With the severity of the COVID-19 immune system overreaction, known as a “cytokine storm”, in some COVID-19 patients, doctors remain focused on finding treatments to slow or stop this deadly storm. Experts in the nutrition world are also looking to find ways to stop it before it even begins. Early into the pandemic health experts focused on Vitamin C and Vitamin D to help support a stronger immune system.
A new study published in Maturitas, a peer reviewed journal, suggests Vitamin B plays an important role in proper immune function, energy metabolism and cell function. Vitamin B also assists in the proper activation of both the adaptive and innate immune responses in addition to reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, improving respiratory function, maintaining endothelial integrity, preventing hypercoagulability and reducing the length of hospital visits.
The study itself did not analyze B vitamins effectiveness on actual COVID-19 patients, however, researchers point to existing evidence on how B vitamins function and suggest that supplementing with B Vitamins would be “extremely beneficial”. Researchers concluded that B vitamins could not just aid in maintaining or building a healthy immune system, but B vitamins might also potentially reduce or even prevent COVID-19 symptoms or treat SARS-CoV-2 infections. They further stated a poor nutritional status could predispose people to be more easily harmed by infections of any kind. Researchers also concluded the Vitamin B levels should be assessed in all COVID-19 patients as a nonpharmaceutical add-on to all current COVID-19 treatments.
Vitamin B Complex, which is made up of 8 different types, affects the body in many ways, including assisting with critical body functions like proper digestion, energy levels, red blood cell growth, eyesight, heart health, nerve function and brain function. Despite the availability of B vitamins in our food sources many Americans are deficient in these nutrients and most don’t even know it. It is believed the 3.2% of adults over the age of 50 are seriously low in Vitamin B12 and as many as 20% of adults may have a borderline B12 deficiency.
Although researchers are urging caution when interpreting the study results, which were not meant to suggest B Vitamins would prevent or treat COVID-19 alone, they do recognize the many benefits B Vitamins offer and concluded that anything that may improve the function of the immune system and decrease the chances of an infected person having a catastrophic cytokine storm could improve the outcome of COVID-19 cases and decrease the overall death rate. It then becomes quite feasible that B Vitamin supplementation could aid in preventing the worst COVID-19 outcomes.
More research is of course needed.
Here is a little more information about B Vitamins:
Collectively, all B Vitamins are called B-Complex. The vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-6 should be taken in equal strengths, as should Choline and Inositol. B-Complex vitamins are active in providing the body with energy, basically by converting carbohydrates into glucose which the body burns to produce energy. They are also vital in the metabolism of fat and protein. The B vitamins are necessary for normal functioning of the nervous system and may be the single most important factor for health of the nerves. During stressful situations, the nervous system can become depleted of B vitamins. Stressful situations include physical or emotional overwork, infection or injury, fad or poor dieting, excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs, and intense sports workouts. Other functions of B vitamins include maintenance of muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and the health of the skin, hair, eyes, mouth and liver. A deficiency of B vitamins can cause fatigue or low energy levels, affect the inability to handle stress, nervousness and result in the poor condition of the skin and hair.
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