COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus that continues to take lives globally. With over a million deaths, severe pneumonia is among the toughest lung conditions caused by the virus. As we all take precautions against the COVID-19 infection, it’s also crucial to strengthen our immune systems as well as the lungs, which is the target of the COVID-19 virus.
As a medical practice and internal medicine provider in Rock Hill and Charlotte, Metrolina Medical Associates aims to share how COVID attacks the respiratory system and how supplements can help keep the lungs in their best shape to withstand and surpass the attack with less complication.
How COVID-19 destroys the lungs
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and lung disease have the highest comorbidity rate due to COVID-19. The lungs and the respiratory tract are the target of the SARS-COV virus causing people with COPD, asthma, and lung conditions to gasp for air when they get infected.
Pneumonia is the infection of the air sacs in the lungs. Due to the immune response of the body, fluid and pus fill the air sacs which leads to symptoms like cough, fever, chills, and shortness of breath. COVID-19, in particular, destroys the lungs’ pneumocytes which makes it extremely challenging for the lungs to keep the alveoli or air sacs open.
In response to the attack, the body’s white blood cells rush into the lungs’ alveoli and release inflammatory chemicals. Blood vessels in the lungs become leaky, and the fluid creates pressure which triggers the complication called spontaneous pneumothorax or the collapse of the air sacs.
With healthier and stronger lungs, your respiratory system becomes an armor that can save you as the COVID virus attacks your body. Aside from avoiding smoking tobacco and taking care of your overall health, you may also benefit from taking lung supplements to support lung function amid the pandemic.
With the right supplements, you may reduce your risk of pneumonia as well as the severity of its complications.
Lung supplements for strengthening your respiratory system
Before you take any of the supplements mentioned in this post, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional first, especially if you are suffering from any specific medical condition or taking other maintenance medications. Check out the supplements below that can help strengthen your lungs and keep them healthy:
Probiotics as well as fermented foods, like kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, and tempeh, are rich in healthy microbes that fight other invading pathogens. They provide a good influx of healthy bacteria which creates a good balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Research says that microbes in probiotics are a key component of a strong immune system. Therefore, the live microbes can help reduce your risk of infection. Some strains of microbes have stronger anti-infection and anti-inflammation properties. These include:
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus GG
- Lactobacillus casei
Zinc plays a role in the body’s humoral and cell-mediated immune response. Low levels of zinc in the body can have profound effects on your body’s ability to fight off viruses. According to research, taking zinc after the first signs of a cold aids in the quick recovery of patients. It would also help the symptoms to be less severe.
Women need 8 mg of zinc per day, while men need 11 mg. Aside from taking supplements, foods like red meat and seafood, like oysters and mollusks, are great sources of zinc. It is also found in whole grains and legumes, although in smaller quantities. This is why vegetarians may be at risk for zinc insufficiency.
Though it is an essential vitamin, be careful with taking too much zinc. The maximum amount should be 40 mg a day. Too much intake can cause side effects like copper deficiency and neurological problems.
Like zinc, Vitamin C plays a role in strengthening the body’s immune system to fight off diseases. It acts as an antioxidant, strengthens the immune cells, and helps relieve inflammation.
Low levels of vitamin C can lead to an impaired immune system, which makes the body susceptible to viral infections. Taking 100mg to 200 mg of vitamin C as part of your daily dietary supplements can help you prevent respiratory conditions and other diseases.
Vitamin C is best taken in two or three smaller doses from foods or supplements. It is abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables like kiwi, pineapple, and broccoli. As a water-soluble vitamin, it is not stored in the body. So, you need to eat foods rich in vitamin C and take supplements to meet the ideal daily intake of the vitamin.
Vitamin D or the sun vitamin is crucial to our immune function due to its anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties and its role in the activation of immune system defenses. People who have adequate vitamin D in their bodies are less likely to get sick or acquire respiratory infections.
The best sources of vitamin D in food include fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks, fortified milk, and supplements. The ideal intake for Vitamin D is 1,000 IU a day through supplements or 10-minute exposure to morning sunlight.
COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for the elderly as well as people with chronic inflammatory disease, such as:
Ginseng, however, can help improve respiratory infections in the elderly population. It contains strong antioxidants that could help reduce inflammation and strengthen the body’s immune system. It is most effective when it is taken 2 hours before meals. The ideal intake for ginseng is 2000 mg a day.
Garlic is one of the powerful food that has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It is rich in antioxidants, and it can activate the body’s immunity genes to help reduce symptoms of cold, flu, and other respiratory infections. You may add raw cloves to your meals, or you can take garlic supplements, 500 mg twice a day. Take one pill before breakfast and another one before dinner.
In summary, the supplements that have been proven to boost the body’s immune system and help support lung function include probiotics, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, ginseng, and garlic. They are known to reduce the symptoms of infection, duration of illness, and severity of respiratory infections.