COVID-19: The Vitamins and the Immune System.

An active immune system is crucial in the fight against COVID-19. Vitamin C and D or other micronutrients like zinc, iron, and selenium are so much more than just nutrients and can be critical to health.

In this sense, biochemist Adrian Gombart, a researcher at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University, indicates the relevance of nutrients in the immune system. Together with his colleagues, he began to create a review document that summarizes the results of studies on various nutrients and their impact on the human immune system. Findings that may be an additional weapon in the fight against the new COVID. 

Well, nothing works without vitamins.

It's important that we pay attention to our nutritional status so that our immune system can function, says Gombart. Vitamin C and D or other micronutrients like zinc, iron, and selenium are so much more than just nutrients. In the worst case, a lack of nutrients can open the door to the virus, because the body cannot defend itself from intruders. For people who already belong to a risk group, the danger in the current situation is particularly high.

This is based on a simple biochemistry: Each cell in our body uses different micronutrients to function, says Gombart. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. Unlike macronutrients like fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, micronutrients do not provide the body with energy. However, they are essential for the basic functions of an organism. Not only for cell metabolism, but also for the immune system.

Consequently, Adrian Gombart indicates that a research group discovered that vitamin D regulates the expression of a gene that encodes an antimicrobial peptide. What does this mean? These peptides are involved in the nonspecific defense mechanisms of our body. Vitamin D is also involved in the regulation of other immune-relevant genes. On the contrary, the lack of vitamin D can create a breach in the defenses of our body; intruders would have more facility.

Penetrating germs must first pass through the skin and mucous membranes. Once they have overcome this first line of defense, the body reacts to the invaders with phagocytes, antimicrobial proteins, and inflammation. These processes are part of the non-specific defense mechanisms. If this defense doesn't work, the body has to be more precise. SARS-CoV-2 can only be fought by a very specific immune response. Lymphocytes detect foreign microorganisms and foreign molecules; viruses are one of them. Lymphocytes can produce antibodies and attack a sniper in battle.

With regard to vitamin C, this is necessary, among other things, for the formation of reactive oxygen species, also called oxygen radicals. These radicals are another weapon of the body in the fight against pathogens. Vitamin C is also involved in the production of antibodies, without which the body cannot keep COVID-19 at bay. This is why patients sick with the new virus and who are in intensive care are treated with high doses of vitamin C, says Isabelle Schiffer. Schiffer is a geriatric researcher and geneticist and the scientific spokesperson for the "forever healthy" foundation. Beyond the pandemic, Schiffer and her colleagues are concerned with the question of how people can grow as healthy as possible. Its recommendations are based on the findings of various scientific quarters.

This holistic approach also includes naturopathy. In order to make a contribution in this time of pandemic, as Schiffer puts it, the "forever healthy" team looked for medicinal plants, whose effectiveness has been confirmed in clinical studies. We found that there is very little knowledge about herbal substances that can help ease symptoms or ease the course of an infection, says Schiffer. It is important for the scientist to emphasize that naturopathy cannot replace conventional medicine, but can complement it. Many people who hear the term 'naturopathy' immediately have the image of the miracle healer wanting to cure cancer in their head. Of course, that's not what naturopathy can do, says Schiffer. It's much more about strengthening the immune system. Botanical ingredients that Schiffer and his colleagues identified as potentially useful in the fight against COVID-19 include elderberry. Clinical studies have shown that elderberry extract reduces the likelihood of a cold and the duration of respiratory problems associated with the flu, says Schiffer. The positive effect of the elderberry is not a sham, but pure biochemistry: it contains many vitamins and trace elements. Both Isabelle Schiffer and Adrian Gombart believe that it is currently advisable to increase the dose of vitamins and other micronutrients with the help of supplements. Most of them lack vitamin D in particular. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) thinks differently: Basically, a balanced and varied diet provides the healthy body with all the substances necessary for life, says a statement. However, the institute admits that there are exceptions to this rule. The need for nutrients increases during pregnancy and lactation. Older people are also more likely to be neglected. A healthy diet should not be a matter of lifestyle, but a measure to prevent disease.

Keeping the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we will not be able to keep our body and mind strong and clear.-Buddha.

Health is the greatest possession. Joy is the greatest treasure. Trust is the greatest friend.-Lao Tzu.

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