A pattern seems to be emerging in those who succumb to COVID19. It seems that there is a cytokine connection in every case. This being said, cytokines are the real killer when it comes to this virus. The virus infection process has been broken down into three stages. Stage one begins at inoculation and may include malaise, fever, and cough. 80% of the people who contract this virus, will never progress past stage one. Stage two is when a persons immune system has failed to overcome the virus and they progress onto viral pneumonia. Stage three is where the persons immune system has a hyper inflammatory response and causes a cytokine storm. In the end the cause of death is the persons own immune system.
Here is what is currently known about the cytokine response in our bodies. When our immune system is functioning as it should it will produce cells that will put the brakes on cytokines when they start to get carried away. In a healthy person they will produce cytokines and they will experience fever while thier body is fighting the virus. If the cytokines get over active their immune system will send out stopper cells, that will put a stop to the cytokines. In those who’s immune system is compromised this system will fail, and the person will experience a full blown cytokine cascade.
There are certain factors that can cause a person to be more vulnerable to having a severe cytokine response. These causes have been greatly studied, and we have a wealth of scientific studies at our disposal for pouring over. These factors have seemingly become apparent in the patterns of COVID19 fatalities. There are subset groups of individuals at greater risk than others. What we find is that in all of the groups they have pre conditions for a failed immune response.
When we lay them out and look at all of them and their cytokine connection a pattern emerges, and in those patterns are the keys to prevention before infection. Here are the patterns that we are seeing arise so far.
- We are seeing fewer children deaths than adults.
- We are seeing more deaths in men, than women.
- We are seeing a higher death rate among the elderly, than younger people.
- We are seeing athletes in prime condition ending up on ventilators.
- We are seeing higher death rates among the poor, and African American populations.
I will now attempt to cover each one of these and provide you with the studies to show the cytokine connection in each of these five categories. By the time you are done reading you should be able to see the pre condition pattern that leads to immune function failure.
In the first case of seeing fewer death rates in children than adults. This could be attributed to the differences in cytokine response in children vs adults. In a study conducted on burn patients it was found that there was a clear distinction. It seemed that in the first week adults would have a rapid cytokine response, whereas children did not. The cytokine response in children rose slowly over time. It could be that this is their saving grace. If the cytokine response in children is delayed it could give their body time to fight the virus. But in a small percentage of adults, the body goes into full cytokine response causing severe injury, leading to the likelihood of death.
In the second case of more deaths in men than women, I see a clear connection that can be easily explained by the differences in cytokine response levels in men vs women. What I found is that in studies conducted men were found to have a stronger cytokine response than women. My next thought was, “why?”, and what I found was that it is due to testosterone levels in men vs women. The higher the levels of testosterone, the stronger the cytokine response. Testosterones influence a set of genes that control the immune response, with high levels increasing the release of an adrenal hormone called corticosterone that suppresses the immune system. This leaves men with high levels of testosterone vulnerable to a run away cytokine response, and a compromised immune system.
This brings us to number three why does it seem that there is a higher death toll among the elderly in comparison to the rest of the population? The answer for this could come down to the same thing, the cytokine response. A study was conducted on the cytokine response differences in the elderly vs middle aged and younger patients in cases of gout. It was found that the elderly exhibited a hyperactive pro-inflammatory response often causing fever and high cytokine levels resulting in septic arthritis. There was found to be a noticeable increase in cytokine levels in the elderly as compared to other age groups.
In another study conducted on the role of nutrition in enhancing immunity in aging, the cytokine differences in the elderly vs the young was discussed in depth. It was found that the elderly exhibited a 2-4 fold increase in their pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in comparison to other age groups. It makes them much more susceptible to severe complications when it comes to a viral infection. It was found that repletion of these deficiencies enhances the immune system and modulates the cytokine response via proper cell function.
There is much scientific evidence on the differences in the cytokine response in the elderly vs younger age groups. It has clearly been established that the elderly exhibit an increase in inflammatory cytokines. It is referred to as “inflammaging” It is a state of chronic upregulated inflammation.
Number 4 on the list which is deaths in athletes, this does not seem to be recognized as a pattern yet. However I myself have noticed that we are seeing many athletes succumb to COVID19. Time and time again, I keep seeing stories of Marathon runners and athletes ending up on ventilators.
During the course of my research on cytokines, I found that Marathon runners are often used as the subjects in these studies, the reason being, is that marathon runners suffer elevated cytokine levels post run. This can often lead to a compromised immune system, and infection.
In the case of SARS-COV-2 Coronavirus, the real killer is the deadly cytokine storms. It makes sense that this would put athletes who train hard at a higher risk than other members of society, because their levels are already raised, and this compromises their immune systems.
Lastly number 5, We are seeing a disproportionate number of deaths occurring in the African American and poor communities. This can also be correlated to the cytokine response in the same way that the elderly are vulnerable. Many people live in food deserts, where nutritional food is scarce. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, and these deficiencies have been proven to have an effect on the immune system.
A second factor is that, our nation is also facing a vitamin D deficiency epidemic and it has been found that African Americans are affected by this deficiency even more than other races of people. This is due to having higher melanin in their skin that reduces their body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. It has been found that those who are vitamin D deficient have a greater risk of illness. It has also been proven that Vitamin D plays a very major role in immunity and the cytokine response. Those who are low are more susceptible to a cytokine cascade.
When you look at all of these connections in their context a picture begins to emerge, and it paves a path for prevention before infection. I do believe that in many of these cases death could possibly be prevented. In studies it was proven that when nutrition was replenished it restored the immune functions of the cells. It was also found that those who got their vitamin D levels back up were less susceptible to cytokine storms and severe inflammation. We could simply ask the at risk community to supplement and eat healthy during this critical time.
In the case of athletes, we could ask them to tone down their work outs until this blows over. For those who are taking testosterone treatments they could be asked to stop them for the time being. We could have saved so many lives with such simple measures. It’s not too late to start.
Sometimes the answers are so simple that we refuse to even look at them or consider them. However in this case, to overlook these simple connections will be at the cost of thousands and thousands of lives.
I have also written an extensive article that explains how this virus works, and how our immune function is affected. I explain what nutrients, we can take to strengthen our immune system so that we can have proper cell function, that can give us a greater chance at preventing a cytokine storm.
UPDATE: I have made a sixth connection, it has been found that people who experience obesity may be at greater risk of death. I wrote a detailed article on why I believe this is due to immune failure, linked to nutrient deficiencies.