The Test That Could Have Saved Lives
There is a test that we use in our office that predicts mortality, not only if you happen to get Covid but from all causes. It’s called an In-Body 570 test and I’m going to explain what it tests. However, before I do that, let me explain WHY this test is so important.
Let’s start with understanding why people die from Covid. The 2 biggest risk factors for serious illness and/or death with Covid-19 are old age (unavoidable) and obesity (avoidable). As we get older, everything including your immune system tends to get weaker. Our immune response is so important to preventing infection with Covid and/or any other viral infection. Older people with poor immune function do not have enough protection from the viral damage and destruction that takes place in the body. However, obese people have an overreaction of the immune response which is known as a “cytokine storm”. Cytokines are a family of several dozen proteins, of which there are over 30. The problem is that most cytokines are pro-inflammatory meaning they produce inflammation which can damage or cause death to many cells at once in your body. The goal is for the cytokines to signal your immune cells to destroy the virus without causing too much damage to YOU, the host. Think of a cleansing rainstorm washing away debris vs. a violent tornado destroying everything in its path. We actually measure one of the more known cytokines in our patients through the lab test we order. It’s called hsCRP (C-reactive protein) and it reflects the level of inflammation in the body. A normal level is less than 1 mg/L, between 1-3 mg/L is mild inflammation and over 3 mg/L reflects a state of moderate to high inflammation. I recently had a patient who came in after a severe case of Covid. When we checked her hsCRP levels 6 weeks post-Covid infection, it was over 8.0 mg/L, indicating that she was still very inflamed, most likely from Covid.
Why is inflammation bad? People who spend too many years in a chronically inflamed state will likely develop diseases that are associated with lifestyle-induced chronic inflammation. Inflammation in your arteries leads to atherosclerosis and heart attacks or strokes. Inflammation in your joints leads to osteoarthritis. Inflammation in your brain can lead to dementia. Inflammation can also cause other diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Where there is smoke, there’s fire. Inflammation IS that smoke. However, we have to know where the fire started and stop it before it progresses into a raging inferno that can’t be stopped.
It is very easy to track lifestyle-induced inflammation, which means you are putting out too many cytokines (pro-inflammatory) signaling molecules. Looking at things like hsCRP, an easy blood test that your doctor can order. Looking at the factors that make up metabolic syndrome, namely your fasting triglycerides, blood glucose, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference will tell you SO much, such as if you are in a state of mild, moderate, or severe inflammation.
It is interesting to note that Covid-19 death rates were more than 10 times higher in countries where more than half of the adult population was overweight or obese, compared to countries in which the overweight and obesity rate was below 50%. The U.S. has an overweight and obesity rate of over 70%. To make matter worse, recent data shows 60% of U.S. adults have gained more weight since the start of the pandemic. A survey done by the APA, indicates that 40% of their sampled group indicated an average 29 pound gain; another 10% of that sample gained more.
In our office, we use a sophisticated piece of equipment called an In-Body 570 which measures body composition. It can tell us not only how much muscle and fat a person is carrying but also where they are carrying it. Subcutaneous fat, the fat that lies just under your skin isn’t dangerous. However, visceral fat, the deep fat around your organs is very dangerous because it is a cytokine production machine. Visceral fat has been shown to produce over 17 different pro-inflammatory cytokines. The In-Body test gives you a visceral fat score of between 1 and 20, with 20 being the highest. Anecdotally, I notice that people who score high in the visceral fat number also have elevated hsCRP when we look at that lab test. Visceral fat is “bad news bears” when it comes to your health because visceral fat is the main source of inflammation, creating a body on fire. My sister says, “It may be ugly to have a big butt but it's deadly to have a big gut”.
It amazes me how many people want to get the vaccine ASAP to protect themselves against the virus. Yet, most people could care less about one of the biggest risk factors for dying from Covid, visceral fat and obesity. Ignorance may be bliss when it comes to some things, however, ignorance can get you killed when it comes to knowing how inflamed you are. Knowing how much visceral fat you have is one of the most important numbers you can know when it comes to protecting yourself against Covid, as well as many other chronic diseases that claim way too many lives.
So many of us see others people's health problems and yet we fail to see our very own growing right around our own waist. I would encourage you to get these 2 tests: an In-Body test and a hsCRP test. Knowing how inflamed you are is the key to knowing your future health because inflammation is the backdrop of every single major illness.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Dane Donohue is a Chiropractor in Newtown PA and has been serving his community for over 25 years. Wellness Solution Centers provides all the services you need for a healthy life.