Sheldon Zablow, MD

Author of
Your Vitamins Are Obsolete

The Nutriepigenomics of COVID Symptom Progression

Mar 09, 2022 by Dr. Sheldon Zablow

Nutriepigenomics, also known as nutrigenetics, is the study of how the intake of dietary or supplemental micronutrients positively affects the epigenetic expression of genes.[1] Optimal genetic expression regulates our individual health in many ways, one of which is improving the health of the immune system. In a blog written last year, COVID Supplementation Beyond Vitamin D—Bioactive B Vitamers, I shared a developing consensus that optimal blood levels of the vitamins B12 and folate, could ameliorate the short and long-term course of COVID complications.

In a recent journal article “COVID-19: A methyl-group assault?”, Andrew McCaddon and Björn Regland address and support my concerns. [2] They explain that a considerable number of methyl groups are required by the virus to rapidly reproduce and that these groups are required in greater numbers to epigenetically upregulate the immune system to fight the infection. Therefore, this combined reduction in methyl groups worsens the ability to fight the infection and increases the likelihood of long-term morbidity and mortality.

B12 and folate vitamins are a main source of methyl groups (one carbon/three hydrogen) that manage the one-carbon metabolism of many cellular functions. A deficiency of methyl molecules causes a reduction in regulation of the immune response when these groups are not available to attach to the cytosine bases on the genes.

McCaddon and his associates go on to state, “Its [COVID’s] diverse symptoms are reminiscent of vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition in which methylation status is compromised” with symptoms such as “fatigue, ‘brain fog’, myalgia, headache, dizziness, breathlessness, anosmia and gastrointestinal problems.”

A reduction in B vitamin methyl group availability also causes a decrease in the detoxification of the cellular waste product homocysteine. This toxin triggers inflammation of the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels and thickens blood contributing to the COVID associated clotting abnormalities of stroke, heart attacks, COVID toes, and pulmonary emboli.

Individuals with low B12 and/or folate reserves going into a COVID infection will be at greater risk. It is of significance that conditions that lower B12 and folate levels are the same conditions associated with increased risk of death i.e., obesity, diabetes, ethnicity, age, and prescribed medications (PPI’s). [3] This contention is supported by the review article of Andrew Wee [4], who states “This review shows that B12 deficiency associates in multiple areas very similar to where COVID-19 exerts its damaging effects: immunologically (innate and adaptive; cellular and humoral responses; and inflammation); microbiologically (gut microbiome); haematologically (coagulation); and endothelial cell signalling (more inflammation). These associations have the potential to converge, synergise and finally add to the disproportionate toll COVID-19 inflicts on the elderly and those with diabetes. There is also emerging data that B12 per se could interfere with Sars-Cov-2 replication, adding a potential therapeutic dimension. B12 deficiency is thus a possibly modifiable (and certainly avoidable) risk factor in our fight against COVID-19.”

Andrew McCaddon, et al. supports this suggestion by referencing another article on B12 and folate deficiency in COVID infections, recommending that supplementation as an adjunct to other treatments could reduce morbidity and mortality.

Bottom line—make sure your intake of the bioactive (natural) forms of B12 and folate are adequate to increase your COVID fighting capacity.

#nutriepigenomics, #nutrigenetics, #micronutrients, #epigenetics, #B12, #Folate, #COVID, #COVID complications, #methylation, #methgyl groups

References: 
1] Epigenetics is the regulation of gene expression beyond the DNA code we inherit. This expression can be influenced by environmental or emotional stressors.
2] Andrew McCaddon, Björn Regland.  COVID-19: A methyl-group assault?, Medical Hypotheses, Volume 149, 2021,  110543,
3] Almario CV, Chey WD, Spiegel BMR. Increased Risk of COVID-19 Among Users of Proton Pump Inhibitors. Am J Gastroenterol. 2020 Oct;115(10):1707-1715.
4] Andrew Wee COVID-19's toll on the elderly and those with diabetes mellitus - Is vitamin B12 deficiency an accomplice?. Med Hypotheses. 2021;146:110374.