Your Health Matters in a Covid-19 World
I hope you and yours are healthy! Covid-19 has us thinking about our health. Will you be OK if you get Covid-19? Does your excellent health make Covid-19 a non-issue for you, or are you concerned that your health puts you at greater risk than you’d like? Chronic health conditions increase your risk for a severe case of Covid-19. This blog post is an invitation to take a quick minute and assess your health.
Over 33 million people have been infected worldwide, and over a million have died. The number exposed is actually far higher, and fortunately, most healthy people have a mild case. In general, your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 increases as you get older. In fact, 8 out of 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the United States have been among adults aged 65 years and older.
Covid-19 and Chronic Health Conditions
Unfortunately, many people are not very healthy, and chronic health conditions make Covid-19 a more serious risk. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has more details on the eight serious medical conditions that increase risk , and here are two of those conditions that put millions of Americans at risk for serious Covid-19 illness:
- Obesity – over 42% of U.S. adults or 109 million people are obese. (Body Mass Index BMI > 30)
- Type 2 Diabetes – over 30 million U.S. adults have diabetes and another 84 million have prediabetes
Because people with Type 2 Diabetes are often obese, these Chronic metabolic problems put over 120 million Americans at risk for serious Covid-19, for declining health, and for premature aging. Another 105 million American adults are not metabolically healthy. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009–2016 indicates that only 12.2% of US adults have optimal metabolic health on seven criteria. (waist size, fasting glucose, HbA1c, triglycerides, HDL, no medications) So nearly 88% of adults are metabolically unhealthy; that means over 225 million adults in the USA have declining health!
For men, this often means gaining belly fat, losing muscle, less energy, aching joints, and eventually problems like ED, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, and dementia. For women, it means the same issues minus the ED! Most doctors prescribe drugs for chronic health problems, but the drugs don’t fix the problem. They are a Band-Aid with bad side effects. If you are not in optimal health, are you OK with that?
Reduce Your Risk for Severe Covid-19
What can you do today to reduce your risk of a serious case of Covid-19? Surprisingly, the CDC does not say. (I've looked, and they just don't provide any good information beyond social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands. Sad. ) Are there supplements to prevent Covid-19? Here are two things you can take that are not controversial:
- Vitamin D3 – The Vitamin D Council recommends that healthy adults take 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily — more if they get little or no sun exposure. Do your own search on how much you need.
- Zinc – chelated is best; I take a mix of zinc arginate and zinc glycinate. It also has copper.
Many studies have already been done around the world on Vitamin D status and Covid-19 severity. In general, if you have low Vitamin D, you are more likely to have a severe case of Covid-19. If you have high levels of Vitamin D, you have a mild case. There are exceptions to this pattern. Here is an excerpt from one of the earlier studies:
Vitamin D Supplementation Could Possibly Improve Clinical Outcomes of Patients Infected with Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19)
Serum 25(OH)D level was lowest in critical cases, but highest in mild cases. Serum 25(OH)D levels were statistically significant among clinical outcomes. Majority had insufficient Vitamin D status, most of them were not severe. Vitamin D status is significantly associated with clinical outcomes. A multinomial logistic regression analysis reported that for each standard deviation increase in serum 25(OH)D, the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a severe outcome were approximately 7.94 times (OR=0.126, p<0.001) while interestingly, the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a critical outcome were approximately 19.61 times (OR=0.051, p<0.001). The results suggest that an increase in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could either improve clinical outcomes or mitigate worst (severe to critical) outcomes, while a decrease in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could worsen clinical outcomes of COVID-2019 patients. In conclusion, this study provides substantial information to clinicians and health policy-makers. Vitamin D supplementation could possibly improve clinical outcomes of patients infected with COVID-19.
Other articles and studies on Vitamin D and Covid-19:
Vitamin D levels may impact COVID-19 mortality rates, study claims https://www.foxnews.com/science/vitamin-d-levels-covid-19-mortality-rates
It is time to take seriously the link between Vitamin D deficiency and more serious Covid-19 symptoms https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/03/time-take-seriously-link-vitamin-d-deficiency-serious-covid/
Vitamin D3 and the Chinese-virus #coronavirus https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/04/vitamin-d3-and-the-chinese-virus-coronavirus/
Low Vitamin D in COVID-19 Predicts ICU Admission, Poor Survival https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/937567
Having low serum vitamin D levels was an independent risk factor for having symptomatic COVID-19 with respiratory distress requiring admission to intensive care — as opposed to having mild COVID-19 — and for not surviving, in a new study from Italy. “Our data give strong observational support to previous suggestions that reduced vitamin D levels may favor the appearance of severe respiratory dysfunction and increase the mortality risk in patients affected with COVID-19,” the researchers report. Luigi Gennari, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine, Surgery, and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Italy, presented these findings during the virtual American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2020 annual meeting. Gennari told Medscape Medical News that this analysis suggests determining vitamin D levels (25 hydroxyvitamin D) in people testing positive for SARS-Cov-2 infection might help predict their risk of severe disease.
Regarding zinc, Researchers from Spain reporting at a European coronavirus conference found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients with low blood levels of zinc tended to fare worse than those with healthier levels. https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200923/could-zinc-help-fight-covid-19
Diet, Exercise, Sleep, Relationships…
What can you do over the longer term? The short answer is there are many things you can do to prevent a severe case of Covid-19, and we will write about them in the near future. Look for articles on the possible effects of exercise, diet, supplements, and other practices that improve your health.
Because chronic health conditions increase your risk for a severe case of Covid-19, it is smart to improve your health. As with all articles we write, this information is not medical advice. If you are not sure about this information, consult a well-informed doctor.