Obesity, inflammation, blood sugar and diet: what’s the connection to COVID-19?

There is still so much to learn about COVID-19, and scientists across the world are searching for more effective treatments and working on potential vaccines. They are also focused on understanding why some people are more vulnerable to the virus. Why does one person have no symptoms at all, whereas for another it may prove fatal?

You may have heard of the COVID-19 Symptom Study, an app created by health science company ZOE. Perhaps you have even installed it on your phone. More than 3.9 million people are contributing to the project by reporting their symptoms, and a team at King’s College London is analysing the data. As time has gone on, the team have added more and more lifestyle and health questions, with the hopes of identifying patterns and similarities that could be useful in treatment and prevention.

Their findings have already revealed that people who were obese were around 20 percent more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 symptoms than people with lower BMI. They were also more likely to need ventilation to support their breathing.

The research team recently published another fascinating report looking at the role inflammation and blood sugar metabolism might play in how a person reacts to COVID-19.

Their scientists believe that some of the links between obesity and increased risk from COVID-19 may be down to how our bodies process sugar, or glucose. They already know that high blood glucose levels are associated with harmful immune responses and inflammation. Similar effects have been seen in those with the most serious cases of COVID-19.

The team has also found that differences in the way a person metabolises glucose might at least in part explain the difference in outcome between ethnicities. Other studies have shown that people of black, Asian, and minority ethnic descent have an increased risk developing serious complications from COVID-19.

The roles that obesity and blood sugar metabolism play in health are not yet fully understood, but we are learning more all the time. You can read the article in full on the COVID Symptom Study website here, which also has links to download the app if you want to take part in the study:

Inflammation and COVID-19: covid19.joinzoe.com/post/covid-blood-sugar-inflammation

If you are thinking about improving your own diet and health, and would like to find out how we at The Clinic can support you, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team includes a life coach and a nutritionist and we can help devise a plan of action that works for you.

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