by Susan Walker May 11, 2020
The immune system is the body's main defense mechanism against a wide variety of agents known as pathogens. These pathogens can be bacteria, fungi and viruses. This system protects us from diseases and consists of many structures and processes. To work properly, it must detect pathogens and distinguish them from our own tissues.
With respect to COVID-19, there is no known cure for this virus and information about it is emerging quickly. At this time the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus is to adhere to the recommendations from the official sources of hand-washing, physical distancing and wearing a mask when out in public.
However, there are other approaches that can be used to improve overall immune function to reduce the progression from colonization of the virus in the body to actual illness.
The purpose of this post is to discuss a few nutraceutical agents that can modulate the immune response.
SARS-CoV-2 can be fatal because it stimulates part of the immune response called the inflammasome. This is can cause the release of inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are proteins produced by cells and play an important role in the immune system. This inflammation can lead to a cytokine storm and severe damage to the epithelium of the respiratory tract. This virus activates a specific inflammasome called the NLRP3 inflammasome. This is important because there are specific natural compounds that may regulate this inflammasome.
The following compounds can be useful in helpful the immune system defend against the virus.
*There is emerging information that vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of influenza and COVID-19 infections and deaths.
*Vitamin D insufficiency is more prevalent among African Americans than other Americans. In North America, most young, healthy blacks don't achieve optimal levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D at any time of the year.
* There is early evidence that low vitamin D levels are prevalent in severe COVID-19 infection.
All of these nutraceuticals show promise in supporting the immune system to fight the viral infection and combat the cytokine storm that can ensure, causing the fatality associated with COVID-19.
**The information provided is only intended to shed light on nutraceuticals that may support your immune system. It is not meant to diagnoses, treat or suggest treatments for COVID-19 specifically. None of them should be used without consultation with your doctor or medical practitioner. Please follow all guidelines outlined by the government agencies in your country and region.
Document Downloads + Links
Astaxanthin and COVID-19
Vitamin D Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
Vitamin D and African Americans
Vitamin D Insufficiency is Prevalent in Severe COVID-19