Diabetes, Corona Virus and Clotting

Diabetes, Corona Virus and Clotting

Patients death from COVID-19 in Louisiana and New York were highly correlated with preexisting conditions, in particular, significant diabetic population which both Louisiana and New York have. In Louisiana, 41% of the dead were diabetic. In the UK, they were 25%. The increased rate of death from COVID-19 observed in diabetics, pre-diabetics, obese, overweight and the elderly is related to several factors including weakened immune system, dietary factors, vitamin D deficiency, Delta-6 desaturase deficiency and increased risk of clotting (thrombosis).

Immunity declines with aging, dietary factors including high carbohydrate diet, excessive alcohol consumption, saturated fats, trans fats, EFA deficiency, adulterated EFA’s and unbalanced Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio.

Vitamin D plays an important role in immunity. Its deficiency leads to inflammation, a weakened immune system, insulin resistance (Type II diabetes) and insulin deficiency (Type I diabetes). A recent British study reported a high percentage of vitamin D deficiency among individuals who died or were infected by COVID-19. Nine out of ten diabetic children that I took care of at the diabetic endocrine clinic for 15 years were vitamin D deficient, and I could not improve their diabetic control until their vitamin D levels were corrected back to normal, most of the obese and overweight children at this clinic were also vitamin D deficient.

Delta-6 desaturase is an enzyme which transforms parent EFAs to its derivatives (metabolites), Omega 3 to EPA, DHA and PGE3, and Omega 6 to GLA, AA and PGE1. Delta-6 desaturase deficiency causes drastic disturbances in the body’s metabolism. Among the causes of its deficiency: lack of insulin (diabetes Mellitus Type I), excess insulin (Diabetes Mellitus Type II and pre-diabeties), obesity, dietary factors mentioned earlier, aging, and viruses (EB, HIV, etc.).It is also known to be deficient in patients with atopic dermatitis and asthma.

Type II diabetics are known to have an increased risk of clotting related primarily to Delta-6 desaturase deficiency caused by hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) as mentioned. Autopsies performed on 50 patients who died from COVID-19 in Italy showed that none of these patients died from lung infection (pneumonia) or pulmonary edema.The cause of death was rather inflammation and intravascular coagulation (clotting) of the lung vessels and involving in some cases the vessels of the heart and brain (disseminated intravascular coagulation, DIC). The Corona virus apparently attacks the lung cells using a protein (protein spike) to penetrate the lung cells inserting its genetic material causing severe inflammation, damaging the lung tissue and the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessels) and creating the environment for clot formation. Mechanical respiratory assistance (ventilator) will not be useful in this situation as the clots block the blood flow to the lungs. What would rather be useful in this case are clot buster drugs (TPA) which breaks up the clots causing the blockage, anti-inflammatory drugs (Glucocorticosteroids), antiplatelet aggregation drugs (Aspirin, Plavix, etc.) and blood thinning drugs (Heparin, Warfarin, etc.) preventing formation of new clots.

EFAs (good fats) have no place in treating patients already infected, hospitalized or on ventilators due to COVID-19, but they might play a very important role in fighting the Corona Virus due to their immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and blood thinning properties. Omega 6 (LA) and its derivatives are the building blocks of prostacyclin, a potent anticoagulant and inhibitor of platelet aggregation (adhesions) and act as a natural blood thinner preventing clot formation. Omega 3 (ALA) and its derivatives slow blood clotting and amplify the effect of anticoagulants and in some cases increase the risk of bleeding and/or bruising.

Both EFAs are the cornerstone of a good, healthy and strong immunity. They improve diabetic control and keep the blood thin, preventing platelet aggregation and clot formation. Its normal metabolism is of major importance in regulating the response to viral infections. Vitamins and minerals (especially C, D, B6, Folic Acid, Selenium and Zinc) tailored to diabetic patients increase insulin sensitivity and/or decrease insulin resistance, thus improving diabetic control and boosting the immune system of the diabetic.

Amid Habib, M.D. 05/24/2020

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