Experts debunk 'immunity boosting' myth amid pandemic
EDMONTON -- Experts are warning against the dangers of misinformation surrounding so-called “immunity boosters” as we get closer to traditional flu season.
“There are no magic bullets,” said Sabina Valentine, a registered dietitian.
“There’s no real way to boost your immune system, other than using a vaccine.”
That means there’s no superfood, yoga position, or massage therapy that can fortify your body against a virus.
In fact, experts sayyou can actually do more harm than good by trying to boost your system too much.
“Over-activating it means you could potentially attack your own tissues,” said Valentine, “which is an auto-immune problem.”
The rise of social media has created a significant platform for spreading misinformation about the immune system as well, according to Timothy Caulfield, research director at the University of Alberta’s Health Law Institute.
“What these influencers are doing is exploiting the pandemic to sell unproven products,” he said.
Caulfield was recently part a study looking into online claims connecting immunity boosting and protection from the coronavirus.
His team found 85 per cent of more than 200 sites that appeared when searching “coronavirus” and “immune boosting” pushed the idea that boosting your immunity was an effective way to fight COVID-19.
“Absolutely not true,” Caulfied said of the claims.
“A chiropractic adjustment is not going to boost your immune system. Homeopathy is not going to boost your immune system. Acupuncture is not going to boost your immune system.”
The best way to ensure your immune system is adequately prepared for the upcoming flu season is to eat healthy, said Valentine, including plenty of fruit and vegetables.
That includes proper moderations of nutrients like zinc, anti-oxidant vitamins, and omega-3 fats.
And before you trust a post on social media, make sure it’s backed up by good science, said Caulfield.
“If someone is trying to sell you something, that should make you suspicious.”