Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs which can occur due to one of a few different causes. Here, we explain what pneumonia is, and then we take a look at some of the supplemental nutrients which can best help the body combat and overcome pneumonia.
The Causes and Types of Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection which affects either one or both lungs of an individual, causing the alveoli (air sacs) within the lungs to become inflamed and fill with fluid or pus. There are different types and causes of pneumonia. The predominant symptoms of pneumonia include a cough (often producing phlegm), chest pain when breathing or coughing, fever, fatigue, nausea & vomiting, and low body temperature. These can vary based on the type of pneumonia, age, and general health status of an individual
Pneumonia can be community-acquired or hospital-acquired (wherein someone contracts the infection during a hospital stay). Community-acquired pneumonia is the focus of this blog.
There are a few different types of pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacterial infection, and is the most common type of pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is another type of bacterial infection, and is less severe, sometimes referred to as “walking pneumonia.” Lastly, viral pneumonia is the result of a virus such as the flu or the common cold. Pneumonia is often mild to moderate, but it can also be severe.
Supplements to Combat Pneumonia
The intake of certain nutrients can help the body, and more specifically the immune system, to prevent and/or combat pneumonia. These are not a replacement for medical care where necessary but are a worthwhile way to accompany such care. Here are some of the best supplements to secure the body against pneumonia.
Vitamin C is a crucial vitamin and one of the foremost nutrients in supporting the body’s resistance to infections, including pneumonia. Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between vitamin C deficiency and incidence of pneumonia. Moreso, other studies showed that supplementing with vitamin C led to a decrease in the severity of respiratory symptoms, as well as nausea and other symptoms, in those with pneumonia. This benefit applies even to those with severe pneumonia. All things considered, supplementing with vitamin C is one of the most important things you can do if you have pneumonia, or have a viral infection and are at risk of contracting pneumonia.
Zinc is very important for the immune system and can help reduce the risk of a pneumonia infection. One significant study showed an increase in risk of pneumonia among nursing home patients who were zinc deficient. Other studies have shown that supplementing with zinc can reduce the severity and duration of a pneumonia infection.
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to leave individuals more susceptible to community-acquired pneumonia. Studies show that supplementing with vitamin D daily reduces the risk of pneumonia. Taking vitamin D could also reduce the severity of a pneumonia infection.
Vitamin A has been shown to be possibly helpful in speeding recovery from pneumonia when taken in moderate doses. This is especially the case with children who are deficient in vitamin A. Vitamin A is helpful because it contributes to the production of lymph cells and antibodies. It’s important to note that over-dosage of vitamin A can become detrimental, so a moderate dose of vitamin A contained in a multivitamin is perhaps the ideal way to supplement with vitamin A.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a nutrient synthesized in the body, and also available as a supplement. Taking CoQ10 can inhibit inflammation and support the body in recovering from pneumonia. Studies have shown that elderly individuals who take CoQ10 saw a quicker elimination of their fever, and reduced length of hospital stay.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be difficult to experience, and is severe in some sufferers. In addition to proper medical treatment, supplementing with these critical nutrients can help you overcome pneumonia and even prevent it in the first place. Talk to your healthcare provider before trying one of these supplements for the first time.