New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Amid the spread of 'black', 'white' and 'yellow' fungus in Covid-recovered patients, health experts on Wednesday said that multiple factors are playing a role and the high intake of zinc supplements in the pandemic may also be one of the key factors, but more research is needed on this.Zinc is thought to accumulate iron in the body which can create a breeding ground for mucormycosis, a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.Mucor growth in a human body depends on multiple host factors. Last year, doctors had seen mucor patients, but the number was less as number of Covid patients was less."This year, the number of Covid patients is high, virulence of Covid is more and steroids have been used indiscriminately, so several factors are playing a role in the spread of black fungus," Dr Aparna Mahajan, Consultant-ENT, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, told IANS.Mucormycosis has been there in India for decades. Rhinoorbitocerebral mucormycosis is the most common and has been managed by ENT surgeons since several decades."But it used to present itself very rarely and in immunocompromised patients like diabetics or cancer patients or transplant recipients, etc. Due to Covid, it has reached the masses," Mahajan said.The country has recorded 11,717 cases of black fungus to date with Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana reporting highest number of cases.According to Dr Dinesh V. Kamath, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Manipal Hospitals Malleshwaram, there is no direct link between zinc and mucormycosis, a fungal infection seen primarily in people who have uncontrolled diabetes, increased usage of steroids, and situations where they are immunocompromised."As of now, there was no direct link between zinc and mucormycosis. But mucormycosis has been a very rare disease till about past one year. After this pandemic, especially in the second wave, we are seeing a greater number of mycormycosis cases," Kamath said.There were some possibilities like increased steam inhalation may cause mucormycosis, or people who are on high supplements of zinc may be one of the factors for the increased incidence."That is how there is a link now that there may be a cause of high zinc intake for mucormycosis, however it certainly requires more studies to prove this," Kamath told IANS.Due to the fear of Covid, patients started taking zinc and iron supplements on their own."My final say would be not to use zinc as the blanket treatment to all the patients and definitely not as a prevention. Only patients who are diagnosed with Covid can consider it, and zinc as a supplement can be given for a short period, and then stopped once they recover from the illness," Kamath added.Mucormycosis has a multi-factorial reasons which have seen increased incidence, particularly in the second wave in the past few weeks."Both the public and the doctors should be more aware to see that they don't use steroids inappropriately and should ensure that diabetes is under good control," experts advised.--IANSna/vd
New York- Researchers have reported that zinc supplements for both men and women attempting to conceive either naturally or through assisted reproduction during the pandemic may prevent mitochondrial damage in young egg and sperm cells.
According to the researchers, including Husam Abu-Soud from the Wayne State University in the US, zinc supplementation of up to a maximum of 50 mg per day for all adults could also be beneficial in enhancing immunity and fighting the viral disease process of Covid-19.
For the study, published in the journal Reproductive Sciences, the researchers reviewed the pathophysiology of Covid-19, particularly in relation to reproductive function.
They found that zinc depletion in connection with the cytokine storm -- the overreaction of the immune system that causes inflammation, tissue damage and possible organ failure in fighting Covid-19 -- can cause mitochondrial damage and an accumulation of reactive oxygen species in the immature egg and sperm.
The result could prevent reproduction and conception, the researchers said.
Zinc has beneficial effects as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and could prevent or mitigate the damage in the egg and sperm cells that result from the body's immune reaction to the virus, Abu-Soud said.
The use of zinc could improve embryo quality and potentially lessen some pregnancy complications, he added.
The researcher also noted that zinc can be beneficial to the general population in enhancing immunity and fighting the viral disease process. The element works by combating oxidative cell damage.
Zinc alone may be insufficient to reverse the process once widespread oxidative cell damage has occurred, the researchers said.
However, if the supplement is administered to those infected with Covid-19 before the cytokine storm phase, zinc may assist in ameliorating disease progression in the mild and early phases by suppressing viral replication and preventing cell damage as a pro-antioxidant, they added. (IANS)
Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, which may offer protection from seasonal illness and other health problems. No one food or supplement can prevent illness but you may help support your immune system by including these nutrients in your overall eating plan on a regular basis.
Protein plays a role in the body's immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Eat a variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
2. Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy. Get this vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs, or foods labeled "vitamin A fortified," such as milk or some cereals.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C supports the immune system by stimulating the formation of antibodies. Include more sources of this healthy vitamin by choosing citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice, or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and may support immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts, and peanut butter.
Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds, and nuts.
Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, B12, copper, folate, selenium, and iron also may support immune response and play a role in a healthful eating style. Obtaining these nutrients from foods is preferred, so be sure to speak with your health care provider or a registered dietitian nutritionist before taking any supplements.
London, Sep 23 (IANS) In a major study, researchers have found that having a lower level of zinc in the blood is associated with a poorer outcome in patients with Covid-19.According to the research team, increased intracellular zinc concentrations efficiently impair replication or reproduction of a number of viruses. However, the effect of plasma zinc levels on SARS-COV-2 is not yet understood.In this study, the researchers explored whether plasma zinc levels at admission are associated with disease outcome in Covid-19 patients."Lower zinc levels at admission correlate with higher inflammation in the course of infection and poorer outcome," said study author Roberto Güerri-Fernández, Hospital Del Mar, Spain."Plasma zinc levels at admission are associated with mortality in Covid-19 in our study," Güerri-Fernández added.The authors did a retrospective analysis of symptomatic admitted patients to a tertiary university hospital in Barcelona over the period from March 15, 2020 to April 30, 2020. Data on demography, pre-existing chronic conditions, laboratory results and treatment were collected. Clinical severity of Covid-19 was assessed at admission. Fasting plasma zinc levels were measured routinely at admission in all patients admitted to the Covid-19 Unit. Computer modelling and statistical analyses were used the assess the impact of zinc on mortality.During this period of study 611 patients were admitted. The mean age was 63 years, and 332 patients were male (55 per cent). During this period total mortality was 87 patients (14 per cent).This study includes 249 of these patients (of whom 8 per cent) died. Mean baseline zinc levels among the 249 patients were 61 Micrograms per decilitre (mcg/dl). Among those who died, the zinc levels at baseline were significantly lower at 43 mcg/dl vs 63.1 mcg/dl in survivors.Higher zinc levels were associated with lower maximum levels of interleukin-6 (proteins that indicate systemic inflammation) during the period of active infection.The statistical analysis also showed each unit increase of plasma zinc at admission to hospital was associated with a seven per cent reduced risk of in-hospital mortality.Having a plasma zinc level lower than 50mcg/dl at admission was associated with a 2.3 times increased risk of in-hospital death compared with a plasma zinc level of 50mcg/dl or higher."Further studies are needed to assess the therapeutic impact of this association," the authors noted.The study was scheduled to be presented at this week's ESCMID Conference on Coronavirus Disease (ECCVID).--IANSbu/dpb
The Coronavirus outbreak has seen a huge spike in people buying vitamin supplements, with Vitamin C and Zinc emerging two of the top supplements in demand.
Typically, in any viral infection, the body's defence mechanism is to produce white blood cells (WBCs) to fight against the infection.
Zinc and Vitamin C reduces the level of chemicals called cytokines that are harmful to the body and are produced in the body during infections. Zinc helps increase the production of these infection-fighting WBCs and T cells.
Vitamin C, while providing overall immunity, is the most effective against respiratory based illnesses. Lack of Vitamin C is also the most common nutritional deficiency.
"It has been seen that older people are more at risk from the Coronavirus. Ensuring adequate intake of vitamin C via supplements, especially among elderly or individuals with risk factors owing to insufficient vitamin C, is important for the immune system to function properly and resist infections. With age, the body loses its strength to fight viruses, and when combined with existing medical conditions, it places elderly people at risk. But immunity is important at all ages and it can be increased at any stage by keeping oneself fit," says Dr Karthik Anantharaman, Director e-pharmacy, Medlife.
"There have been reports of people believing in Vitamin C to be a cure for Coronavirus, which is certainly not true. While Vitamin C helps boost immunity, it is basic hygiene, good food habits and physical activities that help build immunity, rather than just the supplements. Pre-existing medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled High BP, uncontrolled cholesterol, etc too result in low immunity and these supplements should be seen as agents that help the body withstand or fight infections and not Coronavirus itself," notes Dr Anantharaman.
The natural sources of Zinc are legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans along with seeds, nuts, and whole grains. Citrus fruits like orange, kiwi, lemon, guava and grapefruit are high in Vitamin C, along with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, capsicums and Brussel sprouts.
The over-the-counter zinc supplements are available as Zinc acetate and Zinc gluconate, with the former being more readily available and accessible. The quantity of Zinc needed by the human body to achieve optimal immunity is between 8 -11 mg and for Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) it is 500 mg. These two immunity supplements are available individually for consumption but there are supplements available that combine these two into one, which can also be considered by people, adds Dr Anantharaman.
Traditionally, natural foods are the best source of vitamins and nutrients, it is advisable to combine these natural foods along with supplements. But in case of unavailability or other reasons, supplements are quite effective and it is critical to combine them with physical activities and exercises. Supplements, apart from giving the desired immunity, come with the benefit of reducing risk of heart diseases, due to certain other important components present in them. (Agency)