You’ve heard the headlines: Upon contracting COVID-19, people with various co-morbidities are at increased risk for becoming critically ill, such as developing acute respiratory distress syndrome necessitating mechanical ventilation. They are several-fold more likely to die of the disease, also.
Among the most common health conditions that put people at high risk for becoming severely ill include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary disease and heart failure
- Cerebrovascular disease
There are other conditions that also confer increased risk such as smoking, lung disease, and lung cancer. But the four conditions listed above are exceptionally widespread, including well over 150 million Americans. They also all share common threads: they all involve being insulin resistant and having higher levels of inflammation.
In people with coronary disease, for example, it is uncommon to not have substantial insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is, of course, defined as severe insulin resistance. Obese people are invariably insulin resistant, as are those with hypertension.
Insulin resistance and inflammation are virtually inseparable. They are indeed two distinct and separate processes, but insulin resistance increases inflammation and inflammation increases insulin resistance: they each amplify the other. Both processes are also known to impair the immune response that increases susceptibility to viral infections. Insulin resistance and inflammation, though largely asymptomatic, are serious conditions that put you at risk for numerous long-term complications such as neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, heart disease, and, of course, type 2 diabetes.
The increased susceptibility to critical illness with COVID-19 in people with insulin resistance and inflammation highlights just how serious these conditions can be. It is therefore very important to NOT be insulin resistant and to not have higher levels of inflammation.
Markers that suggest that insulin resistance is present to some degree include:
- Fasting blood sugar >90 mg/dl, certainly any values >100 mg/dl
- Fasting insulin >4.0 mIU/L
- HbA1c >5.0%
- Triglycerides >60 mg/dl
- HDL <50 mg/dl
You may notice that my cutoffs are far stricter than conventional measures. But remember: Conventional guidelines are not about health, but are cutoffs used to justify prescription medication. You and I want to know when specific measures need to be addressed for optimal health, an entirely different perspective.
Follow a conventional diet that includes wheat and grains, sugars, excessive omega-6 oils, and additives, and blood sugar goes up, insulin goes up, HbA1c goes up, triglycerides go up, HDL comes down.
Reversing insulin resistance and inflammation is easy: We simply follow the strategies that reverse these phenomena. That is what the Wheat Belly and Undoctored programs accomplish. We follow a diet that no longer adds to insulin resistance/inflammation; address common nutrient deficiencies that develop with modern life that further reverse insulin resistance/inflammation; address bowel flora to reduce endotoxemia that pulls back insulin resistance and inflammation even further. The diet alone causes blood sugar to drop, insulin to drop, HbA1c to drop, triglycerides to drop, HDL to go up, with further improvements on the nutritional supplement program and with efforts to cultivate a healthy microbiome and reduce endotoxemia.
Unfortunately, even taking precautions such as maintaining social distance and frequent hand washing does not guarantee that you do not contract the virus. So do yourself a favor: Do not be insulin resistant and do not cultivate inflammation.