With the current unprecedented Coronavirus outbreak, there is an upsurge in people buying Vitamin supplements, With Vitamin C and Zinc combination emerging as top supplements in demand.
When a person (Host) is infected by a virus, it invades the cells in order to survive and replicate. Outside the cell, the virus is dormant as it requires food to replicate and become active. Once the virus invades the cell our immune system cannot see the virus and hence it becomes difficult to know which cell is infected.
To overcome this, cells employ a unique system that allows them to show other cells that it is infected. They use something called MHC Class 1 (Class 1 major histocompatibility complex proteins) that displays fragments of proteins made by viruses.
Immune cell called T Cells circulates to find infected cell. Cytotoxic T Cell named because it kills virus-infected cells with toxic mediators. They have special proteins called T Cell Receptors (TCRs) that help them to recognize the infected cell. Once the T cell receptors detect a peptide from the virus, it directly warns the T cell of an infection. The T cell release cytotoxic factors that enable it to kill the infected cell and thereby prevent virus survival.
While viruses are highly adaptable and have found ways to avoid detection by T cells. They block the MHC molecules to reach the cell surface, thereby T cells do not know that there is a virus-infected cell.
However, other immune cells called Natural Killer cells or NK Cells help to kill cells that display a lesser number of MHC class 1 molecules. Also, our immune cells respond against viral infections by producing White Blood Cells (WBCs).
The recent spotlight on Vitamin C and Zinc as constituents that help boost immunity, and cut down infection rates as a war against the current situation.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits and green vegetables. It acts as a potent antioxidant critical for skin health and immune function. Vitamin C has pleiotropic functions related to its ability to donate electrons. Vitamin C contributes to immune functions by supporting various cellular functions of innate and adaptive immune functions. Vitamin C acts as a barrier against harmful pathogens and promotes antioxidant properties of the skin, thereby helping against protection from environmental toxins and pathogens.
Vitamin C also accumulates in phagocytic cells such as neutrophils and can enhance chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and ultimately microbial killing. It has also been shown to play important role in the differentiation and proliferation of B and T cells. Also, Vitamin C deficiency results in dysfunctional immunity and higher susceptibility to infections
Zinc is a mineral required to fuel more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body that helps to maintain the immune system and repairs body tissues. Zinc is a general stimulant of antiviral immunity, Scientific studies have shown that Zinc has broad-spectrum antiviral activity.
In cellular functions, such as the intracellular killing of harmful pathogens, cytokine production as well as ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) production are completely dependent on Zinc and are impaired when Zinc deficiency occurs.
In a nutshell, along with following all standard recommendations from washing your hands at regular intervals to maintaining social distancing, it is important that we maintain our immunity.
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