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Immunity boosters, fad or reality?

The COVID-19 crisis drastically changed various aspects of our lives around the world. One such change was seen in foods and supplements market that supports/boost the immune system.

Immunity has been at the top of our minds all through 2020 and is still on-going. While it may be a blessing in disguise for pharma companies and processed food industry which can be seen in the following data points,

  • Google reported that search for immunity boosters spiked up by 500%.

  • 23% of global customers stockpiled the vitamins and supplements. The ratio is 85% when it comes to Indian consumers.

  • Ayurveda is a $4 Bn industry in India, pre-Covid era the usual annual growth was 15-20% but last year the industry witnessed 50-90% growth.

  • Dabur’s immunity boosting portfolio itself saw an interesting rise. ‘Chawanprash’ of the same brand witnessed seven-fold jump in sales with striking growth of nearly 700%.

  • Reports are saying that immunity boosting products market in India is projected to reach $347 Mn by FY2026.

But the question arises, is it all worth it? Do these immunity boosters really benefit us?

Harvard Medical school says there is no evidence that they help in fighting a disease.

Humans have only three types of immunity — innate (we are born with it), adaptive (after exposing to some disease or vaccination), and passive (borrowed from another source for a short while such as breastmilk).

The very idea of improving the immune system is inaccurate to some extent. There is a balance between an immune system that is effective at limiting the ability of bacteria, viruses, and parasites to cause infection, and a hyperactive immune system that can cause such problems as allergies, diabetes, and other types of autoinflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

If there was a wholesale amplification in the immune system, it could cause autoimmunity and other problems.

There is some truth to the idea that vitamins can help immunity. Vitamins can help keep off disease and other health problems, but only in people who are severely malnourished. So, vitamin formulations will help you somewhat to stay healthy if you are healthy already.

Strategies to stay healthy:

· Clean your hands

· Keep exercising and be fit

· Manage stress

· Get Vaccinated

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