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We hope you and your family are well in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The staff at Health Research Institute are all fine and we are taking care while continuing to operate the lab in rural Iowa where there are very few cases.

Like you, we’ve looked into ways to stay healthy and to avoid COVID.

Remarkably, when we looked at the Centers for Disease Control website on “How to Protect Yourself & Others” from COVID-19, there is no mention about preventive health like diet and immune boosting measures.

Fortunately, there are other sources of information that are empowering. We’d like to share a few of these resources that we have found helpful:

  • A correlation between higher vitamin D levels and lower severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Dietary recommendations for a healthy immune system.
  • Research on potential connection between glyphosate and immunity

Vitamin D and COVID-19

Grassroots for Health is a non-profit research organization that provides direct-to-consumer testing for vitamin D levels much like HRI provides glyphosate test kits. They contributed to the paper, Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. They also note that, “other observational studies have published data showing a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and the severity of the COVID-19 disease – with the most severe cases and death being associated with the lowest levels of vitamin D.” A chart with the study results is below.

As a research organization, we do not give medical advice, but are happy to share that staff at HRI have personally chosen to take 5000 IU of vitamin D to try to sustain a blood level of 40 ng/mL recommended by Grassroots for Health and numerous medical practitioners.

Diet and Immunity

“Food is medicine” is a phrase we often hear. In particular, some foods like those loaded in phytochemicals are known to boost immunity. We found an overview in BBC news, “How important is diet for a healthy immune system?” to be informative. The article suggests:

– eating a wide range of fruit and veggies will ensure you get all the nutrients your immune system needs.

– The wider the variety of different colored plants you eat, the more types of phytochemicals you’ll consume. Red, orange, yellow and green plants contain carotenoids, which have been associated with boosting immunity.

– There is a connection between the bacteria in your gut and the functioning of your immune system. The wider the variety of plant fiber you eat, the healthier and more diverse the bacteria in your gut will be.

Glyphosate and Immunity

If a healthy gut bacteria population contributes to a healthy immune system, it follows that an unhealthy guy bacteria population does not.

Since glyphosate was originally patented as an antibiotic (a substance that kills bacteria), scientists have wondered if glyphosate might be harmful to beneficial bacteria in the gut.

As recently reported in gmoscience.org, “A new study in rats raises further concerns about the health risks of both glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides (e.g. Roundup). The study provides firm evidence that these pesticides disrupt the gut bacterial populations (microbiome) at doses assumed by regulators to be safe…” (Glyphosate and Roundup Disrupt the Gut Microbiome).

Additionally, a Missouri federal court recently found that it is misleading for the manufacturer of glyphosate to say on its label that the herbicide is only harmful to plants because the enzyme affected by Roundup is also found in bacteria that are present in people and animals (Monsanto To Pay $39M In Roundup False Ad Class Settlement).

While potential disruption of the human gut microbiome by glyphosate needs further research, there is ample evidence that the gut microbiome helps to regulate immune responses. Given the effects observed in rats, and the need for further research in humans, a precautionary approach to protecting gut health and the immune system might be to minimize exposure to glyphosate.

Preliminary results from HRI Labs’ Glyphosate Environmental Exposure Study give some insights on how to minimize glyphosate exposure:

 
  • People who eat the most organic food (80-100% reported) have 75% less glyphosate in their urine  than people who eat the least amount (0-10% reported).
  • People who eat non-organic oats have double the amount of glyphosate than people who do not.
  • People who eat six or more servings of vegetables per day have 50% lower glyphosate levels than people who eat two or less servings of vegetables.

We hope you found these observations helpful.

Stay safe and healthy,

The Science Team at HRI