The Role of Selected Bioactive Compounds and Micronutrients with Immune-enhancing Activity on the Prevention and Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2

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Baştürk A., Ceylan M. M. , Alaca K., Yıldız G.

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, vol.12, no.13, pp.25-59, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


While the world is fighting against SARS-CoV-2, this virus continues to mutate around the world, infecting with new variants and causing the death of people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, there were over 255 million confirmed cases and more than 5 million deaths globally as of November. To date, approximately 7.4 billion doses of vaccine have been administered. However, no therapeutic drugs have been found yet. By considering a significant part of the global population remains unvaccinated and the potential of the constantly mutating virus to become partially resistant to vaccines, it is understood that a healthy immune system is one of the important weapons in the fight against COVID-19. It is essential to consume food products containing sufficient amounts of bioactive compounds and micronutrients to strengthen overall immune functions and prevent this life-threatening infection. In the context of COVID-19, boosting the immune system has been considered a viable approach to both prevent and alleviate the infection. Bioactive compounds and micronutrients can present antiviral capacity either by interfering with target viruses directly by entering the defense mechanism or indirectly by activating adaptive immune system-related cells. This review presents the effects of bioactive compounds (phenolic compounds, polyphenols), vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K), minerals (zinc, selenium, iron, copper, magnesium ), ω-3 fatty acids and probiotics on the body's defense mechanisms against SARS-CoV-2. It also provides information on the evidence surrounding the specific effects of these compounds to potentially reduce the morbidity and mortality rates of COVID-19 patients, and how they may act in key immunological pathways.