Be prepared for the next Corona epidemic

The population is not

May 29, 2020

The Corona is spreading more slowly now, and, here in Denmark, Covid-19 is gradually infecting fewer and fewer people and we are more aware of protecting ourselves against it.

There have been good effects from keeping our distance and from maintaining good hygiene in which we have all been well instructed.

Much to the surprise of the Danish Serum Institute, less than 2% of the Danish population has had the disease, and only a few of these individuals may have obtained immunity to SARS-CoV-2, which the virus is called.
This means that more than 98% have not been infected and are completely without immunity. So forget about herd immunity.

The Danish population is just as vulnerable it was were in March when it all started.

Let’s try to summarize what we know and what we can do about it.

What do we know now?
SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus responsible for the current Covid-19 pandemic, is characterized in that it – like the influenza virus – triggers a reaction with the release of a number of signaling molecules such as interleukins, interferons, and lymphokines.

When this release is powerful, it is called a “cytokine storm”, and with Covid-19, it is so powerful that immune cells begin to damage the tissues where the process is taking place, and, in this case, it is primarily the lung tissue that is damaged.

During the cytokine storm, a violent inflammatory response and increased release of free oxygen radicals are created, which further damages the lung tissue due to the subsequent inflammatory microcoagulation seen in the pulmonary vessels. Adding too much oxygen at this stage will only aggravate the situation, which several anesthesiologists have experienced when Covid-19 patients’ conditions worsen when they are put on a respirator.

What can we do about it
Thus, it is primarily about attenuating the fatal cytokine storm.
Here vitamin D, magnesium, selenium, and vitamin C are particularly important as they specifically inhibit this cytokine storm and the subsequent inflammatory microcoagulation in the pulmonary vessels.
If the level of these essential substances in the body is high enough then you will have a subdued cytokine storm and thus attenuated symptoms, as seen during influenza infection. Fresh extract of Coneflower (Echinacea) has also been documented in several scientific studies to effectively inhibit this cytokine storm.

It should be obvious to protect ourselves by promoting such harmless and inexpensive remedies, but unfortunately in the medical and pharmaceutical world, one tends to stare blindly at the most expensive solutions.
Medical professionals were first intrigued by the antiviral drug Remdesivir, which could shorten the disease period of Covid-19 from 15 to 11 days. This fascination has now been replaced by a new one, another drug, an experimental cancer drug, Bemcentinib that may prevent viruses from entering the cells. A phase II trial is underway for 120 people, and we hope we will be able to get the result in a few months.

Well, it is excellent that medical professionals try to find a medicine that can help in this situation, but is it absolutely necessary to find a new, expensive medicine with side effects, when there are other far cheaper options without side effects?

The long awaited vaccine
While all this is going on, the pharmaceutical industry is working full speed on a vaccine. A vaccine against an RNA virus is very difficult to make, and using a vaccine is especially problematic because viruses constantly mutate and thereby often change the immune response.

No vaccine has ever been safety-tested, in the same way that medicine is tested, and this is a bit problematic because in recent years, the industry has started to add substances whose purpose is to stimulate the immune system for effective antibody formation. And stimulating antibody formation is good enough, too, but the safety of these substances has never been investigated. In Denmark, the use of mercury (thimerosal or thiomersal) in childhood vaccines was stopped from 1992 and in influenza vaccines from 2004, with the exception of the vaccine in 2009, which was an embarrassing exception. The toxic mercury should never be used again for human use – neither in the teeth, for that matter.

But in recent years aluminum has been added in the form of nanoparticles as well as squalene emulsions. These adjuvants have not been safety tested. It has just been noted (WHO has noted) that the number of side effects is not greater than is usually seen with vaccination. Aluminum is a neurotoxin, but it has been used in vaccines in the form of various aluminum salts since 1930, so in that form it probably isn’t particularly harmful. The problem is that nanoparticles are now being used that cannot be stopped by a cell membrane. They can penetrate all tissues.
It cannot be ruled out that it is safe to use these additives. It’s just never been investigated.

It should be a simple task to make a study with each of these ingredients against a real placebo such as brine.
We have many excellent vaccines, so let’s not be vaccine deniers. Let’s welcome a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when it arrives, and then just hope it is properly safety tested. Of course, this hope becomes a requirement if we are to be mandatory vaccinated.

Of course, the Coronavirus will return
When and how bad we do not know, but it will come.
As mentioned in the Vitamin C newsletter, one of Europe’s experts in Covid-19, Professor Christian Drosten from the University of Berlin, has stated that the second wave could be tougher than the current one.
And since more than 98% of the Danish population is without immunity against it, we should not sit with our hands in our laps and wait for a vaccine.

We need to be proactive.
We need to make sure that we have enough of the nutrients that can reduce the risk of our getting sick, and especially the nutrients that can dampen the cytokine storms, so that we get a mild course of illness if we get sick anyway.

Especially old people and people who eat only very little, who may also be weakened by chronic disease, will do well by supplementing the diet in order to be well equipped with an optimally functioning immune system as the next virus threat approaches.

An appropriate daily dose for a normal-weight adult will typically be:

  • Vitamin A: 1-2 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 4-5 mg
  • Vitamin C: 2-3,000 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 75-100 µg
  • Selenium: 100-200 µg
  • Zinc: 20-30 mg
  • Magnesium: 200-300 mg

Note: The low dose is for those weighing less than 70 kg (155 pounds / 11 stones).

If you start now, you will be prepared in the fall. This is an obvious strategy for the country’s nursing homes.

This is the fifth and final Covid-19 newsletter.

Unfortunately, the five newsletters are necessary as this knowledge and scientific back-up are neglected in the public counseling of the population.

Take care of yourself and others,

Claus Hancke, MD,
Specialist in general medicine


  • McGonagle D et al. (2020) Immune mechanisms of pulmonary intravascular coagulopathy in COVID-19 pneumonia. Lancet May 7, 2020:1-9
  • Zhang Y, Leung D, Richers B, et al. (2012) Vitamin D Inhibits Monocyte/Macrophage Proinflammatory Cytokine Production by Targeting MAPK Phosphatase-1. Journal of Immunology. 2012;188(5):2127-2135.
  • Alberto Boretti, Bimal Krishna Banik (2020) Intravenous vitamin C for reduction of cytokines storm in acute respiratory distress syndrome PharmaNutrition.
    2020 Jun;12:100190. Published online 2020 Apr 21.
  • Sharma M, Anderson A et al.(2009) Induction of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines by respiratory viruses and reversal by standardized Echinacea, a potent antiviral herbal extract. Antiviral Research, 2009;83(2):165-170.
  • Cannell JJ, Zasloff M, Garland CF et al. (2008) On the epidemiology of influenza.
    Virol J. 2008;5:29.
  • Gorton HC, Jarvis K (1999) The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. J Manip Physiol Ther, 22:8, 530-533
  • Hemilä H (2003) Vitamin C and SARS coronavirus Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Volume 52, Issue 6, December 2003, Pages 1049–1050
  • WHO Global advisory committee on vaccine safety 2020 (ikke ændret siden 2006).

Healthy and Safe

October 25, 2007

There are over 480,000 published peer-reviewed research studies on food supplements or ingredients used in food supplements, and the vast majority of these show positive effects. There are only a small handful of studies that have shown negative effects, these generally being associated with high doses or synthetic forms of ingredients like vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin E.

In the case of vitamin A, there is no doubt that high doses of this fat soluble vitamin can be harmful and an upper safe level or maximum permitted level for this vitamin makes perfect sense.

There are three key studies showing negative effects of beta-carotene on diseased or high-risk patients, but these have all used synthetic beta-carotene, in the absence of natural carotenoid complexes found in natural carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables which have been found to be potent cancer-fighting nutrients. Ironically, these natural ‘mixed carotenoids’ are disallowed by the Food Supplements Directive.

Finally, there are four key negative studies on vitamin E, all of them conducted with synthetic vitamin E, which comprises only one of the eight vitamin E forms found in nature, but in its esterified form. This form, alpha-tocopherol, the only vitamin E form allowed by the Directive, actually reduces the body’s absorption of gamma-tocopherol which is the key antioxidant form of vitamin E found in food sources.

By: Robert Verkerk, The Alliance for Natural Health, United Kingdom

Vitamin E or false product description

November 12, 2004

Calculations on the basis of old studies leads to claim of increased mortality by antioxidants and vitamin E, but is in reality based on studies with beta-carotene.

Recently, researchers published a study on beta-carotene, but called it antioxidants. Now there is a new study of beta carotene, but this time it is called vitamin E. Both studies are so-called meta-analyzes, ie. calculations of previous research.

The two studies claim to show that respectively antioxidants and vitamin E increase mortality, but they are both based on the results of old beta-carotene tests. Since 1994, it has been known that beta-carotene can cause cancer and increase mortality in at least male smokers.

The latest meta-analysis originates from Johns Hopkins University in the USA. Here, the mortality rate in a total of 19 old treatment trials with vitamin E was investigated. Apparently, doses above 400 units per day slightly increased mortality, although it was decreased in the trial where the dose was the highest (2,000 units/day). There were 11 trials where more than 400 units were used per day. At a lower dose, there was a tendency for decreased mortality.

However, of the 11 trials, the so-called Heart Protection Study (HPS) from the year 2000 is by far the largest. In fact, so large that it completely dominates the calculation. In HPS, almost twice as many died as in all the other 10 trials combined – and more than four times as many as in the other trials with increased mortality. The problem with this is that in HPS, in addition to vitamin E, the treatment consisted of vitamin C and beta-carotene!

Of course, one cannot comment on the risk of vitamin E based on an experiment in which both vitamin E and C and beta-carotene were used. You can only comment on vitamin E and C and beta-carotene!

Also, in the trial in question (HPS), synthetic vitamin E was used. It consists of eight different chemical compounds, only one of which is found in nature. That makes it even more difficult to comment on vitamin E, which most people buy in its natural form.

There are many other objections to the new meta-analysis. If you e.g. arrange the numbers just a little differently, but still fairly, the excess mortality disappears entirely. That happens if you ignore the misleading HPS study and include trials using over 300 units instead of just over 400. That would be entirely plausible.

This and much else may be why several independent statisticians told the New York Times that they did not believe the conclusion.

One can debate whether there is a real need for these sometimes arbitrary concoctions of old experiments, which easily lead to misinterpretations. Far greater is the need for large-scale investigations into whether, for example, a combination of natural vitamin E and C prevents atherosclerosis in people who are not overwhelmingly atherosclerosis already. This is where one can expect an effect, but these experiments have not been carried out.

Sales of vitamin E are increasing in the United States, where many doctors in particular take it. The combination of vitamin E and C can be seen i.a. as a competitor to the tremendous expensive, but almost ineffective, prescription drugs for Alzheimer’s. According to a report earlier this year – also from Johns Hopkins – users of both of these vitamins have approx. 80% reduced risk of getting Alzheimer’s – compared to those who get only one of them or none at all.

Most recently, the Nobel laureate Louis Ignarro, based on his own experiments, strongly recommended the same combination as prevention against atherosclerosis.

By: Vitality Council


1) Metaanalysis: High-dosage vitamin E supplementation may increase all-cause mortality. Ann Int Med 2004;142.
2) Bjelakowic G, Nikolova D, Simonetti R G, Gluud C. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of gastrointestinal cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet 2004;364:1219-28.
3) Ignarro L J et al. “Long Term Beneficial Effects of Physical Training and Metabolic Treatment on Atherosclerosis in Hypercholesterolemic Mice. PNAS 2004 (May 24).
4) Zandi PP et al. Reduced risk of Alzheimer disaease in users of antioxidant vitamin supplements. Arch Neurol 2004;61:82-88.
5) Gina Kolata: Large Doses of Vitamin E May Be Harmful. New York Times 11.11.04.

A Dangerous Cocktail

October 3, 2004

Politicizing researchers and lazy journalists are a dangerous cocktail.
It is very disgraceful that the Danish Radio’s TV news presented such a one-sided story about antioxidants, as happened at 6:30 p.m. yesterday, where it declared without any reservation that 9 people out of 1,000 taking antioxidants will die from them!

Just the day before, the Danish (state owned) Radio / Television received a press release from the Vitality Council, which was criticizing the story and emphasized that possible harmful effects can only be caused by taking beta-carotene in large (therapeutic) dosages.

This old news can in no way be used to generalize about other antioxidants. The postulated general overmortality refers to two studies, in which beta-carotene was used in such great amounts that the test persons became yellow.

The Vitality Council also emphasized in its press release that according to the Lancet study, selenium, a potent antioxidant, is able to halve the risk of several kinds of cancer. This result was not at all mentioned in the TV news.

Furthermore, even the official comment in The Lancet dissociated from that which was the only extract on TV from the study: The postulated overmortality. The Lancet comment is written by two statisticians, who are seriously criticizing the statistical preparation of the material, and they state that the conclusion about overmortality is not convincing.

Another critical point out of many is that the Cochrane group removed a study on selenium, which it had announced as being a ”high quality” study, before the calculation on average.

The reason given for removing the study was that it would be given more weight in the random-effects model than in the fixed-effect meta-analysis. The removed high-quality study showed that selenium clearly reduced mortality!

It is not very good science to ignore figures that you do not like.

The TV news journalists have been hunting for some sort of scandal and one-sidedly accepted the very dramatic statements of Christian Gluud, M.D., which went much further than what the study material could ever support.

The Lancet has saved its skin by its serious comment, but the writers have cast a bad shadow over the Cochrane institution.

By: Vitality Council

1. TVA 2.nd October 2004, 6:30.
2. Press release from Vitality Council October 2004.
3. Goran Bjelakovic, Dimitrinka Nikolova, Rosa G Simonetti, Christian Gluud, Antioxidant supplements for prevention of gastrointestinal cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Lancet 2004;364:1219-28.

Antioxidants Prevent Lung Cancer After All

August 4, 2004

Smokers taking a wide range of antioxidants through their diet, reduce their risk of getting lung cancer. This is demonstrated by a follow up study from a world famous research study (ATBC). The ATBC study has been the source of the opposite interpretation for ten years.

The startling result is sourced from the so called ATBC-study, a Finnish study from 1994, which demonstrated that the risk for male smokers getting lung cancer did not decrease, but increased, when they were given large dosages of betacarotene – the yellow colouring substance in carrots.

The ATBC study was a shock for researchers all over the world, who on the basis of numerous animal studies were convinced that antioxidants prevent cancer. Since then the ATBC study has been the standing argument for recurrent warnings against antioxidants on TV etc.

In the new study, staticians from the prestigious American Yale University together with Finnish colleages looked through 1,787 cases of lung cancer, approximately the amount of the 27,000 male heavy smokers in the ATBC group, who got lung cancer during the 14 years.

In the new study, measurements were taken not just for one single antioxidant, but for the total intake of the antioxidants selenium, Vitamin E, Vitamin C as well as coloured parts in plants, the so called carotenoids and flavonoids. The most updated inclusive index was calculated in advance stating the total antioxidant intake with just one figure.

It turned out that the fifth of the smokers, who had the highest index statisticly seen through their diet, had a 16% less risk of lung cancer! Smokers who ate large amounts of meat had a 25% decrease, despite of red meat having a high oxidative effect! This supports the fact that it was the antioxidative effect that made the difference.

It is not the first time such results are seen, but they are of great importance, because they are sourced from the same ATBC study, which has been one of the most outspoken arguments to warn against antioxidants. Two other larger studies has found the risk of lung cancer decreased up to as much as 32% and 68%.

The researchers emphasize in a commentary, that when the original study was a disappointment, the explanation may lie in the fact that smokers did not get a combination of vitamins etc., but were given betacarotene alone. They recommend smokers to always take a wide selection of antioxidants as a protection against cancer.

By: Vitality Council

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3. Michaud DS et al. Intake of specific carotenoids and risk of lung cancer in 2 prospective US cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:990-7.

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January 1999

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Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., Michael T. Murrey & Melvyn R. Werbach.