Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
While reading about the great effects of coffee, I came across a new study that stated 3 cups of coffee (caffeinated) per day protects the liver. It went on to note that 74% of the people in that study were overweight.
I thought that was interesting. I wondered why.
Turns out that 74% of people in America are OVERWEIGHT, so that’s average! Adding to the stats, 42% of Americans are OBESE (which means their BMI is over 30).
Note: the healthiest countries in the world are Japan, Switzerland, Spain, and Italy. That is because their obesity rate is much lower than ours.
I started thinking about this. Those countries aren’t having the problems with Covid-19 that we are!
The Dangers Of Being Obese
There’s no doubt about it, OBESITY is the major risk factor for getting sick with Covid. Even being overweight increases your risk. So, let’s talk about it…
In a journal called Obesity Reviews, multiple studies took 400,000 Americans and showed that if you’re obese you are:
- 113% more likely to be hospitalized with Covid
- 74% more likely to go to the ICU with Covid
- 48% more likely to die with Covid
Note: if you have a BMI of over 40, there is a 92% higher risk of dying with Covid.
Younger people who are not doing well with Covid are usually morbidly obese, or have another coexisting comorbidity. There are, of course, outliers.
Obesity And Immune Systems
It turns out the obese have impaired immunity. Fat cells infiltrate the organs where the immune cells are produced and stored. Organs like your spleen, bone marrow, and your thymus.
Turns out the fat replaces immune tissue, and the immune cells are less effective.
T-Cells don’t function as well in obese people. The memory t-cells are also decreased so that future attacks of covid and other viruses are more likely.
I’ll give you an example. If you’re vaccinated with the Flu Vaccine and obese, you’re twice as likely to get the Flu as vaccinated people who are not obese.
Another reason people who are obese have more problems with Covid is they have more inflammation. Fat cells secrete cytokines, which are messengers that increase inflammation. They also bring in macrophages that come in and try to clean out the fat cells. Both cytokines and macrophages are found in abundance in Covid lungs.
Obese people are also more likely to clot their blood more easily. What usually kills covid patients is blood clots to your lungs.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has reported that 2.2 million of the 2.5 million covid deaths worldwide occurred in countries where half the population was overweight. This means that covid deaths are 10 times higher in these countries with more obese people.
Look at Vietnam, a country with one of the lowest death rates from Covid. Only 18% of their people are overweight.
Even a CDC study that came out said that 78% of hospitalized patients, on a vent and dying, were overweight.
What Is Considered Overweight?
A man that is 5’10 and weighs 175 pounds is classified as overweight.
A woman that is 5’4 and weighs 146 pounds is classified as overweight.
That’s remarkable because even these overweight, but not yet obese people, are at risk.
This is significant!
Covid-19 And Culture
Another factor is the cultural effects of Covid. It’s killing more African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans because there is more obesity in those demographics. Also, a lot lower Vitamin D levels in those demographics.
Note: one reason that women are dying less frequently than men may be that they are taking Vitamin D for prevention of Osteoporosis.
Vitamin D And Weight Loss
Taking Vitamin D is going to reduce risk factors for getting and dying of Covid ( Vitamin D with K for people over 40). It’s cheap. It’s safe. It works.
You need to check your Vitamin D levels. I like to see them at 60,80, and even 100.
We need to focus on this! This is in our control! Taking Vitamin D is a simple solution.
The obesity problem is much more complex. It’s your metabolism, hormones, genetics, psychology, nutrition, etc.
Note: Obesity has nothing to do with laziness. It’s a metabolic disease that needs to be evaluated and treated.
Treating obesity is the main reason I started Performance Medicine many years ago.
As a traditional doctor in a traditional setting, I was putting patients on too many medications and wasn’t getting to the root cause of the problem, OBESITY.
And think about all the other problems obesity often causes:
- Heart Disease
- Sleep Apnea
- Sudden death
Bottom line, we need to help people reach their optimal, healthy weight.
Remember that even a mild reduction in weight has an enormous positive effect on your health!