4 supplements that could help to fight COVID-19
General Health | July 8th | By J.S.Chang, RD
COVID-19 had been plaguing us for almost a year and counting and it seems like it had no plans to stop, at least for now.
This virus belongs to the same family as the dreadful SARS virus, which happened back in 2003, and they have similar symptoms such as cough, fever and sometimes body ache.
But unlike SARS, humanity once again, had successfully created a vaccine to combat the virus and so far, it’s looking good!
When vaccination does provide an ample amount of protection from the virus, you can always protect yourself more by taking the right supplements to boost up your immune system as well!
Why Immune System?
Our immune system put simply, is the soldiers of our body, always ready to adapt and fight against any unwanted intruders.
And if they did not get the food they need, how do we expect them to help us fight a war, right?
Keeping them as healthy as possible 24/7 is critical in ensuring that we do not contract infectious diseases, even as small as common cold.
These soldiers worked around the clock so that we can enjoy a happy lifestyle, so the least we can do is provide our body with the nutrition we need.
In this article we will cover 4 supplements that you will need to know:
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin C
- Tiger Milk Mushroom
1. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3, also known as the sunlight vitamin, plays an important role when it comes to our immune system.
Besides helping with our immune system, perhaps one of the most well-known function of vitamin D3 is the regulation of the health of our bone structure. It helps the body to absorb calcium from the food we eat effectively and the formation of our bone.
So, how does vitamin D3 relate to fighting of infections and diseases, or COVID-19, in this case?
Well, it seems like vitamin D3 can be recognized by our immune cells and further trigger a series of reactions which help our body to fight off those viruses.
Some studies have shown that vitamin D3 may improve immune response in several diseases, for example tuberculosis and certain autoimmune diseases. In fact, there are studies that suggest it can also protect against respiratory tract infections.
A study done in 2019 has shown that supplementing with vitamin D3 significantly decreased the risk of respiratory infections in individuals with lower vitamin D3 levels.
For most people, anywhere from 1000 to 4000 IU of vitamin D3 supplementation is sufficient, but there are cases where they might need a higher dose of vitamin D3 due to deficiency.
Recent studies have found that a low level of vitamin D3 is associated with a higher morbidity in COVID-19 patients and have an increased risk or getting complications from the virus.
Some hospitals are even using vitamin D3 supplementation as one of the treatments for COVID-19 patients!
Many healthcare professionals have also agreed that supplementation with vitamin D3 is generally safe and could possibly bring more health benefits and more importantly during this time, to protect them from the virus.
2. Vitamin C
Yes, I know what you are thinking, vitamin C again?
Vitamin C is easily one of the most popular health supplements and vitamins out there, and for good reason.
Also known as ascorbic acid, it is found back in the days when sailors do not have enough of vitamin C, which caused them to have bleeding gums.
Today, it is widely known as a strong antioxidant with various health benefits, most notably, boosting our immune system. It serves to protect our body cells against oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radicals.
It is known that oxidative stress is the root cause for many of the diseases today and has a direct link to aging. That’s why constantly enriching yourself with antioxidants can make you age slower!
Study had shown vitamin C can effectively reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections, such as common cold.
The RNI for vitamin C according to the Health Ministry of Malaysia for adults is 70 mg/day, but it could be beneficial if you take in a higher dose of 1000 - 2000 mg/day as prevention.
Don’t worry on overdosing on vitamin C as it is a water-soluble vitamin and an excess of it will be expelled together with your urine. However, those with kidney stones have to keep a special eye on their intake or consult a healthcare professional before starting a regime!
Zinc has multiple function in our body and is needed for the immune system to work properly. It has a role in maintaining a healthy hair & skin and wound healing because of its importance in the growth cycle of the cells where all new cells must go through.
Although being only a micronutrient that we need, it is essential to our immune system.
As mentioned just now, zinc is needed for cell development, including our immune cells; and communication between cells in order to achieve a healthy response to unwanted invaders.
COVID-19 being a type of virus, may be where zinc can work its wonders. Zinc has the ability to stop viral replication through multiple ways where it prevents the virus latching onto your DNA, thereby preventing the replication.
So, what happens when you have deficiency in zinc?
Your immune function would be significantly affected and that paves way to a higher risk of infection and disease.
It may be relatively rare in developed countries, but older individuals are generally at a higher risk of having such deficiency.
Therefore, supplementation of zinc may help to make you less prone to common cold and potentially demonstrates antiviral activity.
The RNI standard for adults differs from male to female, but on average is about 6 mg/day. Taking them for long term is generally safe as long as you do not exceed the upper limit of 40mg/day for adults.
4. Tiger Milk Mushroom
Tiger milk mushroom is a type of fungi and a type of medicinal mushroom and is found natively in tropical forests in South East Asia countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
It rose to fame when ex Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed announced back in 2002 that he had found a cure for a chronic cough that had been plaguing him for a long time.
It is commonly used by aborigines and the Chinese as a traditional medicine to treat minor ailments such as cold, cough and even asthma.
Okay, enough with the history, what is so special about it then?
Many studies have been done to show the medicinal properties of the mushroom when treating respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic cough and even bronchitis.
It is mostly due to its ability in modulating the immune system and anti-inflammatory properties. It allows us to effectively repair the damaged tissue of respiratory system while strengthening the resistance towards our disease-fighting capability.
It also exhibits antiviral properties which is certainly helpful in the fight against COVID-19!
By combining all these properties, it is safe to say that this makes tiger milk mushroom a one-of-a-kind mushroom and indeed a national treasure.
Side note: there is still no official recommended daily intake established, and always consult a healthcare professional before you plan to start on one of these!
Besides the ones I mentioned above, there is still tons of supplements out there that may help to improve your immune system.
Keep in mind that supplement is just there to assist you in the sense that they provide a certain level of protection against these viruses.
What’s more important is always lead a healthy lifestyle, and in times like these, it is ever more crucial.
Remember to always wash your hands and maintain social distancing by avoiding crowded spaces. They are no doubt the best way to prevent yourself getting those pesky viruses!
Stay healthy and stay awesome!
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