Boosting Your Immune System Against The Latest Virus Outbreak with Dr. Guillermo Ruiz

Content By: Ari Whitten & Dr. Guillermo Ruiz

In this episode, I am speaking with Guillermo Ruiz, NMD – an expert on immunity, autoimmunity, and endocrine systems, who has spent a lot of time researching viruses. We will discuss the latest science on the latest virus outbreak and the best steps you can take towards boosting your immune system against it.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Dr. Ruiz will cover:

  • What the science says about treatments for the virus
  • Who is most vulnerable towards the virus (It’s not only who you think!)
  • How humans got to be infected by the virus in the first place!
  • The SAFEST strategies to protect yourself against the virus
  • Why treatment for the virus differs from prevention and why it matters (This could save your life!)

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Ari: Hey everyone, welcome back to The Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host, Ari Whitten, and I have with me for the third time, my good friend, Dr. Guillermo Ruiz, who is a naturopathic doctor and an expert in immunity, an expert in autoimmunity, an expert in endocrine issues, and maybe a few other things too. He’s just a wealth of information. He’s also been somebody who’s worked as a researcher in a virology lab. I shared a bit of some resources a few days ago about the Coronavirus and Guillermo reached out to me and he said, “I’ve got some great stuff to share on this topic, good, accurate quality. Science-backed information that will be a great resource for your audience and I would love to come on and share it.” I said, “Hell yes, of course. I would love to have you on, I definitely want to put out good information to everyone on this topic.” I think it’s imperative and as I lead into this, I want to say that I’ve been witnessing over the last few days some really weird stuff happening, especially among our friends and colleagues in the health industry of pretty vicious fighting breaking out of — I’ve seen everything, a spectrum from full-blown conspiracy theories of does this coronavirus even exist? I don’t think it’s real, I think it’s all made up by the media”. To people on the other end of the spectrum going like, “We’re all going to die basically. This is only a matter of time before this affects the whole planet and kills massive amounts of people and we all need to quarantine ourselves and not have any human contact for the next several weeks.” Then a middle ground of people saying, “This is something to be concerned about. Look at Italy, look at China, look at what’s going on in some of these other places.” Other people saying, “No, it’s just fear-mongering, it’s all just hype.” I certainly do not claim to be an expert on this topic. I’ve been reading and paying attention to what’s been going on, but I know that Guillermo has delved way deeper into this topic and with his background in studying immune health and studying viruses, specifically working as a researcher in a virology lab, and is specifically in relation to botanical medicines. I just knew that I had to have him on, get his take and share this information with everybody listening. This is really for me, someone whose information that I trust to be accurate and reliable, and is grounded in science and is not going to be out there on one of these two extremes that I just mentioned. Welcome back to the show, my friend.

Myths and facts about the virus

Dr. Ruiz: Dude, thanks for having me. I really think that we needed to put this information out for The Energy Blueprint Group. One of my favorite groups on Facebook and one of the most informed groups and let’s dispel some myths. I want to start with what is the Coronavirus?

Ari: Please yes. That was going to be my question, but I’ll let you ask yourself the questions and answer them. You do all the work for me.

Dr. Ruiz: The coronavirus is an RNA virus. There’s discussions among scientists for many, many years of are viruses even alive? They’re just these proteins that can enter your cell and hijack you. With the RNA viruses specifically, it’s not inserting the blueprint into the nucleus. It’s actually inserting the orders from the blueprint, so like playing telephone. Now, imagine if these blueprints are being created and read by the nucleus, the chances of mutations are super-exponential. This is the reason why this virus replicates and there’s a random mutation and it can jump hosts. That you are creating the instructions to the instructions and that’s how it can change really fast.

I love to talk about one incident around the 2000s where racehorses were dying in Australia and they didn’t know what was going on. They were having these mucosal secretions, tons of blood, they caught it and they would die, okay? After the Australia, they were looking around, where’s this virus coming from? They didn’t know where it was coming from. They found an isolated fig tree where fruit bats were eating and fruit bats are hosts for a bunch of different viruses. Viruses are deadly to human, like the coronavirus and things like rabies. Bats automatically down-regulate their immune system to be able to play host to this type of virus. It’s hard in Australia, the horse goes to the fig tree, eats maybe discarded figs or saliva and it jump hosts, and then it affected this horse as an end carrier. Then two veterinarians actually died trying to save these horses, and the other one got really sick. You can see how when you have like this petri dish where you have different types of animals in a wet market like they did in China, you have bats instead of cats and pangolins and all the different animals. You have this perfect storm of mutations and reputations where it can jump hosts.

Ari: Jump species.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes, it can jump species. I heard someone say that all the animals they tested were dead. Meaning that this is biomechanical [inaudible 00:06:10]. Well, that’s because that particular animal probably was an end host and not something that was an intermediate host like we are as humans. We are not equipped to talk about traditions and culture like what they do in China. That’s not our place, but the Chinese government has settled action to eliminate wet markets. That’s really good because that’s one step in preventing the next outbreak.

Ari: There’s a big question here, which I think you don’t have the answer to, I think no one has the answer to, but I want to get your opinion to it anyway. Which is the big question, which is what’s going to happen with this virus? We saw H1N1, the swine flu, we’ve had the bird flu, we’ve had SARS. We’ve had some of these past scares, even Ebola. We’ve had these past scares, and then people get scared for a little bit and then they just seem to die out. I haven’t seen anything like what I’m seeing right now where grocery store shelves are being cleared out. People are really socially distancing themselves, people are not going out. Bars and restaurants are empty. This seems to be on a much higher level than all the previous scares like this. I’ve seen predictions from some experts saying this is going to affect 40 to 70% of the world’s population at some point, and I’ve seen other experts saying, yes, this may die out in a few months and not really affect that many people. What’s your big picture take on how you see this whole thing progressing?

Dr. Ruiz: First of all, it’s okay to not know and whoever goes out there and says that they know, I don’t know about that. We’re not politicians, we can change our minds as evidence comes out, okay? As far as how big is it going to spread or how many people are going to be affected? I don’t know who said it, but over-precaution might seem silly in the future, under-precaution is going to be devastating in the future. I’d rather be overly prepared than actually lament in the future that we didn’t do enough. Maybe this is something we can start doing, I don’t know who or where I heard it, but let’s not call it a social distancing. Let’s call it physical distancing because we can call our parents on the zoom. We can call our friends, we can still have, you know, that social interaction that is so good, but without the physical interaction, which is really good. I think that’s going to help in the end. Ebola, it’s kind of hard to transmit because you need the actual saliva or the feces or the actual blood to splash you on an open wound or something like that. It can be very easy to contain. It is way deadlier. With this, report shows that some viruses can stay in flat surfaces up to 72 hours and that’s what’s making this a little bit more scary. Just like things like measles where it can remain contagious for a while. That’s what makes this different. We can flatten the curve and you’ve heard that term a lot. What does that mean, okay? Governor Cuomo just was talking about a couple of minutes ago on our news conference that he sees this as a wave, and if that wave crushes on the healthcare system, where the ICU beds are overtaken, where the healthcare stress to a point of breakage, we can see something really bad happening. Remember, there are still people that are waiting for lung transplants, for liver transplants. There are still people that have cancer. There are still people that are going to get into accidents. We should be reserving those ICU beds for them, even if you think that, “Oh, I’m healthy, and if I get this, the chances are minimal.” Well, every person that needs a respirator is taking a respirator from someone in our already stressed system. Now, without being doom in all doom and gloom, I think the people that have been on your Energy Blueprint program have already been preparing for this for a long time. That’s the most important thing.

The potential danger of using antimicrobials as a preventative measure

Ari: Meaning people who have optimized their nutrition, their lifestyle habits, their circadian rhythm habits, their hormesis habits, people who have bolstered their body’s innate immunity have a much better chance of either not getting it or if they do get it, surviving and not dying from it. To that subject, I’ve seen some interesting data just in the last couple days. One of it was posted by microbiologist Kiran Krishnan, who I just connected with an interview recently, but I saw him post yesterday on the fact — There’s a couple things. One is the fact that the vast majority of people who are dying from the coronavirus are above 50, I think above 70 years old in particular. Young people, especially kids, but people under 50, not super common for people to die from it. There’s a lot of young people out there, 20s, 30s, who are basically saying, “Hey, this is not a serious risk to us. We’re not going to die from it, so we can still go out and hang out at bars and clubs and restaurants and do our thing as normal. This in not a big threat to us.” Kiran Krishnan was making the point that those people who are still going out are becoming vectors for spreading it to other old people. Even if they’re not dying, they’re perpetuating the spread of this disease in a way that it ends up killing a lot more people, the older people who are susceptible to dying from it. Do you have any thoughts on that landscape?

Dr. Ruiz: Additionally, not only protecting. Let’s say you’re like in this, “Okay, I only care about myself.” which is a very – “I care about me”. Well, the biggest comorbidities that affect your outcomes for dying from this virus are high-blood pressure and high A1C. You can be 28, 29 and have an elevated blood glucose, and have elevated hypertension. Then if you get this virus, then you are putting yourself in the same category risk as those elderly people. That’s when I said, if you have taken care of your lifestyle, you have already been preparing for this. I’ll send you the link to the study about what we’ve learned so far about treatment. What we learned so far about treatment is that people that are older are the ones going to the ICU and they have the severe respiratory infections. They are being treated with a combination of [unintelligible], they are given immunoglobulin therapy. They are being given [inaudible] NAC. This is in China. This is like the little cocktail that they’re giving. Over 52% of the patients that were sent into the ICU unit were given lutein and vitamin C. There is currently a trial about IV vitamin C therapy, and we’ll have those results in September and see, because they did a double-blind placebo-controlled trial on 12 milligrams of vitamin C intravenously. What happens is that you have this insane cytokine reaction to this virus and you basically begin to coagulate and you die. That was what happened with the Spanish flu. That’s why hypertension is a risk, that’s why high A1C is a risk and that’s why a marker called D-dimer that predicts how fast you coagulate. Those are three of the biggest risks that people have. Once you get to a point where you are in that condition, the treatment changes and now you’re given methylprednisolone, an immunosuppressant. This is where the information that is being put out there about botanicals is insane, because things like licorice increase your blood pressure, but they also help you maintain cortisol levels. You have this thing that is like immune modulator, but is the risk of taking it by increasing your blood pressure worth it? This weekend, I was just looking at different feeds. I feel like Steve Kornacki [laughs] sometimes on my phone and social media. Someone said, “What are you guys doing for immune support?” and someone said, “CBD” and I’m like, “Wait a minute, CBD is an anti-inflammatory.” You go look at the mechanisms of action of CBD, and they reduce your immune system. Should you be taking an immunosuppressant? Taking an immunosuppressant puts you at the same risk as that 60 and 70-year-old person, so we don’t know. Whoever’s out there saying take this or take this and take this, we don’t know. Okay? The biggest problem that I have, is people that are promoting the use of antimicrobials and antivirals. Why? Because everytime you’re exposing yourself to low doses of these antimicrobials and antivirals, you are training viruses and bacteria on how to fight it. Unless you have an actual infection, you should not be taking colloidal silver, you should not be taking [inaudible].

Ari: You’re saying there are people out there advising people to take antimicrobials prior to getting any infection?

Dr. Ruiz: Prior to getting any infection. To that, I say, would you take if you’re healthy, you haven’t had any symptoms or anything. Would you take a prophylaxis [unintelligible] and everyone’s going, “No, no, no.”, but I would take colloidal silver or I would take — There is this dichotomy of, “Oh, it’s natural dose, it doesn’t matter.” versus actually reserving those things for someone with an actual infection.

The latest research on botanicals and herbs for treating the virus

Ari: Got it. I know you mentioned in our previous discussion that your virology lab that you work in or have worked in has been testing botanicals for activity against coronavirus. I’m curious what they have found as far as things that maybe have some antiviral activity but are not active against coronavirus as well as if there are any botanicals that seem to have potential beneficial activity in suppressing coronavirus.

Dr. Ruiz: When the Zika thing happened, we have the ability to do high throughput testing of herbals. We have our library of herbs that are traditionally bein used for viruses and we can grab a virus and test 100 different herbs. It’s a high throughput, meaning we do one extraction method if we see and we take data and then we do extractions from very polar with water to nonpolar with hexane, because different things come out of the plant at different polarities. Then we test those things and we find what’s the most effective form of extraction. Everytime we find a gangbusters herb, we test it against our collection of viruses. Things like rabies, coronavirus, the flu virus, pox, AIDS, Ebola, HSV and cancer cells to see, because we can see those mechanism replicated. I was looking at one of my presentations from before 2017, and we’ve tested one of our best herbs against cancer and DNA viruses against corona and they had no effect. Sarracenia purpurea had no effect. We’re going to —

Ari: Which one was it? Echinacea?

Dr. Ruiz: No. Sarracenia purpurea.

Ari: Sarracenia.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes. It’s a carnivorous plant and right now we’re going through high throughput testing. I don’t want to say anything that has shown us some good stuff because I don’t want people to freak out. Okay, but as soon as we have reproducible data. you guys are going to be the first ones to know –

Ari: Okay, so-

Dr. Ruiz: -and remember, and this is just for people that have an infection.

Ari: There’s no substances that you could speak to now that have at least displayed any early signs of potential?

Dr. Ruiz: Not with confidence. Now, I can tell you this. We have done a lot of research with immune-modulating herbs, and that can offer us some protection against viruses in general. You got to remember that there is a problem with co-infections too. Meaning that if you get viral pneumonia, you can get bacterial pneumonia and then that’s when people end up in respirators and that’s when things get real. Having a good robust immune system starting with lifestyle is very important and then we have proven in the lab, in vitro and in vivo, that things like astragalus help raise your immune system. Funny thing about astragalus. Astragalus is a root and there’s a gram-negative bacteria that lives in the root. When you take the astragalus tincture, you actually need to have a little bit of the bacteria and the medicine from the plant in order to expand your immune system and we did experiments where we extracted the astragalus and then we use these beads to capture the LPS, the lipopolysaccharide from the bacteria, and the medicine didn’t do anything for your immune system and then we did just the LPS and there was unregulated immune system control but when you combine the two and you make a tincture, when you can see that as a dose-response, the more of the astragalus you take, the more your white blood cells become active.

Ari: I just want to make sure I understood this correctly, so there’s a bacteria on the roots of the astragalus –

Dr. Ruiz: Yes.

Ari: – and that bacteria is necessary to get the benefits of taking astragalus?

Dr. Ruiz: Correct.

Ari: Would it be fair to say that much of the astragalus supplements on the market you would not expect benefits from?

Dr. Ruiz: Correct, especially if it’s not root. If it’s not from the root and if it’s not extracted with high ethanol.

Ari: Would an extract work or do you need the sort of raw root powder?

Dr. Ruiz: No, no. A tincture would work

Ari: Okay. Got it.

Dr. Ruiz: – and that’s the problem that we have. People are saying things like, “Take echinacea.” Okay. Are you taking the flower? Are you taking the root? Are you taking the aerial parts? Are you taking the whole plant? Are you taking a tea? Are you taking a tincture? Is it high ethanol or low ethanol? Is it the powder? All of this take echinacea, take – it’s completely erroneous because we don’t know. Now, we do know that for the flu, taking echinacea tea actually increases the ratio of reproduction of the virus in vitro and taking a tincture actually modulates your immune system. We have data saying, “Don’t take an echinacea tea” and we have data saying that taking a little bit of echinacea can increase your immune system and help you fight viruses faster.

Ari: Got it. Now, there are a variety of different herbs with identified antiviral activity. Everything from curcumin to resveratrol to licorice, as you mentioned before, garlic, echinacea

Dr. Ruiz: Hypericum.

Ari: What’s that?

Dr. Ruiz: Hypericum.

Ari: Hypericum, lomatium. Having said that, so it sounds like first, not every herb with antiviral activity is necessarily going to have antiviral activity against a particular virus.

Dr. Ruiz: Correct.

The best vitamins and minerals for boosting your immune system

Ari: Okay, and that’s one thing so, the other side of this is boosting immune function. It would seem to me that given that we don’t have really good data about which specific herbs have antiviral activity against this specific virus, would it be reasonable to say what substances could we take to boost overall immune function and maybe boost the system that seems to – bolster the system that combats any sort of infection regardless of what specific infection?

Dr. Ruiz: I like that. Bolstering the immune system because we have to be careful. Remember, overreaction of the immune system can lead to death with this type of infections so we don’t want to just chug a bottle of astragalus but we want to keep our defenses up because if you lower your immune defense, then you can have the trouble that you are – it would be easier for you to fight off the infection. Now this is going back to we’re not contradicting ourselves. Things like taking vitamin D daily like. low-dose of vitamin D or having your levels of Vitamin D at appropriate levels, 30 to 60, what is it, deciliters –

Ari: Nanograms per deciliter.

Dr. Ruiz: – nanograms per deciliter is going to protect you because your immune system is going to be working better and this is a strategy where taking a little bit of vitamin D daily through this commotion could be beneficial. We prefer to take vitamin D from the sun but for this particular situation, maybe in the short term, maybe taking a little bit of vitamin D would be indicated. There was vitamin C, an antioxidant. prevents hormesis. Maybe right now, taking a little bit of vitamin C can help you lower the oxidative stress from having a viral infection. We’re not contradicting ourselves. It’s just that medicine, unfortunately, it’s not black and white and so I don’t want anyone on Facebook posting, “Now, are you saying to take vitamin C?” No, we have tools.

Ari: The context of an acute infection is different and obviously, vitamin C is something that we need for normal cell function. That’s why it’s a vitamin is because it’s a necessary nutrient for normal health but in certain contexts supplementing vitamin C, as you mentioned, around exercise, for example, inhibits the benefits of exercise but taking it away from exercise by several hours, especially in the context of preventing or treating an acute infection is a really different context that I have no issues with, certainly.

Dr. Ruiz: That’s where we have an immune system and we have Krebs cycle that needs magnesium so taking magnesium would be good. Making sure that your body is working optimally is the most important thing. Without going to extremes and taking 10,000IUs of vitamin D daily because that can have consequences and so making sure that your zinc to copper status is great. One thing that I haven’t heard a lot of people talk about would be anemia. Making sure – because you need iron in order to oxidize pathogens. Making sure your gut health is awesome and then taking in awesome fruits and vegetables and eating good levels of protein to help you be a badass human being and then adding things like mushrooms, maybe decreasing your drinking, maybe being more cognizant about your sleep. Those are all very actionable things that we have been preaching for a very long time.

Ari: Right. Is it reasonable to take mushroom extract, medicinal mushrooms, beta-glucans from yeast extracts to boost immune function? Is that a reasonable strategy to help prevent respiratory infections?

Dr. Ruiz: Completely reasonable. One of the ways that bioide works is it works in your digestive system. As a challenge, the beta-glucan acts almost like an LPS, like a low-level LPS and it keeps your immune system active so it’s a form of hormesis and it’s something that you can feel safe because you don’t have to go look for turkey tail in the wild. You can just grab some oats or some button mushrooms. Just eat those and include them in your diet but unfortunately, that’s not sexy and that’s not — You can’t monetize that. A lot of people are not talking about things like that.

Ari: What about two things? One is zinc lozenges, the zinc acetate lozenges, do you think those would be beneficial? Then, I’m also curious about your thoughts on somantadine, which is an over the counter heartburn drug we’ve had [crosstalk] that has a bunch of research showing immune-boosting benefits. Life Extension put out an article with some recommendations where they included somantadine as one of their recommended actions for enhancing natural killer cell activity, enhancing immune function to help combat infections.

When healthful advice and actions become too much

Dr. Ruiz: With the somantadine, we have to be [inaudible] thing because remember the Spanish flu killed more people because people were overreacting, the immune system was overreacting creating cytokine storms. I don’t know if you’ve read about elderberry. People are like, “Oh, take elderberry.”

Ari: Yes, it was going to be my next question.

Dr. Ruiz: Then people are like, “Should we be taking elderberry?” One of the naturopaths I trust the most, Dr. Paul Anderson, he’s right about this. These people are not super experts with herbal medicine. They’re probably not recommending the amounts of elderberry syrup that you need to have the effects. We always underdose herbs whenever we prescribe. For herbs, you have to take often and a lot and people tend. I don’t [inaudible] a big problem, but if you have autoimmune disease, if you have cancer, if you have — Are you messing with your immune system enough to put you at a disadvantage? We have to defer to people that are sick or people that actually need the treatment. For example, if I have a patient that has the flu, I am going to do a couple of immune-modulating things. I’m going to prescribe an IV and I’m going to watch and make sure that they’re getting better. As they get better, then we start taking all those things back. At that point, we might be using antiviral herbs and we might be [inaudible] things that are going to help you get out of the infection faster. One of the things that we found with akinesia is that if you take high doses, you’re going to spike a fever faster. That’s going to shorten your cold, but you’re going to feel crappier before you feel better. You’re going to get the bone pain and you’re going to get those things. Do you want to create that kind of environment every day all day long? I don’t think so, I don’t think so. For zinc lozenges, if you have an infection, it coats your mucosal glands and it helps eliminate that viral receptacle that you have in your tonsils or your throat and [inaudible 00:33:20] very good data that it lowers the duration of infection. You have to take a lot of zinc lozenges very often and they don’t taste that good. If you want to take it, I think it’s eight a day.

Ari: It’s every two hours, but for no more than three days.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes. Then, they have to slow dissolve so you have this thing that looks like you’re chewing tobacco for 20 minutes. I’ve used sigma lozenges, but I don’t think that —

Ari: Actually, when I don’t suck on them, when I don’t really chew on them and suck on them, they last 45 minutes.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes and they work. They shorten cold symptoms, but I don’t think we should be doing it prophylactically.

Ari: This cytokine storm issue, to be clear and you’ve mentioned this a couple times now, but it’s not necessarily the illness itself that kills people in this case, in the case of coronavirus. It is this cytokine storm the body’s immune-inflammatory response to it that just gets so big, so out of control that it causes damage. Can you explain exactly how the cytokine storm happens and what it’s doing to damage or kill a person?

Dr. Ruiz: It basically is your body’s immune response time stand, it overreacts to what’s going on, it freaks out and you have a chance of coagulating, imagine just your whole blood, just like a domino reaction where you just completely coagulate. This is what happened with the H1N1. This is what happened with the Spanish flu and this is what we’re seeing this. That’s why D-dimer and high blood pressure put you at higher risk. That’s why part of the treatment is glutathione and N-acetylcysteine. You can see how we have to be very careful because we’re talking about having an optimum immune system before and then using methylprednisolone to tamper it down.

Ari: To be clear, there’s what we would want to do prophylactically to prevent an infection. There’s strategies and botanicals that may be beneficial in the acute phase, the initial phase of the infection and then there’s many of those things that might be beneficial prophylactically or in the acute phase that as the if you get, let’s say, coronavirus and it progresses to a certain degree where you now are starting to get into potential for cytokine storms or you have a cytokine storm, then many of those things that were beneficial prophylactically or in the initial phase may actually be harmful and may amplify the cytokine storm at least theoretically. It sounds like maybe there’s not a whole lot of actual evidence to support that, but there’s discussions around the ability of elderberry to do it or colloidal silver or honey or akinesia and things like that to have that effect.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes.

The top strategies to prevent infection

Ari: Guillermo, we have this situation with Corona virus. You’ve mentioned that there aren’t a lot of antiviral botanicals that we’re aware of that have activity against this specific virus. You’ve mentioned a few things in passing like, we don’t want to use things that may suppress immune function like CBD for example, prophylactically, probably not a good idea. Definitely don’t want to use antimicrobials prophylactically before you even have an infection, things like colloidal silver and things along those lines. What would you say is your list of top strategies to keep your immune system strong and prevent respiratory tract infections?

Dr. Ruiz: We can divide this category into when someone is acutely in a disease process and then in long-term strategies. Things that we can do overtime to make sure– I don’t want to say- the term adaptogen keeps coming, something that is not going to up-regulate or down-regulate but maintain your immune system at optimal balance. That’s the most important thing. For long-term, making sure that your iron levels are good. That you go and check your iron levels and your ferritin levels are, for females around 150, for guys a little bit higher. Making sure that if your ferritin is low or your iron is low, to take some iron, take some maybe desiccated liver, things that are going to boost up your iron levels because iron is essentially necessary for your immune system to function properly. We need to have good micronutrient status. This is all for long-term. Make sure that your fat-soluble vitamins are in check, A, D, E, K and the co-factors needed. That’s where I mentioned downloading an app like chronometer, putting in your food and then see what your deficiencies are. Vitamin A, we need around 1,200 IU twice daily. E, 200 IU twice daily. Vitamin D, 1000 IU per day. K, 40 micrograms, K2 to being specifically better for you because it helps with the absorption, and you don’t have to convert that K1 into K2. Then, we talked about mushrooms and that is something that we can start doing yesterday. You can use just– The oats have some beta-glucans. Things that are going to challenge your immune system and they’re going to help you be a little bit more robust with your immune system. For the mushrooms story, it really is about like hormesis. Is there a better mushroom probably? We don’t have all the data but just having that mushroom- those of beta-glucans coming in daily, that’s really good for you to have a robust reaction when things go out of hand. Now, then we can move in to what happens when you’re sick. Then you can start talking about things that can up-regulate your immune system. Remember, we have to be very careful because things like elderberry have- but they also jack-up your immune system. We don’t know if that’s a good thing or not yet, but eldeberry–

Ari: You used the word jack-up, sometimes that means mess up, but in this case you mean amplify, increase.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes, it amplifies. Now, in a healthy person that is a good thing. In our experiments with astragalus. It was dose-dependent, the more you took, the more your white blood cells worked. It was done with healthy individuals, and they started taking one drop and it went all the way up to 120 milliliters of astragalus. Two things happen when you got to that dose. One, you got a little drunk [laughs] because it has a lot of alcohol. Then second thing, you actually created a fever and you actually started having this immune reaction. Individual that can be very good because it can shorten the amount of time that that infection will live in your system. Astragalus specifically, it has to be a high ethanolic extract of root. That’s something that you can make at your house. You can buy some astragalus from a reputable source, you blend it with some high ethanol alcohol, and then you let it sit for a couple of days, and then you filter it. Now you have a tincture of high-ethanolic astragalus. That’s going to be–

Ari: Just a couple days. I’ve seen some people with tincture recipes where they let it sit for months and things like that. I’m like, “I’m not going to go to all that effort if I have to let it sit for months.”

Dr. Ruiz: One of my most respected herbalist said, chemistry happens at the speed of light. That is true. All those reactions, all those exchanges in ions and exchanges and hydrogens and atoms are going to occur pretty fast. In fact, when we test herbs, we basically made the tincture, we shake it really well and then we start testing at the same day. We’ve shown that you do reduce activity, but not in a significant way that we have to delay experiments by weeks.

Ari: It’s slightly lower activity, in other words, then if you were to let it sit for weeks. You’re 80% or 90% of the way there. Is that accurate?

Dr. Ruiz: Yes, that is completely accurate and that’s why teas works so well. Speaking of teas, echinacea has a powerful interleukin-8 activity and it up-regulates the interleukin-8 cytokine. We saw that the tea extract actually increases the production of viral particles. I would stay away from echinacea tea, and we didn’t see a lot of difference between the different types of the echinacea across the folia or purpuria. Echinacea is another one that can get up-regulate your immune system. If you’re the type of person that maybe gets sick a lot, you catch everyone’s cold and you don’t think that your immune system is there to fight it, astragalus, echinacea are things that you can definitely use to up-regulate your immune system.

Ari: Can those be used on a long-term, ongoing basis?

Dr. Ruiz: Well, that’s where you start talking to your practitioner because what’s the reason why your immune system is not working optimally? That’s when you do the energy blueprint and you will see that one of the things that we do in your program is make things work more efficiently, optimize things, but chronic infections and now you’re talking into dysbiosis, you’re talking about nutrient deficiencies. You can talk about things like the cell danger response, all of those things are going to decrease the production of ATP or mess up the way those mechanisms work or may at a higher level influence the downstream effects of your immune system. Right now, maybe having a little bit of echinacea. When I went to the store the other day, I went to my natural store and I picked up an echinacea and goldenseal product. Can I say the name of the company?

Ari: Sure.

Dr. Ruiz: Gaia Herbs. Gaia herbs makes an excellent–

Ari: You’ve done some work with them, right? With the echinacea product that you were researching that was for Gaia Herbs or Gaia Herbs ended up using that extract that you were researching on? What exactly was that?

Dr. Ruiz: I trust Gaia herbs, the way they take care from seed to product, the way that the older manufacturing methods and all the things that they do. Whenever I’m not sure about an herb, for example, someone tomorrow said, “Celery shoots are the best thing against Corona Virus.” Before I buy any other herbalist method of extraction, I would defer to Gaia Herbs. They do something really cool where they do–

Ari: Wait, I have a question. How much do they pay you to–?

Dr. Ruiz: [laughs]

Ari: Every time you mention Gaia Herbs.

Dr. Ruiz: Zero money.

Ari: Do you make $5,000?

Dr. Ruiz: Zero money. Funny fact, Ric Scalzo was so impressed. Rick Scalzo is the founder of Gaia Herbs. He was so impressed with the stuff that we were doing with pennies on the dollar with our research, that he made the biggest donation ever to naturopathic medical school and SCNM is going to have their own virology lab. This respect is mutual because he has a lot of tradition in his roots when it comes to herbs but at the same time, he respects the science so much. Whenever he makes an extract– Remember, the studies do not exist as on whats the best method of extraction. Whenever he makes an extract he does a CO2. Gaia Herbs does a CO2 extraction, they do an ethanolic extraction and they do a little bit of the powder and they combine it and concentrate it. Within those three methods, the medicine will come out.

Ari: Right.

Dr. Ruiz: That’s why whenever I start with a herb, if Gaia herb has that herb, that’s probably where I’m going to start.

Ari: That was a really good sales pitch, I want to go buy Gaia Herbs now.

Dr. Ruiz: [laughs] Yes, I know.

Ari: If they’re not paying you now, they need to start. I’m going to tell them, I’m going to call Ric up and be like, “Ric, you’ve got a salesman out there working on your behalf. This guy is doing a great job, maybe help him out.”

Dr. Ruiz: Listen, you know that Propolis Echinacea spray, it’s a Propolis Echenicean Goldenseal, has gotten kept me from getting sick so many times. Everyone in the office during this past winter got sick and it was just passing around. I just had my little Propolis Echenicean Goldenseal thing on my desk and I sprayed a couple of times. You have to, with herbs, you dose high and often, high and often and this year I’ve not gotten sick. I did a couple of Vitamin CAVs with glutathione and zinc, lysine and things like that, that could have help, but I’ve been using that little Echinacea Propolis Goldenseal spray for a very long time.

Ari: Nice.

Dr. Ruiz: Just listening to a press conference right now in Arizona, even if you have the symptoms, even if you were to line up completely and say, “A high probability that you have the Corona Virus.” In some cases, if you’re not at risk, they might not even test you. They might just say, “Stay at home and if you continue to get worse, then go directly to the hospital.” If I was not in that group if I got sick and there’s nothing I can do, they’re not testing me and they’re just waiting for me to get worse, I would be taking that Gaia Herb spray around the clock.

Ari: Got it. Is there a concern if it has Echinacea in it, ramping up the cytokine response?

Dr. Ruiz: Remember we’re talking about Elderberry and there’s a lot of people saying that it could cause a cytokine storm, the amount–

Ari: I’m actually skeptical of that, to be honest with you. I feel like these substances are probably end up acting as immune modulators rather than just immune amplifiers, non-specific immune amplifiers. That’s just my hunch, I’m curious if you agree with me.

Dr. Ruiz: I think with the levels that people would be taking pit of a dropper, it would be hard to put someone at that, but that’s just speculation. The possibility remains there, but if you don’t have a high A1C, if you don’t have high blood pressure and especially in the spray form that it’s coating more your mucosal membranes, I feel much safer taking something like that. At some point, we’re going to do some trials with Echinacea where we’re going to be trying live subjects. Basically what we do is this. We take your blood cells, your white blood cells, and we run it through this machine and they tell us your levels of the white blood cells. We start administering the concoction, the different methods and then we draw blood at two, four, and eight hours after. Then, we see how they go up. That’s what we do with astragalus. Its really funny that the healthier the individual, their body habit is, the better the response they have. When those trials come around, it’d be cool to invite you over and be one of the test subjects.

Ari: Absolutely, I’d love that.

Dr. Ruiz: Because listen, you will feel like crap.

Ari: I take it back, I no longer wish to be a test subject.

Dr. Ruiz: You will feel it because the medicine works.

Ari: Is there anything else on your list of strategies that you want to mention?

Dr. Ruiz: Yes, for acute. Zinc, you want to be taking around 15 milligrams daily, in an acute condition. [crosstalk].

Ari: This is orally not the zinc lozenges?

Dr. Ruiz: No, just orally.

Ari: Zinc lozenges is a separate thing and is working not systematically to keep the immune system strong, but it’s working locally in the throat and sinuses to coat those areas and make it less habitable for a pathogen.

Dr. Ruiz: Correct, just like you remember the Zicam swabs they used to have? Like that, almost like a disinfectant. Zinc, you can go up to 45 milligrams acutely not for more than three days. As you know cystine, I heard you talk about it, or you wrote about it a little bit on Facebook, 500 milligrams per day. Even high doses like 900 milligrams can also have the benefit of removing biofilms and that another place where viruses can hide and bacteria can hide. Pneumonia, you can prevent some of that the stuff that can happen to your lungs and make it a little bit easier. It’s also an expectorant and it makes mucosal secretions easier to pass, so that’s another thing. Vitamin C, again, we’re not contradicting our selves, 1.5 grams, 1,500 grams a couple of times a day as long as you do bowel tolerance and that can help your immune system. This is one that I’m on the fence, I prefer my patients to have a good level of Vitamin D. Taking 20,000 IUs of Vitamin D per day for three days can be effective at pushing that immune system.

Ari: Why not do 5,000 IUs or 10,000 IUs spread out over a longer period of time?

Dr. Ruiz: You want to compress it. For example, Niacin. Niacin is a vitamin, it helps with different things but when you bolus it, when you do a high dose of Niacin and you get that Niacin flush, it has some lipogenesis effect. After you hit a certain threshold, you can actually burn some fat and you open different pathways. It changes, it’s no longer a vitamin. Same thing with melatonin. Micro-dosing melatonin helps with sleep. 40 milligrams of melatonin becomes an antioxidant and a very powerful antioxidant. The sleep stuff doesn’t even matter anymore. It’s acting as a– You want to compress it and have that boosting effect. If you’re flirting with high levels of Vitamin D already, you don’t want to do that that often. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and it can remain in your system for a long time and can cause problems with calcification, with parathyroid issues and other stuff like that. Acutely, you can definitely use it. Then making sure that all your micronutrients, having a diverse diet and making sure those micronutrients are really perfect. Then, S boulardii, so the probiotic S boulardii has been shown to be really helpful with acute infections. [inaudible 00:20:05] prophylactically if you do have to take an anti-biotic.

Ari: Would that be acute gut infections or also acute respiratory tract infections?

Dr. Ruiz: There was one paper on infections in general, but the problem is this. There are also papers that show that on immunocompromised patients taking probiotics can cause problems. If your immune system is really down-regulated, you don’t want to take these novel probiotics, like SBO’s, and things that really don’t have a lot of data. If you land squarely in that category where you have low immune system function, I would try to stick to bifidobacter, lactobacillus and even go as far as taking single strain probiotics like Align which is a bifido infantis, but it is something that we are for sure know that it is commensal to us and not this new novel probiotic we keep discovering and using. I would stick with that tablet probiotic.

Ari: Beautiful. Do you have anything more on your list?

Dr. Ruiz: I think those are the most important things that have science behind them and that are safe. That’s the most important thing, that are safe because someone posted on social media, ozone will kill coronavirus. Well Yes, acid will kill Corona Virus. The Clorox will kill Corona Virus.

Ari: Did you see there was some clips circulating of parents picking their kids up from school and there was a couple of parents, one spraying their entire kid down with Lysol spray? [chuckles] :ike a home disinfectant? Before the kid got in the car [chuckles]. It’s hilarious.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes –

Ari: Not advised but hilarious.

Dr. Ruiz: It will kill the virus. Yes, it will but at what cost.

Ari: It will kill your son.

Dr. Ruiz: Yes. I feel that those are pretty sensible things that we can do and maybe you look in your cabinet and those are things that because we are doing really good things for ourselves. Maybe we stop taking and maybe it’s a good time to just look back and do a short period of nutrient density clean up to help ourselves in these times.

Ari: Beautiful. Beautifully said, my friend. Thank you so much for coming on the show again for the third time. Thank you for being part of The Energy Blueprint program and helping out all of our members in the private members group so much. I really appreciate you, I appreciate all the wisdom that you share. If somebody wants to reach out to you or if somebody wants to work with you one-on-one as your patient, how can they get in touch with you?

Dr. Ruiz: You can reach our office at 480-657-0003. I always like my Energy Blueprint patients, they are invested and it’s just a different breed, it’s just a different kind of person that knows the value of health. It’s just so much easier to meet goals and to create a good plan because they know that there’s work to do and they work with me really well.

Ari: Yes. Awesome, brother. Thank you so much again for sharing your wisdom with my audience, it’s so appreciated. Especially in these crazy, chaotic times with this whole Coronavirus scare. I think people are going to really appreciate being armed with a set of strategies to help protect themselves and their loved ones.

Dr. Ruiz: One last thing, I did put together the top natural remedies for your medicine cabinet. I don’t know if you remember that or if I ever shared that with you.

Ari: I think you mentioned it to me, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it.

Guillermo: Yes, that was like around four years ago when – I’ve been talking about not using antimicrobials for a very long time. We put together this resource of things that are not antimicrobial so I’m going to make it completely available to the Energy Blueprint. Yes, and then –

Ari: We’ll put a link to it on the page for this episode which —

Dr. Ruiz: Yes, I’ll put a link for my website on the episode but I want to give it to your group. They don’t have to give me their email address or anything, I’m just going to make it available.

Ari: Beautiful. I’ll put a link to it on our website, we’ll put this podcast at All one word, coronavirus. so you can see all of Guillermo’s info there. You can download this cheat sheet for natural medicines. Guillermo, thank you so much again, brother. Really appreciate you and have a wonderful rest of your night.

Dr. Ruiz: No problem. I’ll talk to you soon.

Show Notes

Myths and facts about the virus (3:15)
The potential danger of using antimicrobials as a preventative measure (11:11)
The latest research on botanicals and herbs for treating virus (18:00)
The best vitamins and minerals for boosting your immune system (24:45)
When healthful advice and actions become too much (30:11)
The top strategies to prevent infection (36:50)


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