy is between studies that are designed to answer the same question.

The Israeli study[1] found that the vaccinated have a 27 times higher risk of symptomatic infection than those who recovered from Covid-19 infection. At the same time, the vaccinated were nine times more likely to be hospitalized for Covid. In contrast, a CDC study[2] by Bozio et al. claims that the Covid recovered are five times more likely to be hospitalized for Covid than the vaccinated. Both studies cannot be right. 

While a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released findings that alleged recovered individuals have a 5.5 times more likely chance of being hospitalized when compared to vaccinated people with no prior infection, no other independent research corroborates these findings.

This CDC report was recently dismantled by Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Martin Kulldorf and was revealed to have fatal flaws.[3]  He states that the Israeli study was a “straightforward and well-conducted epidemiological cohort study that is easy to understand and interpret.” At the same time, he found the US study filled with flaws, deeming it fatally flawed. He goes on to say, “It is surprising that the CDC chose this case-control design rather than the less biased cohort design selected by the Israeli authors. Such an analysis would answer the question of interest and may have given a different result more in line with the Israeli study.”

A very recent December 4th, 2021, study[4] supported the finding of the Israeli study, in that infected individuals with or without one vaccination dose have better protection than uninfected doubly-vaccinated individuals 3 to 8 months after the last immunity-conferring event. The data from this study does not suggests that vaccinated individuals were more protected than previously infected individuals 3 to 6 months after the immunity-conferring event. This study highlights that hybrid immunity is the strongest immunity.  In other words, those that have been both infected and have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

How the Omicron Variant Differs

Other variants including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta have had maybe eight or 10 mutations in the spike protein, and that’s largely what’s given them their advantageous phenotype. Omicron originated with 30 or more mutations in the spike protein!

There has been rapid spread in South Africa’s Gauteng province of Omicron as it rapidly replaces Delta. Omicron is spreading almost three times faster when compared to the Delta variant, which was two times faster compared to previous variants.

Early Lab Data Provide Glimpse into Omicron’s Immune Escape

Preliminary data from a small study at a prominent South African lab have found a 41-fold reduction in neutralizing antibody titers for the Pfizer vaccine against Omicron.

Virologist Florian Krammer, PhD, of Mount Sinai hospital in New York City, noted that the drop was significant and raised concerns.[5]

Omicron was first identified on 23 November in South Africa by researchers using genome sequencing to investigate a puzzling surge in case numbers there. Daily cases went from 274 on 11 November to 1000 a fortnight later, and currently number more than 2000.

Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna, has predicted that omicron will cut the efficacy of existing vaccines. The new variant is also expected to be more resistant to antibody treatments such as those developed by Regeneron. “That is really a cause for concern,” says Barclay.[6]

Most experts now propose Omicron most likely developed in a chronically infected Covid-19 patient, likely someone whose immune response was impaired by another illness or a drug. When Alpha was first discovered in late 2020, that variant also appeared to have acquired numerous mutations all at once, leading researchers to postulate a chronic infection. The idea is bolstered by sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 samples from some chronically infected patients.[7]

Cancer Patients May Have Double the Risk of Breakthrough Infection After Covid-19 Vaccination

Most patients with solid tumors develop antibodies after Covid-19 vaccination, but many patients with hematologic malignancies fail to seroconvert, according to a meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Cancer.[8] Studies have shown that a “substantial proportion” of blood cancer patients who did not produce anti-S antibodies following complete vaccination continue to be seronegative after receiving an additional dose.[9]

The fact that some patients have poor immune responses even after 3 vaccine doses highlights the importance of additional precautions to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to Dr Vaca- Cartagena.[10]  However, it does appear for the time being that vaccine boosters provide protection to cancer patients. The meta-analysis did not include data on seroconversion rates in cancer patients after a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.[11] Since the researchers conducted the meta-analysis, studies have come out suggesting that additional vaccine doses may benefit patients with cancer.[12],[13]

Viral resistance can drive enhanced infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2, which in turn may ultimately enable SARS-CoV-2 to utilize alternative cell surface determinants to enter permissive cells. It is plausible that mass vaccination may drive the virus to fully exploit its evolutionary capacity, including its ability to use alternate receptor domains other than the Spike protein. This can lead to enhanced pathogenicity.[14] This is not an anti-vax statement, but rather an insight into the importance of supporting our innate healing capacity.

Viruses continually mutate, and by relying solely on vaccines, we are engaging in a never-ending race to stay ahead of the mutations. Supporting our overall health and innate immune response capacity is not variant specific and is a prudent approach to Covid-19, particularly as it becomes more apparent that there will never be a “post-Covid” world. We need to understand and accept that Covid-19 is here to stay. We need strategies beyond vaccines alone for living with this virus, starting with building our own robust health and immunity and reducing known risk factors where possible.

There are volumes of existing irrefutable evidence that foods, herbs and specific nutrients possess potential antiviral immune enhancing ability against SARS-CoV-2. According to recent research, herbal medicines, like herbs and essential oils, may have a part to play in counteracting Covid-19.[15] As we head into the 3rd year of living with Covid-19, there is no doubt in my mind we would be in a very different situation today if we had embraced dietary, herbal, and nutritional medicine for supportive care during the past two years, but it’s not too late to start. In my next blog, I’ll be sharing all the wonderful antiviral properties of some of my favorite essential oils.


[1] Sivan Gazit, Roei Shlezinger, Galit Perez, Roni Lotan, Asaf Peretz, Amir Ben-Tov, Dani Cohen, Khitam Muhsen, Gabriel Chodick, Tal Patalon, Comparing SARS-CoV-2 natural immunity to vaccine-induced immunity: reinfections versus breakthrough infections

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415

[2] Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Among Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19–Like Illness with Infection-Induced or mRNA Vaccine-Induced SARS-CoV-2 Immunity — Nine States, January–September 2021, Weekly / November 5, 2021 / 70(44);1539–1544, On October 29, 2021, this report was posted online as an MMWR Early Release.https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7044e1.htm

[3] A Review and Autopsy of Two COVID Immunity Studies BY MARTIN KULLDORFF   NOVEMBER 2, 2021, https://brownstone.org/articles/a-review-and-autopsy-of-two-covid-immunity-studies/

[4] Yair Goldberg, Micha Mandel, Yinon M. Bar-On, Omri Bodenheimer, Laurence Freedman, Nachman Ash, Sharon Alroy-Preis, Amit Huppert, Ron Milo, Protection and waning of natural and hybrid COVID-19 immunity, MedRxiv, BMJJ Yale, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.04.21267114

[5] Kristina Fiore, Early Lab Data Provide Glimpse Into Omicron’s Immune Escape, MedPage Today December 8, 2021, https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/96069?xid=nl_covidupdate_2021-12-08&eun=g1065123d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyUpdate_120821&utm_term=NL_Gen_Int_Daily_News_Update_active

[6] Vaughan, Adam, Omicron emerges, 4 December 2021 | New Scientist | 7, Mutations could have accumulated in a chronically infected patient, an overlooked human population, or an animal reservoir

[7] KUPFERSCHMIDT, KAI, Where did ‘weird’ Omicron come from?, December 4th, 2021, A version of this story appeared in Science, Vol 374, Issue 6572., https://www.science.org/content/article/where-did-weird-omicron-come

[8] Becerril-Gaitan A, Vaca-Cartagena BF, Ferrigno AS, et al. Immunogenicity and risk of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection after Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination in patients with cancer: A systematic review and meta- analysis. Eur J Cancer. 2021;S0959-8049. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2021.10.014

[9] Re D, Seitz-Polski B, Carles M, et al. Humoral and cellular responses after a third dose of BNT162b2 vaccine in patients treated for lymphoid malignancies. medRxiv. Published online July 22, 2021. doi:https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.18.21260669

[10] Storrs, Carina, PhD December 7, 2021, Cancer Patients May Have Double the Risk of Breakthrough Infection After COVID-19 Vaccination, Cancer Therapy Advisor, https://www.cancertherapyadvisor.com/home/cancer-topics/general-oncology/cancer-patients-double-risk-covid19-breakthrough-infection/?mpweb=1323-165465-6575524

[11] COVID-19 vaccines for moderately to severely immunocompromised people. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated November 23, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html   

[12] Shroff RT, Chalasani P, Wei R, et al. Immune responses to two and three doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in adults with solid tumorsNat Med. 2021;27(11):2002-2011. doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01542-z

[13] Shapiro LC, Thakkar A, Campbell ST, et al. Efficacy of booster doses in augmenting waning immune responses to COVID-19 vaccine in patients with cancerCancer Cell. 2021;S1535-6108(21)00606-1. doi:10.1016/j.ccell.2021.11.006

[14] Read AF, Baigent SJ, Powers C, Kgosana LB, Blackwell L, Smith LP, Kennedy DA, Walkden-Brown SW, Nair VK. Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLoS Biol. 2015 Jul 27;13(7):e1002198. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198. PMID: 26214839; PMCID: PMC4516275.

[15] Vellingiri B., Jayaramayya K., Iyer M., Narayanasamy A., Govindasamy V., Giridharan B., Rajagopalan K. COVID-19: A promising cure for the global panic. Sci. Total. Environ. 2020:138277. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138277.

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Synthesizing the Latest on Covid-19 Science on Vaccines, Variants, Natural Immunity and Essential Nutrients for Immune Enhancement

Regardless of where you stand on the vaccine debate, my goal is to provide reliable, fact-based information on current vaccine trends and to share the good news about the powerful role herbal medicine, nutrition, and diet play in building a healthy immune system. There is undoubtedly a great deal of conflicting misinformation circulating in the public amidst a high degree of vaccine skepticism. On a positive note, the latest scientific consensus is now confirming a reduced rate of severe illness and death from COVID-19, including the Delta variant, in vaccinated individuals, especially for high-risk populations, including the elderly and those with underlying conditions. A recent meta-analysis on Vitamin D is also garnering attention on the critical importance of this nutrient. However, with vaccine effectiveness waning[1],[2] amidst rising numbers of breakthrough infections, the continued transmissibility of infection despite vaccination[3], and new variants of concern continuing to emerge[4], the challenge of relying exclusively on immunizations to move past the pandemic underscores the importance of being ever more vigilant in optimizing our health.

Continue reading “Synthesizing the Latest on Covid-19 Science on Vaccines, Variants, Natural Immunity and Essential Nutrients for Immune Enhancement”

The Covaxin Vaccine, a Medscape Review of Ivermectin, and Herbal Medicine Bias

Several people have recently asked me about the Covaxin vaccine. Before I share my opinion and review of the research, I want to emphasize the utmost faith I have in botanical and nutritional medicine as the foundation for health and for supporting our innate capacity to live in harmony with our ever-evolving environment. This includes the viruses and other microbes we come into contact with.

In my opinion, the most important aspect of maintaining health is to support our innate immune function. Vaccines can potentially provide additional support, but we should not rely solely on vaccines for protection.

Continue reading “The Covaxin Vaccine, a Medscape Review of Ivermectin, and Herbal Medicine Bias”

Managing the Risk of Blood Clots and other Possible Side Effects of the Covid-19 Vaccines

Nature is a totally efficient, self-regenerating system. If we discover the laws that govern this system and live synergistically within them, sustainability will follow and humankind will be a success. Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts.”
― Buckminster Fuller

Although there’s a current flurry of concern about the possible link between blood clots and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the reality is that there is a risk of potentially dangerous blood clots and/or platelet disorders with all of the vaccines that are being used for Covid-19.

Continue reading “Managing the Risk of Blood Clots and other Possible Side Effects of the Covid-19 Vaccines”