Metabolic Health and COVID-19

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We are only just beginning to guess why insulin resistance allows the novel coronavirus to be so damaging. We know that insulin resistance leads to chronic inflammation, and that it otherwise impairs our immune response in myriad ways. In the insulin resistant body, fat cells are overstuffed, and they spill fat into the bloodstream. Fat accumulates in our lymph, thymus and bone marrow important tissues of the immune system. The fat alters the activity and distribution of leukocytes, lymphocytes and T-cells, significantly weakening our immune response. Leptin resistance, adiponectin deficiency and low HDL-cholesterol, all associated with obesity and insulin resistance, also inhibit the immune system in diverse ways.

High blood sugar, a common symptom of insulin resistance and the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes, impairs the immune system in many other ways. The link between diabetes and COVID-19 is already well-established, and people with diabetes were at much higher risk of death in the previous SARS and MERS coronavirus epidemics.

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