As many parts of the world are moving towards living with COVID-19, all the more we need to strengthen our immunity so that we can put one more step forward to normalcy. While social distancing and proper hygiene practices can protect us from COVID-19, another area where we have absolute control is enhancing our immunity system.
In my recent Singapore-South Korea VTL trip, I realised that when we are travelling overseas, it is impossible to always avoid crowded places. The reality is, we can’t possibly travel to a new (or favourite) city and stay in a hotel room most of the time. That’s where our immunity needs to be strengthened. I am not saying that taking supplements will cure and prevent you from the diseases, but keeping our immune system healthy 24/7 is key to enhancing our defence system against viruses. In this blog post, I am sharing the supplement products I brought to my VTL trip to boost my immunity.
Before we start, I’d like to again, stress that supplements are not medicine. While it does enhance your health condition and lower your risk of certain diseases, it should not be a substitute for medicine and proper medical support.
If you have an existing medical condition, please seek your healthcare provider’s instructions before taking any supplements.
Here are the 6 supplement products I take to boost my immunity, especially when I am travelling to South Korea via VTL:
1. Avance LB-30
I have had a weak stomach since young. As I grow older, to aid in my bowel movement and better digestion, I started taking probiotics. But not all probiotics are the same.
There are three levels of probiotic identification starting with the genus name (such as Lactobacillus), followed by a species name (such as Paracasei) and lastly a strain name (such as GMNL-133). A strain gives the probiotic its specific function, making it more effective at supporting the body in a specific way.
Let me quote this from one of the training sessions I attended: Strain names are important as clinical studies found probiotics available on one strain cannot be applied to another strain. This means that some strains are stronger than others, even though they may share the same genus and species family. For example, GMNL-133 is different from GMNL-32 though they may both share the same genus and species family – Lactobacillus Paracasei. LB-30 is made of five specific strains that are proven effective in supporting immune and digestive health.
I have been taking LB-30 for about 1.5 years now and not only I am having a smooth bowel movement daily, but I also see improvement in my gut health. I can take a moderate amount of milk without the urge to go toilet immediately! (I used to have mild lactose intolerance and whenever I drink a latte, I would have to make sure there is a toilet nearby but I no longer have this issue now!)
When you are travelling, be it flying on a plane, driving on the open road or exploring a new city, sticking to your normal healthy diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins isn’t always a priority or even a possibility. There is always a long list of places we want to go and the food we want to try. Not drinking enough water, stress from travelling (especially the VTL trips), and the food we eat can trigger constipation and lead to abdominal pain, discomfort, gas and bloating. This effective probiotic product will come in handy when you are on the go!
2. Avance SangoCal
As we all know, keeping our body less “acidic” is crucial for body immunity and general defence to diseases and oxidation. An acidic blood and body fluids create the ideal host environment for bacteria, viruses and fungi, which in accumulated amounts can lead to illnesses and health conditions. And when we are travelling, it is not always easy to keep a healthy diet. To combat this and help maintain a less acidic body, I throw one sachet of SangoCal in my drinking water daily whenever I am travelling.
SangoCal consists of natural Okinawan coral sand. It is harvested from the coastal waters of Okinawa and highly purified to replicate the beneficial qualities of Okinawan water in regular drinking water. It helps to keep the drinking water at an Alkaline pH level, removes the odour of chlorine, and helps to replenish other minerals. It is packed in one mini tube for easy consumption especially when you are travelling. Just throw it into your water bottle and voila!
3. Avance V-Propolis
Some of you may not be familiar with Propolis. It is a sticky natural resin collected from tree barks and leaves by worker bees to protect their hives against invading bacterial, fungal and viral infections. The bees use propolis to seal the entrance of their hives. It works as a sterilising agent against bacterial and viral infections as the bee come in and out of the hive. It also functions as a natural sterilizer by protecting the inside of the hive from outside contaminants (dust particles and parasites). All in all, propolis contains strong antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties, and have the ability to seal up the harmful infection and prevent it from spreading.
When I was young, my mom would always feed me propolis when I have slight respiratory symptoms and usually the symptoms would go away the next day. However, the propolis I had back then tasted really awful. It has an unpleasantly pungent kick that I hated. While with Avance V-Propolis, it tastes like honey so I don’t foresee feeding your kids propolis an issue! You can mix it with water, or just pump the liquid directly to your mouth.
I brought a bottle of Avance V-Propolis with me to my recent VTL trip. In between the trip there were a few times I got a faint sore throat and felt the “heatiness” or have a runny nose and I would spam the propolis and feel better almost quite instantly! Unfortunately, Avance V-Propolis is out of stock in Singapore. I am surviving on my last stash, and I do hope BWL will restock them soonest!
4. Avance Chewable Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral that performs many functions in the body. It is the 2nd most abundant trace mineral in our bodies after iron. Maintaining an adequate amount of Zinc helps to boost our immune function, and also improve our body’s natural resistance. Hence it is all the more important to keep a sufficient zinc level in our body when we are travelling because we will be out and about and there will be more people we will come in contact with because we are exploring the new city the entire day!
Zinc support cell renewals and growth, hence is widely reputed to be an important healing nutrient. It speeds up recovery through cell repair and tissue renewal. This allows our wounds to heal faster, and it is also known to help to shorten recovery time for common cold symptoms.
One thing that stresses us the most when we are travelling during COVID is the PCR test. For the SG-KR VTL trip, we were required to do a mid-trip PCR on our 7th-day post-arrival to Incheon. Imagine catching a cold on your 6th-day and stressing yourself the entire day waiting for your 7th-day PCR? This is definitely not what we signed up for. So what I would suggest is to take Avance Chewable Zinc whenever you are feeling a little under the weather.
5. Avance ImmuGain
Most mothers would know about “Colostrum”, the first form of milk produced by mammals (including humans) following the delivery of a newborn. Colostrum provides all the nutrients and fluid that your newborn needs in the early days, as well as many substances, to protect your baby against infections. It’s very nutritious and contains high levels of antibodies which are proteins that fight infections and bacteria.
Most colostrum supplements are made from the colostrum of cow, which we called the Bovine colostrum. It is very similar to human colostrum, rich in minerals, vitamins, good proteins and digestive enzymes. Research has shown that it may promote immunity, fight infection, and improve gut health.
Avance’s ImmuGain is a Bovine colostrum supplement that is collected only from pasture-fed cows in New Zealand. Hence it is free from hormones, pesticides and antibiotics. It is also rich in Immunoglobulin G (IgG), an antibody that makes up a major component in our immune system. Loading up our body with IgG helps strengthen our immunity, and it also helps to reduce allergies (especially food allergies) and various hypersensitivity reactions. I take two tablets every morning before meals every day to strengthen my immunity!
6. Optional: Avance Vitamin C
I guess this is a no brainer. All Asian kids grow up knowing that when you are under the weather, pop a Vitamin C tablet. It helps to support our body’s immune functions to fight minor infections and prevent common cold, flu and cough, and speed up the recovery process. It is also a great source of vitamin to build up healthy gums and teeth.
HOW DO I EAT THESE SUPPLEMENTS?
The 6 items above are what I’d usually bring with me when I am travelling. Given the sky-high confirmed cases reported daily when I was in South Korea, I took LB-30, SangoCal and ImmuGain on a daily basis to strengthen my immunity. The rest were taken when I felt that I need an immunity boost. I am still taking the 3 supplements mentioned here (LB-30, SangoCal, ImmuGain) on a daily basis even when I am back home.
- Avance LB-30 — Daily
I take one sachet of LB-30 every morning right after I wake up. Once consumed the probiotics, I’d usually go get prepared and take my breakfast 30 mins++ after taking the probiotics. It helps to digest and pass the toxic, keeping my body light and healthy.
- Avance SangoCal — Daily
I’d throw 1 sachet into my water tumbler and drink the SangoCal infused water throughout the day. Regardless of whether I am travelling or in Singapore, I want to maintain my body alkaline level so that it won’t be the ideal host environment for infectious viruses.
- Avance V-Propolis — When Needed
I’d only pop a syringe of propolis when I feel a faint sore throat. My tip is to quickly take 1 syringe of V-Propolis before these faint symptoms developed into something more serious. It usually works!
- Avance Chewable Zinc — When Needed
I usually take this when I am down with a common cold or flu, and I want a speedy recovery (because I don’t want to miss the itinerary the next day). During one of the nights in Seoul when my husband was having a fever, he pop a panadol followed by Chewable Zinc and felt so much better the next morning!
- Avance ImmuGain — Daily
I take 2 tablets in the morning, before or after my breakfast. You may also take this after lunch.
- Avance Vitamin C — When Needed
I take this when I am feeling a little under the weather. It works as an immunity booster for me.
There’s no right or wrong in taking supplements. All in all, if you’re travelling and keen to take some supplements to help in boosting your immunity, a few key aspects are: Drink plenty of water, and if possible, drink good water to keep your body at an alkaline pH level. And make sure that you poop daily. Take the right supplement when it is needed.
Again, I am not advocating totally skipping healthy food intake and “just take supplements”. After all, there is a reason why these health products are called “supplements” because they can never replace a balanced, healthy diet. What I am saying is with our passion and love for hawker food, the majority of us are not taking enough good oil, good fibre and antioxidants. Some of us may also be skipping too much carbs than we should which affect our body from functioning properly.
Making healthy lifestyle choices by consuming balanced and nutritious diets, getting enough sleep and exercising are the most important ways to boost your immune system. Supplements are an enhancement, especially in times like this. 🙂
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