The cytokine storm kills you but cannabis could save you.
Cytokine storm is a new term to most of us that, like logarithmic graphs, we are having to get to grips with.
95% of the people dying from Covid-19 in hospital have had underlying health issues. These health issues: type 2 diabetes, dementia, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease; otherwise called chronic lifestyle diseases. We are told that these people are being carried away by an out of control reaction from the immune system called a cytokine storm.
Why? What is going on?
It isn’t Covid-19 that kills you it’s the cytokine storm generated by the immune system. Covid-19 is a virus and viruses multiply inside the cells of our body, eventually bursting our into the bloodstream where the immune system can take over. While the virus is multiplying inside the cell it is invisible to the immune system although there are certain signs that the immune system can detect and get started on the attack.
The cytokine storm is the killer. Cytokines are small proteins which released by many cells in the body and trigger inflammation in response to an infection amongst other things and at this moment I am guessing that it is the other things which are going to turn out to be important.
People with insulin resistance have higher rates of inflammation and a greater number of ACE2 receptors on cells. ACE2 reduces cytokine production which should be a good thing BUT it is also the portal for the virus to get into the cells.
Understanding all of this does seem to be a bit of a moveable feast as scientists’ understanding is right at the front edge of research. New discoveries are coming thick and fast and some of the discoveries will probably have to be revisited and rewritten in the not too distant future.
Take the discovery that smoking can help prevent the worst effects of Covid-19 for example. Even better might be smoking cannabis. It turns out that smoking decreases the effectiveness of the ACE2 receptors and that cannabis also helps reduce inflammation and hence the number of receptors. Who would have thought that something so bad can be so good?
Got that lot?
Let’s tackle it from the other side now. Insulin resistance develops as a result of processing fructose through the liver and leads to the pancreas having to produce more and more insulin to clear glucose from the blood stream. Insulin resistance leads to inflammation and a vicious cycle is established where the inflammation then leads to more insulin resistance.
As said above, inflammation and insulin resistance are at the bottom of a long list of chronic lifestyle diseases like coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
So let’s summarise all of this:
- fructose starts the process of insulin resistance
- sugar is half glucose and half fructose and is a major ingredient in our diet.
- insulin resistance tips over into chronic disease caused by inflammation.
- increased inflammation promotes more ACE2 receptors on cells to reduce the inflammation
- ACE2 receptors allow Covid-19 virus to enter the cell more easily where it multiplies until it bursts out of the cell
- cytokines are produced in reponse to the virus
- This leads to a build up of fluid in the lungs
And that is how the cytokine storm kills you.
So what is the take away from this?
Insulin resistance is reversable. Reduce the amount of sugar you are eating. Eat your fruit, don’t drink it to reduce the amount of fructose your liver has to deal with in one go. Cut back on carbs if you need to to reduce the insulin resistance. This will reduce inflammation which will reduce the ACE2 receptors on the cell. That means that the virus will not be able to invade the cells as effectively or rapidly.
Now I’m not pretending that it is going to be easy to do this. Sugar is addictive, ubiquitous and above all something we use to show that we care about ourselves and others. There are other ways of looking after yourself though. There are other foods. Reducing stress helps reduce the need to dive into a packet of biscuits.
I’m not saying it is easy. I’m saying that it can be done and that it is worth it. If you have an inflammatory disease then it may well be essential. Talk to me if you need to know more about how I can help support you through the process.