Our immune system is the soldier that guards our body against infectious diseases and other ailments. We live in an era where we hardly bother about the type of food we eat and just keep on going with the flow of the contemporary world. The diet we eat is not always healthy and rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. These vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are essential for strengthening the immune system and keeping the diseases and infections at bay. Also, the immune system does not solely depend upon diet but on the various factors including sleep patterns, exercise, and more.
There is a wide variety of supplements available in the market that can provide you the nutrients in the form of pills but you should focus on getting these minerals and vitamins from the diet. It is a well- known fact that not only immunity but all the essential reactions and processes of the body are carried out in the presence of these nutrients. Some of the major nutrients, vitamins, and minerals necessary for maintaining the functions of the body are: –
Also known as retinol, Vitamin A is known for the maintenance of vision, protection of epithelium, and promotion of growth and development of the cells. Also, it helps in maintaining the mucus integrity in the body that acts as a barrier against the entry of microbes and pathogens. Also, known as an anti-inflammatory vitamin, Vitamin A plays a major role in boosting immunity by enhancing the function of immune cells. It is also involved in the development of cell-mediated and humoral immunity. A research proved that Vitamin A plays an important role in the proliferation and regulation of thymocytes- the cells of the gland called thymus which has a major role in immunity.
Also recognized by the name ascorbic acid, Vitamin C can be richly found in citrus fruits. As it is not synthesized and stored in the body, it has to be taken from outside in diet or in the form of supplements. The deficiency of Vitamin C is known to cause various diseases in the body like scurvy, which causes easy bruising, joint and muscle pains, easy bleeding, and more. Vitamin C plays a major role in repairing various tissues in the body including bone, skin, cartilage, teeth and more. It is also known for the formation of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and more. It also plays a major role in the proliferation of the cells of the immune system and thus maintains good levels of immunity.
Vitamin D is commonly known as Ergocalciferol (D3) and Cholecalciferol (D2) and is broken down into its active form known as Calciferol. It plays a major role in the absorption of phosphorus and calcium in the body. The deficiency of Vitamin D in the body leads to an increased risk of autoimmune disorders and infections. It is also known to modulate the adaptive and immune responses of the immune system of the body. The decreased levels of Vitamin D in the body are known to initiate and worsen certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and more. Vitamin D is also known to work with the B and T cells of the immune system that are the natural killer cells acting against the pathogens and infectious agents.
Also recognized by Tocopherol, Vitamin e plays a major role in modulating the activities of the immune system. The shreds of evidence suggest that Vitamin E reverses the effect of decreased immunity caused due to aging or ailments like AIDS. It is essential for the proliferation and differentiation of T-cells in the thymus. Vitamin E oxidizes the free-radicals present in the body thus acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. Free radicals are the compounds that are formed when the body oxidizes the fats present in our body into energy. It also boosts the immune system so that the body can fight off against the viruses and pathogens that invade the body and cause ailments.
Folic acid is a B6 vitamin that is present in beans, vegetables, fruits, peas and more. Folic acid plays a major role in DNA and RNA replication and thus plays an essential in the proliferation and growth of the cells of the body and is involved in the repair of DNA. Also, the lack of folic acid can hamper the production of red blood cells and leads to megaloblastic anemia. The lack of folic acid can lead to alterations in the immune system thereby reducing the capacity of the body to fight off infections. It also helps in the prevention of the changes that occur in the DNA of the cells that convert them to cancer cells.
Iron is commonly found in vegetables, meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds and more and is crucial for the maintenance of various functions in the body. Some experimental evidence indicate that iron is involved in the production of the cells of the immune system and controls its functioning. It is also essential for the proliferation of certain cells of the immune system including lymphocytes and it is associated with the generation of the specific immune response against the pathogens. A study suggested that the deficiency of the iron in the body hampered the first line of defense of the immune system and the body becomes vulnerable to diseases and infections.
Copper is an essential micronutrient that is required by the body for the proper functioning and maintenance of various processes taking place inside the body. Copper can be easily found in shitake mushrooms, lobsters, spirulina, dark chocolate, leafy green vegetables, and more. Copper deficiency in the body can lead to bone and connective tissue disorders and also increases the risk of neurologic disorders. A study revealed that copper deficiency in the body led to a decrease in the number of interleukin-2 that is an essential substance produced during the immune response.
Zinc is one of the important micronutrients that is the key component of many enzymatic reactions and plays an important role in regulating the biochemical reactions taking place inside the body. Zinc can be commonly found in legumes, shellfish, dairy products, eggs, milk, seeds, nuts, whole grains and more. The zinc supplements when administered during cold and flu considerably reduced the duration of the flu and cold. Additionally, zinc has been a major relief giver in certain ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, herpes, and more. It also plays a major role in controlling the elevated levels of blood pressure and also reduces the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Zinc is involved in the rapid healing of wounds and it supports the normal growth and development of the cells of the immune system.
The basic requirement of these nutrients can be generally fulfilled by the intake of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Generally, the colorful foods and fruits are highly loaded with the essential minerals and vitamins that provide the sufficient amount of nutrients to the body. The nutrient requirements are not the same for every individual as they depend upon various factors like age, sex, and type of activity one performs, size and more. Therefore, it is essential to find out the dietary requirements of your body and synchronize with the healthy foods stuffs for keeping the body disease-free and boosting the levels of immunity.
Role Of Vitamin A in the Immune System, Zhiyi Huang-Yu Liu-Guangying Qi-David Brand-Song Zheng – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162863/
Vitamin C and Immune Function, Anitra Carr-Silvia Maggini – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763
Vitamin D and Immune Function: an Overview, Martin Hewison – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21849106
Immune Defence: Vitamin C in Its Best Natural Form ImmunityTx Research, Liam Paul – https://immunitytx.com/immune-defence/
The Role Of Vitamin E in Immunity, Ga Lee-Sung Han – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266234/
Folate Status and the Immune System, A Dhur-P Galan-S Hercberg – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1887065
Role Of Iron in Immunity and Its Relation with Infections, A Soyano-M Gómez – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10971835
Copper and Immunity, S Percival – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9587153
Role Of Zinc & Vitamins on Immunity enhancementofficial.com Research, Johnny Chang – https://enhancementofficial.com/immune-defence/
Zinc in Human Health: Effect Of Zinc on Immune Cells , Ananda Prasad – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/