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If there's one thing we’ve learned from COVID-19, it’s that we can never take health for granted...

Taking these Three Functional Foods Helps Boost Your Immune System

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1. Astaxanthin: A Potentially Safe, Natural Adjunct Therapy in Minimizing Covid-19-induced Cytokine Storm and Maintaining Lung Health

Third wave of Covid-19 hits Asia as global cases continue to soar. To date, there is no approved treatment available for Covid-19. Thus, the need to discover new, safe, and more efficacious treatment options to achieve ideal results is in the running.

Apart from the direct viral damage, several reports postulated that it is the “Cytokine Storm’ [Cardax, 2020], characterized by excessive inflammatory response with overproduction of pro-inflammatory markers (cytokines), which subsequently progress to life threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), that makes the management of Covid-19 difficult [Talukdar et al, 2020]

Natural astaxanthin, a safe, orally bioavailable, plant-based molecule extracted from microalgae Haematococcus Pluvialis, exhibits powerful antioxidant and broad anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to significantly attenuate the pathogenesis of critical inflammatory pathways, decreasing the resulting elevated cytokine levels and oxidative stress in the body, provides a promising leap in better managing the complication of Covid-19.

Daily consumption of natural astaxanthin also serves to boost our immune system [Joon Tsai, 2020]. 

2. Stingless Bee Honey (Kelulut Honey) Alleviates the Severity of Pulmonary Manifestation in Covid-19 Infections

Stingless bee honey, commonly known as ‘Madu Kelulut’ among the locals, is produced by stingless bee (Meliponine sp.). Naturally infused with propolis, stingless bee honey contains richer phenolic compounds and flavonoids compared to other types of honey, which renders the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties [Renneh et al, 2019]. 

Likewise, Optixanthin Opti-B, a combination of astaxanthin extract with Kelulut honey, likewise contains plant phenolic, presenting the respective antioxidant activity.

A recent study reported that stingless bee honey decreased circulating levels of inflammatory-markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8. Overexpression of IL-6 cytokines may aggravate the pathogenesis of over-reactive inflammatory response in Covid-19 patients [Jacques, 2009]. The anti-inflammatory property of stingless bee honey in harmonising the inflammatory IL-6 cascades can be an alternative approach to limiting the disease progression of coronavirus.

Ranneh Y, Akim AM, Hamid HA, Khazaai H, Fadel A, Mahmoud AM. Stingless bee honey protects against lipopolysaccharide induced-chronic subclinical systemic inflammation and oxidative stress by modulating Nrf2, NF-κB and p38 MAPK. Nutr Metab. 2019;16:1–17.

Jacques A, Bleau C, Turbide C, Beauchemin N, Lamontagne L. Macrophage interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor-α are induced by coronavirus fixation to Toll-like receptor 2/heparan sulphate receptors but not carcinoembryonic cell adhesion antigen 1a. Immunology. 2009. 

3. Virgin Coconut Oil as a Potential Anti-Viral Candidate in Fighting Against Covid-19

The Star Malaysia recently reported that scientists in Ateneo De Manila University conducted clinical trials on the anti-viral property of virgin coconut oil (VCO), whether it can be used as adjunct therapy for Covid-19 patients. The safety, bioavailability, and versatility of VCO prompted Professor Emeritus Dr. Fabian Antonio Dayrit and Dr. Mary Newport to further look into the functionality of lauric acid in VCO.

Lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid which makes up about 50% of coconut oil, and its derivative, monolaurin, have been known to have significant antiviral activity. The underlying mechanism of lauric acid’s anti-viral activity serves new hope in strengthening the immune system. Fortunato Dela Pena from the Philippines national science department said in a radio interview, scientists found that a daily diet high in VCO appears to help decrease viral load of coronavirus from 60% to 90% for mild to moderate cases.