COVID, Ghrelin, orgasm


    ‘The more you know about the human body and its mind-boggling intricate physiology, the more you marvel at its creation…’

    COVID-19 news

    AS of December 8, 2020, 12:48 GMT, worldwide, there were 68,057,474 cases with 1,553,408 deaths; USA, 15,371,268, with 290,649 deaths; and the Philippines, 442,785, with 8,670 deaths. In the USA, 42 states showed continued rise in COVID-19 cases. Only eight appear (Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) more stable. Officials across the USA “are rolling out a patchwork of restrictions on mask and social distancing…Restrictions are ramping up in many areas as cases surge nationwide. Health officials warn that easing restrictions too soon could bring new outbreaks, but many states forged ahead.” Let’s be wise, disciplined, and complaint to shorten this pandemic. It is, after all, only in “(We) The People’s” hands.

    The genetically altered yellow fever vaccine (proven effective against yellow fever for 80 years, among 500 million worldwide who developed life-long immunity) was highly effective in animals, reports Nature journal. If it passes clinical trials, the new single-shot vaccine would have some advantages over other SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, like those of Pfizer-BioNTech’s 2 shot (one month apart) vaccine. The Pfizer-B vaccine has been distributed last Monday for all first responders and seniors and other vulnerable persons first, then for the public starting early next year. This inspires hope among peoples around the world.

    The Community Healthcare System hospitals in Northwest Indiana are using “a new antibody therapy treatment called Bamlanivimab to treat COVID-19 and reduce its symptoms.” This monoclonal antibody treatment is given as an hour-long intravenous infusion to patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are at higher risk for related complications. The US FDA has issued “emergency use authorization for the yet-to-be-approved medication, because use of this drug showed “a decrease in viral loads and reduced rates of symptoms and hospitalization.” Further research and clinical trials are required to insure its effectiveness and safety. Other drugs for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 are in the pipeline.

    What controls the urge to eat?

    While there are other hormones involved, there are two main ones, which signal the brain when we are hungry or full. The hunger hormone is Ghrelin, which is secreted by our guts (stomach and intestines). When its level goes up, we feel hungry and have the urge to eat.

    The level of Ghrelin goes up when we get less sleep or not enough sleep. This is the reason why those who are trying to lose weight should get adequate amount (about 8 hours) of sleep. An imbalance meal and stress also elevate the Ghrelin level. Food deprivation obviously increases the Ghrelin level, hence it is better to keep the level of this hormone on an even keel and not fluctuate too much by eating regularly (or even more than three times a day) but at a controlled total calorie ceiling, to maintain health and body weight.

    So, starving oneself is not a good way to lose weight, since this will lead to a Ghrelin “boomerang” in the latter part of the day.

    The satiety or “counter” hormone, which is called Leptin, signals the brain when to stop eating. It controls the appetite. This “satiety hormone” is produced by fat cells in the body.

    When a person loses weight, the leptin level in the blood stream also goes down. As a result, there is less signal to the brain for the individual to stop eating, resulting in a “rebound” weight gain. The best strategy in losing and maintaining a desired weight level is to lose in a slow and steady pace, about one to two pounds a week, and not more. In this manner, there will still be an effective level of leptin in the body to control the urge to eat.

    Does sun exposure make the skin age faster?

    Yes, constant exposure to the sun makes the skin age prematurely, especially on the face. This is called dermatoheliosis or extrinsic aging. The skin changes may appear like those seen among patients after undergoing radiation therapy for cancer for a period of time. This condition is seen more commonly among North American and European people who love to bathe in the sun. Asian women have been noted to have younger-looking skin because they use umbrellas and hats a lot to protect their face from the direct sunlight, even on the beaches. And they are really the wiser and the healthier for that, because this practice also reduces the incidence of ultraviolet-induced skin cancers among Asian women compared to their American and European counterpart.

    Is camote tops “cure” for dengue?

    The internet abounds with claims that camote (sweet potato) tops extract “is effective in preventing or in curing dengue….because they are excellent sources of antioxidative compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which may protect the human body from oxidative stress that is associated with many diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and that it boosts the immune system.” To put things in their proper perspective, there has been no original scientific research, much less randomized, double-blind, clinical studies to support this claim. Indeed, it would be terrific if this were true. Hopefully, future investigations in the laboratory and in human will prove this to be so.

    In the meantime, for the safety of the patient, most of them children, it is best to rely on the currently proven and accepted medical therapy, rather than abandoning this scientific treatment and dangerously gambling on camote top extracts.

    Does frequent orgasm prolong life?

    The answer appears to be yes. A study conducted in 1997 and published in the British Medical Journal, involving 918 men aged 45 to 59, who were followed up for ten years, revealed that “those who ejaculated less than once a month were twice as likely to die during the study than men who had orgasm at least twice a week.” In another report, sex was found to have some degree of protection from prostate cancer, all other lifestyle factors being equal. Sex also reduces stress and produces endogenous secretion of “happy hormones” in our body, which lessen depression and even strengthens the immune system.

    The more you know about the human body and its mind-boggling intricate physiology, the more you marvel at its creation and “complicatedly simple perfection,” which, to date, no man-made machine, no matter how sophisticated, can equal or even come close to.

    The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle, to prevent illnesses and disabilities, and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.


    Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Public Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian and anti-graft foundation in the United States. Visit our websites: and Email: