Boosting the immune system: Foods to avoid | The New Times

Boosting the immune system: Foods to avoid | The New Times

  • March 29, 2021

‘You are what you eat.’ Sometimes food can be a cause of illnesses if it’s too sugary or refined. Studies have shown spikes in sugar intake hold down your immune system. When your immune system is compromised, you are more likely to get sick.

Doctors say that if you consume foods and beverages high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, which the body processes as sugar, you may be lessening your body’s ability to deflect disease.


The immune system is supported by the intricate balance that comes with a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and exercise, contribute to maintaining the body’s system of defence against illnesses. 


Foods to avoid 


Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant, is of the view that if it is possible, reduce or do away with white bread, cookies, cakes, because they are made with white flour, which is high in calories and low in nutrients. Therefore, there is no doubt that it can bestow weight gain and risks associated with obesity or insulin resistance.

He says, drinks such as soda, juices and sweetened teas or energy drinks have been associated with having a negative impact on cardio metabolic health, diabetes risk, body weight, and obesity. 

Ntamanga states that chips are high in fat and calories, which can raise the risk of weight gain and obesity. Studies show that one ounce of plain potato chips, or about 15 to 20 chips, contains about 10 grams of fat and 154 calories. 

A 2015 study in Health Affairs found that potatoes fried in oil (including chips) were among the foods most strongly linked to weight gain. Being overweight or obese raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. The sodium content in chips may negatively impact your cardiovascular health. A high intake of sodium can cause an increase in blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease and kidney disease.

Fast foods (burgers, fries, and milkshakes) are not considered healthy, as scientists say that they are highly processed and contain large amounts of carbohydrates, added sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium. These foods are high in calories, when fast food frequently replaces nutritious whole foods in your diet, it can lead to many health dangers like skin issues such as acne, and bloating, constipation and increased inflammation.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC, consuming alcoholic beverages more often has long-term health risks over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems, cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Among other issues like weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick, learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance and mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

“Since coffee contains a lot of caffeine and caffeine is diuretic, it can make you feel dehydrated and nauseated, cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach upset, and vomiting, increased heart and breathing rate, and other side effects,” Ntamanga says. 

A diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk for new-onset depression in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Ntamanga says that refined carbs cause you to overeat, thus gaining weight, and overtime, lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Diets high in refined carbs and sugar have also been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, hyperactivity, and mood disorders.

Eating too much salt is considered harmful to the immune system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people should not consume more than 0.17 ounces of salt per day, which is roughly about one teaspoon of salt. More recently, researchers believe that high salt diets may also play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammation, as well as cancer.

Link Reservations Inc./LinkResPet (LRSV) Preparing to Launch Immunity Boosting Functional Mushroom Product

Link Reservations Inc./LinkResPet (LRSV) Preparing to Launch Immunity Boosting Functional Mushroom Product

  • March 24, 2021

London, United Kingdom–(Newsfile Corp. – March 24, 2021) – Link Reservations Inc. (OTC Pink: LRSV) (the “Company”), a provider of wellness and cannabidiol (CBD) products for both humans and pets, announces the company is preparing to launch its first functional mushroom product, DailyLife CBD Immune. The new tincture product, tailored for people, will feature both CBD and a wide spectrum of functional mushrooms (including Lion’s Mane) which help boost the immune system.

“This is an exciting first step for the Company and we are thrilled to soon bring to market our first CBD mushroom product. Our focus has always been on providing high quality products that can help people benefit from the power of natural ingredients, and that is what we have aimed for with this product,” commented Rene Lauritsen, Link Reservations Inc CEO. “Understandably, people are focusing on their health now more than ever and looking for ways in which they can boost their immunity, particularly in a natural way. Our goal is to fully satisfy their need with this new product. We have been researching the benefits of functional mushrooms for the past few months and have developed a product that will harness their power,” added Lauritsen.

As the world continues to reel from the Coronavirus pandemic, and learns to live with the virus, many people are focusing on different ways to boost their immune system. According to Rick Miller, Associate Director of Food & Drink Specialised Nutrition at Mintel, the majority of consumers in Europe purchase vitamins, minerals and supplements that strengthen the immune system, while in the US, 35% of consumers think products that support the immune health would motivate them when making a purchase.

DailyLife CBD Immune will feature an organic blend of 13 different medicinal mushrooms, including Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Red Reishi and Cordyceps, amongst others. By focusing on a variety of mushrooms the product is able to encompass multiple immune boosting traits and benefits. In addition, DailyLife CBD Immune also includes 250mg of hemp oil CBD extract and 100mg of vitamin C, which will add to the immune boosting benefits.

“We are confident that this product and our future ones will have a very warm reception in the market, and we look forward to sharing more developments as they arise through press releases,” ended Lauritsen.

For more information about DailyLifeCBD please visit:

DailyLifeCBD is sister brand to LinkResPet, a website focused on providing CBD pet products for dogs, cats and horses. For more information about LinkResPet, please visit or follow them on Twitter on @res_pet

About Link Reservations Inc.

Link Reservations Inc is a CBD and wellness product provider dedicated to improving the health and life conditions of both people and pets worldwide. Its trades through its two brands; LinkResPet and DailyLifeCBD. LinkResPet develops and markets hemp-based CBD products for cats, dogs and horses. DailyLifeCBD provides everyday hemp-based CBD wellness products for people. The Company has operations in both the US and Europe.

Forward-Looking Statements & Disclaimers:
The information in this Press Release includes certain “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Safe Harbour provisions of Federal Securities Laws, as that term is defined in section 27a of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and section 21e of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this document, which are not purely historical, are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Investors are cautioned that such statements are based upon assumptions that in the future may prove not to have been accurate and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including the future financial performance of the Company. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in its forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations or any of its forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date of this release, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events, or circumstances after the date of this release except as required by law.

Link Reservations Inc.
400 Thames Valley Park Drive
Reading Berkshire RG6 1 PT
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 330 808 0897

To view the source version of this press release, please visit

raw vegetables: Old is Gold: How Ayurveda helps in boosting immunity

raw vegetables: Old is Gold: How Ayurveda helps in boosting immunity

  • March 17, 2021
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the globe realized the importance of strengthening the immune system in maintaining optimum health. “Ayurveda, being the science of life emphasises the theory, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ and focuses on attaining holistic wellness to ward off diseases and maintain the sanity of mind and body. With increased awareness about health, people are increasingly putting faith in the traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda to enhance the body’s overall natural resistance to the disease-causing agent,” says Shreyansh Jain, CEO,

Here are some of the ayurvedic ways to help protect immunity.

Eat according to your Dosha

Ayurveda predicates that everybody is made up of different types of energy, Vata, Pitta, Kapha, known as Tridoshas, which determines the state of mind and body. When all the three doshas are in balance, the body remains in a healthy state, when they are unbalanced, one can fall prey to diseases. Every individual consists of a unique combination of doshas and each person can maintain their ideal state of health balancing their doshas. People with dominant Vata dosha should eat warm and nourishing foods with moderately heavy texture, and avoid salads, iced drinks, green and raw vegetables. People with dominant Pitta dosha should consume cool and refreshing foods along with abundant amounts of milk, grains, and vegetables however they should avoid oily, salty, fried, and heavy foods. People with dominant Kapha dosha should consume spicy and hot foods including spices however they should avoid eating too many sweets, fatty and salty foods.

Cook food in ghee

Rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, ghee is tremendously good for health. Enriched with butyric acid, ghee supports healthy levels of cholesterol, reduces fatty tissues, boost immunity, promote healthy cholesterol level, increases energy production, and accelerates digestion process. Cooking food in ghee can also help to prevent the health risks associated with other regular oils and prevent toxin (ama) accumulation.

Drink warm water

Ayurveda stresses the need to keep the body hydrated to retain moisture in the throat and mucous membrane, which act as a defense against pathogens. Dehydration can cause an imbalance of fluids in the body, resulting in improper metabolic functioning as well as lead to various illnesses. Ayurveda recommends consuming enough warm water until the urine turns pale yellow to ensure proper the body is well-hydrated.

Ayurvedic concoctions

An ayurvedic concoction, popularly known as Kadha, is a blend of herbs and spices boiled in water. Enriched with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant properties, herbs and spices commonly used in Kadha such as turmeric, tulsi, ginger, black pepper, cloves, etc. enhance the defense system of the body. The concoction must be taken once a day in moderate amounts to keep diseases at bay.

Manage stress levels with meditation

Manovyatha or mental stress can impact immune functioning and cause inflammation, rendering it susceptible to diseases. With meditation, one can keep their stress levels in control and bring doshas in equilibrium to maintain the wellness of mind and body. According to Ayurveda, yoga helps to relieve physical stress, calms the mind, and strengthens the body’s adaptive power to deal with stress.

Consumers shift to immunity boosting foods as the pandemic rages unabated

Consumers shift to immunity boosting foods as the pandemic rages unabated

  • March 17, 2021

Over the last few months, consumers across the world have changed in massive proportions and are continually developing newer habits. Amongst them all, the most pronounced has been the massive shift in consumer perspective towards health and wellness. The last few months have seen consumers taking a more proactive approach to healthier eating and exercising more – for maintaining health and immune resiliency. They are now, more than ever, inclined towards wholesome and healthy food products that promise vitamins, minerals and other healthy immunity boosting ingredients.

While the proclivity for healthy products, especially immunity-boosting food and drink is not new, the pandemic has accelerated the trend manifold.

“We can see it in conversations we’re having with our customers and colleagues, and the kind of invitations we’re getting from suppliers to webinars and events, and it’s backed by our own research. We knew that interest was already high in functional products – with consumers searching for terms such as ‘digestive health’ and ‘brain health’ – but recently we have seen a significant shift towards searches on products and ingredients that can boost people’s immune systems. There’s no doubt this has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” states Giancarlos La Rocca, Global Category Manager, Tetra Pak.

According to a research by London-based market research firm , the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted 45 percent of consumers in Europe to add more nutrients into their diet, while 29 percent reported being more interested in foods that can support your immune system since the start of the pandemic.

Google Trends data also shows an approximate 500 percent increase in searches for immunity in food and drink worldwide by week, following the onset of COVID-19.

La Rocca further adds that immunity boosting food products fall into two basic categories – the first focuses on nutrition and ingredients and the second category encompasses products that can boost overall wellbeing.

“The first is focused on nutrition and ingredients. Here, we are talking about nutrients such as vitamins and probiotics that can have a direct positive impact on the immune system. The second category is more holistic – products that can boost overall wellbeing, for example by helping you to sleep, or supporting you while you exercise,” he says.

The Indian Immunity Boosting Product Market

According to a paper by titled India Immunity Boosting Packaged Products Market, by Product Category (Supplements, Beverages, Food and Others), by Distribution Channel (Convenience Stores, Specialty Stores, Others), by Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, FY2026, the future holds immense opportunities for the segment in India.

The research outlines that the Indian Immunity Boosting Packaged Products Market is projected to reach $ 347 million by FY 2026 owing to increasing consciousness and focus among Indian consumers towards preventive health. Further, rising per capita income and expanding middle-class and urban population are some of the key factors fueling the growth of immunity boosting packaged products market. An increasingly busy lifestyle is resulting in lack of nutrition and fitness among people, which is creating a huge demand for immunity boosting packaged products across the country.’

The research further states that the Indian immunity boosting products market can be categorized based on product category, distribution channel and region wise. In the product segment, the bestselling immunity boosters include Instant Food, Seeds, Beverages, Juice, Tea-Coffee and Probiotic Shots, followed by Syrups, Supplements, Mixes, Capsules, Powders, etc.

The entire market in India has traditionally been dominated by the supplements segment, till FY 2020 owing to easy product availability of trusted manufactures and proven health claims. Post the pandemic, the food segment has come to the fore and is expected to register a healthy CAGR till 2026 propelled by focus on preventive healthcare in the country and broad range of products offered by the manufactures.

Based on distribution channels, the immunity boosting market in India can be further categorized into convenience stores, specialty stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, medical stores and online. Convenient stores are the forerunner of the segment with most sales coming from this segment. While this trend is expected to continue, online channels are rapidly gaining momentum, especially during the pandemic.

Opportunity for Retailers

This growing trend has further bolstered the already growing market for natural ingredients and immune boosting wellness products. An increasing number of brands and retailers, both new and established, are making a beeline to capitalize on the rising health awareness triggered by the pandemic.

“Wellness is a $4 million market in India and has been an ongoing trend for the last four to five years. However, because of the pandemic people are looking for more natural ingredients and immune boosting wellness products,” explains Sushant Dash, President – Packaged Beverages (India, Bangladesh and Middle East) at Tata Consumer Products Limited (TCPL). TCPL has recently launched a range of new teas with immunity boosting ingredients like tulsi, ginger, cardamom and brahmi.

Kwality Foods, another prominent name from the FMCG segment has launched a range of Muesli with Turmeric, Ginger and Honey. Benefits of the ingredients include turmeric which contains curcumin, a flavonoid that supports a healthy immune response, thereby promoting general well-being. Ginger has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of numerous ailments, such as colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension. Honey is also a good source of antioxidant, with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Orika, a brand by Paras Spices Pvt. Ltd., launched its range of immunity boosting Turmeric Immunity Mix that has 100 times more bio availability of curcumin as compared to regular turmeric drinks.

What the Future Holds

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a new consumer trends in health and wellness. Over the last few months, immunity has become one of the most important part of human lives. As such, consumer interest in immunity-enhancing food and drinks has skyrocketed ushering in untold opportunities for brands and retailers.

According to Mintel, the number of patents for immunity-improving food and drinks continues to increase by the day. Recent patent filings also focus on specialised nutrition or supplements to improve immune function among the elderly and individuals suffering from chronic diseases.

Also, although the immunity boosting food market segment is hitherto dominated by big brands, Mintel states that ‘recent scientific developments in the field of botanicals to improve immune health have created an opportunity for major brands as well as start-ups to launch products containing these ingredients’.

Potential of palmitoylethanolamide in bolstering immunity.jpg

Potential immune health boosting benefits of palmitoylethanolamide

  • March 16, 2021

The immune system is key to whole-body health, and when out of balance it not only fails to protect the body, but can even attack it, mistaking “self” cells for invading pathogens. This imbalanced immune response can cause debilitating autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, years of chronic low-level inflammation, another indicator of an out-of-balance immune system, can contribute to problems such as cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The stresses of normal life—travel, personal problems, strenuous exercise and change in diet—can all cause imbalances in the immune system and affect overall health.

While getting adequate sleep, managing stress, staying hydrated, exercising regularly and practicing proper hygiene are effective ways to help maintain a healthy immune system, science has shown that nutrients gained through a healthy diet or supplementation are critical in maintaining balance.

Inflammation is the first biological immune response to physical injury, and the duration depends on the time required to eliminate the harmful causes and repair the damage. Although treatment with synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs may be useful, routine use poses the danger of addiction and worsening the general condition of the body. In this regard, endogenous and naturally occurring food/dietary supplements may be a good alternative, as well as potentially preventing the situation from becoming chronic in the first place by boosting the body’s overall immunity.

Since the 1970s, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) has been studied for its potential role in optimizing immune health against viral infections and inflammatory issues. It is an endogenous fatty acid amide, that via modulation of mast cells and spinal glial cells demonstrated to be effective against various inflammatory mechanisms that develop during chronic pain states.1 Based on the foundation of its anti-inflammatory effects, more than 350 scientific papers have documented PEA’s wide range of therapeutic effects, such as anti-allergic, analgesic, neuroprotective, anti-influenza, and modulation of immune response in both animal and human studies.2

The multifaceted immune response of PEA is due to its unique mechanism of actions that targets multiple pathways at different sites, working synergistically to produce its therapeutic effects.3 The most relevant mechanisms of action related to immunopathology are PEA’s affinity toward the orphan cannabinoid receptor (GPR55 and GPR11), the vanilloid receptor TRPV1 and the nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha.2

Masek et al. conducted a randomized trial with 444 subjects who registered symptoms such as temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, headache, sore throat, myalgia, and nasal stuffiness or discharge.2 The episodes of fever and pain (45.5% reduction compared to placebo) and total number of sick days were significantly reduced in the group receiving PEA.

In a second prophylactic trial, the same researchers had 899 volunteers ages 18-20 from an army unit complete a trial period where medical personnel registered wellness complaints during a period of eight weeks. The incidence of disease was shown to be 40% and 32% lower at weeks 6 and 8 respectively in the PEA group versus placebo.

To validate these conclusions, three more trials in soldiers were conducted.4 In all three trials, the soldiers in the PEA group had significantly less symptoms and were less often diagnosed as flu patients.

Plesnik et al., studied the effect of PEA in the prevention of acute respiratory tract infection in 457 school children (ages 11 to 15) in a double-blind trial.5 Placebo or PEA doses in the range 46-74 mg/kg body weight were administered for 10 days, with a two-day weekend break in the middle. Results indicated the treatment group had a lower occurrence (by 15.7%) of acute respiratory tract infections.

Over the years, research on the gut microbiome, probiotics and immunity has grown. Due to the presence of PEA in most tissues of the body and its anti-inflammatory properties, PEA may be able to help provide symptomatic relief for a number of (auto)immune disorders linked to inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.2

Certain disorders cause prolonged inflammation in the GI tract, which can alter the gut microbiota.6 This could lead to increased gut permeability, making way for further inflammation and additional changes to the gut microbiota. Changes to the normal gut flora may result in infections, further increasing inflammation. Exogenous administration of PEA can serve to relieve inflammatory symptoms of such disorders through its action on PPAR-alpha in the colon, which helps prevent alterations of the gut microbiota.

Gut microbiota are also indispensable in the development of the innate immune system and are essential in shaping adaptive immunity. Therefore, PEA may potentially be able to contribute to the correction of dysbiosis and shape the immune system.7 PEA is becoming an increasingly popular area of research in probiotic studies.

Given the multifaceted effects of PEA via multiple targets and the fact that PEA is a naturally occurring compound makes it a perfect candidate as an important regulator of inflammatory processes and mediator of interactions between the nervous system and immune system to boost overall immunity.2 However, the onset of the inflammatory state causes a decrease in the production of PEA. Thus, the supplementation of exogenous PEA can replenish endogenous levels and restore its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory potential.

PEA serves as the body’s first response anti-inflammatory and pain-control mechanism and is a good pain reliever.8 The ingredient can be fast-acting as well—a 2020 study of PEA (as Levagen+, from Gencor, an enhanced bioavailable version due to the LipiSperse delivery system developed by Pharmako Biotechnologies) indicated PEA began working in the body within 15 minutes.9 Gencor has invested heavily in clinical research and is currently conducting an allergic rhinitis study to see if water-dispersible PEA reduces nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose. The company is also running a cold and flu study to gauge the effectiveness of its bioavailability-enhanced PEA in reducing upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms during the winter months.

Keeping the complex immune system in balance is crucial for maintaining health. On top of leading a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, nutritional supplementation can play an important role.

Maggie McNamara is the marketing director for Gencor. She is a veteran brand and marketing strategist who has worked with multimillion-dollar companies to grow their brand value and increase market share. After spending over a decade working with companies like BMW, P&G, Bavaria Brau, Jacuzzi and Silicon Graphics, McNamara ran a successful marketing agency and a clothing line.


1 Hesselink JM, Hekker TA. “Therapeutic utility of palmitoylethanolamide in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with various pathological conditions: a case series.” J Pain Res. 2012;5:437-442.

2 Keppel Hesselink JM, de Boer T, Witkamp RF. “Palmitoylethanolamide: A Natural Body-Own Anti-Inflammatory Agent, Effective and Safe against Influenza and Common Cold.” Int J Inflam. 2013;2013:151028.

3 Petrosino S et al. “The anti-inflammatory mediator palmitoylethanolamide enhances the levels of 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol and potentiates its actions at TRPV1 cation channels.” Br J Pharmacol. 2016;173(7):1154-1162.

4 Kahlich R et al. “Studies on prophylactic efficacy of N-2-hydroxyethyl palmitamide (Impulsin) in acute respiratory infections. Serologically controlled field trials.” J Hyg Epidemiol Microbiol Immunol. 1979;23(1):11-24.

5 Plesník V et al. “Impulsin in the prevention of acute respiratory diseases in school children.” Cesk Pediatr. 1977;32(6):365-369.

6 Russo R et al. “Gut-brain axis: Role of lipids in the regulation of inflammation, pain and CNS diseases.” Curr Med Chem. 2018;25(32):3930-3952.

7 Couch DG et al. “Palmitoylethanolamide and cannabidiol prevent inflammation-induced hyperpermeability of the human gut in vitro and in vivo—a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind controlled trial.” Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019;25(6):1006-1018.

8 Artukoglu BB et al. “Efficacy of Palmitoylethanolamide for Pain: A Meta-Analysis.” Pain Physician. 2017;20(5):353-362.

9 Briskey D, Mallard AR, Rao A. “Increased Absorption of Palmitoylethanolamide Using a Novel Dispersion Technology System (LipiSperse®).” J Nutraceuticals Food Sci 2020;5(2):3.

Boosting blood stem cell housekeeping reversed immunity decline in aging mice

Boosting blood stem cell housekeeping reversed immunity decline in aging mice

  • March 12, 2021

Rejuvenating an important housekeeping process in blood stem cells reversed age-related immune system decline in mice, a path towards potential future treatments in older adults, especially those with leukemia or undergoing cancer treatment. The study, led by NIH supported researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, was published in Nature.

blood cells grouped togetherOur bone marrow is home to hematopoietic (blood-producing) stem cells (HSCs) that make all of the body’s blood cells, including immune cells that guard against viruses and bacteria. HSCs lose efficiency as we age, producing fewer new healthy cells.

This age-related change is in part linked to drop-offs in a cell housekeeping process known as chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA). CMA helps clear out waste products like damaged proteins that can reduce or impair blood and immune cells’ natural operations. Build-up of cellular waste products, if allowed to occur, has also been connected to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In previous studies, the researchers had designed specialized drugs to boost CMA levels in mice. For the current experiment, they tracked mouse CMA to test whether their HSCs lost efficiency as they grew older. The researchers also determined that HSCs depend on CMA to maintain a proper protein equilibrium and to go from a dormant state to switch on and start actively creating new blood cells.

Using specially designed genetic mouse models, the Einstein team then blocked CMA functions in young mice, which made their blood stem cells similar to those of much older mice. They also showed that young mice genetically engineered to avoid age-related CMA drop-offs in their HSCs were capable of restocking their bone marrow’s supply of healthy blood cells well into older age. They found similar success using CMA-boosting drugs, which revitalized HSC levels when injected into older mice.

The research team further confirmed this connection in related lab tests on blood stem cell samples from older adults that had similar dysfunctions to the mouse model cells with blocked CMA. Treating these human cell samples with the CMA boosting drugs triggered a renewal of the stem cells’ ability to produce normal healthy blood cells.

While additional research is needed before the drugs can be tested in human trials, the team is hopeful that this work could someday help prevent common age-related leukemias related to HSC mutations. They also want to explore if these drugs could become part of future treatment regimens for cancer patients whose immune systems are damaged as part of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

This work was supported by NIH grants AG021904, AG038072, AG031782, DK105134, CA230756, R01HL146442, R01HL149714, R01HL148151, and R21HL150032.

Reference: Dong, Shuxian et al. Chaperone-mediated autophagy sustains haematopoietic stem-cell function. Nature. 2021;591(7848):117-123. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03129-z.

Botanical immune boosters with a side of zinc.jpg

Immune boosting botanicals and zinc

  • March 8, 2021

For years, the average consumer had a vague, abstract understanding of the immune system. But 2020 served as a global Immune Health 101 class, creating consumers that recognized the importance of a lifestyle comprised of proper nutrition, exercise and stress management.

What’s more, broader acceptance of a lifestyle promoting immune health helped consumers develop habits lasting longer than just “flu season” as they now aim to bolster their health through the entire year.

Immune Health: Special Report 2020” from Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) indicated that although vitamins and minerals continue to lead in sales, herb and botanical blends are picking up speed. In fact, NBJ data on consumer knowledge and practices showed nearly 30% of consumers deliberately choose supplements including those ingredients. This suggests that while people continue to trust what they know and recognize, desire also exists for new and efficacious ingredient blends.

Supplement manufacturers can maximize the opportunity by introducing consumers to clinically validated ingredients that get the job done. Three herbs and botanicals that may deliver potent benefits for immune health are guava (Psidium guajava) leaves, amla gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum).

As interest continues to shift toward plants and their bioactive compounds, research has discovered myriad applications for human health. Many of these plants are able to serve as functional foods and nutraceuticals, further expanding the opportunities for formulators and brand owners.


The guava fruit, found in many tropical and subtropical regions, is widely consumed and rich in a variety of nutrients that could easily earn it a spot on a list of superfoods. Just like the fruit, the guava leaves themselves are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with many beneficial compounds such as vitamin C, carotenoids and polyphenols—such as flavonoids and phenolic acid.1 The combination of nutrients contained within guava leaves help to positively influence immunomodulatory processes, in large part because of its high polyphenol content.2 Furthermore, these compounds help to modulate the lymphocyte proliferation response, an essential process to help improve the immune system’s attack cells for a better defense against external aggressors.3 Add in its ability to support increased antioxidant capacity against oxidative stress, and this botanical provides all-around support to the immune system.1

Holy basil

Revered as an “elixir of life,” holy basil has traditionally been known as the “queen of herbs,” with a long history of medicinal and spiritual use. Stress can negatively affect the immune system, as the stress hormone cortisol—when overproduced—lowers lymphocyte production, potentially causing excessive inflammation.4 Fortunately, holy basil is a potent adaptogen, helping the body adapt to both physical and psychological stress and maintain homeostasis.5

In addition to the beneficial role that reduced stress has on the immune system, holy basil also impacts immunomodulation.6 Studies have shown that supplementing with holy basil increased production of natural killer (NK) and T-helper cells for a better immune defense, and helped to balance inflammatory cytokine levels for an improved inflammatory response.


Amla, or Indian gooseberry, is commonly used in ayurveda because it is a rich source of a diverse range of nutrients. With high amounts of tannin, the berry has a very high ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value. As such, amla helps support the body’s antioxidant defense against free radicals and delivers further immune system benefits as a source of various polyphenols, including gallic acid and flavonoids.7,8

Amla also has an indirect but important influence on immune support because of its ability to help manage blood sugar levels.9 As blood sugar levels rise to an unhealthy range, immune cell function is debilitated. Research has shown the berry is able to significantly reduce fasting blood glucose levels, as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can worsen insulin resistance. By doing so, immune cell function can better restore itself so the immune system can function as designed.


Zinc—an essential mineral found in nature—is commonly associated with supporting a healthy immune system. However, many people don’t know that guava leaves, holy basil and Indian gooseberry are natural botanical sources of the popular mineral.10 Maintaining a balanced zinc homeostasis is crucial to a functioning immune system because zinc ions help to regulate intracellular signaling among innate and adaptive immune cells.11 These processes are vital to ensuring monocytes and lymphocytes are able to quickly and efficaciously defend the body, boosting immunity.

Demand is on the rise for botanicals that deliver immune support—and any ties to familiar compounds like zinc are even better. Supplement manufacturers should look for plant ingredients like guava leaves, holy basil and amla that also deliver a natural source of zinc. In this way, consumers can rely on what they know, while also branching into diverse options that provide optimal support.

Sevanti Mehta, president of Unibar Corp., was raised to value good health through diet and ayurvedic tradition. He made it his life goal to help mankind improve health through science-based solutions and now brings 20 years of experience to the natural products industry. Sevanti provides active support for eye health and education in poor communities in India.


1 Barbalho SM. “Psidium Guajava (GUAVA): A Plant of Multipurpose Medicinal Applications.” Med Aromat Plants. 2012;1:4.

2 Ding S, Jiang H, Fang J. “Regulation of Immune Function by Polyphenols.” J Immunol Res. 2018;1264074.

3 Díaz-de-Cerio E et al. “Health Effects of Psidium Guajava L. Leaves: An Overview of the Last Decade.” Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(4):897.

4 Segerstrom SC, Miller GE. “Psychological stress and the human immune system: A meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry.” Psychol Bull. 2004;130(4):601-630.

5 Cohen M. “Tulsi – ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.” J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(4):251.

6 Jamshidi N, Cohen MM. “The clinical efficacy and safety of Tulsi in humans: A systematic review of the literature.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:9217567.

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Boosting Radiotherapy Response With Targeted Immunotherapy

Boosting Radiotherapy Response With Targeted Immunotherapy

  • March 8, 2021

Cancers that are resistant to radiotherapy could be rendered susceptible through treatment with immunotherapy, a new study suggests.

Researchers believe that manipulating bowel cancers based on their ‘immune landscape’ could unlock new ways to treat resistant tumours.

Cancers can evolve resistance to radiotherapy just as they do with drugs.

The new study found that profiling the immune landscape of cancers before therapy could identify patients who are likely to respond to radiotherapy off the bat, and others who might benefit from priming of their tumour with immunotherapy.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, in collaboration with the University of Leeds and The Francis Crick Institute, studied inflammation in bowel tumour samples taken before and after radiotherapy from 53 patients. They aimed to understand how tumour immune activity before and after radiotherapy differs between patients who respond well and those who respond poorly to treatment.

The study is published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer and was supported by the NIHR Biomedical Rearch Centre at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and the Medical Research Council.

The team showed that the effectiveness of radiotherapy partly depends on the level of inflammation within tumours before and after treatment.

In the study, patients who showed a poor response to radiotherapy – with no substantial falls in numbers of tumour cells – started with chronically inflamed tumours, with high levels of activity in 40 immune genes. The level of inflammation within their tumours showed minimal changes following radiotherapy.

In contrast, good responders – who saw a marked drop in the number of tumour cells during radiotherapy – started with a relatively low inflammation tumour landscape which revved up following treatment. Here, there was a significant increase in the activity of 198 immune genes including genes representing immune cells that can directly kill tumour cells.

Together, the findings show that carefully timing a combination of immunotherapy and radiotherapy, based on an assessment of the cancer’s immune landscape, could provide a way forward for treating resistant cancers.

Although the study was carried out specifically in bowel cancer the researchers believe the findings could be relevant for other types of the disease too, particularly for cancers where surgery is not an option and radiotherapy is particularly important.

Increasing evidence shows that radiotherapy not only works by causing DNA damage and cell death in cancer cells but also in potentially a similar way to a vaccine – priming the immune system to recognise tumour cells and ramp up an immune response to attack them.

This work is part of growing activity at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)  in radiotherapy and immunology which includes the RadNet radiotherapy research network, both in collaboration with The Royal Marsden.

Study leader Dr Anguraj Sadanandam, Leader of the Systems and Precision Cancer Medicine Team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“Radiotherapy has revolutionised cancer treatment and is the most effective way of curing cancer other than surgery.

“Our study has shown that the immune landscape and levels of inflammation within cancers is crucial to determining how they respond to radiotherapy. It suggests that combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy could prove a highly potent mixture – improving our ability to eliminate hard-to-treat cancers further still.

“Now we want to improve our understanding of how to combine and sequence radiotherapy and immunotherapy together to maximise the treatment response for the individual biology of each patient.”

Study co-author Dr Anna Wilkins, Clinical Research Fellow in the Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit at the ICR, now at The Francis Crick Institute, said:

“Radiotherapy is an important curative treatment option for many patients with cancer. We are starting to understand how the immune response is important for radiotherapy to work most effectively.

“Our study suggests that by targeting specific non-cancer cells that block this immune response we can further improve radiotherapy responses in patients.”

Dr Nick West, Clinical Academic Fellow at the University of Leeds and Honorary Consultant in Gastrointestinal Pathology, said:

“Radiotherapy is commonly used in patients with rectal cancer and there are currently no validated biomarkers that reliably predict how well the cancer will respond. Patients who do not respond well to radiotherapy may still experience significant side effects despite no clinical benefit.

“This study suggests that we can potentially improve the response in these patients through modulation of the immune system, which is a very exciting development. The study also showed that a novel technique developed at the University of Leeds, tumour cell density, can be used to objectively measure the degree of tumour response to radiotherapy.”

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“This fascinating study adds to the evidence that the effectiveness of radiotherapy is closely intertwined with the involvement of the immune system. It’s now clear that the radiotherapy response in cancer cells and surrounding tissues can empower a patient’s own immune system to recognise and destroy their tumour.

“But radiotherapy requires a healthy immune response, and the new research suggests we might need to tune that response through immunotherapy. It could provide a foundation for future trials to test new combinations of drugs, including immunotherapies, with radiotherapy.”

Reference: Wilkins A, Fontana E, Nyamundanda G, et al. Differential and longitudinal immune gene patterns associated with reprogrammed microenvironment and viral mimicry in response to neoadjuvant radiotherapy in rectal cancer. J. Immunother. Cancer. 2021

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

4 Immune Boosting Foods to Incorporate Into Your Diet

4 Immune Boosting Foods to Incorporate Into Your Diet

  • March 6, 2021

If you’ve got a busy schedule, you may be tempted to simply take a multivitamin or vitamin C capsules and hope for the best when it comes to your immune system. There are several natural ingredients and foods that can strengthen your immune system and help keep you from getting sick, especially during cold and flu season. These immune-boosting foods are also especially beneficial during the pandemic since they can decrease the chances of getting sick.

Benefits of Immune Boosting Foods

Several foods you can easily include in your meals offer tremendous health benefits that will improve your well-being significantly. Some healthy foods don’t even require cooking, which makes them easy to include in your snacks for the day. This is helpful whether you’re working from home or are an essential worker.

Here are four immune-boosting foods you can incorporate into your diet today.


Turmeric has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation. It’s important to include turmeric in your diet during the colder months of the year. This is usually when your body needs an immune boost the most. When you consume turmeric regularly, you’ll increase your body’s capacity to absorb antioxidants that shields you from environmental free radicals. Turmeric has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and can improve the health of the brain.

You can easily add turmeric to your diet by sprinkling ground turmeric in your steamed vegetables. You can also include it in your spice rubs for chicken and fish. Turmeric can also be consumed in capsule form or as a tea. You can take turmeric shots throughout the day to enhance your immune system as well. Be sure to pack this superfood in your lunchbox or briefcase along with your mask and alcohol free hand sanitizer.


Whether you make your own yogurt or buy your favorite brand of yogurt from the grocery store, this snack is a great ingredient to include in your diet if you want to boost your immune system. Yogurt is filled with beneficial probiotics that are essential for the health of your gut, which contributes to your overall well-being. Yogurt is also high in calcium and protein, so you can add it to your breakfast. While you can add raw berries and nuts, or enjoy it as a healthy snack to hold you over between meals. If you’re allergic to dairy or you’re following a vegan diet, you can consume yogurt made from almond or coconut milk. Vegan yogurt still contains probiotics, but the nutritional value of non-dairy yogurt may vary slightly.


Studies prove that almonds, especially almond skins, can boost the immune system and make it easier for your body to fight off illness. Almonds are also a healthy source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E also helps to maintain the enzymes that are a natural part of your immune system.

Almonds are also protein-rich, which means you can enjoy raw almonds as a snack or use them as a topping for hot or cold cereal. Almonds also make a great topping for sauteed veggies and salads.


Carrots are a tasty vegetable to eat cooked or raw, and they have lots of health benefits. The carrot is filled with vitamins and minerals and are also high in fiber. These orange veggies are also an ideal part of a healthy diet because they are high in vitamin C, which makes your immune system stronger.

Whether you want to eat carrots raw, enjoy them with a sweet dip such as cinnamon and honey or peanut butter, or prefer to eat carrots with ranch, carrots are a wonderful way to fill your diet with more fiber and nutrients. You can also include carrots in your salads or sautee them as a side dish with dinner.


During cold and flu season, and especially during the pandemic, it’s important to keep your immune system as strong as possible. This is also very important for people with conditions such as diabetes. You can eat the foods mentioned above, in addition to getting enough sleep and making an effort to reducing stress. You may also want to start planning your meals for the week. Therefore, include immune-boosting foods so you can make your health a priority despite your busy schedule.


Amy Sloane is an alum of Oregon State University where she studied marketing and business. She spends her free time writing and is a knitting enthusiast. Amy loves reading, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Molly. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest blogs! @AmySloane2

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The Little-Known Immune Boosting Nutrient You Need On Your Plate, Stat!

The Little-Known Immune Boosting Nutrient You Need On Your Plate, Stat!

  • March 5, 2021

We know all about the health benefits of green veggies, but there’s a reason you should be opting specifically for  broccoli and broccoli sprouts: a little-known nutrient called sulforaphane.