Pollution, Cytokines, and Viruses—The Perfect Storm

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For decades, health providers and seekers like yourself have observed firsthand how common environmental pollutants can wreak havoc on your wellbeing. And over the years, published data has supported these anecdotal reports, giving insight into the detrimental impacts of environmental toxins—especially when it comes to critical organs, like your heart and lungs.

Now, as the world faces a global pandemic, we’re seeing just how dangerous certain environmental pollutants can be. Specifically, emerging research suggests that high levels of air pollution cause an increase in severity, and reduce the survival rates, of aggressive viral infections.

One of the big questions as we seek to understand this novel virus, is why are some people able to overcome it relatively easily, while others fall gravely ill? We know now that people with certain underlying healthy conditions such as heart disease, respiratory conditions, or diabetes, have a two to three-fold increase in risk of death from this infection.

But there’s also another common feature, one that some researchers think may be related to the most common underlying conditions: The Cytokine Storm—now recognized as a leading complication and cause of death in patients.

A cytokine storm happens when the immune system is overwhelmed during infection or injury, and as a result, releases a surge in inflammatory immune messengers, called cytokines. This storm can happen even in those without underlying conditions.

So why some patients, and not others?

One leading reason may be exposure to environmental pollutants— like exhaust fumes, toxic metals and others…and specifically, how well your body handles these toxins.

Predicting the Cytokine Storm

Indeed, research shows there are strong links between environmental toxins such as mercury, and conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes that are linked to increased severity of viral infections.1-8

But that’s not all. Studies link body burden of mercury to an increase in inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 1 beta (IL-1b or IL-1β) that’s shown to fan the flames of cytokine storms in viral infections.9-11 And that’s just the research on one common, though dangerous, environmental toxin.

Other research shows that exposure to common environmental pollutants called PAHs can activate a cytokine storm. PAH stands for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, which are present in exhaust fumes, smoke, coal plants, and other combustible sources of air pollution.

Exposure to PAHs is linked to DNA damage, immune dysregulation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and multiple cancers, and other conditions.

And importantly, though not surprising— a recent study linked environmental exposure to PAH pollutants with inflammatory cytokine storms in healthy preschool children.12

As more research continues, these and other studies can help explain why areas with higher levels of air pollution are being harder hit during these times. They can also help predict which areas may need more support, preparedness and other measures to address the likely increased rates of infection.

One report from Italy even showed that virus particles were attaching to air pollution molecules, possibly furthering their spread.13

How to Protect Yourself Against a Cytokine Storm

What’s becoming clear from this emerging research, is the importance of managing your toxic body burden and balancing your immune system. These key strategies can help to reduce the risks of an overactive inflammatory immune response gone rogue. As a clinician and researcher who has studied these areas of health for decades, I’m eager to share my findings with you—because I know how well they can work to protect and support your long-term health.

Specifically, there is one extensively researched natural ingredient that is shown to address these key areas of health: Balancing immunity, controlling cytokine storms, reducing unhealthy inflammation, reversing cardiovascular disease, and safely removing toxins from the body.

This broad-spectrum protective ingredient is called Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP). In my practice, I’ve used MCP for over 20 years with remarkable clinical success. What’s so exciting about MCP is the amount of independent, third party research coming out on it. These studies continue to show the benefits of MCP in our most critical areas of health.

What makes it so unique and effective? The researched form of MCP is the only available agent shown to bind and block rogue protein Galectin-3. Known as an “upstream alarm protein”, Galectin-3 in your body is activated in response to illness, infection, injury or other problems. And in turn, Galectin-3 triggers the release of inflammatory cytokines, which can eventually lead to the deadly cytokine storm.14  Pre-published data shows that controlling overactive Galectin-3 can prevent deadly sepsis, the result of a cytokine storm.

By controlling Galectin-3, researched MCP is proving to be a safe and effective natural strategy for balancing inflammatory and immune response, and reducing the risk of a cytokine storm.

However, these actions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to controlling overactive Galectin-3. Thousands of published studies also point to the importance of blocking Galectin-3 to halt and reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver failure, diabetes, cancer and numerous other life-threatening conditions.

And according to this fast-growing body of research, the only way to do this is with Modified Citrus Pectin—the most researched Galectin-3 blocker.

Importantly, published clinical research also shows that MCP is an effective natural detoxifier for heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic and others. MCP tightly binds to these and other environmental toxins in the circulation, and allows for safe elimination. This form of MCP also supports a healthy immune response, by activating NK cells and enhancing their ability to destroy harmful invaders.

Decades of clinical experience, together with more than 60 published studies, have made it clear that MCP is one of the most important dietary supplements for shifting you from survival mode (which includes elevated alarm protein Galectin-3), to greater cellular resilience where you can truly thrive. And the more we learn about emerging environmental threats and global health challenges, the more important this simple natural ingredient becomes


[1] Houston, “Role of Mercury Toxicity in Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke.”  
[2] Jaishankar et al., “Toxicity, Mechanism and Health Effects of Some Heavy Metals.”  
[3] Alghasham, Meki, and Ismail, “Association of Blood Lead Level with Elevated Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients.”
[4] Hu, Singh, and Chan, “Mercury Exposure, Blood Pressure, and Hypertension.”  
[5] Kolachi et al., “Status of Toxic Metals in Biological Samples of Diabetic Mothers and Their Neonates.”  
[6] Tsai et al., “Type 2 Diabetes Occurrence and Mercury Exposure – From the National Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan”;   
[7] He et al., “Mercury Exposure in Young Adulthood and Incidence of Diabetes Later in Life.”  
[8] Wang, Mukherjee, and Park, “Associations of Cumulative Exposure to Heavy Metal Mixtures with Obesity and Its Comorbidities among U.S. Adults in NHANES 2003-2014.”  
[9] Gardner et al., “Mercury Induces an Unopposed Inflammatory Response in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells in Vitro.”  
[10] Lubick, “IMMUNITY.”  
[11] Silva et al., “Mercury Exposure, Malaria, and Serum Antinuclear/Antinucleolar Antibodies in Amazon Populations in Brazil.”  
[12] Cheng Z, Huo X, Dai Y, Lu X, Hylkema MN, Xu X. Elevated expression of AhR and NLRP3 link polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure to cytokine storm in preschool children. Environ Int. 2020;139:105720.

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