Pandemic-Era Shoppers Splurge on Vitamins, Boosting Nestlé Sales

Pandemic-Era Shoppers Splurge on Vitamins, Boosting Nestlé Sales

  • October 21, 2020

Nestlé SA


NSRGY 0.35%

said the pandemic has increased consumers’ health consciousness, boosting its small but fast-growing health-sciences unit and contributing to better-than-expected overall sales at the world’s largest packaged-food maker.

The owner of Nescafe coffee, DiGiorno frozen pizza and Purina pet food has previously benefited from a pandemic-era shift by consumers to comfort food—particularly big, trusted brands—as they stocked up and stayed home during lockdowns.

As the pandemic wears on, companies are now getting a boost as consumers gravitate toward products that boost health, particularly the immune system.

Nestlé’s health-science business has been one of its lesser-known divisions for years, but Chief Executive Mark Schneider, a former health-care executive who took the reins in 2017, has turned it into a focus area amid a wide-ranging portfolio shake-up. The unit represents only about 3% of Nestlé’s overall sales, but Mr. Schneider said Wednesday he wanted it to become “a health and nutrition powerhouse” through acquisitions and organic growth.

Nestlé said the unit delivered double-digit sales growth in the first nine months of the year, but didn’t detail its performance any further in a sales update released Wednesday.

Demand for vitamins, minerals and supplements was strong, the company said. Supplement brands Garden of Life and Pure Encapsulations sold particularly well online. So called healthy-aging products grew at a double-digit rate in the nine-month period, Nestlé said, with help from Boost, a nutritional drink brand, in North America and Nutren, a line of nutritional supplements, in Brazil.

Health-science sales lifted overall revenue, which was powered by strong pet food and coffee sales. Nestlé said organic sales, which strip out currency fluctuations, acquisitions and divestitures, grew 3.5% in the first nine months of the year, beating analysts’ estimates of 2.8%. Results were driven almost entirely by volume growth. The company upgraded its guidance for the year, saying it now expects organic sales growth of around 3%, from a prior forecast of between 2% and 3%.

Nestlé shares were largely unchanged in late morning trading in Europe.

Net sales fell 9.4%, to 61.91 billion Swiss francs, equivalent to $68.24 billion, dragged down by currency changes and divestitures. Mr. Schneider has sold a string of assets, including Nestlé’s skin-health arm and U.S. ice-cream business, as he pivots toward categories he sees as higher growth.

Other companies have reported sales boosts amid a shift in health consciousness by consumers.

Conagra Brands Inc.

says its Healthy Choice frozen meals are on the rise.

Reckitt Benckiser Group

PLC this week said its Airborne brand, a supplement advertised as boosting the immune system, more than doubled revenue in the third quarter.

Others have moved to take advantage of the increased concern about health during the pandemic.

Unilever

PLC has doubled the amount of zinc that goes in its Horlicks brand, a malted milk bestseller in India, and is marketing what it says are the brand’s immunity-boosting benefits.

Nestlé has a head start, having set up the health-science business in 2011 under former CEO Paul Bulcke, now the company’s chairman. His vision was to use specialist food-based products to help prevent and treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart disease. Nestle has also been investing in treatments and medicine.

It has made a long string of acquisitions to bolster the unit, earlier this month closing a deal to buy a California-based biopharmaceutical company that has won approval for the first treatment for peanut allergies. The acquisition valued Aimmune Therapeutics Inc. at $2.6 billion, including debt, and analysts expect Nestle to keep doing big deals.

This year, Nestlé bought a gastrointestinal medication brand and took a majority stake in a company that makes collagen supplements.

Still, for all the focus on it, the health-science arm remains far smaller than older units such as coffee and petcare, which remained the main drivers of Nestlé’s strong sales for the period. Pet food, where sales rose 4.1% in the nine months, has performed well for years.

The company said its dairy and cooking-aids arms also did well. Confectionery and bottled water dragged down the results, with both categories heavily dependent on tourism and shoppers being out and about.

After lifting lockdowns, many countries—particularly in Europe—are now implementing strict bans on movement again to stem the spread of the virus. Nestle said the out-of-home sales channel overall “remained significantly negative,” but sales declines moderated in the third quarter.

Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at saabira.chaudhuri@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

These Are the Vitamins to Take for a Stronger Immune System

These Are the Vitamins to Take for a Stronger Immune System

  • October 10, 2020

You probably know how important the state of your immune system is to your overall health. During cold and flu season, you might hear everyone talking about all the things they’re doing to take care of themselves. And especially right now during a global pandemic, everyone is wondering how they can strengthen their immune system. Well, if you’re asking yourself that exact question, the answer is a bit complex.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the immune system is a network of organs, white blood cells, proteins (antibodies), and chemicals. It works to protect your body from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that cause infection and illness.

But since our bodies are different, that means our immune systems are different, too. “Signs that a person has a weak immune system is truly individual,” explains Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition. “If you are experiencing significant systemic changes or onset of symptoms, it is important to seek out the help and guidance from your primary care provider or specialist so they can help determine the appropriate course of action.”

While your body and immune system might have very specific needs, there are some general habits you can pick up to take care of yourself. A holistic approach helps since the immune system is comprised of all different parts of the body. Feller recommends starting with these four: limiting exposure to toxins (including quitting smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation), making time for physical activity, creating and maintaining good sleep hygiene, and nourishing your body with an abundance of phytonutrient-rich vitamins and minerals.

Paying attention to your immune system should be a year-round task, rather than something you just worry about during cold and flu season. “It’s important to look at the immune system like a muscle—you need to train it to optimize its function,” explains the chief medical officer at The Well, Frank Lipman, MD. “Especially during times like this, it is not about boosting your immune system. It’s about having a well-oiled, functioning immune system so it works appropriately when needed. You don’t want it to be overfunctioning and potentially create a cytokine storm, but you don’t want it to underperform either.”

But sometimes, you can do all of the above to take care of your immune system and still need a little bit of extra help. “Supplementation can be helpful with some of the aforementioned nutrients if you are unable to get adequate amounts in the diet, are deficient, have increased needs, and/or are more susceptible to colds, viruses, etc.,” says Tamar Samuels, MS, RDN, NBC-HWC, a registered dietitian, a national board–certified health and wellness coach, and co-founder of Culina Health.

Taking supplements should be your second step after incorporating healthy diet and lifestyle habits, but if you do decide to go that route, it’s important to talk to your doctor, dietitian, or another healthcare professional before you start a new regimen. Some supplements might affect your preexisting conditions or any medications you’re taking. Also, your doctor might even order specific tests to identify your needs and will be able to recommend personalized dosages from that. And remember to do your research when purchasing supplements—read the labels, check the recommended dosages, and look up the brands themselves.

With all of that in mind, dietitians and physicians shared some common vitamins and nutrients (and their supplement forms) that can support the immune system below.

Vitamin D

Hum Nutrition Here Comes the Sun D3 ($12)

Vitamin D plays a role in the production and proliferation of key immune cells, and its active form helps regulate several antimicrobial proteins, adds Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, an intuitive eating registered dietitian and founder of Street Smart Nutrition.

There are few sources of vitamin D, but you can get the nutrient from certain foods like fish and egg yolks. Your body produces vitamin D through sun exposure, but this can be difficult in the winter months. Since it can be tough to get enough of it naturally, many people are deficient and need to take daily supplements.

“In general, getting vitamin D levels high is job one. Most people can start with 5000 IUs (125 mcg) a day; people with autoimmune diseases should probably start with 10,000 IUs a day,” says Steven Gundry, MD, author, medical director at the International Heart and Lung Institute, and founder of GundryMD.

GundryMD Vitamin D 5000 ($25)

Vitamin C

Nature Made Vitamin C ($8)

This vitamin helps fight colds, ramps up antioxidant activity, and aids in the absorption of other nutrients like iron, Samuels says. “Research shows that a high vitamin C intake is associated with decreased risk of common chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and certain neurological conditions,” she explains. “When it comes to fighting off infections, vitamin C’s immune-boosting powers are likely linked to its antioxidant properties. That is, vitamin C (which is an antioxidant itself) helps regenerate other antioxidants (like vitamin E) in the body, thereby decreasing the number of harmful free radicals that can bolster infections.”

Boosting your vitamin C levels can also reduce the length of the common cold, adds Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and founder of Real Nutrition.

Garden of Life Vitamin C ($25)

Vitamin A

NOW Foods Vitamin A ($5)

“Similar to vitamin C, this nutrient can help support the function and integrity of cells in the barriers we rely on in the skin, respiratory tract, and GI tract,” explains Harbstreet. “Vitamin A is also critical for T and B cell lymphocytes, which are involved in an antibody response to an antigen in the body.”

Vitamin A can be found in plant foods like carrots and squash in the form of carotenoids, which are antioxidants that help fight inflammation.

365 Everyday Value Carrots ($2)

B Vitamins

Thorne Basic B Complex ($23)

“B vitamins—particularly vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (or folic acid), and vitamin B12—support strong immune function,” explains Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, chef, nutritionist, Reiki master, and founder of the Culinary Alchemy program. “A deficiency of vitamin B6 is associated with a decrease in antibody production among other immune system–weakening functions. A deficiency in vitamins B9 and B12 can ‘drastically alter immune responses’ through a variety of processes. Vitamin B12 is solely found in animal products, so a vitamin B12 supplement is particularly important if you are a vegan or vegetarian.”

TwinLab B-12 Dots ($10)

Zinc

Jarrow Formulas Zinc Balance ($6)

Samuels says that zinc is an essential mineral that must be consumed via diet and that you need to consume it daily since the body lacks the ability to store the mineral. “Zinc supports the functioning of immune cells like neutrophils and macrophages,” she explains. “As a result, a zinc deficiency can lead to a higher risk of infections. You’ve probably seen zinc lozenges at your pharmacy. Though the research is conflicting, the nutrient is thought to potentially drive down the duration and severity of symptoms associated with the common cold by preventing the entry of the virus into cells and stopping it from multiplying in the body.”

Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, a registered dietitian nutritionist and co-founder of Culina Health, adds that zinc can help symptoms like nasal congestion, nasal drainage, sore throat, and coughing.

Garden of Life Zinc ($10)

Prebiotics and Probiotics

Seed Daily Synbiotic ($50)

“The digestive system and the immune system are interconnected, and a balanced digestive system is crucial for immune function,” Poon says. “Along with eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, adding probiotics to your diet can support your digestive tract by adding good bacteria that supports a balanced microbiome. Prebiotics are fibers that act as fuel for probiotics.”

The Nue Co. Prebiotic + Probiotic ($75)

Vitamin E

Nature Made Vitamin E ($14)

Rissetto says that vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight off infection. It can be found in food sources like nuts and seeds or in supplement form.

Terrasoul Superfoods Sunflower Seeds ($12)

Elderberry

Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Gummies ($12)

Lipman says elderberry provides potent antioxidants that support immune response. Elderberry comes in different forms, from syrups to gummies.

Maryruth Organics Store Organic Elderberry Syrup Black Sambucus Liquid ($20)

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

The Well Clean-Up Crew ($42)

“This is a do-it-all supplement that supports detoxification, respiratory health, and muscle recovery after workouts,” Lipman says. “NAC is a precursor to glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant.”

Life Extension N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine ($11)

Arabinogalactan

Pure Encapsulations Arabinogalactan ($38)

“This supplement comes from a natural fiber found on the larch tree, a coniferous tree that thrives in the cooler climate of the north,” Poon explains. “Arabinogalactan is an incredible substance that studies have shown to be particularly useful in helping the body fight the common cold.”

Thorne Arabinex ($47)

Curcumin

The Well Turmeric Protect ($56)

Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric root. Lipman says it’s best known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also promotes healthy aging and has benefits for the liver, joints, and eyes.

BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine ($19)

Selenium

Pure Encapsulations Selenium ($12)

“[It’s] essential for immune health and may also help to prevent or reduce susceptibility to the flu. You can easily meet your needs by eating two Brazil nuts a day,” Shapiro says.

I’m A Nut Raw Brazil Nuts ($19)

Astragalus

Sun Potion Astragalus ($57)

“This plant has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years,” Poon explains. “Aside from its mythical therapeutic status, astragalus has many evidence-backed benefits, including immune support, heart disease and diabetes prevention, and increasing strength and stamina.”

It’s important to note that people who are on immunosuppressants, anticoagulants, and diuretic medications should not take astragalus, she adds.

Gaia Herbs Astragalus Supreme ($13)

Next up: 9 Expert-Approved Vitamin Brands You Need to Know About

This article originally appeared on The Thirty

Read More from The Thirty

Dr. Fauci Recommends 2 Vitamins To Boost Immunity :: WRAL.com

Dr. Fauci Recommends 2 Vitamins To Boost Immunity :: WRAL.com

  • October 6, 2020

Besides socially distancing, masking up and taking other safety precautions like getting your flu shot and frequently washing your hands, there are two types of vitamins you might also want to add to your (and your kids’) COVID-19 prevention routine.

Those two vitamins are Vitamin D and Vitamin C.

That’s according to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who had a 37-minute Instagram Live interview with actress Jennifer Garner on Sept. 9 on various coronavirus-related topics.

Here’s why, as he told Garner when she asked how moms should be boosting their children’s immunity.

“If you’re deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. So I would not mind recommending — and I do it myself — taking vitamin D supplements,” said Dr. Fauci. “The other vitamin that people take is vitamin C because it’s a good antioxidant, so if people want to take a gram or two at the most of vitamin C, that would be fine.”

Adobe

As for any other supplements like elderberry syrup and herbs: “Forget about them,” he said. Later, he added, “Any of the other concoctions and herbs I would not do.”

The Mayo Clinic recommends adults get 65-90 milligrams of Vitamin C a day and no more than 2,000 milligrams total. On average, if you’re eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables daily, you should be getting the recommended amount of Vitamin C.

Vitamin D is recommended in quantities of 400 international units (IU) for those under a year, 600 IU for ages 1-70, and 800 IU for people over 70 (400 IU in terms of vitamin D equals about 40 micrograms). If you don’t spend much time in the sun you may be susceptible to Vitamin D deficiency.

Adobe

Dr. Fauci told Business Insider that a healthy immune system is best supported by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and trying to keep your stress level low.

“That is much more healthy living than giving yourself supplements of anything,” he said in the publication.

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.


Simplemost

Dr. Fauci Recommends 2 Vitamins To Boost Immunity

  • October 5, 2020

Besides socially distancing, masking up and taking other safety precautions like getting your flu shot and frequently washing your hands, there are two types of vitamins you might also want to add to your (and your kids’) COVID-19 prevention routine.

Those two vitamins are Vitamin D and Vitamin C.

That’s according to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who had a 37-minute Instagram Live interview with actress Jennifer Garner on Sept. 9 on various coronavirus-related topics.

Here’s why, as he told Garner when she asked how moms should be boosting their children’s immunity.

“If you’re deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. So I would not mind recommending — and I do it myself — taking vitamin D supplements,” said Dr. Fauci. “The other vitamin that people take is vitamin C because it’s a good antioxidant, so if people want to take a gram or two at the most of vitamin C, that would be fine.”

Adobe

As for any other supplements like elderberry syrup and herbs: “Forget about them,” he said. Later, he added, “Any of the other concoctions and herbs I would not do.”

The Mayo Clinic recommends adults get 65-90 milligrams of Vitamin C a day and no more than 2,000 milligrams total. On average, if you’re eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables daily, you should be getting the recommended amount of Vitamin C.

Vitamin D is recommended in quantities of 400 international units (IU) for those under a year, 600 IU for ages 1-70, and 800 IU for people over 70 (400 IU in terms of vitamin D equals about 40 micrograms). If you don’t spend much time in the sun you may be susceptible to Vitamin D deficiency.

Adobe

Dr. Fauci told Business Insider that a healthy immune system is best supported by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and trying to keep your stress level low.

“That is much more healthy living than giving yourself supplements of anything,” he said in the publication.

Illustration of vitamins and supplements. TEMPO/Subekti

Proper Ways To Take Vitamins To Boost Immune System

  • September 28, 2020

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – During the transition period from dry to rainy season, the body’s immune system may decline, which possibly increases the risks of virus or bacteria infection.

Besides consuming nutritious foods, having enough rest, managing stress well, and carrying out regular exercise, taking multivitamin supplements also helps boost the immune system when needed.

A medical expert from pharmaceutical firm Combiphar, Carlinda Nekawaty, explained the best time to take vitamin supplements in order to get the maximum benefits.

According to her, vitamins should be consumed in the morning. “Because it requires energy metabolism for optimal absorption, and it usually rises in the morning,” said Carlinda on a Combiphar Health Desk webinar on September 28, 2020.

She does not recommend taking vitamins at night, especially before bedtime, as the body is already in a passive state. “It will accumulate in the body and will even be harmful,” Carlinda added.

In addition, supplements should be consumed after having meals. This, she claimed, will help foods and vitamins interact with each other. “Practically, all vitamins should be taken after eating so its absorption will be much better,” she said.

Taking vitamin supplements before meals, especially those rich in ascorbic acid such as vitamin C, will cause problems to people with gut issues, Carlina concluded.

Read: Pancaroba Seasonal Transition Period and Increased Risk of Viral Infections

SARAH ERVINA DARA SIYAHAILATUA

Financial Express - Business News, Stock Market News

FSSAI mulling making fortification of edible oil with vitamins A, D mandatory

  • September 26, 2020
FSSAI, vitamins A, vitamins D, edible oil with vitamins, immune system, malnutrition, cooking oils with vitamins, latest news on FSSAI“FSSAI is considering to make it mandatory to fortify edible oil with vitamins A and D so that people of India can enjoy better immunity with good health,” FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal said.

Food regulator FSSAI is considering making it mandatory for edible oil manufacturers to fortify cooking oil with vitamins A and D, which help in boosting immunity.

“FSSAI is considering to make it mandatory to fortify edible oil with vitamins A and D so that people of India can enjoy better immunity with good health,” FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal said. He was addressing a national webinar on edible oil fortification, organised by the Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in association with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a statement said on Saturday.

Fortification of edible oil will ensure that people belonging to different socio-economic strata have easy access to fortified edible oil across the country, Singhal said. “India has a very high burden of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies. A huge population in our country suffer from deficiency of vitamins A and D. Lack of these vitamins in our body can have adverse impact on morbidity, mortality, productivity and economic growth,” the statement said.

Vitamins A and D strengthen the immune system, which is critical in times of COVID-19 pandemic, it added.

To facilitate the industry, Singhal said FFRC will also provide the necessary technical support required to enable fortification of edible oil.

At present, 69 per cent (7.94 million tonnes/annum edible oil) of packaged edible oil sold across pan-India is fortified, the statement said. Tarun Vij, country director, GAIN, said, “The government’s mandate for scaling-up the process of edible oil fortification should go hand in hand with building capacities of the industry for producing quality assured edible oil fortified with vitamins A and D.”

Citing the example of Rajasthan, where fortification of edible oil is being done since 2011, Vij said there is a substantial reduction in vitamin A deficiency among children (10-19 years) in the state.

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Give Your Body an Extra Boost of Vitamins

Give Your Body an Extra Boost of Vitamins

  • September 26, 2020

Posted at 9:07 PM, Sep 25, 2020

and last updated 2020-09-25 21:07:33-04

When it comes to giving your immune system a boost, there are a lot of different options out there! But out of everything, wouldn’t you like something portable, fast-acting and all-natural? That’s where itSpray comes in, in three helpful styles.

Copyright 2020 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Vitamins Report: Immunity in focus

Vitamins Report: Immunity in focus

  • September 24, 2020

Consumers see the USP Verified Mark on national brand vitamins, minerals and supplements, and expect store brand products to carry the seal, too. Some chains have been participating for years, Atwater said. “It does highlight the fact their products are high quality,” he said. “It also helps with risk management.”

While third-party testing is crucial, subjective tests are valuable, too. Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens has its own brands, including Finest Nutrition Free & Pure Gummy Vitamins, tested by a third party to help ensure the active ingredients have the same strength and effectiveness as the national brands. Earlier this year, the retailer noted on its website that it has an in-house test kitchen where employees are encouraged to sample the chain’s private label products, including gummy vitamins and supplements. While they do not taste all products — melatonin would be an impractical choice for the workday — employees do note whether size, shape, gloss and sheen are comparable to leading brands on the market. They also try other items, including snacks and beauty products.

Making sure their own gummies are comparable to national brands is just one indication that retailers are boosting their own VMS assortments. “I think most large retailers are trying to increase overall private label penetration,” said Chuck Tacl, vice president of sales and business development for Miami Lakes, Fla.-based Mason Vitamins. “Everybody is doing that in different ways, whether advertising, expanding assortment, or merchandising in other departments and other categories. That’s an area a lot of retailers are looking at.”

Instead of displaying vitamins, minerals and supplements in one aisle, innovative retailers are merchandising the products in other areas of the store, such as in beauty, sleep, and eye and ear care. Even retailers that had previously kept their VMS assortments limited are now identifying gaps and expanding their sets, which can help generate sales and build consumer loyalty. “They have done a good job of expanding, and now the shopper is not walking to another store to find that item,” Tacl said.

He added that during the pandemic, some private label manufacturers dropped out of the VMS business. “We benefited because we have the capacity,” he said. “That has helped our business.”

Another detail that can help private label VMS sales is that consumers are looking at price. Also according to IRI, private label vitamins averaged $8.16 per unit, compared to $12.07 for national brands. Both of these were increases, of $0.27 for private label and $0.20 for national brands, compared to the same period the previous year.

National Nutrition Month 2020: Vitamins, proteins or minerals? Which one helps build immunity

National Nutrition Month 2020: Vitamins, proteins or minerals? Which one helps build immunity

  • September 18, 2020

Adaptive immunity enables the body to produce antibodies, which can prevent repeated infections of the same kind, thanks to memory cells.

National Nutrition Month 2020: Vitamins, proteins or minerals? Which one helps build immunity

Representational image. Unsplash@Ashley Winkler

The ongoing pandemic shows no signs of abating, which explains why much of our attention has been focused on immunity-boosting practices. Hygiene measures, such as wearing a face mask and washing our hands diligently, can help control the external environment to an extent. Building the body’s immunity, which is completely in your control, is the other thing to work on.

In recent months, a plethora of foods and nutritional supplements have been touted as immunity boosters and many of them claim to be the magical cure-all. Not only are there different types of vitamins, minerals and protein powders in the running, but among them are also numerous subcategories competing against each other. For instance, among the vitamins, it is sometimes vitamin C and otherwise vitamin D that seems to be all-important. To make the right decision about what to consume, it’s useful to understand how the immune system functions.

Understanding the body’s defence mechanism

Broadly, our immune system has two arms — innate and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity comprises the body’s general defence mechanisms, like the physical barriers to infection (skin), chemicals in the blood, acids in the stomach and other immune cells. Adaptive immunity, on the other hand, is developed in response to an antigen. This typically happens after contracting an infection or being vaccinated against one. Adaptive immunity enables the body to produce antibodies, which can prevent repeated infections of the same kind, thanks to memory cells.

Given the intricacies of our immune system, there are many factors at play to keep it functioning well. Each of the players performs a specific role and that too in sync with the others. If one of the members of this orchestra underperforms or goes into overdrive, the output is unlikely to be ideal. This is why it is not a good idea to specifically boost any particular aspect of the immune system, for that can disturb the balance.

Which nutrients your body really needs

Rather than just one or two nutrients, our immune system calls for a whole galaxy of nutrients to enable its functioning. Let’s consider the requirement of vitamins. While the discourse has been restricted to vitamins C and D, other vitamins such as B6, B12, B9 (folate), A and E play complementary roles in supporting both innate and adaptive immunity. Among the minerals, zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium and copper each play key roles. If you happen to become deficient in any of these minerals, the delicate balance of the immune system would get upset and its functioning hampered.

Protein is yet another critical nutrient for the immune system to fight infections. Powerhouses of the immune system, mainly antibodies and immune cells, rely on a good supply of protein. Protein deficiency hampers growth, development and even the motility of these immune cells. When it comes to proteins, it’s not just the quantity but also the quality that matters. One must ensure consumption of good quality, complete protein sources in the diet.

Beyond vitamins, minerals and proteins 

Apart from the vitamins, minerals and proteins, other nutrients like fibre, probiotics and good fats are just as important. Staying adequately hydrated is also key.

It is important to note that 70 percent of our immune system resides in the gut. To keep the gut healthy, we must consume food that is wholesome, minimally processed, seasonal and predominantly plant-based. A diet that is adequately diverse, yet balanced between the food groups, is the only way to provide all the nutrients that the immune system requires. Luckily, many foods provide a bundle of essential nutrients, quite like a package of many good things together. For instance, the leafy vegetable amaranth is a good source of not one but many vitamins and minerals.

The process of immunity-building is not about consuming a magical pill or a single superfood or even choosing one nutrient over the other. It’s the collective provision of nutrients on the platter that really matters.

This article was written by Neelanjana Singh, Registered Dietitian and Author.

For more information, read our article on How to increase immunity.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

Forget vitamins: Fauci's 3 top tips to keep your immune system strong

Forget vitamins: Fauci’s 3 top tips to keep your immune system strong

  • September 17, 2020
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci supplements his diet with two vitamins: C and D.
  • For the general public, he recommends getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding or alleviating stress as the three most potent ways to keep your immune system strong. 
  • “That is much more healthy living than giving yourself supplements of anything,” he said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

 

Dr. Anthony Fauci is, at this point in the pandemic, getting used to having his words twisted around into things he never really said.

“Always, always it’ll get taken out of context and misconstrued,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during our recent lunchtime chat. “I’ve gotten used to living with that.”

Recently, the issue came up when he told actress Jennifer Garner that he takes two supplements: a vitamin D supplement, as well as vitamin C.

“If people want to take a gram or so of vitamin C, that would be fine,” he said at the time. 

Certain corners of the internet started touting his words as evidence that he knows something we don’t, as if he was hiding information about a silver bullet.

But he was not mandating the practice for the general public, nor was he suggesting popping vitamins is a surefire way to avoid getting sick. Rather, he says, he was just answering a question.

“I had made it very clear when people asked about what vitamins I take, and I try to explain it,” Fauci said.

If you ask him, Fauci will still say, without question, the best ways to control the pandemic are the measures he’s been recommending endlessly for months: good hand hygiene, mask wearing, and social distancing.

For some people, adding a little extra vitamin D might make sense. 

‘There is good evidence that if you have a low vitamin D level, you have more of a propensity to get infected’

Fauci Baseball



Rob Carr/Staff/Getty Images


 

“Sometimes people when they don’t get out in the sun a lot, they’re deficient in vitamin D — so, my vitamin D level was generally low,” Fauci said. “I started taking vitamin D supplements, and now my vitamin D level is normal.”

We know from many scientific studies that being vitamin D deficient can put you at greater risk of infection, and that finding has held true again during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“There is good evidence that if you have a low vitamin D level, that you have more of a propensity to get infected when there are infections around,” Fauci said. “Those data are pretty good data.”

In addition to reducing inflammation in the body, vitamin D also helps our bodies absorb calcium, keeping bones healthy and strong, so it’s good for people of all ages and colors to make sure they’re getting enough. 

But that doesn’t mean everyone needs to run out and get a multivitamin. Most health experts worth their salt agree those are virtually useless pills.

“When you talk about the multiple multivitamins and the herbs and the things that people do to so-called ‘boost immunity,’ that really doesn’t boost immunity, and may have a better placebo effect than anything else,” Fauci said. 

You can get the vitamin C you need from a cup of strawberries or raw green peppers 

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Vitamin C is, like vitamin D, another powerful nutrient. It helps our body absorb iron.

But the amount that Fauci suggests (1,000 milligrams) is a little high for most people — especially if you’re eating some fruits and veggies every day, and not just having pizza for lunch.

Both the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health suggest a more moderate dose of around 100 mg of vitamin C a day should be sufficient for most people (though experts agree that anything under 2000 milligrams won’t really hurt you.)

In other words, you can basically get what you need from a cup of strawberries, a few handfuls of raw green bell peppers, or 2 cups of cooked kale. 

Some researchers in China have recently been testing out if giving people high-doses of vitamin C might help when they are fighting coronavirus infections, but the results aren’t conclusive one way or the other yet. 

For most of us, eating a moderate amount of fresh produce, and getting in the sun regularly, are probably good enough. (But ask your doctor if you’re really worried about it.) 

If you want to do more of the things that may help prevent infections before they start, scientifically speaking, then popping vitamins is not the way to go. 

“If you really want to keep your immune system working optimally, there are things that you do that are normal things,” Fauci said.

Here are Fauci’s top three immunity tips:

1. “Get a reasonable amount of sleep.”

For most of us, that’s seven to eight hours of pillow time a night. 

2. “Get a good diet.”

All those vitamin-rich fruits and veggies mentioned above will help.

Generally, leaning into to a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, fish, and some fruit, is a great place to start. 

3. “Try to avoid or alleviate severe stress, which we know can sometimes impact the immune system.”

Some of the best (and simplest) home-grown ways to counter stress include: getting regular exercise, trying meditation, practicing deep breathing, relaxing into a hot bath or a massage, listening to music, spending time alone, or hanging out with your favorite person or pooch. 

“That is much more healthy living than giving yourself supplements of anything,” Fauci said of his three tips. 

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