Long Covid in children. Nutrition essential factor: integrating vitamins and elements


Long Covid in children.  Nutrition essential factor: integrating vitamins and elements

Nutritional factors and development of severe Covid in children: supplements with essential elements and vitamins can counteract the long-term effects

Use of supplements based on vitamins and essential elements such as magnesium, zinc and selenium can counteract the long-term after-effects of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, known as Long COVID, in children. This is the hypothesis of an Italian team, led by Michele Piazza, of the University of Verona, according to which it would be useful to conduct research focused on children’s dietary habits, to evaluate its possible impact on inflammation and coagulation and to understand how it contributes immunity to coronavirus.

The possible causes of long Covid-19 in children

According to the study, published in Biomolecules, many children reported prolonged or chronic fatigue, headaches, depression, taste and odor changes, or poor appetite after overcoming SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. One possible explanation for this condition, according to Piazza and colleagues, is the lack of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant factors. In addition to the genetic predisposition, a diet low in anti-inflammatory / antioxidant substances, which lacks its immunomodulatory potential and its possible antiviral activity, may be a modifiable factor that predisposes to a more serious infection and to the development of symptoms for a long time. time after the acute phase of the disease. For example, vitamin D deficiency will be associated with increased disease severity, while zinc deficiency will be associated with higher complication rates, especially when combined with selenium deficiency. In addition, low magnesium levels will usually be characteristic of all COVID-19 comorbidities associated with increased inflammatory status; on the other hand, an increased likelihood of survival is evident in severe patients, but with higher levels of magnesium in the blood at admission. The integration of these substances can therefore provide benefits, prevent further damage to the tissue and favorably modify the intestinal microbiome, as the authors themselves emphasize.

The role of vitamins

B vitamins play a role in metabolism, as well as in the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. These vitamins, which are also necessary for immune regulation, are part of cofactors for many enzymes and they also perform an antioxidant activity and regulate the inflammatory pathway. Thus, the deficiency of thiamine, or vitamin B1, causes neuropathy and neuroinflammation, while the levels of vitamin B6 in its active form are reduced during inflammation. Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is an antioxidant that removes reactive oxygen species from tissues and regulates cytokine levels. Vitamin D modulates the immune response and its presence in adequate plasma levels is associated with a reduction in the susceptibility to infection. In addition, vitamin D would be able to reduce COVID-19 mortality in inpatients, protect them from lung and endothelial damage, and its supplementation, preferably daily rather than monthly, would be recommended, according to Italian researchers. Finally, vitamin E and C are powerful antioxidants and participate in metabolism. In particular, vitamin C is also important in immunity and its deficiency is associated with fatigue, pain and brain fog.

Essential elements: magnesium, zinc and selenium

Next to the vitamins, Piazza and colleagues remind us of the importance of the essential elements. Magnesium, for example, is essential for heart function and vascular tone, preventing vasoconstriction and blood clot formation. In addition, oxidative stress due to low magnesium levels may be responsible for fatigue and muscle pain associated with prolonged COVID. Thus, the magnesium deficiency would have an impact on the bioavailability and activity of vitamin D. Finally, its integration with selenium and coenzyme Q10 would improve thyroid functionality, a significant effect given the presence of thyroiditis as a characteristic of long COVID. in some patients, as the authors point out. In addition, selenium modulates the stress-induced inflammatory pathway and reduces the level of reactive oxygen species. This element prevents the hyperinflammatory reactions of the infection and will also counteract the onset of viral mutations, with supplements that could be important not only for the thyroid gland but also for the gut and mental health. Finally, zinc, an important element of transcription factors and enzymes, reduces oxidative stress and modulates immunity by promoting the formation of T and B cells, so much so that its deficiency is associated with autoimmune disease and endothelial dysfunction, as well as with a increased number of T helper cells, which can predispose people to inflammation.

Sabina Mastrangelo


Biomolecules (2022) – doi: 10.3390 / biom12040556

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