COVID-19 strikes with alarming inconsistency. Most recover quickly while others die. The disease devastates some communities and spares others. Understanding why and how COVID-19 preys on some and not others is essential to limiting its spread and mitigating its impact.
Prevention, averting, detecting, and restricting disease, is always better than even the most effective treatment. In the first place, We need answers to verify the findings of any new promising study.
Ever wonder why some places on the globe suffer from the virus so differently than others? Can the Blue Zones populations give us some answers?
The aging process usually does not cause malnutrition in healthy, active adults, but nutritional health can be complicated by physical changes that occur with age, the presence of disease(chronic and acute), economic, psychological and social circumstances. Malnutrition then exacerbates some of these factors, contributing to a downward health spiral from which it is difficult to recover.
The metabolic syndrome is not a disease alone but is a cluster of related disorders that include:
Excess fat around the waist (>40 inches or more (men)and >35 inches or more for women).
Blood pressure of 130 /85 mmHg or higher, or being on blood pressure medication
Triglycerides above 150 mg/dl
Fasting blood glucose greater than 100 mg/dl, or being on glucose-lowering medications
High density lipoprotein (HDL) less than 40 mg/dl for men or less than 50 mg/dl for women.
A person can be considered to have metabolic syndrome if they have at least three of these conditions.
An important function of the immune system is to provide healthy, short-term (acute) inflammation that is normal in most situations. This is necessary for the immune function to battle injuries made from disease-causing bacteria, and viruses (antigens). What results is redness, swelling, heat, sometimes fever, and pain.
However, one of the unhealthiest conditions is paradoxically chronic inflammation that ultimately can result in complications, and even a greater risk of death. The greater overreaction of immune system components is often referred to a “cytokine storm”. Cytokines are small proteins that are used to convey information. I call them “messengers”. They play a crucial role in the development of diseases and how your cells are able to respond. In a sense, cytokines are the language of your immune system.
Chronic inflammation can come from the accumulation of belly fat as well as low levels of HDL cholesterol, which normally can have anti-inflammatory properties. (Scott Butsch, MD, Director of Obesity Medicine at the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic.)
“Those with metabolic syndrome typically have low levels of HDL and thus, have less of its beneficial properties to fight infection”, says Dr. Butsch. This can also occur with aging, poor diet, and other unhealthy practices.
How Does Obesity affect the Immune System?
“One of the many reasons obesity is such an unhealthy thing is that fat tissue produces loads of inflammatory cytokines. So even on a good day, an obese person has a lot of inflammatory biomarkers (signals) in their system. When infected by the coronavirus, for example, their starting point is already worse, they are already more inflamed than they should be. In any case, the coronavirus pandemic was a stark reminder of why your immune system is so incredibly important and why we should all benefit from understanding it better.” (Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System that Keeps you Alive. Philipp Dettner. 2021).
According to Dr. Butsch, “obesity impairs the response of immune cells that “remember past viruses so you can attack that virus effectively the second time you may encounter it. This is why obesity is linked to an increased failure of vaccines”
How Can You Improve Immunity with Metabolic Syndrome?
“Losing weight is the key to improve your metabolic syndrome biomarkers as well as your immune system responses. When you lose some extra weight, your fat cells shrink and cause an improvement in systemic chronic inflammation,” Dr. Butsch says. Increasing your physical activity may also help. In this case, this is one time that eating less and moving more is primary to decreased inflammation, metabolic syndrome biomarkers and its complications from infectious diseases.
Have we learned anything from Covid-19? I would hope so and that some good will come of it – although it’s hard to believe that it will happen at times as we are still fighting its many battles.
In his latest book, Metabolical, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL, author of the best selling book, ‘Fat Chance, “insists that if we do not change the way we eat, we will continue to court chronic disease, bankrupt our health care, and threaten the planet. But there is hope.” Metabolical: The Lure and Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine. 2021.
The Bottom Line: If (and it’s a big IF), we change our ways even in small steps that reflect a healthier body, we may be able to better withstand the consequences of an infectious disease like COVID. Make sense???
The ability of the immune system to fight disease declines with age. As it does, the incidence of infections, cancers, and autoimmune diseases increase and the effectiveness of immunizations decline. In turn, the presence of infections and chronic disease contributes to malnutrition.
Nutrient deficiencies are common in older adults, including deficiencies of zinc, iron, beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamins B6, B12, C, D, and E. Supplements of some of these individual nutrients have been shown to increase certain aspects of the immune response, but have not been shown to reduce mortality from infections. High doses of some nutrients, including zinc, copper, and iron, depressed immune function, so supplement should not contain more than 100% of the daily value. There is little evidence that “megadoses” (over the Daily Value) of any vitamin or mineral is necessary for optimum health.
With so much information available on the Internet, it’s difficult to know what to do when we hear or read something about a medical “breakthrough” that may benefit us personally or perhaps help a friend or relative. How can you separate the sound information from the highly questionable?
Many people believe what they want to hear.
The products offer solutions to important problems that have few or no solutions in orthodox health care.
We all hope that these solutions will be the “one” that provides positive “cures” of the medical condition in question. In other words, we’re constantly searching for the “magic bullet”. Covid-19, fraught with controversy is no exception.
Ivermectin is a drug used to treat parasitic infections in animals and also is used to treat scabies and lice infestations in humans. Needless to say, it is questionable to use it as a treatment for Covid-19 infections.