COVID-19 & Diabetes: What the ADA Won’t Tell You


It’s not only “What the ADA won’t tell you.”, this post includes information that none of the ‘leading’ diabetes organizations in the world will tell you, this includes Joslin Diabetes and Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

The American Diabetes Association is arguably the leading diabetes organization in the world. For this post, I want to focus on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) but keep in mind, what I say about the ADA applies to all of the major diabetes organizations.


American Diabetes Association


The ADA claims their Mission is,

“To prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.”.

If the above is true, if the ADA truly wants to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes … surely the ADA should have cutting edge advice for diabetics on preventing a COVID-19 infection … right?

Below is the ADA’s home page. Note the last sentence, “We have the resources to help keep you healthy”.

I’ll report and you can decide if that statement is true.

The ADA, “We have the resources to help keep you healthy”.


Spoiler Alert: I will provide you with more lifesaving infection prevention information … than the American Diabetes Association.

Before I tell you THE most important information to prevent coronavirus or COVID-19 …. let me tell you the information the American Diabetes Association provides you for infection prevention.


What the ADA Will Tell You


Hint: It’s in the picture above.

Yes that’s right, the leading diabetes organization in the world suggests …<drum roll begins> that you do these things to prevent infection from COVID-19 … (or any viral infection, including the flu).

1. Wash your hands.
2.
3.

What the … ?
Seriously?

Yes. The ‘washing of hands’ is the ONLY advice the ADA provides to help prevent diabetics from becoming infected with COVID-19.

Here’s the post from the American Diabetes Association’s website, “COVID-19 (Corona Virus)“. The graphic at the top of the page says, “Staying Healthy During COVID-19”.

The ADA also suggests coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue… but let’s be honest, that advice will only help prevent you from spreading the virus to other people. A worthy goal… but I want to know what “I” an aging, diabetic can do to prevent the contracting of the disease and if I do contract the virus, what I can do to limit complications.

There is other general advice such as making lists of doctors’ phone numbers, making a list of medications and keeping adequate medical supplies etc. All good information that diabetics should do 365 days a year and should already know, especially if you are a drug or insulin dependent diabetic.

The ADA and all the other ‘leading’ diabetes organizations in the world omit the TWO MOST IMPORTANT pieces of advice for diabetics to remain healthy.


COVID-19 Diabetes Advice

Questions

  1. What is the best advice to diabetics to help prevent a COVID-19 infection?
  2. What is the best advice to diabetics to help reduce the complications and symptoms if infected?

Answers

  1. Obtain and maintain truly normal blood sugars! I lay out the science behind my personal goals for blood sugar in this post, “Blood Sugar Targets“. In short, I want to be sub 100 mg/dl the vast majority of the time.
  2. Follow a low carb, low inflammatory diet (link here), to lower inflammation and to help with obtaining and maintaining truly normal blood sugars!


That’s right, the best advice for preventing an infection and if infected, the best advice to help mitigate the effects is to obtain and maintain truly normal blood sugars!

Note: I am not saying obtain and maintain ‘diabetic normal blood sugars’, I am talking about normal blood sugars for non-diabetics.

If the ADA really wanted to honor it’s Mission Statement, specifically “… to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.”, they would promote TRULY normal blood sugars for all diabetics, ALL THE TIME … but especially when facing a global pandemic.

“Washing of hands”… Is a pathetic attempt to appear to be helpful… while omitting the MOST important advice!


Why Normal Blood Sugars?

I provide links to papers supporting my statement but first … a little background information sprinkled with common sense.

Our bodies are naturally designed to maintain a relatively tight range of blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels drop too low, our livers produce glucose via gluconeogenesis. If our blood sugar levels rise too high, our bodies secrete insulin to remove glucose from the bloodstream.

Just to simplify things, diabetes is a disease of elevated blood sugars.

Fact: Elevated blood sugars are toxic to every cell in the body.
Fact: Elevated blood sugars cause inflammation.
Fact: Elevated blood sugars negatively impact the immune system.

Normalizing blood sugars reduces toxicity, reduces inflammation and frees up the body’s immune system to defend itself against infectious agents and allows the body to attempt to heal itself.

The research below supports this contention.


Research: Diabetes and Infection

After reading the links below I am convinced of two things…

  1. You will know the best single thing a diabetic can do for infection prevention.
  2. You will ask the question, “Why doesn’t the ADA support and promote truly normal blood sugars for diabetics.”

    Note: Hyperglycemia = Elevated or high blood sugar levels.

“In summary, acute hyperglycemia can significantly alter innate immune responses to infection, and this potentially explains some of the poor outcomes in hospitalized patients who develop hyperglycemia.”

The Effect of Short-Term Hyperglycemia on the Innate Immune System

“… the relationship between hyperglycemia and impaired immune function has been convincingly demonstrated.”

“There are several aspects of hyperglycemia not often
considered in clinical nutrition discussions. One is that
hyperglycemia not only impairs immune function and
presumably healing, but recent evidence suggests
it can exacerbate inflammation.”

Hyperglycemia and Infection: Which is the Chicken and Which
is the Egg?

“In general, infectious diseases are more frequent and/or serious in patients with diabetes mellitus, which potentially increases their morbimortality. The greater frequency of infections in diabetic patients is caused by the hyperglycemic environment that favors immune dysfunction (e.g., damage to the neutrophil function, depression of the antioxidant system, and humoral immunity), micro- and macro-angiopathies, neuropathy, decrease in the antibacterial activity of urine, gastrointestinal and urinary dysmotility, and greater number of medical interventions in these patients.”

Infections in patients with diabetes mellitus: A review of pathogenesis

“… good control of blood sugar in diabetic patients is a desirable goal in the prevention of certain infections… and to ensure maintenance of normal host defense mechanisms that determine resistance and response to infection.”

Infection and diabetes: The case for glucose control

“Uncontrolled hyperglycemia may be associated with complications such as fluid and electrolyte disturbances and increased infection risk. Studies have demonstrated impairment of host defenses, including decreased polymorphonuclear leukocyte mobilization, chemotaxis, and phagocytic activity related to hyperglycemia.”

“… tight blood glucose concentrations between 80 and 110 mg/dl [4.4 mmol/l and 6.1 mmol/l] decreases morbidity and mortality in critically ill surgical patients.”

Relationship Between Hyperglycemia and Infection in Critically Ill Patients

The AACE is the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

“…diabetes and other chronic medical conditions can make patients more vulnerable to infections, leading to serious consequences. In addition, uncontrolled diabetes with hyperglycemia is known to impair immune function.”

AACE Position Statement: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and People with Diabetes


Lastly, below is a short video, “The Effects of Hyperglycemia on the Immune System”.


There are more links to medical literature but you get the idea. Medical literature is teeming with papers reporting the benefits to normalizing blood sugars … especially when the goal is to prevent or help manage infectious diseases.

Given ALL this evidence and more … below is a video produced by the American Diabetes Association.

Not once did Tracy Brown nor the “Chief Scientist” mention maintaining normal blood sugars…. not ONCE! How many lives will be lost due to this omission?

It is unconscionable!


Diabetes and COVID19


Scientific literature shared in this post supports maintaining normal blood sugars for infection prevention and for improving outcomes once infected.

Everyone should of course practice good hygiene (wash your hands) and yes everyone should practice ‘social distancing’ … I do, but that is not enough.

Note: FYI, the video above was added to the ADA page over the weekend, after I began writing this post. The video does add ‘social distancing’ to the ‘washing of hands’ recommendation for infection prevention… so now, the ADA offers the same prevention advice you can find in a million other places on the internet.

Thanks ADA.

The ADA and Tracey Brown can do better than that.
The ADA and Tracey Brown should do better than that.

How many diabetic lives will be worsened due to their omission?

How many diabetic lives will be lost due to the omission?

Shame on you ADA… shame on you!

My Example with the Flu


Being a diabetic for over eleven years ( see my post: 11 Year Diabetes Check Up) I know that diabetics are typically at higher risk for serious complications from infections and disease.

For those 11 years I have followed a very low-carb diet and exercise intensely, including resistance training several times a week.

I have been largely free from sickness but not completely. Back in 2015 influenza B was making the rounds at work…. I became infected, but I did not feel the need to visit the doctor, so I don’t know for sure.

I self-treated my infection with bone broth soups, mega doses of Vitamin D3 (90k IU daily for three days). I began feeling better on day 3, by day 4 I was on a definite upswing and by day 5 … I was out walking and playing with my dog. By day 6, I was ‘back to normal’ and working out.

My friends and co-workers who contracted the flu around this same time had a much more difficult and much longer recovery.

I love how I eat, I love how I play … I love how I live!

I just wish more diabetics … I wish everyone could experience the benefits of a low carb, low inflammatory lifestyle.

Peace, love…and truly normal blood sugars to you all. β€πŸ‘πŸ‘ŠπŸ‘Œ


Thanks Kelly Tee for editing!!

Thanks also to Allison Herschede and RD Dikeman for sharing some of the information used in this post. If you aren’t following them and TypeOneGrit you should be… I do.

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