Today’s obese Asians are more protected against Covid-19 than Europeans, says LU researcher

According to a statement on the LU website, Krams, as the first and corresponding author in collaboration with researchers from Tartu, Turku, Auckland and Daugavpils, has published a prospective study “Covid-19: Fat, Overweight, Inflammation, Ethnicity and Gender Differences” in the scientific journal Pathogens. .

The paper identified the need to draw public attention to the role of visceral fat in shaping individual and population differences in the severity of Covid-19 infection. These differences may help researchers to understand the reasons for the differences in the severity and mortality of Covid-19 infection in different populations, nationalities and by gender.

Krams points out that people nowadays lead a sedentary lifestyle. “Even if we go for walks and sports on a daily basis, it can’t be compared to people’s physical activity 50 years ago, when most people did physical work,” said the researcher.

He explained that people with a sedentary lifestyle become obese and fat is formed around the lumbar region, which indicates that visceral fat has formed in the abdominal cavity around the internal organs.

“The liver is obese, metabolic disorders and insulin resistance are developing. The pre-diabetic condition can last for years, we can feel good until one day diabetes is present and life is different,” Krams said.

According to him, obesity is very unhealthy for Europeans and African Americans. When obesity occurs, so-called subcutaneous fat depots are quickly filled, fat cells are damaged, and subcutaneous fat develops inflammation that affects the whole body.

In Southeast Asia, on the other hand, there is an obesity paradox. In China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Singapore, visceral obesity is even higher in humans than in Europe and the United States, but it can protect against severe Covid-19 disease, the study found.

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People living in the Southeast Asian region may have been exposed to other types of coronavirus much earlier and their filled fat depots are like an adaptation to coronaviruses, according to the researcher, so when exposed to Covid-19, their bodies react differently.

“Our fats are not as inflamed as in Asia, our visceral fats contain a lot of ACE2, so the virus is easier for us to present,” said the professor, adding that his hypothesis predicts much higher morbidity and mortality in Europe and the US and much lower infections and mortality rates in Southeast Asia during the second wave of Covid-19 disease.

To protect yourself from obesity, the professor recommends focusing more on your diet, eating as little fatty foods as possible in combination with sweet fruits, which are high in sugar, but include more vegetables in your diet.

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