High Vitamin C Intake May Help Elderly Maintain Immune Cells

Vitamin C and Immune FunctionAccording to a new study performed on mice, high vitamin C supplementation over a long period of time may help maintain immune function during aging.

Vitamin C deficient mice were feed a diet supplemented with Vitamin C at a dosage level of either 20 mg/kg of body weight or 200 mg/kg of body weight daily for 1 year.  After the year, the weight of the thymus gland (immune organ) and the number of immune cells in the thymus and the surrounding blood and spleen were measured.  The results showed higher vitamin C supplementation stopped the shrinkage in the size of the thymus which occurs with aging.  Additionally stable immune cell counts were seen in the mice whose diets had the higher dosages of vitamin C added.

The thymus gland is a small gland found at the base of the neck.  Responsible for the differentiation and development of T-cells, (white blood cells which are important to the immune function), the thymus gland grows until puberty and then reduces its effectiveness as we age.





Omega-3 Intake Could Present Long-Awaited Relief for Cancer Patients with Mucositis

omega-3-fatty acidsA new study found oral supplementation with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids may help treat and prevent wounds caused by Mucositis (mouth ulcers and inflammation) in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  Mucositis is a potential side effect of chemotherapy.  An overwhelming number of cancer patients (80%) with neck and head malignancies in addition to cancer patients on a high dose of chemotherapy experience Mucositis.  Mucositis is also associated with severe pain, a higher risk of developing systemic and local infections, bleeding and dysfunction from the oral cavity, mouth and pharynx.  Oral ulcers may even cause bacteria to enter the blood stream and cause septicemia which especially damaging since patients on chemotherapy usually have compromised immune systems.

60 patients who were developing grade 1 oral Mucositis participated in this Random Controlled study.  The participants were divided into 2 groups; an Omega 3 group (12 males and 18 females) and a placebo group (11 males and 19 females).  The participants were assessed for Mucositis using the WHO Oral Mucositis Weekly Questionnaire and the Western Consortium for Cancer Nursing Research criteria at the beginning of the trial, in the first, second and third weeks of chemotherapy and when the Mucositis was cured.  Using the Oral Mucositis Weekly Questionnaire, researchers noted the differences in the severity of the Mucositis between the 2 groups in the first, second and third week s of the study.  The Omega-3 supplementation group had less severe pain during the three weeks of treatment, there actually was no sign Mucositis in the participants supplementing with the Omega 3 after 2 weeks.  In the Omega-3 group average recovery was 4 to nine days vs over 10 days in the placebo group, and 12 patients in the placebo group took over 16 days to recover.

Researchers concluded Omega-3 Essential Fatty acids were an effective and safe means for treating and preventing oral Mucositis.




Immune System Primer

Immune System PrimerThe immune system is a culmination of molecules, proteins, cells and organs all intended to protect the body against things like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites also called pathogens.  When the immune system is working the way it is supposed to work, it goes unnoticed: pathogens are eliminated or neutralized and the body continues to function normally.  Aggressive pathogens, unfamiliar pathogens or a compromised immune system may interfere with the process of neutralizing or eliminating pathogens.

The immune system is made up of 2 parts:

Innate (Non Specific) immune system-We are born with this system.  The innate immune system is fast acting.  It is the body’s first line of defense.

Adaptive (Specific) immune system-The adaptive immune system is slow moving and needs time to learn and adapt to or recognize infections.  Once this happens the adaptive immune system’s response can be efficient, accurate and rapid.

The minerals involved in supporting a healthier immune function are Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese and Copper.  Zinc supports immunity by assuming the role of a secondary messenger.  Additionally, Zinc plays a role in immune cell function.  There is a competition for Zinc between the host and the pathogen.  Selenium has been shown to support immune function in aging populations.  Selenium helps boost protection against certain pathogens.

Vitamin D benefits both the innate and adaptive immune systems.   A deficiency of Vitamin D increases a person’s susceptibility to infections.  Other Vitamins like, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B6, B12, and Folate all play a role in supporting a healthier immune function.

The amino acid Glutathione is considered a master antioxidant and helps fight free radicals.  Glutathione also helps regenerate Vitamins C and E to work more effectively and stimulates the natural ability of certain immune cells.

MSM known for its anti inflammatory benefits has been shown to improve immune response especially after exhaustive exercise.

Probiotics, friendly bacteria, are also very important for boosting your body’s immune support system.  The microbiomes in the gut are at the core of immune health.





Colds, Flus and Allergies: What you should know

Colds, Flus and AllergiesIt’s that time of year again, Back to School and Back to Colds, Flus and Allergies.  It is the time of year some of us dread.  How do you know if you are experiencing a cold, the flu or just seasonal allergies?  Understanding the major differences in each of these conditions will help us understand what to do to begin to feel like our “well” selves once again.  Although prevention is the key to lowering our risks for infection, looking at our lifestyle, our nutrition and vitamin needs will give us a better chance to fight what is ailing us and WIN.

The Cold:

Colds are viruses.  There are over 100 different types of viruses that cause the common cold.  Symptoms may vary but usually include a runny or stuffed up nose, sore throat, and a cough.  Colds pass through the air from contact (like touch), from a sneeze or a cough.  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease believes that on average a cold will last from seven to 10 days.  Colds can happen at any time of the year.

 The Flu:

The flu usually begins with a high fever (higher than 102 degrees) and can also include vomiting, body aches and chills, dizziness, flushing, headaches, nasal discharge and a loss of energy.  The fever can last for a day or two or it may last up to a week.  The flu is also a virus and usually affects the whole body.  The flu virus however can settle in any area of the body which could produce the same symptoms experienced with a cold, like a sore throat or it may cause bronchitis, an ear infection or turn into pneumonia if it settles in the respiratory tract.  The flu can last anywhere between four to seven day.

An Allergy:

Allergies usually occur when the body’s defense system has an adverse reaction to a certain substance which acts like a trigger.  These triggers cause the body to release chemicals called histamines which are intended to help the body fight off an intruder.  The histamine actually causes common allergy symptoms. Allergy trigger may be seasonal or year round.  Common allergens are grasses and weeds, dust, mold, pollen, soy, wheat, dairy, milk and nuts.  Symptoms of allergies include watery, itchy eyes, congestion, runny nose, coughing, sore/scratchy throat and sneezing.  Rashes are also a symptom of allergies.

Supplements that may help:

Although there is no way to completely protect ourselves from experiencing any of the above conditions, lifestyle changes and supplementation may aid in strengthening our body’s defense system.  Finding a balance between a supplement program, regular exercise and a healthy diet may aid our body in dealing with infection.

Vitamin A:

This fat soluble vitamin helps maintain healthy tissues, especially the mucous membranes, which line all entrances to the body including the respiratory tract linings, and the skin.  This antioxidant also promotes a healthy thymus function which supports the body’s defense system.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C, is essential for the needs of the body’s immune system.  That body itself cannot manufacture this water soluble supplement so it is necessary for the body to obtain this nutrient from supplementation or from the diet.  Stress, inflammation and large amounts of sugar easily deplete this important antioxidant.  Although Vitamin C, which is highly concentrated in the immune cells, may not prevent a cold or flu it seems that Vitamin C is beneficial in reducing the duration of the symptoms associated with these viruses.


Astragalus is a deep stimulating immune boosting herb found in Mongolia and China.  This herb has been known to boost white blood cell count, supporting immunity and stimulating antibody growth.  It also may help strengthen the body’s resistance to viruses and bacteria.

Vitamin D:

An important nutrient for overall health, this vitamin may be needed, especially during the winter months, when sunlight exposure is limited.  Vitamin D affects almost 2,000 different human genes and almost every type of human cell has been found to respond to Vitamin D.  Vitamin D supports the body’s ability to fight infections since it produces over 200 various peptides that affect the body’s ability to fight colds.  Vitamin D also produces small proteins, cytokines, which deal with immune response.


Approximately 80% of our body’s defense system is located in the gut, which means when supplementing with a high quality probiotic the body’s immune system can be strengthened all year long.  With increased levels of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract the immune system can be developed to protect the body against the overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria.


Essential for supporting the cells of the immune system, Zinc, which acts like an antioxidant in the body, helps to support immunity and the ability of the T-cells to function correctly.  Zinc is responsible for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body which involves growth and development, antioxidant protection and immune response.


Seasonal allergies may be supported with this beneficial herb which supports the immune system and allergic symptoms.  Goldenseal may also help soothe irritated and swollen tissues.  Berberine, a key phyto-nutrient in Goldenseal is also known for killing bacteria.

Other herbs like Stinging Nettle and Butterbur may help the body by inhibiting histamine production.  Butterbur, a member of the ragweed family should be avoided by those allergic to chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds and ragweed.

Don’t forget the importance of getting a good night’s rest to help support the body’s defense system.  When the body does not get adequate rest certain white blood cells called T-cells decrease.  T-cells are important to help increase the body’s immune system.  Melatonin, a hormone, acts like an antioxidant in the body and also works to activate T-helper cells and natural killer cells.


Could Probiotics Restore Microbiome Imbalance Linked to Auto-Immune Disorder?

Probiotics and ImmuneA new study finds that probiotics may aid in restoring imbalances in gut bacterial in patients with the auto-immune disorder systemic sclerosis.  Systemic sclerosis affects connective tissue in the body.  It is not a common condition, but results in the skin thickening and becoming hard.  Occasionally this condition creates problems with blood vessels and internal organs.

17 adults with systemic sclerosis from UCLA, 17 adults with systemic sclerosis from Oslo University Hospital and 17 healthy adults participated in this trial.  Stool specimens were used to determine the amount and types of bacteria present.  Participants with systemic sclerosis had significantly lower amounts of gut bacteria believed to protect against inflammation like Bacteroides.  Additionally the participants with systemic sclerosis were found to have higher amounts of bacteria, like Fusobacterium, which actually promote inflammation when compared to those without this auto-immune disorder.

Researchers believe that probiotics are helpful in restoring the bacterial balance in the gut in individuals suffering from systemic sclerosis and play a role in improving these patients quality of life.

Further testing is planned using larger patient groups.




High-Dose Vitamin C Could Cut Duration of Common Cold (and Other Infections)

A new review of prior clinical data shows high doses of Vitamin C might reduce the duration of common colds and other types of infections.  At a dose rate of between 6 to 8 grams of Vitamin C, prior studies show the duration of colds reduced by almost 20%.

In one study 3 grams of Vitamin C per day was given to 2 participating groups a third group was given a Vitamin C dose of 6 grams per day and a fourth group received a placebo.  When compared to the placebo group the group receiving the 6 grams of Vitamin C daily experienced a 17% reduction in the duration of their colds.  This result was twice as much as the group receiving the 3 grams of Vitamin C per day.

In another study one group received a Vitamin C dose of 4 grams per day while another group supplemented 8 grams of Vitamin C daily while others additional groups received a placebo.  These dosages of Vitamin C and the placebo were administered on the first day of the cold.  The results showed that when compared to the group supplementing with the placebo the participants supplementing with the 8 grams of daily Vitamin C showed there colds were shortened by about 19% which was twice as much as the group supplementing with the 4 grams of daily Vitamin C.

Researchers suggested that the majority of prior controlled studies used a dose of only 1 gram of Vitamin C daily and that when looking at studies using a wider range of dosages as outlined above it may explain why lower dosage studies found no correlation between Vitamin C and reduced durations of cold and other infections. Researchers suggest that new randomized trials using higher dosages of Vitamin C must be performed.




CoQ10 Supplementation Shows Benefits for Liver Cancer Patients Post Surgery

liver cancerA new study shows daily supplementation with 300 mg of CoQ10 significantly increases antioxidant capacity and reduces inflammation levels and oxidative stress levels after surgery for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer.

41 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) participated in this single-blinded, randomized, parallel, placebo-controlled study.  A random numbers table was used to randomly assign the participants to receive either the CoQ10 (300 mg) or a placebo.  The study lasted 12 weeks.  The levels of antioxidant enzymes activity was significantly increased in the CoQ10 supplement group.  Additionally the CoQ10 group had significantly decreased oxidative stress and inflammatory markers levels when compared to the placebo group.

Larger and longer studies are needed to confirm the benefits seen with CoQ10 supplementation in patients with HCC taken after surgery.

CoQ 10 is a cell oxygenator and supports the transfer of oxygen between the cells. It is an antioxidant and supports cardiovascular health by promoting energy on a cellular level. Scientific studies show Co Q 10 is three times more bioavailable when delivered in an oil based softgel capsule.