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To cash in on the global craze for boosting immunity, many people are selling fraudulent products promising to cure, treat or prevent viral infection.
There is no evidence that the advertised zinc supplements or green teas have any kind of effect. It is important to be wary of the hype and fake news.
Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling had some studies published which were claiming that large doses of Vitamin C can cure illnesses like cancer and heart disease, along with the flu, but so far the claims have been largely inaccurate, though a few studies reported a shorter duration of the illness in some people.
Vitamin C activates key enzymes in our bodies and acts as an antioxidant. It protects the organs (like lungs) from pathogens. This Vitamin is crucial for the body to launch an effective immune response. All the more reason to consume citrus fruits, and vegetables like the Indian Gooseberry.
Supplements don’t work as effectively and extremely large doses have side effects like nausea, diarrhea and stomach ache.
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Much like a hundred years ago when Spanish Flu killed millions, questionable medicinal concoctions and folk remedies have surfaced across the world, claiming to boost the immune system.
Pills, superfoods, and other wellness habits do not boost our immunity as the 'symptoms' which we get when infected are in fact measures taken by our immune system to respond to the foreign pathogen.
Many allergies that people have are a misguided response from the immune system that treat harmless foreign bodies as harmful pathogens.
While over-the-counter medicines provide us with a so-called ‘relief’ by suppressing our fever, runny nose and other ‘symptoms’, these are in fact necessary for the body to get well. The symptoms we want to be stopped are not our enemy:
Looking at individual studies won't determine if vitamin supplementation is good for you. They're scientifically dense and the conflicts of interest can be very hard to spot.
In the 90s, vitamins were touted as treatments for cardiovascular diseases, cataracts, and even cancer. Sales in multivitamins and other dietary supplements boomed.
In the 1970s and into the 80s, research was done where mice were given a variety of supplementary antioxidants in their diet or via an injection straight into the bloodstream.
The result showed that an excess of antioxidants didn't stop the onset of disease or extended lifespan.