Micronutrients are trace elements and vitamins obtained from our diet that are essential to sustain life and optimal physiological function. Many micronutrients are vital to elicit an effective immune response against viruses but can also be used by viruses such as the hepatitis C virus to propagate. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a blood-borne virus that can cause life-threatening liver disease, including cancer.
The liver is the basic organ responsible for the storage and processing of many micronutrients like iron and zinc. When HCV gets chronic, it has the potential to negatively influence the state of these micronutrients. Scientists at the University of Nigeria assessed the dietary quality and the micronutrient status of 130 hepatitis C patients.
They found a common pattern of micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries. Moreover, the data showed low levels of serum zinc, therefore it is recommended for such patients to practice zinc supplementation. Surprisingly, there have been increased iron levels in such patients, so control over dietary iron should be maintained, which eases the liver against iron overload.
UcheChukwuemelie proposed in the paper, “The addition of soy protein to food should be encouraged, as it reduces the iron absorption possibly due to its high phytate content thereby reducing serum ferritin.”
This research work has been published in Pakistan Journal of Nutrition