Foods That Support Immune Health
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy veggies like spinach and kale have vitamin C which helps support the immune system.
Eat fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel to increase your vitamin D intake.
Oysters, Red Meat and Poultry
Foods like oysters, red meat and poultry are all good sources of zinc.
Oranges and other citrus fruits contain vitamin C for immune support.
Fresh fruits like strawberries and cantaloupe are a great source of vitamin C.
Fortified grains, juices, or dairy
Breakfast cereals, orange juice, and milk products are often fortified with vitamin D and other good-for-you ingredients to help support your immune system.
Do Vitamin Or Herbal Supplements Help
A deficiency of single nutrients can alter the bodys immune response. Animal studies have found that deficiencies in zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E can alter immune responses. These nutrients help the immune system in several ways: working as an antioxidant to protect healthy cells, supporting growth and activity of immune cells, and producing antibodies. Epidemiological studies find that those who are poorly nourished are at greater risk of bacterial, viral, and other infections.
Spotlight on vitamin D
Eating a good quality diet, as depicted by the Healthy Eating Plate, can prevent deficiencies in these nutrients. However, there are certain populations and situations in which one cannot always eat a variety of nutritious foods, or who have increased nutrient needs. In these cases a vitamin and mineral supplement may help to fill nutritional gaps. Studies have shown that vitamin supplementation can improve immune responses in these groups. Low-income households, pregnant and lactating women, infants and toddlers, and the critically ill are examples of groups at risk.
Are Probiotics Safe For Your Immune System
There are some situations where beneficial bacteria can post a threat to the host
Noreen emailed to ask Could you do a podcast on probiotic foods that one should avoid if one has a compromised immune system? Is commercial yogurt ok since its pasteurized? What about kombucha? Homemade sauerkraut, pickles, hot sauces?
Before I answer Noreens questions, lets talk about how probiotic bacteria might affect the immune system.
One of the immune systems jobs is to protect us from harmful bacterial. And the beneficial organisms that we refer to as probiotics contribute to this effort in a number of ways. In the gut, a robust population of beneficial bacteria can help crowd out harmful bacteria, making it harder for them to thrive. In addition, probiotic bacteria can influence the activity of our own immune cells, regulating inflammation, barrier function, and cell-to-cell signaling.
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Healthy Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System
Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system working properly. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
- Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body.
Best Probiotic For Leaky Gut
The intestinal lining is not a passive, inert barrier but rather a dynamic, selective filter. Lining the gut are epithelial cells whose cell membranes fuse together to form protein complexes called tight junctions. The tight junctions serve as doormen: their job is to discern between what belongs inside and what doesnt. In a perfect world, these tight junctions keep out pathogens, antigens, and toxins while admitting nutrients and water. But its not a perfect world, and sometimes the intestinal tight junctions are asleep at the post. Sometimes the gut is leaky.
Addressing leaky gut isnt as simple as popping a few pills. Defeating it requires a multi-pronged approach, including sleep, diet, exercise, sun, and all the other regular lifestyle pieces Ive covered in previous posts. But certain probiotic strains really do seem to help. In children with atopic dermatitis, for example, L. rhamnosus and L. reuteri supplements reduce leaky gut and improve symptoms.4 L. rhamnosus also helps restore the gut barrier in kids with acute gastroenteritis.5 And in rats with leaky gut, yogurt improves gut barrier function.6 We arent rats, but yogurt is a safe bet .
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Supplements To Boost Immune System:
Fortify your immune system’s defences by making sure you’re getting an adequate amount of the following supplements:
Selenium deficiency is associated with impaired immune function, says Marogy. ‘People with inadequate levels of selenium have been shown to have lesser amounts of T-cells and a reduced ability to respond to viral infections,’ she says. ‘Selenium also plays a role in the production of cytokines molecules that play an important role in coordinating the immune system.’
When people are low in zinc, the immune response is the first to suffer and there is a greater risk of oxidative stress and inflammation.
‘Zinc is particularly important when it comes to warding off infections as we age, owing to the role it plays in the health of the thymus gland which produces infection-killing T-cells,’ says Marogy.
Food sources include seafood, pork and beans.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
The most important omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy immune system are DHA and EPA . They assist in reducing inflammation and promoting healing after any bacteria and viruses have been neutralised.
Natural dietary sources are limited to oily fish and seafood, so supplements containing fish oil or algae are important alternatives if you dont eat fish regularly.
How Do Probiotics Help The Immune System
While we may not think of the immune system as living in the belly, 70 to 80% of our immune system is located in the gut, integrative gastroenterologist , explains. So When you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, or dysbiosis , it can negatively affect your overall immune system, integrative physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., tells mindbodygreen.
Thats where probiotics come in. Probiotics are live microorganisms that have positive health benefits on the gut microbiome when consumed.
But not all probiotics are created equal. Some strains support the immune system more effectively than others , so be sure to look at the label before purchasing.
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Howto Grocery Shop To Boost Your Immunity
A simple rule can help youwhen choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmersmarket: The more colorful the fruits and vegetables are, the better.
Try to eat a wide variety of foods, and aim to eat fruit and vegetables from every color of the rainbow, Zumpano says. Your plate will be more enticing to look at, and you will ensure that youre getting as many health-boosting vitamins and nutrients as possible.
Its also important to knowthat you build a strong immune system by maintaining healthy eating habitsover time. You cant eat four oranges at breakfast and expect to be protectedthat day against catching a cold.
Vitamin D And Protective Immunity
Vitamin D has been used to treat infections such as tuberculosis before the advent of effective antibiotics. Tuberculosis patients were sent to sanatoriums where treatment included exposure to sunlight which was thought to directly kill the tuberculosis. Cod liver oil, a rich source of vitamin D has also been employed as a treatment for tuberculosis as well as for general increased protection from infections.
Results of studies looking at potential benefits of administering vitamin D to decrease infection have not been consistent, most likely secondary to a number of methodologic concerns. One recent well-designed prospective, double blind placebo study using an objective outcome, nasopharyngeal swab culture , and a therapeutic dose of vitamin D showed that vitamin D administration resulted in a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of influenza infection.
The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its effects on the innate immune system. It is known that macrophages recognize lipopolysacharide LPS, a surrogate for bacterial infection, through toll like receptors . Engagement of TLRs leads to a cascade of events that produce peptides with potent bacterialcidal activity such as cathelocidin and beta defensin 4. These peptides colocalize within phagosomes with injested bacteria where they disrupt bacterial cell membranes and have potent anti-microbacterial activity .
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Infectious Diseases In Children
Infectious diseases in children were once a global threat . Recent research has suggested a close correlation between a deficiency of micronutrients and infectious diseases spread through the respiratory and digestive systems in children . Meanwhile, many infections result in a decrease in systemic VitA levels as a result of infection-induced anorexia and decreased VitA absorption from the intestine . VitA may also be lost in substantial amounts in the urine during infection . As mentioned above, VitA plays a crucial role in the establishment and maintenance of the human immune system. More importantly, VitA has demonstrated a therapeutic effect, to some extent, in diseases transmitted through the respiratory system, such as pneumonia and measles in children, or in contagious digestive diseases in children, such as infantile diarrhea and hand, foot, and mouth disease . The World Health Organization has suggested that, in less developed countries, a child between 6 months and 5-years-old should be supplemented with high doses of VitA to prevent and cure VitA deficiency-related diseases, and reduce the incidence and mortality rate of these diseases in children .
Strategies To Stay Healthy
So, if you can’t help your immune system by taking an over-the-counter potion or pill, what can you do to cut down on illness this winter? Differences between people who rarely get sick and those who are sick all the time may have more to do with habits than immune function, says Starnbach. Here are some tips that might help.
Clean your hands. While some germs are airborne, more often than not, illness occurs after you touch a contaminated surface, says Starnbach. Most often germs move from your hands into your eyes, nose, or mouth, so also make an effort not to touch your face.
Keep your body in top shape. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help keep your body and your immune system working well.
Manage stress. Research has shown that high stress levels may impair the immune system. So whenever possible, try to be aware of your stress levels and work to lower them when they get too high.
Get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated against the flu and other diseases stimulates the immune system to protect against illness. Vaccines teach the immune system to recognize specific pathogens and prepare them to mount a defense if they are encountered.
The bottom line is that aside from vaccines, there’s really nothing you can take to improve your immune system, so it’s probably best to avoid pills and potions that make those types of claims.
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Best Supplements To Boost Immune System Health
Your immune system is the courageous army that protects your body from outside invaders. It is composed of cells, tissues, organs, and chemicals. All of these elements work together to fight off bacteria, viruses, and toxins. This is why strengthening your immune health can prevent illnesses and diseases.
In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can also take supplements to build a healthy immune system. Here are the 6 best supplements to support your bodys natural defenses.
The Science Behind Probiotics And Immunity
The Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria species of probiotics are among the most well-researched microorganisms to date. These little guys are found in fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi.
Once inside the body, probiotics interact with receptors on the intestinal cells and modulate both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Probiotics also strengthen the lining of the gut, which protects the GI tract from harm by bad bugs. These good bacteria also boost immunity by decreasing inflammation in the body.
Probiotics are so powerful that they may even prevent and help treat some inflammatory bowel disorders, gastrointestinal infections and allergic responses. Just remember: the benefits of probiotics to the immune system depend on the specific strain, dose, route, and frequency of delivery.
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Vita Affects Cell Differentiation Maturity And Immunological Function In Innate Immunity
Retinoid acid plays crucial roles in the regulation of the differentiation, maturation, and function of cells of the innate immune system. Innate immune cells are comprised of macrophages and neutrophils, which initiate immediate responses to pathogen invasion through phagocytosis and activation of natural killer T cells which perform immunoregulatory functions through cytotoxic activity . There is a report that shows that VitA is essential for the proper development and differentiation of colonic CD169+ macrophages . Macrophages mainly include M1 macrophages secreting proinflammatory cytokines and M2 macrophages expressing anti-inflammatory factors. ATRA inhibits inflammatory reactions by inducing monocyte differentiation toward the macrophage lineage while inhibiting the release of an inflammatory factors from macrophages, thus inducing M1 macrophages in the bone marrow to transform into M2 macrophages . ATRA acts on RAR in the nucleus of neutrophils, inducing neutrophil differentiation and heterogeneity through activation of the mTOR signaling pathway. This pathway enhances neutrophil extracellular traps and cytotoxicity, allowing for efficient killing of multiple tumor cells . By downregulating the expression level of IFN-Î³ and upregulating the secretion of IL-5, RA plays a regulatory role in the early differentiation stage of natural killer T cells .
Vitamin Supplements To Boost Your Immune System
No supplement will cure or prevent the disease. No research has confirmed the use of any supplements to protect against COVID-19 specifically, however research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances can improve immune response and give you a better chance if you do catch the virus.
Please note that some supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. Some may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions. If in doubt, you may check with the community pharmacist before purchasing.
At BHWC we are recommending our patients to take the following supplements:
- Vitamin C 1,000 mg od
- Vitamin D 2000-4000IU daily or 50-100mg daily
- Multivitamin this should contain B12, B6 and Magnesium
- Zinc 9.5mg elemental zinc for men & 7mg elemental zinc for womenThese can be purchased from health stores / grocery stores or pharmacies.
Examples of brands which contain these vitamins are Redoxon, Vitabiotics Ultra, Haliborange.
Vitamin A: Playing an important role in supporting T Cells, which are a type of white blood cell that help identify pathogens , vitamin A in can be found in all kinds of foods such as: liver, whole milk, cheese which contain retinol preformed vitamin A, and dark green leafy vegetables and orange-coloured fruits and vegetables, which contain beta carotenes that the body converts to vitamin A.
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Support Your Immune System With Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a known antioxidant, is found in some of the healthiest foods on the planet, and seems to be good for immune health too. Eating vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in normal quantities has no apparent downside. And taking vitamin C supplements may have some positive benefits, though there is more to learn.
Whether or not supplemental vitamin C is beneficial in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 is an open question. But theres little doubt that eating a diet thats abundant in vitamin C-rich foods is good for your health pandemic or no pandemic.
Can Probiotics Help The Immune System
Many have touted probiotics, or âgood bacteria,â as another natural way to boost immunity. We know that they play a key role in helping maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, and new research supports the idea that they have beneficial effects on immunity.
For example, one study from 2020 â carried out, it must be noted, by a company that produces probiotics â found that probiotic use may reduce the incidence and duration of upper respiratory infections.
The authors call for more research to establish a relationship between probiotics and the immune system.
Many people are taking one or a combination of supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. But there is not enough data to support the use of any vitamin, herb, or other supplement to treat or prevent this illness.
Research does suggest that supplementation with vitamins and minerals can be a low-cost way to support optimal immune function.
Even supplementation with vitamins C and D above the current RDAs may be beneficial to the immune system, as long as dosages stay below the recommended safety limits.
Many supplements can interact with medications and other supplements. And combining different supplements can also lead to very high amounts of certain nutrients in the body, which can have potentially severe side effects.
Probiotics are safe for
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Are There Side Effects Of Immunity Vitamin Supplements
As immunity supplements differ in their formulas, its hard to list potential side effects because each product will cause a different reaction in each person.
Its always best to consult your doctor before starting a new supplement, especially if you are already taking medication, have allergies or are pregnant / breastfeeding.
For example, pregnant women need to be careful of how much vitamin A they consume.
Then, once you have the thumbs up you can introduce the supplement slowly, monitoring for any side effects like: