5 nutrients to support immune health and the science behind

Why does good nutrition help immunity? Are there nutrients that should be favored in the diet to ensure optimal functioning of the immune system? If so, what are they and how do they work?

A new e-book to better understand the central role of some minerals and vitamins in immune health.

The immune system is like a shield, controlled by our gut microbiota. It protects us from harmful microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, etc.), toxins and other assaults. It can be unbalanced by many factors such as: poor diet or overeating, age, stress, lack of sleep, smoking, chronic diseases, etc. Therefore, it’s important to help it to stay strong by adopting a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle to ensure an optimal functioning of the immune cells. Each stage of the body’s immune response relies on the presence of many micronutrients.

How nutrients help the immune system?

The micronutrients can act in several ways:

 

  • work as antioxidant to protect healthy cells
  • support growth and activity of immune cells
  • produce antibodies
  • support cells and tissues functions

 

Each micronutrient has it’s own role in the immune system. And 5 of them (minerals and vitamins) are particularly essential to support your immune health according to science.

Zinc: the body protector

All life long, you need regular and reliable source of zinc although optimal dosages vary at different stages of life.

Mission: support the growth and normal functioning of immune cells.

Food sources?

Meats, poultry, seafood, oysters, beans, nuts, whole grains, etc.

Supplementation is required to help support optimal immune function in the elderly, alcoholics, vegetarians/vegans.

Selenium: the ally of oxidative stress

This micronutrient is an essential component of selenoproteins and enzymes, which have antioxidant properties.  But the amount of selenium in food strongly depends on the natural selenium content of soils in each country and region of the world. For example, China, Russia and Europe are known for their low soil of selenium.

Mission: promote the role and the action of certain antibodies

→ contributes to the normal function of the immune system (EFSA)

Food sources?

Seafood, organ meats, Brazil nuts are the food highest in selenium but other food such as bread or cereals are also interesting.

Supplementation can be recommended to support the normal function of the immune system.

Optimal dosages vary at different stages of life and in different parts of the world (cf. e-book).

Vitamin B6: the multitasker and antibodies producer

This vitamin is involved in more than 100 reactions in the body and mostly in the protein metabolism.

Mission: improves the immune response and enhances inflammatory response

Food sources?

Fish, beef liver, potatoes, starchy vegetables, non citrus-fruits, fortified cereals, etc.

Supplementation may be recommended in case of vitamin B6 deficiency linked to an unbalanced diet, age (seniors), professional sports activity, chronic disease, etc.

Optimal dosages vary at different stages of life (cf. e-book).

Vitamin B9: The DNA and RNA producer

Vitamin B9 also called Folic acid plays important roles in producing genetic material and amino acids, in formation of red blood corpuscules, in the nervous system and the immune system.

Mission: support the production of new cells and metabolic activities

Food sources?

Eating pulses, green leafy vegetables, yeast flakes, egg yolk, wheat germ…

Optimal dosages vary at different stages of life (cf. e-book). 

Special attention before and during pregnancy and lactation.

Vitamin B12: The immunomodulator

Among it’s various functions this vitamin, also called cyanocobalamin, plays a role of immunomodulator in immunity and support cells and tissues of the immune system.

Mission: elevate the number of several antibodies

Food sources?

Eggs, fish, meat, poultry, etc.

Optimal dosages vary at different stages of life (cf. e-book). 

Finally, the e-book shows you that functional and nutritional yeasts are natural sources of key nutrients to support your immunity.

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