Great overview of COVID-19 by Dr. Greger. Well cited. While he promotes plant-based eating, his synopsis here wasn’t too focused on diet, which I appreciated.
Takeaways from My Webinar on COVID-19, Michael Greger M.D. FACLM, Nutrition Facts, 16 April 2020
I liked this section:
How to Treat COVID-19
- Presently, there is no specific proven therapy for COVID-19.
- Although there are more than 400 clinical treatment trials underway, we should not expect an effective antiviral drug or vaccine anytime soon.
- I support commonsense advice to stay healthy during the crisis, as recommended by trusted authorities such as the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and the World Health Organization, including getting sufficient sleep (seven to nine hours), reducing stress, keeping active, staying connected (remotely) to friends and family, and eating healthfully (a diet centered around whole plant foods).
- Given our near-total ignorance of the immunological aspects of COVID-19, I will not jump on the snake-oily spamwagon to promote foods to boost immunity. We just don’t know if enhancing specific arms of the immune system could make things even worse.
- There is an assumption that seniors are more susceptible to serious COVID-19 courses due to their waning, aging immune systems, but that may not be correct. Similarly, though young children, with their relatively immature immune systems, typically suffer disproportionally from infections such as the flu, that doesn’t appear to be with the case with COVID-19 (or SARS or MERS). Likewise, immunosuppressed patients may not be at greater risk of severe complications from COVID-19, although they normally are from respiratory viruses.
- Our own immune response may be the primary driver of damage to the lungs during coronavirus infection—somewhat akin to an autoimmune reaction where the body over-reacts and the lungs get caught in the crossfire as the coronavirus is attacked.
I don’t like the phrase “boost immunity” in this infographic. What does that mean? As Greger says, “boosting” or “enhancing a specific arm of the immune system” may even be counterproductive. All we’re doing by staying healthy is nurturing and protecting a (complex!) immune system we already possess.
I didn’t know that stress suppresses the immune system!