Much is said about the importance of having good defenses for the body to “attack” the viruses and bacteria that cause disease. But what is the immune system and what is it for?
“The immune system is made up of cells, organs and proteins that circulate in the blood and function as a network in which they interrelate. Normal is a constant balance and that balance is threatened by different situations, ranging from stress to elements of the environment. The system is prepared to counteract that and always return to balance. ”
Immunology and rheumatology specialist Pablo Mannucci (MN 96008) explained to Infobae that “today it is known that, in addition to controlling infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi, the immune system controls the development of tumors and the appearance of autoimmune diseases, that is, that their actions are much broader than previously believed” .
According to the coordinator of the Immunology area of the German Hospital, “For that balance to be maintained and the immune system to remain active there are fundamental elements”. And listed:
1- “First you have to be well nourished and have adequate food,” he said in reference to “fundamentally avoid being overweight.”
2- Avoid tobacco, since “it is shown to alter the functioning of immune cells.”
3- Do physical activity.
4- Control alcohol intake
Promptly about the coronavirus, Mannucci emphasized that “in front of a patient with an immune imbalance, he has a better chance of developing a more serious form of the disease.”
Key nutrients to improve immune system
While the numbers of infected and dead related to the new coronavirus continue to increase, it is vital act preventively.
In that sense, there is a great variety of minerals that fulfill various functions in the organism but two of them seem to be fundamental for the behavior of the defense system: selenium and zinc.
The renowned Italian infectologist Attilio Speciani, in an interview related to the increase in cases in Italy, highlighted the existence of a very relevant investigation on the presence of selenium and on the body's ability to defeat viruses.
Recent studies showed that “having an adequate concentration of selenium in the blood allows a greater defensive capacity of the immune system against viruses in general, and the coronavirus is no exception.”
And I add: “In those populations where there is a lack of selenium and zinc, viruses change more easily and become more aggressive. This applies to other coronaviruses and influenza. The same happens to a malnourished or immunocompromised person, the virus changes faster and becomes more aggressive because there is no defensive response from our body. ”
“Foods naturally rich in selenium are, especially, seafood and nuts. It is also present in animal products such as chicken, beef, and green leafy vegetables and legumes. ”.
According to the doctor and university master in nutrition Milton Dan (MN 119041), “as the human body is not able to synthesize selenium, its presence depends on the intake of the foods that contain it and, in turn, the selenium of these food depends on the selenium richness of the environment in which they grew up. ”
Due to the low consumption of sea food and the low presence of selenium in the soil, they often fail to maintain sufficient levels and it is usually necessary to supplement it. “Not every selenium supplement is equally effective, so that it meets its effect and obtain the greatest benefits, the contribution of the mineral must be of high bioavailability, for this we must take into account the factors that increase or hinder its absorption,” said Dan , who stressed that “the recommendations suggest their contribution independently, not combined in the so-called multivitamins.”
“The other important factor is to provide selenium in organic form, this can be from yeast (Sele200) or by a process known as chelation of minerals, ”Dan continued. Chelation is a scientific and technological development that allowed the transformation of inorganic minerals into an organic form. In Argentina, three minerals are available to date in the chelated form, one of them is selenium ”.
The other key mineral in the defense system is zinc, whose benefits linked to the immune system were described by scientist Ananda Prasad, who in the 1970s realized that this mineral could help the body to shorten or reduce the severity of cold symptoms.
In a blind placebo study, they noticed that in those who took zinc pills the duration of the cold had been reduced between two and three days.
A similar conclusion was reached by a meta-analysis published in 2017 by scientists from the University of Helsinki.
The authors of that meta analysis explained that the formulations usually contain other ingredients that subtract or even cancel out the effectiveness of zinc, something similar to what happens with selenium, so they suggest the contribution in chelated isolated form.
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