Nutrition & Physical Activity May Modify Covid-19 Risk


With the surge of the Delta Covid-19 variant, the world has a new pathogen enemy among us – the hidden villain that spares no one, especially those unvaccinated. What began in Wuhan, China in December of 2019 and declared in March of 2020 a pandemic, Covid-19, the disease spawned by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has transformed life as we know it. It’s here to stay in some form or another.

The effects of lockdowns, the use of protective masks, social distancing, and more has had a direct impact on an individual’s nutrition status and movement pattern.

A person’s susceptibility to Covid-19 has as much to do with their nutrition status, as it does to any comorbidities on board, such as obesity, hypertension, pulmonary dysfunction, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

 Researchers, from Spain, Columbia, and Greece, used a narrative review, “with the aim of collecting published literature and articles regarding dietary patterns, body composition, nutritional deficiencies, vitamin interventions, and physical activity in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The study – Nutrition in the Actual Covid-19 Pandemic. A Narrative Review – which appeared in the June online issue of Nutrients, found that the COVID-19 lockdown promoted unhealthy dietary changes and increases in body weight of the population, showing obesity and low physical activity levels, as increased risk factors of COVID-19 affection and physiopathology.”

What’s more, “hospitalized COVID-19 patients presented malnutrition and deficiencies in vitamin C, vitamin D, B12, selenium, iron, omega-3, and medium and long-chain fatty acids, highlighting the potential health effect of vitamin C and D interventions.”

The search methods, from February 1st, 2020, through April 13th, 2021, included PubMed, Embase, SciELO, Science Direct Scopus, and Web of Science, employing MeSH-compliant keywords including, COVID-19, Coronavirus 2019, SARS-CoV-2, 2019-nCoV, Nutrition, Diet, Dietary Patterns, Body Compositions, Vitamins, Nutritional, Immunology, Physical Condition, and Physical activity.

Here’s the summary of the findings, as noted in the narrative review of the data base:

The COVID-19 lockdown promoted unhealthy dietary changes (inactivity, daily intake, snacks, alcohol), increasing body mass and fat, and showing obesity-overweight people poor diet habits.

Obesity is a risk factor for COVID-19.

A healthy balanced diet is an integral part of personal risk management.

Vitamins C and D improve health-related outcomes in COVID-patients.

Sufficient vitamin intake and an active lifestyle are strongly recommended as a preventive measure to the general population.

There is a large prevalence of malnutrition among hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Nutritional support and rehabilitation exercise are needed to avoid muscle atrophy and sarcopenia in COVID-19 hospitalized patients. They should be considered as an integral part of the therapeutic approach.

Deficient states of vitamin C, D, B12 selenium, iron, ω-3, and medium and long-chain fatty acids increase the probability of hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19.

The gut microbiome profile is altered due to COVID-19, being involved in the magnitude of COVID-19 severity via modulating host immune responses.

A healthy gut microbiome serves as a preventive and protective factor, appropriate nutrition and probiotics are good strategies for its enhancement.

Active lifestyle and physical activity allow a lower risk, and mortality rate in COVID-19 patients, due to its positive effect on metabolic health and inflammation.

The reviewers were quick to point out that more research of this evolving disease and its variants is needed relative to the impact of nutrition and other lifestyle modifications consistent with risk stratification.

Interested in Listening to a Podcast? Check out Maximum Wellness, Episode 111: Nutritional Factors Modify Risk of Covid-19 Infection