How to Boost Immunity Before, During, and After Travel

How to Boost Immunity Before, During, and After Travel

  • April 9, 2021

For most of us, it’s been quite a while since we last boarded a plane, navigated a new city, or explored anywhere beyond our sanitized bubbles. But now, decision-makers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are saying fully vaccinated people have the go-ahead to book domestic travel. So, with a big post-pandemic trip on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about ways to fortify your immune system after more than a year of laying low. It’s not a secret that traveling can take an unforgiving toll on the body. Even prior to the pandemic, savvy jetsetters knew the importance of prioritizing their health before, during, and after a vacation. But is it actually possible for you to boost your immunity?



The fact is, our immune systems are a bit of a mystery—one that researchers are still trying to fully decode. Generally speaking, our immune systems do a miraculous job defending our bodies against disease-causing microorganisms and pathogens. But as the name suggests, it’s an entire system, not a singular entity, so there are many moving parts.

As scientists continue exploring the links between factors like age, diet, and exercise on our overall immune response, there are several lifestyle habits that can help strengthen your body’s natural defenses. We tapped a range of experts to find out what travelers can do to stay healthy on the road and avoid a post-vacation trip to the doctor. We divided their tips into “before,” “during,” and “after” buckets, but you can use many of these pointers in conjunction year-round to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

How to Boost Your Immunity Before a Trip:

1. Get Fully Vaccinated

“From a medical perspective, it’s important to get the Covid-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to traveling,” says Puja Uppal, DO, board-certified family medicine physician and founder/chief medical officer of Think Healthy. She also recommends ensuring you’re up to date on all of your vaccines. Think other contagious infections, such as shingles, hepatitis A, and diphtheria. Last but not least, she advises to “familiarize yourself with the CDC’s Travel advisory page.” There, you’ll find the latest recommendations regarding domestic travel and plenty of other helpful resources.

2. Focus on Eating Healthy, Nutrient-Dense Foods

“The gut is literally ground zero for a healthy immune system,” says Steven Gundry, MD, one of the world’s top cardiothoracic surgeons, a pioneer in nutrition, and a New York Times best-selling author of numerous books (including his recent release, The Energy Paradox). “Not only does our microbiome defend against invading bacteria and viruses, [but] if functioning properly, it educates our immune system about friends and foes we encounter and empowers it to fight against foreign invaders like the Coronavirus.”

Ilene Ruhoy, MD, Ph.D, founder of the Center for Healing Neurology and Gut Council Member for Jetson recommends eating plenty of red, orange, and green vegetables. “Phytochemicals found in golden or yellow beets, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, nectarines, and pomegranates have intense anti-inflammatory activity,” she says.

3. Promote Good Sleep Hygiene

It’s easy staying up ‘til the wee hours of the morning, but all that late-night binge-watching can have detrimental effects. “The best way to boost your immune system when traveling, or prior to it, is by taking care of your sleep,” says Alex Savy, certified sleep science coach and founder of SleepingOcean. “Studies show that lack of sleep, or its poor quality, can affect some of the functions of the immune system and often leads to higher risks of infections and certain diseases.”

One of his hacks for getting a better night’s rest includes sticking to a regular sleep schedule and factoring in time zone changes before you take off. “If your future travels will involve jet lag, you can prepare for that beforehand,” he advises. “Start shifting your schedule slightly toward the time zone you’re going to be traveling to. You can shift your bedtime in 20- to 30-minute increments every few days to make the transition to the new time zone a bit easier.”

You can also stock up on these sleep-boosting products to help.

Illustration of a glass of water, multivitamins, and man getting exercise
Illustration by Will Dolan

How to Boost Immunity During Your Trip:

4. Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated

While you might be good about drinking enough water in your typical day-to-day life, it’s easy to slip up when you’re out of your regular routine. But don’t let that be an excuse. “Travelers can boost their immune systems before, during, and after travel by staying hydrated,” says Grant Hosking, co-founder of Total Hydration. “Proper hydration is critical in order for your body to function properly. Water is found in every cell in the body, which means it’s part of all the tissues, organs, and systems we need to function and feel our best.” He also recommends maintaining a proper balance of electrolytes. Depending on where your travels take you, it might be a good idea to stick with bottled water or boil tap water before taking a gulp.

5. Consider Adding Supplements to the Mix

In addition to eating nutritious foods, you may opt to bolster your immune system by taking supplements. Gundry recommends the following:

  • Minimum of 5,000 to 10,000 I.U.s a day of vitamin D3
  • 1,000 mg of timed-release vitamin C twice a day (or chewing or swallowing 500 mg four times a day)
  • ~100-200 mcg of selenium per day
  • 500 mg of quercetin per day
  • 500 mg of green tea (or its extract EGCG) per day
  • 30 mg of Zinc lozenges per day may be useful too

“All of these are useful supplements to support the immune system,” Gundry says. There’s no magic formula that will do the trick for everyone, so you can always consult your physician to develop a personalized game plan.

6. Practice Self-Care and Stress Management

The whole point of taking a vacation is to escape the worries of everyday life. But in reality, it can be pretty stressful. “Traveling logistics alone can be exhausting, such as arriving on time at the airport or on the road, booking a hotel or Airbnb, planning excursions, and so on,” says Jolene Caufield, senior advisor at Healthy Howard, a non-profit organization advocating for healthy lifestyle choices. “Most people use unhealthy coping strategies to deal with this, such as bingeing, drinking, or smoking. To avoid this, set aside time before, during, and after your trip for healthy self-care,” she says.

“Minimize any stress by getting outside daily for at least an hour,” suggests John La Puma, M.D., board-certified internist, founder of EcoMedicine, and New York Times best-selling author. “Time in nature has been shown to lower cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, and improve immunity. Nature activates your natural killer cells, which are an important first defense against viruses.”

Luckily, that shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish during your next getaway.

Illustration of disinfectant bottle, pair of dumbbells, and depiction of abstaining from alcohol
Illustration by Will Dolan

How to Boost Immunity After a Trip:

7. Break Out the Disinfectant

Germs are pesky little buggers. No matter how much hand sanitizer you pumped during a trip, they’re bound to find you. “Sanitize everything before you enter the house,” says Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly. “Even if you use the best safety practices while traveling, you still manage to accumulate certain germs and microbes. For instance, your clothes and backpacks harbor dust and germs just through outside exposure. So, it’s important to eliminate them before you enter your personal space,” he says. Harland recommends using sanitizing spray and wipes to disinfect your clothes, luggage, and other personal belongings after returning home. “This helps you avoid any unwanted risk and guards your immunity,” he adds.

8. Lay off the Booze

This might be hard to stomach, but going sober during and after a vacation can help you stay healthy. “I know that when you stay at beachy resorts there are unlimited opportunities to indulge in alcoholic beverages, but alcohol has been shown to suppress numerous immune responses in the body,” says Chris Airey, MD, medical director at Optimale, a telehealth clinic for men with low testosterone. “This can lead to an inability to fight off viruses as effectively. So, it’s worth reigning in your piña colada consumption if you’re wanting to boost your immune system,” he says. “Try abstaining from alcohol for the month following your vacation in order to give your immune system some time to recover,” which can help avoid coming down with an illness after your trip.

9. Get Back to Your Fitness Regimen

We know it can be tough snapping back to reality after taking a vacation. But don’t let that throw you off your game (especially if you’ve already been slacking due to social isolation and non-stop Zoom calls). “Physical activity improves circulation of immune cells and anti-inflammatory cytokines, helping your immune system work better, as well as decreasing stress hormones, which may help protect against respiratory infections like SARS-CoV-2,” says Reggie Wilson, the guilt-free weight loss coach for entrepreneurs at Fit for Freelance, which builds adaptive business leaders through compassionate health coaching. “Having a regular exercise routine also improves cardiovascular conditioning while decreasing factors that can make COVID-19 more dangerous.”

The good news is you don’t need gym access to increase physical activity and get your health goals back on track. “You’ll see benefits from walking, cycling, yoga, using stairs, and bodyweight exercises,” he says.


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How vaccine nationalism may delay global herd immunity

How vaccine nationalism may delay global herd immunity

  • April 9, 2021

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Experts warn that vaccine nationalism could delay the achievement of global herd immunity.
Photo editing by Stephen Kelly; Martin Barraud/Getty Images
  • Vaccine access and vaccination rates are high in high-to-upper-income countries but remain low to nonexistent among lower-income and lower-resource countries.
  • At current global vaccination rates, it will take 4.6 years to achieve worldwide herd immunity against COVID-19. This lengthy time gap will likely allow variants of the virus to develop and spread, potentially rendering current vaccines ineffective.
  • Treating vaccines as public goods rather than market commodities is the way to improve vaccine equity. This may involve scaling up existing vaccination distribution programs, developing new ones, and temporarily waiving vaccine patent protections.

At least 159 countries have begun their COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. Some, like the United Kingdom, are well on their way to vaccinating a majority of the at-risk population.

In the U.K., over 6 million people have received both doses of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine, and some estimates project that the country may achieve herd immunity on April 9, with an estimated 73.4% of the population having formed immunity.

However, vaccines remain scarce in many low-resource nations, and vaccination rates low to nonexistent.

And according to a new Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, global vaccine inequity will make it very difficult to end the current pandemic and prepare for the next one.

“The early competitive procurement of vaccines by the United States and purchases by other high-resource countries have fed a widespread assumption that each country will be solely responsible for its own population,” write the authors of the new Perspective piece.

“Such vaccine nationalism perpetuates the long history of powerful countries securing vaccines and therapeutics at the expense of less-wealthy countries; it is short-sighted, ineffective, and deadly,” they add.

Doctors from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health, the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, and Harvard Medical School, MA, authored the article.

The current pandemic is by no means the first time that vaccination and treatment efforts have been one-sided.

During the height of the HIV pandemic, low-resource countries struggled to access life-saving medications due to their high costs. Agencies, such as the United Nations, also decided it was more important to focus on prevention in these nations rather than treatment.

Priorities have shifted a bit this time around. For example, the United States and six other of the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom) have committed to help vaccinate 20% of the population of involved low-to-middle income countries by the end of 2021 via the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program.

However, according to a December 2020 paper, high-income nations representing 14% of the world’s population now possess up to 53% of the global supply of promising vaccines. That equates to 100% of the Moderna vaccine supply and 96% of the doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

And many high-to-middle income countries have worked to secure a supply of vaccines large enough to vaccinate their entire population several times over.

Canada, for example, has bought enough to vaccinate its entire population five times.

The authors of the Perspective article write that global vaccine inequity is both a moral issue and a national security issue.

That is because inequity reinforces disparities between health and economic well-being. In a recent session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board, the director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “[t]he world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure, and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries.”

And at the current global rate of 6.7 million vaccine doses per day, it will take roughly 4.6 years to gain worldwide herd immunity.

“Herd immunity” refers to a point when a disease-causing pathogen — in this case, a virus — can no longer spread easily in a population. This happens when enough people have received the vaccination or have recovered from an infection that gave them adequate natural immunity.

In the case of COVID-19, the writers indicate that herd immunity occurs when 70-85% of the population has had two doses of the vaccine.

Experts estimate that 80% of people in low-resource countries will not have received the vaccination by the end of 2021. By other estimates, at least 90% of the population in 67 low-income countries are unlikely to have had the vaccination by the end of the year.

The longer it takes to gain global herd immunity, the more time it gives the SARS-CoV-2 virus to mutate, potentially creating a new variant that could render current vaccines useless. As things stand, there are already five variants of concern circulating in the U.S.

And if available vaccines become ineffective, it would undo the hard work that many countries have already done to limit the pandemic and cripple future efforts to boost global vaccination rates.

The authors of this Perspective piece lay out a series of tools that could help lessen the vaccine equity gap.

For starters, it is essential to view vaccine procurement as a global affair, not an every-country-for-itself one. That means high- to upper-income countries will need to agree to limit fierce competition and the resulting high prices to gain vaccine doses.

It is also crucial to treat vaccines and other essential medical products or services as a public good rather than a commodity that denies people or countries that cannot pay.

There is also pressure on the World Trade Organization to consider enforcing a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver for Covid-19 vaccines to lower manufacturing costs and ease production.

This idea, proposed by South Africa and India and supported by an additional 90 plus countries, would temporarily prevent pharmaceutical companies from using patent protections on their vaccines.

Currently, most pharmaceutical companies use a system of voluntary licensing where they control who produces their vaccine.

The authors write that people who oppose TRIPS argue that patent protections on intellectual property, such as vaccines, may limit future discovery and innovation.

But while they agree that patents do provide essential incentives for vaccine development, they note that private pharmaceutical companies have already received $18 billion in public funding to develop COVID-19 vaccines.

They add that the current state of the pandemic should also warrant a reconsideration on how companies use and profit from vaccine patents.

Even if vaccines became cheaper and easier to manufacture, the authors claim that the world may not have sufficient manufacturing and distribution capacity and infrastructure to end vaccine inequity.

That is why they advise that global cooperation is needed to ensure the world can tackle the current pandemic and future ones equitably.

The authors also write that the U.S stands in a unique position to help drive programs to rebalance vaccine inequity and improve global diplomatic relationships along the way.

They claim to do so the U.S. government could commit to a so-called President’s Emergency Plan for Vaccine Access and Relief (PEPVAR). This program would help provide funding to improve global vaccine production, distribution, and healthcare infrastructure, and involve working with foreign governments and multinational organizations.

If approved, PEPFAR could build on the success of a program designed to help improve access to antiretroviral therapy in populations lacking it. The program, approved in 2003, is known as President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Improving vaccine equity will take a lot of complex, persistent work from every country in the world. But the authors conclude their Pespective piece by stating:

“Vaccinating the world is not only a moral obligation to protect our neighbors, it also serves our self-interest by protecting our security, health, and economy. These goals will not be accomplished by making the world wait for wealthy countries to be vaccinated first.

“By investing in multilateral partnerships with a sense of shared commitment and employing a global allocation strategy that increases supply and manufacturing, we can meet the urgent challenge of COVID-19 while creating sustainable infrastructures and health systems for the future. Getting the world vaccinated may well be the critical test of our time.”

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Got (first) milk? Bovine colostrum firm targets food & beverage as immunity trend gathers pace

Got (first) milk? Bovine colostrum firm targets food & beverage as immunity trend gathers pace

  • April 7, 2021

The stuff lactating mammals produce just after giving birth, colostrum is packed with immunoglobulins and other nutrients that help support a newborn’s immune system and seed a healthy gut microbiome in the first few days of life.

But if bovine colostrum is designed for newborn cows, how do we know that it confers any benefit to, say, adult humans?

According to leading bovine colostrum supplier PanTheryx​ – which sources its colostrum from 1,000 dairy farms in the US it says ensure calves first get their fair share – there is a growing body of human clinical data showing benefits to digestive and immune health, two of the hottest areas in functional food and beverage right now, at dosages of 400mg – 3g.

Structure/function claims backed by human clinical trials include everything from ‘supporting the gut’s natural repair process, restoring normal function,’ to ‘helps relieve occasional digestive upsets,’ to ‘helps your child’s digestive system function better,’ to ‘supports the immune system,’ ‘supports respiratory health,’ to sports-related claims such as ‘helps improve recovery from exercise,’ Mike Weiser, Ph.D, director of innovation at PanTheryx, told FoodNavigator-USA.

‘There are over 250 functional components in colostrum’

So what’s in colostrum, and what’s the mechanism of action for some of the above claimed benefits?

There are over 250 functional components in colostrum​, but it’s very rich in immunoglobulins, which are basically antibodies that will bind to things like pathogens, a whole host of different types of bacteria like E Coli, strep and staph, and even viruses like influenza and rhinovirus​,” said Weiser.

World Health Day special: Immunity boosters that you can easily add to your diet plan | Most Searched Products

World Health Day special: Immunity boosters that you can easily add to your diet plan | Most Searched Products

  • April 7, 2021
You must have heard the phrase- Health is Wealth. This is not just another saying but holds true in all aspects. To keep your overall health stable at all times, you need to focus on your immunity. This World Health Day, you can take a pledge to start taking immunity boosters regularly to keep a check on your health easily. With a variety of immunity boosters available these days, you can easily pick a convenient option to add to your diet.

To help you focus on your immunity from this World Health Day, we have a list of some of the most popular immunity boosters that you can buy online. Check out this list and go for the immunity boosters that you feel you can easily consume.

You must have heard about the various health benefits of tulsi leaves. To gain those benefits easily, you can go for a pack of tulsi drops and dilute a few drops in water to consume every day. These drops by Dabur are made from a combination of Vishnu tulsi, Rama tulsi, Shyama tulsi, Bisya tulsi and Amrit tulsi.

Besides being good in immunity-boosting properties, these drops can even help in curing minor respiratory troubles like cold, cough and more.

If you want to gain multiple health benefits in a single drink, this pack of giloy juice with the extracts of neem and tulsi can be a good option to consider. Collectively, this juice can keep a check on your digestive health, help in detoxifying your body and improve your respiratory health. Being free from synthetic colours and flavours, you need not think too much before going for this juice this World Health Day.

Prefer storing this juice away from direct sunlight.

If you prefer taking chyawanprash to give a boost to your immune system, you can go for this pack of chyawanprash. Being free from sugar and sweetened with jaggery, you need not think too much before consuming this healthy immunity booster.

Take this chyawanprash as per the instructions of your physician or the dosage that is given on the packaging. Regular consumption of this immunity booster can even protect you from infections caused due to seasonal changes.

Want to prepare healthy kadha at home in no time? You can take the help of this mix to save your time and gain the health benefits of kadha easily. This mix contains the extracts of tulsi, cinnamon, sunthi, giloy, gooseberry, manuka and other essential herbs that help in easing cold and cough and even improve your overall health to an extent.

Empty the contents of this pack and add hot water. Stir well and your kadha is ready for consumption.

If you do not mind taking tablets or capsules to give a boost to your immune system, you can go for this pack of tablets. These immunity-boosting tablets contain the extracts of amla, giloy, tulsi, ashwagandha and many other essential extracts that will easily give a boost to your immune system by meeting your essential nutritional needs.

This is a pack of 60 unflavoured tablets that you can consume easily. The shelf life of these tablets is 18 months from the date of manufacturing.

For those who can conveniently take healthy juices, this pack of immunity-boosting juice by Kapiva can be a good option to buy online. This juice contains a mix of amla, giloy, tulsi, turmeric, ashwagandha, mulethi, neem, black pepper, cinnamon and more to give you multiple health benefits in one go.

You need to dilute this juice in water and consume it as per the instructions of your physician.

Look for more immunity boosters on this World Health Day here.

DISCLAIMER: The Times of India’s journalists were not involved in the production of this article.


Scot Scoop News | Three COVID-19 vaccines build immunity

  • April 7, 2021

Despite the vaccine developments, the pandemic is far from over, with coronavirus variants appearing in various countries. 

“The variants are to be expected because that’s what viruses do,” Brainard said. “Viruses survive by changing themselves, and they change themselves so that they can avoid the body’s immune system.”

To combat those mutations, companies are looking at various strategies. Especially with mRNA, it is easier to modify the vaccine to carry the new virus sequence, which would signal the immune system to produce a different antibody. 

“There’s active research into how effective the current vaccines are against the variants and whether or not a booster shot designed to target those variants and provide a broader protection would be necessary,” Brainard said.

The ongoing research will be crucial in determining future steps. 

“Because the COVID-19 infection outcome is much much worse, the worst-case scenario is if the SARS-CoV-2 continues and we need to get a vaccine every year,” Wang said. “Both Pfizer and Moderna are working on follow-up booster doses for vaccines against virus mutations. If the virus keeps on circulating, if we don’t have herd immunity, if people don’t get the vaccine, there might be even more mutations.”

Even so, herd immunity in one country will not help.

It’s a competition between human beings’ immunity and virus evolution.”

— Jing Jin

“Now it’s just a competition between human beings’ immunity and virus evolution. If you look at the data nationally, the cases are rising, and this is under the condition with parts of the population already fully vaccinated,” Jin said. “If other countries cannot control the variants, eventually the U.S. will also have new problems. With the new variants circulating, it’s very hard to predict what will happen, but it will not end very soon.”

However, the world is, undoubtedly, a step closer to returning to normal as companies and the government are doing their best to make the vaccines more available. 

Carly Ramirez, a senior who works in food service, has recently gotten her first Pfizer vaccine. She is hopeful that the vaccine will be vital in ending the pandemic by creating immunity. 

“I’ve always had trust in the vaccines. I know a lot of people are worried about how fast the vaccines were developed or if they got the right amount of testing or if side effects are fatal,” Ramirez said. “A lot of people say they want to wait for a better one, but I totally disagree with that. I’d rather risk getting the vaccine than getting the coronavirus itself.”

There is no telling how long the pandemic will last, but people can do their part to stay safe by taking any protection measures available. 

“Vaccines are the most powerful weapon humans have against infectious diseases. Unfortunately, nobody will 100% guarantee that you will be protected, even if you get the two doses for Pfizer or Moderna because the immune response is different for each individual,” Wang said. “Whether you have the vaccine or not, we are still recommended to take universal precautions to protect yourself and protect others.”

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World Health Day 2021: Foods To Boost Immunity

World Health Day 2021: Foods To Boost Immunity

  • April 7, 2021

World Health Day 2021: Foods to boost immunity

Anthi Naoumi

On 7 April 2021, ‘World Health Day’ will be commemorated globally, under the theme “Together for a fairer, healthier world”.

It is a day to celebrate and recognise the important aspects of global health.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the COVID-19 pandemic has undercut recent health gains, pushed more people into poverty and food insecurity, and amplified gender, social and health inequities.

So what can you do to help your body?

The answer is simple: maintain a healthy and balanced diet! You don’t have to target a specific nutrient or food; you only need to reach the balance. A healthy and balanced diet is already enough to provide you all you need: vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, as well as the copper, folate, iron, selenium and zinc.

World Health Day 2021: Foods to boost immunity

Food sources:

As you ascertain, it’s easier to keep in mind to have a healthy balanced diet with various and balanced food choices than have all those nutrient in mind!

Component Note Where to find it
Vitamin A Known as retinol Cheese, eggs, oily fish, fortified low-fat spreads, milk and yoghurt, liver and liver products such as liver pâté
Vitamin B6 Also known as pyridoxine Pork, poultry (such as chicken or turkey), fish, bread, wholegrain cereals (such as oatmeal, wheat germ and brown rice), eggs, vegetables, soya beans, peanuts, milk, potatoes and some fortified breakfast cereals
Vitamin B12 Basically in meat products Chicken, beef, fish, dairy, eggs

Fortified foods: cereal, non-dairy milks and soy products (check the food labels to be sure)

Vitamin C Maybe the most advertised nutrient Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin), berries, broccoli
Vitamin D An upcoming star! Fatty fish (salmon, trout) as well as enriched food products (dairy, breakfast cereals, juices)
Beta – carotene Find it in natural foods with intense colour Yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers, yellow fruit, such as mango, papaya and apricots
Copper Nuts, shellfish, offal
Folate Broccoli, brussels sprouts, liver (but avoid this during pregnancy), leafy green vegetables (such as cabbage and spinach), peas, chickpeas, breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid
Iron You can better absorb it by combining animal and non-animal sources, and by having vitamin C sources in the same meal Liver (but avoid this during pregnancy), meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit (such as dried apricots), whole-grains (such as brown rice), fortified breakfast cereals, soy bean flour, most dark-green leafy vegetables – such as watercress and curly kale
Selenium Brazil nuts, fish, meat, eggs
Zinc It is better absorbed from animal products Red meat, poultry, seafood

Non animal products: wheat germ, beans, walnuts, whole grains, tofu and fortified foods

Probiotics The germs we want! Fermented foods, such as: yogurt, pickles, sour milk
Protein Dairies, eggs, meat and meat products, fish and seafood, nuts, beans
+ Avoid intense and vigorous weight loss methods, which can make your immune system weak.

Non-nutritional key points:

Furthermore, a good night sleep as well as regular exercise and low stress levels can help your immune system.

What How much Reference
Sleep 7-9 hours of a good night sleep CDC (Center of disease control)
Physical activity ≥150 minutes/week (moderate intensity) WHO (World Health Organisation)

Tips in summary:

  • Healthy balanced diet!
  • Choose food to supplements
  • Various and balanced food choices
  • Consume at least 3-5 portions of fruit and vegetables, daily
  • Have good hygiene practices for your hands and kitchen
  • Have a good night sleep
  • Be physically active
  • Keep your stress levels low

*Anthi Naoumi is a registered dietitian nutritionist at DIETTIPS Diet & Nutrition Center in Thessaloniki. 

*More on GCT: Ten Healthy Reasons to add Feta to your Diet
How Long Does Immunity from COVID-19 Vaccination Last?

How Long Does Immunity from COVID-19 Vaccination Last?

  • April 7, 2021

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Healthcare workers are seen at a vaccination site. Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
  • New research finds that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provide immunity for at least 6 months.
  • But since COVID-19 is so new, experts aren’t sure if immunity will wane after that.
  • Experts say more research will have to be done to understand if people will need regular booster shots for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 cases in real-world conditions, and research suggests they should maintain their effectiveness over time.

What remains unclear, however, is exactly how long the vaccines prevent COVID-19, if booster shots may be needed down the road, or if vaccines will need to be tweaked to fight against emerging variants of the virus.

In an April 2 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied almost 4,000 vaccinated healthcare personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers.

They found that the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna prevented 80 percent of cases after the first dose and 90 percent after the second dose.

The frontline workers in the study were tested for COVID-19 every week for 13 weeks.

Researchers said the dearth of positive COVID-19 tests in the study group indicates that the vaccines reduce the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by vaccinated individuals to others.

“Reducing the risk for transmissible infection, which can occur among persons with asymptomatic infection or among persons several days before symptoms onset, is especially important among healthcare personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers given their potential to transmit the virus through frequent close contact with patients and the public,” the report noted.

“There’s more and more evidence showing that… the transmission of the virus after vaccination is likely very low,” Dr. Susan Bailey, an allergist and immunologist and president of the American Medical Association, told Healthline.

Separately, Pfizer-BioNTech said that the ongoing phase 3 clinical trial of its mRNA vaccine shows that strong immunization persists for at least 6 months among vaccinated individuals.

Researchers found that the vaccine was 100 percent effective against severe disease as defined by the CDC, and 95.3 percent effective against severe COVID-19 as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The vaccine was also found to be 100 percent effective against one of the main COVID-19 variants (known as B.1.351) currently circulating widely in South Africa.

A study that included 12,000 vaccinated individuals also found “no serious safety concerns” with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the companies announced.

“The good news is that in the 6-month status report from Pfizer, immunity stays very strong, and we anticipate that it will continue to stay strong,” said Bailey.

“These people [in the study] have had the vaccine the longest, and it tells us it lasts at least 6 months,” added Bailey. “But it’s definitely longer than that — it’s not just going to drop off after 6 months. I would have been concerned if efficacy had dropped by a third or half.”

The fact that COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness remained almost unchanged over the span of the study period is an indication that protection will be enduring.

Bailey noted that some vaccines, such as those for measles, mumps, and rubella, generally confer lifetime immunity. Others, such as the flu vaccine, require a new shot every year.

“We don’t know which camp the COVID-19 vaccine will fall into,” she said. “If we do need a booster shot for COVID-19, we do know that it will be easy to produce” thanks to the new mRNA technology, she added.

Bailey said that the vaccines now in use appear to be effective against the COVID-19 variants circulating in the United States. But as the coronavirus continues to mutate, variants could emerge that are more resistant.

“My prediction is that a situation in which we would need to have a booster shot in the future is not because the first dose of vaccine faded but because there is a new variant that might emerge,” she said.

As noted in the research, vaccines don’t completely eliminate the risk of developing COVID-19.

A recent report on 100 COVID-19 cases that occurred in vaccinated people in the state of Washington raised some public alarm.

But experts said such “breakthrough” cases are expected and represent just a fraction of the more than 1 million Washington residents who have been vaccinated.

“Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, secretary of health for the state of Washington.

COVID-19: 5 Diet Tips For Boosting Immunity (Watch)

World Health Day 2021: Use These 4 Effective Dadi Ke Nuskhe That All Grandmas Still Swear By

  • April 6, 2021

While we embrace the new normal, working from home and experiment DIY diets to boost immunity and take utmost precautions from catching any viral flu or fever, sometimes it’s better to stick to our roots and remind ourselves about the simple yet effective life hacks given by our grandmothers. This World Health Day, as we continue to take care of our health and keep finding new ways to battle the current situation, let’s look at 4 effective Dadi ke Nuskhes that she still swears by for good health, and building a strong immune system:

Here Are 4 Dadi Ke Nuskhes For Good Health And Immunity: 

1) Grounded Cloves

Cloves have always been a traditional ingredient in many Indian households and also make it in our dadi’s cookbook for relishing recipes. Apart from its strong essence and taste-maker properties, it is also a health-boosting food. Cloves help in controlling bacterial growth, reducing stomach ulcers and promote bone health. If you suffer from acidity, suck on a piece of clove slowly after meals. This will help improve digestion and give instant relief from acidity. We can add ground cloves into our favourite curries, desserts and chutneys to give them that distinctive flavour while also encashing on its health benefits.


World Health Day 2021: Try these simple home remedies for good immunity. 

2) Boost Immunity with 100% Pure Honey

Honey is beneficial as it is a rich source of vitamins and phenolic compounds like flavanols, flavones, benzoic acid that provide anti-oxidants. Honey in its purest form is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial thus helping fight infections. A simple yet effective use of honey is to mix juice of onion and honey in equal quantities and take two spoons of this mixture for a few days to lower blood pressure. You can also add a hint of honey in your immunity boosting shots and turmeric latte to start your day right in the new normal.

Honey contains natural anti-oxidants that helps build immunity and support overall health and hence is a good substitute for sugar when used in moderate amounts.


World Health Day 2021: Honey has anti-bacterial properties. 

Honey is a natural ingredient widely used for weight management, boosting immunity, DIY face and hair masks for that radiant glow and also as a healthy sweetening-alternative in our favourite deserts. Identifying pure honey has become increasingly important in these tough times where we can get maximum benefits from this golden traditional superfood. We should always go for FSSAI approved honey, for 100% surety look out for the NMR approved mark i.e. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technology which ensures unadulterated honey including no added sugar ensuring 100% purity. NMR is seen as the gold-standard for testing for adulteration in honey.

3) Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil for Clear Skin & Glowing Hair

While we are all aware of the healthy benefits VCNO has to offer for our immunity boosting demands and weight management goals, cold pressed virgin coconut oil also plays an important role in skincare and hair care. While we enter a digital era to implement the trending DIY Face/Hair masks that we can easily adapt from our favourite insta-bloggers, our dadis have age-old techniques that still stand relevant today. Just take coconut oil and onion juice in equal quantities and apply on the hair. Massage for a few minutes and leave for 30 minutes. Wash off with shampoo. It stops hair fall, works as a great moisturiser, and gives a nice shine to the hair. Apart from this, VCNO has 60% more MCT’s to boost our efforts to lead a healthy life moderating our food-intake and keeping a check on the calorie counter.

4) Ginger-Cinnamon-Tulsi (GCT) decoction

This decoction helps improve our digestion and flushes out toxins from the body. These ingredients have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which help fight infection, thus boosting immunity. It is highly recommended to add 7-8 tulsi leaves, 1/2 inch of grated ginger and 2 pinches of cinnamon in 2 glasses of water. Boil the water till it reduces to 1 glass. Squeeze half lemon into it. Drink this water as soon as you wake up in the morning to tackle morning fatigue, weight management issues and boost immunity.

While we all love to turn to our gadgets for instant solutions, sometimes the easiest and worthy solutions are right in our kitchens. This World Health Day, let’s strive to include these simple ingredients in our diets and take small steps towards a healthier future.

As we make space for more trending diets and skincare routines, let’s try to find more ways to stick to our roots and include these 4 age-old dadi ke nuskhes to celebrate health and wellness, this World Health Day. Let’s strive to lead a healthier and happier life using some of these basic, simple secret hacks that are budget-friendly and easily available in most Indian households since ancient times.

Bladdernut shoots enhance immunity

Bladdernut shoots enhance immunity

  • April 6, 2021

Bladdernut shoots can help strengthen the immune system under normal conditions while suppressing immune responses under extreme immune response conditions, the Natural Institute of Forest Science (NIFOS) said Tuesday. 

The discovery comes amid the mounting public interests in functional food products and natural medicine resources that help increase the body’s immunity, the institute said. NIFOS and Professor Jeong Jin-boo at Andong University to find out new functions within indigenous pharmaceutical resources, the institute said.  

Bladdernuts grow in mountainous lands. The Korean name for the plant is pepper tree, as its leaves look like pepper leaves. The trees’ roots and fruit are used as herb medicine materials, effective for dry coughs and extravasate blood after childbirth. 

Researchers at the Natural Institute of Forest Science and Andong University have found that bladdernut sprouts can help strengthen immunity. (NIFOS)
Researchers at the Natural Institute of Forest Science and Andong University have found that bladdernut sprouts can help strengthen immunity. (NIFOS)

The medicinal sprout is rich in flavor and scent and is one of the most popular spring sprouts among Koreans, NIFOS said.

“Bladdernut shoots’ function to control immune system for isolating human body’s homeostatic mechanisms is likely to have high value for development as health functional food,” Professor Jeong said.



UAE pharmacies see near-doubling in demand for multivitamins, supplements claiming to boost immunity

  • April 6, 2021
Because many people opt for over-the-counter purchases, physicians have cautioned residents against allergies and unwanted side effects.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi: Pharmacies across the UAE have been witnessing a marked increase — sometimes as much as 100 per cent — in the annual demand for multivitamins and supplements that claim to boost immunity amid the global pandemic.

And because many people opt for over-the-counter purchases, physicians have cautioned residents against allergies and unwanted side effects, urging them to first consult with a doctor.

Dr Rakesh Kumar Khandelwal

“The human body needs to consume at least 13 vitamins and 16 minerals regularly to function properly, and a well-balanced diet is the best way to obtain these nutrients. But because the modern-day diet is heavy in nutrient-poor processed foods, refined grains and added sugars, many people don’t get enough nutrients from the foods they consume,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar Khandelwal, internal medicine specialist at Aster Clinic, Barsha Heights.

Avoid self-medicating

“Dietary supplements seem to be the obvious way to plug gaps in diet. But taking too much can actually harm you. Moreover, some supplements can also interfere with your medications and medical assessments,” the doctor said.

Dr Rajesh Kumar Gupta

Dr Rajesh Kumar Gupta, internal medicine specialist at Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah, added that immunity develops as a result of years of nurture and care. “The hysteria generated by the pandemic sees many people opting for multivitamin supplements and pills that claim to boost immunity. But avoid self-medicating yourself, [and first consult a physician],” he said.

Marked increase

A representative for Aster Group, which operates 201 pharmacies across the UAE, said demand has spiked for supplements and immunity boosting pills as a result of the heightened focus on immunity. “Even though these wellness products have always been available, we have seen a marked increase in their sales since March 2020. In particular, there has been a 14 per cent growth in sales of vitamin and mineral supplements, and 60 per cent increase in average daily sales of products promoting immunity,” the representative said.

Ibuprofen pain killers tablets medicine generic
Demand has spiked for supplements and immunity boosting pills as a result of the heightened focus on immunity.
Image Credit: Pixabay

Essential nutrients

A total of 13 vitamins and 16 minerals have to be consumed regularly to ensure proper functioning. The recommended daily intake however varies based on age group, gender, and overall health of a person.
* Essential vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and B vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate.
* Essential minerals: Calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, chloride, iron, iodine, fluoride, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium and cobalt.

Meanwhile, pharmacies run by VPS Healthcare, one of the UAE’s largest health care providers, have witnessed a significant increase in demand for multivitamins and wellness supplements, particularly supplements providing Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B complex, and minerals like zinc, selenium, Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics. Dr Gupta said the increase in some outlets is as high as 100 per cent.

Inconclusive evidence

This rise in demand is despite multiple studies failing to provide conclusive evidence of the immunity-boosting effect of these elements. In fact, a bulletin by Harvard Medical School warned against falling prey to immunity boosting claims, and was republished in February 2021.

Common reasons for nutrient deficiency

* a diet heavy in processed foods, refined grains and added sugars
* ageing, which decreases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients

“Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body — immune cells or others — is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who engage in “blood doping” — pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance — run the risk of strokes,” the bulletin said.

Unwanted effects

Another major cautionary note against taking supplements without prior medical advice is the fact that certain supplements can interfere with the results of assessments, or with medications residents are currently taking. According to Dr Khandelwal, too much iron can interfere with the absorption of calcium, or provide a false positive result on a stool test used to determine gastrointestinal bleeding. Vitamin C and zinc can block the absorption of copper, whereas excess manganese can worsen iron deficiency.

Overdose impact

Many nutrients have important immunity – boosting roles, but when taken without consulting a physician, they can lead to unwanted side effects. This is why it is important to discuss dosage with a doctor, and also mention any supplements you take when you consult a doctor for any medical purpose.
* Iron can interfere with the absorption of calcium, and can also give a false positive result for stool occult blood test that is used to determine gastrointestinal bleeding.
* Zinc, when taken in excessive quantities, can actually inhibit the body’s absorption of other essential minerals like copper.
* Vitamin C can block the absorption of copper in some patients.
* Manganese, even with a minor overdose, can worsen iron deficiency.
* Vitamin A may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Bexarotene, an anticancer drug.
* Orlistat, a drug used to treat fat absorption for obese patients, could decrease the serum concentration of fat-soluble vitamins.
* Vitamin A may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Retinoic Acid Derivatives

Positive trend

Alisha Moopen

With that being said, the added focus on overall health may still be a good thing. “We are seeing a positive trend, because in essence, it means people are keen to build their immunity and maintain their health. This shift indicates that people are moving away from reacting to illness towards proactively managing their health and preventing illness,” said Dr Alisha Moopen, deputy managing director at Aster DM Healthcare.

There is also a role for dietary supplements to provide additional support for people with deficiencies. “While immunity-boosting pills do not protect against COVID-19 infection in healthy people with good immunity, they can help in fighting severe COVID-19 in those who are severely malnourished, suffering from chronic diseases or are aged,” Dr Gupta said.

In such cases, both physicians recommended taking supplements, but only under a physician’s guidance and in proper therapeutic doses.

Tips to maintain a healthy immune system

* Eat a well* balanced diet that incorporates a lot of leafy greens, vegetables and fruits.

* Try to minimise stress.

* Try to maintain a healthy weight.

* Do not consume too much alcohol.

* Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.

* Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body.