If you are like me, you’ve never been more interested in your immune system and its ability to fight off infections. COVID-19 has gotten our attention! How peculiar that the same virus can cause an infection with few or no symptoms in some, but result in multi-organ failure and death in others! It’s the same virus, in the same species, but the hosts of that virus are NOT the same.
The question we are all asking is if we are in the group with a killer immune system that can knock out coronavirus as if it were a common cold, or are we more vulnerable to life-threatening complications from COVID-19. The answer to that question applies to other viral respiratory infections, including influenza. Let me explain.
We’ve all known that smoking, inactivity, vitamin deficiencies, and eating junk food puts us at risk for getting sick. But did you know that being overweight also dramatically increases our risk for out of control COVID-19?
JAMA* revealed last week that over 40% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were obese. 2018 research* reported that obesity more than doubles the risk of lung infections. In 2014* we learned that obesity more than doubles the risk of severe influenza-like illnesses in young and middle-aged adults. Over half of those hospitalized with H1N1 (influenza A) were obese in one study*.
So, what should I do if I’m in a high risk category for COVID-19?
1. Should I lose weight?
If you have gained more than 20 pounds as an adult, and are not currently managing your weight successfully, now is the perfect time to begin. You see, losing as little as 12-13 pounds is enough to help your immune system start functioning more normally. Perhaps there has never been a more compelling time to manage your weight. Research has never been more clear that controlling our weight is truly a matter of life and death!
If you need a personal treatment plan for chronic overweight, we have over 25 years of experience assisting overweight individuals in their pursuit of weight loss and health. Let our experience with over 30,000 patients losing over 500,000 lbs go to work for you!
2. Limit sugars… they can paralyze disease-fighting cells!
We’ve known since 1973 that consuming simple sugars, including table sugar, honey, fruit juice, and sodas, seduces our white blood cells in to a “temporary coma”. When examined under the microscope, instead of eating up bacteria, sugar-paralyzed white blood cells just sit there. And the effect lasts at least 5 hours. I have no doubt that sugar lowers our potential for killing off coronavirus. This is one of the reasons that our meal replacement bars and snacks are very low in sugar. They are a great solution to typical snacks that hinder immunity.
3. Take your vitamins, they are essential for immunity.
Vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and other powerful vitamins and minerals support healthy immunity, regardless of other risk factors. Recent research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with severe complications from COVID-19. If you are taking our high potency Metabolism Essentials Multi Plus, essential nutrients are present to prevent any deficiencies. For most of us, taking an additional 2,000 to 4,000 iu of high quality Vitamin D-3 will keep our levels in an optimal range.
4. Embrace spiritual and emotional health.
Most have had more time recently to consider spiritual and emotional health. The Mayo Clinic* reviewed 30 years of research to conclude that spiritually involved people “live longer… and they have enhanced immune function”. In fact, those attending worship services weekly were 23% less likely to die during the time period studied, regardless of other health factors. They noted that personal meditation, prayer and worship promote “positive emotions such as hope, love, contentment, and forgiveness”, which reduce stress hormones, improving health. I know many of us prioritize time in the mornings for meditation and prayer, supporting emotional well-being and a killer immune system! What a great way to begin the day!
All of us are concerned with COVID-19 and the deadly impact it is having across our nation. However, honoring and supporting our immune system is the right thing to do regardless of current events.
For Optimum Health!
Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H. & T.M.
P.S. – Remember, at the Center for Nutrition, we have over 25 years of experience assisting overweight individuals in their pursuit of weight loss and health. Let our experience with over 30,000 patients losing well over 500,000 lbs go to work for you. Call us for a free initial consultation to learn more.
*References: JAMA 2020, BMC Public Health journal 2018 FEB 20, Influenza 2014 Jan, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Dec 2001, Vol 76, Int J of Obesity 2013.