Sunday, March 08, 2020

Coronavirus: Experts Increasingly Zero In On Perhaps THE Crucial Cause, Selenium Deficiency

Posted by Peter Quennell

1. The Body’s Virus Defenses

The body’s first lines of defenses against viruses are the antioxidants and antivirals vitamin C, CoQ10, vitamin E, and alpha-lipoic acid.

When all of those prove inadequate, the 80,000 pound gorilla is glutathione.

When at sufficient levels in the body, glutathione is highly efficient at grabbing viruses and marching them right out of the body.

Normally, we can all manufacture glutathione, especially if we can help the body along with

(1) the vegetables high in sulfur (onions, garlic, asparagus, broccoli) and

(2) the supplements NAC, quercetin, vitamin E, apha-lipoic acid, CoQ10, and B-vitamins.

2. Crucial Role Of Selenium

Unlike those other substances, selenium does not just “help” to produce glutathione.

It is a make-or-break component. It MUST be present. This is a quirk of all mammals and maybe of all living creatures.

Read this excellent survey for the full reason why.

Worldwide, selenium has never been in high supply. There are very few mines. And there is not enough in the world to treat all agricultural lands.

Selenium density in the soils and foods has become worse in recent years because of two eco-measures we thought would exclusively help us:

(1) the cutting back on coal use; selenium used to be propagated along with cool soot.

(2) the spread of organic foods; foods not grown with selenium-enhanced fertilizers.

Thera are geological maps available on the internet showing the global and local distribution of selenium.

Central China, southern Korea, north-east Italy and the US northwest have little or no selenium in their soils.

And all four of those places are coronavirus hotspots.

3. Ways Of Boosting Glutathione

This YouTube above is helpful. It is simple, cheap, and pretty safe to optimise your glutathione by boosting your selenium in these ways:

(1) via one or two brazil nuts daily - typically brazil nuts contain the highest selenium content of any foodstuff, and/or

(2) via selenium capsules, widely available in healthfood stores with a recommended daily 100 mcg dose, and/or

(3) via the taking of 5-10 capsules daily of N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) containing also selenium, along with significant vitamin C and a little vitamin E (this seems the best route).

Okay. Do start to feed that 80,000 pound gorilla. He or she seems to be your best bet.

Below: Why China really may see infections dwindling

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/08/20 at 12:22 PM in


Thanks for a few tips from our WHO friends. Three more that might be of help:

1. NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine), with up to 100 mcg of selenium if you are not already saturated, is really your best bet.

2. Dont be tempted to buy the glutathione capsules sold in some health stores - the gut simply processes it as (expensive) protein; some athletes use it for that.

3. So-called “selenium-rich foods” actually vary in their selenium content considerably, depending on their places of origin. The articles linked-to in the main post explain this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/08/20 at 02:42 PM | #

“Italy’s Coronavirus Response Is a Warning From the Future. The country placed severe travel restrictions on a swath of its north. Other democracies are watching closely.”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/08/20 at 10:20 PM | #

Some sparks of possible good news - all the most scientific and least political news is tending to show up on our three business channels first (CNBC, Yahoo, and Bloomberg) and of course on the great BBC News.

1. The experimental drug Remdesivir which seems to have worked against SARS has turned around a seriously sick 34-year-old patient in Seattle who had brought the infection back from China.

2. The Nancy Pelosi scheme for getting money fast into the most hurting structures of the economy and most-hurting workers could become law in a few days with today the Secretary of the Treasury on board.

3. The Republican group in the Senate does not like Trump’s re-election-oriented tax-relief plan, and the Majority Leader has actually said they will sit this one out.

Economists say a payroll tax holiday is exactly the wrong type of measure for this crisis. It skews its benefits toward higher-income earners while incentivizing people to work, when the aim of federal support should be to help those who need to stay at home.

4. With reports of Trump freaking the Senators, today Wednesday the stockmarkets again tank. Trump’s Groundhog Day?

5. Italy has now frozen all interest payments, and the extensive reporting on its bold moves is proving very useful. Still no sign yet though of the mass distribution of NAC. It’s cheap and effective as a preventive; what is taking so long? Solid science is there.

6. Tip: You can make your own Purell-type hand-sanitizer by mixing 1 part aloe vera with 3-4 parts of 91% alcohol. This YouTube explains how.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/11/20 at 10:49 AM | #

It’s officially a pandemic now. Declared so by WHO. The last pandemic (swine flu) was in 2009.

Germany has been winning some praise. What are they doing there that other countries are not?


Ah! One plus. Germany is doing tests with results on the spot in less than an hour. The US is so far away from that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/11/20 at 02:45 PM | #

The big deal to me is how good SYSTEMS were destroyed - in fact, all over government this has been going on, and all Americans are now at much more risk.
Ronald Reagan created a hate-government money-machine when he said in the 1980s: “Government is not the solution, it is the problem”.

This system destruction and risk escalation is actually being driven for financial gain by the false prophets.

These instances of false claims are confusing the experts’ planning and in part what are making the stockmarket freak out.

The ideologue economic advisor Larry Kudlow (who I know slightly) has a long history of making bad calls.

He was also in denial about the 2008 derivatives meltdown and helped to make that situation vastly worse.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/11/20 at 04:04 PM | #

Your tips on protective measures taken could be really helpful.

These measurs were kindly emailed by Earthling who could not sign in (delete the TJMK cookie if you see that). The 99% alcohol is the one to have (though I have yet to see it sold retail) because it needs to be still above that 70% WHO recommends when mixed with aloe vera.

@Pete: Thanks for all the updates on the Covid-19 virus. Very helpful. I have ordered some 99% isopropyl alcohol. (I know it needs to be stored carefully.) We are taking EmergenC, vitamin D, cod liver oil, and one Brazil nut per day for selenium.

Poor Italy! One of my relatives is over there, I think in northern Italy. They were planning on coming back to the States about this time, but I’m sure they are stuck there for now. Luckily, they are young and in good health, and hopefully will remain so.

Meredith would’ve been doing so much good over there in Europe now. RIP.

It took me 2 days to get via eBay 100 high-efficiency medical-type masks (avoid the construction dusk masks) and 100 nitrile gloves. Plus 2x24 ounces of hand sanitizer made from aloe vera and alcohol. Three pounds of brazil nuts high in selenium should arrive today.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/12/20 at 10:53 AM | #

An uncommon sight in pedestrian-friendly Perugia. The shots were taken this morning around the courthouse.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/12/20 at 11:43 AM | #

Good thing there was no corona virus at time of funeral for John Kercher. Thanks Earthling for good word. Thank you, Peter, for selenium advice.

I’ve stocked up on fruit juices, crave the acid and potassium. My son said buy some easy foods just in case, so I did.

Could hot hot spices possibly ward off the virus? cayenne pepper? the good hot mustard on egg rolls, Chinese hot and sour soup? maybe I’m crazy. What about chili peppers and onions, garlic?

Everyone please stay well. Don’t panic. There are mild forms of corona virus. In the U.S. one gal didn’t even cough, said she got well using over the counter stuff.

News of elderly in China age 90s one in his 100s, recovered!

Posted by Hopeful on 03/13/20 at 10:55 AM | #

Hi Hopeful

Spicy food is only a small gorilla in the immune arsenal - its main use is in late-stage flu to break up congestion. Onions and garlic are good.

How much NAC are you all taking each day? It’s often sold with selenium intact.

Earthling’s tip on a brazil-nut or two a day is good. It’s years since I ate any - I had forgotten how addictive they are. 😊

Take a look at this telling oddity on the glutathione front. A one-time shot? Taking some NAC daily gets the same result permanently, for 1/100 of that price.

Apart from conducting private coronavirus tests, the rich have also been demanding intravenous infusion of vitamins and minerals to boost their immune systems. The treatment costs £350.

“An intravenous infusion ensures instant and optimal delivery of these nutrients to the body’s cells and the nutrients should include vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B12 complex, glutathione, zinc and essential amino acids such as arginine, taurine, lysine and citrulline,” Mark Ali, chief executive and medical director of the Private Harley Street Clinic, told the Guardian.

For the sake of precision, if anyone wants to shoot up on their own (joke! joke!), all of the B vitamins help, not just B12. And glutathione and zinc are not vitamins.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/13/20 at 02:20 PM | #

Clearly the key to fighting epidemics is to build robust systems and NOT DESTROY THEM FOR NO LOGICAL REASON THEREAFTER.

Do watch the video now at the bottom of the top post. China appears to have deployed what may prove the most effective systems.

They are testing everywhere and anyone testing positive is immediately nabbed and isolated.

Most are recovering, and meanwhile they are not infecting friends and family.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/14/20 at 01:35 PM | #

Good coronavirus avoidance tips. To be added to. Please email or post any more:

1. Use mouthwash or brush your teeth immediately before putting on your mask (4-ply medical masks seem best).

2. Take a sip of water 3-4 times an hour, it may wash any virus out of your throat before it heads for your lungs.

3. In a clean air environment, test you lungs every day by holding your breath for 10-15 seconds; if not easy figure out why.

4. After a lot of comparisoning, this is the NAC with selenium I’ve been buying on eBay, enough for 1 person for a month or so.

5. Keep some doggie poop bags in the car to dispose of used surgical masks and nitrile gloves.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/15/20 at 10:22 AM | #

More articles on glutathione. Out of a few dozen looked at, these seem on right lines.

1. Eat Glutathione by Josh Mitteldorf

2. Do You Have a Glutathione Insufficiency? by Amy Myers

3. 10 Natural Ways to Increase Your Glutathione Levels by Kaitlyn Berkheiser

4. Immune Function and Micronutrient Requirements Change over the Life Course

5. The biochemistry of selenium and the glutathione system.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/15/20 at 05:46 PM | #

Italy’s one-night death-rate just exceeded any one night’s in China.

Sadly Italy seems to have seriously dropped the ball on selenium and glutathione.

Still, it does offer the US etc some other timely learning experiences.

“Italy Has Been Trying To Send Us A Warning. Will We Listen?”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/16/20 at 01:13 PM | #

See the graph.  The spread of the virus in the US seems to be on the exact same path as Italy with a 14-16 day lag time.

In fact it could be the world’s worst already, as there has been so little testing.

This is not the time to be sitting on our hands, guys, as the deer-in-the-headlights White House largely still is

That is despite numerous angered proddings from the state level and the stock markets.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/16/20 at 01:22 PM | #

Chatter on Wall Street…

Rightly or wrongly (the evidence so far is pretty damning) Trump’s group are accused of trying to set things up so they will make very big bucks out of the testing and the eventual vaccine.  That may be why the mass distribution of the almost-free WHO test kit was rejected.


And now there’s this. Followed almost immediately by Trump’s smashing of the two epidemic management groups.

Even numerous Republicans are reported to be pulling out their hair. (Note: its SYSTEMS that matter, guys.)

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/16/20 at 01:38 PM | #

New York is implementing an enormous array of measures. Some 25,000 computers a day are arriving so kids can do their schoolwork remotely.

London seems the very opposite according to BBC reporting - subway trains (tube trains) were shown with people still packed in like sardines.

Nice work Boris. And the UK continues in serious negative growth territory.

“Pound Slides to Weakest Since 1985, Surpassing Brexit Vote Lows”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/20 at 09:40 AM | #

Meanwhile, at US national level, the self-serving misinformation continues - as the stockmarkets never favor; see today’s reaction.

The new misinformation is specifically on WHO versus the US on the development and manufacture of virus tests.

(1) Objective reality:

“How U.S. coronavirus testing stalled: Flawed tests, red tape and resistance to using the millions of tests produced by the WHO”


(2) Trump reality

“Trump Lied About Rejecting WHO Tests, Doctor Confirms”

During his press conference, Donald Trump claimed the WHO tests were not up to FDA standards, choosing instead to develop our own. Dr. Joseph Fair confirms the exact opposite is the case.

“The reason WHO didn’t offer us the test is because they only offered them for free to impoverished nations,” Dr. Fair explained on MSNBC. “We have to buy them.”

Turning to the question of flawed tests, Dr. Fair said, “The tests that were out that were inaccurate were—false positives and false negatives—were actually the CDC tests, not the commercial tests.”

“So that’s the opposite of what happened,” he concluded.

“Confirmed: Trump Lied About Why He Rejected WHO Tests — One of the Most Catastrophic Presidential Failures in History”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/20 at 11:02 AM | #

Italy still has 5X the KNOWN US cases though estimates are some US states may actually have 100,000 untested cases many nasquerading as flu.

Can the Italy response be faulted? On the whole, I dont yet see reasons. As this article describes, they clearly had some good systems ready.

And Italians are demons at inventing new systems. Worth watching.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/20 at 11:26 AM | #

Tentatively, Covid-19 that makes it down to the lungs seems to be causing death in two ways: (1) pneumonia; and (2) cytokine storm syndrome, which is an unhelpful autoimmune response.

Adequate glutathione is showing up in dozens of studies as something to possibly ward off both of them.

Below, an epidemic expert advises: “Take Glutathione and Astaxanthin supplements daily.” Astaxanthin is a component of krill oil, which many here take now, as it is more potent than fish oil.

Below, this short but good article boosting glutathione (and allaying concerns about autoimmune exacerbation) disagrees slightly with the one above.

It reflects majority medical opinion that glutathione supplements dont lead to elevated glutathione levels.

It suggests instead better alternatives. It does not connect the dots on selenium being quite vital, however.

And below, how glutathione “takes the bullet”

Glutathione is like the bodyguard or Secret Service agent whose loyalty is so deep that she will jump in front of a bullet to save the life of the one she protects. When there is enough of the proper form of glutathione in the body to “take the bullet”, no inflammatory response occurs. However when glutathione becomes depleted it triggers a destructive inflammatory process.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18/20 at 02:12 PM | #

Emails received suggest a few dozens at least are following this simple regime.

Some say unrelated inflammations like hay-fever and joint pain are less or even gone - I’m dry as a bone and eye-whites are almost blue.

If you do succumb it woulld help a lot to somehow be told about that, at least one expert is taking note.

There are said to be some fad ideas out there though I have not gone looking myself.


I had WHO staff under my wing on several UN programs and as scientists and medical experts they are as serious and well-trained as any you will find.

On capacity building and putting into place large organizational frameworks, that was not really their thing and they were not recruited or trained for that.

I was following the performance of the current head of WHO a few months ago and in this dimension he was really lost - he had brought in the McKinsey consulting group, and they were confusing WHO staff with nonsense ideas.

Backroom research from such groups can be valuable, but their organizational development sucks. All top-down fixes suck.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/19/20 at 11:45 AM | #

Fighting this virus without an immune system at its peak is like boxing with one hand.

It is hard to read these new reports without thinking most of our forbears could have lived more years.

Chicken and eggs are widely listed as okay sources of selenium. But not so fast. In some countries like Canada and New Zealand the level in their poultry feed (along with other trace minerals) might be enough to give humans a boost.

But the US Food And Drug Administration has limited selenium in poultry feed to only that level that might boost the bird. Gee, thanks, guys.

Selenium is a very unique trace mineral in the chicken’s diet in that its inclusion rate is regulated and limited by the FDA. Selenium is considered a heavy metal in manure and is limited in its soil application. Selenium was recognized for its toxicity in animal diets before its essentiality was established. Selenium is an important constituent of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase which functions in the cell as its first line of defense against oxidation. Other selenoproteins in poultry play an important role in the prevention of exudative diathesis, normal pancreatic function, and fertility. Levels of selenium supplementation are limited by the FDA to only .30 ppm in poultry diets.

Levels of selenium in feedstuffs for poultry can vary considerably dependent on soil content of selenium the crops are grown on. Soils in the Dakotas and [parts of] Canada can contain high levels of selenium resulting in higher grain levels of selenium. Often times, total selenium of poultry diets in our plains states will reach levels of .40 to .50 ppm when corn and soybean levels are combined with .30 ppm supplementation levels. These high levels can to be beneficial to the immune status and performance of poultry flocks without being toxic. Dietary selenium works with Vitamin E in boosting the immune status of poultry.

In effect, the US FDA mandates the immunity of chooks, but not of us.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/19/20 at 08:45 PM | #

Another tip: consider running an ULTRAVIOLET air purifier day and night (not the ION kind) so the lungs are less stressed having to eliminate other germs.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/19/20 at 10:25 PM | #

Re chloroquine, now in the news, it might or might not prove widely effective though it is already another victim of mixed messages.

I lived in malaria areas for years, and like other UN staff rarely took it, as at minimum it can make one feel like a zombie.

It is no longer very effective against malaria, but it is widely available in the US and Europe as it can alleviate arthritis pain and is cleared for that.

The guy promoting it hardest, Rigano, is lawyer, not a doctor, and universities deny they co-operated with him as he had claimed.

Rigano’s description of chloroquine’s effects is largely based on a single study from France that tested its use on a group of only 20 people. Six additional patients were also given the treatment but dropped out of the study before its completion: Three were transferred to intensive care, one died, one left the hospital and another stopped treatment because of nausea.

So THAT is his 100%?!

What if it causes Covid-19 to mutate? And become more drug resistant? These pesky microbes tend to do that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/20/20 at 02:36 PM | #

It’s difficult to find the words to describe the situation in the UK. It feels surreal - as if we’re living in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world in some far-fetched Netflix film.

All the bars, cafes, cinemas, gyms, pubs, restaurants and schools will be closed for the foreseeable future.

The coronavirus is far worse than anybody imagined. The lives of countless people have been plunged into chaos and uncertainty.

It’s time for everyone to pull together - not squabble over politics. As the late Labour MP Jo Cox pointed out, we have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

Posted by The Machine on 03/20/20 at 08:09 PM | #

Stay well Machine. Thanks a lot for the report.

Really good if you might post again, on (1) your personal measures - around here the personal creativity unleashed is astonishing and encouraging; and (2) which new national and city systems you can see are working, and which old systems are not so good.

I do foresee two lights at the end of the tunnel: (1) personal creativity still on steroids and hopefully being better rewarded, and (2) an end to neo-isolationism and countries mindlessly pulling apart - there are better ways to fix stagnating systems than that, and the UK could help lead the way.

See below. This terrific systems development (its mainly about the UK, the headline is misleading) is something we are also starting to see in the US. Well done.

And some good UK initiatives at the local level are described in, among other places, here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/21/20 at 10:14 AM | #

Lotta dogs getting walked on the paths along both sides of the Hudson River. I can see them from my place. Dog-walking is still being allowed even in total lock-down. Maybe I should rent a dog.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/21/20 at 01:27 PM | #

The Great Global Antibody Hunt…  Some people are believed to have antibody immunity to Covid-19, as with most diseases either genetically or because effective antibodies had grown in them to fight off something else. The hunt goes on.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/21/20 at 01:47 PM | #

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