Support your gut and immune system this winter

Support your gut and immune system this winter

  • January 22, 2021


By PA/TPN,
in Lifestyle ·
22-01-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Support your gut and immune system this winter

The gut microbiome is closely linked to immune function – so how can you keep it in tip top shape?

A healthy gut is key for overall health and affects so much more than just our digestion. With links to mental health, heart health, sleep, skin conditions and more, it’s no wonder the gut is often referred to as our ‘second brain’.

And did you know the health of your gut can also have a big impact on your immune function?

“Around 70% of your immune system is actually located in your gastrointestinal tract” says Corin Sadler, nutritionist at Higher Nature. “This means they are very closely linked and, in many ways, one in the same.

“So a healthy gut, filled with diverse bacteria, can be our best weapon in fighting off illnesses.”

So, what can you do to help keep your gut in good shape this winter?

Get more fibre in your diet
“A diet that’s high in fibre is key for good gut function,” explains Sadler. “Fibre helps with our digestion and supports a healthy gut microbiome, as it ‘feeds’ our good bacteria to help it thrive.”

In the UK, we generally don’t eat enough fibre, particularly if we’re consuming a lot of processed foods. The British Nutrition Foundation (nutrition.org.uk) says the average intake is 17.2g a day for women and 20.1g a day for men, falling short of the recommended average intake for adults of 30g per day.

To boost your fibre intake, Sadler recommends adding a diverse range of plant-based sources to your daily menu, such as different fruits, vegetables, beans and pulses, as well as healthy cereals, wholegrain bread, pasta and brown rice. Keep things interesting and diverse by mixing up your high fibre foods each day. Look for foods containing high levels of prebiotic fibre too, such as leeks, asparagus and bananas.

Take live bacteria daily
Live bacteria is sometimes believed to help ‘restore’ the balance of good bacteria in your gut. “When there’s an imbalance of bad and good bacteria in our body, this can impact our overall health.” Sadler explains.

Live yoghurt, kefir and fermented foods and drinks are among popular options. There are also probiotic supplements (although supplements should always be secondary to a healthy, varied diet). Sadler recommends daily probiotics such as Higher Nature’s Pro-Intensive Extra (£21 for 30 capsules, highernature.com), and suggests looking for one that contains 20 billion live organisms per dose and a variety of bacteria strains that work harmoniously to support the natural environment of the gut.

Increase your step count

Getting regular exercise is also linked to better gut health. “We all know exercise is good for almost everything, and this includes our gut health” Sadler explains.

“A 2017 study found exercise is linked to increased diversity of gut bacteria, which is key for a healthy microbiome. And while more research is needed into this area to prove exactly why exercise is beneficial for the gut, the good news is that even gentle exercise, like walking and yoga, can help.”

Eat ginger
Ginger doesn’t just taste great when whizzed in a healthy green juice, it also packs some pretty impressive gut health benefits.

Formulate Health (formulatehealth.com) pharmacist Mina Khan explains: “Ginger reduces nausea caused by gut problems and stimulates the digestive system, which helps keep you regular and maintain a healthy gut.

“What’s more, ginger has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for sufferers of IBS. From ginger tea, to using it in stir-frys and curries, there are so many possibilities when it comes to this wonderful spice.”

Cut down on artificial sweeteners
“Artificial sweeteners found in soft drinks may be harmful to gut bacteria and ‘damage’ the health of our microbiome,” Sadler says. “This includes aspartame, which is found in diet soft drinks.

“While these diet soft drinks are often the preferred choice for the health conscious, research has found that toxins are released when gut bacteria is exposed to the sweeteners.

“Cutting down on drinks with artificial sweeteners in exchange for naturally flavoured water, with fresh lemon, lime or cucumber where possible, is much better for our gut health,” she adds.

Take steps to manage stress
It’s a worrying time for lots of us right now, but being mindful of managing our stress levels can really make a difference.

“Stress can activate a negative chain reaction in the body, including the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can change the balance of good bacteria in the gut, affecting communication pathways between the gut and the brain,” says Sadler.

“Stress can also affect our digestion and the movement of food through the gut. For some people, it can speed digestion up and for others it can slow it right down, which can result in a host of different gut issues, from bloating and constipation to diarrhoea.”

There are loads of things that can help offset stress, exercise or moving our bodies being one of the biggest. Fresh air, watching a comedy, putting your phone on silent and cooking a nourishing meal, every little helps.



DaVinci Gourmet Launches Beverage Boost Syrup with Wellmune for Immune Support

DaVinci Gourmet Launches Beverage Boost Syrup with Wellmune for Immune Support

  • January 21, 2021

Beloit, Wisconsin — DaVinci Gourmet, an innovative global syrups and sauces brand, is launching in the U.S. market DaVinci Gourmet Beverage Boost, a naturally flavored beverage syrup that can be easily added to many everyday beverages. The syrup is formulated with Wellmune, a natural ingredient clinically supported to help strengthen the normal function of the immune system.

In today’s environment, consumers are continuing to be more proactive with their health by looking to support their immune function through healthy lifestyle products. However, consumer research is highlighting a gap in the foodservice industry. For example, while immune health is the number one benefit global consumers want from healthy lifestyle products, 78% of consumers want restaurants to offer more menu items with functional benefits (source: Kerry Proprietary Consumer Research, Proactive Health, 2019). DaVinci Gourmet Beverage Boost syrup meets the above consumer demand because it can easily be incorporated into their everyday menus and home beverages — items such as smoothies, juices, coffee and other health-oriented drinks.

Kimberly Kurth, Senior Brand Manager of DaVinci Gourmet, said: “Consumers are expecting more from their food and beverages. At DaVinci Gourmet, we saw this as an opportunity to meet our customer’s demands by incorporating Kerry’s own Wellmune ingredient into an easy-to-use DaVinci syrup that can seamlessly add immunity support benefits into beverage creations. It’s an exciting innovation between two global brands, made possible by Kerry’s diverse Taste & Nutrition portfolio, and one that just can’t be matched by competitors.”

Wellmune is a proprietary baker’s yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan, supported by over a dozen clinical studies that clearly demonstrate its ability to support general immune health, maintain overall physical health, and protect against the harmful effects of stress. The new DaVinci Gourmet Beverage Boost syrup brings together the added functionality of Wellmune and the innovation of DaVinci Gourmet, making it easier to add and communicate immune health benefits to any menu item or home beverage.

John Quilter, VP & General Manager at Kerry, said: “Wellmune helps deliver on consumer demand for safe, effective and research-supported immune health products. Consumer research gives Wellmune’s immune support a high believability rating, with nearly three-quarters of respondents indicating interest in purchasing a product containing this immune booster; in short, consumers understand and trust the benefits. Couple this with the fact that it can easily be incorporated into a variety of products and you now have a perfect partner for food and beverage innovation.”

DaVinci Gourmet Beverage Boost will be available in the U.S. through foodservice distributors and operators beginning in February. It is a simple way for any operator to add immunity support benefits to health- and wellness-oriented beverages. Lightly sweetened with subtle hints of creamy, vanilla sweetness, one serving (two pumps of syrup) is just 20 calories and delivers the recommended daily amount of Wellmune to deliver clinically supported benefits.

Learn more about DaVinci Gourmet’s Beverage Boost syrup at kerryfoodservice.com.

About DaVinci Gourmet

DaVinci Gourmet brings bold flavor across your entire menu. Our extensive selection — from traditional to cutting edge — was crafted to enhance flavor and turn your passion into a lasting impression.

About Wellmune

Wellmune® is a natural food, beverage and supplement ingredient clinically supported to help strengthen the normal function of the immune system making it easier for people of all ages to feel well and stay well. Part of Kerry’s ProActive Health portfolio, Wellmune is a proprietary baker’s yeast beta 1.3/1.6 glucan, and is patented, kosher, halal, non-allergenic, non-GMO and gluten-free. As a global brand available in more than 60 countries, Wellmune has regulatory approval in major markets, including GRAS status in the U.S., and novel food approval in Europe and China. A recipient of numerous industry awards, Wellmune is part of Kerry’s nutrition and wellness portfolio. For more information, visit Wellmune.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

For More Information:
https://ca.kerryfoodservice.com/products/davinci-gourmet-beverage-boost-with-wellmune-50576244861356

New mutations raise specter of ‘immune escape’

New mutations raise specter of ‘immune escape’

  • January 21, 2021

Science‘s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Heising-Simons Foundation

Embedded Image

Relatives attend a COVID-19 victim’s burial in Manaus, Brazil, on 13 January.

PHOTO: MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

When the number of COVID-19 cases began to rise again in Manaus, Brazil, in December 2020, Nuno Faria was stunned. The virologist at Imperial College London had just co-authored a paper in Science estimating that three-quarters of the city’s inhabitants had already been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the pandemic coronavirus—more than enough, it seemed, for herd immunity to develop. The virus should be done with Manaus. Yet hospitals were filling up again. “It was hard to reconcile these two things,” Faria says. He started to hunt for samples he could sequence to find out whether changes in the virus could explain the resurgence.

On 12 January, Faria and his colleagues posted their initial conclusions on the website virological.org. Thirteen of 31 samples collected in mid-December in Manaus turned out to be part of a new viral lineage they called P.1. Much more research is needed, but they say one possibility is that in some people, P.1 eludes the human immune response triggered by the lineage that ravaged the city earlier in 2020.

Emerging variants of the coronavirus have been in the news ever since scientists raised the alarm over B.1.1.7, a SARS-CoV-2 variant that first caught scientists’ attention in England in December and that is more transmissible than previously circulating viruses (Science, 8 January, p. 108). But now, they’re also focusing on a potential new threat: variants that could do an end run around the human immune response. Such “immune escapes” could mean more people who have had COVID-19 remain susceptible to reinfection, and that proven vaccines may, at some point, need an update.

At a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on 12 January, hundreds of researchers discussed the most important scientific questions raised by the wave of new mutations. WHO also convened its COVID-19 Emergency Committee on 14 January to discuss the impact of the new variants and the travel restrictions that many countries are imposing to contain them. The committee called for a global effort to sequence more SARS-CoV-2 genomes to help track mutations.

The more transmissible variant, B.1.1.7, is already spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark, and probably in many other countries. But scientists are just as worried about 501Y.V2, a variant detected in South Africa. Some of the mutations it carries, including ones named E484K and K417N, change its surface protein, spike, and have been shown in the lab to reduce how well monoclonal antibodies combat the virus. In a preprint published earlier this month, Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, showed that E484K also reduced the potency of convalescent sera from some donors 10-fold—although he is quick to add this does not necessarily mean the mutation would cause people’s immunity to the new strain to drop 10-fold.

P.1 adds to the concerns because it appears to have hit on a similar constellation of mutations and has emerged in a place with a high level of immunity. “Anytime you see the same mutations arising and starting to spread multiple times, in different viral strains across the world, that’s really strong evidence that there’s some evolutionary advantage to those mutations,” Bloom says.

Like B.1.1.7, the Brazilian variant is already on the move. Just as Faria was finishing his analysis of the Brazilian genomes, a report was published of a variant detected in travelers arriving in Japan from Brazil—and it turned out to be P.1. (As Science went to press, U.S. researchers also reported several new variants, but their importance remained unclear.)

HOW THESE NEW variants are affecting the course of the pandemic is unclear. In Manaus, for example, P.1 might have nothing to do with the new surge in infections; people’s immunity might simply be waning, says University of Oxford epidemiologist Oliver Pybus. Or it might be driving the boost because it is transmitted more easily, like B.1.1.7, not because it can evade the immune response. “Of course it could be a combination of these factors, too,” Pybus says.

Similarly, in a recent modeling study, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calculated that South Africa’s 501Y.V2 variant could be 50% more transmissible but no better at evading immunity, or just as transmissible as previous variants but able to evade immunity in one in five people previously infected. “Reality may lie between these extremes,” the authors wrote.

Ester Sabino, a molecular biologist at the University of São Paulo, São Paulo, has launched a study to find reinfections in Manaus that could help decide between these hypotheses for P.1. Lab studies investigating the variants are also underway. The United Kingdom on 15 January launched a new consortium, G2P-UK (for “genotype to phenotype-UK”), headed by Wendy Barclay of Imperial College London, to study the effects of emerging mutations in SARS-CoV-2. One idea discussed at the 12 January WHO meeting is to set up a biobank that would aid studies by housing virus samples, as well as plasma from vaccine recipients and recovered patients.

Interactions between the new mutations may make it harder to tease out their effects. The variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Manaus all share a mutation named N501Y, for instance, or Nelly, as some researchers call it. But the mutation, which affects the spike protein, also occurs in some variants that do not spread faster, suggesting N501Y does not operate alone, says Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research: “Nelly might be innocent, except maybe when she’s hanging with her bad friends.”

Bloom thinks none of the changes is likely to let the virus escape the immune response entirely. “But I would expect that those viruses have some advantage when a lot of the population has immunity”—which might help explain the surge in Manaus.

SO FAR THE VIRUS does not appear to have become resistant to COVID-19 vaccines, says vaccinologist Philip Krause, who chairs a WHO working group on COVID-19 vaccines. “The not-so-good news is that the rapid evolution of these variants suggests that if it is possible for the virus to evolve into a vaccine-resistant phenotype, this may happen sooner than we like,” he adds. That possibility adds to the urgency of putting good surveillance in place to detect such escape variants early on, says biostatistician Natalie Dean of the University of Florida.

Embedded Image

People line up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Birmingham, U.K.

PHOTO: JACOB KING/PA WIRE/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Some scientists worry that proposed changes in vaccine dosing regimens could hasten the evolution of such strains. Desperate to tame a massive surge in cases, the United Kingdom on 30 December decided to allow up to 12 weeks between the first and second dose of two authorized vaccines, rather than the 3 or 4 weeks used in the vaccines’ clinical trials, so more people can get their first dose quickly and have at least some immunity. And the Trump administration decided to ship all available doses immediately, rather than holding back 50% to guarantee that people receive their second doses on time. That policy, which the Biden administration has said it will follow, could inadvertently extend the dosing interval if future vaccine deliveries don’t arrive or aren’t administered on time.

Widespread delays of the second dose might create a pool of millions of people with enough antibodies to slow the virus and avoid getting sick, but not enough to wipe it out. That could well be the perfect recipe for creating vaccine-resistant strains, says virologist Florian Krammer of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: “If we end up with everybody just getting one dose with no doses available for a timely boost, that would in my opinion, be a problem.”

But others say unchecked spread of the virus poses greater risks. “It’s carnage out there,” says evolutionary microbiologist Andrew Read of Pennsylvania State University, University Park. “Twice as many people with partial immunity has got to be better than full immunity in half of them.” Historically, few viruses have managed to evolve resistance to vaccines, with the notable exception of seasonal influenza, which evolves so rapidly on its own—without vaccine pressure—that it requires a newly designed vaccine every year.

If vaccine-resistant SARS-CoV-2 strains emerge, vaccines might need to be updated. Several vaccines could be easily changed to reflect the latest changes, but regulators might balk at authorizing them without seeing updated safety and efficacy data, Krause says. If new variants circulate alongside older strains, multivalent vaccines, effective against several lineages, might even be needed. “To be clear: These are downstream considerations,” Krause says. “The public should not think that this is imminent, and that new vaccines will be needed.” But Ravindra Gupta, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, says manufacturers should start to produce vaccines designed to generate immunity to mutated versions of the spike protein, because they keep cropping up. “It tells us that we should have these mutations in our vaccines, so that you shut off one of the avenues for the virus to go down.”

For now, increased transmissibility is the biggest worry, says virologist Angela Rasmussen of Georgetown University. “I’m puzzled why [that] isn’t a bigger part of the conversation,” she says. The U.S. hospital system, she says, “is at capacity in many places and further increases in transmission can tip us over the edge where the system collapses. Then we’ll start seeing potentially huge increases in mortality.”

Glutathione-boosting supplement wins immune health challenge award

Glutathione-boosting supplement wins immune health challenge award

  • January 21, 2021

INID Research Lab, developer of the ingredient Glyteine, announced recently that it had won a $25,000 award in the event, called the Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Next in Naturals QuickFire Challenge on Immune Support.  The company has brought to market an ingredient branded as Glyteine, with has been shown in a clinical trial to rapidly boost glutathione levels within the cells.  The ingredient forms the basis of a direct-to-consumer supplement called Continual-G, which debuted in 2020​.

Lining up the research

Rajan Shah, president of the Cypress, TX-based company, said the major challenge in entering the competition was lining up all of the documentation that supported the notion that declining glutathione levels  degrades cells’ immune function and that finding a way to boost those levels could better arm the body to fend off attacks from viruses and other pathogens.

“They were looking for evidence-based solutions that support the immune system.  We spend a couple of months on preparing the writeup and the documentation,” ​Shah said.

Glutathione, known as the body’s ‘master antioxidant’ is produced in all tissues of the body. It is formed via a two step enzymatic process.  The first joins the amino acids glutamate and glycine to make gamma-glutamylcysteine (GGC) and the second adds another glycine molecule to make glutathione. But this system degrades as cells age, with the first enzyme losing its capacity to produce enough GGC to sustain the body’s glutathione needs.  Free radical damage to DNA and other cellular structures then accelerates, hastening the senescence of cells.

New therapy extends breast cancer survival rate, prevents reoccurrence

Immunology – Functionality of immune cells in early life

  • January 21, 2021

Dendritic cells are a vital component of the innate immune system, which constitutes the body’s first line of defense against infectious agents and tumor cells. Their job is to activate the T-cell arm of the adaptive immune system, which confers specific and long-lasting protection against bacterial and viral infections. Dendritic cells engulf and degrade proteins that signal the presence of invasive pathogens. The resulting fragments (antigens) are displayed on their surfaces. T cells bearing the appropriate receptors are then activated to seek out and eliminate the pathogen. Newborns and young children have fewer dendritic cells than adults, and these juvenile cells also carry fewer antigen-presenting complexes on their surfaces. Based on these observations, immunologists have generally assumed that these cells are functionally immature. However, new work published by a research team led by Professor Barbara Schraml at LMU’s Biomedical Center has shown – using the mouse as a model system – that this assumption is in fact erroneous. Although early dendritic cells differ in their characteristics from those of mature mice, they are nevertheless quite capable of triggering effective immune reactions. The new findings suggest ways of boosting the efficacy of vaccines for young children.

With the help of fluorescent tags attached to specific proteins of interest, Schraml and her colleagues traced the origins and biological properties of dendritic cells in newborn and juvenile mice, and compared them with those of mature animals. These studies revealed that dendritic cells are derived from different source populations, depending on the age of the animal considered. Those found in neonatal animals develop from precursor cells produced in the fetal liver. As the mice get older, these cells are progressively replaced by cells arising from myeloid precursors, a class of white blood cells that originates from the bone marrow. “However, our experiments demonstrate that – in contrast to the conventional view – a particular subtype of dendritic cells named cDC2 cells is able to activate T-cells and express pro-inflammatory cytokines in young animals,” Schraml explains. “In other words, very young mice can indeed trigger immune reactions.”

Nevertheless, early cDC2 cells differ in some respects from those found in adult mice. For example, they show age-dependent differences in the sets of genes they express. It turns out that these differences reflect the fact that the signaling molecules (‘cytokines’) to which dendritic cells respond change as the mice get older. “Among other things, the array of receptors that recognize substances which are specific to pathogens changes with age,” says Schraml. “Another surprise for us was that early dendritic cells activate one specific subtype of T-cells more effectively than others. Interestingly, this subtype has been implicated in the development of inflammatory reactions.”

The results of the study represent a substantial contribution to our understanding of the functions of dendritic cells, and they could have implications for medical immunology. The immune system of newborns differs from that of more mature individuals insofar as immune responses in early life tend to be weaker than those invoked later in life. “Our data suggest that it might be possible to enhance the efficacy of vaccinations in childhood by, for example, adapting the properties of the immunizing antigen to the specific capabilities of the juvenile dendritic cells,” says Schraml.

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Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Immunity-Boosting Smoothie Recipes

Boost your immune system with a tasty smoothie bowl

  • January 21, 2021

January has us thinking about wellness and strengthening our immune system. Smoothies and smoothie bowls can be a great way to incorporate more antioxidants through vegetables and fruits, boosting your intake for the day.

For a smoothie bowl, you can mix the smoothie and then choose your favorite topper for it. In the recipe below, there are three different smoothie topper examples included. Or you can get creative and make up your own mixture!

A favorite option of mine to include as a smoothie topper is pomegranate. Pomegranates are a great source of fiber and vitamin C. They also provide antioxidants, which have been linked to disease prevention and heart health.

You can find whole pomegranates and “de-seed” them yourself, or you can purchase the arils (the edible, little seed parts) by themselves. If you have kids, it can be fun for them to see the inside of the pomegranate – it looks like a container of jewels!

A few tips on selecting and de-seeding if you choose to do it on your own:

  • Choose a pomegranate that feels heavy for its size and is plump and round.

  • Pomegranates typically can last on the counter for 3 to 4 weeks, or in the refrigerator for longer.

For the easiest seed removal:

  • Rinse the pomegranate and then immerse it under water in a bowl.

  • Be sure you can see what you’re doing, and lightly and carefully score the skin in a few places with a sharp knife.

  • Then, peel the skin and break segments apart under water. This will prevent the bright-colored pomegranate juice from spraying out and staining clothing!

  • You’ll find that the pomegranate arils sink and the skin will float, so the underwater process can help make it easier. You can then strain the seeds and pat them dry to use.

Whether you top your green smoothie bowl with pomegranate arils, the kiwi medley listed, the berry-melon medley listed, or the orange-mango medley listed, this smoothie recipe offers your immune system a boosting blast and your taste buds some refreshment.

Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 8 cups baby spinach, divided

  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened pineapple chunks, divided

  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices, divided

  • 2 bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen

  • 2 avocados, seeded, peeled and chopped, divided

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, divided

  • 1 cup water, divided

  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, divided

  • 2 tbsp agave nectar, divided

  • 2 tsp wheatgrass juice powder, divided

Kiwi-Honeydew Topper

  • 2 kiwi, peeled and cut into slices

  • 1 cup sliced honeydew

  • 1 tsp chia seeds

  • Matcha powder, for garnish

  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Berry-Melon Topper

  1. ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries

  2. ½ cup watermelon, cut into sticks

  3. ¼ cup dried goji berries

  4. ¾ tsp matcha powder

Orange-Mango Topper

  • 1 cup chunks of fresh mango

  • 1 tangelo, peeled and segmented

  • 4 dried apricots, halved

  • 2 tsp whole flaxseeds

  • Honey, for garnish

  • Matcha powder, for garnish

All you do:

  1. Place 4 cups spinach, 1 cup pineapple, 1 cup peaches, 1 banana, 1 avocado, ½ cup almond milk, ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon mint, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, and 1 teaspoon wheatgrass powder in a blender.

  2. Cover and blend until smooth.

  3. Pour mixture evenly into two bowls. Repeat to make two more bowls. Add desired topper and garnishes.

Recipe source: https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/recipes/immune-boosting-green-smoothie-bowls

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Have a question for your Hy-Vee Dietitian? Contact Paige at pgreen@hy-vee.com or call her at 515.695.3799. Your question will be answered and may be featured with your permission.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Boost immune system with homemade smoothie bowls, dietitian suggests

Researchers develop new technique to more efficiently isolate and identify rare T cells

Putatively immature dendritic cells may induce robust immune responses in young children

  • January 20, 2021

A study by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers shows that putatively immature dendritic cells found in young children are able to induce robust immune responses. The results could lead to improved vaccination protocols.

Dendritic cells are a vital component of the innate immune system, which constitutes the body’s first line of defense against infectious agents and tumor cells. Their job is to activate the T-cell arm of the adaptive immune system, which confers specific and long-lasting protection against bacterial and viral infections.

Dendritic cells engulf and degrade proteins that signal the presence of invasive pathogens. The resulting fragments (antigens) are displayed on their surfaces. T cells bearing the appropriate receptors are then activated to seek out and eliminate the pathogen.

Newborns and young children have fewer dendritic cells than adults, and these juvenile cells also carry fewer antigen-presenting complexes on their surfaces. Based on these observations, immunologists have generally assumed that these cells are functionally immature.

However, new work published by a research team led by Professor Barbara Schraml at LMU’s Biomedical Center has shown – using the mouse as a model system – that this assumption is in fact erroneous.

Although early dendritic cells differ in their characteristics from those of mature mice, they are nevertheless quite capable of triggering effective immune reactions. The new findings suggest ways of boosting the efficacy of vaccines for young children.

With the help of fluorescent tags attached to specific proteins of interest, Schraml and her colleagues traced the origins and biological properties of dendritic cells in newborn and juvenile mice and compared them with those of mature animals.

These studies revealed that dendritic cells are derived from different source populations, depending on the age of the animal considered. Those found in neonatal animals develop from precursor cells produced in the fetal liver.

As the mice get older, these cells are progressively replaced by cells arising from myeloid precursors, a class of white blood cells that originates from the bone marrow.

However, our experiments demonstrate that – in contrast to the conventional view – a particular subtype of dendritic cells named cDC2 cells is able to activate T-cells and express pro-inflammatory cytokines in young animals. In other words, very young mice can indeed trigger immune reactions.”


Barbara Schraml, Professor, Biomedical Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU)

Nevertheless, early cDC2 cells differ in some respects from those found in adult mice. For example, they show age-dependent differences in the sets of genes they express. It turns out that these differences reflect the fact that the signaling molecules (‘cytokines’) to which dendritic cells respond to change as the mice get older.

“Among other things, the array of receptors that recognize substances which are specific to pathogens changes with age,” says Schraml. “Another surprise for us was that early dendritic cells activate one specific subtype of T-cells more effectively than others. Interestingly, this subtype has been implicated in the development of inflammatory reactions.”

The results of the study represent a substantial contribution to our understanding of the functions of dendritic cells, and they could have implications for medical immunology. The immune system of newborns differs from that of more mature individuals insofar as immune responses in early life tend to be weaker than those invoked later in life.

“Our data suggest that it might be possible to enhance the efficacy of vaccinations in childhood by, for example, adapting the properties of the immunizing antigen to the specific capabilities of the juvenile dendritic cells,” says Schraml.

Source:

Journal reference:

Papaioannou, N. E., et al. (2021) Environmental signals rather than layered ontogeny imprint the function of type 2 conventional dendritic cells in young and adult mice. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20659-2.

Physical Activity for Improving the Immune System of Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Traditional foods with their constituent’s antiviral and immune system modulating properties

  • January 19, 2021

This article was originally published here

Heliyon. 2021 Jan;7(1):e05957. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e05957. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Viruses are responsible for several diseases, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, a condition caused by today’s pandemic coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A negotiated immune system is a common risk factor for all viral infections, including COVID-19. To date, no specific therapies or vaccines have been approved for coronavirus. In these circumstances, antiviral and immune boosting foods may ensure protection against viral infections, especially SARS-CoV-2 by reducing risk and ensuring fast healing of SARS-CoV-2 illness.

SCOPE AND APPROACH: In this review, we have conducted an online search using several search engines (Google Scholar, PubMed, Web of Science and Science Direct) to find out some traditional foods (plant, animal and fungi species), which have antiviral and immune-boosting properties against numerous viral infections, particularly coronaviruses (CoVs) and others RNA-virus infections. Our review indicated some foods to be considered as potential immune enhancers, which may help individuals to overcome viral infections like COVID-19 by modulating immune systems and reducing respiratory problems. Furthermore, this review will provide information regarding biological properties of conventional foods and their ingredients to uphold general health.

KEY FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: We observed some foods with antiviral and immune-boosting properties, which possess bioactive compounds that showed significant antiviral properties against different viruses, particularly RNA viruses such as CoVs. Interestingly, some antiviral and immune-boosting mechanisms were very much similar to the antiviral drug of COVID-19 homologous SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus). The transient nature and the devastating spreading capability of COVID-19 lead to ineffectiveness of many curative therapies. Therefore, body shielding and immune-modulating foods, which have previous scientific recognition, have been discussed in this review to discern the efficacy of these foods against viral infections, especially SARS-CoV-2.

PMID:33462562 | PMC:PMC7806454 | DOI:10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e05957

tomatoes

10 Top Flu-Fighting Foods That Boost Immune System

  • January 19, 2021

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the number of cases for the 2020-21 flu season is way down this year, it’s still important to keep your immune system strong.

“Now is the time to become a health advocate and shore up your immune system, the body’s natural defense system to ward off illness and reduce your risk of disease,” Dr. Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., author of “The Natural Medicine Chest,” tells Newsmax. “The efficient functioning of the immune system is of paramount importance to everyone, adults and children alike, since it controls our ability to fend off illness, whether it be a serious threat or even common sniffles.”

Susan Levin, MS., RD., the director of nutrition for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, adds that we should “eat the colors of the rainbow” to boost the immune system.

“The pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors represent a variety of protective compounds. Eating plant-based foods plays an important role in reducing the risk of breast, prostate and other forms of cancer,” she says.

Here are 10 top immune boosting foods:

  1. Blueberries. The anthocyanins in blueberries destroy free radicals, reduce inflammation, and boost brain health, says Levin. One cup of blueberries provides 15% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Not only is vitamin C a key nutrient that helps the immune system work properly, it is also an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
  2. Sweet potatoes. The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes fights cancer and supports the immune system. They also contain more than three times the recommended amount of vitamin A and are a good source of B6.
  3. Garlic and onions. The allyl sulfides in these vegetables help destroy cancer cells and reduce cell division, notes Levin. Garlic contains the enzyme alliinase, which converts to alliin to allicin that boost immune function. You can also reap the benefits by using aged garlic extract if you do not like the strong taste of the raw or cooked product.
  4. Broccoli. This super healthy veggie and its cousin, Brussel sprouts, contain indoles and lutein which support eye health. They also eliminate excess estrogen and carcinogens from the body.
  5. Tomatoes. Tomatoes are an immune boosting powerhouse. They contain lycopene which helps prevent breast and prostate cancer, says Levin. According to research, lycopene may also reduce your risk of heart disease. Tomatoes also contain potassium which helps control blood pressure and vitamin K which is important for blood coagulation and bone health.
  6. Oil fish. Fish like salmon, trout, anchovies, and sardines are rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids which are a precursor to many compounds that play a defensive role in immune response, says  Michelle Dudash, RDN, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families.
  7. Red bell peppers. Keri Glassman, MS., RD., and founder of Nutritious Life, says she hasn’t had a cold in over a decade thanks to the power of peppers. “Red peppers are one of my favorite foods to incorporate into my diet for immune-boosting benefits,” she says. They are particularly rich in vitamin C which is important for immunity, reducing the length and severity of colds, and collagen which keeps your skin healthy.
  8. Black Elderberries. Kamhi, aka The Natural Nurse, says that this delicious fruit, which is readily available in health food stores as a syrup, is a superhero of immune boosters. “It offers gentle yet powerful support for the immune system,” she says. As a plus, the syrup is tasty and has a flavor even kids will love.
  9. Yogurt. Yogurt supports a health digestive system which in turn bolsters the immune system. “The immune system is the main link between our gut bacteria and how it influences our health,” says Gabrielle Geerts, RD, from Boulder, Colorado.
  10. Oil of oregano. Kamhi says the oil is rich in vitamins and minerals that offer beneficial support to the immune system. Oregano is also a natural antioxidant, anti-fungal and antibacterial—which is exactly what your body needs to stay healthy. By consuming oregano in concentrated oil form, you reap the most benefits. If you don’t like the taste of the drops, you can purchase supplements in capsule form.


© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Tips To Boost Your Fitness and Immune System! | Majic 95.9

Tips To Boost Your Fitness and Immune System! | Majic 95.9

  • January 19, 2021

Besides being good for your health, researchers are finding exercise may help protect you from a severe case if you’re diagnosed with COVID. New research from Henry Ford Hospital looked at 246 patients who did a heart exercise known as a “stress test” and then followed up to see which ones came down with COVID later. They found those who had better cardiovascular fitness during their test were less likely to end up in the hospital with COVID in the future, which suggests we can decrease our chances of getting severely sick with the virus by improving our cardiovascular fitness.

These steps can boost your fitness now and boost your chances of avoiding serious illness from COVID in the future, according to Dr. Nicholas Nissen, resident physician at Harvard Medical School:

  • Find your “why”– To really make your exercise goals stick, you’ll need to figure out why you want to improve your fitness first. Then, consider what’s keeping you from reaching your goal, like being too tired or not having enough time. Knowing the challenges ahead of time will help you work around them to carry out your new goal.
  • Consider your options– It’s important to know your current state of health before you start exercising and to choose a workout that’s appropriate for you.
  • Create a plan you can stick to– Consistency is key when it comes to fitness, so be realistic when setting goals and formulating your plan. Set aside time in your schedule for exercise and start easy, then ramp up slowly.
  • Remove obstacles– Avoid common pitfalls that can become excuses. If you plan to hit the gym after work, but lose motivation when you get home, bring your gym bag to work so you can go directly there. Do you run out of time in the morning for a workout? Do chores like packing lunches and choosing outfits the night before to free up time.
  • Make it fun– Can’t stand the treadmill? Try going for brisk hikes, playing tennis or socially distanced dance class. There are all kinds of ways to get your heart rate up and cardiovascular exercise is much easier if it’s something you actually enjoy.

Source: Good Morning America

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