Let’s see how each of individual nutrients affects the immune system.
VITAMIN E: Macrophages that are deficient in vitamin E release more free radicals and do not live as long. Our immune system uses this production of free radicals to destroy these foreign invaders by actually creating oxidative stress. This is the ‘good’ side of oxidative stress as long as it remains under control. Vitamin E deficiency also affects the differentiation of our T-cells in the thymus, this leads to an imbalance of T-Helper to T-Suppressor cells. The poor production of T-Suppressor cells is one of the main reasons that the inflammatory response can get out of hand. Remember that the T- Suppressor cells are the riot police that are essential to cooling the immune reaction and so limit collateral damage. Some researchers believe that poor T-Suppressor cells function is at the heart of the auto immune response.
Studies show that supplementation with vitamin-E corrects these deficiencies in our immune system and helps clear infections. Clinical studies have also demonstrated that the immune-enhancing effect of vitamin-E supplementation was even greater in the elderly and in individuals who had malabsorption syndromes. Vitamin-E supplementation can also protect against the immuno suppressive effects of cortisol, which is released in great quantities during a stress reaction.
A well-known property of the carotenoids is the fact they are capable of protecting the surrounding normal tissue from potential damage created by the inflammatory response of the immune system. Supplementation of the carotenoids can increase the number and effectiveness of the T-Helper cells and the natural killer cells, which constitutes an important part of our defense system against cancer cells. This greatly improves the tumor surveillance of our immune system.
Dr. Linus Pauling has been influential in making everyone aware of the importance of supplemental Vitamin C and its ability to enhance the immune system. The enhancing effects on the immune system are fairly well-established. Vitamin-C has been shown to improve the function of the macrophages. This significantly improves the first line of defense against bacterial infections.
It is wiser to take good doses of Vitamin-C daily. It is worthwhile to tell that Vitamin-C also has the ability to regenerate Vitamin-E and handle the excessive free radicals within the plasma. Both of these properties further enhance Vitamin-C’s ability to improve the immune system.
Supplementation with the precursors of glutathione (N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, selenium, niacin and Vitamin B2) have shown significant enhancement to the overall immune system. Even patients with HIV infectious have experienced this positive effect.
Co Q10 levels decline when we age and make the mitochondria (the furnace of the cell) especially vulnerable to oxidative damage. Co Q10 is critical for the optimal function of the immune system because of its major role in the production of energy in the cells of the immune system. Supplementation of CO Q10 has been shown to reverse these problems and significantly enhance the immune system.
Every aspect of our immune system needs Zinc. A deficiency actually suppresses several parts of the immune system, the number of lymphocytes decreases, the function of many white cells is severely reduced and levels of thymic hormone, which is a strong stimulus of the immune system, falls.
Zinc not only boosts the immune system but also inhibits the replication of the virus. But, if a person consumes high dose of Zinc for too long, it can actually suppress the immune system. Hence, I believe consistent long term use of optimal doses of these nutrients in supplementation is better for the antioxidant defense system and the immune system.
When all the players of the immune system are functioning at their peak capacity, our overall health obviously benefits children are able to optimize their immune system by talking nutritional supplementation for six months. Aging is generally associated with an impairment of our immune response, which leads to increased frequency & severity of infections. There are numerous studies that confirm the fact that our immune system is extremely dependent on these micro nutrients as in our antioxidant defense system.