imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

Of bananas and quarantining the mouth

Bananas for COVID-19? Ha ha ha!

Poor netizens. A social media post has sent again many netizens crumbling for bananas as group chats and messengers are passed these days saying: “Thank you, Lord. Saging lang pala ang katapat ng COVID-19!” They said they have read this somewhere that bananas are good to combat COVID-19, and then the message was shared and shared. The result? People went panic buying for bananas, threatening the market to run out of bananas and sending its price to kingdom come!

Rappler reports that the claim started with a video supposedly coming from a research by scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia which says: “Bananas are one of the most popular fruits worldwide. People who follow a high fiber diet have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Bananas contain water and fiber, both of which promote regularity and encourage digestive health. Research made by scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia have proven that bananas improve your immune system due to the super source of vitamins B-6 and helps prevent coronavirus. Having a banana a day keeps the coronavirus away.”

Now, here come the facts, fellas.

The University of Queensland dismissed the claim as false. In an email to Rappler, the university’s communication team said: “The video is fake and we would strongly discourage people from sharing this information. We would suggest you share your concerns with the social media platforms.”

The video spliced together clips from two separate news reports. One clip was from an ABC News Australia report about University of Queensland scientists’ efforts to develop a vaccine for the new strain of coronavirus, while the other was from a Wall Street Journal report.

Moreover, while there have been efforts in different parts of the world to develop a vaccine, the World Health

Organization (WHO) said in its COVID-19 myth busters page that there is still “no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.” Bananas are indeed a good source of vitamin B-6, but there is no proof that they alone can boost one’s immune system and prevent the disease caused by coronavirus.

The Health Department was also quick to dismiss this claim. Health spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire said there is no scientific basis to prove that bananas can indeed fight the dreaded virus.

“Ang saging, sinasabi nila it can help prevent COVID-19. Wala pang ebidensya, wala pang masusing pag-aaral na makapagbibigay ng hard science o ebidensya para sabihin na bananas will prevent the transmission of COVID-19 or prevent a person from having COVID-19,” she said.

“Hindi po proven na makakatulong ang saging para labanan ang Covid,” Dr. Raymond John Naguit, Akbayan Youth chairman, also said.

He added that that while bananas can help improve the immune system, so can other fruits.

“Of course yung mga prutas na mayaman sa vitamins can be of big help na palakasin ang immune system. Pero hindi siya pwedeng i-generalize, kasi alam natin na maraming sugar ang saging na pwedeng maka-apekto sa may diabetes, so hindi ko siya gagawin as general recommendation para sa lahat,” he added.

What can bananas do to health, fellas?

Bananas are a great portable source of quick energy and are rich in potassium, which is needed to regulate nerves, heartbeat and, especially, blood pressure. Diets rich in potassium and magnesium (which are also found in bananas) can reduce the risk of stroke

As a super source of vitamin B-6, bananas can also aid your immune system, help form red blood cells, ensure a well-functioning nervous system, and assist protein metabolism. One medium banana, which is 7 to 8 inches long, has 2 percent of the recommended daily intake of five of the 11 nutrients: iron, zinc, vitamin A, selenium and protein. It also provides larger amounts of four other nutrients essential to a normal immune response.

Can Vitamin C help?

Dr. Zhi Yong Peng of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University recently registered a phase 2 clinical trial to test the efficacy of vitamin C infusions for the treatment of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) associated with the novel coronavirus.

The study description notes that vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help prevent cytokine-induced damage to the lungs. Cytokines are small proteins released by cells, which trigger inflammation and respond to infections, according to Medicine Net author William C. Shiel Jr. Severe lung inflammation with COVID-19 may result in respiratory distress and even death.

The clinical trial description states that vitamin C reduces the inflammatory response, and both prevents and shortens the duration of the common cold. The description further states that insufficient vitamin C is related to an increased risk and severity of influenza infections. The team aims to see if vitamin C has similar effects against viral pneumonia associated with COVID-19.

However not all experts agree. Carol Der Sarkissian, MD states, “Your immune system does need vitamin C to work right. It may make it go away faster or not feel as bad – if you were taking it before you got sick.”

So, what’s the best for COVID protection, fellas?

Obey the DOH’s pieces of advice: wash hands often, use alcohol and sanitizers while on the go, eat lots of fruits and vegetables to boost the immune system, avoid crowded areas, observe social distancing, wear face mask, cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing and above all, let’s be one with the government in the observance of the enhanced community quarantine.

Let’s refrain from spreading fake news or damaging statements that will hinder our fight against COVID-19. Senator Bong Go says it best: “In this time of crisis, if you cannot help, just quarantine your mouth!”