[Immunity BEST 5] BEST 5 Ingredients For  Basic Health and Immunity

[Immunity BEST 5] BEST 5 Ingredients For Basic Health and Immunity

Dec 03, 2023KimSunhyo

[Immunity BEST 5] BEST 5 Ingredients For

Basic Health and Immunity

Immunity BEST 5
BEST 5 Nutrients for Boosting Immunity
This content is health information about ingredients and not directly related to a specific product.
BEST 5 for Immunity
1. Zinc
2. Vitamin D
3. Probiotics
4. Beta-glucan
5. Alkoxyglycerol

Hello, I am Jinny, a pharmacist.

After the global outbreak of infectious diseases, one noticeable change in my daily life is that many people inquire about ways to boost their immune system. It seems that more people are considering "immunity" as an urgent and crucial health issue.

As many of you may know, the immune system is a vital part of our body's health maintenance system. It plays a crucial role in identifying and eliminating invaders within our bodies. From an immunological perspective, all diseases result from an imbalance in the immune system. Furthermore, the immune system helps maintain the health of cells within the body, preventing tissue aging and preserving overall bodily functions.

Moreover, while the immune system may not directly cause major diseases, it plays a significant role in enhancing resistance to many chronic inflammatory, allergic, and viral diseases that gradually deteriorate our quality of life.

However, are you aware that the immune system is continuously under threat in our daily lives? Factors such as virus exposure, aging, stress, lack of sleep, and everyday habits like drinking and smoking consistently weaken the immune system. Today, I would like to introduce 5 of the best nutrients that can help boost your immune system.

1. Zinc

When it comes to nutrients that are good for the immune system, many people may immediately think of "zinc." Zinc is a structural component of over 200 different enzymes, and it is present in every cell of the body. It is essential for regulating various vital metabolic processes in the body, including DNA synthesis. It plays a crucial role in immune function and is indispensable, especially in tissues with rapid cell turnover[1].

As a result, when there is a zinc deficiency, the entire immune process, from the initial response to infections to the entire complex immune response, is compromised. In particular, a lack of zinc can hinder cell division and proliferation, leading to delayed wound healing and roughening of the skin. In severe cases of zinc deficiency, various skin conditions, such as skin inflammation with the formation of blisters or pustules, hair loss, gastrointestinal disorders, and a decreased cellular-mediated immune response that leads to recurrent infections, can occur[2].

Skin, in particular, is the third most zinc-rich tissue in the body, and zinc deficiency has been associated with various skin disorders[3]. Studies that evaluated the effects of zinc intake on acne patients have also shown a reduction in inflammatory acne with zinc supplementation[4].

In summary, zinc is both an essential nutrient for the proper functioning of the immune system and a nutrient to pay attention to if you are suffering from chronic skin issues without an obvious cause. Zinc deficiencies should be taken seriously, and it's recommended to consistently consume the recommended daily amount to ensure you get enough zinc in your diet.

[1,2] Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Health Functional Food Functional Ingredients
[3] Ogawa, Y., Kinoshita, M., Shimada, S., & Kawamura, T. (2018). Zinc and skin disorders. Nutrients, 10(2), 199.
[4] Yee, B. E., Richards, P., Sui, J. Y., & Marsch, A. F. (2020). Serum zinc levels and efficacy of zinc treatment in acne vulgaris: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Dermatologic Therapy, 33(6), e14252.

2. Vitamin D

Secondly, I'd like to introduce vitamin D as a nutrient for immunity. Dr. Esther has emphasized the importance of vitamin D multiple times, and many of you reading this are probably already aware of its significance for the immune system. Nevertheless, I'd like to provide a brief overview of this crucial nutrient.

Of course, vitamin D plays a role in maintaining the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, which is essential for proper bone formation. However, recent research in the academic field over the past few decades has primarily focused on the relationship between vitamin D and the innate and adaptive immune systems. The conclusion drawn from this research is that vitamin D is essential for normal immune function[1].

In a study involving 140 immunocompromised patients, vitamin D supplementation resulted in a significant reduction in infection symptoms, pathogen counts, and antibiotic usage[2]. In another study with 95 tuberculosis patients, vitamin D supplementation led to a significantly improved rate of reduction in inflammatory responses[3]. Even in healthy individuals, vitamin D supplementation has been shown to markedly reduce the production of inflammatory factors by peripheral mononuclear cells[4].

Therefore, vitamin D is not only crucial for the health of the skeletal system but also serves as a vital stimulant for the immune system, playing an essential role in normal immune responses. Given that many Koreans are deficient in this nutrient, it's important to pay consistent attention to vitamin D for maintaining immune health.

[1] Prietl, B., Treiber, G., Pieber, T. R., & Amrein, K. (2013). Vitamin D and immune function. Nutrients, 5(7), 2502-2521.
[2] Bergman, P., Norlin, A. C., Hansen, S., Rekha, R. S., Agerberth, B., Björkhem-Bergman, L., ... & Andersson, J. (2012). Vitamin D3 supplementation in patients with frequent respiratory tract infections: a randomised and double-blind intervention study. BMJ open, 2(6), e001663.
[3] Coussens, A. K., Wilkinson, R. J., Hanifa, Y., Nikolayevskyy, V., Elkington, P. T., Islam, K., ... & Martineau, A. R. (2012). Vitamin D accelerates resolution of inflammatory responses during tuberculosis treatment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(38), 15449-15454.
[4] Müller, K., Diamant, M., & Bendtzen, K. (1991). Inhibition of production and function of interleukin-6 by 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Immunology letters, 28(2), 115-120.

3. Probiotics

Probiotics, whose recognized functional claim by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is "to help with intestinal health," are often consumed by many people to support their immune system. This is a well-founded purpose because when discussing factors that influence the immune system, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and the fourth pillar mentioned is gut microbiota.

Lymphoid tissues related to the gut are the largest in our body, and mature lymphocytes within the gut mucosa are much more abundant than those distributed in the bone marrow. The numerous microorganisms that reside in and pass through our intestines act as antigens, turning the intestinal mucosa into the front line of the body's immune system. Intestinal microbiota is known to induce the secretion of antimicrobial peptides and activate the immune system through interactions with intestinal epithelial cells[1].

Among these gut microorganisms, probiotics are the ones that exert beneficial effects on the human body. It has been consistently reported that the intake of probiotics helps improve various functional gastrointestinal disorders, including acute viral gastroenteritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Probiotics are known to enhance the constancy of the intestines and reduce the invasion of bacteria into intestinal epithelial cells[2].

In addition to improving intestinal health, probiotics can function as a protective barrier by suppressing infections that occur through the intestinal mucosa. Therefore, even if you don't have any specific issues with bowel movements, if you are someone who frequently experiences indigestion after meals or has chronic inflammation, paying attention to probiotics could be beneficial.

[1,2] Vieira, A. T., Teixeira, M. M., & Martins, F. S. (2013). The role of probiotics and prebiotics in inducing gut immunity. Frontiers in immunology, 4, 445.

4. Beta-glucan

I introduced familiar ingredients that have a significant impact on the immune system earlier, and now I'll introduce some immune-boosting functional ingredients that might be less familiar. The first one is beta-glucan powder, a functional ingredient recognized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for its immune-enhancing properties.

Beta-glucan is a type of polysaccharide, a form of multiple glucose molecules linked together through beta bonds. It is typically found in the cell walls of yeast and mushrooms. Beta-glucan serves as a stimulant for our body's innate immune system. Since it's a component not naturally present in our body, when beta-glucan is detected in our body, our immune system recognizes it as a form of intrusion, causing the body to go into an alert state[1].

What's particularly interesting is that beta-glucan stimulates the immune response while actually suppressing the inflammatory response[2]. In other words, it functions as an immune system booster. As a result, it has been reported to improve immune function and help with reducing infection symptoms, especially in high-stress situations, improve exercise performance, decrease fatigue, and increase exercise duration[3][4].

Beta-glucan is like an immune system booster, particularly helpful in physically demanding situations, such as heavy workloads or high-stress academic periods. However, since beta-glucan is not commonly found in natural foods due to its insolubility, it's advisable to choose health supplements for consumption.

[1,2] Chan, G. C. F., Chan, W. K., & Sze, D. M. Y. (2009). The effects of β-glucan on human immune and cancer cells. Journal of hematology & oncology, 2(1), 1-11.
[3] Talbott, S., & Talbott, J. (2009). Effect of BETA 1, 3/1, 6 GLUCAN on upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and mood state in marathon athletes. Journal of sports science & medicine, 8(4), 509.
[4] Xu, X., Ding, Y., Yang, Y., Gao, Y., Sun, Q., Liu, J., ... & Zhang, J. (2018). β-Glucan salecan improves exercise performance and displays anti-fatigue effects through regulating energy metabolism and oxidative stress in mice. Nutrients, 10(7), 858.

5. Alkoxyglycerol

While the beta-glucan introduced earlier functions as an ingredient that acts as an 'external factor' in our body, boosting the immune system, the ingredient I will introduce last today, Alkylglycerol, plays a vital role as an intrinsic defense factor in our body's immune response. It has been researched as an adjunct therapy for leukemia treatment and as a preventive treatment for radiation diseases caused by anticancer therapy[1].

Alkylglycerol is mainly distributed in organs responsible for blood production, such as the bone marrow and liver, and is richly present in breast milk[2]. A familiar food source of this ingredient is shark liver oil, recognized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety as a functional ingredient for immune enhancement.

Alkylglycerol stimulates hematopoietic activity, promoting the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow and increasing immunoglobulins in the serum. It also enhances phagocyte activity and improves the immune response, ultimately enhancing the body's resistance[3]. While the previously introduced ingredients assist the smooth operation of our body's immune system, Alkylglycerol is closer to being a component that augments the immune system itself.

Due to these characteristics, Alkylglycerol has been the subject of various clinical studies, especially focusing on elderly individuals, surgical patients, and other subjects with severely compromised immune systems[3]. These studies have reported the suppression of postoperative complications, improved survival rates, and extended survival times in patients following Alkylglycerol consumption[4][5].

Likewise, Alkylglycerol serves as a defense factor that can enhance our body's immune system, making it a suitable ingredient for the recovery of elderly individuals, surgical patients, and those in need of immune support. Additionally, there are numerous research reports related to its anti-tumor activity, so individuals who have experienced or are recurrently diagnosed with tumors may also find it worth considering[6].

[1] Pugliese, P. T., Jordan, K., Cederberg, H., & Brohult, J. (1998). Some biological actions of alkylglycerols from shark liver oil. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 4(1), 87-99.
[2] Iannitti, T., & Palmieri, B. (2010). An update on the therapeutic role of alkylglycerols. Marine Drugs, 8(8), 2267-2300.
[3] Berdel, W. E., Bausert, W. R., Weltzien, H. U., Modolell, M. L., Widmann, K. H., & Munder, P. G. (1980). The influence of alkyl-lysophospholipids and lysophospholipid-activated macrophages on the development of metastasis of 3-Lewis lung carcinoma. European Journal of Cancer (1965), 16(9), 1199-1204.
[4] Palmieri, B., Pennelli, A., & Di Cerbo, A. (2014). Jurassic surgery and immunity enhancement by alkyglycerols of shark liver oil. Lipids in Health and Disease, 13(1), 1-5.
[5] Brohult, A., Brohult, J., Brohult, S., & Joelsson, I. (1986). Reduced mortality in cancer patients after administration of alkoxyglycerols. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 65(7), 779-785.
[6] Iagher, F., de Brito Belo, S. R., Souza, W. M., Nunes, J. R., Naliwaiko, K., Sassaki, G. L., ... & Fernandes, L. C. (2013). Antitumor and anti-cachectic effects of shark liver oil and fish oil: comparison between independent or associative chronic supplementation in Walker 256 tumor-bearing rats. Lipids in health and disease, 12(1), 1-9.

Today, I introduced five essential components for immune health. As mentioned at the beginning, our immune system is continuously threatened by factors such as aging, stress, lack of sleep, and daily habits like alcohol consumption and smoking. It's crucial to remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is just as important as proper nutrition for a robust immune system.

I hope you have a healthy day both physically and mentally. This was Jinny.

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