Vitamin D and zinc could help reduce COVID-19 infection risk

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Scientists from Academy for Micronutrient medicine in Germany and Boston University in the U.S. suggest that vitamin D and zinc may help reduce the risk of COVID-19.

Worldwide the pandemic of COVID-19 spreads rapidly and has had a big public health impact with strong death risk, especially in high-risk groups, such as older people and people with health problems like diabetes, dementia, or cancer.

Supportive therapies that can stabilize the immune system and can help to deal with the infection, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly are important.

Malnutrition can happen when adequate macronutrients and micronutrients are lacking in the diet.

Nutritional strategies to support the optimal function of the immune system are often missing in public health discussions around preventing and treating COVID-19 patients.

This is surprising, given the importance that nutrients play a significant role in immune function.

In the current review, researchers suggest several micronutrients, such as vitamin D, retinol, vitamin C, selenium, and zinc are of special importance in supporting both the adaptive and innate immune systems.

Deficiencies in these immune-relevant micronutrients can impair immune function and reduce resistance to infections.

These deficiencies should therefore be corrected as soon as possible, especially in the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

The team suggests that according to recent studies, some case reports, and a few intervention studies, the supplementation of vitamin D and/or zinc is promising.

The anti-inflammatory effect of Vitamin D could explain its protective role against immune hyper-reaction and cytokine storm in people with severe COVID-19.

One recent intervention study even found that high-dose vitamin D supplementation boosted viral clearance in asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients.

Besides, another recent study with COVID-19 patients found that a big number of them were zinc deficient.

The zinc-deficient patients had more complications, and the deficiency was associated with a prolonged hospital stay and increased death risk.

Therefore, the researchers suggest that immune-relevant micronutrients may help to boost resilience against COVID-19.

The research was published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research and conducted by Uwe Gröber and Michael F Holick.

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