Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said supplements like vitamins, minerals and herbs do not boost immunity to ward off Covid-19 infection.
“There is no scientific evidence to suggest that supplements boost the immune system against Covid-19,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“One of the misconceptions doing the rounds on internet is that vitamins, minerals and herbs enhance immunity,” he said.
“Various supplement companies are using the current health crisis to sell products they claim to strengthen the immune system,” he added
“These supplements find their way in prescriptions too.”
Dr Nisar said the large concern is that these baseless remedies give people a false sense of security.
When people assume that they won’t be affected by Covid-19 anymore, they abandon precautions which can have disastrous results.
He said there is no such thing as boosted immunity.
The idea that pills and potions can provide a short cut to a healthy immune system is a myth.
In fact, the concept of boosting your immune system doesn’t hold any scientific meaning whatsoever.
Dr Nisar said the immune system is an inbuilt defense mechanism that protects the body against infections.
When the virus enters the body, the innate immune response which consists of neutrophils and macrophages is the first to kick in. The response is subsequently replaced by adaptive immune response which involves T cells and B cells, as well as antibodies.
The production of these cells and their mechanism are controlled by cytokines which are proteins that mediate signaling between cells.
Their functioning and creation is not controlled or modulated or even improved by food or products.
He said it is important to know that the most severe cases of Covid-19 infection are made worse by an overreaction of the immune system.
So trying to boost immunity or trying to interfere with its regulation using unproven products may be risky.
“There are indeed processes that keep the immune system in balance. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and managing your stress can help your immune system work well.
While there is no supplement that will make you immune from the novel coronavirus, wearing a mask, personal hygiene and social distancing will surely protect you from Covid-19 infection,” said Dr Nisar.GNS