The Link Between Covid-19 and Diabetes Part 2

In Part 1 of this 2 part Covid-19 and Diabetes Series, Dr Faryal Luhar took us through WHY the virus impacts people who are metabolically compromised so much more. In this video (Part 2) she gives us some excellent advice on what we can do to strengthen our bodies metabolically, thus improving our immunity and ability to DEAL with the virus if we DO contract it.

Brilliant and insightful information as always from our favourite Naturopathic Doctor!

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Transcript

In the previous video I’d spoken the association between the severe outcomes of Covid-19 infections in particular with individuals with diabetes, pre-diabetes or very high blood sugar levels also known as hyperglycemia, so please check out that video so that you can appreciate the link between some of these factors such as inflammation, obesity and others in relation to why diabetics are being hit so hard when they do contract the Covid-19 infection.

Today, I’m going to touch on some natural strategies that can be quiet powerful and effective in equipping the body with what it needs to be able to fight the infection, and in particular to also lower blood sugar levels to be able to resolve the inflammation and the ensuing damaging effects, my name is Dr. Faryal Luhar, I’m a naturopathic doctor, so let’s get right into it and start talking about the first thing which is diet.

As mentioned previously inflammation is the driving force underlying this condition, diabetes and you get the double whammy because Covid-19 is also an inflammatory infection and there is the phenomenon of a cytokine storm that can take place because high blood sugar levels are the perfect setting for impaired immune function which then creates this exaggerated influx of inflammatory mediators that cause a lot of damage.

So, when it comes to diet an anti-inflammatory diet is going to be really really important to incorporate in order to keep inflammation levels low, we are talking about things like healthy fats, omega 3s, using oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, using you know different kinds of nutrients that have heathy levels of omega 3 such as raw nuts and seeds, good quality animal protein, wild caught fish, perhaps even taking omega-3 supplement, it has to be a plant centric diet and in particular for diabetics to keep blood sugar levels low and in many cases to all reverse high blood sugar levels something that is more of a high fat low carb diet is most often the best recommendation, there have been studies that show that something like the ketogenic diet has been very powerful in helping diabetics to reverse their condition in many cases.

So, this is going to be important, another really interesting tip that I give my patients is apple cider vinegar where you can consume one teaspoon or table spoon of raw apple cider vinegar in warm water at night, before going to bed and this is going to help to reduce your fasting glucose levels in the morning, taking apple cider vinegar also before meals is a great idea.

When we talk about diabetics one of the things we’ve learnt is that gut health is so critical, so if there’s poor gut health, if there is dysbiosis which is an imbalance of the healthy bacteria and the pathogenic bacteria, this is also going to set up an environment in which it is much easier for a virus to enter the body and take hold, so we need to ensure that we’re eating high fiber foods, fiber which feed the good bacteria, fermentable fibers would be really important here, and the healthy bacteria will then process and digest these carbohydrates and these fibers that can come from vegetables and fruits and things like that, to be able to create something called short chain fatty acids, diabetics tend to be low in short chain fatty acids and so by eating more high fiber foods we can ensure that we’re feeding the healthy bacteria to create these short chain fatty acids, which are actually fuel for the gut lining for the enterocytes, so that we can prevent things like leaky gut and so with the short chain fatty acids these are ketones, butyrate, you may want to consider taking probiotics if needed.

A couple of other tips and strategies around natural medicines and natural supplements are really powerful and more and more emergency room physicians are starting to talk about the benefits of two in particular which are vitamin D and zinc, and so zinc has this wonderful profile because it’s not only a powerful antioxidant which can help to reverse some of the damaging effects of inflammation, but it also helps to keep blood sugar levels down, and one of the double benefits of zinc, in terms of immunity, is that it has been shown to inhibit the replication of the virus, meaning that the virus is halted at the point of being able to reproduce itself inside the host and this is great when we talk about Covid-19.

Vitamin D is another one so I strongly urge everybody to know their vitamin D status cause most of us are deficient anyway, diabetics in particular are quite low in vitamin D, and vitamin D is really important for immune boosting and for cardiovascular health as well, so really important to just get some sun, check your vitamin D levels you want to be somewhere between fifty and eighty, that’s sort of the sweet spot, so there are times when you may need to supplement, with any of these natural medicines or supplements I’m talking about it’s really important to see a doctor or practitioner who will be able to tailor these nutrients according to your specific needs in terms of dosage and strength and quality.

I also do recommend certain natural medicines as like botanicals. Some of them could be as simple as spices that we use in our kitchen, things like turmeric, cinnamon which are also highly anti-inflammatory they also have antioxidant properties, please be sure that you’re using organic versions of these spices, and then among the array of natural plant medicines whether it’s gymnema or bitter melon or many others that we can use, berberine for me is my favorite because again it has a double impact it has been shown in many studies to be as effective as metformin in lowering blood sugar levels, metformin is a common oral hypoglycemic given to diabetics, but berberine also helps to reverse things such as fatty liver, and it has an anti-microbial impact, so again when we talk about immunity it’s going to be great at be able to combat pathogens that are entering the body because it boosts immunity.

Goes without saying that lifestyle has got to play a major role, so getting adequate sleep, ensuring good sleep hygiene good quality sleep is really important, getting some exercises whether it’s walking or yoga or dancing or whatever, makes you feel happy and gives you that boost, it’s important to do on a daily basis, so at least a 20 to 30 minutes a day, and spending time in nature is really important to bring down the stress hormones, cortisol in particular because if stress hormones stay high for a long period of time this is automatically going to deplete immune function and if we have high blood sugar levels on top of that then it just exacerbates the susceptibility to getting infections, so taking walks in nature, spending time around trees, doing grounding types of exercises such as walking on the beach, walking on the grass, these are all going to be really powerful for helping to boost immunity and lower blood sugar levels.

I hope that these tips have been helpful for you, and I thank you for watching, stay safe and do what you need to do to equip your body now with the strategies to be able to deal with the infection rather than waiting until the infection is inside the body and then trying to deal with it.

 

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