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Vegetarian Naturals - Covid

With the global pandemic interfering with our lives and in some cases thoroughly changing them, we most definitely need our immune system working properly. Now more than ever, we need the defense of our body to be as strong as ever.

The question is, how do we do it?

MAINTAINING IMMUNITY IN PANDEMIC TIME

From the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak when we had no idea what hit us, up until now the following stayed the same, protection and good immunity are the key to staying healthy.

There is no pill that we can swallow and stop COVID19, but there are a few steps and strategies that can give us a better chance in a fight against the pandemic.

 

Hygiene and protection

Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, and using hand sanitizer when you can’t wash them is the first step to staying safe. As well as wearing a mask and keeping your distance.

 

Good sleep

As sleep is one of the pillars of health, less than 6 hours of sleep is not recommended.

Stress reduction

Whether it’s meditation, a hot bubble bath, or a long walk, reduce stress in a way that works best for you and reduce exposure to stressors as much as you can.

 

Exercising

Physical activity of moderate intensity and duration is recommended, and it contributes to general good health.

 

Healthy diet

A lot of fruits, vegetables, some whole grains, and healthy fats can do a lot of good for your health.

 

Supplements/multivitamins

Among the ways you can keep your immunity in check, supplements are the most commonly chosen way to go. All vitamins and minerals are helpful but in this case, the most talked about is vitamin D.

(1) (2)

 

VITAMIN D

Whether we are 5 years old or 50 years old, we need it for the building and keeping our bones healthy. It has a role in the absorption of calcium (vital for strong bones) and together they protect from softening, thinning, and weakening of bones ( diseases like osteoporosis and rickets).

However, this is only the most known role of vitamin D but not its only one.

It is also needed for muscle movement, brain, and body communication, and in these pandemic times, most importantly fighting viruses and bacteria and keeping our immune system strong.

(3) (4)

 

HOW CAN IT HELP WITH COVID19?

The severity of COVID-19 is determined by the presence of lung tissue and heart muscle inflammation, formation of blood clots in blood vessels, severe respiratory problems, etc.  All of which involve inflammation.

The main defense against inflammation, and viral infection in general, is provided by T regulatory lymphocytes (Tregs), and Tregs are shown to be lower in many COVID-19 patients.

This is where research evidence creates a link between vitamin D and COVID-19 severity.

Vitamin D may increase the levels of Tregs, and low vitamin D levels have been associated with:

  • an increase in inflammatory cytokines (a type of signaling molecule that promotes inflammation)
  • a significantly increased risk of lung tissue inflammation and viral upper respiratory tract infections
  • an increase in the formation of blood clots

Also, COVID-19 severity and mortality rates are higher in:

  • elderly
  • patients with diabetes
  • chronic lung and cardiovascular diseases

Those are all groups with low vitamin D levels.

Some studies and clinical trials showed promising results, but still more evidence is needed to confirm the effects of vitamin D.

However, it seems there is nothing to lose and much to gain by proper vitamin D intake.

If vitamin D does reduce the severity of COVID-19, then supplements may offer an easy and affordable option to decrease the impact of the pandemic.

Vitamin D is generally safe but it is important to not go above the upper tolerable level (more than 4,000 IU a day).

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is:

  • 400 international units (IU) (10mcg) for children up to 12 months
  • 600 IU (15mcg) for people ages 1 to 70 years
  • 800 IU (20mcg) for people over 70 years

A few foods contain vitamin D, and it is mostly found in fortified foods like plant milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.

Vitamin D can also be obtained from the sun, this is the reason people call it the sunshine vitamin.

Sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of vitamin D (calciferol).

But be careful and don’t overdo it, UV radiation can cause skin cancer.

 

If not from food or the sun, there are all kinds of vitamin D multivitamins and supplements.

Vitamin D is best absorbed when taken with a meal that includes fats because it dissolves in fat (a fat-soluble vitamin).

(4) (5) (6) (7)

Apart from vitamin D, other nutrients may help keep us healthy as well. Whether from natural sources like colorful fruits and veggies or as supplements.

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C may significantly help the immune system.

As an antioxidant, it protects from oxidative damage, caused by free radicals (free radicals negatively affect our health).

It may prevent infections and inflammations with its anti-inflammatory properties.

A regular intake of vitamin C may lead to shorter and less severe colds.

Natural sources of vitamin C are oranges, green and red peppers, lemons, limes, kiwis, etc.

(8) (9) (10)

 

Vitamin A

An antioxidant as well as vitamin C, It can help fight infections, especially respiratory.

Vitamin a is needed for healthy skin and mucous membranes and a healthy immune system.

Natural sources of vitamin A are carrots, papayas, mangos, red peppers, etc.

(11) (12)

 

Zinc

It can reduce the number of infections and the duration of a common cold when taken on time. Zinc is important for the development and activation of T-lymphocytes (crucial for the immune response). With his antioxidant function, it can prevent inflammatory processes caused by free radicals.

Natural sources of Zinc are beans, pumpkin seeds, cashews, etc.

(13) (14) (15)

As you can see, it’s all in the simple and small everyday things like good hygiene, a calm mind, a healthy diet, and a few supplements. This can help in this fight against the pandemic and keep us healthy.

 


SOURCES

  1. Harvard Health Publishing, “How to boost your immune system?”health.edu
  2. University of Maryland Medical System, “Boost the immune system” org
  3. National Institutes of Health, “Vitamin D” NIH
  4. Mayo Clinic, “Vitamin D” MayoClinic
  5. Weir, E Kenneth et al. “Does vitamin D deficiency increase the severity of COVID-19?.” Clinical medicine (London, England) 20,4 (2020), PMC
  6. Griffin, George et al. “Vitamin D and COVID-19: evidence and recommendations for supplementation.” Royal Society open science 7,12 201912. 1 Dec. 2020, PMC
  7. Chakhtoura, M et al. “Commentary: Myths and facts on vitamin D amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.” Metabolism: clinical and experimental 109 (2020), PMC
  8. National Institutes of Health,” Vitamin C” NIH
  9. Carr, Anitra C, and Silvia Maggini. “Vitamin C and Immune Function.” Nutrients 9,11 1211. 3 Nov. 2017, PMC
  10. Mayo Clinic, “Vitamin C” MayoClinic
  11. National Institutes of Health,” Vitamin A” NIH
  12. Mayo Clinic “Vitamin A” MayoClinic
  13. National Institutes of Health, “Zinc”, NIH
  14. Prasad, Ananda S. “Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells.” Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.) vol. 14,5-6 (2008) PMC
  15. Mayo Clinic “Zinc”, MayoClinic
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