Protein – A Ladder To Quick Covid-19 Recovery

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You might be taking sufficient calories or vitamins for your daily needs. However, the requirement of protein is extremely important. Malnutrition in the form of deficient protein leads to various complications including chances of Covid-19 infection turning to severe. Adequate protein intake is essential to improve the body’s response to infection, reduce illness time and initiate quick recovery.

People who got infected and were hospitalized experienced various symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, reduced diet, nausea and lack of energy. These symptoms reduce the overall nutritional balance required by the body. Although the body’s calorie requirement is somehow met by calorie-rich solutions, however lack of protein triggers a reduction in important amino acids which play a balancing role in our immune response. Even WHO gives out nutrition requirements to stay healthy (www.who.int/nutrition/publications/nutrientrequirements/WHO_TRS_935/en/ ).

Immune System of a balanced diet person

Our immune system responds to an infection in the body by releasing cytokines. These molecules tell the immune system that there is an invasion and a response is required. Our immune system thus attacks the microbes. This attack takes in the form of inflammation. However once the battle is won and the microbe is eliminated, inflammation disappears. This balance of response and withdrawal that is activating and deactivating inflammation is extremely important for our organs to function normally. (www.h2fcare.com/what-to-eat-to-recoup-from-covid-19)

Immune response in Covid-19

In the case of Covid-19, our immune response starts with something known as a Cytokine shower. If the nutritional balance is absent, this gets converted to a more severe response termed as Cytokine Storm. This causes prolonged inflammation and starts affecting our organs and support system. The reason as found in various studies is associated with deficiency of important amino acids. 

Protein Action Force

Various proteins such as Glutamine helps prevent lungs and intestines from severe damages. Arginine is another important amino acid that helps the body to release Nitric Oxide and opens blood vessels thereby restoring balance in alveoli. There is a long list of benefits associated with amino acids released from proteins. Thus complete protein intake during the bout with Covid-19 and in the recovery period is a quick ladder to return to normal. 

We already know that protein is the building block and it helps our body to restore muscles. Our metabolic rate is maintained at appropriate levels. Energy balance, repair functions and organ health are promoted if we intake an adequate amount of proteins. Protein should always be taken in the right quantity irrespective of the Covid-19 situation.

How much protein is good

There are various recommendations based on the weight of a person, gender, activity level, age, illnesses etc. Few recommend the intake to be 1.3 grams per KG of body weight. However, in the case of illness where proteins are essential, this can go right up to 2.0 grams per KG. These variations also apply to those who do physical activities such as weight training or running. They’re depending on the level, the figures can go up to 3 grams per KG. ( www.h2fcare.com/calculators )

Although to get the correct understanding, one must have at least 0.8 grams per KG on a normal day. Increase the intake during critical illness tremendously increase the survival chances. In case of a longer period of hospitalization including time spent in ICU due to Covid-19, our body starts catabolizing its muscles to meet the requirement of energy and amino acids. Hence once a person is out, it is important to start on a higher dose of proteins so that the bank lost is replenished. There might be some blood tests or other investigations required in some people before starting a high protein diet or protein supplement. Hence it is recommended to take the doctor’s advice. 

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