A study across six countries involving frontliners shows that a plant-based diet can help lower the odds of developing moderate to severe Covid-19 infection.
Researchers found that a plant-based diet may lessen the severity of Covid-19 infection by 73%. The same study, published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health, suggests that a plant-based diet with fish included could lower the severity by 59%.
They define plant-based diets as “dietary patterns that are high in plant foods and low in animal products”.
The researchers, led by Dr Sara B Seidelmann of Stamford Hospital, Greenwich, US, wanted to find out if and how diet affects the disease.
They drew on a survey of 2,884 frontline doctors and nurses with extensive exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19 infection, working in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US. It was based on a 47-item food frequency (over the past year) questionnaire and the severity of any Covid-19 infections they had had. Men outnumbered women in the study.
Using 568 Covid-19 cases and 2,316 controls, they found that 138 of the 568 cases had moderate-to-severe Covid-19 severity while 430 had very mild to mild severity.
After considering other factors – including age, sex, race, medical history and BMI – the researchers found that participants who reported following “plant-based diets” and “plant-based diets or pescatarian diets” had 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate-to-severe Covid-19 severity respectively compared with participants who did not follow these diets.
“Compared with participants who reported following ‘plant-based diets’, those who reported following ‘low carbohydrate, high protein diets’ had greater odds (48%) of moderate-to-severe Covid-19.”
Among Covid-19 cases, they say, those who reported following plant-based diets consumed more vegetables, plant proteins (legumes and nuts), and less poultry, red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and alcohol compared with those who did not follow plant-based diets.
“Similarly, individuals who reported following a ‘plant-based diet or pescatarian diet’ consumed more vegetables, legumes and nuts and less poultry and red and processed meats compared with those who did not follow either of this dietary patterns. Qualitatively, fish and seafood intake was slightly higher among individuals who reported following a ‘plant-based diet or pescatarian diet’ (3.0 times/week) than those following a plant-based diet (2.5 times per week).”
When the researchers restricted cases to those with a positive PCR or antibody test, individuals who reported following plant-based diets or pescatarian diets had lower odds of Covid-19 infection.
They conclude: “Our results suggest that a healthy diet rich in nutrient-dense foods may be considered for protection against severe Covid-19.”
If a plant-based diet can lessen the severity of Covid-19, wouldn’t a vegetarian or vegan diet be even more effective? I hope someone does a study on this.
I hope our health authorities also pay attention to such studies in the prevention and control of Covid-19 and not just concentrate on vaccinations.
In fact, health authorities, if they are sensible, would recommend a plant-based diet to everyone. Numerous studies extol the virtues of a plant-based diet in the prevention of all sorts of diseases and in maintaining general health.
I would strongly urge the health authorities to run a campaign encouraging people to turn to a plant-based diet. It doesn’t cost much but will save millions if not billions of ringgit in healthcare costs if the overall health of the population improves.
You don’t need large allocations of money for this, so leakages and opportunities for corruption will be lower.
Hmm.. could this be one reason why “cheap” but effective measures or projects – not just in healthcare but in other areas too – are rarely promoted?
Watch your kidneys
If you have been infected with Covid-19, you have to take care of your kidneys, says a study led by professor Oliver Gross, department of nephrology and rheumatology at Göttingen University Medical Center, Germany.
The researchers say the virus targets the kidneys and that the kidneys are affected very early in the course of the disease.
The researchers, who screened 223 patients, say early urinary changes – easily detectable using test strips – indicate a more severe Covid-19 course. “When combined as a predictive system (urine and serum markers), it was possible to predict outcomes.”
What happens in the kidney is a predictive marker for the course of Covid-19. It is also a very important risk factor for mortality.
The most important conclusion drawn by Gross: “The kidney must be at the centre of Covid-19 aftercare, in addition to the lungs, the heart and the nervous system. This is all the more important because early treatment can halt the loss of kidney function and in recent years, especially, some new, effective therapies such as SGLT-2 inhibitors have been launched on the market to meet that need.
“Nowadays, the need for dialysis can often be delayed for years, even decades, if treatment is rigorously provided from the outset. Given that kidney disease does not produce symptoms until very late, we would like to make people who have had Covid-19 disease aware of the possibility of long-term consequences on the kidneys.”
So, I urge those who have suffered from Covid-19 to see their doctors for regular checks, especially of their kidneys.
A group of medical and scientific experts calling themselves the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) says that the drug Ivermectin is “highly effective” in the treatment of Covid-19.
“Our latest research shows, once again, that when the totality of the evidence is examined, there is no doubt that Ivermectin is highly effective as a safe prophylaxis and treatment for Covid-19,” says Dr Paul E Marik, a founding member of the FLCCC and head of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in the US.
“We can no longer rely on many of the larger health authorities to make an honest examination of the medical and scientific evidence. So, we are calling on regional public health authorities and medical professionals around the world to demand that Ivermectin be included in their standard of care right away so we can end this pandemic once and for all,” he argues in the American Journal of Therapeutics.
The researchers reviewed published peer-reviewed studies, manuscripts, expert meta-analyses, and epidemiological analyses of regions with Ivermectin distribution. They focused on the 27 controlled trials available in January 2021, 15 of which were randomised controlled trials (RCTs), the preferred trial of the World Health Organization, US National Institutes of Health, and the European Medicines Agency.
They report that consistent with numerous meta-analyses of Ivermectin RCTs since published by expert panels from the UK, Italy, Spain, and Japan, they found “large, statistically significant reduction in mortality, time to recovery and viral clearance in Covid-19 patients treated with Ivermectin”.
They say: “To evaluate the efficacy of Ivermectin in preventing Covid-19, 3 RCTs and 5 observational controlled trials including almost 2,500 patients all reported that Ivermectin significantly reduces the risk of contracting Covid-19 when used regularly.”
Malaysia has just instituted clinical trials to study the efficacy of Ivermectin for high-risk Covid-19 patients at 12 government hospitals.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on June 6 that the trial was approved by the ministry’s Medical Research and Ethics Committee on May 25. The study will involve 500 subjects from high-risk groups aged 50 years and above admitted to government hospitals with mild or moderate Covid-19 symptoms.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT
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