SARS - Nutritional Information
The fact of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
By parco M. Siu, West Virginia University School of Medicine
The fact of the mysterious pneumonia has been widely spread in HK drives me to do a literature review on the suspected cause (i.e. coronavirus) of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). As a biomedical researcher, let me show you my concern and make the following suggestions.
The basic mechanism of viral attack is that the viruses replicate themselves using the host's (in this case is "our") DNA genetic replication system. By doing this, our body couldn't function well due to the massive viral replication. Supposing, the immune cells in our body will fight off the infected viruses quickly. However, the viruses are so smart that they could be able to produce some chemical substances to cause our immune cells to die. Besides, this coronavirus is a new kind of virus which belongs to a mutated strain and our body cannot recognize it.
No antibiotics have been proved to be 100% effective in treating viral infection so far. The only effective way to get rid of it is by ourselves. It likes a prolonged battle between the viruses and our immune response. In fact, viruses couldn't kill all the immune cells in a health individual. The stronger the immune function you have, the less the viral injury you get. Therefore, the degree of sickness after infection and the rate of recovery mainly depends on how strong your immune function is.
You cannot avoid the infection unless you avoid from those infected individuals/area. But, you can try your best to boost up your immune function by several regimes. Make sure you are "extremely healthy" at least during this critical period. Stronger immune function could keep the viral damage minimal even if you do get infected. Also, stronger immune function delays the onset of any detrimental effects from the viral infection. Scientists are now working on tracking the treatment and so make sure you are still surviving until an effective treatment occurs.
The following suggestions aim to strengthen your immune function within a short period of time.
1) Antioxidant nutraceuticals: Antioxidants are chemicals found in foods which exert a great value in strengthening our immune system. Boost up your immune function by taking a cocktail of antioxidant supplements.
- Vitamin E 1000 IU per day.
Alpha-tocopherol is the biological active form of vitamin E.
There are two forms of it: d-tocopherol and dl-tocopherol. d- is the natural form and dl- is the synthetic form. Try to get the d- form because it is absorbed faster in our body.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 1000 milligram (mg) daily.
Instead of taking supplement, you can take 2 pieces of citrus fruits (e.g. orange) a day to get the vitamin C.
- Beta-carotene, not more than 10000 IU daily
- Selenium, 200 microgram daily
- Zinc, not more than 500 milligram (mg) daily
- Alpha Lipoic acid, 50 mg daily
- Glutathione, 50 mg daily
-Echinacea, Directions: Adults - 15 drops (0.6ml) to be taken 2-3 times daily in a small amount of water. Children (6 - 12 years) - 7 drops (0.3ml) to be taken 2 - 3 times daily in a small amount of water. Unique dispensing insert guarantees accurate measurement and prevents contamination.
No adverse effects have been reported from the above suggested supplementation dose.
Let green tea to be your daily beverage because it contains tremendous amount of antioxidant flavonoid, catechins.
Eat more tomatoes, broccoli or fruits and vegetables in red and dark green color. They carry a huge amount of antioxidant carotenoids, lycopene and carotene.
2) No intense physical activities during this critical period!
It has been shown that intense exercise will suppress your immune function (related to the upper respiratory infection) even several days following your workout. Instead of intense exercise, light-to-moderate workout helps if you have been training regularly.
3) Make sure you get enough carbohydrate foods (e.g. rice, food concentrated in starch... etc) because carbohydrate is the primary food for immune cells. Do some Gatorade or pocari if needed since they are both good sources of carbohydrate.
4) Make sure you get enough sleep and don't make yourself so stressful! Anxiety, depression, and tired will influence your body's stress hormones (e.g. catecholamine and glucocorticoids) and so suppress your immune status.
5) Mouth-mask helps despite it is not 100% effective. But it can still decrease the chance from infection.
Sars, or to give it its full name - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - is the latest health epidemic to cause alarm worldwide.
What began as a cluster of cases in the Far East has evolved into a fast-spreading disease that has claimed over 250 lives around the world and infected around 4,000 people.
Here, we present a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about Sars
- What is Sars
It is a pneumonia-like viral illness which causes severe breathing difficulties and can be fatal, particularly in the elderly or people with weak immune systems.
In the initial stages victims may suffer from flu-like symptoms and go on to develop a severe cough. They may then need oxygen treatment to help them breathe. It has been labelled a modernday plague because it is spreading so fast and claiming so many lives.
- How is it caught
The virus spreads through personto-person contact, from coughing, breathing and spitting. It can also be caught from clothes or objects which have been in contact with an infected person in the previous 24 hours.
Because of the way it is transmitted, it is particularly virulent in very densely populated countries such as Hong Kong, and developing countries with poor levels of hygiene.
In China, where there have been more than 2,000 cases, the government was recently forced to ban spitting in some cities for health reasons but the legislation is largely ignored. This may help explain why the virus has spread so rapidly there.
- Where did it begin
Scientists believe the first case of the virus was in Guangdong in southern China. Guangdong is the gateway to Hong Kong and the illness quickly spread to the territory. From there it spread to 23 countries via aeroplane travel.
- How is it treated
Victims are taken into isolation units in hospital where they are cared for by medics in protective clothing. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, they may be put on oxygen to help them breathe and pumped with antibiotics to fight the disease.
The majority of patients recover within a week to 10 days but remain infectious for much longer and may be kept in quarantine.
- How is it being tackled
The virus is being monitored by the World Health Organisation which issues daily advice to governments on how to respond. Individual countries are taking different measures according to the number of cases in their area and the level of risk.
In Britain all doctors have been issued with guidelines on how to spot symptoms and have been ordered to be particularly vigilant with patients who have just visited affected areas. Anyone showing signs of the virus is referred to hospital immediately.
Holidaymakers and businessmen have been warned not to travel to Hong Kong, China or Toronto in Canada. Critics say this is not enough and believe the travel advice should include other countries such as Singapore, where the virus has claimed 16 lives. Schools are also playing a part, with some boarding schools keeping pupils who have just returned from overseas in quarantine.
- What are the fears
Scientists have still not been able to identify exactly what triggers the symptoms. This means doctors can only treat the symptoms, not the root problem, and scientists cannot develop a vaccine.
Initially the illness was thought to be caused by the coronavirus, responsible for the common cold. However, experts now believe it may only be to blame in around 40 per cent of cases.
The virus is mutating so rapidly that scientists fear as soon as they understand one version, it will have changed, making it almost impossible to develop effective drugs.
Experts are particularly worried that the virus will take root in Third World countries such as India, where there is a massive population and poor infrastructure. Most victims would be unable to obtain prompt medical help and the virus could strike millions within days.