While each country has a specific protocol to treat COVID-19, many agree on the benefits of dietary supplements to a certain degree.
These products will not cure the infection; however, they will help your immune system combat the virus and recover from the inflicted damage.
In this article, we will cover the key nutrients that help your body recover from COVID-19.
The primary nutrients that will help you with COVID-19 recovery
1. Vitamin D
The body produces vitamin D via a complex cascade of reactions that start with sunlight exposure.
The cholesterol circulating near your skin gets transformed into several byproducts until it reaches the active form of vitamin D – this process requires enzymatic action of your liver and kidneys. Unfortunately, many people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, especially during seasons with poor sunlight exposure (e.g., autumn, winter).
Researchers found some evidence that supports the efficacy of vitamin D in the management of COVID patients, stating that “maintaining appropriate levels of Vitamin D through supplementation or natural methods, eg, sunlight on the skin, is recommended for the public to be able to cope with the pandemic.”
Magnesium is an indispensable mineral for human cells. it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.
Note that magnesium also has a synergetic effect on other vitamins (i.e., it boosts their action).
The benefits of magnesium are:
Boosts physical strength
Magnesium optimizes the process of moving glucose into the cells and disposing of lactate, which lowers the incidence of post-COVID asthenia.
Some commonly underlooked issues with COVID-19 are the psychiatric disorders that come along.
According to research, COVID-19 increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and other forms of social disorders, especially when the infection persists for a long time.
Fortunately, magnesium helps with all of these disorders.
Researchers found that deficient amounts of magnesium increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Some experts believe that the low level of magnesium in our modern diet is the primary driver of depression.
The good news is that supplementing your body with this mineral is sufficient to improve your mood and reverse any mental damage.
In one randomized controlled trial, scientists gave participants 450 mg of magnesium every day. At the end of the study, all participants reported improved mood in a way that’s as effective as taking antidepressants.
Promotes glycemic control
Patients with COVID-19 often experience abnormal levels of glucose. In fact, many of them develop type II diabetes.
Interestingly, around 48% of people with T2D have low levels of magnesium. Consequently, their cells become less responsive to the action of insulin, further exacerbating their diabetes.
According to one study, the intake of magnesium decreases the risk of diabetes by up to 47% compared to a control group (i.e., participants who did not receive magnesium supplements).
Zinc is an essential mineral the interferes with hundreds of biochemical reactions. Our cells are unable to synthesize this mineral, leaving dietary intake as the unique source to obtain it.
Making sure that your body has enough zinc is fundamental for the recovery from COVID-19.
Zinc offers the following benefits for COVID patients:
Optimizes the immune system
Since zinc is an integral part of immune cell production, it can provide us with great immune-boosting properties.
In a 2017 meta-analysis, scientists found that zinc shortens the duration of upper respiratory tract infections (e.g., the common cold) by up to 33%.
Accelerates the healing process
Collagen is responsible for replacing damaged tissue to create scars.
Two key components that your body needs to initiate scarring are vitamin C and zinc. In fact, several hospitals use zinc supplements as part of their protocol to treat burn patients.
Most people who are deficient in zinc face trouble when it comes to injury healing and scar formation.
Note that the lungs undergo significant damage in severe cases of COVID-19.
Dampens inflammation and oxidative stress
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are the hallmarks of most serious illnesses, including COVID-19.
Fortunately, zinc is able to dampen inflammation due to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, which may lower the severity of pulmonary diseases.
4. N-Acetyl Cysteine
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an inexpensive ingredient that received the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the treatment of acetaminophen toxicity and chronic bronchopulmonary disorders (e.g., pneumonia, bronchitis).
Recently, researchers concluded that NAC could offer some benefits for patients with COVID-19. The oral, intravenous, or inhaled administration of this drug can halt the replication of SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., the virus that triggers COVID-19).
Moreover, the prompt use of this nutrient could improve the outcome of patients.
Here are the mechanisms that may explain NAC’s effectiveness in treating COVID-19:
- Reduction of oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals
- Mitigation of inflammation and tissue injury by suppressing the cytokine storm
- Restoration of glutathione levels in the cells – a compound that dampens inflammation in severe cases of pulmonary infections
Administering NAC with other antiviral agents can significantly lower the rates of hospital admissions, mechanical ventilation, morbidity, and morality in COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 is a complex disease process that damages several organ systems when severe enough. Supplementing your body with the nutrients that proved to be effective in fighting this infection is of the essence.
We hope that this article cleared out some of the confusion that surrounds dietary supplements for COVID-19.