Have you wondered why COVID-19 hasn’t torn through our homeless population?
No, you probably have a life, and have not spent hours over the last few weeks learning about epidemiology. But I have watched all the shows that I ever wanted to watch and there are no sports on at all. So I read and think a lot about COVID-19. I try to keep an open mind, ask questions and learn from the available data as it comes out. One of those questions was about how little effect COVID-19 was having on the homeless population. Aren’t they really at risk for serious complications? If the virus is so bad why aren’t they dropping like flies?
A new study came out about a homeless shelter in Boston where they tested 390 homeless people and found about half of them tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. None of them had symptoms. So half of the homeless people tested in this shelter had an asymptomatic case of COVID-19. Small sample size but pretty crazy. Why aren’t they getting sick and developing complications? Why do some people get complications and some people don’t? What is the mechanism that triggers or leads to the serious complications from COVID-19? What patient population is developing serious complications? What is the difference between them and the homeless?
We know type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity make you much more likely to have a serious complication to COVID-19. Most deaths from COVID-19 are from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which attacks the lower lung. ARDS can progress to acute pneumonia, then to intubation, a ventilator and in the worst case death. What do those 3 conditions (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity) have in common that would make ARDS more likely to occur in a patient? The best answer I could find was from Dr. Ron Rosedale MD. Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are diseases where the patients have high blood levels of both insulin and leptin. High levels of insulin and leptin will dysregulate your immune system. If your immune system is not functioning right, wounds do not heal and you do not recover from illnesses.
Leptin is a cytokine.
Cytokines are heavily involved in local immune responses. Too many in one area and you get a hyper immune response or cytokine storm. Cytokine storm in the lungs leads to ARDS. High levels of leptin would in theory make it more likely for a patient to develop ARDS which is the life threatening complication of COVID-19. What does any of that have to do with homeless people? We know homeless people typically eat one or two meals a day and frequently go a day or two days a month without eating. Which oddly enough is a great way to eat if your goal is to have really low blood levels of insulin and leptin.
Does this prove anything?
No, correlation is not causation, just because one patient cohort has high insulin, high leptin, and high complications and the other one has low levels and low complications. It is way too early to tell, fascinating, but too early to tell. Do I think keeping your leptin and insulin blood levels down is a really good idea? Yes. Do I think in the future high levels of leptin and insulin will be proven to be a risk factor for complications to COVID-19. Speculating, but yes I do. We do not know currently and that’s the thing with COVID-19 all the unknowns.
So here is our plan to keep your blood levels of insulin and leptin in the normal range.
Which is a super healthy thing to do and it might lower your risk of complications from COVID-19. This should also help you lean out and will look eerily like what we have been telling you all along.
- Eat less than 80 grams of carbs 5 days a week.
- Eat one or 2 times a day in a time restricted window 5 days a week
- Once or twice a month go 24 hours without eating (For example eat dinner early on Sunday 4 or 5 pm and then do not eat again until monday at 4 or 5pm)
A simple way to get your insulin and leptin sky high is to graze on carbs all day every day. That is also a great way to get type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
I know it can be a struggle. Easter week was a disaster for me but I got right back to it this week. We only need to win three weeks out of the month to win the month.
- They are opening up the beaches on Tuesday.
- Life is going to go back to normal.
- Stay strong if only for the comfort of those around you.
- Thank You Dr Chris Steidinger
Here is some of the source material I used to compile my post.
What is Cytokine Storm and why is so deadly to COVID-19 patients
Podcast with Dr Ron Rosedale MD
Boston Homeless Shelter COVID-19 Antibody Results