Obesity is Linked to Covid-19 Illness Severity. What to Do.

Obesity is Linked to Covid-19 Illness Severity. What to Do.

At a time when it seems like all the news is bad news, this is a bit more.  However, here at UNJURY we believe you cannot start to solve a problem if you don’t talk about it.  Let’s talk about it.  

If anything about this subject isn’t clear, or if you are just feeling anxious, call us during the day, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 Eastern Time.  Ask for Jerome.  I will talk with as many people as I can.  Our Customer Service people are also well informed and caring.   Finally, we are hosting an online Zoom support group this Wednesday evening, April 22.   You can Register Here.

Information from a variety of sources[i] indicates that obesity is linked to increased risk of serious illness and hospitalization from a Covid-19 infection, particularly for younger patients.   This seems to be the case even when the patient has no other health conditions that have been associated with severe Covid-19 reactions.

What to Do

We don’t have any perfect solutions, and the stakes are high.  Here are things to do that offer the best chances of helping, if you were to get the virus.

It starts with Nutrition. Protein and Vitamins

We have already discussed the role of protein in supporting your immune system -- how your body needs protein to produce the white cells that are key to your immune system. Even when you are not concerned about Covid-19, we recommend 30 grams of protein, three times per day. If you are adding protein to your diet, use the protein to “crowd out” other calories. 

There is support from medical research indicating that 4 vitamins and 1 mineral can help with immune response. The level of research support varies. Those are:  Vitamins A, C, D, E and Zinc. Note that we recommend against “megadoses” of any of those.  On that list, only Vitamin C is thought to probably be harmless when taking large doses.  Excess doses of the others have adverse effects.

Here is one bit of data that is interesting:  we understand that In Northern Italy, doctors who have been treating Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals are “automatically” giving patients whey protein and Vitamin D.  We speculate that they don’t have enough time to do testing to determine whether patients are deficient, and they believe the extra protein and Vitamin D will usually be beneficial.  (more on Vitamin D below)

Type 2 diabetes has been found to be a major risk factor with Covid-19. What can you do?

It is recognized that weight loss of as little as 10% of body weight has significant benefit to Type 2 diabetes symptoms. We can only speculate on whether improving A1C over time might be beneficial in reducing Covid severity risk, but there is no harm, and there are certainly other major benefits. Yet right now, with social isolation, many find themselves fighting to minimize weight GAIN.   If a 10% decrease in body weight is beneficial, it is safe to assume that a 10% gain would have adverse effects. If you need weight management help, call or email us. If that isn’t possible, consider a very simple plan:  increase your protein to 3 servings three times per day, and let the increased protein crowd out carbs and fat somewhat. 

Note however, that this is NOT a good time for an extreme “crash” diet. You don’t want to weaken yourself, or your immune system.

Consider using any of our high quality, guaranteed-great-tasting protein products or high-protein meal replacements. Note that during the pandemic we have very special pricing on UNJURY® High Protein Meal Replacements here

Be sure your Vitamin D intake is good...and that your blood levels of Vitamin D are good.

In clinical studies, Vitamin D deficiency has been found in:

  • Up to 90% of patients who are pre-bariatric surgery
  • Up to 100% of patients who are POST-bariatric surgery

Why is that? Among people with obesity, the Vitamin D seems to get locked inside adipocytes (fat cells), rather than staying in the bloodstream where it is needed. There are not many good sources of Vitamin D in foods, except for fatty fish, and fortified milk and some cereals. If you don’t get a lot of those, consider a Vitamin D supplement.

Note that the conclusion of one study, at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2018, was that Vitamin D supplementation reduced cancer risk among African Americans by 23%.  If you are an African American, especially if you have obesity, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.

[i]  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/health/coronavirus-obesity-higher-risk.html

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