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Could the keto diet help mitigate severe COVID-19?

Keto diet COVID

As you already know, some groups of people are more likely to get severe complications from coronavirus. These groups include people with heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems and, of course, people of older age. 

Their immune systems are weak. However, people who do not have any diseases, but have a compromised immune system are at higher risk too.

There is still no information whether the ketogenic diet can protect us from coronavirus, but what we know for sure is that a strong immune system can help combat viruses more effective and recover from COVID-19 faster. We also know that the keto diet can boost your immune system in some ways. As an example, it can reverse type 2 diabetes.

In this article, I would like to explain why the keto diet is good and how it can benefit your immune system.

Keto diet COVID

Who is at higher risk for severe COVID-19?

This virus does not affect everyone in the same way. Some people don’t have any symptoms at all, while others are more likely to get severe pneumonia and be hospitalized. There are many complications, which can be caused by the virus and sometimes they are fatal.

The first risk factor is age. As the Chinese data shows, most of the patients who died were over 70 years old. Those who were in critical condition had the following diseases: cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes. These groups are advised to avoid social contacts as much as possible.

Other conditions, which compromise the immune system and increase the risk for severe COVID-19 illness are Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDs), Lymphohematogenous malignancy (LHMs).

Ways the ketogenic diet benefits your immune system

Nowadays it is very important to support the immune system. You should get enough sleep and eat healthy food. A diet cannot protect you from the infection, but it can make your body and immunity stronger.

Below you can find five ways the keto diet can improve your immune system:

It fights diabetes

As mentioned before, people with diabetes are more likely to get complications from the virus. Though there are many studies, which show that the keto diet helps people with type 2 diabetes lower both blood sugar and blood pressure. Consequently, it improves the immune system too. However, it is still unknown how this applies to coronavirus.

It reduces inflammations

Carbs and sugar can cause inflammation. When you follow the Keto diet, you remove the majority of them from your daily ration. In addition, your liver burns fat and produces ketones. One of them is the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which may help limit inflammation.

Inflammation is a sign of immune activity. This activity is supposed to identify and destroy infection, but sometimes it goes out of control and can harm cells. BHB may modify the inflammatory response and mitigate such a problem. 

Keto diet COVID

It improves gut health

If you maintain your gut health, it will help you minimize inflammations. If you have a leaky gut, then food particles and bacteria slip through the intestines. Your immune system starts to attack them and it is not healthy.

A study published in Cell in 2019 shows that the Keto diet may help. It says that a high level of ketones stimulated stem cells production (which help heal your gut) in mice. The Keto diet also prevents the spread of pathogenic gut bacteria, as they don’t get enough sugar.

It reduces flu severity (in mice)

The Journal of Immunology did research in 2019 and found out that the Keto diet protected some mice from the H1N1 influenza. Half of them ate a lot of carbs and half of them had a low carb diet. Then all of them were infected with the flu and after several days only half of the keto mice were still alive.

According to the research, the keto mice survived because of the active gamma-delta T immune cells, which helped prevent the virus spread.

It increases autophagy

Autophagy is a natural mechanism; your body just removes damaged cells and replaces them with new ones. It literally means “self-eating”, but it is actually a very good thing.

Ketogenic diets are known to trigger autophagy. Also, it is a common practice on Keto diet to skip breakfast or dinner sometimes. So, it is like fasting, which also improves autophagy and consequently, boosts your immune system.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only. You shouldn’t consider it as medical advice or recommendation to go on Keto diet to treat coronavirus. I would like to remind you that you should always do your own research and consult with a doctor before starting any diet. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus is to follow all the precautions.

Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur, fintecher, investor, blogger and author based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and NZ FSPR (Financial Service Provider Register) Approved Person and has great experience as director of regulated companies.
He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their lives. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He is Member of Institute of Directors in London, Member of Changer Club in Riga, Member of Fintech Association of Hong Kong, Member of Singapore Fintech Association, Member of Non Executive Director Association in London and Member of Alumni Network of Draper University in San Francisco. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.

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