In a new study, researchers found that a small basic compound like vitamin B6 in bananas or fish could be key to a robust response against COVID-19.
The finding could be the first step in showing the potential of vitamin B6 in lowering the odds of cytokine storms.
The research was conducted by a team at Hiroshima University.
Studies have so far explored the benefits of vitamins D and C and minerals like zinc and magnesium in fortifying immune response against COVID-19.
But research on vitamin B6 has been mostly missing.
In the study, the team pointed out growing evidence showing that vitamin B6 exerts a protective effect against heart diseases and diabetes by suppressing inflammation, inflammasomes, oxidative stress and carbonyl stress.
According to them, coronaviruses and influenza are among the viruses that can cause lethal lung injuries and death from acute respiratory distress syndrome worldwide.
Viral infections evoke a cytokine storm, leading to lung capillary endothelial cell inflammation, neutrophil infiltration, and increased oxidative stress.
The team explained that thrombosis (blood clotting) and cytokine storm (hyper inflammation) might be closely linked to the severity of COVID-19.
Cytokine storms happen when the immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking even healthy cells.
Meanwhile, blood clots linked to COVID-19 can block capillaries, damaging vital organs like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.
Vitamin B6 is a known anti-thrombosis and anti-inflammation nutrient.
Deficiency in this vitamin is also linked to lower immune function and higher susceptibility to viral infections.
The team says vitamin B6 has a close relationship with the immune system. Its levels always drop in people under chronic inflammation such as obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.
They are looking forward to clinical trials that would test their hypothesis.
It is of great interest to examine if vitamin B6 exerts protection against novel types of virus infection and pneumonia which will be encountered in the future.
One author of the study is Food scientist Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee.
The study is published in Frontiers in Nutrition.
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