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How To Boost My immunity, What can I take?

How To Boost My immunity, What can I take? Boosting our body’s immunity against foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, is something we know very little about. Sure, everyone says to eat well, exercise more, and get enough to enjoy a healthy living, but rarely is the focus explicitly strengthening the immune system. Overall, … Continue reading How To Boost My immunity, What can I take?

How To Boost My immunity, What can I take?

Boosting our body’s immunity against foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, is something we know very little about. Sure, everyone says to eat well, exercise more, and get enough to enjoy a healthy living, but rarely is the focus explicitly strengthening the immune system. Overall, all these play a significant role in maintaining immunity, but the immune system is also a different entity that needs specific attention. While young, our immune system does a pretty good job of defending us against microbes. But every once in a while, a germ invades the body successfully and makes us sick. Furthermore, the older we get, the weaker our immunity. As a result, the need to boost immunity increases with age to live a disease-free healthy life.

 

Besides a good diet, exercise, and enough sleep, there is also the untapped potential of taking supplements. Once you get underneath the bold claims, you can find a whole-lot of science that supports the use of supplements. The same is the case with boosting immunity with supplements. Plenty of evidence suggests that supplementation with certain nutrients boosts immunity and reduces the risk of infection, and the deficiency of others strongly correlates with a weak immune system (Gombart 2020). Furthermore, supplements become especially relevant when you have a fragile immune system (as is the case with being old) or an auto-immune disorder (predominantly the case with women) (Mitra 2022).

 

This article takes a deep dive into what supplements you can take to boost your immunity and if there is data to back the claims. So keep reading to find out what’s waiting for you.

 

  1. Chlorella

Chlorella has gained wide recognition as a nutritionally dense wholefood nutritional supplement in the last decade.. Among the many benefits of chlorella include improving cardiovascular health, promoting brain health, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory benefits (Panahi 2016). At the same time, chlorella has been researched for it’s remarkable abilities to enhance immunity and assist in preventing disease.

Plenty of evidence suggests that Chlorella Vulgaris supplement is beneficial for the immune system. For example, a 2010 lab study revealed that the extracts of chlorella vulgaris increased interleukin-2 and interleukin-4 (vital serum proteins that regulate immune function) in the blood and T-cells (white blood cells) of mice (An 2010). A human study the following year showed that chlorella ingestion for four weeks increases salivary Ig-A antibodies and may improve mucosal immune function in humans (Otsuki 2011). Likewise, a 2012 study showed that supplementation with Chlorella promotes dendritic cell maturation, which in turn, activate naïve T cells and stimulate T-cell proliferation and IFN-γ (another critical cytokine) secretion (Chou 2012).

 

Furthermore, a Korean study published in the Nutrition Journal found that 5g of chlorella intake for eight weeks led to a significant increase in natural killer cells (immune cells) as well as serum concentrations of interferon-γ, interleukin-1β and interleukin-12 (similar essential proteins) in the study group compared to the control (Kwak 2012). Moreover, in a 2018 study involving 26 adults, participants were divided into two groups to receive either chlorella 6g a day for six weeks or a placebo and study the effects of 2-day intense training on salivary Ig-A levels. Researchers found that at weeks 4, 5, and 6, the resting salivary Ig-A levels were significantly higher in the study group compared to the placebo, which increased further during intense training (Chidley 2018). It could be especially advantageous for people who undergo intense training, as periods of intensified workout increase their risk for upper respiratory tract infections (Nieman 2000).

 

 

To add more, researchers have also looked at the effects of chlorella supplementation on a weaker immune system (like that of the elderly or immunocompromised) and found it to be very beneficial. In a 2017 study, Chinese researchers suppressed the immune system of mice using a widely used cancer medication, cyclophosphamide, which is toxic to many immune cells, like T-cells. The researchers found that chlorella supplementation successfully ameliorated the effects of cyclophosphamide by increasing IL-2, IL-12, TNF-α, and IFN-γ, as well as the activity of natural killer cells (Cheng 2017). Similarly, a 2020 literature review states plenty of evidence that supports the immunomodulatory effects of chlorella vulgaris in health and disease (Bito 2020). Thus chlorella has become one of the most important supplements to boost immunity in recent years.

 

Chlorella As A Source Of Immunity-Boosting Nutrients

Besides strengthening immunity directly, chlorella also does so indirectly. Chlorella is loaded with many essential nutrients that improve the body’s defense at many different levels of the immune system, be it innate immunity or adaptive. Some of these nutrients that play a critical role in immunity include the following:

 

Chlorella And Vitamin D

Chlorella supplements contain an impressive amount of vitamin D, which, among other benefits, is an excellent booster of immunity as well (Wu 2017). For example, a 2017 study showed that chlorella supplementation could easily meet the body’s demands of many essential nutrients, including vitamin D. The study showed that chlorella intake increases sufficiency rate (a measure of how well a diet can meet the body’s requirement of a nutrient) of iron, vitamin B2, D and K, and niacin by ≥20 percent (Miyaki 2017). Furthermore, the 2020 literature review showed that the chlorella products contain both ergosterol — a precursor of vitamin D2 — as well as vitamin D2 in significant amounts (1.68 mg/g and 15.2 µg/g of chlorella dry weight, respectively) (Bito 2020).

 

Interestingly, the benefits of vitamin D extend beyond the effects on bone and calcium homeostasis, especially in modulating immune responses. Research has linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, as well as microbial infections (Aranow 2011). According to a 2013 research paper published in the Journal Nutrients, vitamin D receptors are expressed by many cells of the immune system, including T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells. In addition, the immune cells also produce the active form of vitamin D. Vitamin D, in turn, acts in an autocrine manner in modulating the effects of these immune cells (Prietl 2013).

 

For example, vitamin D inhibits B cell proliferation and differentiation, regulates CD4+ T-cells (critical part of adaptive immunity against pathogens) responses by promoting T helper 2 (Th2) cells and suppressing T helper 1 (Th1) cells, and increases macrophage activity through the induction of antibacterial proteins and autophagy (Chun 2014Konijeti 2015). Thus, vitamin D plays roles in both innate as well as adaptive immunity, and its deficiency renders the body susceptible to infections and excessive immune responses.

Chlorella Detoxification Properties

Heavy metals are also found in your body. These contain some elements that are only needed in trace amounts, such as iron and copper. However, when present in higher amounts, these heavy metals, along with others such as cadmium and lead, can be harmful. It is quite unusual for humans to have harmful quantities of heavy metals in their systems; nonetheless, people can be exposed to heavy metals as a result of pollution or certain occupations, such as mining (Alissa, 2011).

Chlorella has the natural capacity to bind to heavy metals and flushes them out of the body. Research conducted on animals demonstrates that it is beneficial in assisting the body in cleansing itself of toxic chemicals and heavy metals (Queiroz, 2003).

Certain types of algae, particularly chlorella, have been discovered to minimize the toxic effects of heavy metals on animals’ livers, brains, and kidneys (Zhai, 2015).

In addition, studies have indicated that supplementing with chlorella can help reduce the levels of several toxic substances that are sometimes present in food. Dioxin is one of these, and it is a hormone disruptor that has the potential to taint animals that are used in the food supply (Nakano. 2007).

 

 

Chlorella And Carotenoids

Carotenoids are natural pigments found mainly in fruits, vegetables, and microalgae like chlorella and are responsible for natural colors like yellow, orange, and red. However, research has shown that carotenoids may not only improve the body’s ability to tolerate oxidative stress but also help improve immunity (Chew 2014). When lab research revealed that carotenoids could reduce the risk of many diseases, several human clinical trials aimed to understand their role through carotenoid supplementation. The general conclusion of these studies is that carotenoids can enhance cell-mediated immune responses, particularly in the elderly (Hughes 1999).

 

For example, a 1993 study showed that carotenoids enhance the growth and function of lymphocytes, including their cytotoxic activity, as well as stimulate the production of various cytokines, along with promoting the bacteria-killing ability of blood neutrophils and macrophages (Chew 1993). In addition, carotenoids reduce immunopathology (self-damage caused by excessive immune response) and enhance longevity by suppressing the immune system (Pechinski 2014Dhinaut 2017). The good news, when you start taking chlorella, you also increase your carotenoids intake, as chlorella contains a hefty amount of many carotenoids, especially lutein and beta-carotene — two of the essential carotenoids for human health (Nagayama 2014Miyazawa 2013).

 

Chlorella And Omega-three Fats

Besides vitamins and carotenoids, chlorella is also rich in omega-three fatty acids (Jahromi, 2022). For example, a 2018 paper published in the Journal Nutrients showed that microalgae like chlorella significantly increase the body’s reserves of omega-three fats and serve as an alternative source of protein and essential fatty acids (Neumann 2018). Likewise, the authors of a 2020 literature review cite chlorella as effective alternatives to traditional omega-three fat sources, such as fish oils (Santos 2020). As a result, the demand for chlorella-based omega-three fats has become one of the top reasons the chlorella market has seen a boom in research and production in recent years (Sivaramakrishnan 2020).

 

Omega three fats have been widely popular for their cardiovascular health benefits for the last couple of decades. However, research also paints a positive picture regarding their ability to boost immunity. Omega-three fatty acids have also been shown to enhance both innate as well as adaptive immunity (Tomasdottir 2014Maskrey 2013)

A 2019 literature review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences documents many possible mechanisms by which omega-three fats modulate the immune system. The researchers note that the omega-three fats promote phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils, increase the differentiation of regulatory T cells and stimulate the production of antibodies by the B cells (Gutiérrez 2019).

 

Researchers believe that the effects of omega-three fats are mediated at the membrane level, which plays a role in phagocytosis, T-cell signaling, and antigen presentation (Calder 2007).

 

The Takeaway

While your options to choose a supplement that boosts immunity have become endless in the modern world, chlorella is certainly a strong contender. Research has shown that chlorella not only strengthens the immune system directly but it also does so in indirect ways. As a superfood, chlorella is rich in many essential nutrients such as vitamins D, omega-three fats, and carotenoids. And besides offering many other health benefits, these nutrients provided by chlorella also assist chlorella in improving immune function and to keep you healthy. (Azocar 2013).

 

 

 

 

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