Immune Health – Stay Strong- Take Action

posted by on July 28th, 2021

Maintaining a healthy immune system goes beyond many of the practical instructions we all follow.  It is critical to also support areas of health like our weight, our response to stress, as well as consider what we may want to add to our diet or supplement regimen to support us -anything short of proper planning may otherwise let down the immune system. 

It is important to note- there are parts of our lives we can control: For example- when daily stressors become chronic stressors, our immune system takes notice. What feels like a lack of sufficient energy is also a lack of sufficient metabolic reserve to support healthy immune activity.  It is important to consider what we may want to eliminate during stressful periods of our lives- like sugar, and what we may want to re-commit to- Immune supportive antioxidants and functional ingredients.

The immune system relies on micronutrients, antioxidant potential and amino acids to function properly- All, together play a beneficial role in the immune response. Some nutrients are well known for their immune-supportive actions – like vitamin C – while other nutrients are not as well known.[i]

Let’s explore some of the lesser known immune nutrients or functional ingredients.

The Elemental- Amino Acids

While most people think of protein as essential for their muscles and their healthy weight- it is also true that quality protein – with its varied amino acid component is essential to your immune health[ii]. Amino acids are not just the building blocks of protein- but are also critical to making antibodies, hormones, and neurotransmitters for your health.

Without sufficient protein it becomes difficult to have a healthy immune response. Not only do amino acids play a role in the activity of antibodies, but also your white blood cells to support your health each day[iii].

Amino Acids – like glycine, glutamine, tyrosine, or carnitine- all may help support your response to both physical and emotional stressors.

The Functional Beta Glucans

Supporting a healthy immune system starts with a healthy gastro-intestinal environment. Yeast beta glucans, which confer energy for the immune system, additionally have a significant effect on immune function.  What makes these beta-glucans unique is how their 1,3 configuration helps to create balanced white blood cell activity.  Verified and functional ingredients are essential to maintain a healthy immune response-especially when we consider our long work hours, physical and mental demands of the day.   The Wellmune beta-glucan ingredient has over a dozen published, peer-reviewed clinical studies supporting its clinically researched beta-glucan ingredient for athletes, individuals concerned with stress and its impact on immune health as well as those of mature years.[iv]

The Comprehensive- Pycnogenol

A healthy immune system creates its own internal free radicals if it is functioning properly, however as you go about your day- you are bombarded with external free radicals from the environment and new to nature molecules found in your food and water.  The external burden can often overwhelm our body’s natural ability to balance free radicals and thereby reduce our immune function[v].  Dietary and supplemental antioxidants can often clear the way from those stressors and create a healthy environment for our immune system to function normally.[vi] 

Pycnogenol also has a positive effect on maintaining a healthy inflammatory response by supporting a healthy balance or release of cytokines [vii]– cytokines are chemical communicators released from cells to help immune cells coordinate.

Healthy aging, immune function and quality of life require the ability to recognize our mental and physical stressors, pinpoint what effect it has on our body and then apply quality supplementation and lifestyle skills, such as sleep, nutrition, movement, and laughter.

[i] Gombart A, Pierre A, Maggini S. A review of micronutrients and the immune system – working in harmony. . . . Nutrients 2020;12(1). doi:10.3390/nu12010236

[ii] Li P, Yin Y-L, Li D, et al. Amino acids and immune function. Br J Nutr 2007;98(2):237-252. doi:10.1017/S000711450769936X

[iii] Grimm H, Kraus A. Immunonutrition – supplementary amino acids and fatty acids ameliorate immune deficiency in critically ill patients. Langenbecks Arch Surg 2001;386(5):369-376. doi:10.1007/s004230100241

[iv] Feldman S, Schwartz HI, Kalman DS, et al. Randomized phase II clinical trials of Wellmune® for immune support during cold and flu season. J Appl Res Clin Expt Ther. 2009;9:30-42

Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Miller GE. Psychological stress and disease. JAMA. 2007; 298:1685-7.

Talbott S, Talbott J. Effect of Beta 1, 3/1, 6 Glucan on Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms and Mood State in

Marathon Athletes. J Sports Sci Med. 2009;8:509-15.

[v] Pycnogenol® decreases symptoms of common cold and shorten its course also preventing

some complications. Belcaro G, Shu H, Luzzi R, Dugall M, Ippolito E, Cesarone MR, Corsi M, Feragalli B

Improvement of common cold with Pycnogenol®: a Winter registry study. Panminvera Med 56: 301-308, 2014

[vi] Pycnogenol® increases phagocytosis of macrophages suggesting better defence against pathogenic

infections.Wu TF, Hsu CY, Huang HS, Chou SP, Wu H. Proteomic analysis of Pycnogenol® effects in RAW 264.7 macrophage reveals induction of cathepsin D expression and enhancement of phagocytosis. J Agric Food Chem 55: 9784-9791, 2007

[vii] CLINICAL STUDY: Pycnogenol® inhibits the generation of COX-2 and 5-LOX enyzmes in pharmacological

investigations of inflammatory processes in humans.

Canali R, Comitato R, Schönlau F, Virgili F The anti-inflammatory pharmacology of Pycnogenol® in humans involves COX-2 and 5-LOX mRNA expression in leukocytes.Int Immunopharmacol 9: 1145-1149, 2009