The immune system is a complex workhorse keeping our bodies safe from invaders like viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms. Our immune system is run by immune cells called lymphocytes and phagocytes.
Lymphocytes go after those foreign invaders and the phagocytes go after dying and dead cells and are responsible for wound healing.
These immune cells are powered by nutrients stored in your body so it is important to make sure you provide enough support so that your immune system can keep running effectively.
Let’s talk about some of those important nutrients needed to maintain a healthy immune system.
Vitamin C is not naturally produced in our bodies; however, it is an essential nutrient for life. You know scurvy? Yes, the one associated with pirates. It’s caused by a vitamin C deficiency! Nowadays this is a very rare condition because we have made it easier to consume vitamin C.
Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, stimulates white blood cell production, enhances white blood cells' ability to fight off foreign invaders, and powers collagen production that is vital in connective tissue and bone health. In order for proper healing to occur, vitamin C needs to be present.
Vitamin D3 keeps your immune system in check. It tells the immune system to increase or decrease its responses.
D3 also promotes healthy insulin secretion and blood pressure regulation.
Vitamin D3’s main sources are fatty fish like sardines, salmon, and mackerel.
Zinc is not naturally produced in the body and needs to be absorbed through diet and supplementation. It is necessary for many enzymatic reactions related to growth, hormone levels, and the immune system. The immune system relies on zinc to maintain healthy lymphocytes and phagocytes.
Zinc also has antioxidant properties that also fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals. It also plays a role in collagen production similar to vitamin C.
You may not be familiar with Quercetin. It is a flavonoid, a type of antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables that give off certain colors. Flavonoids protect the body from free radical damage and regulate certain cellular activity.
Quercetin acts as a regulator in the immune system like vitamin D. It tells white blood cells how strongly to react to immune system threats. Quercetin is known to do a great job of managing mast cells, they produce histamines that are trigger during an allergy response. Quercetin has been shown to help maintain a healthy inflammatory response by also controlling the release of cytokines.
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