Can the Immune System Be Helped To Fight COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of talk about the importance of a strong immune system. But can it be strengthened with vitamins and supplements? And does it make sense to take them during an illness?

Dr. Anastasia

Infectious disease doctor

Three barriers

The immune system is a complex, finely tuned system of interaction between a large number of different cells including cytokines, antibodies, interferons, and immunoglobulins. They fight infections and bacteria. The first barrier that any virus encounters is our skin, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes. If the virus can overcome this barrier, it meets the next level of defense — the resistance of the innate immunity, that responds quickly to the infection. The body's third level of defense is adaptive or acquired immunity. After contact with a stranger (the virus), the cells of the immune system begin to produce antibodies to defend the body from the virus.

Immune response

The body's fight against the infection is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and sore throat. This is a normal reaction to the virus. If we assume that supplements and vitamins will strengthen the immune system, then they, in turn, will increase the symptoms of the disease.

Placebo-controlled clinical trials show that it is impossible to strengthen the immune system with remedies such as supplements, tinctures of echinacea, and homeopathic preparations. However, it does increase the load on the liver and kidneys. The only vitamin that makes sense to take at the beginning of symptoms is vitamin C, which increases the release of interferons into the blood.

A self-destructive program

The immune system can even become dangerous and cause a cytokine storm. The immune system begins to destroy its cells, reacting acutely to a virus that has entered the body. This process is very difficult to stop. If a cytokine storm develops, immunosuppressive drugs are used to artificially suppress the immune system to suppress the body's resistance.

What should you do?

There is no point in boosting immunity when the virus has already entered the body. It is best to try to boost immunity ahead of time by doing the following:

  • Sleep 8–9 hours a night. It is very useful for the immune system to sleep during the day (from 20 minutes to an hour), it promotes the production of interferons, cytokines, antibodies, and leads the immune system to be ready to fight viruses.
  • Eat a healthy and varied diet. The good gastrointestinal function helps build strong immunity.
  • Take contrast showers, take more walks and make time for other physical activity.

27 December 2021

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