11 Natural Foods That Promote Immune Health

Having a healthy immune system is vital to avoiding illness and disease – but it can also be easy for your immune system to become compromised. There is little more important than diet when it comes to the health of your body’s defense system. Food fuels the immune system with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best, and if you eat the right things, you can promote overall good immune health now and for years to come. Let’s take a look at some natural foods that promote immune health.

What foods boost your immune system naturally? 

Many nutritious foods can help you boost your immune system and keep yourself safe from outside pathogens. They include: 

1. Citrus fruits 

Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, a nutrient that helps increase white blood cells. White blood cells are vital players in the fight against pathogens. Some of the best citrus fruits you can eat if you want to improve your immune health include: 

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Clementines

The body doesn’t store vitamin C, so it’s important to incorporate fruits like these regularly into your diet. 

2. Red bell peppers

Another great way to get the vitamin C you need is through red bell peppers. Bell peppers of the red variety contain three times the amount of vitamin C as one orange. If you don’t want to eat a citrus fruit every day or need variety to get your daily needs, adding some red bell peppers to your meals is a great way to accomplish that. 

3. Broccoli 

Broccoli contains several nutrients that can keep your immune system healthy. It has vitamins E, C, and A, and antioxidants that help reduce widespread inflammation. When there is inflammation in the body, especially chronic, it can weaken your defenses. By eating more broccoli, you can gain the nutrients your body needs to fight off pathogens and keep inflammation down when you are not contending with an illness.  

4. Garlic

Garlic has been used for centuries as a flavorful addition to food and medicine. Garlic is excellent for the immune system because it contains the compound allicin. Allicin has the ability to both help the body fight off viruses and regulate the immune system for better overall functioning. 

garlic
Image by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash: Is garlic an immunity booster food? Yes! 

5. Ginger

Ginger is another food many people turn to when ill because of its medicinal properties. Ginger contains antibacterial and antiparasitic properties. The root vegetable is also a diaphoretic, which can help the body sweat out colds or cases of flu faster. Research has shown that ginger can reduce inflammation in the body and fight off oxidative stress, which can help the immune system to become better regulated. 

6. Spinach 

Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. All these nutrients can increase the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and stay better protected against disease. 

7. Yogurt 

The health of the immune system and the gut go hand in hand. Roughly 80% of all immune cells are found in the stomach, so when it is healthy, the immune system generally is, too. This is why eating yogurt regularly can promote good immune health.

Yogurt contains beneficial live bacteria that help to stimulate the cells of the immune system in the gut to fight off disease effectively. As one of the best foods for immune health, the cultures in yogurt also help to keep the gut bacteria balanced in a way that improves not only immune health, but overall bodily health. 

8. Almonds

Almonds contain high levels of vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant within the body. According to research, vitamin E is one of the best nutrients for immune health because it modulates immune function. When the immune system is regulated correctly, it responds better to harmful pathogens. 

sunflower seeds
Image by Zobia Shakar on Unsplash: What food improves immunity? 

9. Sunflower seeds 

Similar to almonds, sunflower seeds also contain high levels of vitamin E. Along with this nutrient, the seeds also contain selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B6, each of which is important to overall immune function.

Selenium acts as an antioxidant, reducing overall inflammation levels and enhancing the immune response. Phosphorous plays an essential role in immunity because of its ability to create barriers against pathogens in the body, and magnesium can strengthen the action of white blood cells. When you get enough magnesium, your immune cells can better find and destroy pathogens. 

10. Turmeric

Turmeric has long been used in the natural medicine world because of its ability to combat illness and treat various types of arthritic diseases. The substance that gives turmeric its medicinal properties is curcumin. According to research on curcumin and immunity, the spice can influence how well immune cells function. That influence helps the immune system maintain readiness for fighting off infections. 

11. Green tea 

Green tea is another immune-friendly food touted for its health benefits. Green tea contains flavonoids, which are great for regulating the immune response. The compounds help immunity because they can inhibit the activation of specific immune cells that harm how well the immune system functions. 

An antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is also found in high amounts in green tea. Research has shown that this particular antioxidant can boost the immune system.

Incorporating these foods regularly into your diet will ensure you get all the nutrients your immune system needs to keep you well protected now and in the future.  

Featured image by Bruna Branco on Unsplash

How Anxiety Can Influence Immune Function

The immune system is a vital piece of the health puzzle. It acts as the body’s defense system and has three main functions: fight outside infections, neutralize harmful substances, and ward off non-infectious diseases. Within the immune system are cells, chemicals, and organs all working together to ensure your body is ready when something threatening occurs.

The immune system can be fickle, and many things can compromise its ability to do its job. Sometimes, a simple illness can throw the immune system out of sorts. Other times it can be an internal attack. This means that things you do regularly or specific things you experience can all affect how well your immune system functions. When looking at it from an emotional standpoint, how you feel daily greatly influences how ready your body will be when it needs to fight a cellular battle. 

One emotion that affects immune function is anxiety. But what exactly is anxiety, and what role does it play in immunity? Read on to learn how anxiety can influence immune function.

What is anxiety? 

In simple terms, anxiety is a feeling of anticipation. It is how the body primes itself for a future worry or concern. Our ancestors used anxiety as part of the stress response to prepare to deal with threats. The stress response—or fight or flight reaction—occurs when there is a perceived threat to safety. The physiological changes, such as an increased heart rate and tense muscles, get the body ready to either fight an oncoming threat or flee the situation for your safety. 

In modern times, the need to be alert to possible threats isn’t the same as it once was – people are much safer today than they were in ancient times! This is why anxiety, or anxiety disorders, are more closely related to emotional experiences than the need to protect one’s physical safety. Today, anxiety can manifest when there is no true danger at all. When that happens, the body goes through physiological changes that prime it for danger even though there is no actual risk. 

Similar to stress, the physical symptoms of anxiety often manifest the way they do because the body isn’t aware there is no threat. However, acute stress comes with symptoms that subside, while anxiety symptoms generally remain. 

anxiety symptoms
Image by Reneé Thompson on Unsplash: How does anxiety affect the immune system? 

Anxiety and the immune system

Anxiety triggers the stress response in the body. As mentioned above, this response determines the right course of action between fighting or fleeing. During high periods of stress, the body goes through various physiological changes. Certain hormones, including adrenaline, are released into the bloodstream. Your breathing and heart rate increases when the adrenaline increases. The body responds this way so that the brain can access more significant amounts of oxygen and react to the stressful situation appropriately. 

When anxiety sets off this response and the stress hormones are released, the immune system gets a little boost. Research shows that bouts of short-term stress can activate innate and adaptive immune responses. The innate immune response acts as a dispatcher to the danger call, and the adaptive is the first responder. Specific immune cells are produced to prepare for battle. This increase in immune activity protects you during periods of stress.

While anxiety initiating the stress response may seem helpful to immunity, however, it applies only if the stress and anxiety are short-term. The body and the immune system return to normal when the short-term stress begins to subside. Long-term anxiety and stress are entirely different stories. 

Does stress and anxiety compromise your immune system? 

While short-term stress boosts the immune system, the opposite is true for long-term anxiety and stress. Research has found that when a person experiences long-term anxiety, the innate and adaptive immune responses become compromised. That is because chronic stress and anxiety can cause the immune system to become dysregulated. A dysregulated immune system responds to nonexistent threats and cannot fight appropriately if an invader shows up.

person struggling with anxiety
Image by Uday Mittal on Unsplash: How is immune function affected by anxiety? 

What’s more is that cytokines – small proteins that control the growth and action of immune cells – become altered by chronic anxiety and stress. If cytokines are not functioning as they should, the preparedness of other immune cells suffers along with them.

Other issues that the immune system faces because of anxiety include: 

  • Chronic inflammation, which can drive the development of chronic illness and disease 
  • The suppression of immune cells designed to protect against non-infectious diseases such as cancer 
  • Decreased production of new immune cells, which leaves the body defenseless when invaders do show up
  • Problems with how immune cells move freely through the body, leading to their inability to be where they need to be to fight infection
  • An increased risk of developing chronic disease 

With all these changes caused by anxiety, the immune system will not be able to fight the good fight against pathogens or internal bodily threats. If the body is always anxious or stressed, it is left wide open and unprotected without a properly functioning immune system. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment for anxiety symptoms before they get out of hand.

Featured image by Joice Kelly on Unsplash

How Body Fat Percentage Can Influence Immune Function

A well-functioning immune system is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. An optimally operational immune system will defend the body against foreign pathogens and disease. It will also not attack the body or cause unnecessary and harmful chronic inflammation (the way it does in the case of autoimmune disease).

Many factors affect how well your immune system operates, and it’s important to make lifestyle choices that are likely to lead to your immune system working well. Let’s talk about how body fat percentage can influence immune function.

What Is Body Fat Percentage?

A person’s body fat percentage is their total mass of fat divided by their total body mass and multiplied by 100. It is the percentage of their entire body that is made of fat. Body fat percentage is seen as a good indicator of a person’s overall health and fitness status. Studies suggest that body fat percentage can have an effect on immune function.

How Is Body Fat Percentage Measured?

The main methods of measuring body fat percentage are:

  • Skinfold measurements
  • Body fat scales
  • Circumference measurements
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan
  • Air displacement plethysmography
  • 3D body scanner
  • Hydrodensitometry (underwater weighing)
measuring body fat
Image by jarmoluk on Pixabay: How does body fat affect the immune system?

The Different Types Of Body Fat

Body fat comes in six types. These are:

  • Essential fat: Essential fat helps to regulate body temperature, vitamin absorption, cell structure, and hormones, and is essential for optimal health.
  • White fat: White fat cells store fat in the form of triglycerides and are the main form of fat cell in the body. White fat is the body’s largest energy reserve, and it provides cushioning for the organs and external body structure. When people are overweight, the majority of their excess weight will be in the form of white fat.
  • Brown fat: Brown fat cells burn energy. Brown fat is packed with mitochondria, which burn fatty acids to generate heat and keep the body warm. Brown fat is especially prevalent in babies.
  • Beige fat: Beige fat cells function somewhere between white and brown fat cells. They help burn fat rather than store it.
  • Subcutaneous fat: Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat directly underneath our skin. Subcutaneous fat is made up of a combination of white, brown, and beige fat, and makes up about 90% of fat in our body.
  • Visceral fat: Visceral fat is white fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity around organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas.

What Does Body Fat Percentage Indicate?

Body fat percentage can indicate whether you are a healthy weight, overweight, or underweight. However, body fat percentage is not a foolproof indicator of general health or of a healthy lifestyle.

Body fat percentage depends on multiple genetic factors that vary between individuals, such as metabolism, activity levels, and musculature. Also, where body fat is stored has a large impact on health outcomes. For example, if you have a healthy body fat percentage but an unhealthy amount of your fat is visceral fat around your waist, you may be at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

What Is A Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

A healthy body fat percentage for males is generally between 8% and 18%. When men get to age 50 and over, a body fat percentage of between 8% and 22% is considered healthy.

A healthy body fat percentage for females is generally between 14% and 20%. From age 50 and over, a body fat percentage of between 8% and 27% is considered healthy.

Risks Of An Unhealthy Body Fat Percentage

If you have an unhealthy body fat percentage, you increase the risk of various negative health outcomes. These include:

  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Autoimmune diseases

If your body fat percentage is too low, you risk:

  • Hormone imbalances
  • Loss of reproductive function
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of muscle tissue
  • Dry, fragile bones

What Is The Immune System And What Does It Do?

The immune system is the network of organs, tissues, and cells that prevents invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites from taking hold in the body and causing disease. When germs get into the body, the immune system triggers the release of special cells that attack them. So how does body fat affect the immune system?

thin body
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: Can low body fat affect the immune system?

How Body Fat Percentage Can Influence Immune Function

Studies suggest that excess visceral fat, particularly around the stomach, can trigger the immune system to release proinflammatory immune cells. By circulating in the blood and causing inflammation, these cells can damage the body rather than protect it.

Can Excessive Body Fat Lead To Immune Disorders?

Studies suggest that excessive body fat can lead to immune disorders that cause inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.

Can Low Body Fat Affect The Immune System?

Studies suggest that lowering body fat can change immune system activity quickly and positively and reverse some of the adverse inflammatory changes seen in obese people with diabetes.

Lowered body fat percentage causes the immune system to reduce the amount of proinflammatory cells circulating in the blood. This reduces chronic inflammation throughout the body and can improve prediabetes and type-2 diabetes.

How To Reduce Body Fat Percentage

You can reduce body fat percentage through:

  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting more sleep
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Weight training

Featured image by Huha Inc. on Unsplash

How Your Quality Of Sleep Can Influence Immune Function

Getting enough sleep in today’s fast-paced world is a challenge. We have to maintain social, professional, and family lives, take care of household duties, make food, exercise… The list goes on. Because of all these factors, many people are unable to get the quality and quantity of sleep that they need to wake up feeling rested, restored, and ready to take on another day.

What many people don’t consider when they think about their personal sleep habits is the detrimental effects that poor sleep can have on overall health. Several health issues can be tied to a lack of good-quality sleep, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Considering how serious these diseases and conditions can be, it’s important that we think more critically about our sleep. As well as the specific issues mentioned above, sleep can also affect how well your body’s general defense system functions. But how does sleep influence immunity, exactly? Read on for all you need to know about how your quality of sleep can influence immune function.

Sleep quality and immune function

It can be difficult to commit to proper sleep habits if you don’t properly understand how sleep affects your body overall, or how it contributes to keeping you as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

The reason why sleep is so important for immunity is because of the way it ties into the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock. Also known as the circadian cycle, this function regulates the body’s sleep–wake cycle – the natural cycle that prepares you for sleep and then wakes you back up again. This natural cycle is crucial in giving the body the time it needs to rest and refresh for the upcoming day.

person sleeping under covers
Image by Lux Graves on Unsplash: How many hours of sleep is good for the immune system?

When considering the circadian rhythm to the immune system, studies have found a symbiotic link between the two. The circadian rhythm plays a role in the processes that need to be constantly regulated for immune cells to be properly produced.

For example, the immune system relies heavily on T-cells, which are produced to fight off pathogens and ward off disease and infection. The circadian rhythm’s role to make sure that T-cells are produced and released into the bloodstream in proper amounts and at the right time so that the body can use them effectively.

Other aspects of the immune system known as cytokines are also heavily influenced by sleep. Cytokines are specific proteins released by immune cells that help with proper immune function. They also aid the body in cell signaling processes, which are important for many other systems.

When it comes to the immune system, these proteins can control the deployment of other immune cells that are needed to fight off infection when a pathogen invades the body. Essentially, they are the alarm system that goes off to alert the immune cells to respond to the threat. When someone gets proper sleep, their cytokines work as they should, and the immune system can fight another day. However, when they don’t, this aspect of immunity is compromised.

How are proper sleep and immunity linked?

Proper sleep and immunity are linked because of how sleep affects the action of immune cells and other processes that are required to alert the immune system to take action against pathogens.

T-cells, which we mentioned above, are designed to fight against pathogens that can reproduce inside the cells of the host they have infected. One particular study examined how T-cells were affected by sleep, and found that it is essential for a person to get enough good quality shut-eye in order for these cells to work. This is because of the way T-cells rely on certain molecules known as integrins.

Integrins provide adhesion that allows T-cells that come into contact with a pathogen to target, attach, and obliterate it. Without proper “stickiness”, this task becomes much harder and some pathogens can evade T-cells entirely. So what does this have to do with sleep?

When the body and brain are at rest, the adhesive capabilities of these molecules are much higher than when you’re awake. During sleep, immune cells also peak in specific areas of the body, such as in the lymph nodes. This peak is due to the hormone known as cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. Levels of cortisol go up and down at various points of the day. Right before falling asleep, they are lower, and as soon as a person wakes up, levels peak to their highest of the day.

The reason why this is all tied to immunity and T-cells is because high levels of cortisol make integrins less adhesive. This means that if a person isn’t getting proper sleep and their cortisol cycle is out of tune, integrins may not be able to produce the adhesion that T-cells need to fight off pathogens. 

woman sleeping
Image by cuncon on Pixabay: How does sleep affect your immune system?

How many hours of sleep is good for the immune system?

Many studies have examined how much sleep each person needs for optimal health, and the agreed-upon number sits anywhere between seven to nine hours. While all people are different, this is typically the time it takes to go through the proper sleep cycles and receive all the benefits that sleep has on the immune system. However, it isn’t just quantity of sleep that’s necessary. Good quality sleep is far more important than the length of time a person spends asleep.

At the end of the day, sleep is vital to your immunity and your overall health, so getting enough good-quality shut-eye is something that everyone should prioritize.

Featured image by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

How Stress Can Influence Immune Function

Everybody experiences some form of stress – it’s just a normal part of everyday life. Whether it’s acute stress, such as having a really tough day at the office, or something more chronic because of a continually stressful situation or lifestyle, there isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t felt this emotion at some point in their life.

The stress response is an evolutionary part of human existence and initially acted as a way to protect you from harm. However, it was designed solely for this purpose, and typically, when our ancestors were out of the stressful situation, their bodies returned to normal because the stress response was no longer needed.

Today, however, that initial stress response (also known as fight-or-flight) still works for you and your health, but it can be skewed in the sense that it may be activated for too long. When that happens, different bodily processes can be negatively affected. One such system that can be affected by stress is the immune system – but what is the role of stress in immunity, and can it make your immune function worse? Read on to learn more about how stress can influence immune function.

visual representation of stress
Image by Mohamed_hassan on Pixabay: Can stress cause a weak immune system?

What is the relationship between stress and the immune system?

The immune system acts as your body’s first line of defense, and technically speaking, stress can actually be helpful when it comes to your immune response. As mentioned above, stress was initially a psychological response that protected people against harm. In terms of the immune system, that initial response primes the body to be better prepared to fight off infection and avoid or heal any injuries a person may have from fleeing a dangerous situation.

Since the same rules don’t apply today (the stimuli our ancestors experienced were very different to the ones we experience today!), that stress response now invokes an immune response that isn’t necessarily needed. For example, if you get stressed while waiting in line for coffee while you’re late to work, your body isn’t in any real danger – but you’re still stressed. The physiological response is still the same, and the activation of your immune system to help heal injury or prevent infection will still occur, even though it isn’t really needed.

How does stress affect the immune system?

Stress can affect the immune system in many ways because of the way it influences various bodily systems that tie into immunity. For example, the bowel is a large part of immunity since it houses immune cells needed to fight off infection. Stress can cause issue with the bowel that can lead to various unpleasant symptoms.

When it comes to immunity, stressful situations can reduce the amount of nutrients that are absorbed into the body and the gut bacteria can become imbalanced. The immune system can become weakened when the nutrients it needs are not getting absorbed, and when gut bacteria are off balance, immune function also falters. 

The nervous system also gets activated during times of stress. During this activation, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released. These are designed to help the body prepare for battle, so to speak – but when there is no battle, the body doesn’t really benefit from their release.

An overproduction of cortisol that is not used appropriately, or remains high due to constant and chronic stress, hinders the action of the immune system. This is because too-high levels of cortisol end up causing the immune system to become less responsive to the hormone, thus increasing the production of inflammatory cells that hinder the immune system’s function.  

stressed person using laptop and talking on phone
Image by Stevedimatteo on Pixabay: What’s the connection between stress and immune function?

Cortisol also has the ability to disrupt how well the immune system works because of its effect on the endocrine system. The endocrine system acts as a series of messengers throughout the body to regulate the action or organs and glands. Because acute levels of stress cause inflammation to occur due to the production of cortisol, chronic stress drives chronic inflammation.

When the body’s inflammatory process isn’t acting as it should, the immune system does not activate when it needs to, because the connection between it and the glands that produce stress hormones is compromised.Altogether, when chronic inflammation and the connection pathways in the body are hindered, you are more at risk of chronic diseases.

Can stress cause a weak immune system?

As mentioned above, stress can weaken the immune system. While acute stress isn’t as much of an issue, chronic stress can cause real problems. Brief periods of acute stress are a normal and typical response that leads to the re-regulation of the immune system once the stressful situation has passed. Chronic stress, on the other hand, drives crossed wires and poor functioning because the body is in a constant state of stress when there is no actual situation that it needs protection from.

While avoiding stress completely is essentially impossible, one of the best things you can do for your immune system is practice stress reduction techniques. This could include meditation, practicing a hobby you enjoy, or exercising regularly. Keeping overall stress levels down as much as possible will ensure any acute stress you experience doesn’t stick around to harm your health in the long run.

Featured image by 1388843 on Pixabay

Can Peptides Help With The Immune System?

Having a well-functioning immune system is one of the most important aspects of bodily health. After all, our immunity is what keeps us safe from disease and infection. Without the immune system working as it should, people become more likely to experience frequent infections, more severe symptoms, and even the onset of various chronic diseases.

Many things can be done to ensure that your immune system is functioning as it should, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, keeping up with proper hygiene, and avoiding coming into contact with pathogens when possible. That said, those staples of immune health aren’t the only roads you can take to keep yourself protected and your immune system running at its best.

One other avenue that has become increasingly popular for immune health is the use of peptides. But what exactly are they? And can peptides help with the immune system? Read on to learn more.

What are peptides?

Peptides are strings of amino acids, which are what many people refer to as the “building blocks” of proteins. Proteins are important because of how they influence cells that are tasked with maintaining the structure, function, and regulation of tissues and organs. Peptides can be both naturally occurring and taken in synthetic form.

Naturally occurring peptides form within the body during a process known as transcription, which happens when certain DNA gene sequences are copied and turned into messengers to provide code or instructions. They are used to produce or build various vital substances within the body such as hormones, enzymes, cells, and tissues.

Lab-created peptides are designed to act in the same way as the natural peptides the body creates. Recent research has seen synthetic peptides being used to develop viable medications for a large number of different diseases.  

dna chain
Image by Warren Umoh on Unsplash: How are peptides created?

Is there a connection between peptides and the immune system?

Since peptides play a role in virtually every aspect of human health, their connection to the immune system is strong. Various things can affect how the immune system functions, such as hormones, cells, and the health of certain organs. The immune system requires symbiosis throughout the body for it to do its best work, and peptides play a large role in that symbiosis by influencing other substances within the body.

Are peptides good for the immune system?

While naturally occurring peptides play a vital role in immunity, studies on using synthetic peptides for their immune capabilities have also found that they may be beneficial in a variety of ways. One particular study looked at the influence peptides had on the immune response in conjunction with vaccination against diseases, finding that using peptides to create vaccinations could be highly effective at creating the right immune response at the right time. 

Other research has investigated how peptides can influence innate immunity, which is the defense system essentially built in to every person’s body. It doesn’t react to specific pathogens, but it still has two important roles: it prevents access to the body through the use of barriers such as the skin, and it acts as an alarm system that sets off an immune response so that specific antibodies and immune cells can be created to fight specific pathogens.

One particular study investigated key antimicrobial peptides and how they help to form innate immunity. The research shows that these peptides have worked as a team against microbes for hundreds of millions of years. This has led researchers to believe that antimicrobial peptides could open the door to forming new and more viable antibiotics.

What peptides boost the immune system?

While all peptides have their own respective tasks within the body, some may be better for the immune system than others. Those include:

Sermorelin

Sermorelin is also referred to as growth-hormone releasing hormone, or GHRH. As the name suggests, it helps with the release of growth hormone. It has 44 amino acids and is produced in a small region in the brain known as the hypothalamus. When sermorelin helps to release human-growth hormone to maintain overall levels, it can reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation, although useful in some cases, can cause dysfunction within the immune system, so reducing it overall can help to curb any issues.

Ipamorelin

Ipamorelin is another type of peptide that acts on human growth hormone, but is released from the pituitary gland, a small gland located in at the base of the brain. The action of ipamorelin is similar to semorelin in that it helps to stimulate the release of growth hormones.

peptide injection
Image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash: Does thymosin help the immune system?

CJC-1295

Another peptide that affects human growth hormone is CJC-1295. It is a synthetic peptide that has been used to mimic the actions of ipamoreline and sermorelin. When someone takes this peptide as a way to address certain health issues, it can lead to a more active immune response that helps fight off invading pathogens.

Thymosin Alpha-1

Thymosin Alpha-1 is a type of peptide hormone produced within the thymus gland, which can be found in the middle of the upper chest area. According to research, this peptide has a way of helping the immune system by improving the response of immune cells known as T-cells, as well as activating other immune cells known as natural killer cells. It can also help to mediate inflammation so that the body reacts the way it’s supposed to against illness or disease.

Peptides, both naturally occurring and synthetic, can be part of a healthy immune system and play a vital role in your body’s defenses.

Featured image by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

The Role Of Antioxidants In Immune Function

The human body requires many different substances to run properly. For example, oxygen is required to make sure that every cell in the body can use the energy provided by food. Nutrients are converted into energy that each cell in the body uses to perform basic functions and regulate chemicals and other substances.

Since each process within the body is separate, it may seem as though one aspect can exist without the other. However, all these separate processes rely on the other to ensure that they can do their job properly. Think of your body as a super-efficient factory that needs every linesperson doing their part to complete the project.

One such process that requires a lot of outside help is the immune system. Immunity is your body’s defense system and protects you against illness, but without nutrients and other systems running as they should, that defense system can become powerless to stop infection or chronic disease. One particular piece of the immunity puzzle is antioxidants – but what are antioxidants, exactly, and what is the role of antioxidants in immune function?

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are important molecules that exist within the body and can also be consumed through diet. They are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods. Some vitamins, including vitamins E and C, can effectively act as antioxidants within the body as well.

close up of blueberries
Image by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash: Blueberries contain powerful antioxidants for immunity.

What is the role of antioxidants?

Antioxidants play an important role in the body because they neutralize free radicals, which are compounds that help to fight off pathogens. Free radicals can react with other molecules with ease, and because of this, they can cause certain reactions known as oxidation. Oxidation can be both good and bad, depending on how much it occurs.

Antioxidants and free radicals need to be in balance so that they can support your health. If the body doesn’t get enough antioxidants, free radicals can build up, and when levels are too high, they can cause damage to proteins, fatty tissue, and even your DNA.

Too much oxidation within the body can lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and the damage caused by an overabundance of free radicals can lead to chronic disease such as inflammatory conditions, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Do antioxidants help your immune system?

Both antioxidants and free radicals have an effect on the immune system. It’s because of free radicals that antioxidants are important for immunity. Since free radicals are helpful when they are in balance, as mentioned above, they need to remain at a steady level. Antioxidants help to achieve that stabilization.

To understand the process in more complex terms, we have to understand how immunity and free radicals are connected. Neutrophils are cells that are part of the immune system. They are tasked with regulating how B-cells, or immune cells, respond to pathogens. When there is a pathogen present in the body, these neutrophils begin working their magic.

When they become activated, they produce free radicals as part of the inflammatory process. While many people think of inflammation as a bad thing, it is actually an important step in defense process, because it acts as a sort of signal to where in the body immune cells need to go. Free radicals are needed for that inflammatory process. When there are too many free radicals, and the inflammatory process is occurring all over the place, the immune system doesn’t know how to react. That is where antioxidants come in to balance it all out for proper immune protection and response.

Another important immunity task in which antioxidants may play a role is hindering the free radicals’ ability to help viruses replicate within the body. They help to interfere with this process when a virus or other pathogen comes into the body to cause harm. According to research, the antioxidants’ ability to do this may even help in the treatment of certain viral diseases.  

person suffering infection
Image by Towfiqu barbhyiya on Unsplash: Do antioxidants help fight infection?

Is there a connection between antioxidants and antibodies?

Another important aspect of antioxidant stores within the body is the way they help with antibodies, which are specialized proteins designed to fight off infection. Antibodies are created by the immune system in response to certain pathogens and are specifically designed to fight off one type of virus or other illness. For example, if a person were to get a particular strain of the flu, their body would create antibodies that remember that specific strain. If that strain of flu came around again, those specialized antibodies would be ready to fight off the infection.

This is connected to antioxidants because research has found that these helpful molecules can actually aid in producing more antibodies in response to an infection. One study examined antibody levels in healthy older adults who were given vitamin E supplements to act as antioxidants. When the subjects of the study were given hepatitis B and tetanus vaccines, it was found that they had a more powerful immune response.

This draws the conclusion that antioxidants not only neutralize free radicals, allowing the body’s immune system to function as it should, but they also play a role in the power and number of viable antibodies protecting the body against infection.

While antioxidants aren’t the be-all-end-all when it comes to immune health, they certainly play a larger role than medical researchers once thought in protecting you against both infection and chronic disease.

Featured image by Valery Fedotov on Unsplash

Does HGH Help Your Immune System?

The past few years have brought the importance of the immune system front and center for many people. The onset of a global pandemic has made being healthy enough to fight off a viral infection even more vital. With rising cases and death tolls, there has been a lot of talk about which medications, supplements, or other factors could be used to improve the body’s ability to battle against infection.

One such supplement that has been explored for its effects on immunity is HGH, otherwise known as human growth hormone. But what is HGH, exactly? What can it do for the overall health of the body? And does HGH help your immune system?

What is HGH?

HGH, also known as somatotropin, is a type of peptide hormone that is naturally occurring in the body. It is secreted by the pituitary gland, a bean-shaped gland that sits at the base of the brain. The hormone itself consists of one chain of amino acids. The number of amino acids on the single chain is 191.

The production of the hormone is regulated by other hormones. One in particular, growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), is mainly responsible for its production. GHRH is produced in the hypothalamus, which is another gland located in the brain. Other hormones involved in controlling HGH production include somatostatin and ghrelin.

HGH is produced on an hourly basis, so the body always has some level of HGH secretion happening. The highest levels can be seen following exercise, sleep, or trauma, and nighttime is when the hormone peaks at its highest level.

white blood cells
Image by FLY:D on Unsplash: Does HGH increase white blood cells?

What does HGH do in the body?

HGH is most commonly associated with growth during childhood, as well as the health of the metabolism. It helps bones and cartilage grow during the early years of a person’s life. The release of HGH activates certain proteins that are involved in cell signaling and drive bone-forming cells to replicate. This process of cell signaling also leads to an increase in cellular growth and gene replication.

HGH plays a role in the function of a person’s metabolism by upregulating the insulin-like growth factor 1 – a polypeptide hormone that is similar to insulin in structure. When that regulation occurs because of HGH, protein synthesis and amino acid uptake increase within the body. HGH can also reduce how much glucose is found in the muscles and tissues.

Recent research has also found that there is more to HGH than was once previously thought, and that it can actually play various roles, including helping to regulate the composition of the body and maintain healthy heart function.

What are the positive effects of HGH?

When looking at HGH from a supplemental standpoint, there are several positive effects it can have. Since HGH is highest in childhood and plays a role in growth and development, recent research has looked into whether or not the hormone can help with issues that may arise due to low levels of natural HGH, such as a decreased ability to exercise, muscle mass loss, and lower bone density. It was found that taking an oral supplement of HGH did help to restore higher levels in healthy adults.

People with certain health issues may also benefit from HGH because it causes levels to deplete or affects the body’s ability to hold onto muscle mass. Some conditions that could benefit include muscle loss caused by HIV/AIDS or short bowel syndrome. The most positive effects of HGH are associated with increasing a person’s endurance and exercise tolerability. Other claims have been made surrounding its use in anti-aging, but these have not been clinically proven as yet.

supplement pills
Image by Christina Victoria Craft on Unsplash: Do HGH supplements really work?

Is there a connection between HGH and the immune system?

HGH has been found to play a crucial role in the development of the immune system throughout childhood. Because of this, there have been many claims that it could also help immune function as an adult. There is some research to back up these claims, but a lot of it revolves around certain diseases that cause the immune system to become weak.


For example, one study looked at HGH as a way to control COVID-19. The researchers found that many patients who were more vulnerable to the worst effects of the viral infection were found to be deficient in HGH. While the study called for more research surrounding HGH and COVID-19, it is their thought that HGH could potentially be helpful in reducing the risk of severe disease in those who contract the infection due to a weakened immune system. 

A clinical trial conducted on HGH and immunity also found that there was a connection between the immune system and the growth hormone. Specifically, the connection was because of the effect HGH has on the thymus, an irregular-shaped gland that produces immune cells known as T-lymphocytes. The trial found that HGH could actually stimulate the production of more disease-fighting cells, essentially boosting the immune system by promoting growth of the thymus.

While more research is needed to shed light on HGH and what it can do for both the overall health of the body and the function of the immune system, recent studies have found that it plays a much larger role than simply helping people grow during childhood.

Featured image by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

11 Vitamins, Nutrients & Peptides That Boost Immune Function

While immunity is an important part of everyday life, it’s hasn’t always been front and center when people think about their overall health. However, that has changed in recent years. Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, many people have begun thinking more seriously about their immune health. After all, the immune system is the first line of defense against pathogens such as the one that causes COVID-19. 

With more people than ever now focused on this type of preventive health care – the type that aims to prevent bad infections as opposed to simply treating them – natural and dietary health avenues are being explored more frequently. Those natural avenues tend to center around nutrients from food and other supplementation that can help give the body a boost when it needs it most.

Why is immune function important in the winter?

The immune system is important all year round, but it’s especially vital during the cold months. This is often when cold and flu seasons are at their peak. To complicate things further, research shows that cold temperatures also suppresses the immune system and provides viruses with optimal living conditions. These two factors play a large role in why it’s vital to keep your immune system in tip-top shape throughout the winter months.

No one wants to fall ill, and making sure that the immune system is running at its best is the only way to ensure that even if you do come into contact with a flu, cold, or even COVID, your body is prepared to fight it off and bounce back.

peptides
Image by WikimediaImages on Pixabay: How do peptides help the immune system?

Peptides that boost immune function

Peptides are naturally occurring strings of amino acids that the body produces on its own. Unlike the typical amino acids that act as building blocks of protein, peptides are shorter chains, meaning they have fewer amino acids. That doesn’t mean they’re less important for health, just that they have different tasks to perform. One such task is making sure that the immune system gets the boost it needs to run properly.

Peptides naturally occur in the body; however, to boost your levels, you can eat foods that are high in protein such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, whole grains, and beans. Peptides can also be found isolated in supplement form.

Some of the best peptides for immune health include:

Thymosin Alpha 1

Thymosin Alpha 1 is perhaps one of the most well-known peptides. It aids immune function and has also been used in the treatment of certain diseases. The peptide helps immune function by enhancing the action of immune cells known as killer T-cells so they’re better prepared to fight off infection.It also positively affects the action of dendric cells, which help to mediate the immune response on a cellular level.

Thymalin

Thymalin regulates the thymus, a gland that is key to producing T-lymphocytes, or immune cells, that aid in the adaptive immune response.Without proper amounts of this peptide, those cells will not be produced in adequate numbers and the immune system will suffer.

IGF 1

Also known as insulin growth factor one, IGF 1 binds to a receptor known as IGF 1R to encourage cell production throughout the entire body. Cells that are created include T-cells, which aid in immunity.

GHRP 6

GHRP 6 acts as ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone. Its job is to invoke the action of IGF 1 so that more immune cells are created, thus boosting immunity.

CJC 1295

CJC 1295 affects the growth hormone, causing it to be released. This leads to a reaction that causes the thymus to create T-cells.

Vitamins that boost immune function

Vitamins are needed for the body to function, and many of them play a vital role in the immune system. Some vitamins that are good for boosting immune health include:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the most well-known immune booster, and for good reason. Research shows that vitamin C helps immune function by supporting cellular responses in both the adaptive and the innate immune systems. It can also prevent the entry of pathogens through the skin by supporting skin barrier function. Vitamin C can also enhance the body’s ability to fight off disease by accumulating certain phagocytic cells.

This vitamin can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, and red bell peppers.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has the ability to boost the immune response because it helps to increase the production of antibodies in the system, and enhances the way cytokines and chemokines interact with one another (cytokines and chemokines are molecules within the body that aid in cell signaling).

Vitamin B6 can be found in seafood, fortified cereals, and chickpeas.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in high concentrations in immune cells; it aids the cells in modulating immune function. It also helps to regulate T-cells, improve the integrity of immune cells so that they are safe from damage, and encourage proper cell division.

The best sources of vitamin E include plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, and dark, leafy greens.

sliced orange
Image by Xiaolong Wong on Unsplash: What is the most powerful immune booster? Vitamin C is one you might have heard of!

Nutrients that boost immune function

Other nutrients that play a vital role in boosting immune function include:

Zinc

Zinc is a chemical element that has been shown to aid in the development and function of certain immune cells such as natural killer cells and neutrophils.

Red meat and poultry contain high levels of zinc.

Selenium

Selenium has been shown to help lower oxidative stress, which occurs when free radicals outnumber antioxidants and cause inflammation within the body. Inflammation can hinder the immune system, so having enough selenium can help to lower the risk of immune-suppressing inflammation.

Broccoli, spinach, and green peas are great sources of selenium.

Iron

Iron is an important part of immune health because of the crucial role it plays in the maturation of immune cells. One type of cell that benefits from adequate iron levels are lymphocytes, which help with specific responses against certain pathogens.

Iron can be included in your diet through foods such as red meat, beans, and dark, leafy greens, or through supplementation.

Featured image by Scott Warman on Unsplash

Thymosin Alpha-1 (TA-1) Role In Immune Function

Immune function is one of the most important aspects of human health. The immune system has three main functions: fight off pathogens such as viruses and bacteria; fight toxic substances the body comes into contact with; and fight any changes in the body that could lead to diseases such as cancer. To say that having a healthy immune system is vital would be an understatement.

There are many components that make up the immune system and how it functions. Immune cells such as T- and B-cells, also referred to as lymphocytes, are white blood cells that attack toxins, viruses, and bacteria. B-cells, in particular, also produce antibodies that aid in ridding the body of pathogens. Along with cells, the immune system is also made up of antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the thymus, the spleen, and the bone marrow. Together, these special cells, organs, and chemicals keep you healthy.

Other molecules can also have an effect on how your immunity works. Thymosin alpha-1 is one of those molecules – but what is thymosin alpha-1, exactly? And what is its role in immune function?

What is thymosin alpha-1?

Thymosin alpha-1 is a peptide hormone. It is derived from a type of protein be found in humans known as prothymosin alpha. It is naturally produced by a small and irregular-shaped gland known as the thymus. The thymus is also tasked with producing other substances such as sweat, tears, digestive juices, and other hormones.

cancer patient and doctor
Image by the National Cancer Institute on Unsplash: What is thymosin alpha-1 used for? It can be used to help cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Does thymosin play a major role in the development of immunity?

While you may have never heard of thymosin alpha-1, don’t be mistaken in thinking it’s a new or trendy peptide! While it is gaining traction in the health world of late, it has been in use since the 1960s. In 1961, to be exact, medical scientists realized that surgical procedures designed to intervene with congenital heart defects by removing part or all of the thymus had a severe effect on how the immune system functioned in newborn animals.

The effects showed that the amount of lymphocytes made by the animals was severely deficient, and the immune system had a problem mediating its response. The production of antibodies was also hindered after these procedures, and the newborn animals also suffered from the inability to grow normally. It was after all this that researchers looked at the thymus and began to investigate its role in the immune system. Thymosin was then purified, taken out of the thymus, and tested for its effects on mice; researchers found that it greatly helped their immune function.

The discovery of thymosin at that time opened the door for more research into its benefits in the use of humans with various immune function deficiencies. 

What are the benefits of thymosin alpha-1?

There are several benefits of thymosin alpha-1 that have been scientifically proven since its humble beginnings in the early 1960s. One such benefit is its ability to enhance the immune system – specifically, T-cells and dendritic cells. T-cells are a type of lymphocyte that targets viruses or other pathogens. Dendritic cells, found in tissues, are designed to show antigens on the surface of other cells so that specific antigen-fighting cells can identify and destroy them. Thymosin alpha-1, as mentioned above, has been shown to enhance those cells’ abilities to do their respective jobs.

Studies have also found that thymosin alpha-1 can rid the body of unhealthy cells and stop infection or cancer growth. It does this by stimulating a higher immune response against cancer cells so that the body can fight the disease off better. Along with fighting cancer cells, thymosin alpha-1 can also suppress the growth of tumors, and help kill both fungus and bacteria cells that may cause harm in the body.

Some more recent research surrounding vaccinations and thymosin alpha-1 has found that people who receive a vaccine while also being given thymosin are more likely to be effectively immunized than those who do not. Additionally, thymosin has also been used to help reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 infections in people who are battling and being treated for cancer. Since cancer treatments often cause a weakening of the immune system, and COVID-19 can thrive in those conditions; thymosin has been shown to be a helpful tool in that specific instance.

supplies for sickness
Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash: Does thymosin affect the immune system?

How do you take thymosin?

Thymosin alpha-1 is typically administered via subcutaneous injection. This means that it is given in a needle under the skin. Does of thymosin alpha-1 range, but two separate doses of 0.8–6.4 mg twice per week to 1.6–16 mg for five to seven days is typically the standard.

That being said, some studies have found that thymosin alpha-1 can be taken orally when it is expressed by yeast. The use of oral thymosin, however, is not the first choice for many medical professionals – injections are the best course of administration for many patients looking to improve immunity with thymosin alpha-1.

While thymosin alpha-1 may not be a household name, it has been known in the medical community for decades because of its highly beneficial properties. When it comes to the immune system, this peptide has proven to be effective at modifying the immune response, enhancing the body’s ability to fight off infection or disease, and restoring immune function in people who have compromised immunity.

Featured image by Nhia Moua on Unsplash