What's Your COVID Risk?
If you're ageing / overweight or both (a lot of people are in this boat) it’s hard to know what action to take - but here’s a good start:
Definitely don’t take the ‘sit around waiting for a vaccine or medication’ approach!
One of the big reasons we’re in such a bad way is that we’ve been conditioned to hand over almost total responsibility for our health to the medical system (bad idea!) There is no guarantee any suitable vaccine or treatment will become available before you have to fight this thing.
Remember, our body has amazing built-in design features for fighting infections (hence we’re seeing most people handle Covid like a common cold), & there are many ways we can support it. The most important of which is - keep it in generally good condition! Some more detail on that here: Raising Your Vital Force
Your best defence against covid is to be proactive. Find out what’s going on within, get your body into better shape, & then you can stop stressing so much! (Prolonged stress compromises immunity & makes you more vulnerable to everything!) Imagine if EVERYONE decided to make an effort here - we could drastically decrease the global percentage of high risk folks within months. Annoying pandemic over, just another circulating bug we have to be aware of / get used to (& an awesome incentive to take ongoing good care of ourselves!)
Covid Risk Tests:
Here’s a few things you can get tested for - to help figure out in more detail what your level of risk may be, & then start taking some action! (Note - if your area is currently high risk, & you're ageing &/or overweight, don’t arrange any testing - just assume all of these need attention. If your area is currently low risk, book in to see your GP, & tell them you’d like the following blood tests done to see how your body is going generally. If you see a GP regularly you may already have had some of these tested recently (ask if everything was ok / what was outside of normal range, or just get a new test taken).
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Vit D
- Homocysteine & vitamin B12
- C-Reactive Protein
How Are These Tests Relevant to Covid Risk?
This will give an indication of how your blood glucose levels have been tracking over the past few months (or how out of control it is!) People with poorly controlled blood sugar are hit much harder with Covid (wether diagnosed with diabetes or not). If your blood glucose is often high / poorly controlled, covid infections (& others) will be more severe for you. There are many, many people in Australia walking around with no idea they even have this risk factor. And it’s usually pretty easy to reverse, with some changes to diet & lifestyle! (Yay!)
*If you can’t get tested: start doing some weight bearing / resistance / strength training exercise, every day or at least 3x a week. Does not need to be time consuming, the aim is to get your muscles working & building. And stick to a low carb diet. If you do mess up & have a binge on sweets, go for a walk afterwards, or do your weights.
Vitamin D is needed for proper immune function, has direct anti-viral activity & is also involved in blood sugar metabolism & control of inflammation. Risk of upper respiratory tract infections (covid & others) goes up with poor vitamin D status - a very common deficiency, even in sunny Australia. Monitoring your D level is especially important if you have darker skin (deficiency is more common). Elderly people are also at higher risk, especially if mobility is poor & not getting outside a lot. End of winter = most important time of year to monitor / improve vitamin D levels.
*if you can’t get tested, start taking a vit D supplement daily, & / or spend time in the sun with as much bare skin as you can for 10mins or so a day, when the sun is at it’s strongest. (Don’t get burnt, timing will vary for skin types, you want glow not burn!)
Another very common deficiency, zinc is needed for healthy innate & acquired immune function & has direct antiviral effects too (so if you are deficient, great to use lozenges to supplement with). You can get many with the Zinc & C immune combo.
Homocysteine & Vitamin B12:
Elevated homocysteine is both a cardiovascular & Covid risk factor (much of the damage done with severe covid is due to excessive blood clotting). Most people are not routinely tested to see what their levels are, though this is likely to change soon. You can be seemingly very healthy, but with undetected high homocysteine, it means that your blood vessels are much more likely to become damaged & inflamed, & that your blood is more prone to forming clots, which means a worse Covid outcome is possible (not to mention your ongoing risk of stroke, heart attack, DVT etc is elevated!)
*If your B12 levels are also low, then with your health professional’s approval, start taking a sublingual methylcobalamin supplement, 1000mcg per day, as it can often correct the raised homocysteine too. Retest levels of both in a month or so to see if there’s been improvements. Low B12 & elevated homocysteine are extremely common in the elderly (poor diet & appetite, impaired digestion & absorption, some medications including PPI's & metformin). Dementia can often be helped by B12 supplementation too (patients should be checked). High alcohol consumption will also raise homocysteine - lockdown bingers beware!
CRP (C-Reactive Protein):
Produced by your liver when you have inflammation going on in the body (could be from many possible causes), chronic high background CRP levels can sometimes indicate blood vessel inflammation & an increased risk of clotting. Chronically inflamed blood vessels mean you’re at higher risk not only of heart disease & stroke, but also may mean higher risk of severe Covid.
Note: Not all cases of high CRP means blood vessel inflammation, it could mean you have an infection, or an autoimmune process going on, or something else. But it’s an easy test to add / could provide some useful insight.
Inflammation, Blood Vessel Health, Blood Glucose:
These blood tests can help ascertain whether your baseline levels of inflammation, blood glucose & blood vessel health need attention. These factors can be tested & then addressed if you want to make sure your version of Covid is as mild as possible, and they’re valuable for any ageing or overweight person regardless. Remember - this bug can affect you like a common cold, or it can be severe - you'll have to fight it at some point & you can be in control of it (to some degree) by making diet & lifestyle changes.
Gut Microbiome Analysis:
What’s happening in your gut can either be making your system more inflamed or less inflamed. The balance of microbes living inside you & the health of your gut barrier also strongly influence your immune system.
The gut microbiome is a part of your body you can easily modify with diet & lifestyle, & you can make an impact within days! Inflammatory chemicals like cytokines & IL-6 are involved with serious Covid infections. These can be decreased by taking good care of your gut, making sure it’s not a continual source of systemic inflammation & a drain on your immune system.
Your gut (when fed the right food) can actually produce anti-inflammatory substances for you! Fermentable fibre being continually broken down by certain microbes in your bowel is like having your own internal anti-inflammatory factory. You can actually now test your gut microbiome’s capacity to produce many beneficial or harmful substances, with a microbiome test from Microba.
Order Your Gut Microbiome Test Kit Here: https://orders.microba.com/?ref=REFJM6DXMN6
Here are some links to research that may help further explain the relevance of these tests for determining Cov19 risk. (Note - most of this is very early stage research, nothing is at all certain - it’s all just information that I hope will help with your own further research & decision-making)!
Always take the advice of your healthcare team over any blog post, & when it comes to your health always ask for a second, third & even fourth opinion whenever you don’t feel comfortable! COVID-19 health advice will continue to change constantly - this info may become irrelevant with time, but I hope it helps for now!
Immunological Effects of Vitamin D on Human Health & Diseasehttps://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/7/2097/htm
Some more reading:
Always love to hear your thoughts or see research you've found - email me anytime.