Long Covid: Dr Chris gives advice on supplements to fight fatigue
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Winter 2021 will look much different to last year, as the Government has dropped all Covid measures. With another lockdown unlikely, people will have to navigate tens of thousands of Covid cases and a new “super cold” currently passing through the British population. While vaccines will help eliminate some of these aggressors, people will have to cope elsewhere by augmenting their diet with a range of nutrients.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Pam Mason, a nutritionist and author who led a research review for the Health and Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS), found 10 nutrients can significantly boost immune performance.
She said: “Nutrition has a significant impact on immune function.
“This is recognised by the European Food Safety Authority and other expert bodies around the world.
“Studies show that people with a good nutritional status – who have the recommended amounts of nutrients in their diets – fare better in terms of resisting viral infections, recovering quicker, and experiencing less severe illness.”
According to Dr Mason, vitamin A helps guard potential virus entry points.
The vitamin protects nasal membranes and the mouth and gut, where most viruses will enter after being coughed or sneezed out.
Vitamin A is also an antioxidant, meaning it can reduce the chance of developing non-viral chronic illnesses.
Most people understand the benefits of vitamin C but still don’t take the recommended daily amount.
Adults should have between 65 and 90 milligrams per day, the ideal amount for helping the body create new immune cells.
The vitamin also acts as a pathfinder for white blood cells, helping guide them to sites of infection.
People primarily get their vitamin D from the Sun, which is understandably scarce during the winter.
Instead, they should take supplements, giving them further protection around their lungs.
Vitamin D also helps make macrophages and monocytes, with additional anti-inflammatory benefits.
Vitamin E supports another vital organ; the skin.
Supplements can help build skin and gut barrier strength, eliminating another prospective virus entryway.
Much like its relatives, it also helps in the long term by boosting T-cells that remember past infections.
Vitamin B is a catch-all name for several sub-vitamins, each with a different purpose.
Vitamin B6, for instance, helps produce natural pathogen killers, while B12 focuses on T cells.
Thiamin, another word for vitamin B1, helps rejuvenate the nervous system and extract more energy from food.
Iron has many uses, and several tasty foods such as red meat are a prime source.
The mineral builds neutrophil cells, a type of immune cell that travels to neutralise infections.
At the same time, they prove vital in soothing inflammation.
Zinc helps strengthen the body’s first-line defences against invading pathogens.
Among others, they support phagocytes, innate immune cells that destroy any invading organism.
The mineral will also augment the abilities of other minerals by strengthening the skin, nose and mouth barriers.
Selenium is an antioxidant found in a vast range of foods.
Lean meats such as turkey and chicken include the mineral, which provides cells with a protective barrier.
This can prove vital during a cytokine storm – when the immune system overreacts and starts attacking itself – while also producing new antibodies.
Copper is a regulatory mineral people can use to regulate the different types of T-cells.
These include T-killers and the all-important T-helpers, which help activate a range of other cells vital for immune response.
Getting enough copper is relatively easy, as copper-rich foods include dark chocolate, mushrooms, nuts and seeds.
Doctors tend to advise people to up their omega-3 intake as they age, given its anti-inflammatory uses.
They play a vital part in staving off diseases such as arthritis, but also during run-of-the-mill infections.
Omega-3 targets prostaglandins – inflammatory substances released by the body during infection.
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