17 Jul 2020 Why are blood sugars so important with Covid-19?
There are some fascinating discoveries with Covid-19 and the importance of blood sugars which I have been following closely in the news.
Having spent 10 years in clinic observing blood sugar instability and immune system function, I want to share with you the connections I have made in relation to Covid-19.
Firstly, what are our blood sugars?
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in our blood. When we eat, our blood sugars rise, and our pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin which converts the glucose to glycogen which is stored in the muscles and liver.
When our blood sugars drop, we get a signal to eat, and our body releases adrenaline. It also releases the hormone glucagon from the pancreas, which converts the glycogen back to glucose and release it into the bloodstream. This then causes our blood sugars to rise.
In short, blood sugars is a hormonal process in our bodies that responds to our food and our hunger triggers.
Covid-19 Blood Sugar Connections
- In April 2020, it was identified that Covid-19 behaves like a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. The virus has spikes sticking out of its surface which it uses to enter the human body. These spikes are coated in sugars, known as glycans, which disguise their viral proteins and help them evade the body’s immune system.
- In May 2020, it was revealed that one in four people (26%) who have died in hospital in England following a diagnosis of coronavirus, also had diabetes.
- In June 2020, evidence shows COVID-19 damages insulin-producing cells and can lead to diabetes.
Why is sugar imbalance such a problem with Covid-19?
So these findings show a relationship between blood sugar instability and Covid-19. Lets explore why.
- The western diet is full of sugar. Carbohydrates include dairy, fruit, grains, juices, legumes, beans, vegetables, soda, candy, baked goods and desserts. And we eat these foods in abundance. Evidence shows countries who have a more balanced diet of protein, fat and vegetables have lower instances of Covid-19 deaths
- If someone has had a lifetime of sugar / carbohydrate overload and imbalance, it could struggle with a virus that coats itself in glycans.
- Someone with diabetes or imbalanced blood sugars is slower at responding to infections as their key immune cells struggle to pass through blood. When blood vessels are blocked by sugar, the body can’t get blood around to where the immune cells are needed to fight off the virus.
- Sugar imbalance causes a ‘blood sugar rollercoaster’ which is stressful and inflammatory for the body. A stressed, inflamed system has weaker immune defence.
- Sugar inhibits the immune system for six hours after it is consumed, leaving the body prone to infection and sickness. Long-term high glucose damages the immune system so the immune cells do not work as well.
- The spleen is an important, immune system organ and its partner neighbour organ is the pancreas. Supporting the pancreas has a direct positive knock-on effect to the spleen.
- Viruses thrive on sugar as a source of energy.
- It was crazy to watch shoppers buying the wrong food during the lockdown. To understand what I mean by this click here
What can we do to support our health with Covid-19?
One of the key messages in our work is the importance of balancing blood sugars.
Our 5 important tips for balancing blood sugars include
- Eating a balanced diet of protein (primarily good quality meat, fish, eggs), fats (nuts, seeds, oils) and carbohydrate (the focus being vegetables and fruit)
- Cut out the processed sugar from your diet
- Invest in a good quality magnesium and zinc supplement which are essential for the homeostasis of glucose metabolism
- Keep stress down, adrenaline and cortisol have a direct influence on our blood sugar stability
- Move your body, but not in a stressful way, find something you enjoy. Physical activity is a good way to balance blood sugar.
If you are interested in learning more about your blood sugars, click here
If you are interested in Covid-19 health advice, visit our YouTube channel and dedicated Covid-19 library
And if you are a practitioner or wannabe therapist interested in learning more about nutrition, blood sugar and immune health, visit our Functional Kinesiology college.