Over 50 percent of adults across the world are either overweight or obese. Being obese is something that could increase the severity of the COVID-19 flu infection.

New data on underlying conditions among people who were hospitalized with the COVID-19 Corona-virus revealed that the virus is disproportionately affecting people who are obese. These obese people were far more likely to experience severe complications than those that had normal weight.

Here’s the reason why.

People who are obese have a condition that is already present in their bodies – inflammation. Research has shown that people who are overweight have higher levels of chronic, low-grade inflammation. Besides having chronic inflammation, individuals that are obese also have lower operating lung volumes. If an individual is not breathing adequately, and you add COVID-19 infection to the mix, they can develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is the cause of most COVID 19 deaths.

People who have COVID -19 and are obese are also more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation vs. patients with a normal weight. Obesity is often accompanied by pulmonary diseases, such as obstructive sleep apnea, asthma, hypoventilation syndrome, COPD, and others. Also, many obese people have type 2 diabetes.

Obese people also have higher viral loads of the flu virus when they exhale and that they shed the virus longer. To find out why, researchers infected lean and obese mice with the flu for three days, allowing time for the virus to replicate, let them recover, and then did it all again. This experiment was to mimic what would happen during an epidemic where the virus goes from one person to the next.

And, the findings are pretty darn scary!

The researchers discovered that:

  • As the virus went from one obese mouse to another obese mouse, the virus underwent changes, resulting in a more virulent virus.
  • In obese mice, the typical emergency response that stops the virus from replicating and spreading was significantly reduced.

In other words, being obese resulted in the inability to fight off the virus as well as lean mice and obese mice also had a higher likelihood of a worse infection developing.

People who are obese don’t have good antiviral responses. They are delayed. They are blunted. Obesity allows the virus to get in, replicate faster, and make more viruses.

The NHS has found that almost two-thirds of patients who have ended up in intensive care due to Corona-virus are either overweight or obese.

So obesity clearly plays a role in how bad the infection gets. There are likely two factors behind the issues:

  • When you have excess weight pressing on your chest, it makes it harder for your muscles to draw in deep breaths.
  • Being overweight or obese can lead to a weakened immune system that allows COVID-19 to spread to your lungs and cause pneumonia more easily.

This means that when you add all of the evidence up, carrying those extra pounds around could allow Coronavirus to become more virulent, make its way to your lungs where it can do more damage, and prevent you from drawing the breath you need to live.

I’m not sure what could be scarier than that.

Even though weight loss may be your ultimate goal to protect yourself against the COVID -19 virus, losing weight also lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and more. And on top of that, losing weight also boosts your immunity to protect you against this devastating virus.

To lose weight, you need to eat healthier foods and eliminate pro-inflammatory foods like sugar, trans fats, vegetable oils that are high in Omega 6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and processed meats. Incorporating more fiber foods (prebiotics) along with utilizing probiotics, is also a great way to start.

That’s because probiotics are the flora that makes up your gut microbiome, and prebiotics are what they thrive on. By now, you may have heard about the large quantity of research over recent years that’s shown your gut is practically “central headquarters” for your immune system.

If your gut microbiome isn’t healthy, your immune system can’t do its job and keep you well.

So, in addition to following the crucial advice from the CDC to limit possible exposure to COVID-19, such as social distancing, hand-washing, cleaning, and disinfecting, it’s time to get on board the probiotic train.

Just take a quality probiotic supplement, eat more fermented foods, like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh. And make sure you get plenty of fiber in your diet to help keep your probiotic bacteria happy.

But remember, even if you fall into a high-risk category, you can still help boost your immune system to be better prepared to fight off anything that comes along.

If you find yourself unable to lose weight, the first thing you need to find out is why. I would recommend following the recommendations above and also have a complete blood workup to determine your insulin level, your cortisol levels, and your thyroid levels. Once you know what’s wrong, several supplements can assist you in your weight loss efforts by lowering your inflammation levels. These include Magnesium, Omega 3’s, Vitamin D, and Mega Vites Lean. And be sure to add a quality probiotic to your diet. Mega Vites Lean supports healthy blood sugar, metabolism, and energy levels.

Call Doctor’s Nutrition Today at 800-897-0070 and talk to one of our doctors about helping you regain and maintain your optimal health. The call is free and we are here to help.


  1. Obesity promotes virulence of influenza — EurekAlert
  2. Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Simonnet A, et al. Obesity. 2020; doi:10.1002/oby.22831.

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