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Vaccinate—but also, focus on nutrition

It’s time to admit that nutrition can play a powerful role in the fight against COVID-19. Todd Runestad | Apr 26, 2021 It’s been a year since the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) roared into the world, affecting humans everywhere with the COVID-19 disease. Amid the awful death and dislocation from COVID-19, we have learned much. We have learned about disease progression—and survival. We surely have learned to pivot our businesses, how to Zoom and how much we dearly love personal interaction. With vaccines rolling out, hugging the world is tantalizingly close. But the biggest lesson of all is staring us in the face—if we have the wisdom to see it, the courage to speak it. Among the key learnings is that the underlying health state of people matters. Those with underlying comorbidities—ranging from obesity and diabetes to cardiovascular conditions like hypertension—all seem to suffer worse outcomes. What those big three conditions all have in common is they all have roots in dietary intake. That is to say, nutrition matters. “Could the pandemic be a massive global litmus test that reveals how truly sick the human race is?” said Tim Avila, founder and president of Systems Bioscience, a consultancy that applies systems biology to consumer goods and services companies in the nutrition world. “I’m dead serious. We are generally deficient in DHA, bifidos, in vitamin D. You can make the case for zinc and others. It’s revealing just how nutrition-poor we all are. It’s crazy. “Before you vaccinate, why not nutritionate?” There’s the rub that every natural products retailer understands in her bones. Even consumers across America understand it on some level—witness that surge in sales of supplements, the spike in sales of immunity-supporting products. In general, we all know that nutrition matters. Rockstar nutritionist Mark Hyman, M.D., a New York Times bestselling author and chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, recently posted about the currently grim reality. “Poor diet is responsible for almost 700,000 deaths in the U.S. each year—and 11 million worldwide,” wrote Hyman. “And the average American consumes 55 pounds of added sugar each year, which we know is a major contributor toward the diabesity epidemic.” Nutrition researchers knew it even at the outset of COVID-19. In May of 2020, researchers published a paper concluding that, even absent any sort of cure for COVID-19, "it is clear that nutritional status plays a significant role in patient outcomes." They noted that, in addition to the social isolation and mitigation measures undertaken by societies around the world, "special attention" should be given to maintaining a healthy immune system, maintaining a healthy diet, lifestyle, exercise regime and minimal stress. They also noted that, particularly among elderly populations, there is a well-known deficiency in micronutrients such as calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate and zinc—and special attention should also be paid to vitamin A, selenium and various probiotics and nutraceuticals such as glutathione and N-acetyl-cysteine. But it’s more than that even. With COVID-19, we have close to 600,000 dead in the U.S. and 3 million worldwide. Shouldn’t we be sounding the alarm for poor diet’s role in death, dislocation and heartache? Another curious aspect of COVID-19 is the apparent racial disparity with the disease. That is, Blacks and Latinx people tend to fare worse than white people. But is it really about skin color, or is it the melanin-induced difference in how we uptake the sunshine vitamin? Not coincidentally, an incredible 82% of Blacks are deficient in vitamin D. So are 63% of Latinx. Compare that to a relatively paltry (yet still significant) 31% of whites. Can vitamin D deficiency also be considered a COVID-19 co-morbidity? It appears so. Vitamin D could be so important that the wintertime should not so much be considered the “cold and flu season” so much as the “vitamin D deficiency season.” And vitamin D has been found to be the most important nutraceutical in preventing, curing and treating aspects of COVID-19. (To be sure, other variables are at work. One online study found minority populations tended to live in greater poverty with limited access to social services, and were more likely to have underlying medical conditions—comorbidities—that make them more vulnerable. Another online survey found Blacks and Latinx were less likely to correctly answer 14 COVID-19 knowledge questions compared to Asian and white Americans, which could also play a role in disease prevention. All these things might matter, but we’re not epidemiologists here, we’re nutritionists!) And we can’t underestimate the undeniable power of positive nutrition on a person’s health and wellness—and how that can contribute to a resilience that can strengthen one’s constitution and lead to better outcomes as it relates to COVID-19. “Everyone is talking about risk factors. Insulin resistance. Hyperlipidemia has compelling impact on immune regulation.

Reference : New Hope