A study published in Current Obesity Report highlights the effectiveness of this reduced-sugar dietary regimen in combating the effects of long Covid and the drug therapies used to treat the disease
Maria Elena Perrero
19 mag 2022 | 10:34 – 10:34
Overcoming the long Covid-19 syndrome with the ketogenic dietto restore the muscle mass lost with the disease and rebalance the intestinal microbiota affected not only by the Sars-CoV-2 infection, but also by the drug therapy followed. This is what emerges from a study conducted by Professor Luigi Barrea, associate professor of Clinical Nutrition at the Telematic University Pegaso and Specialist in Food Science at the Endocrinology Unit of the Federico II University Hospital of Naples.
Long Covid and the ketogenic diet: the study
The study, conducted by Professor Barrea together with Professor Giovanna Muscogiuri of the UOC of Endocrinology of the Federico II of Naples and published on Current Obesity Report, has taken into particular consideration not only the long-term effects ofSars-CoV-2 infectionbut also those triggered by drug therapy of the disease-based antibiotics and cortisone. “To this is added the fact that in subjects recovering from Sars-CoV-2 infection, a certain degree of chronic inflammation persists due to the infection itself which acts by reducing the muscle mass and altering the functionality of the intestine ”, underlines a Official Active Professor Barrea.
Covid, drugs and inflammation
If the loss of muscle mass following the Covid it is an established fact, the study of Professor Barrea also puts it in relation to some drugs used in the therapy of the same coronavirus disease Sars-CoV-2: i glucocorticoids, drugs with anti-inflammatory effects. “Several converging factors play a role in the long Covid-19 syndrome to damage muscle mass, primarily drugs such as i glucocorticoids which have been used for the treatment of the disease and which however may be associated with a catabolism of the muscle, linked to the poor quality of the diet of the patients and the asthenia triggered by the disease itself, and the cytokine storm, that is the strong inflammation that is triggered by the Sars-CoV-2 infection – explains Professor Barrea -. All these conditions lead to a reduction in muscle mass, worsening the state of health of the subjects and also predisposing them to the development of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes “.
Long-Covid e microbiota
But drug therapies used to treat the Covid they can alter, even in the long run, the intestinal bacterial flora, creating a state of dysbiosis of the microbiota. “And I remember that the set of microorganisms that populate our digestive tract are known to perform important functions for human health“, underlines Professor Barrea. The reduction in muscle mass and the parallel increase in fat mass, combined with intestinal dysbiosis, “trigger inflammation and alter the immune systemgiving rise to the symptomatology from long Covid with fatigue, cough, chest tightness, breathlessness, palpitations, myalgia and difficulty concentrating ”, remembers Professor Barrea.
The ketogenic diet against long Covid
To combat these aspects of the long Covid Professor Barrea noted how the ketogenic diet can benefit patients, especially those with obesity, more subject to a state of chronic inflammation linked to excess fat mass, in particular to visceral fat. “The study showed that the ketogenic diet it is associated with important advantages in the remodeling of body composition, increasing the muscle mass and reducing that fat, and in the rebalancing of intestinal microbiota alterations – underlines Barrea -. In particular, the ketogenic diet it represents an excellent tool for the reduction of fat mass, and therefore inflammation, and for the preservation of muscle mass, consequently increasing the effectiveness of the immune system ”. But this is not a diet to be followed for life. “From the ketogenic diet you gradually move on to low-calorie Mediterranean diet in association with a personalized and well-defined physical activity program. The ketogenic is used in the ‘attack’ phase to quickly restore muscle mass, rebalance the intestinal microbiota and ‘turn off’ the inflammation ignited by the Sars-CoV-2 infection, and then move on to a Mediterranean diet accompanied by physical activity as a long-term lifestyle “.