I'm Nathalie and I've been a hammer athlete since 2022. My passion is triathlon and running. In January 2023 I became seriously ill with a Covid-19 infection. Heart problems led to a 3-month sports ban. My own illness and the opportunity as a medical student to deal with this topic in more detail led to the idea of this small blog post. In the following, I would like to give you some interesting insights and tips so that you too are prepared for the next infection.
Important: This field report does not replace a visit to the doctor. The recommendations contained are based on the current study situation and are marked with sources.
HOW DOES COVID-19 AFFECT OUR BODY?
Covid-19 (also called SARS-CoV-2) is a viral disease for which there is still no causal treatment. Due to the ability of the virus to bind to the so-called ACE2 receptor (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor), it can infect all organs (especially the heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system). The consequence of this binding and blocking of the ACE2 receptor is an imbalance in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). The RAS plays an important role in maintaining our cardiovascular and immune systems. If disorders occur here, as with a Covid-19 infection, devastating consequences can arise: systemic inflammation, high blood pressure, tissue changes and “scarring” in the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver, as well as neurological disorders .
These consequences can be a challenge, especially for us as athletes. For this reason, it is important to react correctly to symptoms of illness in order to minimize the risk of complications. Depending on the type and severity of the symptoms, the doctor will decide individually on the duration of the sports break. In the next paragraph I will tell you how you can still optimally support your body during this time.
HOW CAN WE SUPPORT OUR BODY IN THE EVENT OF AN INFECTION?
As already mentioned, the virus primarily affects our cardiovascular and immune systems. For this reason, it makes sense to support our immune system and counteract the inflammation in our body. Vitamins, trace elements and antioxidants play an essential role here. Despite ongoing research, more and more is becoming known about the beneficial properties of these substances in the immune system. The following substances have shown a positive effect on the symptoms and course of a Covid infection:
FLAVONOIDS, such as hesperidin, quercetin and catechins, are plant pigments. They are particularly characterized by their antioxidant properties and affect the virus in many ways. Among other things, they prevent attachment to the cell membrane and reduce virus multiplication in the body.
Flavonoids are present in many foods: citrus and other fruits (berries, cherries, apples,...), vegetables, green and black tea, cocoa (dark chocolate) and herbs. ,,
HYDROXYTYROSOL belongs together with the flavonoids to the polyphenols and is one of the strongest natural antioxidants. In addition to direct effects on virus-cell adhesion, it can also prevent an excessive immune response in the body. Hydroxytyrosol occurs naturally in olives and products made from them (e.g. olive oil). 
PHYTOSTEROLS or PHYTOSTERINS are fatty compounds found in plants. They act as structure givers to the plant cell membrane, just as cholesterol takes on this task in our cell membrane. Phytosterols can reduce the attachment of the virus to the cell membrane and the ACE2 receptor. They are found in seeds, kernels and nuts. ,
A sufficient supply of VITAMINS and TRACE ELEMENTS in infections of any kind is essential. BECAUSE: When we are ill, the need increases due to a higher turnover of our body. In connection with Covid-19, vitamin D, vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc and selenium are of particular importance. Studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce the severity of complications from Covid-19. A deficiency also increases the general susceptibility to infections. ,,
Finally, attention should be paid to the ELEKTROLYTE. We athletes know how important electrolytes are in training. An adequate supply of electrolytes is also important in the case of infections in order to keep physiological processes in balance. The attack of the Covid-19 virus on organs such as the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys can impair their function and lead to electrolyte depletion.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN PRACTICE?
During a Covid-19 infection, it is important to eat a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. Taking a break from exercise is necessary and useful to give the body time to recover and to reduce the risk of serious complications . In addition, it makes sense to take dietary supplements (e.g. a multivitamin preparation) to support the body in the best possible way. BECAUSE: a lack of minerals, vitamins and nutrients can have a negative effect on the course of a Covid infection ,.
WHICH PRODUCTS ARE USEFUL?
As a Hammer athlete, I would like to introduce you to some supplements from Hammer Nutrition, but of course you can also use other products. Hammer offers a wide range of products with a wide variety of ingredients, depending on your needs:
FIZZ or ENDUROLYTES for an optimal supply of electrolytes.
PREMIUM INSURANCE CAPS: a multivitamin supplement. In addition to all the important vitamins, it contains minerals (such as potassium, calcium, magnesium), flavonoids and enzymes for optimal digestive function.
ENDURANCE Potent Vitamin C Blend: in addition to vitamin C, the product contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids such as hesperidin and quercetin.
ESSENTIAL 5-Source Magnesium Complex: Magnesium supports muscle function and is essential for the synthesis, transport and activation of vitamin D in our body. 
ENDURO D: a preparation with vitamins D3 and K2.
HAMMER BAR: my all-time favorite for a snack!
You can read about all products in the "HOW TO HAMMER" catalog or on the website.
References for further reading:
 The Pathophysiology of Long COVID throughout the Renin-Angiotensin System, Molecules, May 2022, Shaymaa Khazaal, Julien Harb, Mohamad Rima, Cédric Annweiler, Yingliang Wu, Zhijian Cao, Ziad Abi Khattar, Christian Legros, Hervé Kovacic, Ziad Fajloun , Jean-Marc Sabatier
 Dietary supplements for the management of COVID-19 symptoms, Journal of preventive medicine and public health, October 2022, Gabriele Bonetti et al.
 The Role of Nutrients in Prevention, Treatment and Post-Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), Nutrients, February 2022, Maria Letizia Motti, Domenico Tafuri, Lorenzo Donini, Maria Teresa Masucci, Valentina De Falco, Filomena Mazzeo
 COVID-19 and vitamin D (Co-VIVID study): a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Expert review of anti-infective therapy, June 2022, Seshadri Reddy Varikasuvu, Balachandar Thangappazhamb, Alekya Vykuntac, Pragathi Dugginad, Munikumar Manne, Hemanth Rajf, and Sowjanya Aloori
 Fluid and Electrolyte Disturbances in COVID-19 and Their Complications, BioMed Research International, April 2021, Mohammad Pourfridoni, Seyede Mahsa Abbasnia, Fateme Shafaei, Javad Razaviyan, Reza Heidari-Soureshjani
 Recommendations for “Return-to-Sport” after COVID-19: Expert consensus, GERMAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE, April 2022, Steinacker J.M., Schellenberg J., Bloch W., Deibert P., Friedmann-Bette B., Grim C., Halle M., Hirschmüller A., Hollander K., Kerling A., Kopp C., Mayer F., Meyer T., Niebauer J., Predel HG., Reinsberger C., Röcker K., Scharhag J., Scherr J., Schmidt-Trucksäss A., Schneider C., Schobersberger W., Weisser B., Wolfarth B., Nieß A.M.
 The relevance of magnesium homeostasis in COVID-19, European Journal of Nutrition, October 2021, Valentina Trapani, Andrea Rosanof, Shadi Baniasadi, Mario Barbagallo, Sara Castiglioni, Fernando Guerrero-Romero, Stefano Iotti, André Mazur, Oliver Micke, Guitti Pourdowlat, Giuliana Scarpati, Federica I. Wolf, Jeanette A. Maier
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