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Future Trends in Integrative Health: Immune Optimization

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

As Covid-19 continues to spread and impact the health of the world’s population as well as social and economic functioning, prevention prevails as the primary intervention to fight the spread. Immune enhancement and optimization by dietary consumption have become a strategy of high public interest. The following dietary supplements have been shown to be effective at boosting immunity and/or reducing inflammation:


Vitamin C administration to patients with pneumonia and sepsis counteracts associated low vitamin C status and elevated oxidative stress to reduce the severity and duration of the disease. A small study that was conducted in China that is awaiting peer review showed significantly decreased mortality in the more severely ill Covid-19 patients who received IV administered vitamin C intervention. (Carr & Rowe, 2020).


Vitamin D supplementation can reduce the occurrence of acute respiratory infection and the severity of respiratory diseases in adults and children. Potent neuroprotective functions might prevent the loss of taste and smell by stimulating nerve growth factors (Xu et al., 2020).


Astragalus is an herbal supplement that originates from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It inhibits common viruses such as influenza and common bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus that can cause upper respiratory tract infections. It has also been shown to increase IgA, IgM, and IgG levels in patients who experience recurrent infections (Chuan Zou et al., 2013).


Turmeric’s yellow coloring ingredient, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to significantly reduce the duration and severity of an experimental model of multiple sclerosis in mice (Kligler & Lee, 2013).


References

Carr, A. C., & Rowe, S. (2020). The Emerging Role of Vitamin C in the Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19. Nutrients, 12(11), 3286. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113286 (Links to an external site.)


Chuan Zou, Guobin Su, Yuchi Wu, Fuhua Lu, Wei Mao, & Xusheng Liu. (2013). Astragalus in the Prevention of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in Children with Nephrotic Syndrome: Evidence-Based Clinical Practice. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (ECAM), 2013, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/352130 (Links to an external site.)


Kligler, B. & Lee, R. (2013). Integrative Medicine: Principles for Practice. New York: McGraw Hill.


Xu, Y., Baylink, D. J., Chen, C.-S., Reeves, M. E., Xiao, J., Lacy, C., Lau, E., & Cao, H. (2020). The importance of vitamin d metabolism as a potential prophylactic, immunoregulatory, and neuroprotective treatment for COVID-19. Journal of Translational Medicine, 18(1), N.PAG. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-020-02488-5

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