The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 62.26 million people around the globe. The causative agent of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread all over the world. It is quite challenging to control the spread of the infectious agent and cope up with the pandemic crisis. A healthy immune system enables individuals to fight coronavirus infection.
Boost Your Immunity
The human body has an immune system that works as a defense system against several pathogens, for instance, viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
To protect the body against numerous pathogens, the immune system modifies itself to come up with a more-effective version containing several specialized cell types. These modified cells work in collaboration with one another to fight against the invading organism that may cause harm to the body.
As the immune system remains active throughout the day, nutrients are its essential requirement. Nutrients aid in the proper functioning of the immune cells, thus defending the body against pathogens.
Nutrients may be micronutrients or macronutrients, which include numerous vitamins and trace elements that provide sufficient energy to the cells of our defense system, ultimately reducing the risk of disease.
An efficient immune system may play a leading hand in combating the coronavirus. The role of nutrition in boosting immunity is studied by researchers at the School of Human Development and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton.
The findings of the research enlighten that good nutrition is directly proportional to boosting immunity, published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.
Natural Immune System
The defense system of the body is a compilation of numerous complex networks of cells and proteins that works in collaboration to protect the body from pathogenic organisms.
The immune system at the entry of antigens forms antibodies against the specific antigen that fight off the disease-causing organisms. The immune system is capable of keeping a record of the various invading pathogens. Thus, recognizing the antigen and killing it if it invades the body again.
The ability of the immune system to recognize an antigen that has previously invaded the body is known as immunological memory. This efficient system quickly triggers the immune response before the pathogens produce their detrimental effects.
Various environmental and physical factors alter the immune response of the body. Immunosenescence is the weakening of the immune system with the process of aging.
Immunosenescence – Immune System Alteration
In immunosenescence, several immune cells decrease in number, including lymphocytes, dendritic cells, neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, and Natural killer cells.
The decrease in the formation of immune cells from the bone marrow is one of the factors leading to immunosenescence.
Older people are at a higher risk of severe coronavirus infection due to immunosenescence.
Apart from aging, obesity also leads to a decline in immunity. The reduced immune system in obese people accounts for the impairment in immune-cell functioning. The cells whose functioning is influenced include Lymphocytes and natural killer cells.
Moreover, obesity also leads to a decline in antibodies and interferon production. As a result, pre-disposing obese people to severe coronavirus infection.
Furthermore, vaccination may not work effectively in an obese individual. An increase in the blood concentration of various inflammatory mediators may also occur in obesity. Thus, causing low-grade inflammation.
Moreover, in some scenarios, the infection causes the defensive system to trigger to a large extent, resulting in a cytokine storm. The enhanced inflammatory response makes the individual more susceptible to severe COVID-19.
Eating Healthy Aids Fight Off COVID-19
The immune system functions actively at all times. However, some of the invading antigens trigger the activation of cells. These cells’ activation leads to a significant increase in immunity by a corresponding increase in the energy-producing substances, for instance, glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids.
The gene expression of cells influencing the immune system is directly regulated by some nutrients, including vitamin A and D.
These essential vitamins play vital roles in different phases of immune cell formation, such as maturation and differentiation. Furthermore, these also enable the responsiveness of immune cells.
The body is protected from oxidative stress by the naturally occurring antioxidants in the human body. Vitamin C and E come under the classic antioxidant vitamins. Moreover, it also includes various antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase.
Conclusively, a well-nourished body with the essential nutrients is crucial to boost the immunity that aids in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.