How to overcome viral and bacterial infections?
Time for the latest coronavirus update as of April 8, 2020: around the world, there are now over a million cases of COVID-19, the viral infection caused by a new type of pathogen called SARS-CoV-2. Also, we have seen over 52,000 deaths and growing rapidly. On the brighter side: well over 200,000 confirmed cases have fully recovered. But, ultimately, to win this “viral war” – we must focus on better nutritional strategies such as consuming enough selenium.
No doubt, many healthcare experts are working hard to save peoples’ lives and minimize the damage of this infection. As part of these efforts, we’re hearing more and more about how certain nutrients can enhance individual immune health and help to overcome viral or bacterial infections.
The value of selenium to fight off viral and bacterial infections
The micronutrient selenium supports a variety of important functions in the body including oxidative damage protection, thyroid function, and immune system activity. Interestingly, a 2011 review published in Biological Trace Element Research found that areas of the world with selenium-depleted soil (including China) also happen to be areas where new types of viruses tend to emerge.
How selenium fights against viral and bacterial infections?
Research shows that selenium boosts immune response by slowing down the speed at which pathogens replicate and mutate. As mentioned, selenium also helps fight against oxidative damage which can occur as a result of infectious illnesses.
As for people who are deficient in selenium, researchers believe that these people are at an increased risk for a greater inflammatory stress response to viral exposure, which may ultimately contribute to increased viral mutation and new viral strains.
Eating more selenium-rich foods is the ideal way to get more of this critical immune-boosting nutrient in your diet. Just 1 ounce of Brazil nuts contains nearly 550 micrograms of selenium, well over the current recommended daily intake of 55 mcg per day, or 60 to 70 mcg per day for pregnant or lactating women, respectively.
As noted in a 2000 paper from the Journal of Nutrition, selenium intake of 350 to 724 mcg per day is considered safe for most adults.
Other good sources of selenium include:
- Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, mustard seeds
- Mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli
- Pinto beans and chickpeas
- Whole grains
If you are going to supplement this nutrient, you should check with your doctor first if you have a history of skin cancer or thyroid problems.
- Hepatitis C antibody (HCV)
- General blood test
Wherever you are in the world, we’re always here to help.
In addition to selenium, consider adding this other immune-boosting nutrient to your healthy diet right now
No single nutrient works on its own. Nutrients have a synergistic effect on each other and work together to optimize health. That’s why we always advise people to eat a wide range of (organic) whole foods and add a combination of supplements to their diet.
That being said, if you’re not taking one already, now may be the ideal time to start taking a vitamin D supplement, too. Nearly half of the population is deficient in this nutrient, especially during the winter months – when it’s harder to make the nutrient from healthy sun exposure.
Vitamin D deficiency is quickly becoming a common link between several health problems, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and certain cancers. One 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials, published in BMJ, also found that vitamin D supplementation is a safe and effective way to protect against respiratory infections.
Consider taking vitamin D with vitamin K to boost absorption. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is just 600 to 800 International Units (IU) per day according to the Institute of Medicine, but many health experts advise that as much as 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day or more is safe and indicated.
Lastly, remember our point at the beginning of this section:
No single vitamin or supplement will provide a complete answer to your healthy body, and no supplement can counteract an unhealthy diet. So while it may be tempting to indulge in unhealthy comfort foods right now, be sure to prioritize nourishing foods as much as you can while minimizing heavily processed products.
We’re all in this together! Stay tuned for more updates.
Sources for this article include: