ANSES warns that certain food supplements can disrupt the immune defences used to fight infections, including Coronavirus Covid 19.
If you are taking dietary supplements, be careful. The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety ( ANSES ) alerted, Monday 20th April 2020, to the potential risks that some of them may cause.
It turns out that certain food supplements can disrupt our immune defences, and therefore become very dangerous in the current context of the coronavirus epidemic.
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Plants with anti-inflammatory properties
In a press release, joint with the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, it is explained that certain food supplements “can interfere with the inflammatory defence mechanisms useful to fight against infections (in this case, against coronavirus) “.
These are plants containing salicylic acid derivatives (analogues of aspirin), such as willow, meadowsweet, birch, poplar, goldenrod, polygalas but also plants containing other plant anti-inflammatory drugs, such as harpagophytum, echinacea, turmeric, cat’s claw (also called Peruvian creeper), plants of the genera Boswellia and Commiphora (known for their gum oleoresins called respectively ” frankincense “and” myrrh “).
Although the level of knowledge available is uneven for these different plants, our experts believe that they are all likely to disturb the immune response and the inflammatory response.
Immune response and inflammatory response disturbed
Contacted by Angélique Bachelet, an emergency doctor at the Laval hospital centre (Mayenne), gives her professional analysis:
“ANSES does not yet really know what effects it will have, whether or not it lowers the immune system. So, as a precaution, she asks to no longer take the supplements at the first signs of the disease. When ANSES talks about “disturbing the immune response”, it means creating a disorder in our immunity, in our defense system against microbes.”
Another risk described in the press release: “disrupt the inflammatory reaction”. The emergency doctor explains: “The inflammatory reaction is an inflammation necessary to fight against viruses and bacteria. These are different cells, like white blood cells, that fight infection. ”
These dietary supplements would, according to the authorities, interrupt this natural process.
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In view of this expert work, ANSES recommends:
- “To people consuming these food supplements for the preventive purpose of suspending the consumption of food supplements containing these plants as soon as the first symptoms of Covid-19 appear;
- people consuming these food supplements in the context of chronic inflammatory pathologies to discuss with their doctor the relevance of continuing or not their consumption. “
Regarding raw products, some doctors, contacted by the editorial staff, do not seem surprised by the recommendation: “Turmeric, in particular, has its place in the list. It is a fairly powerful natural anti-inflammatory. And we have already received contraindications for anti-inflammatory drugs against Coronavirus Covid-19. So it is quite logical to be wary of these plants which have these properties naturally. ”
A doctor from Gironde said: “If you like to cook with spices, this should not be a problem. But if you have the first symptoms of coronavirus, it is better to stop, just in case. ”
In the context of the Coronavirus Covid-19 epidemic, food is of particular importance. ANSES, therefore, provides two pieces of advice:
- Look for vitamin D in foods such as oily fish, cheese and dairy products, organ meats (especially liver), egg yolks. Vitamin D especially strengthens the immune system.
- Pay particular attention to food storage methods. For example: removing overpacks from food, avoiding direct and indirect contact between raw food and food cooked in the refrigerator, avoiding overloading the refrigerator … You can find all of the advice here .