Mark Sherwood, a popular naturopathic doctor from Tulsa, Oklahoma, shared his thoughts on the COVID-19 spread and offered practical tips for believers to hold on to.
Dr. Sherwood’s mission is to help his patients achieve “wellness in every area of your life” as shared on his website. He works alongside his wife, Michele L. Neil-Sherwood, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. They run a successful medical practice, Functional Medical Institute, where they see patients from all across the United States.
Along with their work in natural health, the couple have their own television and radio program and an Amazon bestseller, The Quest for Wellness.
Dr. Sherwood’s passion for wellness follows his past career in professional baseball and a decade in the SWAT Team working in the Tulsa Police Department. He now teaches several health courses to law enforcement professionals, corporations, and churches worldwide.
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post’s interview with Dr. Sherwood where he shares what he believes about the current pandemic and offers advice for Christians while providing five specific things people can do right now to help better their health and wellness.
Christian Post: You've seen patients from all across the country in this season. Can you share some of the testimonies of what you've witnessed concerning the battle of COVID-19?
Sherwood: We've seen people, dealt with them, who have had symptoms that sort of gave us the indication they may have contracted COVID-19. We've also seen people and dealt with them that have had positive tests. In both of those scenarios, in all of the cases, we have seen the symptoms resolve, with little to no severity. [The person] may be out of work, necessarily for three ... or six days, that's very common. The high fever is certainly a potential sign that there is a contagion so just like any other common-sense maneuver when you have a high fever and something's contagious, let the fever run its course and it will. Eventually, the fever will subside and then the person will be OK.
We've also had people that have tested positive from acute, with a nasal pharyngeal swab, but later tested negative for antibodies, which made us question the veracity or the accuracy of the original test. We've also had people on the other side that have not tested positive with the acute test with the nasal pharyngeal swab, and then later tested positive for antibodies. So I think the testing is still a little bit in question.
CP: Can you share with us a little about your own faith journey as a man of medicine?
Sherwood: I didn't go to a conventional medical school. I was a naturopathic trained person. My wife did. I think that we have a great advantage because we can see both sides of the coin, we can see medicine, its proper use, we can see sciences — it's the brilliance of it. We can see vaccines, even the brilliance of them, the lives they've saved. We can also see the wonderful, magnificent way the body is wired, the way it's wired to fight and defend and kill and destroy things that try to destroy us.
It's definitely been a journey with us. We believe wholeheartedly that if God wanted to destroy the earth with a virus, He would have done it a long time ago. We also understand that people need to do what they can right now with their own abilities, with their own giftings to strengthen the body. So it's God's will, His immune system and our putting those actions into work doing what we can. If we don't put those three things into work, we're not going to get the normal immune protection. That's been something that's really shaped our philosophy. People come to us and they want to know how to do this. We show them how to do this. We haven't had any, thank the Lord, even close to fatalities with anybody we've dealt with COVID-19.
CP: How would you rank coronavirus and its severity in relation to the severity of other viruses, such as that common cold, HIV, Ebola or even malaria?
Sherwood: Ebola, of course, that thing had a 50 to 60, maybe even 70% mortality rate; that was terrible. It's popped up and cropped up and it's kept pretty isolated over the years. But ultimately, it's hard to say, you just don't know. That's the thing about these viruses, they're continuing to mutate. They use your own machinery RNA to sort of hijack your own system and when your cells replicate, they replicate.
I think the better question is how inferior our own immune systems [are] becoming over time. As we continue to wrestle with this, we can strengthen our immune system. Viruses are going to be around and I think we need to figure out how to live with them, instead of living with fear that we have them because they've been around and documented back in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece. We used to treat them differently. Let us not forget the Spanish Flu from back in 1917 that killed millions of people around the world, that was terrible! Yet we must let history teach us something — that [was] from when the population was smaller; now the population is more dense. Therefore, people living closer with the spread of these viruses getting bigger.
It's not really an apples to apples comparison; it's more like an apples to oranges. Every time we have a virus, it's a new thing. That's why we use the word novel in this case. With all that said, our strategies must be tempered with what we are doing as individual people to strengthen our immune system and that is not just physically but that is also emotionally and spiritually.
CP: What are your projections concerning America overcoming the coronavirus?
Sherwood: We're not going to overcome it. I'm just being straight with you. It's not going to happen because overcoming a virus is like saying we're trying to overcome the flu virus. It is learning to manage it better. It's learning to deal with it better. It's getting more educated. Probably vaccines are going to be a part, I don't know, I can't speak for any person's view on that one. I understand pro-vacs, I understand anti-vacs, but ultimately, we're not going to defeat it. We're going to have to figure out how to live with it.
I think there's two ways to look at that. Number one is you can live in fear and try to avoid it. Or you can live in faith and not be consumed and concerned by it. If you're sick, stay home. If you have a fever, stay home, stay away from people, wash your hands, don't sneeze on people, be respectful of people. If you want to wait on a vaccine, great. If you don't want to go outside, great. If you don't want to be around people, great. If you do, great. Learn how to deal with it. People are going to die from viruses and they're going to die from these things and to say that we won't is utter foolishness. People have been dying from viruses since the beginning of time; it's not going to stop. But we have to trust God to provide resiliency in our thinking. We also have to put in the effort to strengthen our immune systems.
CP: So no cure?
Sherwood: I don't think that there is a cure. I think that viruses are going to be here, they're going to continue to mutate, history tells us so. With the varying strains of the bird flu, the swine flu, any flu or viruses that come from animals or birds or mammals, seriously, we're going to have to understand that it's a symbiotic relationship between viruses and people. We're just going to have to learn to reframe it.
Remember, there's only one cure, and I'm going to use a phrase right now: Sin is sin, death is sure, sin is the cause, but Christ is the cure. The only cure for sin and death is Christ and if we as Christians will frame that differently, perhaps we'll find peace. I'm not afraid, my wife is not afraid to die of anything because we've already died to self. We've already become alive in Christ and if we can just stop for a moment and quit focusing on something that cannot take life away from the believer. The coronavirus cannot take life away from the believer and if we can really grasp that statement, we can find freedom in the midst of this current chaotic and uncertain time. Most likely, if we do not choose to embrace the peace and assurance from God, we will find ourselves struggling to be healthy and resilient. Also, let's be clear...being healthy and walking in health is very normal and routine for the believer.
CP: What advice can you give to our Christian readers who are looking for health answers during this time?
Sherwood: Number one, eat real fruits and vegetables and a lot of them. Pick your food wisely. If you eat garbage, you are choosing to put garbage in your system. Our bodies are the temple of God. God did not and does not ever direct anyone to put processed food, high fructose corn syrup-filled delicacies in our body. He does not tell us to put sodas, fried foods, anything like that. He tells us to put real food in there. If it wasn't In its normal package as it was, perhaps if you can't imagine it in the Garden of Eden, don't eat it. If we choose to do that, that's not from God; that is clearly demonically oriented. It's demonic ideology to believe that God tells His people to put anti-food inside the human body. God tells us that He lives in us. If we believe this is our temple and really believe that, then we've got to believe that He as the owner of the temple, who bought it back, will tell you how to take care of it. So why would He tell us to put something in the body that's going to try to destroy the body, so that He can heal you and bring glory to Himself?
Number two, get some sleep. Don't stay up worrying and listening to the news. Get seven or eight hours of sleep at night.
Number three, turn off the fear. The constant drip has to stop. You've got to turn it off because that drip will become a flood in your life and it actually already has across our world. Listen to things that are going to bring edification.
Number four, get outside and get some sunshine. You've got to get some sunshine, don't stay inside. The air inside of the house is three times more polluted than the air outside. Get out and get some fresh air.
Number five, get some exercise. Go for walks frequently; 150 minutes a week is the recommended minimum of activity.
You do those five things, you make sure that you take optimal amounts of vitamin D, (5000 IUs a day), vitamin C (5,000-10,000 IUs a day), vitamin A (5,000-10,000 IUs a day), Omega-3 (three to five grams per day), and well-sourced colostrum (15-20 grams per day). If you do those things, you're going to have a good immune system. So with 100% certainty that will improve this concept of immune resiliency.
CP: Do a mask or gloves really make a difference?
Sherwood: That's a matter of opinion based on the person that's wearing them. If you're sick, and you're going to go out and you don't want to give it to somebody else, I suppose you could wear a mask to prevent breathing on somebody, perhaps. But also keep in mind, you probably shouldn't be going out anyway, if you got a fever.
Gloves? I don't know about that. I think the jury's still out on the fomite lifespan, as they get transferred on to surfaces. I think if you just wash your hands frequently with antimicrobial silver, you could do some alcohol or something like that. The key is, don't put your hands to your mouth if you touch something that may be infected.
I do see people's opinions of that. But I also think that there needs to be some temperance of that. Not the extreme measures that say, I personally don't feel like Dr. Michelle and I are any threat to anybody. I think that everybody should have the opportunity to assess your own risk like we do with everybody when driving a car and even we talked about earlier, with food. I can't prevent people from putting garbage in their mouths and things that will destroy their lives. They assess that risk every day. You look at that plate of french fries with cheese fries there and you know it's not good for you, but you assess your risk. You say, "I'm going eat this or not and take my chances." That's where human beings are. If you start taking away all their risk of them, we become puppets and robots in somebody's sick, twisted game of control, and we don't need to go there. So all that said, I think it's an individual decision. I mean, for the sick person, possibly, yes. For the well person, probably not, not at all.
CP: How has this virus impacted you and your career?
Sherwood: It's impacted all of our lives. It's impacted everybody's lives. We like to travel, we don't anymore because I don't want to put up with the headache of it, stress of it. We're not able to go places we like to go because they're not open. I think it's impacted everybody in different ways. It's impacted economy. It's impacted mental health issues, its impact the social health issues, it's impacted spiritual health issues. We're not meeting together as much as we used to.
Sometimes we look at the scriptures — let us not stop meeting together. I don't know how you reconcile that one. It also says believers will lay hands on the sick and the sick will get well, I don't know how you reconcile that when I guess you do that with gloves? I don't know. But the point being there's a lot to that question. I think impact, it has impacted everybody. It's impacted our lives significantly but other people's lives, it has impacted them severely. We have to let it get from a severe state and go down to more of a nonsignificant state and that requires all those areas of consideration and putting work into those we discussed earlier.
CP: What is another health concern Americans should safeguard themselves from in these times?
Sherwood: When you look at the concept of these comorbidities that are led in part by the following disease conditions: type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, cancers, dementia, Alzheimer's and finally obesity (yes, that is a non-communicable disease process. As a matter of fact, that's the fastest-growing one in the world). We need to be more concerned about these. We are losing more people every year from things such as heart disease and diabetes-related illnesses. This diabesity, as we call it, is a very challenging thing in the sense that we're not putting enough emphasis on that. We're talking about these comorbidities being associated, of course, but let's face it, if we can eliminate the comorbidities, would that be something that would improve the fatality rate? Yes, it would. I think our biggest effort needs to be put on that, quite frankly.
CP: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Sherwood: I think the biggest elephant in the room is what did we do regarding these challenges we face right now. It's very sickening to me what we've done in our world and the tragic steps we've taken to try to remedy something in a very drastic way. I think we can do a lot better than that and I think this requires a lot of prayer, a lot of thoughts, a lot of introspection, and a lot of willingness to unlearn some things we think we learn and not solely depend on physicians for the answers. I think physicians are brilliant people, some of the most brilliant gifted people in planet Earth. However, no one is as brilliant and gifted as the Great Physician. So if we began to trust the, as I like to say, the white coat over the white robe, which is significant of Our Healer, we have lost our way.
We don't need to have it where someone is getting sick. And we do exhaust all of our resources. And then finally we say, well, it's time to call that prayer chain. We really need to adjust our thinking and begin to pray and take the steps right now to be in a mindset that IT'S NORMAL. It's just as normal for a believer to walk around disease-free, healthy, sleeping well, exercising consistently, drawing boundaries and taking time appropriately for self, knowing yes and no appropriately, as it is to pray and read your Bible. These are basic, fundamental things that a believer should be exemplifying on this earth as an ambassador.
If we're not doing that, my question would be, why would anybody that's a nonbeliever want anything that a believer has because there's no difference? So all that said, believers need to expect to be well, walk with that hope, live their life with no fear and exemplify a confidence in your hope that you have for life and life more abundantly. I hope that really is something that will help you.