Two-Thirds Of COVID Vaccine Side-Effects Are Not Caused By The Jab

A dummy COVID vaccine injection caused side-effects such as headache, fatigue, and fever in 35 percent of participants.

A dummy COVID vaccine injection caused side-effects such as headache, fatigue, and fever in 35 percent of participants.

Two-thirds of the COVID vaccine side-effects are not caused by the jab itself, a study estimates.

Indeed, one-third of participants who were given a dummy injection not containing the COVID vaccine also reported one or more side-effects.

The most common adverse effects were fatigue and headache in the dummy vaccine group.

The explanation for this is related to the placebo and nocebo effect.

Placebo and nocebo

Some people experience physical or mental health improvements after taking a ‘dummy’ treatment, a phenomenon known as the placebo effect.

A placebo or dummy treatment is a substance such as sugar pill or a saline syringe that has no therapeutic effect but is prescribed as a real medicine to subjects.

There is another phenomenon called the “nocebo effect” which occurs when a person experiences an adverse reaction after taking a non-pharmacological drug.

For example, after taking a sugar pill feeling nauseous, or a syringe of saline causing fatigue.

The genetic, psychological, or biological reasons for positive or adverse effects from a dummy treatment are not clear.

However, some influential factors such as patients’ faith in their physician and expectations (when one expects something to have an effect then it does) could make patients feel better or experience less side-effects.

Dummy injections of COVID vaccine

A study compared the adverse event rates in participants who received a COVID vaccine with those who received a dummy injection containing no vaccine.

Dr Julia Haas, the study’s first author, said:

“Adverse events after placebo treatment are common in randomized controlled trials.

Collecting systematic evidence regarding these nocebo responses in vaccine trials is important for COVID-19 vaccination worldwide, especially because concern about side effects is reported to be a reason for vaccine hesitancy.”

The findings are based on 12 clinical trials of COVID vaccines which included 22,802 vaccine recipients and 22,578 participants who received a dummy injection (placebo group).

The common side-effects in the placebo group were headache, fatigue, and fever which were reported by 35 percent of participants after the first injection.

The other side-effects were pain, swelling or redness at the injection site which were reported by 16 percent of placebo recipients.

More than 46 percent of those who received the first dose of vaccine experienced some adverse reactions.

Interestingly, one or more of their adverse effects were most likely to be nocebo responses.

The study suggests that the nocebo effect accounted for 76 percent of adverse reactions after the first dose of vaccine and 52 percent after the second dose.

Professor Ted Kaptchuk, study co-author, said:

“Nonspecific symptoms like headache and fatigue—which we have shown to be particularly nocebo sensitive—are listed among the most common adverse reactions following COVID-19 vaccination in many information leaflets.

Evidence suggests that this sort of information may cause people to misattribute common daily background sensations as arising from the vaccine or cause anxiety and worry that make people hyper alert to bodily feelings about adverse events.”

He added:

“Medicine is based on trust.

Our findings lead us to suggest that informing the public about the potential for nocebo responses could help reduce worries about COVID-19 vaccination, which might decrease vaccination hesitancy.”

The study was published in JAMA Network Open (Haas et al., 2022).

The Vitamin That Reduces COVID Risk

The vitamin plays a double role in relation to the novel COVID-19 virus.

The vitamin plays a double role in relation to the novel COVID-19 virus.

Vitamin D may help to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

Vitamin D plays two different roles; one in boosting the innate immune systems and the second in stopping the immune system from becoming abnormally active, a study suggest.

The innate immune systems are immediate and nonspecific defence responses that our body produces to fight against any pathogen, such as the coronavirus.

The worldwide data from the coronavirus pandemic shows a strong relationship between death rates and vitamin D deficiency.

Researchers analysed data from different hospitals across the U.S, France, Iran, Italy, China, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, and the UK.

They found that COVID-19 patients in countries like Spain, the UK, and Italy with highest numbers of death were vitamin D deficient in contrast to countries with lower death rates.

However, people should be cautious about taking vitamin D supplements if they don’t know if they are deficient.

Professor Vadim Backman, the study’s lead author, said:

“While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don’t need to push vitamin D on everybody.

This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area.

The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets.”

Many consider that age distributions, healthcare quality, testing rates, and different strains of COVID-19 could be the reasons for the higher death rates in some countries.

But Professor Backman and his team were unconvinced:

“None of these factors appears to play a significant role.

The healthcare system in northern Italy is one of the best in the world.

Differences in mortality exist even if one looks across the same age group.

And, while the restrictions on testing do indeed vary, the disparities in mortality still exist even when we looked at countries or populations for which similar testing rates apply.

Instead, we saw a significant correlation with vitamin D deficiency.”

They found a strong link between cytokine storm and vitamin D levels.

Cytokine storm syndromes (CSS) is an overreaction of the immune system which can be deadly, as seen in COVID-19 patients.

They also noticed a link between vitamin D deficiency and fatality.

Dr Ali Daneshkhah, the study’s first author, said:

“Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients.

This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself.

It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.”

Vitamin D not only increases the innate immune responses but also calms the immune system down.

This is why the correct amounts of vitamin D in patients could save them from death and also serious complications from COVID-19 disease.

Professor Backman said:

“Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half.

It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

This might explain why children are at lower risk as the adaptive immune system has not fully developed in them.

The adaptive or acquired immune systems are the second line of bodily defence which usually reacts too strongly.

Professor Backman said:

“Children primarily rely on their innate immune system.

This may explain why their mortality rate is lower.”

However, an effective dosage of vitamin D supplementation to support patients against possible complications from COVID-19 has not been established yet.

Professor Backman said:

“It is hard to say which dose is most beneficial for COVID-19.

However, it is clear that vitamin D deficiency is harmful, and it can be easily addressed with appropriate supplementation.

This might be another key to helping protect vulnerable populations, such as African-American and elderly patients, who have a prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.”

The study was published in the journal MEDRXIV (Daneshkhah et al., 2020).

You Can Reduce COVID Risk By Avoiding This Emotion (M)

Coping activities that increase the sense of control, coherence and connectedness are key to dealing with COVID stress.

Coping activities that increase the sense of control, coherence and connectedness are key to dealing with COVID stress.

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This Common Drug Halves COVID Death Risk For Some

One billion adults with this condition are at twice the risk of dying from COVID-19.

One billion adults with this condition are at twice the risk of dying from COVID-19.

Blood pressure drugs can halve the risk of a severe COVID infection for those with hypertension, new research finds.

More than one billion of the world’s population have high blood pressure, a leading cause of premature death.

The coronavirus pandemic has a greater impact on some people’s health and individuals with high blood pressure are amongst them.

Researchers have now found that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is doubled for a person who has hypertension.

The risk of death from COVID-19 is even higher for those who are not taking a blood pressure medication for their condition.

Data were collected from 2,866 COVID-19 patients, 30 percent of whom had a medical history of hypertension.

The study found that hypertensive patients with coronavirus had double the risk of dying compared to patients without high blood pressure.

The coronavirus death rate for those with the condition but not taking any hypertension drug was doubled compared to those who were taking a blood pressure medicine.

Furthermore, the research team analysed this information with more data from 2,300 patients in three different studies.

They investigated the coronavirus death rates in hypertensive patients who were on blood pressure treatment drugs aiming the hormone renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS).

RAAS contains three hormones, aldosterone, renin, and angiotensin II, which are all involved in regulating the body’s blood pressure and electrolyte and fluid balance.

The study looked into the effect of drugs such as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and non-RAAS inhibiting drugs including calcium channel blockers (CCBs), diuretics, and beta blockers.

The team noticed that those patients who were on RAAS inhibitors were less likely to die of the coronavirus infection compared to those who were taking other antihypertensive drugs.

Professors Fei Li, study co-author, said:

“It is important that patients with high blood pressure realise that they are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19.

They should take good care of themselves during this pandemic and they need more attention if they are infected with the coronavirus.

In addition, there were 140 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 who had discontinued their anti-hypertensive treatment due to various reasons.

We found that this was associated with a greater risk of dying from the coronavirus.

In contrast to our initial hypothesis, we found that RAAS inhibitors, such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, were not linked to an increased risk of dying from COVID-19 and, in fact, may be protective.

Therefore, we suggest that patients should not discontinue or change their usual antihypertensive treatment unless instructed by a physician.”

A study by Khera et al., also suggests that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors could lower the risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The study was published in the European Heart Journal (Gao et al., 2020).

People With Omicron Spread COVID Much More Easily – Even Symptom-Free

A major factor behind the Omicron variant’s rapid and widespread circulation even in vaccinated people.

A major factor behind the Omicron variant’s rapid and widespread circulation even in vaccinated people.

Omicron appears to have a much higher asymptomatic carriage rate than earlier COVID-19 strains, studies suggest.

This may explain why Omicron spreads so rapidly across populations causing higher rates of infection relative to other coronavirus variants.

Asymptomatic carriage is when infected individuals with COVID show no symptoms but pass the disease along.

The increased Omicron asymptomatic carrier rate has led to far greater numbers of coronavirus cases even in the vaccinated.

A South African study has found that asymptomatic carriage during Beta and Delta outbreaks was 2.6 percent while this rose to 16 percent for Omicron, suggesting a 7 times higher infection rate.

Dr Lawrence Corey, the study’s senior author, said:

“As we witness the quick, global spread of omicron, it is clear that we urgently need a better understanding of the transmission dynamics of this variant.

Since so many people may be asymptomatic, we can’t always know who is carrying the virus, but we do know what we can do to protect ourselves and to help prevent further spread: Wear a mask; wash your hands; avoid large, indoor gatherings; and get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Researchers from Hong Kong University found that the Omicron reproduction rate in the human lung was 10 times slower than the Delta variant, while 70 times faster than Delta in the bronchus.

The study has not been published yet but their findings indicate that Omicron is spreading faster but causes less severe disease than Delta.

However, Dr Michael Chan Chi-wai, the study’s lead author, cautioned:

“By infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic.

Given its ability to partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infection, the overall threat from the omicron variant is likely to be very significant.”

The study was published in Medrxiv (Garrett et al., 2021).

The Vitamin Deficiency Linked To COVID-19 Deaths

Low levels of this nutrient linked to high COVID-19 death rates found in 20 countries.

Low levels of this nutrient linked to high COVID-19 death rates found in 20 countries.

A large number of COVID-19 cases and high death rates could be related to vitamin D deficiency, a study has found.

Past studies have suggested that low status of vitamin D increases the likelihood of respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin D is crucial for immediate immune response through adjusting white blood cell reaction and reducing their production of cytokines.

Inflammatory cytokines are signalling molecules secreted from immune cells to promote inflammation.

An overload of cytokines would make a disease worse, as it is pro-inflammatory.

The COVID-19 virus triggers the body’s defence system, resulting in an extreme production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Researchers tracked data across 20 countries in Europe and found that vitamin D can help prevent coronavirus disease and death.

Older people are at the most risk of COVID-19 infection and the study shows that this age group across countries such as Italy, Switzerland, and Spain are seriously deficient in vitamin D.

Low levels of vitamin D in southern Europe seems to be related to factors such as avoiding strong sun and preferring the shade, and skin pigmentation, which reduces the synthesis of natural vitamin D.

Conversely, vitamin D levels are higher in Northern Europe as a result of vitamin D supplements, cod liver oil intake, vitamin D fortification of milk and dairy products in countries like Sweden and Finland, and less avoiding of the sun.

These may be a factor in Scandinavians being among the countries with the least cases of coronavirus and lowest death rates per capita.

Dr Lee Smith, study lead author, said:

“We found a significant crude relationship between average vitamin D levels and the number COVID-19 cases, and particularly COVID-19 mortality rates, per head of population across the 20 European countries.

Vitamin D has been shown to protect against acute respiratory infections, and older adults, the group most deficient in vitamin D, are also the ones most seriously affected by COVID-19.

A previous study found that 75% of people in institutions, such as hospitals and care homes, were severely deficient in vitamin D.

We suggest it would be advisable to perform dedicated studies looking at vitamin D levels in COVID-19 patients with different degrees of disease severity.”

The study was published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (Ilie et al., 2020).

COVID: The Vitamin That Reduces COVID-19 Risk By 50%

A sufficient level of this vitamin could halve the risk of catching coronavirus and protect COVID-19 patients from the worst of the disease.

A sufficient level of this vitamin could halve the risk of catching coronavirus and protect COVID-19 patients from the worst of the disease.

Vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection and the severity of the disease, if it is caught, research finds.

Professor Michael Holick, study co-author, said:

“Because vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is so widespread in children and adults in the United States and worldwide, especially in the winter months, it is prudent for everyone to take a vitamin D supplement to reduce risk of being infected and having complications from COVID-19.”

A blood level of 30 nanogram per millilitre of vitamin D has been shown to protect patients with COVID-19 against complications and death, as well as reducing the risk of getting ill by a large amount.

According to a study, COVID-19 patients with adequate levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are less likely to have severe clinical problems from the illness.

These outcomes include hypoxia — poor oxygen supply to the body — being unconscious, and death.

25-hydroxyvitamin D is produced in the liver and it is a major form of vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.

Also, patients with a sufficient amount of vitamin D have higher levels of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell which fights infection, and their blood shows a lower level of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory indicator.

Professor Holick said:

“This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release of too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from COVID-19.”

The study examined 235 hospitalized coronavirus patients to see if serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels can change the severe clinical outcomes from the disease.

Vitamin D status, numbers of lymphocytes, and C-reactive protein were analysed from patient’s blood samples.

The patients were also checked for severity of the infection, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness and hypoxia.

The analysis showed that patients with a blood level of at least 30 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had a 52 percent higher chance of surviving the infection than those with lower levels of vitamin D.

Professor Holick, in a recent study, revealed that an adequate amount of vitamin D can lower the odds of becoming infected with COVID-19 by 54 percent.

Vitamin D sufficiency helps to overcome the coronavirus disease and other types of upper respiratory infections such as influenza.

Professor Holick pointed out:

“There is great concern that the combination of an influenza infection and a coronal viral infection could substantially increase hospitalizations and death due to complications from these viral infections.”

Vitamin D is a cheap but effective way to boost people’s immune system against the virus and can decrease health-related issues such as needing ventilatory support and immune system overactivity resulting in cytokine storm.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE  (Maghbooli et al., 2020).

COVID: Higher Levels Of These Vitamins And Minerals Can Reduce Infection Risk

The nutrients and doses that could be effective at reducing coronavirus risk.

The nutrients and doses that could be effective at reducing coronavirus risk.

Some vitamins and other micronutrients in higher dosages than the recommended dietary guidelines are more effective and safe in warding off common respiratory tract infections as well as COVID-19, experts suggest.

Dietary supplements containing certain vitamins, minerals, and essentials fatty acids are important for a healthy immune system.

Among these nutrients docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc are crucial for our immune system:

  • Exposure to the sun is the main source of vitamin D,
  • citrus fruits such as oranges are rich in vitamin C,
  • red meat, nuts and seeds are good sources of zinc,
  • and oily fishes are rich sources of DHA.

Professor Adrian Gombart, the study’s senior author, said:

“The roles that vitamins C and D play in immunity are particularly well known.

Vitamin C has roles in several aspects of immunity, including the growth and function of immune cells and antibody production.

Vitamin D receptors on immune cells also affect their function.

This means that vitamin D profoundly influences your response to infections.

The problem is that people simply aren’t eating enough of these nutrients.

This could destroy your resistance to infections.

Consequently, we will see an increase in disease and all of the extra burdens that go along with that increase.”

Researchers argue that taking a daily multivitamin supplement is not good enough.

To see their beneficial health effect we need to take the correct amounts of these micronutrients.

For instance, the current national dietary guidelines for vitamin C is 50 milligrams (mg) for women and 75 mg for men but that needs to be corrected to a dosage of 200 mg or even higher.

The Federal recommendation for vitamin D intake, depending on age, is from 400 to 800 international units, but vitamin D dosage should be 2,000 international units.

Professor Gombart said:

“Around the world, acute respiratory tract infections kill more than 2.5 million people every year.

Meanwhile, there’s a wealth of data that shows the role that good nutrition plays in supporting the immune system.

As a society we need to be doing a better job of getting that message across along with the other important, more common messages.”

Professor Gombart notes that the potential damage is very high.

Around the world, influenza alone causes millions of people to be hospitalized and several hundred thousand to be killed each year.

Professor Gombart said:

“A number of standard public health practices have been developed to help limit the spread and impact of respiratory viruses: regular hand washing, avoiding those showing symptoms of infection, and covering coughs.

And for certain viruses like influenza, there are annual vaccination campaigns.”

We all hope an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 will be available soon, but a vaccine alone is not the complete answer to infections.

The impact of nutrition on the immune system should be part of public health strategies as this can reduce the infection rates and save many lives.

Professor Gombart concluded:

“The present situation with COVID-19 and the number of people dying from other respiratory infections make it clear that we are not doing enough.

We strongly encourage public health officials to include nutritional strategies in their arsenal.”

The study was published in the journal of Nutrients (Calder et al., 2020).

How To Boost Your Immune Response To The COVID Vaccine

Changing thoughts and behaviours increases vaccine effectiveness and duration of immunity.

Changing thoughts and behaviours increases vaccine effectiveness and duration of immunity.

Simple steps like getting enough exercise and sleep will boost the immune system and increase the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

That is because reducing levels of depression, stress and loneliness strengthens the body’s immune system.

A stronger immune system will, in turn, help trigger a stronger response to the COVID vaccine.

The researchers suggests that even doing some exercise and getting a good night’s sleep the day before receiving the vaccine helps ensure the body’s immune system is in the best shape possible.

A strong immune system also helps reduce the risk of side-effects from the vaccine.

Ms Annelise Madison, the study’s first author, said:

“In addition to the physical toll of COVID-19, the pandemic has an equally troubling mental health component, causing anxiety and depression, among many other related problems.

Emotional stressors like these can affect a person’s immune system, impairing their ability to ward off infections.

Our new study sheds light on vaccine efficacy and how health behaviors and emotional stressors can alter the body’s ability to develop an immune response.

The trouble is that the pandemic in and of itself could be amplifying these risk factors.”

The researchers reviewed 30 years of studies finding that psychological factors have a profound effect on immune system response.

Poor health, stress, depression and loneliness can all impair vaccine response.

However, there are many different methods to fight poor mental health and boost immune response.

For example, habitual moderate to vigorous intensity workouts can boost the immune system.

Even loneliness can be tackled to boost the immune system, despite lockdowns.

Ms Madison said:

“Prior research suggests that psychological and behavioral interventions can improve vaccine responsiveness.

Even shorter-term interventions can be effective.

Therefore, now is the time to identify those at risk for a poor immune response and intervene on these risk factors.”

Vaccines work by challenging the immune system.

The body’s cells recognise a potential threat and start to work against it — eventually producing antibodies.

Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, study co-author, said:

“In our research, we focus most heavily on the antibody response, though it is just one facet of the adaptive immune system’s response.”

Changing patterns of thought and behaviour can help to increase vaccine effectiveness and increase the duration of immunity.

The study was published in the journal Perspectives In Psychological Science (Madison et al., 2021).

Omicron Symptoms Now Include Loss Of Appetite – Replacing Cough And Loss Of Senses

The sign of the new Omicron variant which can appear when eating.

The sign of the new Omicron variant which can appear when eating.

One surprising symptom of the Omicron variant of COVID is a loss of appetite.

Although this is not one of the main symptoms that people are reporting, it is still present on the list.

The symptoms of Omicron are different to those of the Delta variant of COVID.

For example, only 50 percent of people are reporting experiencing three of the most common symptoms of delta:

  • loss of sense of smell or taste,
  • fever,
  • cough.

Instead, people with Omicron are most often reporting these five symptoms:

  • sore throat,
  • headache,
  • fatigue,
  • runny nose,
  • and sneezing.

Some people are also reporting a ‘brain fog’.

This refers to feeling a sense of forgetfulness, confusion and lack of mental clarity.

The insight into the symptoms of the Omicron variant of COVID comes from the UK-based ZOE COVID study.

The study has been monitoring the effects of the new Omicron variant.

These have been compared with the symptoms reported by people when the Delta variant was at its peak.

Telling a cold from COVID

There is certainly understandable confusion between the different variants and the common cold, which is also rampant at this time of year.

For example, previously a runny or stuffy nose was a common symptom of a cold, but not of COVID (the Delta variant).

However, now people are reporting a runny or stuffy nose as a common symptom of Omicron.

Similarly, sneezing was relatively rare with Delta, but is now being reported much more frequently in connection with Omicron.

Previously, a fever was a strong sign that what you had was COVID, perhaps one of the strongest.

Now, though, people with Omicron are not reporting a fever.

How serious is Omicron?

So far the data suggests that the Omicron variant of COVID, while spreading quicker, is milder than Delta.

The proportion of people being hospitalised with the disease in many countries is lower than with Delta.

While it is possible that Omicron is milder, it is also true that many people around the world have built up natural immunity due to infection and vaccination.

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