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Last updateFri, 20 May 2022 10am

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Easy ways to pump up the immune system

Giving health tips in the Covid era can be precarious, as I recall from early in the pandemic when a cantankerous friend—and there are many these days—was incensed that his Facebook post recommending Vitamin C was taken down.

Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and wrote prolifically touting “megadoses” of Vitamin C, would surely differ with FB moderators (although I am sympathetic to them after reading that their days spent watching the likes of beheading videos create record-breaking stress).

But what better time to share health tips than during the pandemic? And if we are after “easy ways to boost the immune system”—rather than pharmaceutical methods or even commercial nutritional supplements—well, that ratchets down the potential for controversy.

And, lo and behold, googling this very phrase and perusing the recommendations of conservative medical icons, such as Web MD, Houston Methodist and Mayo Clinic, we do see that pharmaceuticals are not under discussion and, Dr. Pauling notwithstanding, commercial vitamin and mineral products get the cold shoulder too.

This standard, conservative advice sometimes takes the form of myth-busting—not my favorite approach, since today’s myth can be tomorrow’s dogma, and vice versa. “Large doses of vitamin C…to avoid getting sick doesn’t work,” states Mayo Clinic, although “vitamin C may shorten the duration of a cold once you’re already under the weather,” it allowed.

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