What happens if you already experience any chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivities, POTS, or other kinds of chronic illness, like irritable bowel syndrome? Are you at greater risk of getting the illness? Are you at greater risk of having complications, or even death?
We know that people with these conditions have compromised immune systems, because of the overstimulation of the immune system. So, the NK cells, what we call the natural killer cells, that fight off pathogens, we know that their cytotoxicity, their ability to fight off pathogens, is compromised. We know that there's a lot of sympathetic nervous system activity in patients with these conditions. So, an overactive stress system, which can cause what we call TH2 dominance.
In our immune system, we have TH1 dominance, and TH2 dominance. TH1 is when we're fighting off physical pathogens, and TH2 is a general inflammation when we're fighting off infections. That general inflammation is often active in these patients. That can mean that yes, our immune system may be compromised in its ability to handle the COVID-19 virus. And I say could, because there's no objective evidence yet.
Then, of course, many people with these conditions experience sleep deprivation. And we know that sleep deprivation can compromise the effectiveness of the immune system.
In terms of exercise, many patients aren't having the chance right now to exercise, because of post-exertional malaise. So, that can impact on the immune system. There are various other symptoms that people have, which could be a risk factor.
Now, the good news is, certainly when I've networked with many of my colleagues in the ME and chronic fatigue syndrome area, also reading the research studies, as yet we have no evidence that people with those chronic conditions have a higher chance of getting the infection, or a higher chance, indeed, of having complications.
So, there's no evidence, as yet. This is also backed up by the fact that certainly amongst our patient cohorts, we don't necessarily find that more people are contracting severe flu, or passing away from severe flu, as a result of having these illnesses. And certainly, there's no record of that. I think it would have been picked up by various doctors, if that had been the case. Now, why could that be?
Although the immune system is compromised in any CFS and fibromyalgia, at the same time, as we've said, that immune system may be overactive. So, one hypothesis is, that as a result of this overactive immune system, we're already primed and ready to recognize those pathogens circulating in the body. There's already, perhaps, more of these cells circulating. It's a mixed bag. There are certain aspects of the immune system which are overstimulated, and overactive, but there are also certain aspects of the immune system which are compromised.
Secondly, we know that patients with these conditions have often quite a number of opportunistic infections, in the blood and in the body. Therefore, we know that there is evidence of ongoing infection, and evidence that these are being successfully fought off.
I think that the jury is out as to whether patients with these chronic conditions have a higher chance of complications. But what I would like you to do is really take those precautions. Prioritize the precautions that you need to take. That is, making sure that you're isolating, and away from potential dangers, as much as possible. Having home deliveries, instead of going out. Making sure that if you do go out, that you wear a face mask in public, indoor areas. And handwashing, and all the things that we already know, that I don't need to cover here. But please do take those precautions, as much as possible, to prevent your exposure to that. Once again, if you do that, we know that your chances of being infected are very, very low, if you successfully, personally, self isolate.
Secondly, I'd love for you to boost your immune system as much as possible. As many of you know, we have something called The Coronavirus Challenge, which is a 10-day challenge to boost your immune system, using the latest science, and the latest research, that we've done here at the clinic. Based on our 20 years of research, in fact. We're getting some fantastic reviews, in terms of people's experiences of going through that.
You can take the Coronavirus Challenge at www.thecoronaviruschallenge.com. Once you sign up, it's completely free and not-for-profit, you'll find videos on our MEND protocol. M stands for the mind. E stands for energizing the body, and exercise. N stand for nighttime routine, sleep. D stands for diet. Those are the four main components, our four main lifestyle components, that determine our chances of getting a virus, our chances of cancer, or heart disease, is all encoded within those four aspects. The MEND protocol. M-E-N-D.
So, when we're looking at the mind, we know that, actually, people who meditate can halve their chances of getting a virus. That's how powerful meditation is. And we also know that if they do get a virus, they can once again, halve the number of days with that virus. So, people are touting the benefits of these various antiviral drugs like remdesivir, and all these other things. Whereas actually, we already know that regular meditation has no obvious side effects, generally, in the population. And yet, it also can reduce, if not halve, the number of days that we have a chronic virus, well certainly flus and colds.
Ashok Gupta is the Director of the Gupta Program. He has dedicated his life to helping people get their life back from Chronic Illness, improving people’s well-being, and helping them achieve their potential. He has been teaching meditation around the world for over 15 years. He runs a global e-clinic specializing in treating ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia & Multiple Chemical Sensitivities – guptaprogram.com
Ashok has spent many years researching the brain neurology of emotion and linking well-being tools with science. He has published medical papers on the basis of stress-related illnesses. He has appeared in many media as an expert on stress on the BBC, CNN, Guardian Newspaper, ITV, The Independent, and many others.
He wrote and presented the Meaning of Life Experiment which is a Free, Award-winning Meditation and Self-Development App www.themeaningoflife.tv
He also works with companies around the world, teaching courses in Leadership, Time Management, and Personal Development. www.ashokgupta.tv