June 13, 2021 ~ TrialSite News

Study Reveals Plant-based Diet Lowers Risk of Moderate to Severe COVID-19

Researchers from a number of prominent institutions sought to answer the question: what, if anything, does diet have to do with the fact that when it comes to COVID-19, some people face severe and even life-threatening illness while with others, it’s barely perceived as a common cold? What’s behind these observations from the standpoint of diet and health? While, of course, age and the presence of morbidities clearly surface in the mortality rate but what about the huge differences in cases? As it turns out, a study involving front-line COVID-19 care providers spanning six nations revealed some striking data points that should be further studied. Those healthcare professionals consuming a plant-based diet were 73% less likely to succumb to moderate to severe COVID-19 infection while individuals eating a plant and/or fish-based diet turned out to be 59% less likely to become severely ill with the novel coronavirus.

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As Reported in British Medical Journal:


Background Several studies have hypothesised that dietary habits may play an important role in COVID-19 infection, severity of symptoms, and duration of illness. However, no previous studies have investigated the association between dietary patterns and COVID-19.

Methods Healthcare workers (HCWs) from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA) with substantial exposure to COVID-19 patients completed a web-based survey from 17 July to 25 September 2020. Participants provided information on demographic characteristics, dietary information, and COVID-19 outcomes. We used multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate the association between self-reported diets and COVID-19 infection, severity, and duration.

Results There were 568 COVID-19 cases and 2316 controls. Among the 568 cases, 138 individuals had moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity whereas 430 individuals had very mild to mild COVID-19 severity. After adjusting for important confounders, participants who reported following ‘plant-based diets’ and ‘plant-based diets or pescatarian diets’ had 73% (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.81) and 59% (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.99) lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity, respectively, compared with participants who did not follow these diets. Compared with participants who reported following ‘plant-based diets’, those who reported following ‘low carbohydrate, high protein diets’ had greater odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 (OR 3.86, 95% CI 1.13 to 13.24). No association was observed between self-reported diets and COVID-19 infection or duration.

Conclusion In six countries, plant-based diets or pescatarian diets were associated with lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. These dietary patterns may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19.

Link to BMJ Article



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