The Epidemic of Chronic Complex Illness, Thoughts on COVID, and Keys To Healing Complex Illness with Dr. Darin Ingels

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Content By: Ari Whitten & Dr. Darin Ingels

In this episode, I am speaking with Dr. Darin Ingels – who is a licensed Naturopathic physician, author, international speaker, and expert on a chronic complex illnesses, as well as chronic infections. We will discuss the rise in chronic complex illnesses, COVID, and how we can prevent it.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Dr. Ingels and I discuss:

  • The biggest reasons for the rise in chronic complex illness
  • How the body’s terrain influences whether you get sick from a virus
  • The biggest risk factors of dying from Covid
  • The shocking health consequences of the lockdown that has increased your risk of severe COVID
  • The corruption of COVID data

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Transcript

Ari Whitten: Hey there. This is Ari. Welcome back to The Energy Blueprint Podcast. With me now is Dr. Darin Ingels, who is a licensed Naturopathic physician, author, international speaker, and leading authority on nutritional science. He’s a former Lyme disease patient who overcame his three-year battle with Lyme disease after having failed conventional treatment and became progressively debilitated. He found that proper diet, lifestyle management, and natural therapies worked with his body to heal it instead of against it. He then applied what he learned about diet and lifestyle management to his own patients, and found that they recovered faster and with less side effects. He’s treated thousands of patients with chronic illness using his novel approach many who have gone on to live healthy symptom-free lives. He’s been featured on WebMD, mindbodygreen, BeWell, Thrive Global, Motherly Voyage LA, and Dr. Ron Hoffman’s Intelligent Medicine podcast and is the author of The Lyme Solution, a five-part plan to fight the inflammatory autoimmune response and beat Lyme disease.

He is an expert on a chronic complex illness, as well as chronic infections and obviously, the relevance to what’s going on in the world today is pretty clear. I’m very excited to welcome you to the show, Dr. Ingels.

Dr. Darin Ingels: All right. Thank you so much for having me, Ari. I’m excited to be here.

The epidemic of chronic complex illness

Ari: Awesome. Let’s talk big picture as far as both chronic complex illness, as well as chronic infections. You can, I guess, treat those as separate or connected categories depending on what you feel. In terms of the big picture, what do you feel are the reasons for why there is such an epidemic of chronic complex illness in the world right now?

Dr. Ingels: We’ve gotten to a point, particularly I think in Western society where we’re seeing so many people who are sick and it’s not just the adults anymore. It’s children too. We’ve seen this epidemic of childhood obesity, auto-immune diseases, chronic illness in young people, and it’s spread everywhere. I think if we look at our world as a whole we could probably agree that we live in a pretty toxic world. It’s this combination of accumulation of toxins that’s underlying infection. We can add in things like adverse childhood events and trauma and all these things keep piling on over the course of time. It wears down on our immune system, wears down on our body’s metabolic. The end result is that we end up with some sort of chronic illness and whether that’s asthma, something like lupus, multiple sclerosis, or just a chronic persistent infection. We’ve now this literally millions and millions of people living with these chronic illnesses spending a lot in our healthcare dollars trying to figure it out.

Where yet so much of what people are experiencing comes down to these very things like are you eating good, clean, healthy food? Do you actually take care of yourself? Do you move your body? Do you do all these things we’re meant to do as humans that I think particularly in the last year and a half has really shut down for a lot of people because they’ve been inside their homes, they haven’t been out doing their normal exercise regimen. They’ve been eating differently sometimes in a very positive way and often in a very negative way. Again, the totality of all of this keeps adding up and the end result is that we end up with this sick society. I think we’re trying to, certainly from our side of the desk as healthcare practitioners, we’re trying to figure out how do we help each person navigate their story so that they end on a path of wellness instead of going down this dark path by just becoming sicker and sicker? I think we can talk a little bit more about what some of these more specific things are. I think as a broad picture, it’s we’ve got this toxic world that people are not really navigating the way they should.

Ari: Got it. As a quick digression, I would love to just connect the dots with fatigue and chronic fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome. Obviously, there’s a huge overlap with the general symptom of fatigue with chronic complex illness and chronic infections. I’m curious how you would describe the relationship between chronic complex illness, chronic infections with fatigue, or chronic fatigue syndrome?

Dr. Ingels: Sure. Well, chronic fatigue syndrome, of course, is one of these generic labels that people get with really no explanation of why. I’m tired all the time. Chronic fatigue is not like, “I had a hard day at work, I come home and I’m tired.” This is like wake up in the morning and I can drag my ass out of bed because something is deep debilitating me from doing my daily life. Again, there are several things that can contribute to that. I think some of the fundamental things we see is this relationship between diet, gut, and mitochondria. The combination of these three really play a big role on energy metabolism and certainly something like fatigue. Again, if you’re not filling your body with the right nutrients that you need to make energy, you’re going to feel tired. If you’ve got some underlying gut issue, you don’t absorb in some way, the nutrients you are eating that can make you tired. If you’ve got this underlying mitochondrial problem, for those who don’t know, mitochondria are the part of the cell that literally make energy. There are so many things out there that damage mitochondria. To tie that in, chronic infection, most of these, whether it’s Epstein-Barr virus, whether it’s Lyme disease, these things can damage the mitochondria and making them function less well and therefore causing fatigue.

We know that various toxins medications, things like chronic antibiotic use that can damage the mitochondria. A lot of other medications, people take for diabetes and heart disease can damage the mitochondria. We’ve got this cumulative effect again, of diet, poor gut health, and some sort of toxin that’s damaging the mitochondria and the end result is that you’re just tired all the time. People are trying to do various therapies now taking a pill, taking a supplement, do something to try and get their energy levels up, but if that foundational stuff really hasn’t been addressed, it’s really hard to get the energy back.

Who is susceptible for COVID-19?

Ari: When it comes to infections, specifically, I can speak for myself growing up as a kid, we all get indoctrinated into germ theory. This idea that we’re walking around and then if we encounter a germ, then it just invades our body and we get sick. On the other hand, we have something called terrain theory that most people are not familiar with, but can you talk about the big picture of why most people’s conception of infectious pathogens, bacteria, and viruses, and the whole germ theory paradigm is flawed and describe what terrain theory is?

Dr. Ingels: Yes. That’s a great question. I think Louie Pasteur very famously on his deathbed basically said, “It’s not the germ, it’s the terrain.” The difference is germ theory says, “Look, there is a bug. There is a pathogen that when you get exposed, it will make you sick.” There are some cases where that is true. Look, I can spike some drink with salmonella. I can give it to 100 people who are very healthy and I can promise you probably 99 of them are going to get salmonella poisoning. There are germs that create toxins and even in a healthy environment that toxin becomes pathogenic, that creates disease illness, which tends to be again very short-term. That is true germ theory, that germ, no matter who you expose it to is going to cause some level of illness. Terrain theory says, “Look, your terrain, which is everything, your body, again, it’s your gut ecology. It’s your immune function. It’s your hormones. It’s your, your pH all of this that makes you you is a contributing factor to how your body responds to various microbes.” If you look at the world as a whole, think of your own body, your own body is literally 90% microbe.

You have 10 times as many germs on your body bacteria as you do in human cells. This idea that germs are dangerous, that they’re here to harm us, just isn’t really true. We have better evidence that these germs are here to protect us. Look what the germs in your gut do? The germs in your gut help you break down your food. They help you absorb your food. In some cases, they actually produce essential nutrients. We know that the germs on your skin are part of our protective barrier so if we do come across something that’s toxic or dangerous, they respond in an appropriate way and protect us. The idea that germs as a whole are dangerous and pathogenic and– hey, look, I think COVID-19 has been a great example of this. Think about know someone in your own world that you may have known that got exposed. In my practice, I’ve seen people, who’ve got COVID-19 who got zero symptoms at all. They tested positive just for random reasons. Had some people, they had a few days of very mild symptoms and I’ve had, unfortunately, in my practice, one patient ended up in a hospital. Thank God, no one in my practice has died, but we know all around the world, we’ve had this gradation of reactions.

If it’s the same virus, now we should get into all the things about there’s the different variants and the variants affect people different way. That’s true, but as a whole, the virus, the bug, so about Lyme disease, I could expose 100 people to the bacteria that causes it. Is 100 people going to get Lyme disease? No. Look, I lived in Connecticut for almost 20 years. I can promise if I test everybody in Connecticut, I’ll be willing to bet 75, 80% of the people will have antibodies against Lyme and yet all those people did not get Lyme disease. What’s the difference? The difference is the terrain. The difference is the individual responses to that bug but the bug itself may not inherently have been toxic or dangerous. It’s how the body responds to it. To think again, coming back to your first question, if we have a metabolically unfit society and we’re exposing all these unhealthy people to these bugs, they’re basically opportunistic infections and that they target too. Coming back to COVID-19, we can see the people who were most affected and those who died certainly tend to be elderly people, frail people, people that have these underlying comorbid conditions.

It’s like the terrain was not in the optimal state to allow the body to respond appropriately just to deal with it. Zach Bush has talked a lot about this too. The way he describes it is pretty fascinating. He’s like, “Look, viruses, in particular, have to integrate with the human genome before humans recognize that this is just part of our world.” [unintelligible 00:10:52] a new virus that it takes a while for the human genome to adapt to that. We know with other types of organisms, that’s true and certainly other herpes viruses like Epstein-Barr virus.

If I test 80% of the adult population in the United States, they’ll have antibodies for the Epstein-Barr virus. How many people got mononucleosis? Probably zero. We’ve got plenty of examples in the world where people get these exposures to microbes and they don’t get sick from them or they have very mild symptoms. As we come back to the things that undermine the terrain, again, that’s that foundational stuff. That’s eating well, that’s lowering your toxic burden, that’s dealing with emotional stuff, that’s managing your body hence that’s moving your body, all of these things affect your terrain. If you’re engaging in these habits, diet, and lifestyle factors that undermine that, you are more at risk of anything. I think that a lot of people that died from COVID-19, as horrible and as tragic as it is, were they susceptible to the point where it could have been anything. I see this in other people that die from influenza. They die from other viruses, other things they get exposed to because again, they’re so unstable that they just can’t manage it when they do get that exposure. I think as a society, we have to think more about how do we change the paradigm out there so that we start to create an element of health in people?

It’s been amazing and you and I share this opinion- in the last year and a half, I have yet to see a single public health official come out, “Hey, what don’t you guys start eating healthy food?” What are we doing? We’re rewarding people with a Krispy Kreme donut for getting a vaccine versus saying, “Maybe this is the kind of thing that led to the problem in the first place.” I live in California. We get this stuff called sunshine and what do they tell you to do? “Stay indoors.” What happens? We need sunshine for vitamin D, almost all of the vitamin D we get is through sunshine. We get very little through food. We know that vitamin D is actually protective against COVID-19. We started basically putting these things out there that probably harm people than certainly have helped and telling people not to exercise, rewarding people with junk food. All of these things lead to the kind of problems we have that led to the problem in the first place. Again, I think we have to refocus our public health policy and that we really start educating people on what they can do to get healthy. What is going to keep ultimately their terrain healthy and protecting against something like—

How health and lifestyle plays into COVID severity

Ari: Yes, 100%. If I could add to that a few bits and pieces. One is it’s worth noting what the biggest risk factors for severe COVID and dying from COVID are. The top four or five of them are, first of all, old age. The average age of death from someone who dies of COVID is around 80 or 81 years old which is also what the average lifespan is in the United States. Very old age, being on immunosuppressants, from taking organ transplants is, I think, the single highest risk factor. Next to that category which is a very small portion of people, it’s physical inactivity and obesity. Then pre-existing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and so on. Maybe there’s one other one in there high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, or pre-existing heart disease. All of these things with the exception of organ transplants and old age are diseases of nutrition and lifestyle. They deteriorate your terrain. We know that almost everyone, I think it’s over 90%, it depends on which country you’re looking at but on average, probably close to 90% or more, of people who die of COVID have one or more of those pre-existing conditions that are diseases of nutrition and lifestyle. Just lending that as some evidence to illustrate this point around terrain theory.

On the other hand, kids are almost totally nonsusceptible to severe COVID or dying from COVID.

It’s almost as close to zero as one could possibly get. Healthy children have basically zero risk. If you’re old, and you have a suppressed immune system from diseases of nutrition lifestyle, that’s when you’re uniquely susceptible, lending to this point. Also, I want to comment on the public health policy point which I think is a really important one. There was a statistic that came out recently in the United States saying that during the period of time where we locked down in the US, an average of 43% of American– not on average but 43% of Americans reported significant weight gain during that period. The average weight gain was 28 pounds.

Dr. Ingels: Wow.

Ari: What ended up happening is if you think 40+% of the American population, that’s well over 100 million people, gained nearly 30 pounds of weight. That means you took a population that was already extremely overweight and obese and you just made 100 million more people way more overweight and therefore way more susceptible to COVID given that that is one of the biggest risk factors for severe COVID. Not only was that public health messaging in that way not productive at all but it was extraordinarily counterproductive and made 100 million Americans at way higher risk for having severe COVID. What they could have done is say, “Stay home We’re going to give you free access to all these amazing online workout programs and teach you how to work out from home. We’re going to give you access to nutrition programs and teach you how to lose weight. We’re going to give you tools for stress management and meditation, for sleep and circadian rhythm. We’re going to give you free access to all these courses, we’re going to give you food stamps that are only applicable to produce at your local grocery store as opposed to just food stamps that could be used to buy coke, donuts, and processed junk.”

There are so many things that they could have done that would have dramatically reduce people’s risk of dying from COVID. What they ended up doing, took 100 million Americans and dramatically increased their risk in that way.

Dr. Ingels: How expensive is vitamin D, really? Super cheap. We could have given every American a vitamin D supplement on pennies per pill. That probably would have reduced the risk, certainly for a large percentage of those folks. I agree, the public health messaging just hasn’t been on point at all. Any of us in the natural health world recognize that immediately. Certainly again, for the patients I work with, thank goodness I have a pretty educated population of folks. For those who don’t understand and don’t know, if you’re not hearing it from the media, from public health officials, and your own doctor– Let’s be honest, if you’re a conventional medical doctor, you’ve probably got one hour of nutrition training in medical school. It was probably around parenteral nutrition of giving IV nutrition in the hospital. Not educated to the point where you can help educate your patients, what should they be eating, how should they be managing their diet, how should they be managing their lifestyle and stress, and all that. It’s not their wheelhouse. That leaves this population more vulnerable because they’re just not getting the information they need to make those right decisions so they can protect themselves and their family.

The safety of the current COVID vaccine

Ari: There’s something really insidious going on that Dr. John Ioannidis, the Epidemiologist from Stanford talks– I’ve heard him talk about very directly. He said basically that he thinks the biggest danger to society right now is the mass medicalization of society. Basically driven by pharmaceutical companies that are influencing the World Health Organization, the CDC, and government policies. I think in a way, what they’ve done in the last year and a half is, in the minds of the general public, they’ve reframed health to be about staying at home and wearing a mask and getting the vaccine. When people think of how can I stay healthy? Those are the things that people now think. I think that is honestly horrific to think that so many people have been indoctrinated into this new paradigm of health, where that’s what they think is health. Instead of health is getting outdoors, and moving my body, and putting good food into my body, and doing exercise, and sleeping really well, and managing my stress level.

People are like, “Well, I’m wearing my mask. I’m sitting in front of my TV with news that’s scaring the crap out of me, 24/7, and I’m not sleeping because of it. I’m gaining weight and I’m binge eating, but I’m wearing my mask and I got my vaccine, so I’m good to go.” I think this medicalization of society is something that’s really, really dangerous. It’s very concerning to me, how many people are being indoctrinated into that.

Dr. Ingels: Yes. This has been a problem that’s been ongoing for decades now. The influence of Pharma into medical schools. This starts early in medical education. These doctors are being influenced. Look at any medical journal, not that they print journals anymore, everything’s online, but back when it was a print journal, probably two-thirds of the entire journal was drug ads versus actual research. Unfortunately, we’re finding that a lot of medical research is, unfortunately, tainted. It’s being bought and paid for by various drug companies. It’s getting to a point, even as a physician, how do we know what to trust anymore? What we’re reading in the research, is it legit? Unfortunately, we’ve got lots of evidence that these studies, they’ll put someone who’s a big name in Harvard or Yale, come to find out they had nothing to do with a study. They were basically paid to put their name on it. They know that a lot of these drug companies are hiring ghostwriters to write the study and then someone put a rubber stamp on it. It just adds to the confusion. Certainly, from a medical side about how do we delineate what’s really helpful and what’s not?

Gosh, you know what? I spend a lot of time in Europe and what always amazes me, I get off a plane and you can just see the difference in people immediately. Generally speaking, most European people, they’re more metabolically fit. I look at the kind of food they eat. I spend a lot of time specifically in Belgium. I was in a town called Leuven which is where there’re big colleges in Belgium– It’s outside of Brussels and honestly, there’s no fast-food restaurants at all. I went to Purdue, I was in a college town. There were fast food restaurant in every corner because this is what college kids do. They got no money, the eat Taco Bell and McDonald’s and whatever. It’s garbage food for four years. You go there and there’s none of that. Yes, they smoke quite a bit, yet they walk everywhere. They eat locally-grown in-season, more or less organic food and so there’s a difference. I see young kids there that don’t eat candy. They don’t drink soda, they drink water. It’s such a difference in mindset and how they approach food and life. I wish Americans would learn to adopt a lot of that behavior because we would save so much suffering and grief if you could start from the time that you’re a child.

I grew up and I’m a child of the ’70s. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. She cooked almost all our meals because she was at home. We went out maybe once every couple of weeks as a treat to the restaurant, but that wasn’t the norm. I think society’s changed since then that you’ve got two parents working and everyone’s on a budget and fast food is cheap food. It’s unfortunately just adding to the problem. Again, I don’t know between what’s going on with the medical societies, the public health officials, what we’re doing as a culture, how we turn this wagon around and start getting people back on that path of better health if you’re getting the wrong messaging from public health. You’re not getting the right messaging certainly from your doctor. Then you’ve got media blitzing you with all this other stuff, rewarding you for getting a vaccine with unhealthy stuff. We’re even giving out weed to people who get a vaccine. Come to our bar and get a beer. I get to sit in one like, “Hey, we’re going to give you at least something healthy in return [crosstalk] all stuff that’s unhealthy.” Again, I don’t quite understand the logic with that at all.

Ari: I’ve seen Krispy Kreme, I’ve seen free beer, and I’ve seen lottery tickets as well.

Dr. Ingels: California, yes, had a lottery. I think they were giving five $1 million prizes for anyone who got vaccinated. I guess it comes down to just the fact that we feel we have to, I guess, bribe people to get vaccinated. What is that telling us too? [crosstalk]

Ari: Yesterday I was reading, in the Philippines, the President of the Philippines is threatening to take everybody who doesn’t get vaccinated and throw them in jail. I guess we should be thankful for that, that bribes are a much better approach than to threaten people with jail time.

Dr. Ingels: Yes, I saw that as well. Again, I guess that’s a whole different issue, but this idea that– Again, if we’re talking about creating health, a vaccine is never designed to create health. Whether a vaccine helps protect you against the thing you’re vaccinated against, then that may be disputable, but this idea that that creates health– Like you said earlier, medical society now is a disease-based model and it has been for decades. How many people go to the doctor when they’re well to figure out how to stay well? Almost never, at least in the conventional medical model. In our world? Yes, people come to us because they’re healthy, they do all the right things, they want to stay that way, so what can we do to help maximize that? I think most of society is, they go to the doctor. Maybe they go once a year to get to their annual physical, but how many things are out there are truly preventive of disease? There may be things that are early detection. A mammogram maybe early detection, but it’s not preventive. Colonoscopy is not preventive.

How do we start educating people about things that are truly preventive, which is diet, lifestyle, and all the things we already mentioned, because that’s what’s going to stop illness.

Waiting to a point where you’re already super sick, that’s harder to undo. Certainly, if we’re talking about preventing getting sick, getting an infection, we need to make sure that you are metabolically fit and immune fit to do that. Drugs, vaccines, all these other things, that’s not what they do. They have a different purpose. If we really were interested in true health and prevention, we’ve got to take a different path to those.

Ari: With that in mind, let me ask you directly, what would you say to people who are interested in learning how to prevent themselves or their family members from getting sick with COVID or severely ill with COVID? What is your take on COVID treatment more broadly, as far as things you’ve seen that are effective? What is your take on the vaccine’s role in things?

Dr. Ingels: I think in terms of prevention of COVID, again, I think it’s getting your health in line, whatever that may be. Again, if you are morbidly obese then we got to get you to drop some weight. If you’re of normal weight and BMI and we just need to maybe bump things up nutritionally. Make sure that you’re eating nutrient-dense food. Again, it’s built into your DNA to heal and to fight infection. We have an immune system for a reason. That’s what it does. If we give all the right things to allow that natural process to happen that may be enough. My own 75-year-old parents both got COVID-19. They had three days of, fortunately, very mild symptoms, and that was it. They called me right away and I got them bumped up on some nutrients. We know that if we support the body nutritionally, we can get through, not just COVID-19, but really any other type of viral illness. We shorten the course, lessen the severity, and certainly, hopefully keep people out of a hospital with COVID-19. Things like vitamin A can be really helpful. Vitamin A helps increase this thing called secretory IgA which lines all your mucous membranes, literally your first line of defense to any outside invader.

You can do things like vitamin C and vitamin D, which help support your immune system. We know that zinc, all the studies with hydroxychloroquine zinc azithromycin. Zinc is an antiviral and it helps support your immune system. With all the research coming out and ivermectin, we’ve used ivermectin in our practice and it’s worked beautifully. I think every person I’ve given it to has responded favorably. Again, it’s mitigated their symptoms, certainly, kept them out of the hospital. It’s one of those things I’ve been just shocked at how much suppression has been with using ivermectin and given we’ve got so much data on it. Other doctors I know have been using it equally as well. I think these are some of the things we can do to help people certainly prevent it. If they do start to get sick with COVID-19, we can intervene early. Again, we know early intervention leads to good outcomes. I know there was a couple of studies on ivermectin specifically, where they waited till patients were already in the hospital and/or intubated, and it didn’t work very well at that point. That person may have passed that point where they could really be helped, but if we catch it early, it actually works really well. The vaccines, they have issues. Again, it takes typically five to seven years to get a vaccine to market. Although they say they’ve been working on mRNA vaccines for much longer, the fact that we got it out within a year is unheard of. I think the mRNA vaccines, again, you just need to look at the data.

What’s really fascinating– When you look at the Pfizer study, specifically, there were 44,000 people in that study, 22,000 in each group, and what’s fascinating to me is that they didn’t actually measure COVID-19. They did a symptom questionnaire, “Did you have symptoms of COVID-19?” They didn’t PCR test people. They didn’t jam the thing up your nose to find out. They didn’t do a blood test. It was really just based on symptoms, but when you took the total of the 22,000 people that had symptoms of COVID-19, the 22,000 people who didn’t, only less than 300 people actually had symptoms of COVID-19. Statistically, you really didn’t even get enough people to get any meaningful data about how well it potentially did or did not work. That’s what they got their EUA authorization-based off.

I think, in any other real-world situation, the scientific community would have looked at that and laughed up, then said, “That’s not enough to allow this to go out to market because we don’t really know– Does it help stop the transmission? Does it really help prevent you from getting COVID-19?” I think even when you look at the World Health Organization, CDC, even Pfizer and Moderna themselves say, “Look, getting vaccinated doesn’t stop you from getting the virus. It doesn’t stop the transmission. Really, at best, what it does is it mitigates the effect with you personally.” It may lessen the symptoms in you. That’s it.

I think that some people who’ve been vaccinated have a false sense of security that there’s no way they can get it. Yet, now, look, we’ve had thousands and thousands of breakthrough cases and even people that have died that are fully vaccinated, that either got sick and/or died. Like everything else out there, nothing’s foolproof.

Ari: I’ll mention I just saw a report yesterday of Israel saying that COVID is now popping up again with the new Delta variant and mostly in younger people, in schools and teachers, and those environments. A full third of the COVID cases are in fully vaccinated people. What’s interesting about that is among the young– So it’s something like 56% of the overall population in Israel is fully vaccinated. It’s predominantly the older population that has been fully vaccinated or closer to fully vaccinated, and the younger population is much less vaccinated.

If a third of the COVID cases in the younger population are in fully vaccinated people, I think, it’s reasonable to estimate maybe a third of those people are vaccinated. What that means is, [chuckles] basically, the people who are getting COVID, it doesn’t seem to matter that much whether you are fully vaccinated or not vaccinated, at least in this particular case of the Pfizer vaccine and the Delta variant of COVID.

Dr. Ingels: Well, I know that concern came out very early on with the mRNA vaccine. When you’re telling your body to generate this one very specific spike protein antibody, is that going to inhibit your ability to recognize variants? Just so people understand with RNA viruses like influenza, these are generally very rapidly mutating viruses.

I’ve seen data on COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 that it mutates about every 10 hours. If you’ve got a rapidly mutating virus, the idea of making a specific antibody to cover all variants is probably not going to work well. When you get any virus naturally or really any bug, you get a very broad immune response. You’re going to make antibodies to different aspects of the virus or the bacteria, often you’re going to get a T cell response and the difference to an antibody response.

Again, I think there’s been some interesting data around SARS-CoV-2 that the long-term immunity to SARS-CoV-2, maybe T cell-mediated and not from the antibodies because we’ve had our own patients in our practice that get COVID-19, and we’ll see their antibody levels drop off after a handful of months. I know there’s been an argument about vaccinating people who’ve already gotten the virus because they said, “Well, look, these antibody levels drop off.” I’m like, “Well, yes, but you’re also getting a much broader immune activity and you’re only measuring really one antibody. You’re not really measuring T cell antibody” although there is a lab now that’s measuring T cell responses. If you get very broad activity and you’re only measuring one little part, you’re going to miss the overall picture of this total immune response.

There was a study done at UCI here– I don’t think they published it but they did report on it that they said, “Well, the vaccine is superior to getting COVID-19 because we measured antibody levels in people that had COVID-19. Naturally, we measured people who got the vaccine. The antibody levels in the vaccinated group was higher.”

I’m like, “Of course, it was higher because you’ve now programmed yourselves to make this antibody against one specific–” again, these things are gene therapy and not really vaccines. I would expect that when you’re teaching your body to make one protein, of course, it’s going to be higher than when you get it naturally because when you get it naturally, you’re going to make this very broad immune response. It’s not going to be just one specific thing.

Ari: Isn’t it also a big misconception to say that because antibody levels have declined to a level that is below whatever the arbitrary threshold is of this particular antibody test, that therefore “Oh, you don’t have antibodies and that means you’re not immune anymore.” Isn’t that just a gross misrepresentation of [unintelligible 00:36:05] [crosstalk]–

Dr. Ingels: Absolutely. Again, the fact that there are data suggesting that T cells are providing that longer-term immunity– There was even something early on when this whole thing started is that for people who’ve had previous coronavirus exposure, would that offer any protection because there is a lot of genomic overlap among different coronaviruses. It’s very possible that previous exposure to another coronavirus may have conferred at least some element of immunity because of that broad immune response to all coronaviruses.

Again, how many people out there might have been exposed that just didn’t know because we’re really only testing people who were symptomatic? How many asymptomatic people out there had exposure? We have had a handful of people in our practice that we tested for various reasons, not because necessarily that they had symptoms but maybe they live with a family member, we were concerned, and they had positive antibodies, and like “Well, I’d never had any symptoms at all.”

I will speculate if we really had a way of testing everybody in the country, we’d probably find that there’s quite a few people that did have exposure and just never knew.

Ari: Yes.

Is it safe to vaccinate children?

Dr. Ingels: Yes, it’s muddied the water so much about, what is immunity? The idea that you make antibodies itself doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune [chuckles] because that’s why we’re getting some of these breakthrough cases. The lack of antibodies, particularly, again, if it’s T cell-mediated may also not mean that you’re not immune. We get into this now and again, muddy waters stuff. We’re now trying to prove immunity, right?

Look, we can go back to childhood vaccinations. I don’t know a single pediatrician when they give an MMR, DPT that then test the antibody levels in children to find out if they even made an immune response. What percentage of people just don’t react to immunizations or the vaccines anyway? We don’t know.

Inevitably, there’s going to be a population of people– It could be very small, that just don’t react at all. Like you mentioned earlier, we know that some of the data on people that are on immune-suppressive drugs, they don’t elicit immune response when they get vaccinated. That’s not just those on organ transplants. If you’re on an immune suppressive drug for an autoimmune disease, anywhere from 50% to 75% of people either had no response or had a lack of response, just a small response.

Again, the stages just keeps on rolling as we go along but, [chuckles] yes.

Ari: They were promoting this narrative from very, very early on, almost within the first couple of months that antibody levels decline, and that means you don’t have immunity and you’re prone to reinfection. Even if you just had it a few months ago, now you’re prone to reinfection.

I thought, “Man, this just seems like total nonsense.” Everything I know about immunology, this, and all other infections, this seems like utter propaganda. Now, we have the actual data to show it’s been tested to see people who have had COVID, how long they have immunity. Even though antibodies may fade, what the research shows is that there is a robust and long-lived humoral immune response.

Some scientists are even speculating there might be lifelong immunity to it. What we do know is that immunity lasts as long as it’s been tested, which is the longest it’s been tested is 11 months. We know that immunity is robust and long-lasting even if antibody levels fade. That whole narrative was absolutely propaganda. I also [crosstalk]–

Dr. Ingels: I think it’s important for people to understand, too, that when you get exposed to various infections and even if you’ve gotten a vaccine, what you’re really trying to create, obviously, is called memory cells. Memory cells are exactly what it sounds like. They’re there to remember when you had that exposure. It makes sense after an acute infection, your antibody levels drop because the threat is gone. However, if you get a secondary exposure, those memory cells can kick in, and then again, you can start to produce antibodies again. Again, we may be seeing these antibody levels drop off in people who’ve already had COVID-19. However, if they were to get re-infected with a variant or at least have that exposure, their immune system may kick in very quickly and that doesn’t bother them. Again, we’re a little too early to see that data, but it makes sense because that’s what happens with other types of infections.

It’s a little before for my generation, maybe, your generation, but our parents and our grandparents’ generation, they all got measles, they all got mumps, they all got rubella. It was a normal childhood illness. When I was a kid, it was chickenpox. Everybody got chickenpox, but you don’t generally get chickenpox again, you don’t get measles again because you’ve got these memory cells that if you have that exposure and it kicks in– And we rarely, rarely see reinfection.

Now, flu’s a little different because again, it mutates so rapidly that there are some people who get flu every single year. The flu comes around, it just seemed to be susceptible. Again, when you’ve got a rapidly mutating virus, you expect that because chemically, it is a little bit different. Although there may be parts of your immune system that recognize part of it, there may be something that’s very different that stimulates your immune system in a negative way, and then you start to get symptoms.

[laughs] I feel it’s a mess for healthcare, for the writers, and certainly for the public that really understands what’s going on. Again, when we look at the statistics, we look at the numbers, knowing that this is a virus that fortunately still has a 99.5 or 99.6% survivability, I think we really need to stratify who are really the Atlas people who are not at risk and is the vaccine really warranted in populations like children that really are unaffected by the virus?

The fact that we’ve got so much data coming out with bears, that there are people that had been harmed by the vaccines, I think as a medical community we should have a concern about that.

Ari: I believe the latest data is showing three times higher hospitalizations among children, from the vaccine as compared with COVID itself. I think there’s real big concerns there.

One thing that’s shocking to me is there’s a principle of basic public health policy, with regard to novel medical technologies. In general, good public health policy should operate base on the principle of, you don’t do medical interventions in the healthy part of the population unless there’s a long history of efficacy and long-term safety track record, especially children. You pretty much should never do medical interventions with healthy people, especially children with novel medical technologies.

What I see going on right now is violating that very basic principle of public health. As a thought experiment, I think it’s useful to say like, “Imagine I’m a pharmaceutical company, I just developed a drug and it blocks the development of plaques in arteries. I am publicizing this amazing news, how this drug is the cure for heart disease and I’ve only got a year of testing on it. Only a year of safety data where I’ve tested it but it’s the cure for heart disease, take my word for it. We should give it to everyone, including children. We should put it into water supply because you need to take it on a regular basis for years and decades in order to make sure you don’t get heart disease. Are you ready to adopt my cure for heart disease? Is that a good idea or not?”

Everybody with a brain with basic scientific literacy and a basic knowledge of public health policy knows the right answer to that question. The right answer is, “Hell, no. You do not do a novel medical intervention with the healthy population, especially children, unless you have really, really solid long-term safety data, which we do not have right now for this current intervention.”

The MRNA vaccine and how it affects the body

That in itself is totally shocking to me that so many people have been okay with violating one of the basic common sense principles of public health policy. You mentioned that they’ve been working on mRNA vaccine technologies for a long time. I don’t know if you know this, but the inventor of the mRNA vaccine technologies, Dr. Robert Malone, is now coming out expressing very, very serious concerns over these current mRNA vaccines and the potential for them to create auto-immune disease several years on.

There’s this narrative of “The only people who have any concerns about vaccines are these crazy quacks who are science deniers and conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers,” and all these nasty labels that are slung around. Well, here’s the inventor of mRNA [chuckles] vaccine technologies who is saying, “Hey, I’m really concerned that these might have serious long-term side effects, and what are we doing by giving these to kids? There’s a very serious risk of auto-immune diseases emerging years later?”

Dr. Ingels: Well, we saw the same thing with the guy that developed PCR testing. He came out and said, “You should not be using this as a way of diagnosing COVID-19. That’s not what the technology is designed to do.” Of course, we ran into all issues. Again, I was a med-tech, I worked in a lab-based to do PCR testing and that’s not the intention behind it. The fact that they were using more cycles and they were supposed to, you could have found pretty much COVID-19 on just about everybody.

You’re right. mRNA as a technology, again, it’s not [unintelligible 00:46:23] it’s not a vaccine. The way a vaccine works as you introduce parts of a virus or parts in whatever you’re trying to vaccinate against into the body so that you make this immune response. That’s not what this does involve. This is basically a gene therapy where it’s coding for a specific gene against that spike protein to make this antibody.

That is a complete different technology. Although mRNA technology as a whole may have other benefits– Hey, look, if you’ve got a kid with cystic fibrosis and there’s a way to manipulate that gene, that codes for that to turn it off so they can breathe and stop making all this mucus, that potentially could be lifesaving. I think there is a role for gene therapy in something like that, or maybe there’s something for a type 1 diabetic. If there’s a way to get their pancreas to function again and make insulin, that potentially could be life-saving. That’s a very, very different problem, because now [chuckles] this is a very sick population that has very little hope on other things outside of just no medical therapy for as long as you can.

There you’re right. When you’re talking about a healthy population, that’s a different story. Look, if I wanted to do a study on a child or a pregnant woman, and I went to an IRB to get approval, this scrutiny that goes into that because of the nature of this population, is intense. It’s very hard to get approval to do study on children or pregnant women or even vulnerable populations. There’s another level of oversight to get that approval. It’s much, much more difficult than just studying the average adult male.

The fact they almost bypass all that, I don’t completely understand. I know, in a state of emergencies, they have a pandemic, there’s a bit more of a panic, and there’s a need to rush things but again, in populations like children and even pregnant women, it didn’t really make a lot of biological sense to me. Again, we don’t do this with any other type of research study, so why we would push for this without having– I won’t even say long-term safety, because I don’t think we’re ever going to get really good long-term safety data, but at least reasonable enough safety data.

What happens in six months? What happens in a year? The truth is we still don’t know, we’re learning as we go along. Hey, look, we may find out somewhere down the line, this thing was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I don’t think what’s going to happen. I think there’s been enough molecular biologists, immunologists, and virologists that have expressed concern, particularly seeing that the spike protein doesn’t stay in the deltoid.

We know looking from Pfizer study and their animal studies, it’s gets distributed to other tissues in the body. If that spike protein’s lodging in the ovaries in girls or your brain, is that going to tell your immune system to fight it where it exists and is it going to cause a problem? We don’t know yet but [crosstalk]–

Ari: I want to make sure that people understand the point you just make. I think it might get lost on some people. When this injection happens and– Dr. Ingels, are you doing okay on time? Do you have another 10, 15 minutes?

Dr. Ingels: Yes, we’re good.

Ari: When the injection happens, the original idea was that it would interact with the cells in that particular area, in your shoulder at the injection site, those cells would produce spike proteins, would cause that immune reaction, and then you get antibodies, and then that would go systemic. It was thought that it was not the case that those free spike proteins would go floating around throughout your blood and get distributed in different tissues of the body.

We now- know, as Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of mRNA vaccine technologies, has expressed a lot of concern about is the fact that those spike proteins are getting freed, are floating around in the body, are interacting with the blood-brain barrier, crossing the blood-brain barrier, and we have the tissue distribution study showing that a lot of the accumulation is happening in particular, the spleen and the ovaries, interestingly enough.

The idea is like, what happens? How does the immune system now interact with those tissues of the body that are rich in those spike proteins? Feel free to correct me if I explained anything incorrectly about there.

Dr. Ingels: No, that’s exactly it. We were hoping that just getting that expression in the deltoid muscle, that your shoulder muscle that, that would be enough to help stimulate that immune response. I don’t think anyone ever predicted that it would get beyond the muscle and start going to other tissues in the body.

Again, if we are now genetically training the immune system to fight the spike protein, it’s likely going to fight it wherever it is, or wherever that protein exists. Again, I think the capacity for causing tissue damage wherever it lands, it’s certainly is possible and that may explain part of why we’ve seen a lot of these vaccines, particularly like the Johnson&Johnson, one that’s had these issues with blood clots. If that spike protein gets lodged into your blood vessels, does that trigger an inflammatory response that then creates all the clots that dislodges and cause a heart attack or stroke? It certainly makes sense based on what we’re learning about how this thing gets distributed.

I think it’s the CDC, or at least the World Health Organisation is now saying that they need to put a warning that can cause these cardiovascular problems. I don’t know if that warning is going to change anything, saying, “Okay, well, here’s the warning, it can cause this problem.” [chuckles]

Look, if we look over the history, remember AstraZeneca, and both Johnson&Johnson end up putting both their vaccines on pause in various countries around the world, because of this risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. All of them at some point just said, “Okay, well, it seems to be fine.” It’s continued on and we’ve seen these cardiovascular events.

I just think, again, historically, we’ve had certain drugs on the market that killed 2 people, 4 people, 10 people and that was enough for the FDA to pull them off the market. The fact that we’ve had now thousands of people that have had adverse events, at what point do we say, “Hey, maybe there’s a population of people, we really need to pull back on, particularly young people and children, and say that the risk is greater than the benefit?” Again, I haven’t seen that discussion.

The biggest drivers of health and wellness

Ari: Yes, I completely agree. Getting back to the big picture of chronic complex illness, and chronic infections on a practical level, I’m curious, what have you seen to be the biggest needle movers in your practice as far as getting people well?

Dr. Ingels: I think the biggest thing that drives wellness is diet. If you’re not eating good food, it’s really hard for everything else you do to get well. Again, this is the foundation of health, and even Hippocrates, however many years ago said, “Food is medicine.” Almost anything that gets healed, gets healed through diet.

If people aren’t eating clean, healthy food– I won’t even say organic, because that’s not always possible for people, depending on your budget, but as much as you can– The less hands that touch your food, the better. Basically, if you can pull it out of the ground, or if you have a mother or you’ll probably say– So it’s just the function of making sure that you’re really feeding– Think of food as medicine. Whatever you’re putting in your mouth, it’s either helping you or it’s working against you.

That’s about choices, that’s about making good decisions that– And I’d rather have my spinach salad, than Taco Bell. If you can make those decisions consistently you start to see your body starts to change or become more metabolically fit. You’ll become more immune strong, and you’ll be able to get to a better place of wellness.

Ari: Do you have any particular preferences on dietary templates?

Dr. Ingels: I promote a lot of what was called an alkaline diet. Now, I’m not the inventor of this. This has been around for decades. When I start looking at the research on it, it makes a lot of sense physiologically, that with the exception of your skin, your stomach, your bladder, and for women, the vaginal area, which is very acidic, to protect against outside invaders, the rest of your body is more or less alkaline. We know that as you eat certain foods as they break down the body, they can make your cells more alkaline, they can make it neutral or they even make it acidic.

For the same reason we can’t grow crops in acid rain, an acid environment just isn’t conducive to growth and repair. An acid environment also in the human body leads to inflammation and since so many chronic illnesses have this underlying inflammatory process, whether it’s cardiovascular disease, gut problems, diabetes, obesity, if we can get the inflammation under control, we have a better chance of getting well again.

An alkaline diet is really about eating these foods that promote better cell alkalinity. One of the big criticisms I just want to point out is that feels like “Well, it doesn’t change your blood pH.” I’m like “You’re right, it doesn’t change your blood pH, however, your blood pH is typically alkaline, slightly alkaline.” It has nothing to do with blood pH, that’s not what’s going on metabolically at all.

Again, there’s a lot of research out there on how things change, physiologically, when we eat this way. In a nutshell, it’s really eating a mostly plant-based diet, minimal animal proteins. I try and keep it down to about 25% intake for the week. I think if you go back to our true paleo forefathers, this is probably the way they ate.

We forged off the land, we killed when we could, we probably weren’t successful every day. Animal protein was part of our diet but it probably wasn’t the bulk. Basically staying away from junk food, processed foods, things that tend to be very acid-forming, gluten and dairy, things like that.

I like it because it’s not really a diet, diet, it’s a sustainable way of eating, and in a way that people don’t feel deprived. I think the ketogenic diet, for a lot of people, tends to be very difficult, hard to follow. This isn’t quite that extreme but this is a reasonable way where you’re getting nutrient-dense foods, you’re getting plenty of calories, plenty of the right things, and food actually still tastes good.

Ari: Got you. Apart from nutrition, what do you think are the biggest needle movers?

Dr. Ingels: I think the other big needle mover is sleep, I see so many people in my practice that are suffering because they’re just sleep-deprived. I think it’s a function of a combination of stress, which messes with our cortisol, that turns a lot of people into night owls. I think people, particularly after dinner, then start getting on all their electronics, and their brain gets all fired up, and they start having issues with being on their electronic devices.

The net effect is that if you’re not sleeping well– When you sleep when you get deep sleep, that’s when your brain repairs itself. That’s when your body repairs itself. That’s when your body detoxifies. All that good stuff happens when you’re getting deep, restful sleep. I think we lived in a sleep-deprived society.

People are proud to brag, “Yes, I got four hours of sleep, I feel great.” Yes, for now. Your body probably won’t sustain that for very long. If we can get people getting deeper, better quality sleep, that again, in conjunction with diet, can really move the needle for people, get their energy back, get their metabolism in better working order, and they feel a lot better.

Ari: Beautiful. If you were going to add a third one to your list for everybody who’s, maybe, worried about minimizing the risk of COVID or long COVID or who’s been dealing with chronic infections or chronic fatigue, what would be your third, to complete the top three of your biggest needle movers?

Dr. Ingels: Yes, get outside and move your body in some way. We as humans are designed to move and I think, again, for a lot of us that are desk jockeys, finding the time, you just have to carve it out. I go out at lunch every day here. I walk around the cloister, get some vitamin D, get some sunshine, get on my little toe.

Despite your fitness level, even if you’re not ambulatory, get outside still, get that vitamin D, get fresh air, connect with nature, do forest bathing, go down to the beach, if you live in a beach area, stick your toes in the sand. As much as we can reconnect with Earth and get outside again, I think it’s good for our mental well-being, it’s good for our physical well-being, it gives us that beneficial vitamin D and again, it helps relieve stress.

There’s just so many health benefits. Gosh, even the Japanese have done a tonne of studies on forest bathing, literally taking off your feet. Now if you have Lyme disease, that may not sound like a great idea [chuckles] but this is something that can be helpful.

Again, I think this connection with nature– We’ve just lost as a society. There are so many benefits of just getting out there and being part of the world again.

Ari: Dr. Ingels, thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you for the work you’re doing, thank you for being a true advocate for natural health, especially in today’s times where people who are real hardcore advocates of natural health are often being attacked and demonized. Thank you so much for the work you’re doing. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with my audience. I really appreciate it.

If somebody’s interested in learning more about your work or working with you, where is the best place to reach out to you?

Dr. Ingels: Sure. Best place just find me on my website. It’s just darinIngelsnd.com– My name gets misspelled so I’m sure you’ll put it in the show notes and people can find me there.

Ari: We’ll get it on the podcast page for this episode and in the link below the YouTube video. It’s for people who are listening to the audio. It is D-A-R-I-N I-N-G-E-L-S, did I get that right?

Dr. Ingels: Yes. ND, N as in Nancy, d.com.

Ari: nd.com. Thank you so much, Dr. Ingels. Really appreciate it. I really enjoyed this.

Dr. Ingels: Great. Thanks, Ari.

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