Coronavirus: Expert on claims 'orange juice protects from virus'
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GP Dr Gill Jenkins said: “It’s the key nutrients and bioactives in orange juice that make it a convenient and natural tool for lowering, or even avoiding, inflammation which contributes to optimal immune health.” One glass of the popular fruit juice is enough to fulfil one of the NHS’s five-a-day criteria. “Adding a 150ml glass of pure orange juice to your daily diet can protect your immune system, according to recent research,” Dr Jenkins expanded.
“While many of us are aware of vitamin C, there are several other helpful substances in orange juice that many people have never even heard of.”
A new report – commissioned on behalf of the Fruit Juice Science Centre – revealed that 47 percent of people surveyed said they consumed orange juice for its vitamin C content.
Professor Philip Calder, co-author of the report and professor of nutritional immunology at Southampton University, added to Doctor Gill’s point.
“Vitamin C affects inflammation by regulating cytokine production, and we know that too many cytokines can wreak havoc on inflammation status,” Professor Calder stated.
“Vitamin C also helps to increase levels of antibodies by supporting the growth of T- and B-lymphocytes.”
T and B-lymhocytes are types of white blood cells that “drive and direct our immunity response”.
“According to a recent study, in the journal of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, vitamin C has a ‘potential protective and therapeutic role’ in helping to tackle Covid,” said Professor Calder.
A dietician at the Fruit Juice Centre, Doctor Carrie Ruxton added: “The two stand-out flavonoids in orange juice are hesperidin and naringenin.”
Moreover, drinking orange juice enables the flavonoids to be more efficiently absorbed by the body than it would if you were eating the fruit.
“This is because the slightly higher fibre content of whole fruits (less than 1g) slows down and inhibits polyphenol absorption,” Doctor Ruxton explained.
Meanwhile, hesperidia has been proven to have antioxidant qualities, which are beneficial to health.
In a pre-print study of a recent Montreal hospital trial, whereby patients with Covid were given hesperidin or placebo, the former supplementation was found to have “anti-Covid effects”.
Furthermore, in a placebo-controlled human trial – published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism – 500mg of hesperidin daily for three weeks improved blood concentrations of the inflammatory marker CRP.
For a reference point, one glass of orange juice is equivalent to 78mg of hesperidin.
Dr Ruxton added that to improve immune function, it’s best to up your fruit and vegetable intake to eight portions every day, which can include a glass of orange juice.
“Minimising stress, and staying away from inflammatory foods rich in saturated fats and refined carbs are some simple steps everyone can get started with,” Dr Ruxton added.
Do I have low immunity?
Doctor Nadia Hasan cautioned that if you always seem to have a cold, your immune system may be struggling to keep up.
Moreover, if your immune system is weakened, you are more likely to feel tired throughout the day.
“That’s because your body is trying to conserve energy to fuel your immune system so it can fight off germs,” explained Dr Hasan.
To improve immunity, the NHS added that you should exercise regularly and try to maintain a healthy weight.
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