Dietary supplements consisting of substances found in fruits and vegetables such as cashews, pumpkins, peas and beet root may help protect the body against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, according to a study published in Pharmaceuticals by researchers at Tel Aviv University.
In developing the dietary supplements, the researchers found that the consumption of zinc alone achieves a relatively low cellular content. To enhance the effect, they combined the zinc with flavonoids — polyphenolic compounds found in many fruits and vegetables. They also added copper, in order to prevent an ionic imbalance and improve the treatment’s effectiveness.
“Advanced lab tests, including PCR, have shown that the new vaccines we developed did in fact reduce the viral load. We found a 50-95% decrease in the genomic replication of various groups of RNA viruses, including COVID-19, the flu virus, and others,” said Prof. Daniel Segal of the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU. “These results are very promising, possibly enabling the development of an orally administered biological shelf treatment. Such a product will be safe, natural, and effective against several types of viruses, including new mutations and variants – clearly an important step forward.”
“The interesting aspect is the treatment’s potential flexibility: we found that a combination of several flavonoids with zinc helps protect cells against a wide range of RNA viruses. We believe that the product can serve as a supplementary treatment to enhance the effect of existing anti-viral vaccines and medications,” said Prof. Prof. Eran Bacharach of the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU.
It must be noted that so far all experiments were conducted in vitro in the lab, but the researchers are optimistic as to the study’s practical potential. Soon they hope to launch a series of clinical trials in humans, ultimately leading to an effective treatment accessible to everyone. Since the dietary supplements are verified as safe for use, and in the light of the global pandemic, it was decided to promote the product to the general market before the results of the clinical trials.
“To address the rapid changes of the virus, we decided to develop active vaccines made of safe and easily obtainable dietary supplements, that would reduce the viral load in the body and cut down contagion. We have known for years that food supplements containing zinc can enhance immunity to severe, viral, and chronic infections and their potentially grave consequences,” said Prof. Ehud Gazit, of the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, TAU.