NewsX was recently joined by a power-packed panel of medical experts from across the country to decode the issues concerning the health scenario in the country and NewsX tried to explore through a special show “Holistic Wellness Week: The Power of Protein”, supported by USSEC that how protein is an integral part of a healthy diet.

Protein helps in enhancing the muscles and bones of the body, not to mention the immunity granted by it. As such, protein plays a pivotal role in fitness while experts believe that one of its richest sources is poultry.

The panel included Dr SK Sarin– the director of ILBS, Dr Ashok Seth– the chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Dr MC Mishra– former AIIMS director & VC at MG University, and Dr Romel Tickoo– Head, Internal Medicine at Max Hospital.

The director of ILBS, Dr SK Sarin started by addressing the ongoing coronavirus crisis and sharing an update on the much-awaited Coronavirus vaccine, he said, “World today is like a village where we all the country people live together, whatever happens in India is reflected immediately overseas and whatever happens in the other countries is smelled, sensed and analysed by everyone across the world. So the developments all over the world have been rather exceptionally fast, the UK had taken the step with great wisdom of approving this Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which is an MRNA based vaccine, so I think it’s remarkable progress for us.”

Joining in the conversation, the chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Dr Ashok Seth said, “There’s not going to be one vaccine which is best for India, that’s taken for good because we have a 1.2 billion population, we will require a number of vaccines and that is the reason why the government has actually promoted research into a number of vaccines which are going through various phases of studies. The important crux of the matter is that it’s not just a variety of vaccines but it also got to be cost-effective, safe and meet the logistics of vaccinating a vast number of people.”

Giving a background on the point of discussion, former AIIMS director Dr MC Mishra said, “About 240 vaccine candidates are in development, protein sub-unit i.e., the spike protein is being used by 76 of them and 14 are in the clinical trial, viral vector- adenovirus are 52 in making, 8 are in clinical trials, DNA & RNA- 50 are in making, 11 are in clinical trials, inactivated virus which was the usual norm in the previous vaccine developments, 14 are in development, 6 in clinal trials, virus-like particles – 13 and 1. Then live attenuated which again was very common in yesteryears. So you can imagine that technology has been given away and why this has taken significantly lesser time to develop is because if you look at vaccine development timeline, it used to take 10-15 years.”

Head of Internal Medicine at Max Hospital, Dr Romel Tickoo said that India has done tremendously well. “Look at the global scenario, look at the US, they are having more than 2 lakh cases a day even now, and look at what happened to Europe when it all started. In the US, Brazil, they’re still having numbers but if we look at India, India has done pretty well and there’s a declining trend for sure. If you look at the last two weeks, numbers have definitely gone down. Look at our economic resources, look at our infrastructure, we can’t compare ourselves with the EU (European Union), the US and the UK but we have done pretty well. Whether it was the decision about the lockdown, our government was very decisive and quick which all worked for us. At the same time, the government was very proactive whether it was the ramping up of the infrastructure, increasing the ICU beds,  manufacturing the kits or involving more and more labs, we have all done it. Imagine a country like India, we are still at number 2 and we have done pretty well. Look at the mortality rate- excellent!,” said Dr Tickoo.

Touching upon the significance of building one’s immunity, Dr Sarin said, “I am a strong proponent of having good hygiene, good health and a regular exercise. I am not sure about any amount of food because according to me what you need is an immunity around your neck and throat area, the nasal vaccines are very good. I would recommend Vitamin C, Vitamin D, immune modulator Zinc and Magnesium for immunity. The biggest immunity is by your mask, don’t take it out.”

Dr Sarin further said that a system needs to be developed where people can report side effects. “We need a mobile network, let’s say 5 million people get a vaccine, how will you get the side effects? We must have a system in place before massive vaccination,” said Dr Sarin.

Talking further on immunity, Dr Ashok Seth said, “You have to have a healthy living, there’s actually data for it that if you actually eat healthy, which means a lot of fruits and vegetables, that gives you good immunity.  If you exercise regularly, that gives you good immunity as it protects you from infections. You also have to have good mental well-being.”

He further said that less of alcohol, more of vegetables and nutritious products, good exercise, good mental well-being, remaining positive are ingredients to fight any disease. He said that protein is a very integral part of the diet, it is needed for ensuring your well-being. “I think it’s a combination of things which increases the immunity. You can’t be drinking heavily every night and expect your immunity to be good,” said Dr Seth.

Highlighting the power of protein, Dr Romel Tickoo said that any kind of protein whether its lean protein will help build immunity. He added, “You can’t be banking on one diet and one advice I would want to give people is, don’t go for a fad diet, there’s too much of fad diet thing going on whether its keto diet or paleo diet. It’s just having fats to burn your fats but it leads to more complications. Immunity is not just about the diet, its a holistic thing, you have to work on your immunity through your diet, exercise, good sleep – I would say in these days people don’t get 8-9 hours of sleep which hampers your immunity and too much of alcohol, smoking. Smoking- you just have to give it up, there are so many patients who land in trouble, whether it’s their lungs or it’s their hearts because of smoking and regular medical checks are very important but it doesn’t happen in India. Every 3 months, you should have one family physician with whom you exchange notes. Majority of the population in India is vegetarian, they lack in vitamin B12 and vitamin D and those vitamins are important. I have not studied Ayurveda but I’m a big fan of it as I have learned from the experiences of my patients. So it has to be holistic and it has to be a work-life balance, people are too stressed, too much work, not giving importance to their families.”

Watch the show telecast here: