THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The immune system is extremely complex with intricate multidirectional connections between our gastrointestinal, psychological, endocrinological and other systems, and communication via various neurotransmitters, cytokines and other immune system messengers.
Types of immunity
- Innate Immunity primarily refers to our body’s first line of defence and includes physical barriers, such as the skin and cilia, and the corresponding inflammatory markers that are produced in response to tissue injury.
- The main leucocyte cells in this system are phagocyt
Is antigen-specific and may take days or weeks to develop. Depending on the antigen and the route of presentation, the response can be either cellular (eg. Cyctotoxic T-Cells), humoral (eg. Antibodies) or both (which may be induced by viral antigens).
- Antibodies or immunoglobulins: IgA, IgG and IgM form in response to antigens.
- Lymphoctyes Bcells (mature in bone marrow) And Tcells (mature in thymus).
* After initial antigen exposure, immune memory develops and can subsequently result in early recognition and stronger reactions to repeat exposures.
NOVAL COVID-19 EXPLANED IN SIMPLE TERMS
COVID-19 and the immune system
- The virus effects people in different ways. From mild cold symptoms, to symptoms requiring hospitalisation and death.
- Most common symptoms are fever, temperature, dry cough and exhaustion.
- Less common symptoms are diarrhea, headaches, loss of smell and aches and pains.
How can the same virus result in such different outcomes?
· Still largely unknown.
· Immune system plays a critical role in recovery or not from the virus.
· Most coronavirus-related deaths are due to other comorbidity factors or the immune system going haywire in response to the virus or a poor immune system. Not to the virus itself.
Immune response and Covid-19
· Specialised white blood cells from the immune system seek out to identify pathogens and destroy them
· When they identify a pathogen, the immune cells need to trigger inflammation to recruit more immune cells.
· The immune response depends on effective co-operation between immune cells.
· Immune cells communicate via the release of small signalling molecules called cytokines.
· Once released, the cytokines trigger localised inflammation as a physiological response by the body that aims to destroy the pathogen.
· Signs of inflammation include redness, swelling, pain and elevated temperature.
· In extreme circumstances a cytokine positive feed-back loop is created as a means of protecting the body. This sends out a message to the immune system that there is mass inflammation within the body and the immune system must respond in a radical manner to reduce the inflammation.
Cytokine Storm – ONE Contributing factor to fatalities in COVID-19
· In some cases, the immune system overreacts during an infection, releasing more cytokines than necessary, and progressively recruiting new hordes of activated white blood cells, which produce even more cytokines.
· These powerful regulators of inflammation can affect the whole body as seen in sepsis.
· Large quantities of cytokines can cause widespread (systemic) inflammation that can damage multiple organs.
· Some cytokines can also affect the blood vessels, causing a dramatic drop in blood pressure. Limits blood supply and starves the vital tissues and organs.
KNOWN MOTALITY FACTORS
· Higher prevalence in men
· High BMI
· Co-morbidity factors: heart disease, active cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and kidney and livery dysfunction.
- Nutrient deficiencies can cause a weakened immune system which makes people more susceptible to viral infections.
POOR COPING HABITS IN ISO: High alcohol, smoking, a poor diet can have a negative effect on the immune system.
MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC
No approved vaccines or pharmaceutical therapies available for treatment of COVID-19.
· Management Plan: Social distancing, self-quarantine, masks, hand sanitiser are the best ways to prevent the spread.. Maintaining a healthy immune system is the best ways prevent the extreme symptoms but this is no way definitive as the virus effects every individual differently.
LIFESTYLE MANAGEMENT TO BOLSTER IMMUNE SYSTEM
General Lifestyle management
Exercise – Exercise has a positive effect on the immune system. It is anti-inflammatory and can reduce body fat percentage and macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue. Natural killer cells from the innate immune system are the most responsive immune cell to acute exercise. Exercise promotes a good health status.
- Cross fit classes
Stress Management – Both acute and chronic stressful states produce documentable changes in both our innate and our adaptive immune responses. Acute stress has been shown to have a stimulating effect on the immune system, whereas chronic stress down-regulates the immune system.
- Qi Gong
Sleep - Poor sleep quality contributes to an increase susceptibility to the common cold. Sleep dysfunction can therefore be an important part of management of many immune-related conditions.
- Healthy sleep hygiene
- Sleep routine
- Natural supplements – valerian, kava, melatonin and camomile.
NUTRITIONAL MANAGEMENT TO BOLSTER THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
- Nutrition is a critical determinant of immunity, with malnutrition being the most common cause of immune deficiency worldwide.
- Both insufficient and excess nutrient intakes can have negative consequences for immune status and susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.
- Deficiency of nutrients may suppress immunity by affecting innate, T-cell mediated and adaptive antibody responses, leading to dysregulation of the natural body response mechanisms. This can lead to increased susceptibility to infections, which can then lead to further nutrient deficiency, and so on.
- Vitamins A,B6,B12,C,D,E,folic acid and the trace elements iron (fe) and selenium (se) all work synergistically to support the protective activities of the immune cells.
- Antioxidant and trace elements counteract damage to tissues secondary to reactive oxygen species, while simultaneously modulating immune cell function by affecting the production of cytokines and prostaglandins.
IMMUNE BOOSTING VITAMINS
Maintains structure of respiratory tract and gut. Helps make antibodies which neutralise the pathogens that cause infection.
- Food Sources: oily fish, egg yolks, chees, tofu, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. Vegetables contain beta-carotene (green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange vegetables: pumpkin and carrot), which the body can convert to vit A.
B6, B9 and B12 contribute to body’s first response once it has recognised a pathogen. Influence the production and activation of natural killer cells.
- Food Sources:
- B6 – cereals, legumes, green leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish, chicken and meat.
- B9 (folate) – Green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- B12 – Found in animal products, including eggs, meat and dairy and in fortified soy milk.
Helps protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. Helps clean up cellular mess produced by a immune response: neutrophils, lymphocytes and phagocytes.
- Food Sources: Oranges, lemons, limes, berries, kiwifruit, broccoli, tomatoes and capsicum.
Helps protects cells from oxidative stress.
- Food sources: Nuts, green leafy vegetables and vegetables oil
Some immune cells need vitamin D to help destroy pathogens that cause infection. Sun exposure allows the body to produce vit . Deficiency can lead to being more susceptible to acute respiratory infections.
- Food Sources: Sun exposure, eggs, fish and some milks.
SUPPLEMENTATION WARNING: Please seek medical advice to determine that you have a Vitamin D deficiency before commencing supplementation.
Iron, Zinc & Selenium
Needs for immune cell growth amongst other functions.
Fe helps kill pathogens by increasing the number of free radical that can destroy them. It also regulates enzyme reactions essential for immune cells to recognise and target pathogens.
- Food Sources: Red meat, chicken, fish, legumes & lentils, tofu & dark green leafy vegetables.
Zn helps maintain the integrity of skin and mucous membranes. Acts as an antioxidant, helping mop up some of the damage caused by oxidative stress.
- Food Sources: Oysters, other seafood, meat, chicken, dried beans and nuts.
Se – Powerful Antioxidant
- Food Sources: Brazil nuts ‘grown in brazil’, meat, cereals and mushrooms.
- Food Sources: Miso, Kimchi, Kraut, Yogurt, Tempeh and Kombucha.
General Immune Boosting Dietary Recommendations.
Many natural foods are thought to balance the immune system and prevent excessive immune activity. These foods include fish, fruit and vegetables, and culinary herbs such as ginger, garlic and turmeric. In contrast processed and high fat food are inflammatory which has a negative effect on the immune system.
Anti-inflammatory foods that contribute to a healthy immune system.
- Restricted energy intake
- Low GI foods,
- Antioxidant-rich foods
- Omega-3-rich foods
- Monounsaturated fat
- Lean game meats
- Fruit and vegetables
- High-fibre foods
- Herbs, eg. Garlic, ginger, curcumin
- Green tea
Pro-inflammatory foods to stay away from.
- Excess energy, High GI foods, High trans fats food, Saturated fats, Salt, Excessive alcohol, Refined carbohydrates, Dairy, Artificial colours / flavours / preservatives.
IMMUNE BOOSTING MEAL SUGGESTIONS
- Water – Drink it.
- Turmeric tea – anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.
- Vitamin booster smoothies – Up your vitamin quota with a smoothie filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Kefir yogurt with raspberries and blue berries – Filled with probiotics and antioxidants.
- Mixed citrus and berry fruit salad – Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin, tangerines, lemon and strawberries. A great vitamin C and antioxidant boost.
- Natural Oysters with lime juice – The highest food source of immune boosting zinc.
- A hand full of Brazil nuts grown in Brazil – Brazil nuts are a high source of immune boosting Selenium.
- Rainbow Salad – Salad with mutli-coloured vegetables that rich in antioxidants. Use salad greens, tomatoes, carrots, red pepper, avocado, cucumber, purple cabbage and herbs.
- Boiled spinach, hard-boiled egg and roast potato – This is a German dish that is rich in Iron.
- Bone Broth – Heaps of bones (either chicken, beef, pork or lamb etc), white wine, water, bay leaves. Season to taste.
- Miso Vegetarian Raman – Miso paste, veggie broth, ramen noodles, shitake mushrooms and bok choy. Season to taste.
- Spanish Gazpacho (Cold Tomato Soup) – Roma tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, red onion, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, ground cumin and season.
- Baked whole fish snapper with garlic and ginger – Great source of immune boosting, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
- Slow cooked beef and legume stew – Beef, Beef stock, legumes, onions and garlic. Slow cooked to help hold the nutrients.