It is widely known that Covid-19 most cruelly afflicts people who are already in poor health. Along with advanced age, a higher risk of severe illness and death is associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
What is less commonly noted is that most of these conditions are “diet-related diseases,” which are largely caused by—and can be cured by—what we eat.
In other words, nutrition is the biggest coronavirus risk factor that nobody is talking about.
Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of patients with diet-related diseases lose weight and drop their medications, primarily through diet and lifestyle adjustments. I never expected my medical expertise to have any relevance in a viral pandemic.
But I’ve come to believe that proper nutrition may be the best way we have of readying our bodies to fight off the coronavirus. The overlap between poor metabolic health and vulnerability to Covid-19 has become impossible to ignore.
Why is metabolic dysfunction so uniquely damaging to people infected with the coronavirus?
Researchers are still racing to identify all the different mechanisms at play. We know that insulin resistance and obesity wreak general havoc with the immune system. Affected individuals get sick more frequently, and when they do get sick, it’s more debilitating.
Fat cells spill into the bloodstream and accumulate in the tissues of the immune system, disrupting the activity of leukocytes, lymphocytes and T-cells. Abnormal hormonal function leads to chronic inflammation, which may be particularly dangerous when Covid-19 provokes a hyperinflammatory response.
All these changes not only have a negative impact on immune response but also, chillingly, on the efficacy of many vaccines.
Beware sugar, carbs, seed oils
These dysfunctions can be changed with remarkable speed.
One of the most important but little-known medical breakthroughs of the last several decades was the discovery of the hidden connections between most metabolic diseases.
Few of my patients, before I saw them, had ever been told that symptoms such as excess abdominal fat, high cholesterol and hyperglycemia were all profoundly related. In fact, they can all have the same causes, mechanisms and pathways, and it’s difficult to tell where one of these conditions ends and another begins.
In recognition of these connections, doctors on the vanguard will diagnose patients who exhibit three or more signs of significant metabolic dysfunction with “metabolic syndrome.”
The fact that all these conditions are related is great news for most patients: it means we can treat them all with a single strategy.
Diet-related diseases require diet-related solutions, and metabolic disease is caused primarily by an excess of sugar, dietary carbohydrates, and seed oils.
Carbs—especially those found in sugars and highly refined grains—prompt huge spikes of the hormone insulin, the…