CCMB-incubated Hyderabad startup supplement claims to boost immunity against Covid-19

CCMB-incubated Hyderabad startup supplement claims to boost immunity against Covid-19

  • October 22, 2020

A startup incubated at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad has developed ‘CoronAid’ a novel nutraceutical claimed to boost immunity against Covid-19.

The food supplement is made from a mushroom type, Cordyceps militaris, which grows in the Himalayan region and is known for immune boosting and anti-oxidant components.

Read | Risk of catching Covid-19 on flights low, not zero: WHO

Clone Deals, a start-up incubated at the Atal Incubation Centre-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (AIC-CCMB), has collaborated with another Hyderabad-based company, Ambrosia Food Company, to develop a combination of the mushroom powder with curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, to make CoronAid Anti-Viral Immunity Booster Oral Suspension, a statement from CCMB said on Thursday.

Cordycepin in the mushroom powder is known to prevent the formation of new DNA and RNA strands.

Also Read | What we know so far about how Covid-19 affects the nervous system

Clone Deals has collaborated with scientists from CCMB to establish the potency of cordycepin in stopping the growth of the Covid-19-causing coronavirus in a cell-culture system. The studies show that cordycepin inhibits the multiplication of coronavirus.

Clone Deals has expertise in large-scale production of the mushroom in a controlled environment for its medicinal use. Currently, the team has obtained the FSSAI approval for marketing and submitted proposals to the government of India for conducting clinical trials at three All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Bhopal, to establish the safety of their formulation, the CCMB said.

With satisfactory results of the clinical trials, the product is expected to be available from December 2020 in most cities and towns, adding considerable protection against the virus.

“We are delighted to  support a start-up focused on developing indigenous natural products and adding value by establishing its scientific basis,”   Dr Rakesh Mishra, director CCMB said.

Can Supplements Help Fight COVID-19? Here’s What We Know

Can Supplements Help Fight COVID-19? Here’s What We Know

  • October 19, 2020

By Laura Beil

Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream “This supplement could save you from coronavirus.


It also helps to have celebrity enthusiasts. When President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, his pill arsenal included Vitamin D and zinc. And in an Instagram chat with actress Jennifer Garner in September, infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci touted vitamins C and D as ways that might generally boost the immune system. “If you’re deficient in vitamin D,” he noted, “that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.”

But whether over-the-counter supplements can actually prevent, or even treat, COVID-19, is not clear. Since the disease is so new, researchers haven’t had much time for the kind of large experiments that provide the best answers. Instead, scientists have mostly relied on fresh takes on old data. Some studies have looked at outcomes of patients who routinely take certain supplements — and found some promising hints. But so far there’s little data from the kinds of scientifically rigorous experiments that give doctors confidence when recommending supplements.

Here’s what we know today about three supplements getting plenty of attention around COVID-19.

Vitamin D

What it is: Called “the sunshine vitamin” because the body makes it naturally in the presence of ultraviolet light, Vitamin D is one of the most heavily studied supplements (SN: 1/27/19). Certain foods, including fish and fortified milk products, are also high in the vitamin.

Why it might help: Vitamin D is a hormone building block that helps strengthen the immune system.

How it works for other infections: In 2017, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis that suggested a daily vitamin D supplement might help prevent respiratory infections, particularly in people who are deficient in the vitamin.

But one key word here is deficient. That risk is highest during dark winters at high latitudes and among people with more color in their skin (melanin, a pigment that’s higher in darker skin, inhibits the production of vitamin D).

“If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn’t stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference,” says Susan Lanham-New, head of the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Surrey in England.

And taking too much can create new health problems, stressing certain internal organs and leading to a dangerously high calcium buildup in the blood. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 to 800 International Units per day, and the upper limit is considered to be 4,000 IUs per day.

What we know about Vitamin D and COVID-19: Few studies have looked directly at whether vitamin D makes a difference in COVID.

In May, in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, Lanham-New and her colleagues published a summary of existing evidence and concluded that there’s only enough to recommend vitamin D to help with COVID-19 prevention for people who are deficient. That paper made inferences from how vitamin D works against other respiratory tract infections and immune health.

More than a dozen studies are now testing vitamin D directly for prevention and treatment, including a large one led by JoAnn Manson, a leading expert on vitamin D. An epidemiologist and preventive medicine physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. That study will analyze if vitamin D can affect the course of a COVID-19 infection. The trial aims to recruit 2,700 people across the United States with newly diagnosed infections, along with their close household contacts.

The goal is to determine whether newly diagnosed people given high doses of vitamin D — 3,200 IU per day — are less likely than people who get a placebo to experience severe symptoms and need hospitalization. “The biological plausibility for a benefit in COVID is compelling,” she says, given the nutrient’s theoretical ability to impede the severe inflammatory reaction that can follow coronavirus infection. “However the evidence is not conclusive at this time.”

Zinc

What it is: Zinc, a mineral found in cells all over the body, is found naturally in certain meats, beans and oysters.

Why it might help: It plays several supportive roles in the immune system, which is why zinc lozenges are always hot sellers in cold and flu season. Zinc also helps with cell division and growth.

How it works for other infections: Studies of using zinc for colds — which are frequently caused by coronaviruses — suggest that using a supplement right after symptoms start might make them go away quicker. That said, a clinical trial from researchers in Finland and the United Kingdom, published in January in BMJ Open did not find any value for zinc lozenges for the treatment of colds. Some researchers have theorized that inconsistencies in data for colds may be explained by varying amounts of zinc released in different lozenges.

What we know about zinc and COVID-19: The mineral is promising enough that it was added to some early studies of hydroxychloroquine, a drug tested early in the pandemic. (Studies have since shown that hydroxychloroquine can’t prevent or treat COVID-19 (SN: 8/2/20).)

In July, researchers from Aachen University in Germany wrote in Frontiers of Immunology that current evidence “strongly suggests great benefits of zinc supplementation” based on looking at similar infections including SARS, another disease caused by a coronavirus. For example, studies suggest that giving zinc reduces the risk for death from a pneumonia infection. The researchers cite evidence that zinc might help prevent the virus from entering the body, and help slow the virus’s replication when it does.

Another review — also based on indirect evidence — published August 1 in Advances in Integrative Medicine also concluded that zinc might be helpful in people who are deficient.

In September, researchers from Hospital Del Marin Barcelona reported that among 249 patients studied, those who survived COVID had higher zinc levels in their plasma (an average of 63.1 mcg/dl) than those who died (43mcg/dl).

Overall, though, the jury is still out, says Suma Thomas, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who in June led a team that reviewed the evidence for popular supplements in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Given what’s already known, zinc could possibly decrease the duration of infection but not the severity of symptoms, she said, particularly among people who are deficient. About a dozen studies are now looking at zinc for COVID treatment, often with other drugs or supplements.

Thomas and her colleagues are comparing symptom severity and future hospitalization in COVID-19 patients who take zinc with and without high doses of vitamin C with those who receive ordinary care without the supplement. Results are expected soon, she says.

Vitamin C

What it is: Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C has a long list of roles in the body. It’s found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, peppers and tomatoes.

Why it might help: It’s a potent antioxidant that’s important for a healthy immune system and preventing inflammation.

How it works for other infections: Thomas cautions that the data on vitamin C are often contradictory. One review from Chinese researchers, published in February in the Journal of Medical Virology, looked at what is already known about vitamin C and other supplements that might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Among other encouraging signs, human studies find a lower incidence of pneumonia among people taking vitamin C, “suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions.”

But for preventing colds, a 2013 Cochrane review of 29 studies didn’t support the idea that vitamin C supplements could help in the general population. However, the authors wrote, given that vitamin C is cheap and safe, “it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial.”

What we know about Vitamin C and COVID-19: About a dozen studies are under way or planned to examine whether vitamin C added to coronavirus treatment helps with symptoms or survival, including Thomas’ study at the Cleveland Clinic.

In a review published online in July in Nutrition, researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium concluded that the vitamin may help prevent infection and tamp down the dangerous inflammatory reaction that can cause severe symptoms, based on what is known about how the nutrient works in the body.

Melissa Badowski, a pharmacist who specializes in viral infections at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy and colleague Sarah Michienzi published an extensive look at all supplements that might be useful in the coronavirus epidemic. There’s still not enough evidence to know whether they are helpful, the pair concluded in July in Drugs in Context. “It’s not really clear if it’s going to benefit patients,” Badowski says.

And while supplements are generally safe, she adds that nothing is risk free. The best way to avoid infection, she says, is still to follow the advice of epidemiologists and public health experts: “Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart.”

This story was originally published by Science News, a nonprofit independent news organization.

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Coronavirus | Ayurveda supplements see sales boost despite thin research evidence on efficacy

Coronavirus | Ayurveda supplements see sales boost despite thin research evidence on efficacy

  • October 18, 2020

Companies marketing these products have capitalised on the association between COVID-19 and immunity

For a chemist shop that’s usually lined with pharmaceutical drugs, Noida-based proprietor Mahesh Agrawal prominently displays his containers of Dabur Chyawanprash. “There’s a lot of demand for them along with honey and sales have increased ever since the unlockdown began.”

Multiple grocers and stores that sell organic-labelled products say they have been seeing a sharp demand for products that are even tangentially linked to “boosting immunity”.

Amul markets turmeric-flavoured milk called Amul “Haldi Doodh,” that purports to having the “goodness of milk with the centuries old immunity boosting and healing properties of haldi”.

Rising sentiment

A July report by market research company Nielsen says chyawanprash sales have increased by 283% in June, while the sales of branded honey increased by 39%. “There is a rising sentiment towards ‘local’ with increasing support for Atma Nirbhar Bharat and Ayurveda,” the report said.

“From April-June, we saw a nearly 7-fold growth in demand [compared to last year] for Dabur Chyawanprash. Other Ayurvedic products like Ashwagandha, Dabur Giloy Ghanvati, Dabur Health Juices like Amla juice, Giloy-Neem-Tulsi Juice etc, have also reported strong growth,” Mohit Malhotra, CEO, Dabur India, told The Hindu. “People are now more inclined to prophylactic health remedies, especially immunity boosting products. This trend would sustain, going forward.”

Shoppers told The Hindu that while they didn’t believe immunity products would protect them from COVID-19, they saw it as a way to bolster their immune defences. “I regularly take chyawanprash but will never go to an Ayurveda doctor,” said Swapan Banerjee, a teacher. “These products do no harm and play a role in general good health, from my experience but aren’t substitutes for masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and getting tested.”

Companies that have been marketing these products have capitalised on the association between COVID-19 and immunity and the government’s encouragement of Ayurveda and yoga for mild and moderate infections as well for aiding recovery post COVID-19.

An 11-member committee led by former ICMR chief recommended that in the “short term… “Guduchi(Tinospora cordifolia) aqueous extract, guduchi+pippali (Piper longum), aqueous extracts and AYUSH 64 (a drug with multiple herbs developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences) be recommended for inclusion in the standard care for mild to moderate cases of COVID-19”.

However, a perusal of the research studies listed show that none of them have been fully tested for their effectiveness in COVID management and all the evidence relies on the herbs’ effects in controlling fever in malaria and in recovery from “influenza like illnesses”.

High binding efficacy

Ashwagandha has been recommended by the committee because laboratory studies show that it “inhibited the entry” of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses into healthy cells and guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) showed “high binding efficacy” against SARS-CoV-2 targets involved in attachment and replication of the virus, compared to Favipiravir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir.”

However unlike the latter, these haven’t been tested in controlled, comparative trials. In fact, the most recent human trials show that all of the drugs that in lab studies showed promising anti-viral activity but weren’t significantly effective in improving disease outcomes.

The viral cells, as it is now understood, infiltrate the lung cells and multiply. The SARS-CoV-2, scientists say, is particularly sneaky and the body’s immune system is frequently unable to detect these viral particles early on to neutralise them and keep them proliferating. As has been seen in instances of those suffering a severe infection, the immune system goes into an overdrive. The body is deluged by chemical messengers called cytokines that, while alerting the body’s defence cells to destroy the virus, also trigger inflammation in multiple organs. It’s to stem such over-reaction, that many a time ends up being fatal, that steroids such as dexamethason are administered.

Thus the holy grail of COVID treatment is to ensure that immune system fights the virus without going berserk.

Complex mix of herbs

In the Ayurveda system, chyawanprash is a “complex mix of herbs” and several common herbs — like turmeric, black pepper and ginger infusions contribute in varying measures to keeping the immune system in a state of preparedness against fighting pathogens, said an expert.

“Turmeric, Ashwagandha, giloy all confer varying degree of immunity and may confer varying degrees of benefit to different people, depending on their individual constitution,” said Bhavna Prasher, an Ayurveda doctor and scientist at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.

In the modern-science view, there are two kinds of immunity: one is ‘innate’ immunity which is the first line of defence against an infection. A class of cells called “natural killer cells” and produced in the bone marrow directly attack infectious microbes. The other, a so-called adaptive immunity, where specialised cells produced in the thymus gland actively monitor — and produce antibodies that are specific to viruses and bacteria. Both systems work in tandem.

Ayurvedic literature, said Prasher, suggests that several of the herbs have been tested in immune disorders and there is evidence to show that many of them have ‘immunomodulatory’ properties, meaning they are able to either amplify or suppress immune system responses.

“They are good at keeping the body or moving it towards a state of homeostasis — a state of internal stability that allows the body to keep itself in a state of health. However, Ayurveda is not only about these formulations and depending on the degree of sickness, there are other interventions. These are popular because they aren’t harmful and generally protective.”

Your gut will benefit from a weekly intake of 30 different varieties of fruit, veg, herbs and spices

Susannah Taylor: The secrets of immunity

  • October 17, 2020
Your gut will benefit from a weekly intake of 30 different varieties of fruit, veg, herbs and spices

Your gut will benefit from a weekly intake of 30 different varieties of fruit, veg, herbs and spices

I don’t know about you, but when lockdown began, I was flooded with messages on how to avoid catching Covid-19 – from ‘Drink water every 15 minutes as the virus can’t survive in your stomach’ to (my favourite) ‘Blast your mouth and throat with a hair dryer to kill the virus’. 

Of course, this all turned out to be rubbish. It is this kind of pseudoscience that frustrates immunologist Dr Jenna Macciochi PHD, author of Immunity: The Science of Staying Well. On a mission to educate us in our fight against illness, I asked her what we can do that is proven to work to help stay well this winter.

First up, don’t even try to ‘boost’ your immune system. 

It’s a myth that we can, says Jenna, or even should: ‘You don’t want your body to have an extreme response as it could make you very ill.’ Instead, she stresses, ‘what you should aim for is a balanced immune system’.

Get moving! 

Exercise and avoiding being sedentary for long spells are key to our wellbeing as our lymphatic system (which carries infection-fighting white blood cells) needs our movement to work. ‘Even a lunchtime walk is important,’ says Jenna. However, use common sense, she adds, as overexercising and not eating enough fuel may put your immune system at risk.

Maintain your muscle mass. 

Muscle is immunologically active tissue, says Jenna, but as we age it shrinks, which can affect our immune system. To maintain or even build muscle the key is to do resistance work as well as regular cardio exercise.

Pop vitamin D3 daily. 

Forget what the wellbeing brands say, you don’t need a daily cocktail of vitamins. However, vitamin D3, ‘which helps our first line of defence to kick in’, is vital, especially in the UK where we don’t get much sunlight, our primary source of D3.

As for vitamin C… 

Chances are you’re getting enough of this goodie since it is in so many foods. However, Jenna says: ‘Evidence suggests that if you take it when you first start feeling ill, it can cut the length of an infection.’ A note to over-zealous pill-poppers: ‘If you’re not deficient in a vitamin, taking extra won’t make any difference.’

Say yes to oily fish. 

Why? ‘Because eating at least two portions of oily fish a week or taking an omega-3 supplement will help resolve inflammation and regulate the immune response.’

Drink enough water. 

‘This will help your lymphatic fluid be the right consistency and keep the mucous lining of our eyes and nose moist for trapping pathogens [viruses].’

Cut back on booze. 

And not just because of hangovers! Alcohol isn’t good for our immune system. ‘It can damage the flora in our gut and reduce our ability to produce immune cells,’ says Jenna.

Be good to your gut. 

‘This is the most important point of all as its microbiome produces metabolites, which go into our bloodstream and regulate our immune system.’ To ensure it can do its job, eat a variety of plant foods – around 30 a week. Think fruit and veg, plus herbs, spices, nuts and seeds.

Use your superpower: sleep!

‘At night our bodies produce immune cells and melatonin, which is anti-inflammatory,’ says Jenna, so getting enough zzzs is vital to ward off illness. ‘In fact, a bad night’s sleep can cut immunity by 65 per cent, making us more prone to infection.’

Destress to stay well. 

‘Despite what many think, stress isn’t just psychological,’ says Jenna. ‘It can cause neurotransmitters to switch off our immune systems, leaving us open to infection.’

LIVE TONIGHT on 18 October at 6pm: catch Susannah interviewing Dr Jenna Macciochi about immunity and staying well. Go to Instagram.com/youmagazine and click on stories. @susannahtaylor_

The cinnamon and date Clarity Bowl, z-ora.com

Hanx Fixes products for treating vaginal thrush, bacterial vaginosis and cystitis, hanxofficial.com

The cinnamon and date Clarity Bowl, z-ora.com. Hanx Fixes products for treating vaginal thrush, bacterial vaginosis and cystitis, hanxofficial.com

Breakfast with benefits   

Getting our nutrients from real food, not supplements is firmly the ethos of z-ora.com, a new range of breakfast bowls crammed with goodness. Created with the input of a medical doctor, they are a cross between granola and overnight oats and are visibly brimming with nuts, seeds and fruit. All three varieties have been lab tested to ensure they are rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats. The cinnamon and date Clarity Bowl is my favourite. Around £16 for 450g.  

Cringe-free intimate care   

We’ve all been there – telling the pharmacist you have thrush with a queue of people behind you, before being handed an obvious red and white tube and very loud application instructions. Thank heavens for hanxofficial.com, which has cut out the trip to the chemist with its gynaecologist-approved Hanx Fixes products for treating vaginal thrush, bacterial vaginosis and cystitis. With next-day delivery and sleek, discreet packaging, they will make such mortifying moments a thing of the past.

What can vitamin D and zinc do to fight COVID-19?

What can vitamin D and zinc do to fight COVID-19?

  • October 16, 2020

Several recent studies have looked at the impact of vitamin D and zinc on COVID-19.

One study of 489 people found that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for the virus.

Another study found that of 50 people with COVID-19 in the hospital, only one needed ICU treatment after being given high doses of vitamin D.

By this point, we’ve all seen patients in the hospital receive these supplements.

The most notable, President Trump, received a mixture of vitamin D and zinc along with a number of other experimental drugs.

Does it work?

According to the National Institutes of Health, because of the suspected benefits, availability and cheap cost, they’d like to find something this simple can cure or prevent coronavirus, but the truth is, it’s not proven yet.

Registered dietitian Erin Gussler explains the possible benefits, “They can help the immune system identify pathogens in the body, so helping the immune system recognize the virus in the body and they also are part of the immune system and the mechanism that blocks the viruses from being able to get into the cells.”

How much vitamin D do I need?

Unfortunately, between working inside and wearing sunscreen, Americans generally don’t soak up enough sun to produce vitamin D.

“You can find it naturally in liver, egg yolks, butter, oily fish,” Gussler said.

Ask your doctor for a blood test to determine how much vitamin D you may need with an over-the-counter pill. Gussler said needs can vary from 1,00 IUs to 50,000 IUs.

Should I take zinc?

“Research is really supporting that zinc supplementation does reduce the severity, the frequency and the duration of the common cold,” Gussler said. “Obviously the research isn’t quite out there on COVID but we can extrapolate that it does have a lot of immune benefits.”

If you’re sick, you may notice a boost of zinc can help you feel better. Both zinc and vitamin D are the main ingredients in many over-the-counter cold medicines.

If you’re not sick, Gussler recommends only taking zinc through a multi-vitamin, typically not large amounts by itself.

“Zinc and copper compete for the same receptor site in the body,” Gussler said. “So, if you do a lot of zinc and not supplementing copper and making sure you’re getting enough copper, you can actually create a copper deficiency which can cause anemia for some people.”

There are some zinc tablets that also contain copper, which you can ask your doctor if that’s a good option for you.

The foods which contain Zinc also contain copper, which naturally helps to balance each other: Meat, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.

Isn’t vitamin D deficiency common in the US?

It sure is!

Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common among Hispanic and black people, two groups who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Vitamin D deficiency is also more common in people who are older, and those who are obese or have high blood pressure. Again, these factors also increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

Ways to improve your immunity against Coronavirus

Ways to improve your immunity against Coronavirus

  • October 16, 2020
While the country is grappling with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been shown through research that the process of combating the ill effects of the disease goes much beyond clinical support. An individual’s immunity and ability to tackle a health hazard is directly proportional to his/her immunity and nutritional status.

Our immune system is an intricate network of cells, tissues and organs that band together to defend your body against foreign invaders – like germs, viruses and bacteria. A healthy immune system protects us by creating a barrier that stops those invaders from entering our body. Hence with the advent of COVID-19, the role of a healthy immune system plays the role of a savior. Nutrition, choice of foods and lifestyle is decisive to an excellent health at all stages of life.

There can be ways to work on improving your immunity at home by inculcating the following practices in our lifestyle.

1. Eat right from the start:

Healthy and balanced nutrition should be inculcated from childhood. Once your child is 12 months old, they’ll be eating more of the foods that adults eat. Eating a healthy diet sets a good example for your children. It’s important for children and adults alike to limit foods that are high in sodium, unhealthy fats and added sugars.

When you are planning your meal for the whole family, try to add all types of food groups in your food plate, such as carbohydrates, add whole wheat or mixed grain chapati or hand-pounded rice. For protein, calcium add milk, curd, paneer, pulses, legumes, egg, chicken, fish. For healthy fats add olive oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, almond, walnut etc. For vitamins, minerals and antioxidants add colourful fruits and vegetables and also add prebiotic foods like yogurt and probiotic milk. Hydration is also paramount in the healthy working of the body. This type of diet can fulfil all the nutritional requirements of your body without any supplementation.

2. Rainbow food palette:

Foods have phytochemicals present in them that determine their colour. These are nothing but antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that provide nutrition to your body and help build immunity. Every natural colour given by nature to fruits and vegetables possesses special phyto nutrients that are specific to that colour. Hence, including foods from various colour families to your meals will ensure no important nutrient is missed out from your diet. Following a rainbow diet is easy as you can find many food alternatives in a colour family and it does not involve following unrealistic diet trends. Not only do the colours provide special nutrients but the vibrancy of the palette is also a mood booster!

Include foods from families of red, blue, green, yellow, orange and white in your diet to increase immunity.

4. Mindful eating:

Inadequate nutrition has been linked to lower resilience for fighting diseases and being an easy target for infections and viruses. Nutrients contribute to our overall health. Their intake in sufficient and right amounts is paramount to the well-being of the mind and body. However, getting engrossed in your screens while having meals can be a disaster, despite the nutrients you are having in your meals as you are unaware of the quantity intake. This habit leads to overeating. To curb this, one needs to be vigilant and peaceful while eating and not indulge in any activity during that time. Believe and follow “Mindful Eating”- enjoy the taste of food, restrict the portions and chew well for good gut health and proper absorption of nutrients. Avoid watching digital screens or reading while eating meals. It helps is coping with physical or mental stress during tough times and is especially necessary at this crucial time.

4. Plant-based eating:

Plant based eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources. Following this, you avoid food which is high in calorie, simple carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and high levels of sodium that can give you obesity and other health-related issues.

● Try to avoid table salt, replace it with lemon or herbs.

● Avoid packaged and processed food and snacks such as chips, namkeen, biscuits, rusk, burger, pizza. Try to take home-cooked snacks such as homemade roasted chana or roasted foxnut

● Avoid fizzy and carbonated drinks and replace them with nimbu pani, jaljeera, salted buttermilk.

We should remember that one of the most effective ways to combat viral infections, including COVID-19, lies in the optimal combination of diet and immunity. We should all contribute our bit to the ecosystem to uplift the health condition of the community as a whole.

Inputs by Vandana Luthra, Founder and Co-Chairperson, VLCC Group

Coronavirus: Can vitamin D really ensure protection against the deadly virus?

Coronavirus: Can vitamin D really ensure protection against the deadly virus?

  • October 16, 2020
According to a recent report by BBC news, scientists have been looking for volunteers to take part in a new trial test that will determine the role of vitamin D in fighting against Covid-19. The trial is led by a group of researchers from Queen Mary University of London and is funded by Barts Charity.

As against the process of developing a vaccine to stop the infection, this new trial will delve deeper into strengthening people’s immune system and improving their health. People who will be participating in the trial will be given a higher dose of Vitamin D than regular supplements, so as to see if there is any visible difference, as per reports.

While vitamin D has remained an important source of nutrient for our body as well as the immune system, it is only proper to first understand how it affects our immune system and whether or not it boosts our health conditions.

The relationship between Vitamin D and the immune system


Our immune system the line of defense that secures our body from possible infection and diseases. However, in order to be able to protect the body and activate its defenses, it must first seek the support of healthy nutrients, especially Vitamin D. With the help of its anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties, Vitamin D ensures the enhancement of immune cells that fight deadly pathogens.

That being said, low level of Vitamin D and vitamin deficiency can be associated with greater risk of acquiring diseases, infections and respiratory problems, which is why Vitamin D becomes extremely crucial for our health.

Can Vitamin D really fight the battle against Covid-19?


Well, there is no standard cure for the deadly virus yet and while each and every one of us has been taking precautions and maintaining social distancing, there have been few studies that have investigated the effect of vitamin D supplements or vitamin D deficiency on the risk of contracting the new coronavirus.

Reportedly, Vitamin D deficiency is more common in elderly people, among those who are overweight, black and Asian – groups that are at a higher risk of contracting the Covid-19 infection.

Therefore, while nothing has been determined at this stage, the new trial test seems to be a ray of hope for many. According to the Principal investigator David Jolliffe, the trial “has the potential to give a definitive answer” to whether vitamin D offers protection against Covid-19. “Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible; if proven effective, they could significantly aid in our global fight against the virus,” he adds.

Could Trump Still Spread the Coronavirus? Probably Not, Experts Say

Could Trump Spread Coronavirus at Town Hall? Likely Not, Experts Say

  • October 15, 2020

When President Trump makes his appearance on Thursday night on NBC News, he is expected to speak, probably maskless, with the moderator, Savannah Guthrie, and the audience sitting at least 12 feet away. But he is unlikely to transmit the coronavirus to any of those people, multiple experts said.

Since Mr. Trump first announced his diagnosis this month, questions about his infectiousness have swirled because it is still unclear exactly when and how he became ill or how severe his symptoms have been.

“From a safety standpoint, and a public health standpoint, I think it’s probably fine, although we don’t have all the information that I would like to have in order to make that call,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, an infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Mr. Trump announced his positive test in the early hours of Oct. 2, and was given several powerful treatments in rapid succession, including monoclonal antibodies to give his immune system a boost and a steroid that prevents dangerous inflammation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that infected patients isolate for at least 10 days if they had mild or moderate illness, and for up to 20 days if they had severe symptoms. The steroid Mr. Trump received, dexamethasone, can also prolong the duration of infectiousness.

Keep up with Election 2020

But without information about Mr. Trump’s oxygen levels or scans of his lungs, it’s impossible to know how severe his illness has been, doctors said. Based only on the information available, “it sounds like ultimately, he had mild to moderate disease,” Dr. Walensky said.

After a hospitalization of four days, Mr. Trump has recuperated mostly at the White House, but he has appeared at several public events, including a rally on Tuesday in Johnstown, Pa.

The chief White House physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, has sometimes provided cryptic reports on the president’s recovery. On Monday, for example, Dr. Conley said that Mr. Trump had tested negative multiple times on the Abbott BinaxNOW test, which is not intended to confirm the absence of the virus. The doctor also alluded to other results not provided by any commercial test.

But on Tuesday, at the insistence of NBC News, the White House provided Mr. Trump’s result from a P.C.R. test — the gold standard lab diagnostic for the coronavirus — to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Clifford Lane, a clinical director at the National Institutes of Health.

Mr. Trump’s P.C.R. test had a cycle threshold, or surrogate for viral load, of 34.3, Dr. Fauci has said. According to data provided by the C.D.C., people with a threshold over 33 carry little to no live virus. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Lane also looked at results from attempts to grow live virus from Mr. Trump’s samples.

After reviewing the data, they cleared Mr. Trump to attend the town hall event. “We feel confident that we can say with a high degree of confidence that he is not transmissible,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview on Wednesday.

Other experts agreed with that assessment. “We actually have multiple bits of data that suggest that the president is not infectious, and that it would be safe for him to go and participate in the town hall,” said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician at Columbia University.

Still, some experts questioned Mr. Trump’s decision to hold a live event so soon after his illness.

“It’s also about the appearance of what it means when a rich and powerful person can have access to all these technologies to potentially break out of public health isolation,” said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston Medical Center.

Even if Mr. Trump is unlikely to transmit the virus to others, NBC News should act with extreme caution, she said, adding, “The onus now falls on the organizers of the town hall to ensure that there is a level of public health mitigation — efforts put into place like wearing masks, keeping physical distance, ensuring good ventilation in the room.”

Could Trump Still Spread the Coronavirus? Probably Not, Experts Say

Could Trump Still Spread the Coronavirus? Probably Not, Experts Say

  • October 15, 2020

When President Trump makes his appearance on Thursday night on NBC News, he is expected to speak, probably maskless, with the moderator, Savannah Guthrie, and the audience sitting at least 12 feet away. But he is unlikely to transmit the coronavirus to any of those people, multiple experts said.

Since Mr. Trump first announced his diagnosis this month, questions about his infectiousness have swirled because it is still unclear exactly when and how he became ill or how severe his symptoms have been.

“From a safety standpoint, and a public health standpoint, I think it’s probably fine, although we don’t have all the information that I would like to have in order to make that call,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, an infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Mr. Trump announced his positive test in the early hours of Oct. 2, and was given several powerful treatments in rapid succession, including monoclonal antibodies to give his immune system a boost and a steroid that prevents dangerous inflammation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that infected patients isolate for at least 10 days if they had mild or moderate illness, and for up to 20 days if they had severe symptoms. The steroid Mr. Trump received, dexamethasone, can also prolong the duration of infectiousness.

Keep up with Election 2020

But without information about Mr. Trump’s oxygen levels or scans of his lungs, it’s impossible to know how severe his illness has been, doctors said. Based only on the information available, “it sounds like ultimately, he had mild to moderate disease,” Dr. Walensky said.

After a hospitalization of four days, Mr. Trump has recuperated mostly at the White House, but he has appeared at several public events, including a rally on Tuesday in Johnstown, Pa.

The chief White House physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, has sometimes provided cryptic reports on the president’s recovery. On Monday, for example, Dr. Conley said that Mr. Trump had tested negative multiple times on the Abbott BinaxNOW test, which is not intended to confirm the absence of the virus. The doctor also alluded to other results not provided by any commercial test.

But on Tuesday, at the insistence of NBC News, the White House provided Mr. Trump’s result from a P.C.R. test — the gold standard lab diagnostic for the coronavirus — to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Clifford Lane, a clinical director at the National Institutes of Health.

Mr. Trump’s P.C.R. test had a cycle threshold, or surrogate for viral load, of 34.3, Dr. Fauci has said. According to data provided by the C.D.C., people with a threshold over 33 carry little to no live virus. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Lane also looked at results from attempts to grow live virus from Mr. Trump’s samples.

After reviewing the data, they cleared Mr. Trump to attend the town hall event. “We feel confident that we can say with a high degree of confidence that he is not transmissible,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview on Wednesday.

Other experts agreed with that assessment. “We actually have multiple bits of data that suggest that the president is not infectious, and that it would be safe for him to go and participate in the town hall,” said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician at Columbia University.

Still, some experts questioned Mr. Trump’s decision to hold a live event so soon after his illness.

“It’s also about the appearance of what it means when a rich and powerful person can have access to all these technologies to potentially break out of public health isolation,” said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston Medical Center.

Even if Mr. Trump is unlikely to transmit the virus to others, NBC News should act with extreme caution, she said, adding, “The onus now falls on the organizers of the town hall to ensure that there is a level of public health mitigation — efforts put into place like wearing masks, keeping physical distance, ensuring good ventilation in the room.”

Vitamin D deficiency, which is more common in older people, overweight people, and in black, Asian people, are at an increased risk of becoming very ill with the Covid-19 virus. (Reuters)

Can Vitamin D treat coronavirus? UK scientists to test if ‘sunshine vitamin’ will boost immunity

  • October 15, 2020

Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London are looking for volunteers to take part in a new trial to see if Vitamin D can boost your immune system and battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On joining the trial, people would be sent tablets in the post, which they have to take daily for at least six months, if a finger-prick test shows they are deficient in the “sunshine vitamin”, reports BBC.

Residents of UK have already been asked to consider taking supplements over the winter months when Vitamin D levels can go down. This will be to boost their general health, not only to stop disease.

‘Sunshine vitamin’ deficiency

Due to work from home amid pandemic, we all have to spend a bit too much time indoors. Vitamin D deficiency, which is more common in older people, overweight people, and in black, Asian people, are at an increased risk of becoming very ill with the Covid-19 virus.

Sunlight always helps to regulate alertness and mood.

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Sunlight always helps to regulate alertness and mood. (Reuters)

This might also have a profound effect on our circadian rhythms, shifting sleep patterns and causing damage to our health way more than we will even realise.

Sunlight always helps to regulate alertness and mood. We have to rely on sunlight to convert cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D, which helps build strong bones, and plays a beneficial role in our immune system.

Vitamin D supplements are very safe but taking more than the recommended amount every day can be dangerous in the long run.

Trial to test if Vitamin D treats Covid

The trial, led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and funded by Barts Charity, will be using higher doses of vitamin D than regular supplements.

Principal investigator David Jolliffe told BBC that the trial “has the potential to give a definitive answer” to the question of whether vitamin D offers protection against the deadly virus.

“Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible; if proven effective, they could significantly aid in our global fight against the virus,” Jolliffe added.

Meanwhile, global Covid-19 cases has topped 38.4 million, while the deaths have soared to over 1,091,240, as per the Johns Hopkins University.

As of today morning, the overall cases stood at 38,426,373 and the death toll increased to 1,091,245, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 7,911,497 and 216,734, respectively. India comes next in terms of cases at 7,239,389, while the country’s death toll touched 110,586.

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