Try These Simple Nutritional Hacks To Strengthen Your Child’s Immunity

Try These Simple Nutritional Hacks To Strengthen Your Child’s Immunity

  • May 31, 2021

Nutritionists Rujuta Diwekar and Somya Gupta have spoken about the importance of giving children the right foods.


Try These Simple Nutritional Hacks To Strengthen Your Child’s Immunity

A strong immune system can help fight against diseases and infections effectively

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. A healthy diet and lifestyle promotes better immunity
  2. Adequate sleep also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system
  3. It is crucial to control consumption of junk food

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a renewed interest in practices that help to strengthen the immune system. While a large number of adults have been affected by the virus, a significant number of children too have had to battle the infection. In addition to this, many children have also been thrown into long patches of lockdown, adding to stress-related issues such as premature greying of hair. In this scenario, it is important to build their immunity and there are simple practices that you can follow at home by tweaking your daily routine, said experts Rujuta Diwekar and Somya Gupta in an Instagram video shared on May 28.

Here’s how you can boost your child’s immunity

In an hour-long interaction, the duo discussed subjects such as the necessary foods that children must be fed. Nutritionist Somya shared a list of five must-have foods, which featured seasonal and locally available fruits as a priority. She said that children must include at least one fruit in their diet every day. “Don’t force them to eat it if they don’t like it but try getting them to have a bite. This will help with gut bacteria,” Somya said. Next on the list is a homemade pickle or chutney as they are a treasure trove of nutrients, she added. This will help with mood swings, cramps and keep their gut healthy.

Somya also mentioned the need to eat something between 4 pm to 6 pm daily. The nutritionist went on to add that children can be given homemade sweet treats like halwa and laddoo. This takes care of their overall health and immunity. She also said that this takes care of cortisol fluctuations in children. Somya further mentioned the importance of having rice in the diet. “Rice is a rich source of protein,” she said, adding that it would help to build immunity and their overall development.

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Skip desserts with added sugar, prepare homemade sweets for your kids

Photo Credit: iStock

The last must-have food on the list was cashew nuts. Somya said, “A handful of cashews every day will give them microminerals and other nutrients that will reduce body aches, give them a happy stomach and boost immunity.”

The nutritionist also spoke about the need to regulate junk food consumption. The nutritionist said, “Help children identify what junk food is. There is obvious junk food as well as the foods that pretend to be healthy but are not, called ‘camouflaged junk flood’.” She advised viewers to avoid packaged food and opt for freshly cooked food and snacks made in their home kitchens.

Also read: Is Caffeine Bad For Kids? Here’s How Drinking Coffee Can Affect Your Child’s Health

The experts also mentioned the need for children to get ample sleep and engage in physical activities. With regard to sleep, Somya said, “Children who don’t have a fixed bedtime are mostly the ones suffering from poor immunity. Sleep will help them be healthy and disease-free.” She recommended that the bedtime be fixed close to 10 pm, to promote the human growth hormone that peaks between 10 pm to 5 am in the body.

“As adults, we should encourage children to be physically active by even engaging them in small household chores. This can involve cleaning their room or getting up and fetching their own glass of water.” She mentioned the need to regulate the amount of time that children spend on gadgets.

Also read: Type-1 Diabetes In Children; Here’s How Age Can Affect This Condition In Kids

Watch the complete video here:


Also read: Digital Eyestrain In Children: Know The Complications And Ways To Fight This Condition

The experts also advised parents to lead by example and incorporate these healthy practices into their lives.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.




Here’s Why Food For The Microbiome Is Good For Human Beings

Here’s Why Food For The Microbiome Is Good For Human Beings

  • May 31, 2021

The human digestive tract, starting with the stomach and leading up to the intestines, is celebrated every year on May 29, on the occasion of World Digestive Health Day (WDHD). We also celebrate the denizens of the human gut, the different types of bacterial colonies that live and thrive within the human digestive system, and their impact on digestion. Beyond digestion, the human gut bacteria (especially the beneficial ones) also have a symbiotic relationship with the human immune system and help prevent many diseases. The WDHD theme for this year was obesity, and a paper published in ‘Nature’ in April 2019, had established a clear role of the bacteria in treating obesity in humans.

If the human gut microbiota is so crucial in keeping humans healthy, it is important that we spend some time understanding what keeps the microbiome healthy. Plus there are beneficial bacteria and harmful ones, and it is key that their balance is maintained.

So, what is the food that these good bacteria consume and what do they produce that helps the host humans? In our markets, we have often seen products marked as “probiotic” and “prebiotic”. While probiotics are the beneficial bacteria cultures, which boost their presence in the human gut, the lesser-known term ‘prebiotics’ are the foods that keep the good bacteria going. It is important for us humans to understand prebiotics, to keep our microbial partners in our gut healthy.

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are essentially dietary fibers that are selectively utilized by host micro-organisms to produce metabolites that the human body is able to use. These non-digestible carbohydrates such as fructo-oligosaccharides and galacto-oligosaccharides cannot be digested by the enzymes produced by the human body. They help in multiple ways, firstly by helping strengthen the digestive tract. Later, the beneficial microbes break down prebiotics into secondary metabolites that are absorbed into the host and provide multiple health benefits such as stimulation of immune cell activity, for instance. Such interventions have shown to improve immune markers in infants, reduce risk of infections among young children and decrease inflammatory processes among the elderly.

Types of prebiotics that help to nourish our gut microbes

Fructan: Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) or oligo fructose is a component of fructan. They are resistant to digestion enzymes such as alpha-amylase, saccharase, and maltase. They increase the growth of Bifidobacterium. Wheat products, barley, onions, shallots, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, pistachio, artichoke, chicory root, and asparagus are high in them.

Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS): GOS is found naturally in mammalian milk. GOS is generated industrially from whey, which is gaining traction as a possible alternative. Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli are greatly stimulated by GOSs. Isolated GOS is also used in the production of fruits and dairy products. GOS and FOS mixes are also included in some infant meals.

Xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS): Plant sources of XOS include Bengal gram husk, wheat bran, straw, barley hulls, brewery waste grains, almond shells, bamboo, and maize cob. It can assist people with type 2 diabetes mellitus lower their cholesterol and LDL. XOS also has antioxidant qualities and is utilised in food items as a gelling agent.

Lactulose: Lactulose is a chemically synthesised sugar that is generated from lactose. Lactulose can be found naturally in heat-treated cow and human milk. Daily doses of 3g lactulose can boost the gut microbiota in healthy people. In hospitals, it is commonly used to treat persistent constipation.

Benefits of prebiotics for gut health

Let us now look at the benefits of consuming the right prebiotics. Gut microorganisms are known to control multiple aspects of the mucosal immune system. The effects of prebiotics can be direct, or indirect by increasing the population of beneficial microbes, especially of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Research has shown that prebiotics may help support immunity, digestive health, and gut comfort, which is particularly important for vulnerable consumer groups such as infants.

Prevents Obesity: Important prebiotics plays a crucial role in preventing obesity and ensuring the gut microbiota plays their right role. Firstly it strengthens the gut barrier, prevents the formation of low-grade inflammations, and hence improving metabolic changes that aid weight reduction. Secondly, prebiotics also is seen to increase the secretion of peptides like glucagon the promote satiety or a sense of fullness, and at the same time, they help reduce the synthesis of ghrelin, another peptide that increases the feeling of hunger.

Boosts immunity: Given that the gut contains 70% of our immune system cells, Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), a prebiotic generated from lactose in milk, are not digested in the upper section of the gastrointestinal tract and reach the large intestine where they help the development of beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium. These bacteria have the ability to create short-chain fatty acids and other metabolites that boost immunological functions and enhance digestive health.

Keeps harmful bacteria in check: Because the beneficial Bifidobacterium compete for food sources and attachment sites on the intestinal mucosa, an increase in beneficial bacteria boosted by the presence of suitable prebiotics can also help reduce the number of dangerous bacteria.

Way forward

There is also a key role for prebiotic food additives in sugar-free foods. Prebiotics are sweet in taste and help mask any bad after-taste of foods, and combine very well with artificial sweeteners to make sugar-free foods tasty. The worldwide prebiotic ingredients market is expected to grow at a considerable CAGR of 10.5% over the next few years. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the spotlight back on building immunity, health, and wellness. With approximately 37 million diabetics and 400 million overweight people in India, there is an increasing demand for low-sugar foods, which will also increase demand for prebiotic additives in food. 5

Clearly, prebiotics has a dual benefit. While it helps promote digestive health and healthy gut microbiota, it also makes sugar free food tastier. As Indians become more and more aware of the benefits of prebiotics, we will see foods with added prebiotics will find wider acceptance among the health-conscious Indian consumers.

(The author is chief operating officer – Nutrition Sciences at Tata Chemicals.)


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Graphic with three peeople with a shield

If I’m Immunocompromised, Should I Keep Wearing My Mask Once I’m Vaccinated?

  • May 31, 2021

On the other end of the spectrum are people who have had organ transplants. They need to be on immunosuppressing medication for life; otherwise, their bodies could reject their new organs.

And emerging data shows they may be more susceptible to COVID-19 after getting vaccinated than the general population.

In a recent study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University analyzed more than 600 people who’d undergone liver, heart, kidney and other organ transplants and had received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Fifty-four percent had an antibody response after at least one dose of the vaccine, yet the levels of their antibodies were consistently lower than what’s seen in those with healthy immune systems.

In comparison, a study of more than 100 people with autoimmune and musculoskeletal conditions — including lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, inflammatory arthritis and mixed connective tissue diseases — found that 74% had generated antibodies after just one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

So, if I don’t produce antibodies in response to the vaccine, do I need to be concerned about whether the vaccine is working for me?

Not necessarily.

A quick antibody 101: Antibodies are proteins that attach to what the immune system deems enemies — typically organisms like viruses or bacteria. When the antibodies bind to the “enemies,” this may prevent disease from developing and serves as a signal to the rest of the immune system that these are uninvited guests who need to be dealt with pronto.

As a result, researchers have used the antibody response as a measure of immunity against select viruses and bacteria, including the influenza viruses and the bacteria that causes pneumococcal diseases, of which pneumonia is the most common.

And past studies have shown that certain groups of immunocompromised people don’t have the same kind of antibody response as the general population to the flu and pneumococcal vaccines, partly because of the medications they take.

SEE ALSO: The Forecast for COVID Vaccines for Kids

But antibodies are just one part of a very complex system. The immune system includes lots of other components that are essential in defeating everything from the common cold to COVID-19. And those other elements may be reporting for duty in large numbers after you get the vaccine, but an antibody test won’t tell you that.

Plus, just because the antibody response served as a decent metric for other vaccines does not necessarily make it the best or only way to assess your immunity to COVID-19.

“Every virus is different, and every vaccine is different,” Kaul says. “Different vaccines stimulate different parts of the immune system, so we can’t necessarily say that you’re protected if you generate antibodies or not.”

“In time, I think we’ll get more information,” he says. “The clinical trials that were done on vaccines may tell us what parameters we can measure in the blood or in cells that correlate with immunity. But right now, we don’t have that information for anyone, let alone immunocompromised people.”

Although researchers are studying antibody tests in clinical trials, Michigan Medicine does not recommend getting them after vaccination. Right now, the FDA has recommended against antibody testing post-vaccination since, as Kaul says, “we don’t really know what to do with the results.”

“What we know with 100% certainty is the much more important thing that in immunocompetent people, the vaccine works,” Kaul says. “One of the most important things to keep an eye on going forward is how frequently will fully vaccinated immunocompromised people develop severe COVID-19? If this is happening at a high rate, it would suggest that the current vaccination strategy for immunocompromised people is not getting the job done.”

So, why can’t immunocompromised people just go back to normal, like everyone else?

First off, there are plenty of locations where no one should go “back to normal” yet. (Check out “Confused About the Latest Mask Rules? Read This” for more details.)

Second: Unfortunately, we’re still gathering data about the likelihood of an immunocompromised person developing a severe case of COVID-19 or dying from the disease after getting the vaccine. Protection will probably vary widely among people whose immune systems are suppressed in different ways.

But, if the vaccine provides a lower level of immunity for at least some of these folks, and they’re more vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus already, it’s essential that they’re careful about where they go and with whom they spend their time.

So, what should I do if I’m immunocompromised and have been vaccinated?

“I advise my patients to follow the guidelines as if they’re not vaccinated, to exercise maximal caution,” Lee says. “I tell them you’re better protected than you were before, but that doesn’t mean you have the same degree of protection as somebody who doesn’t have your condition or is not on your medication.”

“These are difficult decisions that each person has to make on their own,” Kaul says, “But my general advice would be to take sensible precautions if the coronavirus is still circulating at high levels in your community.”

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That means avoiding crowds as well as socially distancing and wearing a mask, preferably an N95 if you can find one, in all indoor settings where you have to interact with someone who may not be vaccinated. Think: grocery stores and gyms.

Small outdoor gatherings are safer than those indoors with people who are vaccinated, which, in turn, are safer than indoor functions with people who aren’t vaccinated. Going mask-free is OK in the first two situations, Kaul says. But talk to your doctor about your risk level based on your specific medical history and medications. And, if you feel safer with a mask, wear one.

In addition, try to be thoughtful about your travel plans.

A vacation that involves driving to a remote beach where you can avoid high-risk contacts is relatively safe whereas more transmission has occurred during longer international flights, so you should steer clear of those if possible.

Especially since you 1) may have difficulty traveling back to the United States depending on the visitor restrictions in that specific country and 2) if you have an underlying health condition or medical needs, the health systems in many countries — including Brazil, Mexico and parts of Asia — remain strained, and it will likely be difficult to find medical care in an emergency.

Finally, take extra caution if you’re immunocompromised and you have children who aren’t yet vaccinated or aren’t eligible to be vaccinated. Try to minimize your kids’ exposures if they’re under 12 especially.

“It’s another tough situation,” Kaul says. “You can’t keep kids away from each other forever.”

If I’m immunocompromised, how long do I have to remain this careful?

More research is being done on this topic, so there will ideally be more information about which types of immunocompromised people are most vulnerable to COVID-19 after getting the vaccines and how best to measure immunity as time goes on.

Magenau is optimistic about the outlook for those who have had stem cell transplants, given their lack of side effects and even a few immune system responses he’s seen to COVID-19 vaccines in some patients.

“In lieu of good data, we’re making an educated guess while informing patients about their risks and benefits,” he says. “But I’m encouraged. We’re not letting this slow down our practice. We are also encouraging caregivers to strongly consider receiving the vaccine.”

Michigan Medicine plans to record vaccine responses in people who have had stem cell transplants as part of a research collaboration with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network, and the rheumatology division has created a registry to document any side effects and flares that arise in those with rheumatic diseases after vaccination.

Conversations are also being had about ways to make the vaccines more effective for immunocompromised people.

In the same way the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is often recommended as a booster shot for those who have some natural protection against COVID-19 because they’ve already been infected with it, immunocompromised people may eventually get additional doses of the vaccine — or doses of a different COVID-19 vaccine than they were originally inoculated with — to boost their immune system’s response.

SEE ALSO: Should Pregnant and Breastfeeding Patients Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

This tactic has worked well in the past for immunocompromised people who don’t respond to the flu vaccine.

“We don’t have hard data yet,” Lee says, “but I think this is going to be on the horizon.”

Ultimately, certain classes of immunocompromised people may be encouraged to limit their exposure to riskier people and settings until a large portion of society is vaccinated.

“It’s really going to depend on herd immunity,” Lee says. “People with rheumatic illnesses can take all the precautions, however, if the people they’re surrounded by are unvaccinated or the COVID-19 infection rates are continuously rising, it becomes harder because they have diseases that won’t go away, and a lot of them are committed to these high-risk medications for life. So I think their ability to return to normalcy will depend largely on how the community continues with vaccination efforts.”

“It’s a difficult situation,” Kaul says. “There isn’t necessarily an endpoint on it. I don’t think we’re going to be able to entirely eradicate the spread of COVID-19, so in a way, people who are immunocompromised are most dependent on others getting vaccinated because that can decrease the spread.”

What should I do if a person I love is immunocompromised?

You can get vaccinated.

Although masks do provide some protection for the wearer, they’re largely about protecting others.

And, because of the uncertainty around whether the COVID-19 vaccine protects immunocompromised people to the same degree as the general population, this vulnerable group must rely on those around them to reduce their risk of getting sick.

“When individuals are making decisions about being vaccinated,” Kaul says, “one thing they might want to consider is that they’re protecting their neighbors, the people they go to church with, the people they socialize with who may be immunocompromised and may not be able to respond as well to the vaccine.”

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Alzheimers Q&A: How can you improve your memory? | Health/Fitness

Alzheimers Q&A: How can you improve your memory? | Health/Fitness

  • May 31, 2021

We all have lapses in memory, and the older we get the more common it is to forget someone’s name, misplace the car keys or miss appointments.

Genetics, aging and medical conditions all affect the brain and play roles in cognitive loss, but scientists have identified ways to minimize age-related changes and improve everyday memory function.

You can protect your memory by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping mentally active and socially engaged. Additionally, studies have shown that having positive beliefs about aging can improve memory performance in older adults.

A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables, 8 ounces of fish weekly and walnuts and unsalted nuts are important in maintaining a “fit” brain and memory. Experts advise eating 80% of what you intend to at each meal and to eat with utensils so that you will eat less and pay attention to eating more healthy foods. You also should eat fewer processed foods. 

Aerobic exercise will help the heart and feed the brain with the oxygen. It also promotes cognitive functioning, such as memory, and is now believed to relate to positive structural changes in the brain. Walking 6 miles weekly, dancing, gardening, biking, and hiking all adding up to at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, help promote cognitive functions and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Maintain your social circle, building friendships and family relationships. Participation in social and community activities improves mood and memory function. Wait longer to retire. Socialization, not isolation, will stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related disorders.

Mental workouts are essential, and challenging the mind can help it grow and expand, which may improve memory. Learn something new like a second language or how to play a musical instrument. Take up a new hobby. Read. Write. Do things with your nondominant hand. Play board games or do puzzles. Travel to new places.

Also, monitor your stress levels and sleep habits. Incidences of higher stress and lack of sleep can contribute to loss of memory and can impede the brain’s ability to perform at optimum level.

Slow down your hurried life. Meditate and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Praying on a daily basis can enhance your immune system. Participate in regular worship.

Identify what your stressors are and how they affect you and identify ways to handle them. In a society where everyone feels they have to constantly multitask, don’t be afraid to say no.

The memory snags that occur normally during older age are subtle and do not have to interfere with daily life. In fact, you can easily adapt to them by making lists, establishing routines, using associations and employing memory aids.

Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders can be sent to Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, owner of Dana Territo Consulting, LLC, at thememorywhisperer@gmail.com.

Will we need a booster shot and when?

Will we need a booster shot and when?

  • May 31, 2021

With the successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to a significant proportion of the population and the promise of everyone in the State being vaccinated by the end of September, the next issue on the immunisation front is the need for booster vaccines.

What is a booster dose? Some vaccines, such as tetanus, are recommended every 10 years. Boosters are a reminder to our immune system; if we become exposed to a toxin, it will remember and respond quickly.

Here are some of the many questions that experts in the National Immunisation Office (NIO) and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) will be looking at: Will we all need a Covid-19 booster or will it be mandated only for certain groups? When might we need to boost our immune systems and how will this be decided? Would it be best to use the same brand of vaccine as a booster shot? Does the existence of variants mean modified versions of existing vaccines will be needed to offer ongoing protection against the novel virus?

One of the issues that has been addressed, in the context of a possible autumn booster campaign, is the co-administration of Covid-19 and influenza vaccines. Recently updated NIAC guidance says “Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines may be administered at the same time or at any interval”.

This means that a possible autumn Covid-19 booster campaign could be helpfully “piggy-backed” on to the annual flu shot as one single visit.

While there is caution about the possibility of variants ‘breaking through’ the defence of our vaccines, the most recent data on the Indian variant is reassuring.

But back to more basic considerations: will there be a need for a Covid-19 booster? The short answer is that nobody can be sure. Revaccination hinges on two factors: the prevalence of vaccine-resistant variants and the issue of waning immunity. Speaking to Pulse magazine, vaccine expert Dr Peter English said “there is ‘minimal evidence’ that people’s immunity will have decreased by the autumn, even for those who were vaccinated earliest”.

Dr Anthony Fauci, respected medical advisor to the US president Joe Biden, told a recent Senate committee hearing that coronavirus booster shots will probably be needed for vaccinated Americans: “I don’t anticipate that the durability of the vaccine protection is going to be infinite – it’s just not. So I imagine we will need, at some time, a booster. What we’re figuring out right now is what that interval is going to be,” he said.

While there is caution about the possibility of variants “breaking through” the defence of our vaccines, the most recent data on the Indian variant (B.1.6172) is reassuring. A study by Public Health England, published on May 22nd, found both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine offer high levels of protection against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant, following two doses. However, manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca are accelerating the development of tweaked boosters to combat the variants.

Autumn 2022

Will it be best for us to get the same brand of vaccine or a different type as a booster shot? The jury is out on this, with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) saying more data and evidence is needed to give a third dose – whether a booster dose of existing vaccines or one developed for variant strains.

There are lots of “known unknowns” when it comes to the why, when, where and what of booster Covid-19 vaccines. If readers will allow me a guesstimate, I predict the following: we will require boosters for Covid-19, probably on an annual basis. A booster campaign in the autumn of 2021 will be limited to priority groups, such as older people and those who are immunocompromised.

As for the rest of us, I predict the average person will not require a booster vaccine until autumn 2022.

mhouston@irishtimes.com, muirishouston.com

International Milk Day 2021: 3 must-have dairy products for boosting your immunity amidst COVID-19 pandemic

3 must-have dairy products for boosting your immunity amidst COVID-19 pandemic

  • May 31, 2021

International Milk Day, which is observed every June 1, here we are with a few dairy products that can help you stay strong amidst COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to know more

Updated: Mon, 31 May 2021 01:29 PM IST

New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: As COVID-19’s strain continues to spread its wings, it is very important for one to take care of themselves. As this time the virus is severely affecting people’s lungs and causing breathing problems, infections, stomach issues and more, it is even more necessary to maintain our immunity. Therefore, to minimise the risk of the disease washing hands, having your surrounding sanitized and even social distancing is not enough. 

Yes, in the second strain of COVID-19 boosting your immune system should be your top priority and one of the best ways to do that is to keep a track of what are you eating throughout the day. Right from green veggies, legumes to healthy dairy products, one should include everything in their diet. Meanwhile, when it comes to increasing immunity then milk is considered one of the best options for the same. Therefore, on International Milk Day, which is observed every June 1, here we are with a few dairy products that can help you stay strong amidst COVID-19 pandemic. 

Milk

Milk is considered as a complete diet for age groups right from a child to an older adult. It contains vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, protein and other nutrients which help in boosting your immunity. 

Yogurt

As per experts, a lot of flu-like infections in adults can be controlled once they have probiotic-rich yogurt drinks. Yes, yoghurt is rich in lactobacillus which is a probiotic (also known as a beneficial type of bacteria) that helps in fighting for your body and increasing your immunity.  

Cheese

According to a latest study conducted by experts in the University of Turku in Finland, cheese can be highly good for immune system. Yes, this milk product can carry probiotic bacteria which is considered beneficial to increase immunity in older adults.  

Role of nutrients in the immune system

Dairy foods which are mentioned above including milk, cheese and yogurt posses important nutrients such as vitamins A and D, zinc and protein, which a ire considered good immunity boosters. Therefore, take a look at what role do they play in strengthening your body’s defence mechanism.

  • Vitamin A lends its support to gastrointestinal tract and respiratory systems’ tissues.
  • Vitamin D helps in keeping your gastrointestinal system intact, also, it protects your body against lung infections.
  • Zinc helps in maintaining skin integrity while boosting your immunity. 
  • Protein helps in quick healing and gets your body to recover faster.

Posted By: Sanyukta Baijal

Eat These 5 Foods to Boost Your Immunity

Eat These 5 Foods to Boost Your Immunity

  • May 31, 2021

Some foods work great in contributing towards a supercharged immune system, preventing you from falling prey to illnesses such as flu, cold and more. Here’s a glimpse of five kinds of nutrients that your immune system requires to function and which foods are full of them.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids come as a kind of necessary fatty acid recognised to contain the inflammation and keep the immune system healthy.

Try these omega-3-rich foods to bolster your health and immunity:

  • Walnuts

  • Chia seeds

  • Oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, tuna and mackerel

  • Flaxseed

Vitamin E

Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is a great antioxidant. Studies suggest that keeping adequate levels of vitamin E is essential for having a healthy immune system, particularly among older individuals. To get your daily dose of vitamin E, try these foods on a daily basis:

  • Hazelnuts

  • Peanut butter

  • Wheat germ oil

  • Almonds

  • Sunflower seeds

Zinc

Zinc is a vital mineral associated with the creation of specific immune cells. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advise that even moderately low levels of zinc may reduce your immune function. Here are some best food sources full of zinc:

  • Cashews

  • Raisin bran

  • Chickpeas

  • Oysters

  • Baked beans

Carotenoids

Another kind of antioxidant, carotenoids are a group of pigments obtained naturally in a number of plants. Upon consumption, carotenoids are transformed into vitamin A (a nutrient that assists in regulating the immune cells). They are fully absorbed when eaten or cooked with fat.

Consume these foods to increase your carotenoids:

  • Mango

  • Sweet potato

  • Spinach

  • Collard greens

  • Carrots

  • Kale

  • Apricots

  • Papaya

Vitamin C

There’s ample proof that vitamin C may be especially effective in promoting the immune systems of individuals undergoing major stress. To improve your vitamin C consumption, add these Vitamin C rich foods to your diet:

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Will we need booster Covid-19 vaccines?

Will we need booster Covid-19 vaccines?

  • May 31, 2021

With the successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to a significant proportion of the population and the promise of everyone in the State being vaccinated by the end of September, the next issue on the immunisation front is the need for booster vaccines.

What is a booster dose? Some vaccines, such as tetanus, are recommended every 10 years. Boosters are a reminder to our immune system; if we become exposed to a toxin, it will remember and respond quickly.

Here are some of the many questions that experts in the National Immunisation Office (NIO) and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) will be looking at: Will we all need a Covid-19 booster or will it be mandated only for certain groups? When might we need to boost our immune systems and how will this be decided? Would it be best to use the same brand of vaccine as a booster shot? Does the existence of variants mean modified versions of existing vaccines will be needed to offer ongoing protection against the novel virus?

One of the issues that has been addressed, in the context of a possible autumn booster campaign, is the co-administration of Covid-19 and influenza vaccines. Recently updated NIAC guidance says “Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines may be administered at the same time or at any interval”.

This means that a possible autumn Covid-19 booster campaign could be helpfully “piggy-backed” on to the annual flu shot as one single visit.

While there is caution about the possibility of variants ‘breaking through’ the defence of our vaccines, the most recent data on the Indian variant is reassuring.

But back to more basic considerations: will there be a need for a Covid-19 booster? The short answer is that nobody can be sure. Revaccination hinges on two factors: the prevalence of vaccine-resistant variants and the issue of waning immunity. Speaking to Pulse magazine, vaccine expert Dr Peter English said “there is ‘minimal evidence’ that people’s immunity will have decreased by the autumn, even for those who were vaccinated earliest”.

Dr Anthony Fauci, respected medical advisor to the US president Joe Biden, told a recent Senate committee hearing that coronavirus booster shots will probably be needed for vaccinated Americans: “I don’t anticipate that the durability of the vaccine protection is going to be infinite – it’s just not. So I imagine we will need, at some time, a booster. What we’re figuring out right now is what that interval is going to be,” he said.

While there is caution about the possibility of variants “breaking through” the defence of our vaccines, the most recent data on the Indian variant (B.1.6172) is reassuring. A study by Public Health England, published on May 22nd, found both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine offer high levels of protection against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant, following two doses. However, manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca are accelerating the development of tweaked boosters to combat the variants.

Autumn 2022

Will it be best for us to get the same brand of vaccine or a different type as a booster shot? The jury is out on this, with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) saying more data and evidence is needed to give a third dose – whether a booster dose of existing vaccines or one developed for variant strains.

There are lots of “known unknowns” when it comes to the why, when, where and what of booster Covid-19 vaccines. If readers will allow me a guesstimate, I predict the following: we will require boosters for Covid-19, probably on an annual basis. A booster campaign in the autumn of 2021 will be limited to priority groups, such as older people and those who are immunocompromised.

As for the rest of us, I predict the average person will not require a booster vaccine until autumn 2022.

mhouston@irishtimes.com, muirishouston.com

How to strengthen your immune system very easily?

How to strengthen your immune system very easily?

  • May 31, 2021

Many people across the globe are highly interested to boost their immune health so that they can fight off the illnesses perfectly. Different kinds of dietary and lifestyle changes are well known to improve immunity very easily and allow people to deal with harmful pathogens and disease-causing organisms perfectly. Following are the most important ways that people should follow to boost their immunity:

 

  1. Having enough sleep: People should have enough sleep of approximately eight hours in a day because sleep and immunity are closely tied. People need to pay proper attention to different kinds of sleep hygiene tips which would include sleeping in a completely dark room, using a sleep mask, going to bed at the same time every night and exercising regularly.
  2. Consuming immunity supplements: Depending upon immunity booster natural supplementsis a very good idea for the people because these are the products that are backed by proper research and will help in providing the people with top-notch quality advantages in the long run. Different kinds of immunity-based supplements will always allow people to identify and target the harmful pathogens so that they can get rid of them very easily and can boost their immunity very well.
  3. Eating more healthy fats:Eating different kinds of healthy fats will always allow the body to boost its immune response to different kinds of pathogens because it will work as the best way of decreasing inflammation. Unbalanced inflammation is another normal response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation and is well known to suppress the immune system. So, to get rid of all these kinds of problems people need to have healthy fats in their diet.
  4. Limiting the added sugars: Obesity will always help in increasing the chances of getting sick which is the main reason that people need to curb down their sugar intake so that inflammation has been decreased and weight loss has been promoted. This will also help in reducing the risk of different kinds of chronic problems like type two diabetes and heart diseases. People should strive to limit their sugar intake to approximately less than 5% of the daily calories which will include approximately 25 g of sugar for a person who takes a 2000 cal diet.
  5. Engaging in moderate exercise: Another very important activity which people should go with is to engage in moderate exercise because it will give a great boost to the immune system. It will help in making sure that inflammation levels will be reduced and immune cells will be regenerated regularly. Moderate exercise can include activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, light hiking, jogging and people should indulge in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

 

Apart from all the above-mentioned points, one should also remain hydrated all the time and stress levels should be completely managed. One can also depend upon the best immunity booster natural supplements from the house of the best companies so that overall goals of boosting the immune system are easily achieved.

 

This figure illustrates how a healthy innate immune system protects most people within the population against infections. With an already robust or trained innate immune system, the overwhelming majority of people infected with a new pathogen, such as SARS-CoV-2, are able to eradicate the infection early during the asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic phase of infection. Without prior exposure or vaccination (e.g., with a messenger RNA vaccine), adaptive immunity takes days to weeks to kick in and is often suppressed in severe cases, contributing to a self-perpetuating and injurious hyperinflammatory response. The innate immune system often loses potency with age, certain comorbidities, immunosuppression, and with genetic susceptibility.

Reusing old vaccines to boost innate immunity against COVID-19

  • May 31, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently the best form of protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its variants. But a new perspective article published in the journal PNAS suggests it’s not the panacea to stopping SARS-CoV-2. Robert C. Gallo of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and colleagues of the Global Virus Network propose administering vaccines such as tuberculosis, measles, and polio that use already weakened viruses to boost innate immunity.

Ending the pandemic requires global vaccination, but some countries cannot accelerate vaccination campaigns like some Western countries. Some countries will be starting vaccinations in 2022 — leaving them at risk for developing more deadly and potentially immune-evasive variants.

By strengthening the body’s first line of defense, the researchers argue it will be beneficial for stopping new pathogens before it has time to spread. Older vaccines that stimulate innate immunity could stall viral spread and allow scientists more time to develop specific vaccines — potentially preventing another pandemic.

“The broad protection induced by LAVs would not be compromised by potential antigenic drift (immune escape) that can render viruses resistant to specific vaccines. LAVs might offer an essential tool to “bend the pandemic curve,” averting the exhaustion of public health resources and preventing needless deaths and may also have therapeutic benefits if used for postexposure prophylaxis of disease.”

Argument for strengthening innate immunity

Innate immunity is the body’s immediate reaction to an outside pathogen. Unlike adaptive immunity that takes days and hours to develop T cells and antibodies, innate immunity takes a matter of minutes. Previous work shows innate immunity alone was sufficient for overcoming pathogen and infections.

This figure illustrates how a healthy innate immune system protects most people within the population against infections. With an already robust or trained innate immune system, the overwhelming majority of people infected with a new pathogen, such as SARS-CoV-2, are able to eradicate the infection early during the asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic phase of infection. Without prior exposure or vaccination (e.g., with a messenger RNA vaccine), adaptive immunity takes days to weeks to kick in and is often suppressed in severe cases, contributing to a self-perpetuating and injurious hyperinflammatory response. The innate immune system often loses potency with age, certain comorbidities, immunosuppression, and with genetic susceptibility.

This figure illustrates how a healthy innate immune system protects most people within the population against infections. With an already robust or trained innate immune system, the overwhelming majority of people infected with a new pathogen, such as SARS-CoV-2, are able to eradicate the infection early during the asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic phase of infection. Without prior exposure or vaccination (e.g., with a messenger RNA vaccine), adaptive immunity takes days to weeks to kick in and is often suppressed in severe cases, contributing to a self-perpetuating and injurious hyperinflammatory response. The innate immune system often loses potency with age, certain comorbidities, immunosuppression, and with genetic susceptibility.

Innate immunity lies in its broad, nonspecific activation and the ability to inhibit multiple pathogens. With SARS-CoV-2, innate immunity is triggered by detecting the nucleotide sequence of the virus’s RNA.

The researchers note that vaccine-induced innate immunity from flu and HIV vaccines can last as long as adaptive immunity. Innate immunity also has innate memory to train the immune system to recognize a foreign pathogen sooner.

“In this article, we propose that during a pandemic (or epidemic), medical science could rapidly harness the power of innate immunity to induce partial protection against new (such as SARS-CoV-2) or reemerging pathogen threats and suggest that this might be achieved through the repurposing of some established live attenuated vaccines (LAVs), which are powerful inducers of innate immunity.”

The researchers note that innate immunity can control SARS-CoV-2 based on its success in preventing other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS and may correlate with better clinical responses.

Coronaviruses derived from bats have also been associated with “an appropriate balancing of innate immune responses between resistance and tolerance.” Bats have high NK cells and IFN expression, suggesting innate immunity is needed to control SARS-CoV-2.

Older vaccines show partial benefit against COVID-19

Hoarding COVID-19 vaccines and mistrust against the rapid vaccine development has been a significant obstacle towards herd immunity. Using older vaccines — that have been trusted for years and widely accessible — could circumvent these issues.

Older live-attenuated vaccines also help because they target the specific virus of interest and provide a broad range of protection against other pathogens. Research from the past decade shows these vaccine’s nonspecific effects increase with booster shots. For instance, some animal studies showed the influenza H3N2 vaccine also protected against the respiratory syncytial viruses by increasing cytokine levels and leukocytes.

The epigenetic mechanism induced by LAVs in innate immune cells and their precursors: methylation and acetylation of histones after vaccination “mark” the gene necessary for host defense, leading to long-term changes in chromatin architecture leading to stronger expression upon subsequent stimuli.

The epigenetic mechanism induced by LAVs in innate immune cells and their precursors: methylation and acetylation of histones after vaccination “mark” the gene necessary for host defense, leading to long-term changes in chromatin architecture leading to stronger expression upon subsequent stimuli.

Greater protection against SARS-CoV-2 was observed among healthcare workers who had a history of bacillus Calmette–Guerin vaccination. Separate studies confirmed these findings by observing fewer COVID-19 symptoms or less severe illness in people with the bacillus Calmette–Guerin vaccine.

There is an economic benefit to using older vaccines to stimulate innate immunity. Some of the available COVID-19 vaccines incur high costs for refrigeration and implementation. It would also be more cost-effective and protective to deliver live-attenuated vaccines as a booster for added protection instead of waiting four weeks for the second dose.

“Even a LAV with only 50% efficacy could then prevent several more primary infections per 1,000 vaccinees than would a vaccination schedule offering only a COVID-19 vaccine. With a Reff of 2, the total number of infections prevented could be twice the number of primary infections prevented. And even after 4 to 5 wk, the LAV could plausibly add effectiveness to the COVID-19 vaccine alone.”

capsimmunesystem.org