The Young Age and Plant-Based Diet Hypothesis for Low SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19 Pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

Jack N. Losso, Merry Jean N. Losso, Marco Toc, Joseph N. Inungu, John W. Finley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that caused the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), in December 2019, the infection has spread around the globe. Some of the risk factors include social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing with soap, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and dysbiosis. Evidence has shown the incidence of total infection and death rates to be lower in sub-Saharan Africa when compared with North Africa, Europe and North America and many other parts of the world. The higher the metabolic syndrome rate, the higher the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Africa has a lower rate of metabolic syndrome risk than many other continents. This paradox has puzzled several in the biomedical and scientific communities. Published results of research have demonstrated the exciting correlation that the combination of young age of the population coupled with their native plant-based diet has lowered their risk factors. The plant-based diet include whole grains (millet, sorghum), legumes (black-eye peas, dry beans, soybean), vegetables, potato, sweet potato, yams, squash, banana, pumpkin seeds, and moringa leaves, and lower consumption of meat. The plant-based diet results in a different gut microbiota than of most of the rest of the world. This has a significant impact on the survival rate of other populations. The “plant-based diet” results in lower rates of obesity, diabetes and dysbiosis, which could contribute to lower and less severe infections. However, these hypotheses need to be supported by more clinical and biostatistics data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Foods for Human Nutrition
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Diet
  • Infection
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Young age

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