Busting myths about COVID-19 and nutrition with Prof Janice Thompson

you might have come across claims that
particular nutritional supplement oreven a given food could prevent COVID19
or even treat it well is that myth or isthere some fact behind those claims
I’m Janice Thompson I’m a professor ofpublic health nutrition and exercise in
the school of Sport exercise andrehabilitation Sciences at the
University of Birmingham and I’m heretoday to talk a little bit about some of
those claims and some information aboutnutrition and how it might link in with
not just COVID19 but our immune systemin general and whether there is any
evidence behind some of these claimsthat a particular supplement or food
could be used to prevent entry COVID19there’s a lot we do know about the
immune system and that’s really what wehave to think about here is our immune
system is that system that allows us tofight any invader so infection whether
it’s a virus whether it’s bacteria anysort of foreign invader into our system
our immune system kicks into action wellthe ways to optimize our nutrition
excuse me are our immune systemdefinitely nutrition is one of the key
components we can eat lots of differentfoods to help support our immune system
and another important action is to bephysically active today I’m just going
to focus on the nutrition piece so isthere again special foods maybe
supplements a particular nutrient weneed to focus on actually the immune
system benefits from a number ofdifferent nutrients that we can find in
a wide range of foods vitamins A D E Cvitamin C all of those are important
vitamins that we can get in a wide rangeof foods including plant sources and
animal sources Vitamin C forinstance is only available in plant
sources as is Vitamin E but there’s awide range of foods fruits vegetables
vegetable oils whole whole grains inaddition various types of meat poultry
seafood that could include some of thesenutrients and we also have mineral
as nutrients so when it comes to ourimmune system minerals that really help
to support our immune system includethings like iron zinc selenium and
copper and again those can be found insome of the very same food sources I’ve
just mentioned where these vitamins arepresent probably the trickiest one to
get in our diet would be vitamin Dbecause predominantly we produce Vitamin D from sunlight through our skin andas we know if you live in countries in
the more northern latitudes such as theUK it’s very difficult about half the
year to get enough sunlight to produceadequate vitamin D so that leads us into
what we’ll should we be takingsupplements in almost a particular
supplement or even food well I think asI mentioned these nutrients are really
sprite widespread in a lot of foods andthey don’t have to be expensive foods at
all really commonly available foods evenavailable during the lockdown situation
would have these nutrients in them andthere is not any evidence that anyvitamin-mineral supplement whether it’s
an individual one so separate vitamin Dor separate iron necessarily will
prevent or and/or treat COVIDspecifically it’s a little bit of
evidence that does support that vitaminC supplements or zinc lozenges
could help reduce the severity of a colda common cold reduce the length of a
common cold but the virus that causesCOVID19 is a very different virus from
viruses that cost the common coldso again there’s no evidence that right
now that those particular supplementswould be beneficial for COVID19 I think
the main message is that what we reallywant to do is do everything we can to
support our immune system as much aspossible through eating a wide range of
foods now supplements may be needed forsome people they may have certain
conditions where supplements would beadvised but to go out and just
individually take whatever supplementsyou think would be right can be
dangerous for some people whoparticular medications there could be
negative interactions with medicationshowever some people might benefit so
this is where individuals might want totalk with their health care provider to
find out is there a supplement I shouldbe taking and if so what are the amounts
but a general multivitamin and mineralsupplement usually is formulated in many
cases to the government standard amountthat we could be taking and that would
be safe so I hope that information ishelpful there’s a lot more detail in the
blog about specific nutrients andexactly what they do with our immune
system but they predominantly help ourimmune system create the cells that are
needed to fight infectionthey help clear out old cells that need
to be removed they also support othersystems around those particular cells
they help cells talk to each other sothere’s a wide range of things that
these nutrients can do and hopefullymost of us should be able to access
things affordable foods that we canconsume that really benefit our immune
system so anyway thank you very much for your time and I hope this was helpfulyour time and I hope this was helpful

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