Mercola, Notes

How Vitamin C and Magnesium Help Reverse Disease and Treat Viral Infections; Dr. Mercola interviews Dr. Thomas Levy

Magnesium is my favorite supplement. I’m also interested in orthomolecular uses of vitamin C owing to the work of Linus Pauling. Coronavirus is on my mind, as it must be on everyone else’s in the middle of this pandemic. So I took out an hour out the other day to listen to “How Vitamin C and Magnesium Helps Reverse Disease and Treat Viral Infections” [1]. Below are my notes.

Joseph Mercola and Thomas Levy start out discussing vitamin C.

Vitamin C

Levy claims that vitamin C stimulates the immune system and suggests 6 – 12 g per day during the coronavirus.

Dr. Thomas Levy:  Well, obviously, I don’t want to minimize what the government doctors have been saying about hygiene, washing and that sort of thing that’s obviously extremely important, and I don’t want to say that it’s not, it is. However, we want to talk about what to do to best prevent getting the virus and if you eventually get the virus, how then best to approach treating it. Preventing is just to stimulate your immune system as best as possible. As I’m sure you know Vitamin C is one of the primary… I personally believe from the research and literature, the primary agent that’s stimulates an arms and maximizes the potency of the immune system. So I don’t think it can be undersold as to how important a regular dose of C… How much? Well as a general recommendation, two to three grams, three or four times a day, somewhere in that range for most people.

He also suggests taking double or even triple what I’d normally take of vitamin D. I’d normally take 5,000 IU/day and had already doubled up to 10,000 IU/day due to the pandemic. He further suggests zinc but does not give a dose. I take 30 mg zinc picolinate most days.

Dr. Thomas Levy: Some people will be sensitive, take less, some people can take more, but ball park, that would be the ball park. It’s very important to take Vitamin D as well. Probably somewhere along the lines of 10 to 15,000 units a day at least during the time of the epidemic, later on perhaps less. A good preparation of zinc also helps arm the immune system, and any of the basic good vitamin and nutrient supplements are fine, but those are the premier ones.

Levy lists his top four supplements. I’m in agreement. At least in terms of very “base” supplements i.e. essential.

… I consider Vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K2 to be the premier, top four supplements for promoting and maintaining good health. Mainly because they’re the primary antagonists to calcium accumulation and excess calcium inside the cell, which I might later be able to show you, I consider to be the primary pathophysiology in all disease.

Mercola and Levy go off at a tangent and mention “hydrogen peroxide” and “nebulization”, both of which I’d never heard of. Amazon links to both products included below:

For both prevention and treatment nebulization with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide absolutely destroys everything on an open wound. Well, guess what? When you put a fine mist of it inside your sinuses, nose, and throat it nukes the virus there too… I don’t think it’s emphasized enough is that, even when you’re systemically ill influenza or coronavirus and you have virus in your body, the thing that’s fueling it is still an ongoing massive replication of the virus in the sinuses, nose, and throat. And when you can effectively knock that down 99% plus, as I like to say, “You lop the head off the snake.” And then the body is in great shape, especially with the support of things like Vitamin C to mop everything up… it’s the regular, over the counter, 80 cents a bottle at Walmart, three percent hydrogen peroxide [diluting the regular three percent by 50%-75%]. If you don’t mind a little discomfort, you can do the full strength.

Levy then mentions his non-pandemic use of vitamin C:

I take usually two grams of the liposome encapsulated Vitamin C a day. That’s usually my Vitamin C regiment.

The more affluent members of society afford themselves intravenous vitamins and minerals. Owing to coronavirus Levy says that he’s been busier than usual at the Riordan Clinic doing such IVs. They don’t seem to indicate pros of IV over say liposomal. They do get into this IV dosing discussion that I took note of:

Dr. Joseph Mercola: What are your observations on the rate at which you can administer intravenous Vitamin C and not cause vein irritation?

Dr. Thomas Levy:  When you have a pH-balanced solution, which is usually just sodium ascorbate dissolved in water, you can have ascorbic acid dissolved in water, but buffered up with sodium bicarbonate for the same thing.WEh it’s pH 72, 73, 74 and you’re doing it into a good sized vein, and we’ve done this many, many, many times, you can give 12 grams IV push over five minutes… Dr. Hunninghake at the Riordan Clinic. Especially, in light of the pandemic, this allow patients to come just spend 10 minutes or so at the clinic, get a quick IV push in between seven point five and 10 grams of C, along with magnesium and a few other things, and then they’re out the door.

Dr. Joseph Mercola: And what’s the dosage? What’s the dosage on that with respect to the amount of bicarb you have to optimize the pH?

Dr. Thomas Levy: I’ve used the McGaugh preparation, which is they say, “Buffered five point five or above.” So they’re never really clear, so I guess you have some preparations that are six, some are six, five, some are seven. We’ve used that without fuller buffering without any problem as well. It’s usually… There’s usually a small number of people, usually, the ladies with tinier veins, that can have the problems, but most of the time there’s no problem at all. And matter of fact, many years ago, after reading Dr. Klenner’s work, he reported that in a patient, that was… he said was dying of a toxic, I believe it was snake or insect bite, who said, “Doc, I think I’m going out.” His blood pressure was down. Well, Klenner took out, I think it was, 15 grams, full concentration, 500 milligrams per cc of Vitamin C, started the butterfly, a 20 gauge…

A discussion of measuring your blood levels of vitamin C then ensures. Levy, however, says for him it’s pointless to measure:

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Do you, I guess, gauge your therapy based on blood levels at all? It is possible to do serum levels of Vitamin C?

Dr. Thomas Levy: Dr. Hunninghake at the clinic, they’ll do the blood levels for investigational purposes, but especially when you’re dealing with infections, everything is clinical. I mean, you basically use enough Vitamin C to get a positive clinical response, less fever, less sweating, improved blood work, et cetera. And it’s strictly clinical, empirical. So, no, I’ve never gauged a treatment on reaching a certain blood level.

Mercola and Levy get into why liposomal C may be better than intravenous, leaving you wondering why administer it intravenously:

Dr. Joseph Mercola: …if you or anyone in your clinic or researchers you’re aware of that has compared liposomal Vitamin C versus intravenous.

Dr. Thomas Levy: We just recently did that at the Riordan Clinic. It was a small study and we were just looking at Vitamin C levels inside cells… the IVs and the liposomes were comparable, although the liposomes were better, as we would expect, with intracellular concentrations. And in particular, in this one particular study we also looked at the effects of hydrocortisone, in particularly with the liposome C and we were looking at Vitamin C concentration inside lipocytes, the intracellular levels. And we found that the presence of the hydrocortisone massively increased the amount of Vitamin C that goes inside the cell. And this is very interesting because when you think about the fact that probably, I would think, among all prescription medicines, although it’s a natural agent as well, hydrocortisone is considered your number one antiinflammatory agent. And it’s my opinion, not fact, but opinion that the primary reason hydrocortisone is your primary antiinflammatory agent is because it exerts such a profound effect on putting Vitamin C inside the cells

Dr. Joseph Mercola:  And that makes a lot of sense too, because it should penetrate the cellular membrane more easily and it’s… actually that’s where you need it. You need it inside the cell, you don’t need it in the plasma or the interstitial area as much.

Next, they move onto magnesium.


Mercola promotes magnesium in his latest book ‘EMF*D: 5G, Wi-Fi & Cell Phones: Hidden Harms and How to Protect Yourself’ to help mitigate the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and starts with that:

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Magnesium is a calcium channel blocker, which is one of the reasons I like it for mitigating the oxidative stress from EMF exposure.

Levy adds that his four favorite supplements all decrease all-cause mortality.

Dr. Thomas Levy:  Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K are so good, is they all are natural calcium antagonists, they all help dissolve preexisting calcifications and they all help to normalize the calcium in the body, and each one, individually, decreases all cause of mortality. Decreases your chance of death from anything, which means they favorably impact every cell in the body.

They then move onto disease, focusing on calcium as a “toxic” supplement.


Dr. Thomas Levy:  It became apparent to me and I’ve not found an exception to this yet, which is every cell that is “diseased” has increased calcium levels inside the cell… It’s the highest levels of calcium that also result in cancer. It was also very apparent even before I began the magnesium book, that magnesium was the number one calcium antagonist and general metabolic calcium function inhibitor… More calcium increased your chance of death by all causes, less decreased. More magnesium decreased it, less magnesium increased it… it becomes apparent that magnesium deficiency by itself causes many disease, but perhaps even more importantly is magnesium deficiency, if it doesn’t cause a disease, it makes all the rest of the diseases worse. Because, once again, the more calcium you get inside the cell, the more oxidative stress, the less enzymes and other biomolecules function normally… I was also very impressed with the anti-infectious nature of magnesium as well.

… it turns out the even though magnesium is not an antioxidant per se, it exerts through other mechanisms a profound antioxidant effect inside cell. Largely by displacing calcium and allowing Vitamin C to accumulate and for glutathione synthesis to become optimized.

Mercola gets into the biochemistry:

Dr. Joseph Mercola: The intracellular concentration of Vitamin C is about 50,000 times lower than the extracellular. But when you get an excess amount of calcium inside the cell, it causes nitric oxide and superoxide levels to increase. And those two molecules, once they’re formed, it’s like instantaneously they form this really pernicious molecule called peroxynitrite, which is a reactive nitrogen species, an RNS, not an ROS, and it lives about nine million times longer than hydroxyl free radical. So because it lives so much longer, it can travel throughout the cell. Outside that it’s formed and into the nucleus and really cause a lot of damage, like stem cells, cell membranes, proteins, mitochondria, so it… And I think that’s the primary issue is this peroxynitrite, and it spins off carbonate free radicals, which can cause significant damage in the DNA.

They then jump back to magnesium and discuss how to measure your levels of it. Certainly the standard magnesium blood test is fairly useless, it’s only really testing that your body can maintain a homeostasis rather than inform you of your body levels. Most magnesium is stored. Only 1% of total body magnesium is present in extracellular fluids, and only 0.3% of total body magnesium is found in serum. “Magnesium red blood cell (RBC)” is an intracellular measurement and is normally considered far better and sufficient.

Dr. Thomas Levy: If your blood level of magnesium is low, you’re very, very, very low in magnesium throughout your body. However, if you’re more fortunate to have a blood of magnesium that falls in the “normal range,” you’re certainly much better off than the low blood level person, but 99% of magnesium is inside the cells, and of that 95% is inside the mitochondria… most of the time the blood is just reflecting your daily intake and excretion, intake and excretion, and if you keep a good level, and you maintain, this “normal level.”

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Do you regularly monitor RBC magnesium levels as a good arbiter of magnesium?

Dr. Thomas Levy: Red blood cells don’t have cytoplasm and they’re not really a good reflection… if your blood level is low, you’re low. You don’t need to go any further in testing. Number two, if your blood level is “normal,” then really the next step is to go to something called it’s the… the website is, and they actually get sublingual swabs and they measure intracellular levels or not only magnesium, but calcium and a couple other electrolytes. [cytoplasmic levels, sublingual, cost $250-$300]

They then turn their attention to the percentage of the population deficient in magnesium:

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Okay, and how many people do you… or percentage of the population do you believe is deficient in magnesium?

Dr. Thomas Levy: Wow. Okay, obviously, it’s just my opinion, but I would say between 80 and 90 percent.

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Mm-hmm (affirmative), I would agree with you. Maybe even higher.

The answer is pretty much everybody and certainly everybody in ill health, from disease to migraines:

Dr. Thomas Levy: But we still also know that just about everybody in the population with given afflictions or diseases they get better when you give them more magnesium. So in that regard it doesn’t really matter what that level ends up being if you doing something that’s therapeutic and not toxic.

Dr. Thomas Levy: Upon my review on migraine, let me say, it’s my humble opinion that migraine is completely and totally a magnesium deficiency disease.

If you are going to get intravenous vitamin C, you should make sure magnesium is added to the pack at the same time:

Dr. Thomas Levy: One point I’d like to make, you had mentioned earlier about intravenous, is the fact that I also like to tell people never miss an opportunity if you get an IV for any reason at all, to have the opportunity to put magnesium in it… we’ll still routinely put 500 milligrams of magnesium in that and that still goes in in five minutes along with the Vitamin C with no problem.

They then move onto the three “toxic” nutrients; calcium, copper and iron.

“Toxic” nutrients

To my surprise Levy says that we should not see any calcification of the arteries as we age:

Dr. Thomas Levy:  A lot of people and physicians think, “Oh, well, you’re old, your arteries should develop a little calcium.” No, it’s never, never, never normal to have extracellular calcifications in your body, in an organ, in a blood vessel, that’s absolutely not normal… calcium is a bad supplement.

Mercola asks his thoughts on the Calcium Artery Score; a test that’s been gaining rapid popularity owing to Ivor Cummins:

Dr. Thomas Levy: It’s an excellent test for prognosis, long term prognosis for heart attack…

what’s very interesting is they’ve now found that the coronary artery calcium score also correlates directly with all-cause mortality.

The higher your calcium in the coronaries, the higher your chance of death from any cause.
Thomas Levy

The calcium is just the sentinel that’s indicating to you what the calcium status is throughout the rest of the body as well. So if you have high coronary calcium, you have high extracellular calcium throughout the body as well, which is why it reflects in increased all-cause mortality and not just increased cardiac mortality…  It’s one of the few tests we have that I know of, to clearly tell you if your overall supplemental nutrition healthcare regimen is working optimally. And it’s only working optimally is if you started it and you had a calcium score of a 100 and six months to a year later it’s down to 50 and two years later it’s down to zero, then that’s a good program.

Mercola worries, however, about the radiation involved (think double-strand DNA breaks etc). He suggests fasting in advance to enter a ketogenic state and to consider taking hydrogen water tablets.

Dr. Joseph Mercola: CAT scan is enormous levels of radiation, literally, a 100 times or more that of a chest x-ray…  should be fasting for a day or two. Why? Because when you’re fasting, you’ll be in nutritional ketosis and ketones are a profoundly effective mitigator against oxidative stress. You could take Vitamin C like Dr. Levy suggests too. You could also take molecular hydrogen. I would take four, six, 10 tablets about a half hour before the scan, which will radically decrease your risk of this oxidative damage.

They speak of the three “toxic” nutrients calcium, copper and iron, particularly focusing on the dangers of iron for most people.

Dr. Thomas Levy:  They’re certainly absolutely, without any qualification essential at lower doses for normal metabolism

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Yeah, so, just be really careful, but I couldn’t agree with you more on that one. For every person who benefits from iron supplementation, there’s probably 10 to 100 who are getting dangerous side effects from it.