– Good morning! I'm Bobby Robbins, President
of the University of Arizona. It's hard to imagine how we'll come out of this current global epidemic, but I'm here to tell you, we
absolutely will come out of it. Things will never be
exactly the way they were, and hopefully, that
includes positive changes, especially in regard to all of us leading healthier lifestyles. Today I'm joined by Doctor Andrew Weil, Founder and Director of
the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at
the University of Arizona. Andy, good morning, how are you today? – Good morning, Bobby, I'm good. – Good. Well, Andy is really the father of integrative medicine globally, and before I came here, I spent over 20 years at Stanford, and I had studied all of Andy's work, and I was so honored to finally meet him, and have just enjoyed the three years that I've gotten to be
a colleague with him, and we've done some fun things.

And this includes doing
this interview today. So it's an honor to have
you here today, Andy, and I think everybody's wondering, and I'll just say from myself, this has given me a time to be reflective about my own health. As you know, you and I both go out to a lot of dinners, every night, in our official capacities, and probably I had not been taking as good a care of myself,
physically, as I should have been. So I think that it be helpful,
as I've really focused in on what you've been teaching all of us for years and years about
the proper nutrition, and proper exercise
that we should be doing. And luckily, over the last month, I've been able to do that myself, and have been encouraging others to do it. But what can you recommend as
far as lifestyle strategies to optimize, specifically
in this day and age, our resistance to infection, and for the future, because this won't be the last pandemic we face? – You know, the main thrust
of integrative medicine is to emphasize the organisms
in a healing potential.

And we really prioritize health promotion and disease prevention. One of the principles that I've seen over and over again in my career is that healthy organisms are naturally resistant
to infection and disease. And I've seen this in plants,
I've seen it in animals, and I see it in people. One example from my botanicals studies, I once saw a field of soybeans,
it was divided in half, and one half had all the nutrients that the soybeans required, the other have was nutrient deficient. There were predatory insects that were decimating the
nutrient-deprived plants, the well-nourished plants
were relatively untouched. So you see this same principle,
generally, in biology. So our best defense against infection, including pandemic infections, is to maintain optimum health. So we know the main lifestyle factors that are important there. It's good nutrition, it's
getting adequate rest and sleep, getting regular moderate
physical activity. I think something that's
often not given much due is our mental emotional states. We know that stress
dramatically impairs immunity, that the main stress hormone, cortisol, is directly suppressive
of immune function.

There's very interesting research that laughter actually
increases immune function. I'm delighted, one of the
things that's happened in the past few weeks is that people are sending
me funny videos and stories, I think that's terrific. So I think these are all
basic lifestyle strategies, in addition to all of the practical advice that we've been given about social distancing and cleanliness. – Yeah, well I think your soybean analogy gets me into the next thing I
wanted you to discuss with us. For instance, a balanced
diet is very important, I of course am trying to
focus on carbohydrate intake, because I am a carbohydrate junkie, it is my vice, Andy, as you well know. But what about some of
the natural remedies that may be helpful to augment some of these public health measures, like isolation and social distancing, and of course, washing your hands? – First of all, I think vitamin
D is strongly protective, and we know that it has a protective against influenza, for example.

In fact, one theory why
influenza is a winter disease, it's when people are vitamin D deficient. So, it's good to get your
vitamin D levels checked, and to be taking supplemental vitamin D. I think it's good to take
a mix of antioxidants, especially if you're not eating
the variety of vegetables that we're told to be eating. I recommend an herb called astragalus, it's the Chinese root that's
been used for centuries to ward off colds and flus. It's very safe in long-term use, and it modulates immune function and increases resistance
to viral infections. A very safe thing to use. – How do we get that root, Andy? Do we just eat the root raw? – You can, it tastes good, and it's cooked in soups in China, but you can buy capsules
of standardized extract. You can get it on Amazon, and have it delivered to your house. But that's a good one to have on hand. Turmeric, the yellow spice. This I think is also another
very useful preventive, and interferes with the
viral entry into cells, as does green tea.

So these are some things you can use. Now, I would not rely on these to prevent you from
getting COVID-19 infection, but they're helpful. – Yeah, I think the vitamin D thing is obviously very important, it can also be important
because I actually had, as I'm getting older, and exercising less, now I'm trying to exercise more, but certainly, we get risk of
having low vitamin D levels, and the risk of osteoporosis, in addition to the beneficial
effects against infection. So, how can we reduce our risk for future and potentially even worse,
I know it's unimaginable that we could think of a
pandemic being worse than this, but as you and I well know, it could be a lot worse.

– You know, and I'm sorry to say, I think it will be a lot worse. We're certain to have
more and worse pandemics. Infectious disease experts have been warning about this for years. I have to say here that
I think there's been a colossal failure of
leadership in this country. We had, not only were these warnings being given to us for years, but we had months to see
what was happening in China, and we were really caught
with our pants down. Now the factors, these
are zoonotic diseases, that is, diseases that are
jumping from animals into people. There are bacterial diseases as well, but the real concerns are viral diseases. There was AIDS, SARS, MERS, these various hemorrhagic fevers, which fortunately have
been mostly local so far. Why is this happening? And the factors, I'm afraid,
are all human-caused, it's our activity which
is making this happen.

It's overpopulation, too many of us, too dense population, people
concentrated in dense cities. It's encroaching on habitats
of animals, deforestation, climate change, all of
these factors are favoring these spillovers of zoonotic diseases. And the likelihood is that
there will be more pandemics, and the potential is for much worse ones. You know, this is not the next big one that people have been talking about. The 1918 flu, that was a big one. Much higher mortality, or at least a much higher infectivity, and it killed a lot of people. So, something like that
could easily happen again, I think influenza is probably the most likely one to do that, because it has such a potential to mutate. So I think we really have to look at, of these factors that I mentioned, what are ones we can do anything about? One thing that I would look at is our dependence on animals for food, and our farming practices. If people would eat more
plant-forward diets, if we raised fewer animals for food so we did not have these
concentrated animal feed lots, that would be helpful.

Also, if you begin eating
lower on the food chain, you are dramatically reducing carbon dioxide and
methane in the atmosphere, which is one of the
drivers of climate change that's favoring all this. So to me, this is a big
issue of public health, and as you know, there's
a natural marriage between integrative
medicine and public health. And this is an area I'd
love to see us focus on, like what we can do to change
some of the human behaviors that are driving the
evolution of pathogens and this disease bad directions.

– Yeah, well, Andy, I have
tremendous respect for you and your great wisdom, and what you've done for
the University of Arizona, the United States, and truly the world. You're a globally-recognized leader and people listen to what you say. – Thank you. – Through your books or your
lectures, or things like this. So I know how busy you are, and I really appreciate
you making the time to do this video with me. It's always great to see you. I just wish we were at one of our local favorite restaurants
having a meal together, and soon enough. – One day, one day we will. – Soon enough we'll be back together. But I just really appreciate
all the time you gave us today, and thank you for making
the time to shoot his video. – I enjoyed it. – All right, well, thank
you, Doctor Andrew Weil. Tune in next time, I'll be back soon with yet another great leader. Probably not many that we could go that are more important,
more globally impactful than Doctor Weil, so Andy,
again, thank you very much.

But again, everyone, stay tuned, we'll continue to bring
helpful hints to you about how we're gonna get through the current state that we're in. I'm very confident of that, we're gonna get out of this one, but as Andy said, I think
this is our wake-up call to be prepared for the
next really big one, not only in terms of public health issues, but also stockpiling of
resources that we'll need to treat whatever's around the corner.

But until then, all of
you, please, out there, stay safe, and as always, Bear Down..



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