Supplements For COVID-19: Study Shows That Nitrate Supplements Could Aid In Breathing And Lung Clearance In The Elderly
Supplements for COVID-19
: Nitrate supplements could help the elderly especially in the COVID-19 context with regards to breathing and lung clearance according to researchers from the University of Florida.
Past studies have showed that nitrate supplements help muscles by improving use of calcium in the muscle. This finding that it's additionally affecting power is significant, especially in the context of COVID-19, because the diaphragm is the primary inspiratory muscle used for breathing and coughing, the latter being relevant for clearing the lungs.
The research findings were published in The Journal of Physiology , a journal of the Physiological Society. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP280027
The study team comprising Dr Ravi A. Kumar ,Dr Rachel C. Kelley ,Dr Dongwoo Hahn and Dr Leonardo F. Ferreir, all from the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida, found that dietary nitrate supplementation elicited a pronounced increase in contractile function or power of the diaphragm, a respiratory muscle, of old mice.
The study team made their measurements during maximal activation, so the effects observed seem to be caused by an improvement in the function of contractile proteins rather than calcium handling.
To date few short-term interventions have such a profound impact on muscle contractile function, as was observed in this study.
Nitrate supplements for dietary use is readily available for humans and could be used, under proper medical supervision, to improve respiratory muscle dysfunction that contributes to shortness of breath and morbidity in the elderly.
The study team gave sodium nitrate to old mice in their drinking water daily for 14 days. The control group received regular water. Diaphragm muscle contractile function cannot be assessed directly in live animals or humans.
Hence the study team tested diaphragm function in muscle tissues under controlled conditions for muscle stimulation and oxygenation.
However one limitation of the study is that mouse and human diaphragm have different percentages of fast and slow muscle cells.
It was found that mouse diaphragm consists of 90% fast muscle cells; the human diaphragm consists of 25-50% fast muscle cells depending on several factors that include and age and sex.
It was found that dietary nitrate seems to exert a greater impact on the contractile function of fast muscle cells. Thus, the benefits to the human diaphragm may not as pronounced as was observed in mice.
Also the study team only tested male mice, and the benefits for females are unknown.
Senior author of the study, Dr Leonardo Ferreira told Thailand Medical News, "Our findings are especially important in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic as they suggest that, if replicated in humans; dietary nitrate is useful to improve respiratory muscle dysfunction that contributes to difficulty in weaning patients from mechanical ventilation."
There are also other past studies that shows the benefits of Nitrate supplements for lung functions: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1089860317301945
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