How to strengthen immune system? Gut health and immune system

What is the immune system?

The main function of the immune system is to prevent or limit infection. It is your body’s defense mechanism against infection and illness.  There are two main parts of the immune system. The innate system in which you were born, when the system recognizes a foreign invasion it goes into action immediately. The adaptive immune system, which is developed when your body is exposed to microbes (bacteria & viruses) or chemicals released by microbes, helps the innate system to produce antibodies to protect your body from a specific invader. 

 

How does the immune system work in fighting for the virus?

A virus is a small microbe that is consisted of a protein coat or capsid, sometimes enclosed in a lipid membrane. The capsid contains DNA or RNA genetic materials that codes for the virus. A virus on its own cannot reproduce, it will require a host cell in order to reproduce. 
When a virus come in contact with a host cell, it will hijack the healthy living cell, multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This will change, damage, or even kill the cell and make you sick. 
When an invasion by viruses happens, the immune cells of your body; the white blood cells which are composed of macrophages, B-lymphocytes, and T-lymphocytes will come to the defense. 
The macrophages will swallow up and digest the virus plus the dying cells. It will leave behind parts of the invading viruses called antigens. Antigens are unique to each virus, it is how your body identify the viruses, and will stimulate antibodies to attack them. The B-lymphocytes produce antibodies that attack the antigens left by the macrophages. T-lymphocytes attack cells in that body that are already infected, they are also called memory cells, as they will come in actions quickly if the viruses are ever encountered again. 
When a new type of virus is encountered by the body, it may take several days for the immune system to develop the tools (antibodies) and remembers what they are so if an infection were to happen again, a quicker response will be triggered. 

 

How to strengthen the immune system 

Apart from the white blood cells mentioned previously, the intestine itself is an important immune organ consisting of a complex cellular network consisted of multiple pattern recognition receptors that recognize the invaders. It plays a critical role in the first line host immune defense by the intestinal mucosa. The gut is key for enteric microbial infections and bridges the innate immune system into the activation and regulation of adaptive immune responses. 1
Before all of the cells in your body comes into action, your first line of defense should always be choosing a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy diet that is full of fruit and vegetables, exercises regularly, maintain a healthy weight, get adequate sleep, avoid alcohol or smoke, take steps to avoid infections such as washing your hands frequently, and try to minimize stress. 
Strengthening your immune system is not done overnight, you need to maintain it on regular bases. A nutrient-dense diet is critical especially some key nutrients such as Vitamin C, D, A, Bs, iron, zinc, magnesium, healthy fats and fiber. Though these are traditional nutrients that are correlated with enhanced immune systems, as science advances we are discovering more ingredients that are beneficial for the immune system. 
In recent novel Vivo & Vitro studies, it has been demonstrated that supplementation with mushrooms resulted in the enhancement of cellular and humoral immune responses1. Beta glucan from mushrooms has immunostimulatory effects2, a polysaccharide from mushrooms stimulate natural immunity and may serve to prevent infection3
Probiotic has been studied in various studies as well. Probiotics are known for its health benefits for gut health. But it is not only till recently that it is found, probiotic promote gut health through the stimulation of the innate immune system. 4

 

How can koso strengthen the immune system? 

Koso drink is a traditional fermented drink created from vegetable, fruits and plants, which provides abundant probiotic and prebiotics. R’s KOSO contains over 100 different fruits, vegetables, and plant-based ingredients as well as unique ingredients such as seaweeds and mushrooms. Mushrooms possess many vital nutrients like β glucans, dietary fiber, mannans, as well as act as prebiotics to stimulate the growth of gut microbiota.

 

References:
  1. Yuan, Qian, and W. Allan Walker. “Innate Immunity of the Gut: Mucosal Defense in Health and Disease.” Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, vol. 38, no. 5, 2004, pp. 463–473., doi:10.1097/00005176-200405000-00001.
  2. Guo, F.c., et al. “Effects of Mushroom and Herb Polysaccharides on Cellular and Humoral Immune Responses of Eimeria Tenella-Infected Chickens.” Poultry Science, vol. 83, no. 7, 2004, pp. 1124–1132., doi:10.1093/ps/83.7.1124.
  3. Zhou, Lian-di, et al. “The Shiitake Mushroom-Derived Immuno-Stimulant Lentinan Protects against Murine Malaria Blood-Stage Infection by Evoking Adaptive Immune-Responses.” International Immunopharmacology, Elsevier, 2 Feb. 2009, 
  4. Kodama1, Noriko, et al. “Stimulation of the Natural Immune System in Normal Mice by Polysaccharide from Maitake Mushroom.” Mycoscience, Springer-Verlag, 1 June 2003, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10267-003-0099-y
  5. Pagnini, Cristiano, et al. “Probiotics Promote Gut Health through Stimulation of Epithelial Innate Immunity.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 5 Jan. 2010, 
  6. Klimpel, Gary R. “Immune Defenses.” Medical Microbiology. 4th Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1996.
  7. Lodish, Harvey. “Viruses: Structure, Function, and Uses.” Molecular Cell Biology. 4th Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21523/.
  8. “What Are the Organs of the Immune System?” InformedHealth.org [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 Jan. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279395/.
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