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Importance of vitamins amid pandemic highlighted in Boy Abunda-hosted webinar

Unilab, in collaboration with GMA News, hosted a live online discussion on how to stay healthy in the midst of the pandemic, aptly called “Dok, Okay Ba ‘To?”.

With highly acclaimed talk show host Boy Abunda as the moderator, experts in their fields of specialization discussed the Episode 1 topic “Return to Normal” last Saturday.

Dr. Joseph Adrian Buensalido, an Infectious Diseases Specialist, said that while we must be happy that the number of active cases in the country has dwindled down, COVID is still prevalent.

“Nandito pa rin ‘yung kalaban, nagtatago. Syempre, very selfish ‘yang virus na ‘yan, gustong makapasok sa mga katawan natin nyan. So far, ngayon, nandyan pa rin sya, pero mukhang nagwowork yung ating mga prevention and control measures, so dapat ituloy natin [The enemy is still here, hiding. Of course, the virus is very selfish, and wants to get inside our bodies. So far, it’s (COVID) still there, but it seems the prevention and control measures we are enforcing are working, so we must continue them,” he said.

Buensalido was referring to wearing of masks; face shields, although optional, could be an added protection; hand hygiene; ventilation, especially in crowded spaces with strangers; adequate rest; and vaccination. He also reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated so we can slowly go back to normal.

These things will not just help combat the spread of the virus, but will also boost our immunity to protect us from other diseases, he added.

Buensalido is also a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital and the chair for Infection Prevention and Control at the Asian Hospital.

Buensalido likened the body’s immune system to soldiers that need the right weapons, proper training, and adequate support to defeat the enemy, just like how our immune system needs proper nutrition in order to protect our bodies from diseases, like COVID-19.

Dr. Maricar Esculto-Khan, an Internist-Nutritionist at the Makati Medical Center, stressed that in order for our immune system to function well, it has to be properly nourished. She also discussed the importance of proper diet in nourishing the body.

She said our bodies need “go foods that give energy, grow foods that build up our bodies and glow foods like vitamins which regulate and maintain our bodies by protecting our cells.

Vitamins is a big group of nutrients, subdivided into water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.

B-complex vitamins, folic acid and vitamin C are among the water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K, on the other hand, are fat-soluble vitamins.

It is noted that during the pandemic, there has been an inclination toward strengthening the body through vitamins, particularly those with Zinc.

Dr. Naheeda Mustofa, an Internist-Nutritionist at the Asian Hospital, said that Vitamin C and Zinc became some of the most popular vitamins during the onset of the pandemic. But aside from Vitamin C and Zinc, Mustofa said that a good balance of both water- and fat-soluble vitamins makes for a good immune system. She added that people sometimes focus on some micronutrients that they tend to forget other micronutrients.

Buensalido also warned people about believing everything they read online. He encouraged people to check and double-check the information and to always believe reputable sources.

All three doctors also reminded people to always get in touch with their doctors to be sure about their health and wellness.

This webinar is the first episode of the discussion series “Dok, Okay Ba ‘To?” through the efforts of the Unilab Vitamins Division, particularly Conzace, Enervon, and Forti-D.

“Episode 2: Vitamin D, the Vitamin of the Decade” is set to go live on Saturday, November 27, via FB Live.