Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER      

The Current Coronavirus Pandemic – Updated

The World Health Organization (WHO) gave the new coronavirus the name "COVID-19" on February 11, 2020, and declared it a pandemic on March 10, 2020. COVID-19 is not more severe than many flu viruses. However, it is incredibly contagious.

Latest Advice on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Federal guidelines now require most Americans to avoid non-essential travel, non-essential work, eating at bars and restaurants, and gathering in groups of more than 10, at least through April 30, 2020. Many states and local governments have stricter directives that take precedence over the federal guidelines.

Statins and Alternatives to Lower Cholesterol

Having high cholesterol increases risk for a heart attack, but a review of 49 studies showed that the reduced risk for suffering a heart attack is the same for statins as it is for dietary changes.

A First Vaccine for COVID-19

Oxford University in England has developed a vaccine and will start trials on more than 6,000 people on Thursday, April 30, 2020, to see if their new vaccine is safe and effective.

Resting Heart Rates Can Be Too High or Too Low

A resting heart rate greater than 80 beats per minute is a strong predictor for future heart attacks, diabetes and even cancer. From 1974 to 2002, 53,322 healthy people were followed at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas. Those with a resting heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute were far less likely to suffer heart attacks or to die than those with a resting heart rate greater than 80 beats per minute

Protecting Yourself from COVID-19

As businesses and activities are re-opening, many people have decided to relax their precautions to avoid infection with COVID-19. If you are a person who is at high risk for complications from this virus, I believe that you should continue to be on guard.

The Search for Drugs to Treat COVID-19

Today there are no drugs that have been proven to treat the coronavirus, COVID-19, but a study from China showed that the inexpensive anti-malarial drug, Chloroquine phosphate, was safe and effective in shortening the course and decreasing symptoms in patients suffering from COVID-19 pneumonia.

Sunlight: More than Vitamin D

For many years I have offered my opinion that sunlight provides benefits that are not gained just from taking vitamin D pills. Recent research is confirming that opinion, and many scientists now believe that low vitamin D blood levels are only a marker for not getting enough sunlight.

How Would I Treat Myself If I Got COVID-19?

If I had COVID-19 and was not very sick, I do not know if I would take anything. Today there are no drugs or treatments proven to prevent or cure COVID-19, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not licensed any treatment specifically for the virus.

DASH (High-Plant) Diet for Heart Health, Weight Loss and Diabetes Prevention/Control

Reports from Harvard School of Public Health shows that a diet rich in plants lowers high blood pressure (1,2). It's called the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.) Other studies show that similar eating patterns lower cholesterol, help to control diabetes and cause weight loss in people who are overweight.

Night-Time Leg Cramps

Up to 60 percent of North American adults suffer from night-time leg cramps, a sudden painful contraction usually of the calf muscles that can last from a few seconds up to 10 minutes or more. Doctors do not know what causes most cases of leg cramps, but usually they are not caused by dehydration or lack of minerals.

Alcohol At Any Dose Can Increase Cancer Risk

Compared to non-drinkers, people who take one or two drinks per day for one year are at increased risk for cancer, and drinking even one glass of wine a day raises the risk of cancer of the throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum or breast.

Dementia Risk May Be Increased by Some Common Drugs

A study of 58,769 patients over 55 years of age diagnosed with dementia and 225,574 people of the same age without dementia found a 50 percent increased risk of dementia among people who used a strong anticholinergic drug daily for about three years within the 10-year study period

What We Have Learned So Far from Eight Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Infection with COVID-19 comes primarily from breathing air in indoor spaces where people with the coronavirus have been, and the more virus you breathe in, the more likely you are to become infected.

Some Cases of Dementia Have Effective Treatments

More than six million North Americans suffer from dementia, which affects three percent of people age 65-74, 17 percent of age 75-84, and 32 percent of those age 85 and older. Anything that damages brain cells can cause dementia and many of the causes are treatable.

Drugs Given to President Trump for COVID-19

As reported by the White House medical team, the drugs given to President Trump to treat COVID-19 included Regeneron's antibody cocktail (monoclonal antibodies), Gilead Sciences' remdesivir (brand name Veklury), and dexamethasone.

My SHOW ME! Diet

If your doctor has told you that you have high blood pressure or that your cholesterol or triglycerides are too high, ask him or her for your numbers. If would like to find out whether you are one of the 80 percent of people who can control high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides with diet alone, follow my SHOW ME! Diet for just two weeks. Then have your doctor re-check your cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. You'll probably also find that you have lost several pounds.

Signs of a Fatty Liver

You can often tell if people have diabetes just by looking at them. A person with a big belly and small buttocks is at very high risk for being diabetic, because those who store fat primarily in the belly are most likely to also store a large amount of fat in the liver. Having excess fat in your liver markedly increases risk for diabetes and heart attacks.

Recent News on COVID-19

CAUTION: The news media often reports on articles from the websites of scientific journals that have not yet been peer reviewed by other doctors. It has become common practice to "pre-publish" studies or press releases online before they have been fully reviewed, and many of these reports are sent out by companies with a lot of money at stake.

Aging and Risk for Dementia

Dementia means loss of brain function, and your chance of having dementia increases with age. Doctors can now predict increased risk for developing dementia by ordering an MRI which can show decreased volume of grey matter in the brain.

Night-Time Urination May Be Caused by Excess Salt

One in three North American adults have to get up to urinate more than twice a night, and a study presented at the European Society of Urology shows that the most common cause may be taking in too much salt.

Making Vaccines to Stop the COVID-19 Pandemic

The only way that scientists are going to end this current pandemic is to develop vaccines and immunize enough people to reach immunity in about 40 percent of the population from the vaccines or by having been infected with the disease.

How Low Should Your Cholesterol Be?

Having high blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol (>100 mg/dL) is associated with increased risk for heart attacks and premature death, and is the single most important predictor of forming plaques in your arteries. Many experts recommend lowering elevated LDL levels to 70 mg/dL in people who are at increased risk for heart attacks.

Most Type II Diabetics Could Be Cured with Lifestyle Changes

Today, more than 29 million people in North America are diagnosed as being diabetic, another 86 million have pre-diabetes, and most diabetics have not even been diagnosed. More than 88 percent of North American adults have their blood sugar levels rise too high after they eat.

Potential Drugs, Treatments and Vaccines for COVID-19

We have no drugs yet proven to prevent or treat COVID-19, although some drugs appearĀ  promising, as do transfusions of blood donated by people who have recovered and are now immune. The virus is spread from one person to another; it has not been shown to be spread from animals or food.

Potential Treatments for COVID-19

As of today doctors have no proven effective treatment for COVID-19. However, many studies are being conducted all over the world. Here are some of the reported studies.

Inflammation Can Help or Harm

Your body uses inflammation to protect you from invading germs and to heal injuries. When a germ gets into your body, you make cells and proteins to kill that germ. As soon as the germ is gone, your immune system is supposed to dampen down and stop making large amounts of these cells and antibodies.

Heart Attack Prevention

The majority of heart attacks are caused by unhealthful lifestyles, not by genetic defects. Statins remain the major choice of preventative drug, but everyone should realize that many studies show that lifestyle changes are probably more effective than statins in preventing heart attacks.

Plaques in Arteries are Reversible

Almost anyone can get rid of plaques in their arteries, even if they have already had a heart attack or already have severe narrowing in the arteries leading to your heart. However, you have to do far more than just take drugs. The formation of plaques in arteries that eventually leads to heart attacks and strokes comes from chemical processes that start in the liver. Plaques can be reversed by changes in diet, exercise, weight, environmental exposures and medications.

Atrial Fibrillation: Endurance Training Can Sometimes Harm Senior Athletes

Medical researchers agree that exercising into old age helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes and cancers and prolongs lives, but a recent report shows that sometimes competing in endurance sports may cause atrial fibrillation that can be fatal.