Vitamin A & Your Immune System

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a global pandemic and severely affected our everyday life. At this time, there is yet any clinically proven drugs or treatments to prevent or cure COVID-19.

With the novel coronavirus, about 80% of the infected had mild to moderate symptoms (mild symptoms up to mild pneumonia), about 15% developed severe disease (shortness of breath, low blood oxygen, or >50% lung involvement), and 5% became critically ill (respiratory failure, shock, or multi organ dysfunction). sistema immunitario

Patients with severe COVID-19 illness and adverse outcome are mostly older, have diabetes, heart disease, prior stroke, hypertension, chronic respiratory disease, and/or chronic lung disease. In many cases, these patients’ immune system, in an attempt to fight the virus, becomes dysfunctional and go into overdrive, resulting in a deadly effect known as a “cytokine storm”.

Cytokines are an important part of your immune response. Your body release them as a response to an infection to trigger inflammation for your protection. A cytokine storm happens when the body releases excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines, causing hyper inflammation, which may lead to serious complications and even death.

Why does the immune system go haywire? How come it occurs more in patients who are immunocompromised or with preexisting conditions? How can we have a stronger, better functioning immune system?

By now, most of us are well aware of the important role nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics play in regulating the immune system and keeping us healthy. Not enough has been said about vitamin A though.

For the past several decades, scientists have been studying the impact of dietary vitamin A on human health. It is well established that vitamin A is an essential nutrient and is responsible for many vital functions in the body: