All of the body systems require continuous protein and cell replacement. In the case of the immune system, this replacement process happens at a faster pace.
A large part of the immune system needs to regenerate daily. Furthermore, it is also largely affected by an adequate nutritional diet. It needs amino acids to synthesize protein; fat and carbohydrates to produce energy; and vitamins and minerals for a normal cell growth function and protein synthesis.
Amino acids are also used to synthesize multiple immune substances. Antibodies are proteins that join other substances called antigens and which improve the ability of our immune system to kill bacteria and viruses.
If our amino acid intake is on the low side, our body’s only option is using muscle protein, thus breaking down muscle tissue which involves serious consequences.
In short, a deficient protein diet affects our immune system in its cell replacement function, reducing our immune response.
In addition, calorie intake deficiency restricts our immunity, so it makes us more prone to infections and increases mortality rates in undernourished patients.
A lack of protein and calories has an effect on the immune system similar to AIDS’s. Their synergy is so powerful that a protein-calorie malnutrition treatment is a major player of the prescription for patients suffering from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
There is one amino acid that possesses at least two different functions which are essential for a proper functioning of the immune system. That is glutamine.
Glutamine, to begin with, is the preferred energy source for cell proliferation. Secondly, glutamine acts in nitrogen donation during protein synthesis. More and more, data points that glutamine is essential for immune system cells.
In clinical studies, it has been proven that nitrogen loss is reduced and fewer infections in bone marrow transplants occur when subjects ingested glutamine supplements.
As for the minerals and vitamins that most strengthen our immune system we find selenium (Se), vitamin E, copper (Cu), calcium (Ca), vitamin A and zinc (Zn). In addition, a fatty acids deficiency also has a negative consequences on our immune system.
Obesity has been related to reduced immunity. Overweight patients have a higher risk of suffering from bacteremia and infections. Obesity is a risk factor in a deficient scarring after surgery as well.
We can increase our immune system’s capacity by ingesting the following ingredients:
- Omega 3 FATTY ACIDS
- Polyunsaturated FATTY ACIDS
- Branched AMINO ACIDS BCAA’s
In brief, we need to keep in mind that a balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients, guarantees an adequate immune protection.