Micronutrients That Help Support Your Immune System During COVID-19 Pandemic

Cronometer was founded on the desire to empower people to make the most informed nutrition decisions possible. We feel during this challenging time that
it is now more important than ever to educate people on achieving a healthy diet.
 
So, we sat down with our in-house Nutrition Scientist to learn what nutrients help support our immune system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The best defense against COVID-19 is doing your best to prevent an infection. Wash
your hands frequently. This will reduce the chance of infection by touching a surface
with the virus on it and then touching your face where the virus might enter your
body. 
 
Because the virus spreads from person to person, cough or sneeze into your
elbow to reduce the spread of droplets containing the virus to other people and
surfaces around you. Additionally, it is recommended by WHO and many governmental
health authorities to reduce your contact with others during this time. These
measures may include working from home or avoiding places where you come in close contact with others.

Understanding Your Immune System

There are three main parts to your immune system:
 
1. Physical barriers preventing bacteria and viruses from entering your body.
This includes your skin, the lining of your intestinal tract, mucous, tears, etc.
 
2. Innate immunity – this is your first response to infections.
 
3. Adaptive immunity – these defences respond to infectious agents that your
body has seen before and delivers a quick attack targeted to each specific
type of infection.
 
The new coronavirus is something your body has not seen before, so you will rely
upon #1 and #2 for your immune defense.
 
There is no food, nutrient or supplement that can prevent you from catching a virus,
but there is no better time to focus on staying healthy! In addition to a diet
containing a variety of fruits and vegetables (canned and frozen are good options too!), aim to get some exercise each day, the sleep you need, and build in something fun to reduce stress. 
 
You can use Cronometer to track your intake of micronutrients.

Micronutrients that help support your immune system:

Vitamin A

Your skin and the lining of your intestine, lungs and eyes provide a barrier to pathogens entering your body. Vitamin A and folate are needed to make the tissues
that keep foreign material from entering your body. It also helps to make
mucus that coats some of these tissues, without which become more prone to
infection.
 
There are several different immune cells that your body produces, depending on the
threat identified. Vitamin A helps determine the population of cells your body
produces so that you have the right cells to do the job when an infection hits.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps immune cells make proteins that kill bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D
also influences the type of immune cells that your body produces in order to provide
an appropriate immune response to an infection.

Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Inflammation is a normal part of your bodies defense against infection. Omega-3
and omega-6 are types of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that integrate into
the cell membrane of immune cells where they help relay information across the cell membrane to respond to infection. They send signals that determine the
intensity and duration on an immune response. 
 
In general, omega-6 tend to promote the inflammatory response to a greater extent, while omega-3 have a weaker effect, resulting in a less intense response. Keeping your intake of omega-6 in relative proportion with omega-3 helps maintain a more moderate immune
response, that helps fight off infection without overdoing it.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps maintain your physical defense system, in other words our skin and
other tissues that are exposed to materials found outside your body.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cell membranes and other places
containing fats from damage from reactive compounds. Inside of immune cells,
vitamin E also helps cells respond to an infection, and keep the intensity of the
response in proportion to the infection, without overdoing it.

Zinc

Zinc helps send signals in your immune cells that direct how they respond to
infections in your body. Zinc keeps your skin healthy, which prevents foreign
invaders from entering your body.
While deficiencies in these nutrients have been shown to impact your immune
system, this means that you want to make sure you are getting enough. There isn’t
any evidence that consuming more than your needs or supplementing with high

doses will provide additional benefit.

We hope this blog helped educate you on the nutrients that support your immune system so you can feel more confident about your nutrition decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please share this blog post to your friends and family.

Our entire team wishes you all the health and safety. Take care!

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