How diet, supplements and lifestyle changes can help fight COVID

Recent editorial in the magazine Nutrients Emphasizes how effective non-pharmacological interventions related to the promotion of healthy lifestyles and dietary models can improve overall health and reduce the risk of infection with severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), as well as the potential adverse effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Prevent the adverse effects of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infection through diet, supplements and lifestyle.  Image credit: ART STOCK CREATIVE / ShutterstockPrevent the adverse effects of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infection through diet, supplements and lifestyle. Image credit: ART STOCK CREATIVE / Shutterstock

COVID-19 still affects our daily lives in 2022 and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Although advances in science have focused on the development of vaccines, the production / reassignment of therapeutic agents and the promotion of non-pharmacological interventions to reduce the severity of disease, a fifth pandemic wave is now inevitable in different parts of the world.

An underrated mitigation strategy to prevent the many adverse effects of COVID-19 is to actively promote healthy lifestyles along with non-pharmacological interventions. This is becoming increasingly important in disadvantaged areas due to the lack of access to vaccines.

In addition, changes in lifestyle and diet can offer additional protection and improve overall health. It is well known that inadequate nutritional status can be a serious risk factor for severe respiratory and concomitant diseases (eg high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes), increasing the risk of severe disease and death in patients with COVID-19.

That’s why the MDPI diary Nutrients developed a special issue aimed at research articles examining nutritional status, lifestyle / dietary changes, and the use of supplements on SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 results.

In this editorial, Dr. Ronan Lordan of Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. William B. Grant of the Center for Sun, Nutrition, and Health in San Francisco present these nonpharmacological achievements in the fight against the Covid19 pandemic.

The importance of vitamin D and zinc

In this special issue, two studies were published that supported the idea that vitamin D deficiency was widespread among patients hospitalized for COVID-19, one in the United Arab Emirates and the other in Russia. Both studies emphasize that adequate vitamin D levels may be clinically relevant, acting as a predictor of outcomes in patients with COVID-19.

Another study from Saudi Arabia was a clinical trial that included 69 SARS-CoV-2-positive patients who were hospitalized with mild to moderate COVID-19 in 2020 and showed that higher supplemental doses of vitamin D achieved much more favorable clinical benefits.

In addition, patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 had significantly lower serum zinc concentrations than non-infected individuals; however, the difference between zinc concentrations for those with mild and those with moderate disease was not significant. Also, the use of high doses of zinc salts showed significant improvements only after one day of treatment

Nutritional supplements and nutritional supplements

In this special issue two natural products known as Glycyrrhiza glabra extract and hesperidin may play a role in inhibiting virus entry by angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), which are the two major cellular proteins that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter the cells of mammals.

In addition, a group of Polish authors also reported that vitamin D was in fact the most popular supplement during the second wave of the pandemic, which began in September 2020; in particular, vitamin D was taken by 23%, 38% and 33% of respondents during the first, second and third waves of the pandemic, respectively.

Other researchers who contributed to this special issue had a much broader research interest in the potential nutritional needs and supply chain problems that arose during the pandemic, highlighting United States programs to distribute healthy meals and snacks.

Unintended consequences of the COVID-19 reaction

Another important area of ​​research examined in this special issue was the unintended consequences of the COVID-19 response. One notable example is a study that showed weight gain among teachers on Long Island, New York, who switched from personal to online forms of teaching.

Emotional eating during the pandemic is also a problem, as shown in Norway with a noticeable increase in foods and beverages high in sugar. The authors also suggest the need for nutritional and psychosocial education and interventions during regular pregnancy monitoring.

In conclusion, further extensive research efforts will be needed to fully understand how most of the adverse effects of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infection can be prevented through diet, supplements and lifestyle changes. .

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