Oct. 23, 2020 — While researchers around the world race to develop an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine, a team from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego contributed to a study led by Vanderbilt Vaccine Center of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) on T cell receptors, which play a vital role in alerting the adaptive immune system to mount an attack on invading foreign pathogens including the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Thanks to the National Science Foundation’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) for supercomputing allocations, SDSC’s Comet was recently used to perform complex calculations on the receptor sequence data from sorted human T cells to allow scientists to better understand the size and diversity receptor repertoire in healthy individuals. The team’s findings were published last month in Cell Reports as a follow-up study to earlier findings about B cells published in the journal Nature last year.
“Being able to access Comet through an XSEDE allocation made us much more productive,” said Robert Sinkovits, SDSC’s director of scientific computing applications. “The larger memory nodes were also essential for some of the clustering calculations that could not have been completed on standard hardware.”
Both B cells and T cells are constituents of the adaptive immune system and form the second line of defense against viruses, bacteria, cancer, and other toxic pathogens that slip past the innate immune response. The adaptive immune system remembers the invading pathogen after first encounter and forms the basis of effective vaccines. To advance our understanding, the researchers sequenced receptors from the transcriptome of billions of cells to assess the somatic recombination of different gene segments that comprise the circulating B and T cell receptors from healthy Caucasian individuals. They found that T cell receptors, like B cell receptors, exhibit significantly higher overlap in different individuals than expected by chance.
In addition, the unprecedented scale of this sequencing project reveals that the size and diversity of immune repertoire are at least an order of magnitude larger than the estimation made from previous studies. This work is part of a broader effort supported by the Human Vaccines Project to decipher the components of the immune system, with the ultimate goal of understanding how to generate life-long protective immunity.
“Our most recent study puts us one step closer to truly understanding the extreme and beneficial diversity in the immune system, and identifying features of immunity that are shared by most people,” said James E. Crowe, Jr., director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Now we continue to identify T cell receptors and antibodies that can be targets for vaccines and treatments that work more universally across populations.”
A primary aspect of the team’s ongoing research is focused on integrating the findings of these two studies toward the development of an effective vaccine against emerging and evolving threats. Crowe explained, “We are getting closer to being able to use these large databases of human immune molecules to rapidly discover natural molecules that can be used as biological drugs.”
Madhusudan Gujral, a senior bioinformatician at SDSC; Robert Sinkovits, SDSC’s director of scientific computing applications; and Cinque Soto, a Vanderbilt computational biologist and lead author of the study, share Crowe’s enthusiasm over the implications of this research and recognize the importance of access to high-performance computing resources, such as Comet, to make it possible.
“Being able to access Comet through an XSEDE allocation made us much more productive,” said Sinkovits. “The larger memory nodes were also essential for some of the clustering calculations that could not have been completed on standard hardware.
This work was supported by a grant from the Human Vaccines Project and institutional funding from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The authors acknowledge support from TN-CFAR grant (P30 AI110527). This work also used XSEDE, which is supported by NSF grant (ACI-1548562), and Comet supercomputer at SDSC, supported by NSF grant (ACI-1341698).
Source: Kimberly Mann Bruch, San Diego Supercomputer Center Communications
When the days get short and the weather gets chilly, the last thing you want is to be slowed down by a cold. Giving your immune system the support it needs can help give your body a fighting chance against illnesses like the common cold and flu (have you gotten your flu shot yet?). Here’s how.
How Do You Boost Your Immune System?
The body’s first line of defense against germs and bacteria is a healthy lifestyle. This looks like enough sleep, regular exercise, frequent hand-washing, avoiding smoking, reducing stress, and a healthy diet. What they say about vitamin C’s ability to help fight colds is true—but it’s not the only important nutrient. Vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc play key roles in maintaining a strong immune system.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can weaken the immune system, so it’s important to ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. But, many still struggle with doing that. If you suspect that you’re not getting enough, then daily supplements or superfood powders made from whole food ingredients can help meet your body’s needs. As always, consult your doctor before starting any new supplement. Here are some of our recommendations:
Taking your daily vitamins can be easy to forget, but it can be critical going into cold and flu season. Founded in 2009, Canadian brand Herbaland saw a gap in the gummy vitamin market. So, they jumped in and made gummy vitamins that are vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, palm oil derivative-free, nut-free, halal, and kosher. Plus, they made them taste good enough to mistake for candy and ensure that their ingredients are sustainable, plant-based, and organic whenever possible. The company also ensures that its production processes are as kind to the planet as possible, from seeking zero-waste packaging solutions to its Eco-Forming process for depositing gummies into steel molds.
Herbaland’s Immune Plus Gummies for Adults are made with antioxidant-rich ingredients that help fight cold symptoms while giving your immune system a boost. These vegan gummies (no gelatin here!) contain a powerful blend of vitamin C, elderberry, and echinacea, which work together to support the body’s ability to fight colds. These sugar-free gummies have a raspberry lemon flavor, making taking your daily vitamins practical, especially compared to regular pills and capsules.
Along with keeping your immune system in check, it’s important to ensure that you’re taking your vitamins. Enter the D3 & B12 Gummies for Adults. These sugar-free gummies contain vitamin D3, a powerhouse that helps support the immune system, boost energy, and maintain strong bones and teeth. Vitamin B12, which needs to be supplemented on a plant-based diet, plays a key role in the metabolism of every single cell in the body and red blood cell production. They’re sugar-free and have a delicious raspberry flavor.
2. Your Super
The story behind Your Super is personal. Co-founder Kristel de Groot began making superfood mixes for her fiancé Michael after he was diagnosed with cancer at age 24. The more the pair learned about the connection between diet and good health, the more determined they became to share their knowledge of healthy, whole food ingredients with the world. Your Super makes superfood blends—inspired by the ones Kristel made for Michael while he was in recovery—made with five to six organic, plant-based ingredients and no sweeteners, stevia, artificial flavors, fillers, preservatives, or additives.
The Immunity Bundle boosts the body’s first line of defense against germs and bacteria with four super-charged superfood mixes. Here’s what’s in it:
Super Green mix: Like an instant green juice, made with wheatgrass, barley grass, moringa, baobab, spirulina, and chlorella. One scoop is the equivalent of a handful of greens and it’s packed with micronutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and iron.
Forever Beautiful mix: A fruity blend for glowing skin made with antioxidant-rich ingredients like chia seed, acai, maqui, acerola, maca, and blueberry.
Golden Mellow mix: A slightly spicy blend of inflammation-fighting and stress-reducing ingredients: turmeric, ashwagandha, ginger, cinnamon, lucuma, and black pepper.
Magic Mushroom mix: A chocolatey drink that helps support the immune system and boost your mood with cacao, chaga and reishi mushrooms, ashwagandha, lucuma, and cinnamon.
This bundle also comes with a digital copy of Everyday Super Smoothies, featuring more than 25 recipes for healthy, whole food smoothies for any time of day.
Use the code LIVEKINDLY for 15 percent off your purchase.
3. Gaia Herbs
The Immune Shine from Gaia Herbs is a powder blend made with ingredients used in folk remedies to support the immune system, including elderberry, ginger, astragalus, and maitake and chaga mushrooms. A study found that maitake, a mushroom that has been grown in China and Japan for centuries that’s also known as hen-of-the-woods in Western cuisine, has immune-enhancing effects. Chaga, a type of black mushroom, has traditionally been used to treat various ailments and illnesses in Russia and Eastern Europe. It blends easily into smoothies, plant-based milk, and other beverages.
4. Hum Nutrition
When we trade hot, sticky, humid days for the cool, crisp fall air (and hot lattes, finally), we also lose some sunlight. Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” has a surprising amount of benefits, including regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and helping the immune system function properly. Your body produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight, it makes sense that so many peoples’ levels drop during winter. Hum Nutrition’s vegan Here Comes the Sun softgels contain vitamin D3 derived from lichen, a moss-esque organism that arises from a symbiotic partnership between algae and fungus on trees, rocks, and walls.
5. Four Sigmatic
The Four Sigmatic Mushroom Blend Mix is a powdered drink mix with a slightly earthy flavor that’s best stirred into coffee or tea. It combines 10 organic mushrooms that have been used in traditional medicines for centuries: chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, cordyceps, shiitake, enokitake (a long, thin white mushroom that’s also delicious in stir-fries), agaricus blazei, mishima, and tremella.
6. myKind Organics
The result of a team-up between actress and vegan activist Alicia Silverstone and wellness brand Garden of Life, myKind offers 100 percent vegan multivitamins and herbal supplements. The Elderberry Immune Syrup is a concentrated formula made from black elderberry, echinacea, vitamin C-rich amla berry, and zinc derived from organic guava. It’s sugar-free and you can take it by the spoonful or mix it with water of the flat or sparkling variety.
The Immune Support powder from Hilma is formulated with vitamin C derived from camu camu berry, echinacea, ginger, turmeric, zinc, ivy leaf extract, and no fillers. It blends easily into hot or cold water and has a refreshing lemon ginger flavor, so it’s like drinking a cup of tea (which means you absolutely should pair it with vegan cookies).
Remember: vitamin C and zinc can help support your immune system, but it can’t do the work alone. Sticking to good hand-washing habits all throughout winter is your body’s best line of defense against getting sick.
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Clone Deals, a start-up incubated at the Atal Incubation Centre-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (AIC-CCMB), has collaborated with another Hyderabad-based company, Ambrosia Food Company, to develop a combination of the mushroom powder with curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, to make CoronAid Anti-Viral Immunity Booster Oral Suspension, a statement from CCMB said on Thursday.
Cordycepin in the mushroom powder is known to prevent the formation of new DNA and RNA strands.
Clone Deals has collaborated with scientists from CCMB to establish the potency of cordycepin in stopping the growth of the Covid-19-causing coronavirus in a cell-culture system. The studies show that cordycepin inhibits the multiplication of coronavirus.
Clone Deals has expertise in large-scale production of the mushroom in a controlled environment for its medicinal use. Currently, the team has obtained the FSSAI approval for marketing and submitted proposals to the government of India for conducting clinical trials at three All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Bhopal, to establish the safety of their formulation, the CCMB said.
With satisfactory results of the clinical trials, the product is expected to be available from December 2020 in most cities and towns, adding considerable protection against the virus.
“We are delighted to support a start-up focused on developing indigenous natural products and adding value by establishing its scientific basis,” Dr Rakesh Mishra, director CCMB said.
Thoothukudi, Oct 22 (UNI) Vilathikulam police in this district on Thursday registered cases against two MLAs belonging to the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK, besides 600 cadres of both parties in connection with a scuffle over hoisting party flag.
Hyderabad, Oct 22 (UNI) In a record breaking feat on South Central Railway (SCR), the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) has completed and commissioned doubling of 69 kms Railway line between Uppaluru-Gudivada-Moturu and Gudivada-Machilipatnam sections in Andhra Pradesh, on Thursday.
Puducherry, Oct 22 (UNI) Former Lok Sabha member from Puducherry Prof M.Ramadass on Thursday urged Lt.Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy to take steps to hold the local body election in the Union Territory.
Visakhapatnam, Oct 22 (UNI) The Indigenously built INS Kavaratti (P31), an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under Project 28 (Kamorta Class) was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane at a ceremony held at Naval Dockyard here on Thursday.
Falling sick is not a risk you should be taking at times like these. For keeping diseases at bay, you need to boost your immune system, which requires eating the right nutrition. The antibodies present in our immune system combat diseases, infections, and it is important that you keep it healthy and strong. The pandemic has made us realize the importance of immunity in our daily lives. A study conducted by the University of Melbourne found that a strong immune system can fight the virus and help you recover from the infection. If you too wish to build strong immunity, these 5 drinks might be able to help you. Also Read – COVID-19 vaccine trials can’t tell if the shots will save lives, protect the elderly
Fresh tomato juice contains folate, which alleviates the risk of infections. It also provides a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and potent antioxidants that provide the body with numerous health benefits. All you have to do is cook sliced tomatoes for about thirty minutes over medium heat and toss into a food processor and blend it until it reaches the desired consistency. Also Read – Volunteer in Oxford Covid-19 vaccine test dies in Brazil, but trial continues
Vegetable-based green juice
Mix green apple, lettuce and kale in a blender and mix well – this is a great immunity-boosting drink that you can add to your daily diet. Apple skins contain a type of plant pigment flavonoid known as quercetin that helps strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation. Lettuce and kale, on the other hand, contain vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infection and boost your immune system. Also Read – COVID-19 Live Updates: Cases in India surge to 77,06,946 while death toll reaches 1,16,616
Red fruit juice
Bring the goodness of beetroot, carrot, ginger and apple into a single glass. This drink is a powerhouse of nutrients that will decrease inflammatory symptoms and help your immune system. Not only this, but it also helps you deal with cold or flu symptoms, which can hinder your everyday work.
Citrus fruit juice
Citrus fruits are touted as the best sources of vitamin C and strong immunity boosters. What you might not know is that vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which helps your body fight against infections and viral diseases. Vitamin C deficiency has long been associated with the impairment of immune response. For a healthy adult, 200 mg a day is enough to boost the immune system.
Watermelon has a high content of water that keeps your body hydrated. It also helps in detoxification. It contains healthy nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium. Not only that, but it also helps relieve muscle soreness, which is a common symptom of flu.
Prepared with pumpkin seeds, this juice is high in zinc, magnesium and fiber, three of the essential nutrients required to maintain a healthy immune system. It also helps decrease inflammation. To prepare this healthy drink, all you need is a cup of pumpkin seeds soaked overnight, filtered water and a pinch of salt. Blend it for about 30 seconds, until the seeds are fully pulverized. Strain it and drink.
CThere are still no fully effective drugs or vaccines to protect us from the new coronavirus, somehow combatit depends on each person’s responsiveness to Covid-19, as explained in a report by BBC News Brasil.
For this very reason, having strong immunity is essential to prevent and fight the virus, as well as for the recovery of the patient.
According to several experts, in an interview with BBC, there are four pillars of “good immunity”, namely: eating healthy eating, sleeping enough hours, exercising regularly and avoiding and reducing stress levels.
Understand how immunity is affected
Ana Caetano Faria, full professor of Immunology Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and specialist from the Brazilian Society of Immunologyexplains that when we sleep insufficient hours, eat unhealthy food, are sedentary and live in constant stress and anxiety, our system immune suffers the consequences.
“All of these pillars are important, but I emphasize the need to sleep well. It is during sleep that we have the largest production of defense cells by the marrow. bone. Studies show that sleeping less than five hours a night increases the risk of developing respiratory infections, such as colds and flu, by four times. ” BBC.
However, when we exercise – without exaggeration – the body releases hormones that contribute to the regulation of the immune system. When controlling stress, the body refrains from producing substânces that harm you. And the consumption of a balanced diet, provides the necessary energy for the great functioning of our defenses, explains the teacher.
After all, what is a balanced diet?
A BBC News Brasil interviewed nutritionist Julia Branches, who explained that “there is no food or vitamin to fight the new coronavirus. But obviously, when the system immune this active and healthy, will help fight the combat-the”.
Follow the expert’s tips:
1. Prepare colorful dishes
Branches recommends eating about ten servings of 80 grams a day, seven of vegetables and three of fruit, of different colors.
“Every color of food reflects the kind of micronutrients that has. I challenge my patients to put at least five colors on the plate “.
Regarding the micronutrients, the nutritionist places special emphasis on zinc and selenium.
“Zinc is found in red meats and chicken liver. Also in oysters”.
However, the selenium it is present in nuts and wheat flour.
Branches it also advises to eat smaller amounts of simple carbohydrates, such as white rice, white bread and cakes and to give priority to complex carbohydrates, that is, the integral versions of these foods.
2. Don’t forget “vitamins antioxidants“
According to the nutritionist, vitamins A, C, D and E are extremely important – again, abundant especially in vegetables and fruits.
3. Take care of the intestine
A microbiota intestinal affects immunity as such Branches reinforces the importncia eating fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
4. Reduce the consume of alcohol and salt
“THE alcohol and excess salt can be harmful to the immune system. Its consumption must be done in moderation “, warns the nutritionist.
According to a study by the Medical School of the University of Massachusetts, in the United States, the excessive consumption of alcohol impairs the body’s ability to fight viral infections, especially the respiratory system.
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A look at 10 medicinal plants known to enhance immunity and strengthen brain power
The human body is a complex and mysterious mechanism of nature: The most intriguing facet is its ability to fight potentially dangerous pathogens.
In the world’s fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, experts have hailed strong immunity as a key pillar of protection against the virus.
For centuries, mankind has relied on herbal plants to treat medical conditions and boost immunity in natural ways. Plants have been the main components of various traditional medicinal systems such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Chinese, and so forth.
These herbs enhance the body’s immunity by stimulating activity of phagocytes that fight disease-causing pathogens. The World Health Organization has estimated that about 80 per cent of the population in developing countries depends on traditional medicines for primary healthcare.
Uttar Pradesh has 272 vascular plant species belonging to 203 genera under 69 plant families, which include rich diversity of wild medicinal plants, according to a survey undertaken in 2014-17 in Chithara village panchayat, including the Shiv Nadar University campus in Greater Noida.
At least 96 per cent species were known to have marginal-to-outstanding medicinal properties and uses in traditional medicines.
Among these, 10 species — AbrusprecatoriusL; Artemisia scoparia Waldst & Kitam; Azadirachtaindica A Juss; BoerhaviadiffusaL; CardaminehirsutaL; Clerodendrumphlomidis Lf; Phyllanthus tenellus Roxb; Physalis peruviana L; Portulaca oleracea L; and Withaniasomnifera (L) Dunal — were found to be significant as they possess medicinal properties to enhance immunity.
Explained below are the medicinal properties of 10 valuable plants in Chithara known to boost natural immunity:
Abrusprecatorius (Indian liquorice, Ratti) (Family: Leguminosae): The bright red ovoid seeds with a black spot weigh 1/10th of a gram, and were hence used as weighing unit called ‘Ratti’ in ancient India by goldsmiths. Its seeds are said to have immune-modulating properties.
Artemisia scoparia (Redstem Wormwood) (Family: Asteraceae): In addition to their excellent clinical anti-malarial properties due to the presence of artemisinin, these plants possess potent anti-inflammatory properties and help regulate both innate and adaptive immunity.
Azadirachtaindica (Neem) (Family: Meliaceae): It is a well-known tree used in various systems of traditional medicine since time immemorial. In Sanskrit, it is known as Arishtha, which means ‘reliever of sicknesses’.
Boerhaviadiffusa (Punarnava) (Family: Nyctaginaceae): In Ayurveda, Punarnava is included in the category of rasayana herbs that possess anti-aging properties. It helps prevent diseases.
This means they increase resistance by providing hepatoprotection (ability of a substance to prevent damage to the liver) and immune-modulation.
Cardaminehirsuta (Hairy Bitter Cress) (Family: Brassicaceae): The plants contain vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, beta carotene, antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds that boost immunity.
Clerodendrumphlomidis (Sage Glory Bower, Arni, Agnimantha) (Family: Lamiaceae): It is an essential medicinal plant that is also mentioned in texts since the Vedic period. It is known to boost the immune system, purify blood and cure urinary tract infection. The decoction made from the whole plant is useful in improving strength and immunity following a bout of fever or other ailments.
Phyllanthus tenellus (Mascarene Island leaf-flower) (Family: Phyllanthaceae): It is an annual herb commonly found near wetlands, ditches, wet places, edges of drains and disturbed places. It is known for immune-modulatory properties.
Physalis peruviana (Cape Gooseberry, Rasbhari) (Family: Solanaceae): It is used in traditional folk medicines as an immunomodulatory drug. It is rich in vitamin C and helps enhance body immunity.
Portulaca oleracea (Purslane) (Family: Portulacaceae): Purslane has been used in folk medicine since ancient times and is included in the World Health Organization’s list of most widely used medicinal plants.
The leaves of the plant are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is important in preventing heart attacks and strengthening the immune system.
Withaniasomnifera (Indian Winter Cherry, Indian Ginseng, Aswagandha) (Family: Solanaceae): Ashwagandha is an important ancient herb and has been used in indigenous medical system for over 3,000 years.
It is considered to be one of the best rejuvenating agents in Ayurveda that helps to maintain proper nourishment of the tissues. It possesses antioxidant, mind-boosting and immune-enhancing properties.
All medicinal plants recorded in Chithara village are being conserved in medicinal plants garden in a unique Shiv Nadar University Thematic Botanic Garden. At least 11 theme gardens, such as fruit plants garden, spice and condiment plants garden, palm garden, bamboo garden, etc, have been established.
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As we approach flu season this winter in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important now more than ever to ensure you are doing all you can to keep your body healthy.
Becky Brown, co-owner of Natural Health Organic Foods in Cape Girardeau, lives out a holistic approach to health.
“It’s an all-around approach that includes getting rest, reducing stress, getting plenty of exercise, eating a diet rich in whole foods, watching sugar intake and having a supplement system that supports the immune system,” Brown says.
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Although Brown is clear this is not a prescription to treat any specific diagnosis, here are three tips she recommends for those who want to boost their immune health:
1. Eat good-quality, whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats to help the body maintain health. Citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwis and strawberries provide Vitamin C that boosts the immune system. Mushrooms, eggs and salmon provide good sources of Vitamin D; nuts, beans and whole grains are rich in zinc. When working toward immune system health, these are three good vitamins and minerals with which to fuel your body.
2. Limit intake of processed foods and sugar. Some studies have shown consuming processed sugar negatively affects the way the white blood cells attack bacteria. According to board-certified internist and gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal in the Huffpost article “Eating Sugar Can Weaken Your Immune System. Here’s What to Know.,” eating 75 to 100 grams of sugar — the equivalent of two cans of soda — can suppress the immune system for up to five hours after it is consumed.
3. Take supplements as necessary. The typical American diet doesn’t offer the vitamin and mineral profile it once did. Fill in any nutrient gaps in your diet by implementing a supplement system to ensure your body is receiving everything it needs to help you stay healthy.
Natural Health Organic Foods
Southeast Missouris top choice for healthy eating Natural Health Organic Foods. Stop in just west of Kingshighway on William (Route K). We have served families for more than thirty years. Family owned. With love.
135 South Broadview, Cape Girardeau MO 63701 (573)339-0054 Open MON-FRI 9 am-6 pm. SAT 10 am-6 pm. SUN 12 pm-5 pm.
Are you looking for simple ways to boost your family’s immune system? Take a walk to the fridge… Certain fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and a handful of herbs and spices are known for their immune-boosting powers. The good news is that these foods are easy to find and won’t cost you an arm or a leg! In fact, you probably already have a few of them in your fridge.
Here are a few food types you can add to meals to improve your family’s health:
Many people turn to vitamin C after they caught a cold, or if they think they’re on the verge of catching one. This is because citrus helps to build your immune system. vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells and improve the health of tissues, which are key to fighting infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, and with such a variety to choose from, it is easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
Popular citrus fruits include:
Because your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, you need to actively ensure that you get your daily dosage for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is:
75 mg for women
90 mg for men
Kiwis are naturally full of multiple essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwis’ other nutrients assist with general body functions.
Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers contain almost 3 times more vitamin C (127mg) than most other fruit per gram. They are also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C may help you maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Broccoli is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fibre and many other antioxidants, it’s one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your plate.
Early civilizations recognised garlic’s value in fighting infections. Garlic may also contribute to slowing down atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, and some evidence suggests that it can assist in lowering blood pressure – this should however not replace any prescribed medications for hypertension. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses.
Spinach is not only rich in Vitamin C, but it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Almonds contain a high amount of vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are fully packed with vitamin E and contain healthy fats. Adults only need about 15mg of vitamin E each day. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides close to 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.
Turmeric This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. High concentrations of curcumin can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage and is an immune booster and an antiviral spice.
Green tea is packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant, which has shown to enhance immune function. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells, an essential part of your defence system.
Liquorice contains many beneficial substances, including glycyrrhizin, which may help protect against viral infections. It contains B vitamins, including B12 and B6 – which are all important for a healthy immune response. Many adults are deficient in these B vitamins, which may negatively affect immune health.
Having more bacteria-fighting immune cells in the nose and throat may explain why some people are more likely to be infected by respiratory viruses.
In a study, led by a team from Imperial College London and published in Science, researchers found that volunteers who succumbed to infection from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) had more specialised white blood cells called neutrophils in their airways before exposure to the virus, compared to those who staved off infection.
According to the researchers, this type of neutrophil-driven inflammation in the nose and throat – typically associated with fighting off bacterial infections – may compromise our ability to fight off invading viruses and make us more susceptible to viral infections.
The findings could help researchers to understand why people respond differently to the same viral threat, predict who is more at risk of infection, and even lead to preventative treatments to protect against RSV and potentially other respiratory viruses, including influenza and coronaviruses.
Dr Ryan Thwaites, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial and study author, said: “If we think of a group of 10 people all exposed to the same strain of RSV under identical conditions, we’d expect around six of them to become infected and show symptoms, but the rest may be unaffected.
“To date, we have been unable to fully explain exactly why this is and why, under the same conditions, some people are more likely to succumb to respiratory viral infections. But this study offers tantalising insights into how we might improve defences against respiratory viruses, and potentially even COVID-19.”
RSV is a common respiratory virus which typically causes the symptoms of a common cold in healthy adults. But for infants and the elderly it can lead to thousands of hospitalisations each year and can be fatal.
Unlike other respiratory viruses, such as influenza or rhinovirus, people can be infected by the same strain of RSV more than once. People can also react differently when exposed to the virus under the same conditions – some may get a mild infection while others get full-blown symptoms, and some may avoid infection altogether.
In the latest study, the team aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of why people succumb to RSV infection and the factors for the varied immune responses.
Healthy adults* were enrolled to the study and exposed to RSV in a safe, controlled clinical setting where they were closely monitored. After receiving nasal drops containing the virus, 57% of volunteers became infected. Analysis of blood samples showed that the presence of protective antibodies and B and T cells could only partially explain who became infected.
However, when they analysed samples from participants’ airways taken before they were exposed to the virus, the team found evidence of neutrophil activation in the nasal mucosa – the cells lining the inside of the nose – in those who became infected with the virus. These immune cells are known to release proteins which help create an antibacterial environment in response to a threat. But the researchers believe this antibacterial immune response may come at a cost, making a host more susceptible to viruses by effectively switching off the early warning system, letting them slip through the net to cause infection.
Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial and co-senior author on the study, said: “The variable transmission we see with respiratory viruses partly depends on the dose and duration of exposure, but also the person’s own inbuilt immune defences. You might assume that it’s down to the presence of specific protective antibodies, but despite an immense effort over many years we have never really understood what makes one person vulnerable to RSV and another person resistant.
“Our finding that the state of the mucous membrane before the arrival of the virus is the major deciding factor is a real breakthrough. It seems as if the presence of activated neutrophils in the lining of the airways causes the mucous lining to fail to respond to the virus and to nip infection in the bud. Perhaps what’s happening is that being ready to fight bacteria makes it more likely that viruses can gain a foothold.
“Once the virus does get in, our studies go on to show that there still is a chance that the infection will be terminated but only if the mucosa mounts an early defensive response. People who went on to get colds showed no evidence of an initial response; those who rejected the infection showed an immediate response before symptoms developed.
“These are the sort of findings that can only come from experimental studies in volunteers. We could never have discovered this by waiting for people with natural infections to present to us for investigation.”
Dr Christopher Chiu, Clinical Reader in Infectious Diseases at Imperial and co-senior author, said: “Our data highlight the complexity of the immune system, which has different arms providing layers of protection separated by anatomical location (such as the nose, lung or circulation) and timing. These different mechanisms may be directed to focus on a particular type of infection but this may come at the cost of protection against other pathogens.
“Controlled human infection challenge studies have a unique ability to tease out these complicated interactions and point out potential targets for prevention or treatment that cannot be seen in patients who have infections caused by diverse virus strains, in different amounts, on top of a wide range of other conditions that might affect their immunity.”
To confirm the idea, they used animal models to test the impact of the neutrophilic pathway on RSV infection. In mice without neutrophilic inflammation, the immune system recognised the virus as a threat, releasing immune-mediating factors which cleared the infection with few symptoms.
However, in mice with a nasal mucosa rich in neutrophils this early detection of the virus was dampened. Under these antibacterial conditions, the virus was better able to invade the mucosal cells causing infection, worsened symptoms and shedding of the virus – to further transmit the virus.
The researchers say that if they can demonstrate the same mechanism is occurring in patient groups who are most at risk from RSV (babies under 12 months of age and adults over 65 with chronic conditions, such as COPD or asthma) it could help to identify subsets of patients most at risk. The team is set to explore the mechanism in larger patient groups as well as investigating whether the same immune mechanisms influence other viral respiratory infections, from influenza and coronaviruses.
Dr Thwaites added: “Our initial studies show that in healthy people, neutrophilic inflammation in the airways is linked to RSV infection. If we can show this same mechanism is at play in those most at risk from the virus, it could provide opportunities to reduce the harms caused by RSV and other respiratory viruses.
“Severe bacterial respiratory infections tend to be quite rare in healthy adults so, in theory, it may be more beneficial to nudge the immune response towards fighting viruses during seasonal winter peaks.
“It might be possible to design therapies to temporarily inhibit some aspect of neutrophilic inflammation, such as through a simple nasal spray, to enhance protection against circulating viruses. This could be used in high risk settings, like hospitals, to enhance protection against respiratory viruses, prevent their spread and reduce the impacts of infection on vulnerable groups.”
The research was supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council and the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.