The immune system describes many biological structures and processes within the body that protects against infections & disease. In addition to getting proper amounts of sleep & avoiding stress, nutrition is an essential part of supporting a healthy immune system.
Your body’s defense against viruses is lead by two types of immune cells, NK cells and T cells:
NK CELLS: Natural killer (NK) cells play a key hole in the immune system’s defense against viral infections such as influenza. Patients with identified NK cell deficiencies are predisposed to particularly severe, recurrent viral infections.
T CELLS: T cells help clear infection by killing cells which have been infected by a virus. Studies have found that higher numbers of T cells specific were correlated with less severe illness after influenza infection (Sridhar et al, 2013).
Research has found that several natural ingredients such as glutathione, inositol, and nicotinamide (a precursor to NAD) can play a significant role in immune system support, in part by enhancing NK cell and T cell function.
Glutathione, known as the master antixoidant, is critical for helping your immune system do its job. Many pathological conditions have been associated with decreased glutathione levels. Glutathione enhances the functional activity of various immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells and T cells.
“Enhancements in immune function markers were observed with liposomal GSH administration including NK cell cytotoxicity, which was elevated by up to 400% by 2 weeks (P<0.05), and lymphocyte proliferation, which was elevated up to 60% after 2 weeks (P<0.05).” (Sinha et. al, 2018).
Inositol plays a critical role in regulation of the immune system and is required for normal immune response. “Absence of higher order inositol phosphates (InsPs), inositol polyphosphates, leads to an inability to mount immune response against TI antigens” (Kim et al, 2019).
Nicotinamide supports production of T-cells. Deficiency of nicotinamide has been shown to result in compromised defenses against pathogens. Nicotinamide is the primary precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an essential coenzyme in ATP production. Maintaining an efficient supply of NAD+ seems to be a crucial need for a multitude of cell functions including immune system support.
References: Sinha, R., Sinha, I., Calcagnotto, A., Trushin, N., Haley, J., Schell, T., & Richie, J. (2018). Oral supplementation with liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6389332/pdf/nihms-1008081.pdf Ghezzi, P. (2011). Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung. Int J Gen Med. 2011; 4: 105–113. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S15618 Kim, W., Kim, E., Min, H., Kim, M., Eisenbeis, V., Dutta, A., Pavlovic, I., Jessen, H., Kim, S., & Seong, R. Inositol polyphosphates promote T cell-independent humoral immunity via the regulation of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase. PNAS June 25, 2019 116 (26) 12952-12957; first published June 12, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1821552116 Williams, A. C., & Hill, L. J. (2019). Nicotinamide and Demographic and Disease transitions: Moderation is Best. International journal of tryptophan research : IJTR, 12, 1178646919855940. https://doi.org/10.1177/1178646919855940