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Saturday 28 November 2020
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Nature’s antivirals: Top 5 antiviral agents that help boost immune health

Scientists are scrambling to fast-track a cure for COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease that’s still currently spreading throughout the globe.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been conducting clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 drug since April, but to no effect.

Based on recent reports, the international clinical trial team tasked to develop an effective treatment for COVID-19 has stopped conducting tests on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a drug used to treat malaria. This development came about after scientists found that HCQ failed to reduce the mortality rate in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Natural antiviral agents

The infectious disease may still be at large, but according to recent reports from the online statistics portal Statista, more than 4.5 million people of the 8.58 million confirmed global cases had recovered from the disease as of June 19.

This astounding figure indicates that it’s possible to recover from the disease despite the lack of a specialized drug or vaccine. For the most part, recovery can be attributed to a strong immune response to infection and disease.

Studies suggest that immune health is largely influenced by diet. For instance, eating foods rich in essential nutrients and potent plant compounds can help enhance immune health. But some do a better job of boosting immune functions and fighting off pathogens than others.

Here are some of the most potent all-natural immune boosters that can help protect against infection and disease:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is hailed for its immune-boosting properties. Considered a potent antioxidant, this micronutrient has been found to strengthen cells and tissues against pathogens and to stimulate the production of disease-fighting antibodies and immune cells.

In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that high doses of vitamin C are effective against influenza, a highly infectious respiratory disease that causes symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.

Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, salad greens and Brassicas, but it can also be consumed as a supplement.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral responsible for regulating immune functions and protecting them from age-related decline. It has also been found to support a number of important bodily functions including cell development and protein and DNA synthesis.

According to the results of multiple studies on zinc, zinc deficiency often leads to poor immune health, reduced defenses against infection and higher rates of morbidity. Because of its important role in immune health, studies recommend zinc supplementation to reduce the impact of diseases and other health conditions. (Related: Zinc is an effective treatment for coronavirus infection, blocks viral replication.)

Zinc can be found in a range of foods, including seafood, lean meat, seeds, legumes, nuts and eggs.

Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb used in traditional medicine to treat the common cold and other minor infections. Most of the studies on echinacea focus on its effects on the common cold and much less research has been done on its other potential medicinal properties.

That said, scientists speculate that apart from its antiviral properties, the herb also has a stimulating effect on immune cells that enhances their ability to fight off pathogens and infection.

Licorice

The licorice root is a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. It is often used to treat colds, inflammation and respiratory infections like bronchitis. Studies also found that licorice can protect against microbial and viral infections.

In fact, a 2003 study found that high doses of licorice extract eliminated the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus in infected monkey cells. Scientists also found that licorice extract is more potent than ribavirin, the antiviral medication used to treat SARS.

Garlic

Garlic is hailed for its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Organic compounds found in garlic, such as allicin, alliin and ajoene, make it an effective antiseptic agent against infectious pathogens like the influenza virus.

Garlic is best consumed fresh since its active compounds are more potent in this state. It can also be taken in more concentrated doses as an herbal supplement.

A strong immune system is the body’s first line of defense against infection and disease. Besides adopting healthier habits like eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep, loading up on natural, disease-fighting antivirals helps further strengthen our immune health.

Read more articles about immune-boosting foods and nutrients at ImmuneSystem.news.

Sources include:

WHO.int

Statista.com

TheEpochTimes.com

ISOM.ca

Academic.OUP.com

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

Nature.com




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