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  • 11 Essential Vitamins And Nutrients You Can Take To Fight COVID-19, Says Pinay Doctor

    Our best defense against the virus is our immune system.
    by Kitty Elicay .
11 Essential Vitamins And Nutrients You Can Take To Fight COVID-19, Says Pinay Doctor
PHOTO BY iStock
  • While the government is already preparing to lift the enhanced community quarantine in some parts of the country on May 1, 2020, many Filipinos are still afraid of getting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) when people are finally allowed to leave their homes under the general community quarantine. There is still no vaccine for the virus and no specific drug that has been proven to cure the disease.

    To curb the spread of COVID-19, experts advise to keep ourselves healthy. “One of the best things we can do is to boost our immune system. [It] is our best defense. Remember: our bodies are actually made to fight off diseases,” shares Dr. Candy Drilon-Dalman, a Functional and Integrative Medicine physician and Medical Director of Centro Holistico, in a webinar facilitated by Stratum Health Partners.

    According to Dr. Drilon-Dalman, one of the most basic things you can do to achieve this is to improve your nutrition. “The kind of food you will intake will dictate what type of health you will have,” she says. “Our goal is to down-regulate an overactive immune response. Basically, to lessen the ongoing inflammation in your body so that in the event that you do get the virus, there’s enough just inflammation to fight off the virus but you will not develop the severe type of disease.”

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    What makes COVID-19 deadly

    Dr. Drilon-Dalman explains that what makes COVID-19 deadly is its ability to stimulate part of our innate immune system, which is the body’s general response to any type of bacteria. “[Scientists have been able] to identify which pathway specifically: the NLRB3 inflammasome,” she shares.

    Another reason is that the virus also produces a lot of cytokines. “Cytokines is designed by the body to attack viruses. The problem is, when there’s an overproduction of cytokines, that’s when you start developing damage to the rest of the body,” Dr. Drilon-Dalman says. “After a while, when you’re not able to control the damage, [you get a] cytokine storm, you produce too much free radicals, the reactive oxygen species, that’s when you start developing organ failure because your cells will slowly start to die.”

    How to improve food and nutrition

    By improving nutrition, the goal will be to “balance the inflammatory pathways, reduce oxidative stress, increase antioxidant levels, and harmonize the gut microbiome —because the gut is one of the most central parts of the immune system,” according to Dr. Drilon-Dalman.

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    Dr. Drilon-Dalman stresses five points to achieve this:

    • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Aim for nine to 13 servings a day. Her advice: Eat vegetables according to the colors of the rainbow to get different micronutrients for each
    • Intake at least 28 to 35 grams of dietary fiber daily, preferably from whole foods
    • Eat fermented vegetables and other probiotic foods to maintain gut health
    • Avoid immune offenders like added sugars, high salt, processed food items, and excessive saturated fat
    • Eat foods rich in antioxidants including,           
      • Herbs and spices
      • Nuts and seeds
      • Pure (dark) chocolate
      • Vegetables
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    Can supplements help boost immunity?

    According to Dr. Drilon-Dalman, there are different views on supplements and “immuno-boosting,” with some articles stating that there is no such thing. But in the webinar, she compiled different supplements that, based on studies, can help strengthen your body against COVID-19.

    “What supplement is good for you? It depends on what you’re lacking,” Dr. Drilon-Dalman says. She emphasizes that it is important to consult with your doctor first before ingesting any type of supplements.

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    The ideal way is to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through your diet. But if you’re worried about COVID-19, here’s a list that Dr. Drilon-Dalman says you can take, and the food sources where you can get it from.

    Quercetin

    Where to get it: Onions, apples, grapes, berries, broccoli, green tea, red wine
    Suggested dose: 1 gram, 2x a day
    What it does: Has anti-viral effects against both RNA (e.g. influenza and coronavirus) and DNA (e.g. herpes virus) viruses

    Curcumin

    Where to get it: Turmeric
    Suggested dose: 500 to 1,000 mg, 2x a day
    What it does: Modulates NLRP3 inflammasome; can target the COVID-19 virus’ main protease to reduce viral replication

    Epigallocatechin Gallate (ECGC)

    Where to get it: Green tea
    Suggested dose: 4 cups daily of green tea or 225 mg daily
    What it does: Modulates NLRP3 inflammasome; can potentially target the COVID-19 virus’ main protease to reduce viral replication; also documented to help with influenza

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    N-Acetylcysteine

    Where to get it: Supplements
    Suggested dose: 600-900 mg, 2x a day
    What it does: Promotes glutathione (the body’s major antioxidant) production and cysteine repletion. Based on studies, those taking NAC regularly at 600mg, 2x a day, experienced fewer influenza-like episodes

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    Resveratrol

    Where to get it: Berries, dark chocolates, nuts
    Suggested dose: 100 to 200 mg daily
    What it does: Helps those with hormonal issues and cardiovascular diseases; helps modulate inflammasome

    Vitamin D

    Where to get it: The sun
    Suggested dose: 5,000 IU daily (in the absence of serum levels)
    What it does: An immune system modulator that reduces inflammatory cytokines and increases macrophage function (which captures the viruses and prevents viral replication); stimulates expression of potent antimicrobial peptides; increases anti-pathogen peptides through defenses, surpasses superinfection (helps body attack viruses and bacteria)

    Melatonin

    Where to get it: Bananas, almonds, spinach, tomatoes
    Suggested dose: 5 to 20 mg daily
    What it does: Has inhibitory effects on the NLRP3 inflammasome

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    Vitamin A

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    Where to get it: Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, egg yolks
    Suggested dose: up to 10,000 to 25,000 IU per day
    What it does: Most known for maintaining vision, promoting growth and development, and protecting epithelium and much integrity; modulates cellular defense and repair mechanisms; modulates cytokine production

    Elderberry

    Where to get it: As supplements
    Suggested dose: 500 mg daily (of USP standard of 17% anthocyanosides)
    What it does: Most effective in the prevention and early infection stages of respiratory viruses; modulates cellular defense and repair mechanisms; modulates viral-induced pathological cellular processes

    Vitamin C

    Where to get it: Citrus fruits, strawberries, melons, mangoes, papayas, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach
    Suggested dose: 1 to 3 grams daily
    What it does: Supports various cellular functions of both innate and adaptive immune system; it accumulates in phagocytic cells such as neutrophils, and can enhance microbial killing through various mechanisms

    Zinc

    Where to get it: Red meat, seafood
    Suggested dose: 30 to 60 mg daily in divided doses
    What it does: Supports various cellular functions of both innate and adaptive immune system; favorably modulates viral-induced pathological cellular processes, attachment and replication; helps in both prevention and reduction of severity and duration of the disease

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    Babies and newborns are more susceptible to COVID-19. Click here to know how you can boost your little one's immune system against respiratory diseases.

    For the latest news and updates on COVID-19, check out reportr.world/covid-19.

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