The Type of Fat You Eat Affects Your COVID Risk by Dr. Joseph Mercola for Mercola
A compelling report1 in the journal Gastroenterology offers a radically novel yet logically sound explanation as to why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure. According to the authors, data indicate that COVID-19 mortality rates are heavily influenced by the amount of unsaturated fats you eat.
Simply put, unsaturated fat intake is associated with increased mortality from the infection. On the bright side, they believe early treatment with inexpensive calcium and egg albumin will reduce rates of organ failure and ICU admissions.
While no clinical studies have been done yet on this type of therapy, the authors believe it’s time to do one, as it appears early albumin and calcium supplementation can bind unsaturated fats and reduce injury to vital organs. They also point out that saturated fats are protective.
The Most Dangerous Fat of All
I’m currently writing a book on what I believe might be the primary disease-maker in the Western diet, namely omega-6 linoleic acid (LA). And, since diet-related comorbidities are responsible for 94% of all COVID-19-related deaths,2 taking control of your diet is a simple, common-sense strategy to lower the risks associated with this infection.
LA makes up the bulk — about 90% — of the omega-6 consumed and is the primary contributor to nearly all chronic diseases. While an essential fat, when consumed in excessive amounts, LA acts as a metabolic poison.
The reason for this is because polyunsaturated fats such as LA are highly susceptible to oxidation. As the fat oxidizes, it breaks down into harmful sub-components such as advanced lipid oxidation end products (ALES) and OXLAMS (oxidized LA metabolites). These ALES and OXLAMS are actually what cause the damage.
One type of advanced lipid oxidation end product (ALE) is 4HNE, a mutagen known to cause DNA damage. Studies have shown there’s a definite correlation between elevated levels of 4HNE and heart failure.
LA breaks down into 4HNE even faster when the oil is heated, which is why cardiologists recommend avoiding fried foods. LA intake and the subsequent ALES and OXLAMS produced also play a significant role in cancer. HNE and other ALES are extraordinarily harmful even in exceedingly small quantities.
While excess sugar is certainly bad for your health and should typically be limited to 25 grams per day or less, it doesn’t cause a fraction of the oxidative damage that LA does.
Processed vegetable oils are a primary source of LA, but even food sources hailed for their health benefits contain it, and can be a problem if consumed in excess. Cases in point: olive oil and conventionally raised chicken, which are fed LA-rich grains. To learn more about this hidden source of LA, see “Why Chicken Is Killing You and Saturated Fat Is Your Friend.”
Many now understand that your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is very important, and should be about 1-to-1 or possibly up to 4-to-1, but simply increasing your omega-3 intake won’t counteract the damage done by excessive LA. You really need to minimize the omega-6 to prevent damage from taking place.