Weight loss treatment for COVID-19 in patients with NCDs: a pilot prospective clinical trial

Sci Rep. 2024 May 14;14(1):10979. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-61703-1.


COVID-19 comorbid with noncommunicable chronic diseases (NCDs) complicates the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, and increases the mortality rate. The aim is to evaluate the effects of a restricted diet on clinical/laboratory inflammation and metabolic profile, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and body composition in patients with COVID-19 comorbid with NCDs. We conducted a 6-week open, pilot prospective controlled clinical trial. The study included 70 adult patients with COVID-19 comorbid with type 2 diabetes (T2D), hypertension, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Interventions: a restricted diet including calorie restriction, hot water drinking, walking, and sexual self-restraint.

Primary endpoints: COVID-19 diagnosis by detecting SARS-CoV-2 genome by RT-PCR; weight loss in Main group; body temperature; C-reactive protein. Secondary endpoints: the number of white blood cells; erythrocyte sedimentation rate; adverse effects during treatment; fasting blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), systolic/diastolic blood pressure (BP); blood lipids; ALT/AST, chest CT-scan. In Main group, patients with overweight lost weight from baseline (- 12.4%; P < 0.0001); 2.9% in Main group and 7.2% in Controls were positive for COVID-19 (RR: 0.41, CI: 0.04-4.31; P = 0.22) on the 14th day of treatment. Body temperature and C-reactive protein decreased significantly in Main group compared to Controls on day 14th of treatment (P < 0.025). Systolic/diastolic BP normalized (P < 0.025), glucose/lipids metabolism (P < 0.025); ALT/AST normalized (P < 0.025), platelets increased from baseline (P < 0.025), chest CT (P < 0.025) in Main group at 14 day of treatment. The previous antidiabetic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and other symptomatic medications were adequately decreased to completely stop during the weight loss treatment. Thus, the fast weight loss treatment may be beneficial for the COVID-19 patients with comorbid T2D, hypertension, and NASH over traditional medical treatment because, it improved clinical and laboratory/instrumental data on inflammation; glucose/lipid metabolism, systolic/diastolic BPs, and NASH biochemical outcomes, reactive oxygen species; and allowed patients to stop taking medications.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05635539 (02/12/2022): https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05635539?term=NCT05635539&draw=2&rank=1 .

Keywords: COVID-19; Chest CT; Fast weight loss; Hypertension; Inflammation/glycemic/lipid profile; Lipid/protein oxidation; NASH; Restricted diet; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / therapy
  • Noncommunicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Noncommunicable Diseases / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification
  • Weight Loss

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT05635539