Real COVID prevention means addressing the obesity and chronic disease epidemic, but the feds don’t have a clue.
COVID has killed more than 750,000 Americans and caused more than three million hospitalizations. Yet the virus is not an indiscriminate killer. We know that people with underlying conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are far more likely to experience the worst effects of COVID if they become infected. Addressing the chronic disease epidemic would take us a long way in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government is totally lost on this point. Part of this plan should be to make dietary supplements more available to Americans, which is accomplished by new federal legislation—we must support it.
The numbers paint a clear picture. More than 42 percent of American adults had obesity before the pandemic began, and three quarters of adults are overweight or obese; one in five children now have obesity. Researchers estimate that two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations were related to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. The pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have worsened obesity rates in both adults and children.
What’s conspicuously lacking in the US response to COVID is any acknowledgement or attempt to address the virus using nutritional strategies that are well supported by the science. Consider that, according to the government’s own figures, millions of Americans are deficient in a variety of key nutrients. Research shows that micronutrient inadequacies may impact long-term health, increasing risk for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and yes, COVID.
Supplements can help with the comorbidities that make COVID-19 so much more dangerous. Take cardiovascular disease for example:
- Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the risk for sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality in patients with known coronary heart disease.
- Fiber: Numerous studies have linked increased dietary fiber with a reduced risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Greater intake of insoluble fruit and vegetable fiber has been linked with significantly lower risk of atherosclerosis.
- Polyphenols. Consumption of polyphenols, naturally occurring compounds found in tea, vegetables, fruits, and wine, has been inversely associated with mortality from cardiovascular disease.
- Quercetin. Quercetin, a polyphenol found in apples, onions, cherries, and grapes, is known to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as a beneficial effect on diabetes and obesity. One study of those with elevated blood pressure found quercetin to improve measurements of inflammation linked to atherosclerosis.
- B vitamins. The family of B vitamins, which includes eight compounds, has been found to play a role in maintaining optimal cardiovascular health. An RCT found that those with the highest intake of a variety of micronutrients, including B6, folate, and antioxidants, had the lowest risk of stroke and cerebral atherosclerosis.
- Vitamin E. Research suggests vitamin E is cardioprotective.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is a key cardiovascular regulator and deficiency is involved in the pathophysiology of arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, endothelial dysfunction, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death.
There are many more natural compounds that can promote cardiovascular health.
Supplements are an important tool in the regenerative health toolbox. Yet, at almost every turn, the federal government tries to dissuade Americans from these products. They censor information about the health benefits they confer. They work to eliminate access to thousands of safe products. They work with Big Pharma to turn them into expensive, monopoly drugs.
Some in Congress are able to see how broken the system is. There are currently a number of active federal bills that expand access to supplements by allowing their purchase through health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and flexible savings accounts (FSAs). These important bills need our support.
Action Alert! Write to Congress in support of HR 5214, HR 5747, and S 380, which expand HSAs, HRAs, and FSAs to cover supplements. Please send your message immediately.