High Blood Sugar Levels Increase COVID-19 Severity

by | Oct 1, 2020 | Nutrition

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The link between glucose and COVID-19 appears to be quite direct as a high level of glucose increases that protein and makes it easier for the virus to invade the cell

Individual response to infection by the COVID-19 virus varies tremendously. Some people contract the virus and experience no problems or symptoms. Others have mild discomfort while still others are hospitalized in intensive care or even die. Many who succumb to COVID-19 have a preexisting condition, which can range from diabetes to heart trouble to obesity.1

Sheena Cruickshank, Professor in Biomedical Sciences and PhD at the University of Manchester, recently described2 another common denominator in more severe cases of COVID-19: inflammation. When the body is invaded by a bacterium or virus, the immune system sends in defenses, generating inflammation and heat, as can be seen in an infection. But several conditions can cause the immune system to overreact, go into hyperdrive and severely damage sensitive lung tissue. This overreaction appears to be related to an excess of blood glucose – the sugar that fuels the cells and provides energy to the body.

Recent studies have linked excess glucose, obesity and chronic inflammation.3 But the link between glucose and COVID-19 also appears to be quite direct: the virus invades healthy cells by latching onto a protein on the cell surface, and a high level of glucose—as in diabetes or the conditions leading up to it—increases that protein and makes it easier for the virus to invade the cells. What’s worse, excess glucose allows the invader to infect the very cells the body sends in as defenders. Essentially, the glucose fuels the virus that causes the damage.

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

Fundamentals of Health Alliance


The Fundamentals of Health Alliance works to publish useful and reliable information about nutrition and health. Their mission is to empower readers to be informed with honest, non-biased information about food, nutrition and the vital components of health.

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