IMMUNE HEALTH AND THE GUT

7. March 2012 17:07 by IKE in Ailments, Body Health, Body System, Vitamins  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (10)

If you have done some reading on the immune system lately, you know that immunity involves a complex network of specialized cells and organs that evolved to defend the body against attacks by foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites. The two basic kinds or types of immunity are termed innate and acquired. Innate immunity, also known as genetic or species immunity,represents a wide range of immune protective factors that a person is born with. In contrast, acquired immunity becomes part of the host defenses by means other than heredity. Within this category, immune protection can be acquired naturally or artificially.

Natural acquired immunity is developed through the recovery from a specific infectious disease while artificial acquired immunity occurs when the host receives a vaccine or antitoxin. This category can be further subdivided by using the terms active (the host actively produces antibodies in response to a solution of antigens such as those in a vaccine) and passive (the host passively accepts preformed antibodies present in products such as an antitoxin). When our immune system malfunctions, the consequences can range from microbial infections to cancer. Many nutritional supplement ingredients are effective in supporting immune system health. Some of the more popular and scientifically substantiated ingredients include:

1. Echinacea has been shown to stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of certain immune cells and by promoting the release of cytokines (cellular communication and regulatory molecules) from these immune cells (1).

2. Elderberry contains flavonoid derivatives called anthocyanidins that appear to have immuno-modulatory effects. These compounds in elderberry extract have been found to bind to viruses and block their ability to invade host cells (2). In this way, elderberry is thought to reduce the severity of viral flu symptoms.

3. Vitamin D3 has been known for quite some time as being important in supporting bone health. However, recently Vitamin D3 has also been shown to be a key component in enhancing the immune system.

Sophisticated experiments have demonstrated that Vitamin D3 is essential for the activation of immune cells needed to seek out and destroy infectious invading microbes (3). Without this activation, infections such as influenza and the common cold appear to be more severe and longer lasting.

4. Scientific studies on ingredients such as zinc, Korean ginseng, Vitamin C, beta-glucans and arabinogalactans show that all of these enhance and improve the effectiveness of the immune system by increasing the protective activity of certain immune cells. Macrophages, neutrophils, NK (natural killer) cells and T-cells (T-lymphocytes) are responsible for attacking and neutralizing foreign, disease-causing microbes. Without the proper function of these immune cells, infectious diseases such as colds and the flu usually occur more frequently, are more severe, and have a longer duration. As a pharmacy student and during my graduate school days, I was always interested in the concepts of immunology. However, back in those days, the association of immune function and the gut was either not mentioned or was discussed very superficially. Now that we understand how important a properly functioning gut is to the immune system, I’m fascinated by reading the many excellent scientific papers on this topic. A particularly intriguing aspect focuses on how gut bacteria may influence various disease processes while being involved with their beneficial role in digestion and metabolism. In a previous Hot Topic paper, I described how the “Western diet”—high in fats and simple sugars—can reshape the gut microbial community (microbiome) and predispose humans to obesity and all of the health problems that accompany the obese state. Dietary fibers escape host digestion, but resident microbes in the distal gut (large intestine) metabolize these indigestible leftovers to yield short-chain fatty acids such as acetic, propionic and butyric acids. Not only do these acids contribute about 10% to our daily energy supply but they also impact the immune system. Gut microbe-generated acetate interacts with immune cells to quiet an overactive immune system while propionic acid appears to promote the acquired immune response by acting on T-lymphocytes (4). Butyric acid is known to serve as an important energy source for gut endothelial cells thereby enhancing innate immunity.

We’re all familiar with the benefits of the polyphenolic antioxidants. Recently, it has been found that the well-known ellagic acid, present primarily in berries and nuts, is metabolized by gut microbes to a class of compounds known as the urolithins. Specific urolithins are thought to reduce inflammation and thus protect against cancer (5). We have focused on a few important aspects of gut health as they relate to a properly functioning immune system. However, keep in mind that our gut microbes have long been known to be part of other processes such as food digestion and the production of essential micronutrients. On the downside, our gut bacteria can be directly linked to medical conditions such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and cancer. Therefore, I believe that it’s imperative that we continue toward a better understanding of this huge population of microbes that live in our gastrointestinal tract and other parts of our body. Another way of looking at this situation is that we are outnumbered. Believe it or not, the vast majority of cells that make up the human body are microbial cells.

References:

1. Echinacea. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2010. p. 605.

2. Elderberry. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2010. p. 615.

3. Von Essen MR, et al. Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells. Nature Immunology. 2010; 11(4):344-349.

4. Fukuda S, et al. Bifidobacteria can protect from enteropathogenic infection through production of acetate. Nature. 2011 Jan 27;469(7331):543-547.

5. González-Sarrías A, et al. NF-kappaB-dependent anti-inflammatory activity of urolithins, gut microbiota ellagic acid-derived metabolites, in human colonic fibroblasts. British Journal of Nutrition. 2010 Aug;104(4):503-12.

Vitamins chart

5. November 2009 15:37 by IKE in Health, Vitamins  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Vitamins. How much do we need and where do we take them from?

 

Vita chart

The term vitamin is derived from the words vital and amine, because vitamins are required for life and were originally thought to be amines. Although not all vitamins are amines, they are organic compounds required by humans in small amounts from the diet. An organic compound is considered a vitamin if a lack of that compound in the diet results in overt symptoms of deficiency.

When it comes to vitamins anyone knows that we need them. But do we know how can we have our body in a perfect balance? Here it comes. Plese check out this chart good for adoults and kids as well.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps cell reproduction. It also stimulates immunity and is needed for formation of some hormones. Vitamin A helps vision and promotes bone growth, tooth development, and helps maintain healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. It has been shown to be an effective preventive against measles

Deficiency can cause night blindness, dry skin, poor bone growth, and weak tooth enamel.

Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and retinol are all versions of Vitamin A.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
10,000 IU/day (plant-derived) for adult males
8,000 for adult females - 12,000 if lactating
4,000 for children ages 1-3
5,000 for children ages 4-6
7,000 for children ages 7-10
Most fruits contain vitamin A, but the following fruits have a significant amount:
Cantaloupes
Watermelon
Peaches
Kiwi
Oranges
Blackberries
Tomatoes
Pistachios
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B1/thiamine is important in the production of energy. It helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. Not getting enough thiamine can leave one fatigued and weak.
Note: Most fruits and vegetables are not a significant source of thiamine.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
1.2 mg for adult males and 1.1 mg for women - 1.5 mg if lactating.
Watermelon Peas
Avocado
No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin B1.
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B vitamin family. B vitamins help support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes. Vitamin B12 is important to DNA synthesis and maintaining healthy nerve cells.Since we obtain vitamin B12 only from animal foods in our diet, deficiencies tend to develop among strict vegetarians, especially vegan children, who eat no animal products. However, the elderly, and those who are unable to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract are also at risk, as well as those who are pregnant or who suffer hemorrhage or intestinal disorders.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the average daily U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for people age 14 and older is 2.4 mcg; for adult and adolescent pregnant females, 2.6 mcg; and for adult and adolescent lactating females, 2.8mcg. People over 50 years of age should consume vitamin B12-fortified foods, or take a vitamin B12 supplement – 25-100 mcg per day has been used to maintain vitamin B12 levels in older people.The NIH recommendation for infants 0 to 6 month is 0.4 mcg; 7-12 months, 0.5 mcg; 1-3 years, 0.9 mcg; 4-8 years, 1.2mcg; and 9-13 years, 1.8 mcg. na na na
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is important for body growth, reproduction and red cell production. It also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.
Note: Most fruits and vegetables are not a significant source of riboflavin.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
1.3 mg for adult males and 1.1 mg for women - 1.5 mg if pregnant/lactating.
Children need .6 to .9 mg of B2/riboflavin per day.
Kiwi Avocado No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin B2.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) or PP
Niacin assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
16 mg for adult males and 14 mg for women - 17-18 mg if pregnant/lactating.
Children need 9 - 16 mg of niacin per day.
Peaches
Tomatoes
Kiwi
Bananas
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Avocado
Potatoes
Mushrooms
Squash - winter
Corn
Artichoke
Asparagus
Squash - summer
Lima Beans
Sweet potato
Kale
Broccoli
Carrots
Green Pepper
Peanuts
Pine Nuts/Pignolias
Chestnuts
Almonds
Vitamin B5 (pantothetic acid)
Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert carbohydrates into glucose (sugar), which is "burned" to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, are essential in the breakdown of fats and protein. B complex vitamins also play an important role in maintaining muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and promoting the health of the nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver.In addition to playing a role in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates for energy, Vitamin B5 is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands (small glands that sit atop of the kidneys). Vitamin B5 is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and it helps the body use other vitamins (particularly B2 [riboflavin]) more effectively. It is sometimes referred to as the "anti-stress vitamin" because it is believed to enhance the activity of the immune system and improve the body's ability to withstand stressful conditions.Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
Infants birth to 6 months: 1.7 mg Infants 6 months to 1 year: 1.8 mg Children 1 to 3 years: 2 mg Children 4 to 8 years: 3 mg Children 9 to 13 years: 4 mg Adolescents 14 to 18 years: 5 mg 19 years and older: 5 mg Pregnant females: 6 mg Lactating females: 7 mg Strawberries Crimini mushrooms,Corn yellow cooked,Broccoli steamed,Winter squash baked,Cauliflower boiled, Sunflower Seeds
Vitamin B6 (pryidoxine)
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that exists in three major chemical forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine.It performs a wide variety of functions in your body and is essential for your good health. For example, vitamin B6 is needed for more than 100 enzymes involved in protein metabolism. It is also essential for red blood cell metabolism. The nervous and immune systems need vitamin B6 to function efficiently, and it is also needed for the conversion of tryptophan (an amino acid) to niacin (a vitamin).Hemoglobin within red blood cells carries oxygen to tissues. Your body needs vitamin B6 to make hemoglobin. Vitamin B6 also helps increase the amount of oxygen carried by hemoglobin. A vitamin B6 deficiency can result in a form of anemia that is similar to iron deficiency anemia. An immune response is a broad term that describes a variety of biochemical changes that occur in an effort to fight off infections. Calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals are important to your immune defenses because they promote the growth of white blood cells that directly fight infections. Vitamin B6, through its involvement in protein metabolism and cellular growth, is important to the immune system. It helps maintain the health of lymphoid organs (thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes) that make your white blood cells. Animal studies show that a vitamin B6 deficiency can decrease your antibody production and suppress your immune response .Vitamin B6 also helps maintain your blood glucose (sugar) within a normal range. When caloric intake is low your body needs vitamin B6 to help convert stored carbohydrate or other nutrients to glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels. While a shortage of vitamin B6 will limit these functions, supplements of this vitamin do not enhance them in well-nourished individuals .
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adult males between 19 and 50 years of age is 1.3 mg, and those over the age of 50 need 1.7 mg. Women between 19 and 50 years of age should take 1.3 mg, and those over 50 should take 1.5 mg. Pregnant women should take 1.9 mg and lactating women, 2 mg. The NIH suggests infants get 0.1 mg per day, children from 7 to 12 months get 0.3 mg; children between 1 and 3 years of age get 0.5 mg. Children from 4 to 8 years old should get 6 mg; from 9-13 years, 1 mg; teenage males 14-18 years old 1.0 mg per day, teenage females 4-18 years old 1.2 mg per day. You should always consult with your pediatrician Banana,Avocado Beans,Spinach,Tomato Walnuts,Sunflower seeds
Vitamin B9 (folacin / folic acid)
Vitamin B9, more commonly known as folate or folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B vitamin family. B vitamins help support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes. Folate occurs naturally in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate.Vitamin B9 is essential for human growth and development, encourages normal nerve and proper brain functioning, and may help reduce blood-levels of the amino acid homocysteine (elevated homocysteine levels have been implicated in increased risk of heart disease and stroke).Pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid: it supports the growth of the placenta and fetus, and helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine. Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age should take extra caution to get enough folic acid.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
The daily U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 400 micrograms for adults, 500 micrograms for breastfeeding adult women, and 600 micrograms per day for pregnant adult women.The daily RDA for children from 0 to 6 months is 65 micrograms; 7-12 months, 80 micrograms; 1-3 years, 150 micrograms; 4-8 years, 200 micrograms; 9-13 years, 300 micrograms. Bananas, melons, lemons Spinach, green vegetables ,beans,asparagus and mushrooms. na
Vitamin C
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is abundant in vegetables and fruits. A water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, it helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin.Many do not know all of the facts on vitamin C, which helps to repair and regenerate tissues, protect against heart disease, aid in the absorption of iron, prevent scurvy, and decrease total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily intake for adults is 90 mg per day for men and 75mg for women (85 mg during pregnancy, 120 mg while breastfeeding).NIH recommends Adequate Intakes (AIs) for infants between 0 and 6 months at 40 mg per day, and for infants 7 to12 months old at 50 mg per day. The U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for children 1 to 3 years old is 15 mg per day; for children 4 to 8 years of age, 25 mg; and children 9 to 13 years old, 45 mg per day. Males between 14 to 18 years of age should take 75 mg per day; females, 65 mg. Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges),Apples,Berries,Melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon),Kiwi Asparagus,Broccoli,Cabbage,Cauliflower,dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), peppers (especially red bell peppers,which have among the highest per-serving vitamin C content), potatoes, and tomatoes. na
Vitamin D
Vitamin D, often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," is actually a fat-soluble hormone that the body can synthesize naturally. There are several forms, including two that are important to humans: D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is synthesized by plants, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is synthesized by humans when skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight. The active form of the vitamin is calcitriol, synthesized from either D2 or D3 in the kidneys. Vitamin D helps to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the daily Adequate Intake (AI) for adults is 5 mcg (200 IU) daily for males, female, and pregnant/lactating women under the age of 50. People 50 to 70 years old should get 10 mcg daily (400 IU) daily, and those over 70 should get 15 mcg daily (600 IU). Anyone with vitamin D deficiencies should discuss intake levels with his or her physician.According to the NIH, AI for children from birth until 50 years of age should take 5mcg per day (200 IU). na na na
Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful, fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protect cell membranes against damage caused by free radicals and prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The term vitamin E encompasses a group of eight compounds, called tocopherols and tocotrienols, that comprise the vitamin complex as it is found in nature.Vitamin E is necessary for structural and functional maintenance of skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults older than 14-years is 15 mg (or 22.5 IU); pregnant women of any age should get 15 mg (or 22.5 IU); and breastfeeding women of any age should take 19 mg (or 28.5 IU).The NIH's RDA and Adequate Intake (AI) for children ages 1-3 years is 6 mg/day (9 IU/day); for children 4-8 years 7 mg/day (10.5 IU/day); and for children 9-13 years, 11 mg/day (16.5 IU/day). Kiwi,Mango Spinach,Broccoli,Soybean Almonds,Sunflower seeds,Hazelnuts,Peanuts,
Vitamin K
Patients on coumadin need to keep their dietary intake of vitamin K constant once they are titrated to the proper dose. A sudden change in intake can increase or decrease the level of anticoagulation with consequent risks for bleeding or thrombosis.Vitamin K is an essential nutrient necessary for blood clotting - it regulates normal blood clotting by helping the body transport calcium. Vitamin K may also be helpful for bone health: it may reduce bone loss, and decrease risk of bone fractures. It also may prevent calcification of arteries and other soft tissue.
Daily Needed
Fruit Sources
Vegy Sources
Nut Sources
Adults and children who eat a balanced diet that include leafy greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, soybean oil and wheat bran will obtain enough vitamin K, and do not need supplementation.People who may benefit from supplemental vitamin K are babies (who usually get a shot of vitamin K at birth) and those with digestive diseases. na Swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts na

Common cold. How to protect yourself!

3. November 2009 05:54 by IKE in Health, Vitamins  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Common cold

Sooner or later, just about everyone comes down with a cold or flu.

Both of them are respiratory infections and may be difficult to identify which one you have.
Generally a cold comes gradually and the flu strikes suddenly.
Some of the frequent cold symptoms are congestion, sore throat, and sneezing are usually less severe than those of the flu, which include fever, headaches, and muscle aches.
A cold rarely produces complications, but the flu can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia.
The below listed supplements can assist the body in combating cold and flu viruses, rather than suppressing symptoms.
Vitamin C is probably the most well known vitamin for preventing and treating colds and flu.
Echinacea is the most well known herb for treating the common cold. It supports the immune system to fight against the virus. Zinc lozenges may also help halt a cold, possibly by destroying the virus itself. Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Many people eat a clove of garlic a day to help support their cardiovascular system. Due to its heavy odor, many people prefer taking garlic capsules. The active part of garlic is allicin, which unfortunately is destroyed by cooking.

Vitamins and minerals. What are they?

31. October 2009 17:46 by IKE in Health, Vitamins, Minerals  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

General info

Vitamins and minerals are substances your body needs in small but steady amounts for normal growth, function and health. Together, vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. Your body can't make most micronutrients, so you must get them from the foods you eat or, in some cases, from dietary supplements.

Vitamins and health.

Vitamins are essential to good health. Vitamin A helps to develop and maintain body tissues such as bone and skin; it also helps the body’s vision, nervous system functioning, reproduction, and growth. The B vitamins are responsible for increasing the production of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates as well as assisting with metabolism, building red blood cells, and maintaining the protective covering of the nervous system.

Vitamin C helps form tissues, cells, bones and teeth; heals wounds; and improves the immune system’s performance. Vitamin E protects the outer cell membranes from harm, thus assisting the immune system in fighting off diseases. Vitamin K helps the body’s blood lot in wounded areas.


Minerals.

Minerals also have a broad range of functions. As many as 20 minerals play significant roles in the body. “Microminerals,” or minerals that the body only needs traces of, can fight off serious illness. These include copper, iodine, chromium, iron, fluorine, tin, zinc, nickel, vanadium, manganese, silicon, molybdenum, and selenium. “Macrominerals,” or minerals that the body needs large amounts of include magnesium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, phosphorus, calcium, and sulfur.
Zinc is responsible for helping metabolize proteins and keeping enzymes functioning. Copper is needed by enzymes for metabolizing. Iodine assists the thyroid gland in working properly. Calcium and phosphorus build bones and teeth. Iron delivers oxygen to the body’s cells. Potassium helps muscle contraction, maintains the fluid balance of cells, helps transmit messages through the body’s nerves, and keeps the kidneys and heart working correctly.
How they interrelate. Vitamins and minerals not only help the body function, but they work to strengthen each other. The body absorbs iron through the help of vitamin C. Vitamin D helps the body absorb phosphorus and calcium. Vitamins D and K are the only vitamins the body can supply for itself. The skin creates vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin K is produced by intestinal bacteria. Outside sources must supply the body with all other vitamins.

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