Nutritional therapy might support individuals suffering from viral infections by delivering essential micro and macronutrients that support the immune system. Such substances influence the way the body works and support it with the necessary fuel that is necessary to aid the body and immune system in fighting off viral infections. As Katona(1) writes:
„Malnutrition can make a person more susceptible to infection, and infection also contributes to malnutrition, which causes a vicious cycle. An inadequate dietary intake leads to weight loss, lowered immunity, mucosal damage, invasion by pathogens, and impaired growth and development in children. ”
In order for the body and the immune system to function properly a certain amount of calories (energy) is required. If the body is deprived of the energy and micronutrients immune response might be compromised(2). Adequate nutrition will support an infected organism by delivering nutrients linked to improved immunity. Such nutrients can enhance the production of white blood cells, which helps to fight off the infections quicker, while other nutrients may help decrease inflammation, chronic pain or support the intestinal microbiome(3). On the other hand, other, specific nutrients show antiviral effects on their own(4).
While factors such as appropriate sleep, healthy lifestyle, stress, etc. do impact the efficiency of the immune system, nutrition is also an important factor and plays a decent role in supporting a sick body. It is commonly known, that there are specific nutrients that have specific properties and by implementing these nutrients we can simply take the advantage of their properties and utilise them when they are needed. Such actions can not only reduce the risk of occurrence of viral infections but also reduce the time necessary for the body to fight them off and recover after the sickness, especially if the attention is paid to how much one eats in order to ensure that an adequate amount of energy is delivered during sickness.
- Peter Katona, Judit-Katona-Apte(2008), The Interaction between Nutrition and Infection, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 46, Issue 10, available at: https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/46/10/1582/294025
- Alina Petre(2017), 5 Ways Restricting Calories Can Be Harmful, accessed on 11/05/21, available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/calorie-restriction-risks
- James Schend(2020), 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System, accessed n 11/05/21, available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system
- Ahmad Alkhativ(2020), Antiviral Functional Foods and Exercise Lifestyle Prevention of Coronavirus, available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32872374