In this episode, I am speaking with Dr. Daniel Chong – who is a licensed naturopathic physician. His passion is to dig into the research, especially around the Covid pandemic. We will talk about why we should work with nature and not against it, bad science, and more.
Table of Contents
In this podcast, Dr. Chang and I will discuss:
- The difference between working with and against nature (and what it means to you!)
- How science studies are being set up to support the results you want
- The efficiency of the Covid-19 vaccines Why aren’t we using Ivermectin to treat Covid-19?
- The therapeutical hierarchy Daniel’s top tips to boosting your health and energy
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Ari Whitten: Hey there, this is Ari. Welcome back to The Energy Blueprint podcast. I am very excited for today’s guest. He’s a personal friend of mine, and he’s someone that I personally spend a lot of time actually following his posts on social media on pretty much a daily basis. He has, I would say over the last year, done one of the best jobs of anybody that I know personally in continually following science around everything that’s going on with the pandemic, and rigorously evaluating information and posting about it in a very, very nuanced, very deeply scientific way. I’m just very, very impressed with him as a thinker. I’m very excited to introduce you all to him.
His name is Dr. Daniel Chong, and he’s been practicing as a licensed naturopathic physician in Portland, Oregon since 2000. He looks, by the way, I thought he was like maybe 29 or early 30s or something. I couldn’t believe what I saw recently that he’s been practicing as a naturopathic physician for over 20 years. I was like, “When did he get started? At age 12 or something, Doogie Howser?”, but his passion in life is to inspire and empower people towards taking control of their health by reconnecting with nature on various levels.
His newest means for doing so is the Vital Human Health Hub. That’s a lot of H’s, human health hub, a new home, a new home base for all of his efforts to curate and disseminate high quality health information, learn more at vital-human.com. He’s also the co-founder of the Healing Earth Health Conference, which is found at earthheal.org, which is, by the way, happening in a few days, weeks. When is that coming? When is that happening, Dr. Chong.
Dr. Daniel Chong: It’s April 24th, and please, please call me Daniel. It’s April 24th and getting excited about it.
Dr. Daniel: Thanks for the kind words.
Ari: My pleasure. I meant it. That is going to be probably literally, within a few days of us releasing this episode. For everyone listening, make sure you go to earthheal.org, sign up for it. Daniel, it’s free, right?
Dr. Daniel: Sadly, it’s not. We’ve got to pay, these are some high level speakers we got here, so we do have to pay some pretty significant honorariums, so we do have to charge. It’s about, I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 or $90 for a full-day conference. It’s also partially–
Ari: Oh, it’s in-person?
Dr. Daniel: No, it’s online, but it’s also continuing education for physicians. It’s meant for physicians, and what I like to call the informed lay people who really want to dive into more details about things.
Ari: Let’s talk about what this conference is all about, and I know you have some pretty epic speakers. I’m very excited about David Katz, who I’ve had on the podcast before and Vandana Shiva, who is–
Dr. Daniel: Honestly, I’m still pinching myself about Dr. Shiva. She’s just got to be one of my most favorite people in the world. Anybody who doesn’t know her, it’s almost impossible to try to relay everything that she’s doing and everything that she’s about, but she is an activist in the truest sense, and just intent on keeping things on this planet, the way they should be in terms of nature, and how it should be treated, and how we should be working with it rather than in spite of it.
Working with it rather than just using it for our own, to satisfy all the things that we humans want out of this life. She’s just an incredible inspiration, and she’s our keynote speaker. She just came out with a new book that I love the title of called Oneness Vs. the 1%, where she really dives into what’s going on out there on the world of Bill. She’s an outspoken opponent of the way that Bill Gates is going around trying to accomplish what he’s trying to accomplish for this planet.
She’s undoubtedly going to speak a lot about that and she’s super informed about it. She’s investigated him for years and knows all the fine details about what he’s doing, especially in the realm of farming, and seed patenting, and all of these just incredible, incredibly concerning things. She’s going to be hammering some stuff that I think should be really interesting for the average person to hear, who probably doesn’t know a lot about it.
Ari: I didn’t know of her until relatively recently, I’d say the last year, and I’ve watched maybe close to 10 podcasts with her, various interviews with her. She has quickly become one of my favorite people on the planet right now.
Dr. Daniel: It’s hard not to.
Ari: She knows more about Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation, and those efforts, and the ins and outs and specifics of them, and financial ties to who, and the results of their various experiments, than I think just about anybody that I’ve seen, as far as chronicling the actual, what they’re doing, and what the results, and what the side effects are. Since you brought that up, this is among this territory of controversial topics which there are a long list of. Now, it seems to be increasing on a daily basis, of highly controversial, highly politicized, almost taboo, polarized topics.
Vaccines probably being the pinnacle of those, but Bill Gates is also one of those, and we have these different takes on Bill Gates. Everything from one extreme of he’s some kind of evil Satan-worshiping pedophile, cultist, doing all kinds of, who’s just this evil maniacal psychopath who’s out to get us to, on the other end, to the extreme of he is just this wonderfully benevolent, altruistic guy who’s just trying to help the world in every way possible.
I personally, am probably smack dab in the center of that. I don’t claim to know his inner motivations, but I definitely have a big, big problem with a lot of the things that he’s doing and what the results are, and I think are going to be, of those efforts. The latest one being the efforts to spray particulate in the atmosphere to dim the sun, to try to combat global warming.
It’s hard to imagine somebody having the scientific hubris to tinker with the climate of the whole planet in a way that is fundamentally not about addressing root causes. Obviously, the sun is not because of global warming. That sort of tinkering, to me, not only represents just the pinnacle of hubris, but also just something that is incredibly dangerous and has almost unimaginable potential for consequences, in so many different ways. If I can maybe frame this conversation, you mentioned something a little while ago, the paradigm of understanding that certain people are operating opposed to nature.
I think a really good way of understanding this is fundamentally, there are different philosophies, and there are actually different types of science that can be done. Some people do science with respect for nature, where we are seeking to work with an optimized nature. Other people do science, I would say the majority of big corporations, pharmaceutical companies, big agriculture, and those are the companies that, for example, the Gates Foundation is aligned with, and the underlying paradigms behind almost all of the “science” that gets done is at odds with nature, is in somewhat of a battle with nature.
I know that you’ve talked a lot about that in your posts, but can you tell us about your thoughts on things? That’s how I perceive it, but what do you think?
Dr. Daniel: That’s obviously a huge topic, and I think that the most fascinating thing to me, in general, is how much overlap there is between really everything that we see going on these days in the realm of vaccines, and certainly everything that Gates is doing. I’m sure you just heard that he’s now the largest land owner in the United States, farmland owner in the United States.
I don’t know a ton about what he’s doing in the atmosphere but I do know that that’s– and I don’t like to say he, he’s not doing it. He’s just supporting these efforts financially. There’s such a fascinating amount of overlap between these things, and yet it makes perfect sense to me, if you consider the fact that it’s really the same viewpoint and approach to things, just being applied in different fields.
I know of those things, I know the health field the most, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to look at the way that the conventional medical system approaches chronic health issues, and how essentially, we wait for a disaster to happen, and then we try to science our way out of it, or technology our way out of it, using methods that don’t, like you just said, address the root cause.
The same things are happening with things that are occurring in our environment. Everything from species demise, to climate change, to the loss of our soil, the loss of our water, et cetera. It’s all disasters that are starting to become too significant to not pay attention to, like a heart attack, or chest pain, or a weird mass growing on the side of your leg, or something like that. Where it’s like, “We got to do something about this. What should we do?” We should try to burn it, cut it out, drug it with some super high powered technologically advanced drug and not look at why those things are happening. There’s certainly no harm in making money from those efforts as well.
To me, it’s a very, very clear definitive problem with the way that we are approaching things in general, which is, I just always put it working in spite of nature, rather than with nature. To me, I have not seen evidence yet, in anything I’ve looked at, that that is a sustainable approach to life. Nature will win every time, one way or another. Honestly that’s, you could say is at the base of what inspires my effort is just a real definitive trust in the wisdom inherent in nature, and the billions and billions of years that have led to what this world is like these days and our speck of time that we’ve been here.
When I see things that are in opposition to what we know is how things really should work, I get very concerned with that. All the way down to the level of just my own children, and what’s impacting, potentially going to impact their health and their wellbeing, and then all the way out to humanity, and all the other amazing earthlings that we share this planet with. That’s what I do.
Working with vs working against nature
Ari: It’s common now to hear people refer to the science, that I follow the science. Following what we were just talking about, I almost see a semantic problem here with how we use the word science. We could go multiple routes with that, but in particular, given that there are these two totally different underlying paradigms of how to approach problems, whether health problems, or environmental problems, or food production problems, or whatever.
One that is all about technology and things that they can do better than nature, and we use chemicals, and we use computer systems, and artificial intelligence, and we can do so much better than nature, and is at odds and fighting against nature. Then there’s another way that is about working with, and optimizing, and mimicking nature, and so on. We can conceptualize this. I almost think that we need to have a science-off. We need to have like a competition to actually sort out which of these two philosophies, which of these two paradigms that underlie how we approach doing the science is the best.
What I mean is, we do a randomized control study basically comparing big agriculture methods to regenerative farming methods. We do a randomized controlled study of sending a thousand cardiovascular disease patients to conventional doctors, who give them statins, and heart surgery. We send a thousand to– and blood pressure medications, and whatever else, anti-diuretics, or diuretic medications, so on. We send another thousand to natural health, functional medicine doctors, who are working on nutrition and lifestyle. We get definitive answers to these questions as far as which is the better approach to how to do science. What actually leads to better results?
Because as I see it right now, all of that stuff, that whole spectrum of these radically divergent, almost opposite approaches to science is all being lumped under the banner of science. Each side thinks that they follow the “science”. I think we need to have a deathmatch and settle this once and for all.
Dr. Daniel: I couldn’t agree more. Yet, especially over the last year– yes, I have been a practicing naturopath for almost 21 years now, so I’m pretty well versed in the health side of things, and the way things work in the realm of the impact of the pharmaceutical industry, and the health insurance industry on how medicine is practiced. I’ve learned a lot more recently about how again, the same patterns can be seen in agriculture, and environmental science, and things like that.
Unfortunately, I think the underlying drive behind these approaches that are being used in these industries is greed, and to a lesser extent, power. Unfortunately, also, they’ve already gotten to the point where there’s so much money involved that [unintelligible 00:17:50] to participate in, and see the type of deathmatch that you’re talking about, I can’t imagine it happening at this point. My viewpoint goes back to now more that quote from Buckminster Fuller, whatever his name is, that’s basically like, if you see a problem in a system, it’s not going to work so well to fight against it.
You have to build a parallel system that eventually gets so undeniably more effective and appropriate, that it makes the other one obsolete. While I would love to have all of these studies and things that you talked about, because I know the outcomes, I know what they would be. I’ve seen too much evidence that those things are either never going to happen, or if and when small versions of them do happen, as you know, they’re quickly buried and don’t see the light of day, at least in the realm of the public.
It’s a snowballed system that’s just rolling harder and faster than ever right now. My opinion is, in order to overcome that, and really show what the better approach to things would be is, it has to be done as a separate parallel system that becomes undeniably effective, and is helping more people. To some extent, people are trying to do that, it’s just such a small scale still.
I don’t harbor, unfortunately, a lot of hope for these things these days. I just thought I’d always maintain hope. I’m a glass half-full person, but I don’t really necessarily see the way it’s happening until I– I guess, when I listen to people like Zach Bush, I get pretty enthusiastic because he seems pretty certain that there’s a way to do this type of approach but I would take either one, the deathmatch or the parallel system that just makes the other one obsolete.
Ari: I’m with you. I think one of the challenges to creating the parallel system that makes the original one obsolete is that the paradigm that you and I espouse is multifactorial, is based on systems thinking. The original paradigm is almost always presented as single factor. It’s like reductionistically, myopically focused on one thing. You have this disease, Alzheimer’s disease, you take this pill for it, or it’s like single disease, single cause, single pill, cured.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by beta amyloid plaques in the brain, so you take a pill that combats beta amyloid plaques in the brain. Heart disease is caused by these plaques that build up in the arteries, and the problem is cholesterol, so you take a statin drug and that fixes your cholesterol, and so on. Depression is caused by too low of serotonin in the brain, so you take a pill that fixes your serotonin in your brain.
That kind of thinking is much easier for most people to wrap their heads around, and especially, I don’t mean to sound, this is a bit rude to say, but the fact is that the general population of the world is, in general, not particularly high IQ. There’s a big gap between the masses of people and the segments of the population that is highly educated, and has a background in science, for example, or just high education in general, and has the IQ capacity to actually understand complex ideas and systems thinking.
What I mean by this is let’s go back to that deathmatch. Let’s say you compared big agriculture chemical-dominant methods with a regenerative agriculture approach. On the one hand, let’s say you did that study and you found the big agriculture method was 10% more productive in producing soy and corn. Someone could say, “Well the results clearly show that big agriculture methods produce 10% more, therefore they’re the winner,” but now you add these extra layers to this discussion like what about the top soil? What was the result of how much top soil was left in the big agriculture method versus regenerative agriculture?
Then you start to see the big agriculture method is depleting top soil, which over time, makes the farm, makes the land unfarmable. What if you then start to see that all those chemicals that are being dumped in to replace the depletion of minerals in soil, all the fertilizers, all the chemical herbicides and pesticides, are not only causing problems on that land, but are running off into rivers, and lakes, and oceans, where they’re wreaking havoc on wildlife, and causing for example, bleaching and die-off of coral reefs, and disrupting ocean ecosystems?
What if you start to look at the residues of those chemicals on human health and you start to realize, oh, they’re making humans infertile, and they’re contributing to all kinds of diseases, cancer, and numerous other diseases in humans.
Once you expand out, so I guess what I’m saying is, depending on how you look at that comparison, you could look at it and say, “Big agriculture is the clear winner, they had 10% more production of soy and corn compared to regenerative agriculture,” but then once you have the capacity to look at all of these layers of the entire network, all the nodes of the network, this entire big picture system of the world environment, animal health, human health, you start to see very quickly that actually regenerative agriculture is far and away the winner because it’s not creating any of those negative effects on all of those other aspects of the system. There’s a lens problem, too, how we are looking at these kinds of things.
Dr. Daniel: When you say that, it makes me think, well, what you’d want to make sure is that when we design this deathmatch, I love that term, when we design this deathmatch, we don’t allow a corporate-influenced and corporate-biased deathmatch designer to be influencing how the parameters are set up. Because, very similarly, when you look at a number of different types of research studies, what the results are, are oftentimes essentially predetermined by the setup of the study design.
I think you said it perfectly. It is literally, while we’re talking about a fictitious event it’s played out on the largest scale right now. All we have to do is mention the term 95% effective, and I know you know what I’m talking about, in the realm of these vaccines and how effective they are or not for preventing COVID, or the severity of it, or whatever. You see the same thing in nutrition studies done all the time. You see the same things done in pharmaceutical studies. You see the same thing done in studies that have been done to evaluate pharmaceutical treatments for COVID.
You set it up correctly, you’re going to get a certain result. Usually, if you do a study design that is meant to evaluate all the ramifications like you described, that’s when you can’t really hide the true result. People that are way smarter than me already know that. These days, I’m not really afraid to say because I’ve seen it too many times already, that I think a lot of times studies are set up very, very purposefully. I would want you to design the deathmatch parameters, not somebody supported by big ag.
The prevalence of bad science in the medical sphere
Ari: To that point, I’ll cite a specific statistic that I have cited previously. It’s from Ben Goldacre, who’s the author of Bad Pharma. He’s written a lot about bad science. He’s an MD. He’s also got a couple of TED Talks, which I highly recommend everybody watch. One of the stats that he cites in his books and in the TED Talk is that studies that are conducted by pharmaceutical companies are 400% more likely to arrive at a positive result than the same exact study of the same exact thing done by independent researchers.
If you just let that simple thing marinate into your brain, why is that? Why would that be? It’s exactly for the reason that you just said, is they know how to set things up, or they just manipulate the data outright, but they know how to set the studies up in advance to achieve the result that they want it to achieve, and they do it quite successfully. They’ve mastered the art of conducting “science” in a way that reliably leads to getting the answer that they want to get.
Dr. Daniel: If you really, thoroughly, and very specifically look through a pinhole, you’re going to see everything that that pinhole allows you to see, but it might not show you everything that’s going on outside of that. That’s the way that they’re not actually being corrupt, or deceitful, or outright lying. They’re just showing you what the results are based on, what they’re looking for.
Unfortunately, and you mentioned, the average person’s not necessarily adept at evaluating all of these things. I know it took me a long time to figure out how to look at these things. They typically look at headlines. They don’t have the time or energy or whatever to dig into, “What did that study actually show?” I know in my case, if I see a headline come out, I immediately click on the article and look to see if they linked the study, and then I go look at the study. The average person’s not doing that.
Again, they’re not lying. They’re just telling you what the results are, but people don’t realize that they’re meant to show that. I remember, I don’t know, gosh, just about a year ago, I started doing that for some of the studies that were looking at drugs to treat COVID, and I even made a little video about it cause I was shocked at what I found. I don’t know if you want to talk about it, but the study designs were mind-blowing.
Just as an simple example, if you’re looking for the efficacy of a drug to treat a viral infection, and the placebo you choose is vitamin C, that’s a bit of a strange study design. Again, if people don’t realize already, all placebo-controlled studies are looking for is efficacy of the drug in question relative to placebo.
Ari: A placebo is supposed to be an inert substance.
Dr. Daniel: An inert, right. If you see a clear difference between the two, then you can say it performed better than placebo, but if they look about the same, you can just say, “Oh, no better than placebo,” and the average scientist, doctor who’s also skimming headlines is like, “See, I told you, that drug didn’t work,” but it’s like, well, if it didn’t work, but it was compared to something that works really well, that’s not the best way to evaluate it. I saw a number of cases of that type of study design being done.
Ari: Just to spell this out for people. These are studies being done with the intention of finding no effect, finding no benefit. People, in other words, and this is something we talked about in a podcast that I released a couple of weeks ago with Matthew Crawford who has dug in or made in-depth on hydroxychloroquine.
Dr. Daniel: These were hydroxychloroquine studies that I’m talking about. I don’t know if we should mention the name, because–
Ari: Who knows if they’re going to sensor us, better not we mention it. Basically, it is almost a certainty because it’s hard to imagine any other reason for this, any other plausible explanation, that certain interests set about to do “science”, with the explicit intention to find no effect, to find that certain things were not effective in treating COVID, with very specific intentions.
For example, the emergency use authorization of the vaccines, dependent upon there being no available effective treatments for that condition. Just those two pieces alone, you can immediately see that, hey, there’s a clear and massive financial incentive, on the order of tens of billions of dollars per year, to create science that shows that there are no available effective treatments for COVID, because that allows you to make lots and lots of money.
Of course, if you have that kind of financial incentive, would you want to spend a few million bucks here and there to finance some studies that prove that there are no available effective treatments? Probably, if all you’re concerned with is money and greed, then you can see how people would very easily be motivated to do that kind of thing.
Dr. Daniel: Let’s be even nicer. Let’s say they do feel that the vaccines are going to be effective and save lives as well. If you have an opportunity to save lives, or save the same amount of lives and make a ton of money on top of it, why would you want it any other way? Especially, if you have a treatment that you can continually modify and change each year, which you can’t do to these unpatented drugs, and so on and so forth.
The Ivermectin controversy
Ari: You have no real opportunity for making money. Talk to me about ivermectin. This is a subject that you know a lot more than I do about, because you’ve really followed literature on it. You’ve also done some really interesting analyses of the data and statistics on efficacy, and absolute and relative risk reductions and things like that.
Talk to me about the data on ivermectin, which is another compound that’s been around for a long time. I give it to my dog every month, most people do, it’s in the heartworm medication. It’s a very common, very safe drug that’s been around for a long time, anti-parasitic drug. There’s been, what now, 50-some studies on ivermectin around the world in regard to treating COVID?
Dr. Daniel: I think around that many well-done studies, yes. I don’t profess to be an expert at it. I was familiar with this drug for a long time just in my work, sometimes treating people with parasites, et cetera, but didn’t know a ton about it until started to try to look into it in the realm of COVID.
Let’s see here. I think the most important thing I would say is it’s highly provocative in the sense that we’ve seen enough, if we really are willing to look, to warrant at least as thorough of an evaluation of its efficacy as any of the vaccines, for sure, because it’s already proven to be incredibly safe, and there hasn’t, admittedly, been a study done on it that is large as the studies that have been done on the vaccines, but there’s been some pretty high quality studies done on it.
One in particular looked at it for prophylaxis in frontline healthcare workers who were treating COVID, so about as high risk of a population of people as you could ask for, certainly more high risk than the populations of people evaluated initially, or that are in the midst of being evaluated for the vaccination. I hesitate still to speak about it as though we have clear comparative research.
My interest in it is in its potential, in its safety, and the case studies and things like that we’ve seen with it. I post about it all the time. I say all the time, I would be much less inclined to promote it, or to promote a further investigation of it if we saw no reason to look past the vaccines. Yet, I know you know this, if you look at the reports coming in, pretty much on a daily or weekly basis about severe side effects from these vaccines, and to be clear, we’re talking reports, nothing proven definitively, but reports about people’s experiences after getting the vaccine, I consider there to be a great amount of evidence to evaluate for the potential of something that might be safer.
Just to put it into perspective, since its creation, there’s been about four billion doses of ivermectin given out to human beings. I believe it was less than 20 deaths ever reported in the multiple years that it’s been in use, and they were all in people that were taking it to treat a very specific parasite condition. It’s known now in the literature that treating people with high amounts of this parasite with ivermectin can cause severe die-off effects and that’s what actually the severe side effects are being attributed to.
The average person though, the side effect window is somewhere between fatigue, headaches, and vomiting, for a day or two if you take the drug. If you look at the side effect window of the vaccines, at least in the reporting system, we’re talking from fatigue to death, and everything in between. In my opinion, why wouldn’t we want to know if there’s something safer?
We both know that ivermectin is not patented, it was off-patent, there’s no money to be made from it, relatively. Again, if it was proven as a definitive option for COVID for either prophylaxis or treatment, it would make any emergency use authorization vaccine null. The writing’s on the wall, in my opinion. It’s becoming more and more obvious. The thing that’s interesting with ivermectin is there’s a large enough group of doctors out there that are pushing for its use that it’s becoming– it’s almost like the industry’s arm is being twisted and so now they’re starting to do new studies.
The one that I just saw being put together, to me, falls into that classic category of study design, and whether or not are we going to actually see efficacy. In all likelihood, we won’t. It’s too detailed to go into, but it’s a study design that it would be hard to see a really clear signal of efficacy, the way that they designed the study. I don’t doubt for a second, that when it’s done, they’re going to come out and say, “See, it doesn’t work very well,” but anyways, you did ask about the absolute risk and relative risk, and I think that’s an important part of this whole discussion because I did a pretty thorough evaluation.
There was one study with ivermectin where they again, they looked at frontline healthcare workers and they gave, I believe it was about 400 people in these groups, a placebo group, and a treatment group, ivermectin. There’s an important number, or there’s an important term called NNT or the number needed to treat. What that is is it’s evaluating how many people need to take a drug, the drug in question, the drug being studied, for one person to experience the positive effect that you’re looking for.
The lower the number, the more effective the drug. An NNT of 1 would mean that every single person that took that drug got the effect that you were looking for. Typically, in the realm of drug research, a good NNT is considered less than about 10 to 15, and anything beyond 10 or 15, and the higher it goes beyond that, the less and less effective that drug is considered to be.
Long story short, in the evaluation that I looked at with this research study done on ivermectin, the NNT was 11. Essentially saying, for every 11 people that took that drug, 1 person didn’t get COVID or a severe case of COVID. Then I looked at the– sorry, go ahead.
Ari: What’s considered a good NNT?
Dr. Daniel: Typically, depending on who you ask, somewhere between less than 15 or less than 10, a super, super, super effective drug would be like 5 or less. 11 is clearly considered effective, but the interesting thing is I also then took the trial data from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and calculated what the NNT for those treatments are. They were 170 and 176, respectively. That’s what people don’t hear.
In other words, 170 to 176 people need to take the shot for one case of COVID to be prevented, that otherwise wouldn’t have. That’s the important, that brings up this whole idea of absolute versus relative risk. Relative risk is essentially saying– to make it more simple, if you have 100 people in the treatment group and 100 people in the placebo group, and 2 people in the placebo group get to get the illness, and 1 person in the treatment group gets the illness, you can say that’s relatively 100% effective because there was twice as many people in the placebo group that got the illness.
It’s only 1% difference in absolute risk, because 1 out of a 100 got it in one group and 2 out of a 100 got it in the other group, and that part’s never spoken about. That’s why, in both of the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine trials, they’re both considered around 95% effective, that’s what most of us hear ad nauseum in the mainstream media. That is a relative risk reduction.
In both groups, in both studies, both vaccines, both the placebo and the treatment group, the overall risk of people getting COVID was super low. It was like a tiny blip. higher risk in the placebo group than in the treatment group, but the relative reduction was significant, which is fine. This is this is a big point to me is, if this was a totally safe treatment that we’re talking about, and there was no risk of death or Bell’s palsy, or some neurological condition, or clotting or whatever it is, that’s starting to come out in the news, cool. Give it to 170 people, if one person’s prevented
Ari: If I can just interject one thing, there was an article just published in in sciencemag.org that is titled, if anybody wants to look it up, it’s called Hard Choices Emerge as Link Between AstraZeneca Vaccine and Rare Clotting Disorder Becomes Clearer.
And they said what was a worrisome suspicion four weeks ago is now widely accepted. The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause a disorder characterized by dangerous blood clots and low platelet counts.
By the way, there was a doctor in Miami who famously died of this. There’s many, many other reports coming out about these platelets issues. Then they go on to say in Europe, at least 222 suspected cases have been reported among the people vaccinated so far and more than 30 of them have died. Anyway, just wanted to–
Dr. Daniel: I don’t know if you saw that just today that in the United States, they’re doing a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the exact same reason, which I find fascinating because if you look again at the official vaccine reporting system and you read the reports from Moderna and Pfizer vaccine side effects, you see descriptions of people having clotting issues happen within a short period of time after the vaccine that are identical to the cases that we hear about in AstraZeneca’s vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Yet it’s essentially like nobody’s listening or nobody’s–
I can’t imagine that it’s not for any reason other than it’s rolling out at such a high speed, it’s going to take an unquestionable severe situation going on for them to stop this train from moving this quickly. That’s my personal opinion. One thing that’s inarguable is you are seeing the same exact side effects and it makes perfect sense because when we’re talking about the mechanism underlying the vaccine, in all likelihood, what’s prompting the reaction that’s occurring in AstraZeneca vaccine and likely occurring in the Johnson & Johnson and potentially occurring in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, it’s all related to the spike protein.
The vaccines themselves have different ways of getting that spike protein in front of your immune system, but it’s the spike protein itself that can contribute to the mechanism underlying the clotting. There’s no reason to think theoretically that there would be any difference. Then, we’re also seeing cases that show that they’re having similar side effects. Going back real quick to the trials and trial data and all that type of thing, my whole issue with the way that the results are being reported has to do with things like this.
If there was no risk for something serious like this and there’s only benefit to be had, every 170 people that got the vaccine, one life was saved with no potential for a life being lost by giving the vaccine, I wouldn’t argue with that at all. My concern is that it doesn’t appear that way. It also happens to appear that there’s a drug sitting on the side waiting for its chance by the name of ivermectin that’s not being given a full place at the table to be evaluated as a potential treatment, even though, the safety record is impeccable.
At the very least, if you look at the NNT, it may work literally 10+ times better than the vaccines. Not only is it potentially equivalent and safer, it could actually work better. That’s why I keep banging on that subject because it’s just– I know why it makes sense when you’re thinking about the pharmaceutical industry and all this stuff we talked about but still, I can’t get past them.
Are the COVID vaccines really the panacea most people hope for?
Ari: Absolutely. There’s, there’s one other layer to this that I think is important. I think there’s a fallacy of thinking right now. Especially, given that we’ve had these reports of 95% effective and things of that nature, 97% effective. We are, first of all, now seeing thousands of what they’re calling breakthrough cases across the US of people who are fully vaccinated and who still get COVID and who are in some cases still hospitalized, and so on. There’s a fallacy of thinking around that people think, “If I get the vaccine, then I don’t get COVID, so I can trade the risks of the vaccine for the risks of COVID.”
Also, the dominant thinking is, of course, vaccines are perfectly safe and effective. The science is in. Vaccines are safe. Anybody who dares to say that they might have side effects must be some crazy anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorist. That’s the dominant zeitgeist of the culture that you if you even broach that topic, you risk being viciously attacked. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies have been very effective in creating that culture and in infecting the masses with that kind of thinking.
Whereas of course, everybody knows with drugs and with every other category of substance, of course, there are risks and benefits that have to be weighed very carefully. Nobody would look at the creation of a new blood pressure drug and just be like, “Oh, yes. Of course, it’s safe and effective. We don’t need any long-term data. Let’s just give it to hundreds of millions of people. Let’s put it in the water supply. What could go wrong?”
Nobody thinks that way, but everybody thinks that way with vaccines for some reason. There’s a real cognitive issue of not being able to think clearly about this particular category of substance in the same way that we would think about every other substance doing the same exact thing, to give any other substance in existence to hundreds of millions of healthy asymptomatic people.
Before you ever do give anything to hundreds of millions of healthy asymptomatic people, you better be damn sure that if there are no serious side effects and you better have a lot of long-term safety data that spans multiple years before you do something like that. In the category of vaccines, again, everybody sees that as a huge exception.
I also want to speak to, again, this fallacy of substituting the risks for the vaccine for the risk of COVID, the fact that we’re already seeing these breakthrough cases. I also want to cite a specific study. This was published in the New England Journal of Medicine recently. It was looking at this AstraZeneca vaccine, which is the same one that now we know has clear risks as far as causing these rare blood clotting disorders, which can either permanently disable you or kill you.
What they did was they enrolled about 1000 people in the vaccine arm and 1000 people in the placebo arm. This will also be good by the way, to demonstrate absolute versus relative risk reduction. In 1000 people in each group, they looked at the efficacy of this vaccine to prevent COVID with specifically the South African variant of COVID. What they found is in 1000 people who got the placebo, 32 people got COVID and of 1000 people who got the vaccine, 25 people got COVID. 25 at 1000 versus 32 at 1000. Now, you can technically say the relative risk reduction, the effectiveness of the vaccine was 20-something percent, which implies that it had some efficacy.
Of course, anybody who looks at those numbers and understands the statistics can see that, “Hey, there’s really no effect whatsoever here. This is a tiny difference between these two groups, which means the vaccine basically didn’t work at all.” It is likely and that’s one variant that’s already in circulation around many places in the world. I’m just trying to point out this fallacy that many people have of, “If I go get this vaccine, then I don’t have the risks of COVID,” when in reality, at least in some cases with some vaccines and some variants, the efficacy may be greatly reduced like almost to the point of zero in this case.
In this case, you’re not trading risk of vaccine for risk of COVID, you’re adding the risk of the vaccine to the risk of COVID, you’re actually creating an additional risk. That’s something that I’m afraid far to people really understand clearly.
Dr. Daniel: That’s a great way of putting it. The other thing that made me think about is that at least in some situations, another thing that’s done behind the scenes that people aren’t aware of is there sometimes a difference in the level of health between the people selected in the placebo group versus the people selected in the vaccine group.
That calls into question this whole idea of like, “If out of 1000 people 25 people got it or 32 people got it, what was going on with those other 900+ people in either of those groups and why didn’t they get it at all in either situation?” Nobody looks at those things and what is keeping 99.7% of people from dying of COVID in the entire world because those things aren’t treatments.
Those are everything else that we do in our lives, our health and age, and all of these different things. There’s so many different things that we could bring up to evaluate these studies and show how many parts of it don’t speak to their efficacy that they’re being touted to have. Not only that, if you just read mainstream media, they have frequently been called miracles. To go from calling something a miracle, to looking at it from the perspective that we’re talking about, it’s like night and day difference.
The average person out there is sitting here thinking this was the greatest thing that’s ever happened in human history. It’s such a strange world that we’re in, that people can be thinking all the way from that perspective to the perspective that we’re talking about and everything in between. I, oftentimes, say, I wish I was just sitting on a couch with some alien out in the universe somewhere watching this show because it’s a fascinating one to watch it play out. Such interesting times.
The best tips to optimize your health and energy levels
Ari: On that note, I want to actually transition into some practical suggestions that you might have for people during this period of time. You posted a couple of times recently a hierarchy of thinking about what treatments to use and how to best improve and optimize one’s health. Can you talk about that? Can you talk about the link between metabolic health more broadly and risks of COVID and what practical suggestions that you have for people to improve their health or think about how they should reduce their risks?
Dr. Daniel: The first part you talked about there is something in naturopathic medicine that we call the therapeutic hierarchy of treatment or the therapeutic order of treatment. Something I learned about in my first week of naturopathic treatment philosophy. The thing I love about it is that it’s all inclusive. It doesn’t exclude any treatment all the way up to the most invasive, potentially harmful side effect or written a drug or treatment that you can think of it’s all on the spectrum.
Unfortunately, if you look at Wikipedia to determine what you do or don’t think about naturopathic medicine or any of these related health professions, you would think that we are out there with signs telling people not to ever take drugs, not to ever take a vaccine in any situation, not use chemotherapy even if you’re dying, whatever. It’s not like that at all. It’s really more about when do you put these treatments into action relative to what else you’re doing. Admittedly, sometimes, the situation is severe enough that you have to put more than one step into play at the same time to save somebody’s life.
The point is you should never put a more aggressive step in without also including a less aggressive, more foundationally supportive measure. A classic example that I wish someday might actually come true is if somebody shows up even at an ER dying of bacterial pneumonia, while they’re simultaneously, put on IV antibiotics, they should sure as heck be put on IV vitamin C, which would be a more fundamental way of supporting the body’s health, function, immune system, et cetera.
It’s not to say that they shouldn’t be put on the antibiotic, but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing an entire category of ways to help this person get healthier that might get them to that place more quickly. It might be more effective. It might even save their life when otherwise they might die in spite of the bacterial infection.
Point being the therapeutic hierarchy essentially, it’s like a pyramid where the foundation of things are all the things that you, I’m sure have talked about tons on this podcast about how to support your health from the most fundamental things you can do in terms of being in nature, breathing fresh air, drinking clean water, eating good quality food, sleeping, getting appropriate light exposure, all of these different things that are going to help every single human being, no matter what their situation is, at least to some degree. Then as you move up this ladder, so to speak or this pyramid to the very top, the top would be the most invasive harmful treatments that are available in medicine.
Again, sometimes, they may be necessary. Sometimes, even experimental treatments whose safety records and efficacy records haven’t even been determined yet might be appropriate to place right at the tippy top of that, but by no means, should we do that without doing anything else. In my opinion, COVID is shining a light, a bright spotlight on the inappropriate way that we approach health in the western world, which is the most classic example.
I’m going to leave the brand name off, but if you have a doughnut company promoting vaccinations by giving free donuts, you have a broken healthcare system that is not considering the foundations of health at all and that’s simply going right to the tippy top of the most technologically advanced, potentially harmful treatment that you can get. Not only not considering the base, but literally working against the base of health to try to get people healthy and make them feel safe like they’re no longer vulnerable to an infection, which is ludicrous in my mind, but you could apply that to all different chronic health issues.
Obviously, if somebody comes in with a broken leg that needs some type of surgical post implanted in their leg to put it back together, that’s highly invasive and potentially harmful, but they need it right then and there, that’s fine. That’s not what we’re talking about, but when we’re talking about metabolic health and the clear definitive and arguable risks for severe cases of COVID that have been shown repeatedly in studies, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, et cetera.
The last study I saw shows that just between those three health conditions, you have a 66% increased risk of COVID. We have a vaccine that may potentially be killing some, unfortunately, some people out there for reasons we don’t know yet, that’s 90-ish percent effective. We have things that we can do in our lives that are at least 60-something percent effective. The only side effects of which are you also won’t get a heart attack as easily, you probably won’t get dementia as easily, osteoporosis, cancer, you name it. Those are your side effects from doing these other things and working at the foundations of health.
Ari: That goes back to, at the beginning of this conversation, we’re talking about whether you zoom in myopically on something and focus only on one thing and then you ignore all the other layers.
In this case, when you work with nature in this way, for example, using nutrition and lifestyle measures to actually improve the overall health status of that organism, of the human, you not only reduce the risk of this one disease, and instead of having a bunch of side effects of increased risk of other things, you have reduced risk of every other major disease that could possibly kill you, cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, cancer, diabetes and so on. This is a fundamental distinction, I think just looping it back into what we were talking about earlier.
Dr. Daniel: Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why somebody is attracted to the idea of a vaccination helping them not die of COVID because that’s a shot in your arm versus changing your life and doing all of these other things. Neither of us are saying this from this perspective, like, “All you do is flip a switch and not have diabetes anymore.”
We both know it’s not that easy. My problem is, and I’m sure their problem that you have is that, the messaging out there in terms of how we’re going to fight this virus and prevent deaths and severe illness from this virus that we see from the TV doctors and scientists and these organizations out there that are telling us everything we should do, it’s never mentioned.
Dr. Daniel: These things are never mentioned. In my opinion, it’s negligent to not at least bring that into the discussion, let alone allowing donut companies to promote– I’ve seen a beer company also. You get free beer if you get your vaccine. It speaks to how broken our view of health is and preventive health is. It’s really just literally asking for a place at the table for these things. Then, individualized out into every individual situation.
Ari: Imagine how much progress could have been made, had public messaging on mainstream media and everywhere you look, been focused on how big of a factor these obesity and other metabolic or metabolic conditions associated with poor metabolic health are linked with increased susceptibility for COVID. Imagine if taxpayer money of these government bailouts went to fund apps on everybody’s phone that taught people basic nutrition, that got people exercising, that taught people sleep hygiene, that taught people stress reduction.
We know that stress, we know that being sedentary, we know that poor nutrition are all linked with decreased immune function profoundly. We could have made so much progress had we invested in ways that educated the public and actually made those things more accessible for them. Here’s this subscription to a home workout service that’s all bodyweight-based, so you don’t need any gym equipment.
I know you posted on this recently, but I just want to illustrate the level of how counterproductive things have been because not only have public health experts not advised people to do those things actively, but that the messaging that they have gotten out there has had so many of the exact opposite effects. People are lonelier than ever. People are binge eating on junk food and doing much more emotional eating than ever. Mental health problems are skyrocketing. Then, you posted some stats recently, I’m pretty sure, on the amount of weight gain that has happened in the American public over the last year.
Dr. Daniel: The running joke is they’re calling it the COVID-15 but the study that I posted about showed that the median weight gain in the last year was 28 pounds. That is not muscle. Undoubtedly, you’re getting it. That’s the thing that’s also frustrating is that none of these things are even questionable. It’s definitively proven that a reduction in metabolic health, and a reduction in sleep, and a reduction in mood, and all of these things, they all worsen immune system function. It takes five seconds to find a study that supports that.
It’s this huge way that we could be– I think you gave some great examples of ways that we could actually have done things differently over the course of the year. Imagine if people were told, “Your number one thing to prevent dying from COVID is to do this, this, and this,” that would be the greatest advertisement for healthy lifestyle ever created and the most effective one because people are freaked out understandably. It was the opposite, zero, nothing from anybody, almost ever that you see. It’s a tragedy, we had such an opportunity to really speak to people in a way that they’ve never really been talked to before and to really show them how much power they have.
That’s the other thing that I’ve been saying since day one is people don’t realize how much control they have over this. They are left to feel like they have no control. The only option that they have is to wait in line and get their shot and cover up and hide from a virus that you cannot hide from until that time. Again, these are the things that get me upset, and want to like talk to people about this because nobody else is talking about it. It’s such an unfortunate thing that’s happened. That just provides further evidence of how broken everything is and how it’s not about the wellbeing of the average individual.
Ari: Yes. Imagine if you could quantify the amount of lives lost as a result of that median weight gain in the population of 28 pounds. Imagine if you could quantify if we had done public messaging actively from all of our public health authorities, all of our media and provided some of those solutions to people free of charge to get to use the fear of what’s going on as a catalyst for nutrition lifestyle change. Imagine if the reverse were true.
Imagine if the average weight loss in the population was 28 pounds, and we could quantify how many lives that directly saved from people not dying from COVID that otherwise would have. This is the kind of analysis that I think would be incredibly helpful for helping people really get the connections here.
Dr. Daniel: 100% Again, a very good way. Not surprisingly, you’re putting it in a very good way. That makes perfect sense. It would be way more than 1 in every 175 people. That’s for sure. What would the side effects be? Again, you prevent the top two killers in the country. You’d make a significant dent in preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease, diabetes. I had the funny thought of like, “What if every time anybody ever saw the word mask, they saw the word broccoli.”
It would be in our subconscious at this point. I got to eat my broccoli.” That’s a bit of a joke, or “I got to eat whatever, or go for a 30-minute walk.” Every single time we see mask, we see, “Go outside and go for a 30-minute walk.” Everybody would be doing it, or most people would be doing it. The other interesting way to think about it is there would probably be a lot less people fighting against– Who’s going to say me choosing to eat broccoli and go for a walk is infringing on my freedoms? Probably not very many people. We could go on and on. There’s so many different ways and different things to think about how this could have been done differently.
I try my best to not come up with the worst-case scenario thinking of why it isn’t the way it is, but it is really hard to look at– We’re, I like to think, pretty smart, a couple of guys talking about all this. We’re not the top scientists that are out there thinking through all this. It’s so obvious. I I can’t help myself but to think that there’s other things that are influencing this, that don’t have anything to do with my wellbeing. It’s just what it is.
Ari: Yes. It’s important to understand some of these things that we’ve just talked about, then you ask the simple question, “Well, why haven’t health experts done these things?” that are so obvious and have the point of the risk versus benefit analyses of various treatments that you were talking about earlier. These are things that have essentially zero risks and not only zero risks, but actually have proven benefits in myriad ways for all kinds of health conditions and can benefit this condition simultaneously.
Zero risk, huge potential for benefit, what is the compelling argument against doing this, and why haven’t our public health authorities been doing this? If you ask that question, it’s hard to imagine that the answer is just ignorance and incompetence. There has to be–
Dr. Daniel: There is no way.
Ari: We’ll leave it up to the listener to [crosstalk]
Dr. Daniel: Sorry, one thing I will say, I mentioned broccoli. I think it’s a super important point to also make. There are many people out there in the United States, at least, who if they knew what broccoli was, and what it looked like, they wouldn’t know where to get it. If they did go to the store and find it, it would cost five times as much as the $1 cheeseburger that they’re being offered on every other street corner. There’s a fundamental problem in our country in the realm of access and knowledge and understanding of these things that also would have to be put into action. Everybody knows how to walk if they can.
There are still– because I have seen pushback on posts that I’ve made about if we just lived healthier or took vitamin D or whatever it is, some people that are highly tuned to the problems in our country in terms of access to these health-promoting activities or whatever, I’ve been called out on that. It’s a good point, but it’s not an excuse. There are still ways either by making these things more available– If we can make warp speed happen and pour billions of dollars into these vaccines and look at how quickly they’ve been developed and all that stuff, we can do anything. If we can shut the entire world down, we can do anything, so there’s no excuse.
Ari: 100%, and to that point, what about things like essentially handing out food stamps to the country but food stamps that only allow you to purchase produce, for example, water. What about, as I said before, giving access to free apps and educational technologies that educate people on the importance of sleep hygiene and circadian rhythm optimization for immune function, that educate people on the basics of good nutrition, that give people access to full daily workout regimens for free. All of those things could have easily been done.
Dr. Daniel: It takes one minute to think of them.
Dr. Daniel: It’s not that they hadn’t been thought of.
Ari: My last question to you, and thank you for sticking around for a fun discussion for so long, is if you were going to leave people with one single piece of advice, or one core idea, or one practical recommendation to do right now, what would be your number one tip for people?
Dr. Daniel: Oh, you’re putting me on the spot.
Ari: Or two if you want, if one is too much pressure.
Dr. Daniel: You can keep it a single thing that’s very broad and it’s get out and be in nature. I just spent five days in Eastern Oregon hiking around different parts of these incredible places and being in the fresh air, sunshine, et cetera. I think I did a post not too long ago where I was just basically asking a silly question, “What if there was a place that we could go to where everything around us supported our health just by being in it?” There is. Typically, if you’re out in nature, you end up moving. Obviously, we could get into the details about eating and so on and so forth.
I love the information that you have out there in terms of light exposure and sunlight exposure and sleep hygiene, so it’s essentially, just be human and do what humans are meant to do as much as you can on in your life. That’s unfortunately now set up to be as inhuman as we could ever have imagined. Everything that we do is not really what’s natural to us.
Just any effort to do things that are natural for you is going to be beneficial to you. There are a few things that are more painful to me than going on a hike in a beautiful natural setting, in a forest with all these trees, admitting all the amazing things that they admit into the air and to see a child with a mask on walking through there, it’s tragic.
It’s truly tragic that they are literally missing out on some of the most health-promoting things that they can do based on a broken system. It’s the quintessential example. Every time I see it, it’s like this little dagger in my heart, just this quintessential example of how broken things are, how unaware and uninformed people are as to what they could be doing versus what they are doing.
Ari: Well said, my friend, thank you so much for coming on the show. This has been a lot of fun to have this discussion with you and to allow it to unfold organically. I think neither of us knew exactly what we talk about, but–
Dr. Daniel: I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared. I was ready for you.
Ari: Again, I just want to let everybody know about the Healing Earth Health Conference that’s coming up on– What did you say? April 24th?
Dr. Daniel: Saturday after Earth Day.
Ari: Give us a quick 30-second pitch for that. What’s it all about? Why should people go and watch it?
Dr. Daniel: This is actually the second annual one. It’s renamed, but the whole idea is that the writing is on the wall. We are not going in a good direction on this planet. If you listen to the right people, you’ll find that we might not have very much time left. Yet, there are ways that we can change our lives fundamentally that might be able to stop this train, or at least start steering it in a different direction.
Our goal is to bring as high level of speakers as we can on to talk about the different ways that we need to start thinking about how to live in a way that’s going to help promote life on this planet and promote the wellbeing of everybody, everything, and the planet itself.
Ari: Beautiful. and the website is earthheal.org.
Dr. Daniel: Correct.
Dr. Daniel: Then if anybody wants to follow me on Facebook, it’s just my name. Daniel Chong.
Ari: Perfect. Daniel, thank you so much. Really, this has been a lot of fun. I hope we can do it again in the near future.
Dr. Daniel: Pleasure.
Ari: Awesome, man. Thank you again.
Dr. Daniel: Thank you.
Working with vs working against nature (17:07)
The prevalence of bad science in the medical sphere (30:49)
The Ivermectin controversy (32:20)
Are the COVID vaccines really the panacea most people hope for? (40:28)
The best tips to optimize your health and energy levels (1:00:00)