False Remedies - Deepstash

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Can 'boosting' your immune system protect you?

False Remedies

False Remedies

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.

Social media is super quick to spread nutritional advice, home remedies, and bizarre ideas. Some are straightforward like seeking out foods rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, many pseudoscientists are peddling products like probiotics, cayenne pepper, and green tea as ways to protect us from the virus, which they cannot.

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Fraud Advertisements

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.

Shorter Cold

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 is Good For You

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.

Individual Supplement Studies

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.

"Systematic review papers" are much better suited for that. This is where independent scientists gather up all the available data and re-analyze it to answer big questions.

Research Reviews’ Results
  • If you are healthy, and have a modern balanced diet, taking multi-vitamins and high-dose antioxidants may shorten your life.
  • There’s no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention of diseases.
  • Beta-carotene and vitamin E seem to increase mortality, and so may higher doses of vitamin A.
  • Antioxidant supplements need to be considered as medicinal products and should undergo sufficient evaluation before marketing.
  • The functions of minerals and vitamins are understood largely by their deficiency diseases so there’s no certainty what they all do or how they interact.
  • Antioxidants soak up toxic, chemically-reactive by-products of metabolism called free radicals. These free radicals, left unchecked, can cause damage to DNA and may be linked to cancer.
  • Your body's immune system fights infections by using free radicals to kill bugs. Several of the minerals and vitamins in excess can cause damage.
Supplement Usage Recommendations
  • Folic acid for the women thinking of having a baby and pregnant women up to week 12 of the pregnancy.
  • Vitamin D for all pregnant and breastfeeding women, those aged six months to five years or over 65 and for people who are not exposed to much sun.
  • Vitamins A, C and D supplementation are recommended for all children aged six months to four years, especially those not eating a varied diet.
  • If they are prescribed to you for a medical condition.
Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are found in fiber and starch and are beneficial for brain health as they release glucose slowly into our system, helping stabilize our mood. Simple carbohydrates are found in sugary foods, cause fluctuations of feelings of happiness and produce a negative effect on our psychological well-being.

Antioxidants

Our cells generate energy through oxidation, but oxidation also reduces the dopamine and serotonin in the brain and creates oxidative stress.

Antioxidants found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables act as a defense against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and body. Antioxidants also repair oxidative damage and scavenge free radicals that cause cell damage in the brain. 

Omega 3

Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are involved in the process of converting food into energy. They are important for the health of the brain and the communication of its feel-good chemicals dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Omega 3 are essential nutrients that are not readily produced by the body, so we must include foods high on it in our diet.