Fight Against COVID-19: Boosting Your Immunity From Within

Fight Against COVID-19: Boosting Your Immunity From Within

On 11 March 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) had declared COVID-19 as a pandemic pushing the threat beyond the global health emergency it had announced back in January. Data collected as on 20 March 2020 shown that Covid-19 has infected more than 245,612 people and killed more than 10,048 in 179 countries and territories around the world. Malaysia is experiencing a major spike in Covid-19 cases with few hundred new cases reported in short span of time. Therefore, the government has made a decisive step by imposed 14-day movement control order from 18 – 31 March to arrest the spread of the virus.

President of Malaysian Medical Association, Dr. N. Ganabaskan mentioned strong immune system could help to protect against viral and bacteria infections in a way of defending the body against the organisms that can cause infection or speed up the recovery process after infection. Thus, a strong immune system is what we need now to reduce the risk of being infected by viruses. What we eat plays an important role in immunity. Micronutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, zinc and iron are some of the nutritional factors that may help to strengthen your immunity.

In addition to these essential micronutrients, dietary supplementation with probiotics is one of the integral parts to boost your immune system as 70 – 80% of your immune cells live in your gut. About 100 trillion bacteria reside in the gut and it is almost 10 times the number of cells in the body. Probiotics work together synergistically and help the body to produce certain metabolites that could aid in the defence of the whole body. Several beneficial effects of probiotics are as follow:

  1. Inhibit growth of harmful gut bacteria
  2. Support the formation of protective barrier against pathogenic bacteria
  3. Promote the production of natural antibodies in the body and boost immune cells like Ig A-producing cells, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells

Furthermore, beta-glucans are natural polysaccharides commonly found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and plants, such as oats and barley. However, not all beta-glucans are equal especially in term of efficacy to improve immunity level. Wellmune® is a clinically proven baker’s yeast beta glucan which have been shown to enhance the functions of immune cells by improving the ability of white blood cells to better locate and kill potential pathogens. A study findings showed that 62% of children taking 75 mg Wellmune for 12 weeks reported “good” health status compared to only 15% of the children taking a placebo. The study also found children taking Wellmune had two-thirds fewer upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) and six fewer sick days over a 12-week period. (Meng 2016) As for adult, the consumption 250mg of Wellmune® per day for 3 months had reduced the URTI symptoms (Fuller et al. 2012).

Our immunity naturally declines with aging. While we cannot control our age, we can control aspects of our health by eating a well-balanced and healthy diet to boost our immunity level during the coronavirus pandemic. Keep in mind, you can enhance your immunity with supplement too when necessary.

References:

1. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200318-sitrep-58-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=20876712_2

2. https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/01/560946/make-sure-immune-system-strong-and-fit-fight

3. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov;9(11):1211.

4. Kunisawa J, Kiyono H. Vitamin-mediated regulation of intestinal immunity. Frontiers in immunology. 2013 Jul 11;4:189.

5. Mansouri R, Moogooei M, Moogooei M, Razavi N, Mansourabadi AH. The role of vitamin D3 and vitamin B9 (Folic acid) in immune system. International Journal of Epidemiologic Research. 2016;3(1):69-85.

6. Sakane T, Takada S, Kotani H, Tsunematsu T. Effects of methyl-b 12 on thein vitro immune functions of human T lymphocytes. Journal of clinical immunology. 1982 Apr 1;2(2):101-9.

7. Huang, Z., Liu, Y., Qi, G., Brand, D., & Zheng, S. G. (2018). Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System. Journal of clinical medicine7(9), 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7090258

 

8. Kunisawa J, Kiyono H (2013) Vitamin-mediated regulation of intestinal immunity. Frontiers in immunology 4: p. 189.

 

9. Chirumbolo, Salvatore et al. (2017). The Role of Vitamin D in the Immune System as a Pro-survival Molecule. Clinical Therapeutics, Volume 39, Issue 5, 894 – 916

 

10. Lee, G. Y., & Han, S. N. (2018). The Role of Vitamin E in Immunity. Nutrients10(11), 1614. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111614

 

11. Klaus-Helge Ibs, Lothar Rink, Zinc-Altered Immune function, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 133, Issue 5, May 2003, Pages 1452S–1456S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/133.5.1452S

 

12. Soyano A, Gómez M. (1999). Role of iron in immunity and its relation with infections. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 49(3 Suppl 2):40S-46S. Review. Spanish.PubMed PMID: 10971835.

 

13. Gregor Reid, Jana Jass, M. Tom Sebulsky, John K. McCormick. (2003). Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 16 (4) 658-672; DOI: 10.1128/CMR.16.4.658-672.2003

 

14. Resta-Lenert S, Barrett KE. (2003). Live probiotics protect intestinal epithelial cells from the effects of infection with enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC). Gut;52:988-997.

15. F, M. (2016). Bakers Yeast Beta-Glucan Decreases Episodes of Common Childhood Illness in 1 to 4 Year Old Children during Cold Season in China. Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences6(4). doi: 10.4172/2155-9600.1000519

16. https://khni.kerry.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Introducing-Wellmune-an-immune-health-ingredient_FINAL.pdf

17. Fuller, R., Butt, H., Noakes, P. S., Kenyon, J., Yam, T. S., & Calder, P. C. (2012). Influence of yeast-derived 1,3/1,6 glucopolysaccharide on circulating cytokines and chemokines with respect to upper respiratory tract infections. Nutrition, 28(6), 665–669. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2011.11.012

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