Many of us have a few extra pounds that we’d like to get rid of. Besides looking better, we know that it’s healthier for us to be in shape, but we usually associate being overweight with longer term health issues like diabetes or heart disease. But did you know that obesity and high blood sugar can also have a big impact on your immunity? These days with everyone focused on doing everything they can to avoid getting sick, our owner Keri Sutton, RN, MSN, ANP-C, AGPCNP-BC advises us to make some lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy weight.
In the United States, more than 2 in 3 adults (70.2 percent) are considered to be overweight or have obesity. The prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents is 18.5%, affecting about 13.7 million. From 2000 to 2018, the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity were marked increased in both adults and children. Becoming overweight is a major risk factor for developing diabetes and heart disease. Sadly, most Americans have some form of blood sugar imbalance and don’t know it. A staggering 90% of diabetics are overweight or obese.
Elevated blood sugars also have a profound impact on our immune systems. Neutrophils are one part of the immune system. A research study was carried out to observe how simple carbohydrates decreased the phagocytic capacity of neutrophils. Participants were given 100g oral portions of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or orange juice to observe the effects on the activity of neutrophils.
Immediately after consuming simple carbohydrates (approximately one to two hours), there was a significant decrease in the phagocytic index, which means the immune function of phagocytes was suppressed. The effects lasted up to five hours post-feeding, confirming that the function of phagocytes was impaired by the consumption of simple carbohydrates. It is important to remember that what we are eating and drinking is dramatically affecting our body’s ability to fight viruses, bacteria and other pathogens and medical weight loss in Springfield Missouri could increase your chances to avoid getting sick.
When you are infected with a pathogen, your health influences how you will be affected by the pathogen. Particularly, what you eat influences how your body will respond. 7000 individuals studied with COVID-19 indicated survival rates were reduced in those with high blood sugars. Poor glycemic control also resulted in increased severity of disease, increased need for mechanical ventilation and increased length of hospital stay.
There have been many studies conducted over the years that conclude time restricted feeding increases overall immune system function and decreases inflammation. Time restricted feeding could be done by compressing the feeding window such as a 16/8 hour intermittent fast or eating one meal a day (OMAD).
I love doing 16 hour intermittent fasting several times per week. My thinking is much clearer and my energy level is much better than if I had eaten. I have also been doing a 24 hour fast every Monday since COVID-19 began. 24 hour fasts increase your body’s ability to “take out the cellular garbage” through a process called autophagy. It’s a great way to kick-start the week.
Fasting also reduces waist circumference, decreases triglycerides, fatty liver markers, blood sugar, and improves overall metabolic flexibility. Metabolic syndrome is a common problem among Americans. High triglycerides, increased adipose tissue and waist circumference, hypertension and elevated blood sugars are the characteristics of metabolic syndrome or inflexibility. 30% of “skinny people” are actually fat on the inside. This used to be me.
It is important to know and regularly monitor your metabolic state. This can be easily assessed by measuring blood sugar, insulin level, triglycerides, and liver markers in your blood. We recommend our patients have this routine blood work every 3-6 months. If you haven’t had blood work done recently, now is the time to schedule this with our office or your normal provider.
If you’re ready to get in better shape to help bolster your immune system, contact our office to see if our medical weight loss programs are the best way to lose weight to improve your health and avoid getting sick.