- which many people lack
It is not the actual COVID-19 virus that can become lethal. It is the immune system’s overreaction with hyperinflammation and a storm of cytokines that destroys healthy tissue in the lungs, the cardiovascular system, and other places in the body, according to a new article that is published in The Lancet. The capacity of the immune system determines if an infection like COVID-19 is either harmless or life-threatening. For that reason, hygienic measures, masks, isolation, and delayed vaccines are not sufficient. We also need to bolster our immune system against COVID-19 and other pandemics that may occur in the future. Let’s look closer at vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium and zinc, all of which are essential for preventing a well-functioning immune system from going off its rails. What is also worth mentioning is that many people lack these nutrients, especially older people and other exposed groups.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C are able to counteract chromium-6 poisoning, according to a new study that is published in Experimental Biology. Chromium-6 (hexavalent chromium) is used for many industrial purposes, and the different signs of poisoning such as cancer were described in the movie “Erin Brockovich” that is based on a true story. Now, Danish scientists even claim that the threshold level for chromium-6 is far too high and gives a false sense of security. It is vital to avoid exposure to chromium-6 and to get plenty of protective antioxidants. However, we depend on chromium-3 (trivalent chromium) for controlling our blood sugar levels.
We all know that calcium is good for your bones, and many people actually supplement with calcium to prevent osteoporosis. But even without supplementation, we get plenty of calcium from dairy products, and too much calcium from supplements can lead to a tenfold increase in the risk of dying of cancer, according to a new study that is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Earlier studies reveal that too much calcium also increases your risk of atherosclerosis and inflammation, a common thread in most chronic illnesses. It is also important to know that your calcium ingestion should be properly balanced with magnesium. If the balance is right, most of the calcium ends up in the bones where it belongs instead of wreaking havoc in the blood vessels and in other soft tissues where calcium essentially does not belong.
COVID-19 represents a serious global threat against public health and the economy because we still lack a vaccine and effective therapies. When COVID-19 becomes life-threatening it is primarily because the immune defense overreacts with a cytokine storm and hyperinflammation that destroys healthy tissue in the lungs, the circulatory system, and other places. Older people and heart failure patients already suffer from chronic low-grade, uncontrolled inflammation, to which nutrient deficiencies contribute and make the patients increasingly vulnerable. This also applies to people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes, many of which are overweight. For that reason, scientists affiliated with universities and research centers in Norway, Sweden, and Russia have searched the scientific literature to find studies that focus on whether supplementation with vitamin D, selenium, and zinc can help prevent a COVID-19 infection from escalating and becoming life-threatening.
This almost sounds too good to be true, but scientists from Germany and the United States have discovered that zinc combined with a compound found in cocoa beans, coffee beans, tea leaves, and grapes is able to activate a particular molecule that protects against oxidative stress. In ageing, oxidative stress holds a key role. It is caused by an imbalance between harmful free radicals and protective antioxidants. Although anti-ageing is normally conceived as something that can delay the exterior signs of ageing, it is really more important to slow down internal ageing such as atherosclerosis, fatigue, dementia, and early death in worst case. Many people lack zinc, and deficiencies of this nutrient are widespread and typically observed among vegetarians, vegans, older people, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. What the scientists are telling us now is that it is good for us to enjoy a little dark chocolate, coffee or tea in order to benefit even more from the zinc we get.
The coronavirus has spread from Wuhan in China to a number of continents, where it has caused massive fear and affected daily life and the global economy. Although most people that get the infection experience a mild course of events, the greatest fear is the potentially life-threatening complications in the respiratory system caused by oxidative stress, which have already taken thousands of human lives. Chinese scientists now call for early intravenous therapy with large doses of vitamin C to prevent oxidative stress and the life-threatening complications that follow in the wake of a derailed immune system. Many researchers also claim that higher intake of vitamin C from dietary sources or supplements help prevent by boosting and regulating the immune system in the upper respiratory tract. The same goes for vitamin D and selenium.
- and antioxidants like selenium, Q10, and melatonin play a role in prevention and treatment
There is a link between depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Also, it appears that chronic stress contributes to oxidative stress and brain cell damage. In a review article that is published in the science journal Antioxidants, researchers look closer at how oxidative stress affects the brain. They also study how antioxidants can be included in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and why the most promising results are seen with selenium, Q10, melatonin, vitamin E, turmeric, and polyphenols. With regard to depression, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, turmeric, and saffron have demonstrated the greatest potential.
The majority of sexually active people contract HPV (human papilloma virus), of which there are several types. Normally, the infection goes away by itself but in some cases it becomes chronic. This increases the risk of serious cell changes in the cervix which, in worst case, can result in cervical cancer. An American study has found that having adequate levels of five different antioxidants – albumin plus vitamins A, B2, E, and folic acid – may lower papilloma virus infections that are linked to cervical cancer.
- with links to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders
The mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells that churn out energy in a process that involves oxygen, Q10, selenium, and other nutrients. Around 100 years ago, the German Nobel Prize winner, Professor Otto Warburg, demonstrated that even if cancer can be caused by a number of secondary factors, there is only one primary cause: alterations in the mitochondrial oxygen turnover. In his recent book, Tripping over the Truth, molecular biologist Travis Christoffersen describes how contemporary scientists confirm Warburg’s theories and says that we need to look at prevention and cancer treatment from an entirely different angle. Other studies show that Parkinson’s disease, migraine, senility, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders may be rooted in defects of the mitochondria that have many other functions besides delivering energy. It is therefore vital to take care of the mitochondria throughout life. You can read more about the ketogenic diet that optimizes mitochondrial energy turnover in different mitochondrial diseases.
Vitamin C is important for the immune system, the nervous system, energy turnover, connective tissue, hormone production, and numerous biochemical processes. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant that protects cells and tissues against oxidative stress and hyperinflammation that cause virus infections to become dangerous. According to a new review article that is published in Nutrients, lack of vitamin C is widespread in underdeveloped, low-income countries but also occurs in industrialized countries with higher income levels. Also, the majority of Danes fail to consume the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C, plus a number of factors can increase the need for the nutrient.
Kidney stones is a painful and quite common problem. The diet plays a major role and according to a large American population study published in Nutrients, selenium may help prevent the condition. The authors mention that selenium-containing proteins and antioxidants have preventative mechanisms and due to the widespread problems with selenium-depleted farmland, they say that selenium supplementation may be a good way to prevent and manage kidney stones and other pathological changes.
Millions of people take painkillers such as Panadol or Calpol that contain paracetamol, and an estimated one billion people or so lack selenium due to nutrient-depleted farmland. This is an unfortunate cocktail because being deficient of selenium increases the risk of using paracetamol, so even the recommended dosage burdens the liver to such an extent that it causes toxicity and increase the risk of side effects. This was demonstrated in a collaborative study carried out by Bath University in England and Southwest University in China.
– and could even make them more dangerous
Selenium is of vital importance to a strong immune defense. Still, selenium deficiency is a common problem and it increases the risk of viral infections such as influenza and the coronavirus from China, which is feared to turn into a global pandemic. It is a problem that selenium deficiency in infected animals and humans causes the virus to mutate and become more aggressive. Because of selenium’s important role as a powerful antioxidant, being deficient of this micronutrient may leave the body vulnerable to oxidative stress, which can cause tissue damage and complicate the virus infection. It is therefore important to get enough selenium at all times, as it also increases our resistance towards other viral infections such as herpes, HIV, and hepatitis, according to an article published in Nutrients.
It is commonly known that pregnant diabetics have an increased risk of developing an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. The diet plays a major role and it appears that a vitamin C deficiency increases the risk, according to a Danish study of pregnant type 1 diabetics that is published in the journal Antioxidants. The authors also mention that vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that protects cells and tissues against oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Elevated blood pressure is the main cause of stroke, cardiovascular disease and early death. For quite some time, there has been evidence that intake of fruit and vegetables affects the risk of developing elevated blood pressure. Science has not yet studied if this is due to the antioxidants in our diets, but a team of French scientists has looked closer at this. The researchers found that the total amount of antioxidants in our diet may lower by 15 percent the risk of elevated blood pressure. The potassium in fruit and vegetables also play a determining role in blood pressure management, and the same goes for Q10 – provided you take quality supplements with proper absorption.
Melatonin is primarily known as a sleep hormone and a powerful antioxidant. According to a new study, melatonin may even improve the condition of rats that have heart rhythm disturbances with an increased risk of heart attack. Melatonin’s ability to improve the heart function is not related to its antioxidant function, however, and that surprised the scientists behind the study. The new study was presented at an annual meeting for the American Physiological Society (APS) in Orlando. Melatonin has several vital functions, but as we age our endogenous production decreases. Not only does this affect our quality of sleep, it also has a negative impact on the heart and the body’s cells.
According to WHO, sepsis is the third-most common cause of death, following cardiovascular disease and death. Sepsis is a result of the immune defense overreacting to an infection in the bloodstream. According to a new Slovakian study published in Bratislava Medical Journal, if you start supplementing with Q10 early in the treatment phase, it may reduce the symptoms and improve the chances of survival. Read more about another nutrient that contributes to the prevention of sepsis.
- and increase your lifespan
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death. However, in 2013, Professor Urban Alehagen, a Swedish cardiologist, demonstrated that giving supplements of selenium and Q10 to seniors could strengthen their hearts and reduce their cardiovascular mortality rate by over 50 percent. In follow-ups of his research, it was seen that the two supplements had a long-term effect on lifespan, but there is more to the story. In a whole new study that is published in European Journal of Nutrition, Alehagen manages to show in detail that selenium and Q10 have a positive effect on oxidative stress and inflammation at the same time as improving a number of biomarkers of heart health. He also explains why it can be a challenge to get enough Q10 and selenium through an entire life.
Cataracts is one of the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness. The risk is increased by old age and diabetes. According to a new study that is published in Frontiers in Nutrition, a relatively high selenium intake can protect against the disease. The scientists mention that because of selenium’s unique antioxidant properties this nutrient protects the cells in the eye and in other places against free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Everyone knows that exercise and sports activities are good for you, but overtraining and high-performance sport may increase your risk of oxidative stress, which is associated with acute injuries, inflammation and later risk of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). It is therefore a good idea to take antioxidant supplements, as this may help prevent both acute and chronic injuries. A comprehensive article published in the science journal Nutrients looks closer at the relation between free radicals and antioxidants, which have different functions in connection with various types of physical activity. This is especially the case with vitamins A, C, and E plus selenium and zinc. It is also important to make sure to get enough vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids for counteracting inflammation and oxidative stress.
Regular sport is good for you, whereas arduous training and high-performance sport can result in physical injuries, infections, chronic inflammation, and serious diseases due to oxidative stress. This phenomenon occurs as a result of the increased energy turnover, which produces an excess of free radicals that cause damage to cells and tissues. Oxidative stress is also associated with impaired performance, poor restitution, and faster ageing. Our only natural defense against free radicals is the presence of antioxidants, and it is especially things like vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, Q10, omega-3 fatty acids, and turmeric that protect against oxidative damage and improve recovery time. According to a review article published in Nutrients, supplements with the right doses of different nutrients can also help boost your physical and mental performance.
Both physical traumas and critical illnesses are associated with inflammation and oxidative stress where free radicals can cause potentially life-threatening damage to cells and tissues. Traumas are estimated to be the cause of one in ten deaths. New research suggests that early intervention with selenium may shorten the hospital stay including the days spent in intensive care and reduce total mortality. This was shown in a study published in Frontiers in Nutrition where the researchers looked closer at selenium’s unique antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effect.
Air pollution is a serious health threat that affects the entire world. Previous studies show that it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, among other things. We need new strategies for protection, and a recent Chinese study conveniently reveals that supplementation with vitamin C can protect the cardiovascular system against oxidative stress and other harmful impacts from air pollution. What we need to find out is how much vitamin C it takes to obtain a therapeutic effect.
Telomeres are protective caps at the end of our DNA strands. You can compare them to the small plastic aglets that prevent shoelaces from unraveling. For each time a cell divides, the telomeres become shorter. The length of telomeres conveniently indicates our biological age. Diet plays a role and according to a large population study, vitamin C intake is linked to telomere length. The same is the case with Q10 and selenium, according to Swedish research. Vitamin C, Q10, and selenium serve as unique antioxidants that protect the telomeres and the cells against damage caused by oxidative stress.