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Can carrots, vitamin C, black seed, honey, exercise provide cure for COVID-19?

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The claim by the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, last Monday that he fought the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 with carrots (Daucus carota), vitamin C and black seed (Nigella sativa) oil with honey while in isolation has generated positive comments across the country.

The governor had last week announced that he was tested positive for the disease and went into isolation. But on Monday, he announced that he had become negative after a series of tests. The governor said he only made efforts to boost his immunity and used his time in isolation to regularly exercise on the treadmill.

The science behind the claim.

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Compounds from black seed inhibit COVID-19
A recent study published in the journal Chemrxiv has demonstrated how compounds from black seed inhibit COVID-19.

The study titled “Identification of Compounds from Nigella Sativa as New Potential Inhibitors of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Molecular Docking Study” was conducted by Salim Bouchentouf Noureddine Missoum.

The study noted: “The spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of specific treatment and the urgent situation requires use of all resources to remedy this scourge. In the present study, using molecular docking, we identify new probable inhibitors of COVID-19 by molecules from Nigella sativa L, which is highly reputed healing herb in North African societies and both Islamic and Christian traditions. The discovery of the Mpro protease structure in COVID-19 provides a great opportunity to identify potential drug candidates for treatment. Focusing on the main proteases in CoVs (3CLpro/Mpro) (PDB ID 6LU7 and 2GTB); docking of compounds from Nigella Sativa and drugs under clinical test was performed using Molecular Operating Environment software (MOE).

“Nigelledine docked into 6LU7 active site gives energy complex about -6.29734373 Kcal/mol which is close to the energy score given by chloroquine (-6.2930522 Kcal/mol) and better than energy score given by hydroxychloroquine (-5.57386112 Kcal/mol) and favipiravir (-4.23310471 kcal/mol). Docking into 2GTB active site showed that α- Hederin gives energy score about-6.50204802 kcal/mol which is better energy score given by chloroquine (-6.20844936 kcal/mol), hydroxychloroquine (-5.51465893 kcal/mol)) and favipiravir (-4.12183571kcal/mol). Nigellidine and α- Hederin appeared to have the best potential to act as COVID-19 treatment. Further, researches are necessary to testify medicinal use of identified and to encourage preventive use of Nigella Sativa against coronavirus infection.”

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Black seed, honey mix cure for HIV
The Guardian had on July 28, 2016, published a study that herbal mixture made predominantly with the black seed (Nigella sativa) and honey could provide the much sought after cure for the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

A study by researchers from the University of Ibadan (UI)/University College Hospital (UCH), published in Journal of Herbal Medicine concluded: “This study concluded that the herbal remedy (α-Zam/Nigella sativa and honey) is effective in the treatment of HIV infection based on a significant improvement in both the clinical features and laboratory results of HIV infection. However, a longer follow-up is suggested to ensure that the observed improvement is sustained. In addition, a large population study is needed to confirm our observation in this cohort of people.”

The study is titled “Effectiveness of a herbal remedy in six HIV patients in Nigeria.” The team of researchers include Dr. Onifade Abdulfattah Adekunle, of the Immunology Unit, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan; Jewell AP from India, and Dr. Adedeji WA.

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Commonly called black seed, Nigella sativa belongs to the plant family Ranunculaceae. It is a widely used medicinal plant throughout the world. It is very popular in various traditional systems of medicine like Unani and Tibb, Ayurveda and Siddha. Can vitamin C prevent and treat coronavirus?

In a mad dash to discover an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus, doctors and scientists are testing existing antivirals, antimalarials, monoclonal antibodies, and other medications against COVID-19. Now Chinese teams are adding vitamin C to the list of potential therapies.

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

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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 MedicineNet author William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR. 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.
Carrot slashes breast cancer risk by 60%

Also, researchers had shown that eating carrots regularly could slash a woman’s chances of developing certain types of breast cancer by up to 60 per cent.

According to results of a research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who ate foods packed with beta-carotene – like carrots and peppers – were between 40 and 60 per cent less likely to develop oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancers.

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Other fruits and vegetables rich in a pigment called beta-carotene – such as spinach, red peppers and mangoes – have the same effect.

Beta-carotene is a naturally occurring chemical, which gives plant foods their bright colours.
Regular physical activity boosts immunity against COVID-19

Engaging in regular physical activity is a great way to help manage stress and strengthen your immune system

In fact, research shows that “fit individuals” — defined as those who partake in regular physical activity — have a lower incidence of infection compared to inactive and sedentary individuals. What is more, being physically active may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases that could further weaken your immune system, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

How does exercise help? For one, physical activity helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing your chances of getting a cold, flu or other illness. Exercise also reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, explained MaryAnn Browning, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of Browningsfitness. Lower levels of stress hormones may protect against illness.

“Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins — chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators,” Browning said.

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