Since there is no approved treatment for the COVID-19 virus, I was recently reading about different ways that we can help our body’s own immune system to be active against fighting it. I also believe that prevention in the form of supporting our immune system is important to discuss as well. I came across a really interesting article published by the National Institutes of Health that discusses the role that vitamin B plays in treating this virus.
We all know that vitamin C and vitamin D have been touted as good treatments in part to treat the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We also know that both vitamin C and vitamin D have anti-inflammatory properties and they also help to support the immune system. It’s been found that there have been increased deaths in people that have the lowest vitamin D levels. It’s also been shown that vitamin C has been able to help increase oxygen in the people who’ve been the sickest.
Vitamin B and COVID-19
What was new and interesting about this article is that vitamin B is also very important in COVID-19 treatment and it helps support the immune system. Vitamin B activates the immune response and it decreases inflammation through the inflammatory cytokine pathway, which are all these different chemicals that are released in the body when we have some kind of infection or attack. Patients have been given different B vitamins as a part of their treatment. Vitamin B has improved respiratory function so the sickest patients can breathe better and have better lung function. It also prevents blood clots and has been proven to decrease the length of hospital stays.
Vitamin B status should always be assessed. Vitamin B can be used as an adjunct to treat the SARS-CoV-2 but it can also be used to prevent us from even getting it in the first place. There are many different forms of B vitamins. I’d like to discuss the role of some of these different B vitamins in helping to treat and prevent this virus.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, increases our T cell antibodies. T cells are our fighter cells. Think about our T cells as the first line of attack in our army that is going to fight this virus. Thiamine also decreases inflammation and it’s the inflammation that makes us sick. Inflammation increases the swelling that we get in our lungs from this virus so thiamine is important in helping to treat that.
Vitamin B3 also decreases inflammation and it helps to prevent lung damage. Vitamin B6 is another form of vitamin B that decreases inflammation. It also increases our immune cells. People who have heart disease, diabetes, and those who are elderly tend to have lower levels of vitamin B6. As we have seen with this virus, those are the very people who are getting the most ill and dying with this virus.
Vitamin B9, also known as folate, can actually block the virus from attacking our bodies. Vitamin B12, which is the most famous B vitamin, decreases inflammation. In addition to inflammation, it decreases organ damage. The people who are the most ill and are having to be hospitalized are the people who are seeing that organ damage and B12 can actually help with that.
Immune Health Importance
It’s very important to build and maintain a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system is really the only defense that we have to fight this virus or quite honestly any virus that comes our way. Whatever it is that comes our way, we need to be ready to fight it. We would love to help assess your nutrient status and to recommend a personalized plan so that you can have the best immune health possible! Schedule a discovery call to see if we would be a good fit to work together.
Susan Julian, NP, IFMCP