High FODMAP foods are sometimes healthy ones that can cause bloat and gas. Sometimes switching to a low FODMAP diet can improve stomach problems. Here’s how!
Our body is such a complex system. Two main components have an impact on how this system works. In historical, scientific references, these all-powerful forces might be described as nature vs. nurture. Nothing is a better example of nature vs. nurture than our immune system. Most notably, we’re talking about the innate and adaptive immune system.
The human immune system is designed to protect us from the threat of foreign invaders. Unfortunately, the immune system we developed can only do so much. Our current lifestyle sets our immune system up to endure constant attack. Thankfully, our immune system can evolve to handle these situations. Let’s get to know both systems a little better.
How Do We Develop an Immune System?
We want to think that our parents, doctors, and nurses were the first living beings we’ve encountered in our lifetime. However, we met trillions of microbes inside of our mother’s womb as a zygote.
As a matter of fact, our mother’s microbes helped develop a fetus into an actual body. Their first line of action? Create our immune system!
Immunology of the Fetus
After around five weeks, a zygote develops a spleen . The spleen will be the first part of the body to secrete immune cells once the mother enters her second trimester.
In preparation of this event, the zygote will develop the thymus. This gland is responsible for regulating hormones and immune cells.
Next up, the zygote will become an embryo. At this point, they will develop lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are essential for a properly functioning immune system. Fluids within these pathways help trap pathogens. That way, immune cells can come and wipe out the enemy.
Finally, the GI tract of the fetus is developed. This milestone will take place around the thirteen-week mark. Simultaneously, the first immune cells of the fetus start to form.
IgG Immune Cells in Utero
As you can tell, setting up an immune system is of the utmost importance for a fetus. It’s ingrained in our DNA to protect ourselves from potential threats. Our mother’s cells help make that happen.
A little after thirteen weeks, Immunoglobulin G (IgG) will pass the placenta and into the embryo.
One analysis found,
“Placental transfer of maternal IgG antibodies to the fetus is an important mechanism that provides protection to the infant while his/her humoral response is inefficient. IgG is the only antibody class that significantly crosses the human placenta .”– Journal of Immunology Research
Yeah, we should be thanking our mom. This immune cell will eventually make up 75% of the antibodies in our body . It’s also the first steps in our development of the innate immune system.
Immune Cells in Breast Milk
When we are born, we are entering a whole new world. Life is not as cushy as it was in our mom’s womb.
In there, we just had to deal with the pathogens that were trying to ruin her intestinal flora.
Now, we have to deal with everyone else’s.
Babies are not as helpless as we like to believe. Their immune system is already in place.
However, they’re not fully developed. In fact, that’s going to be an ongoing process until they reach puberty.
Post-Birth Immune System Growth
An in-depth analysis looking at the development of the immune system from fetus to adulthood states,
“The young human child, even as the innate and adaptive immune systems start to mature, is at risk from many pathogenic viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites . “– Proc Biol Sci.
Their lacking immune system is why so many elementary school students have sick days. They’re only accustomed to the pathogens they met in womb and just have the immune cells their mother passed on to them.
As the analysis explained further,
“The immune system gradually matures during infancy. Critical early protection against many infectious diseases previously experienced by the mother is given by the passive IgG antibody transferred from the mother transplacentally and in milk. Once that fades away, young children become more vulnerable to infections, though by then better armed with the maturing innate and adaptive immune systems.”– Proc Biol Sci.
Like they say; sometimes you have to get a bit dirty. Your child’s immune system must grow over time. However, it needs backup from familiar immune cells. That’s why breastfeeding can be so beneficial.
Immune cells and probiotics in breast milk help strengthen the child’s gut biome. In turn, they produce more immune cells. If you decide not to breastfeed, please consult a physician about ways to boost your child’s immune system naturally. This crucial time in their life is where your child relies on the innate immune system more than ever.
What is the Innate Immune System?
Our innate immune system is the “nurture” aspect of our immune system. These are the cells that act as our first line of defense. When you get a cold, these cells create the mucus to blow the germs out. If you get a cut, these cells cause that hot sensation at the site of the laceration.
You know your innate system is at work when you experience:
• Redness – This is red blood cells coming to the site of the injury. Red blood cells promote healing and can rejuvenate damaged cells.
• Hotness – We ware warm-blooded. So, when red blood cells gather, you are bound to feel heat. Plus, the immune system sparks inflammations to kill off intruders.
• Swelling – This is when the immune system calls on Natural Killer (NK) Cells. Fluids containing these immune cells are pooling at the site of the damage.
• Pain – Sometimes, it has to get worse before it gets better. Pain means your body is at work fighting the intruder. What’s so unique about the innate immune system is that it has no memory. These defense mechanisms are deeply engrained values that encoded in our DNA.
The initial reaction to an intruder from the innate immune system is to spark inflammation. Our immune cells try to kill off the foreign substance quickly with inflammation. Then, more immune cells put out the inflammation.
Common immune cells in our innate immune system include:
• Natural Killer Cells
• Mast Cells
• Phagocytic Cells (Macrophage, Neutrophils, Dendritic Cell)
When the innate immune system fails, inflammations continue. Long-term inflammation from immune cells may lead to autoimmune disease . In these moments, the adaptive immune system jumps into the thick of things.
What is the Adaptive Immune System?
Our adaptive immune system is more methodical than our innate immune system. The adaptive immune system takes note of long-term unwanted residents. From there, it constructs a battleplan to destroy these pathogens.
This “big picture” ideology is the “nature” aspect of our immune system. As the name implies, our adaptive immune system adapts. It alters for the ever-changing environments we enter and the revolving door of pathogens that end up in our system.
What’s excellent about adaptive immune systems are that they can eradicate the threat of disease forever. Let’s take chickenpox, for example.
As explained by the Mayo Clinic,
“Most people who have had chickenpox or have been vaccinated against chickenpox are immune to chickenpox. If you’ve been vaccinated and still get chickenpox, symptoms are often milder, with fewer blisters and mild or no fever. A few people can get chickenpox more than once, but this is rare .– Mayo Clinic
The reason people tend not to get chickenpox twice is that our adaptive immune system creates antibodies. These antibodies are sort of like vaccines. Thanks to antibodies, the varicella virus (chickenpox) can’t survive in our system.
What Are Antibodies?
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins that latches onto intruders, inhibiting them from taking over the system. They are formulated to target specific pathogens. These defense mechanisms are secreted from B-cells of our adaptive immune system.
B-cells study the target for a while. Then, they call on inflammatory cells to eradicate the problem. However, each intruder needs a specific formula to destroy them. So, the adaptive immune system works to crack that code. Once they do, they create the perfect elixir to get rid of the threat for good. That plan of attack is antibodies.
Want to know what else is an antibody? The IgG cell we talked about before. That’s right, your mother’s immune system equipped you with antibodies to start you on this journey. Now we’ve come full circle. Thanks for exploring your innate and adaptive immune system with us!
Give your immune system a break. Help them out with probiotics. Join the Thryve Gut Health Program today and rebuild intestinal flora that produce immune cells.
Click Here To View Resources
 “Immune System Development.” Embryology, 19 Sept. 2019, embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Immune_System_Development.
 Palmeira, Patricia, et al. “IgG Placental Transfer in Healthy and Pathological Pregnancies.” Journal of Immunology Research, Hindawi, 1 Oct. 2011, www.hindawi.com/journals/jir/2012/985646/.
 Gocki, J., & Bartuzi, Z. (2016). Role of immunoglobulin G antibodies in diagnosis of food allergy. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii, 33(4), 253–256. doi:10.5114/ada.2016.61600.
 Simon, A. K., Hollander, G. A., & McMichael, A. (2015). Evolution of the immune system in humans from infancy to old age. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 282(1821), 20143085. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.3085.
 Duan, L., Rao, X., & Sigdel, K. R. (2019). Regulation of Inflammation in Autoimmune Disease. Journal of immunology research, 2019, 7403796. doi:10.1155/2019/7403796.
 “Chickenpox.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Feb. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chickenpox/symptoms-causes/syc-20351282.
Our gut bacteria and immune system go way back…to the womb. They’ve developed complex checks and balances that see us through adulthood. Learn how gut bacteria and immune system cells communicate.
Out gut bacteria and immune system cells are OGs. They go way back to the womb. This lifelong friendship continues with us through birth, during life, and until we breathe our last breath. So, how did gut bacteria and immune system cells become besties? Let’s discuss the science behind our immune system and gut bacteria communication and how improving your gut health can boost your immune system naturally.
Gut Bacteria and Immune System at Birth
Our bodies host trillions of microbes that vary from fungi to viruses to bacteria. They are comprised of cell clusters. The space in which these beings coexist is called the microbiome .
Not so shockingly, our mothers are also made of microbes. Therefore, her microbes were the first living beings you were in contact with. She also provides you with antibodies, food, and oxygen to grow. As a foreign being takes residence in her womb, her microbes investigate. After they realize that a beautiful life is forming, they help form your immune cells.
Once the delivery process begins, lifelong connections are made. These connections are just between mother and child. They’re between your immune cells and stomach bacteria.
As you make your descent into this world, you become introduced to your mom’s gut bacteria. Scientists believe that the placenta doesn’t have much bacteria . So, this process is critical to providing a baby with gut bacteria and immune system cells that will support them outside of the womb.
How The Immune System Works
Our immune system is designed to attack intruders and concoct game plans, so these bad guys don’t return. The first line of defense is the innate immune system. These cells usually create inflammation at the first sign of any predator. Once the threat is extinguished, the inflammation ceases.
The adaptive immune system plays a long-term game. They learn the weaknesses of viruses and opportunistic bacteria. Then, they create antibodies to stop future infestations.
Why Gut Bacteria and Immune System Are Connected
When we’re dealing with toxins and food waste, you’re going to need a lot of immune cells. That’s why approximately 80% of our immune cells exist in the gut .
Our gut barrier is made of epithelial cells. They protect our healthy microbes and immune system cells from toxins and waste waiting to exit our intestines.
Whenever we eat, our food choices can cause a number of problems. If we eat an allergen, such as gluten, it may cause inflammation. The more we consume this allergen, the more inflammation it causes.
Over time, this inflammation destroys the epithelial cells, causing toxins to leak into the system. In the end, we develop Leaky Gut Syndrome.
In the same breath, eating foods devoid of prebiotics can starve off gut bacteria. Without beneficial gut bacteria, you have nothing to help you digest food, absorb nutrients, and fight off pathogens. This reaction adds stress on our immune system. Therefore, it’s everyone’s best interest to keep the other party happy.
How Gut Bacteria and Immune System Communicate
Since they’re neighbors with the same agenda, it’s a good idea for your gut bacteria and immune system cells to communicate. Research shows that they actually have an intricate and effective communication system. They use the gut barrier as their call line.
Both gut bacteria and immune system cells have an invested interest in maintaining the gut barrier. Therefore, they both contribute components to its structure that improve its functioning.
One meta-analysis of gut barrier structuring noted,
“The physical intestinal barrier consists of a continuous single layer of columnar epithelial cells overlain by a variably thick layer of mucus. This mucus layer is embedded with antibodies and antimicrobial peptides and physically separates the epithelium from direct contact with much of the luminal microbiota .”
Both immune and epithelial cells have antimicrobial capabilities that help protect the microbiome. However, this is just the beginning of their symbiotic relationship.
How Microbes Communicate Along Gut Barrier
Epithelial cells monitor intestinal flora because they are equipped with immune receptors known as pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) . Based on the bacteria, epithelial cells adjust their microbial activity.
The gut barrier is further regulated by gut bacteria in our microbiome and fermenting in our intestines. Beneficial gut bacteria create waste in the form of short-chain fatty acids.
Short-chain fatty acids are like a One-Hour Energy for epithelial cells. They modulate functions, including allowing nutrients to leave the intestines and enter the bloodstream. In the case of butyrate, this short-chain fatty acid helps repair epithelial cells.
How Immune Cells Communicate Along Gut Barrier
Mast cells (M cells) are located within the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) inside our small intestine . These cells take antigens of potential microbial threats and transport them through the epithelial cells. These cells then initiate an immune response to deal with potential threats.
Within our intestinal wall are also dendritic cells. These cells report back to T-cells of our adaptive immune system . These communicators probe intestinal lumen in search of potential threats. That way, our immune system already has a defense before these threats get out of hand.
Also, our intestinal wall contains TH17 helper cells. TH17 cells stimulate epithelial cells to produce antimicrobial agents . They also call for backup in the form of Immunoglobulin A (IgA).
IgA and Gut Bacteria
One of the most intricate interactions between gut bacteria and immune system cells is how Immunoglobulin A (IgA) interacts with intestinal flora. B cells within our adaptive immune system create this antibody as a response to potential pathogens.
IgA Influence on Stomach Bacteria
IgA can cut off danger before it begins. These immune cells can bind to food particles that cause inflammation or opportunistic microbes that may harm the microbiome .
In fact, IgA may influence microbial:
• Gene Expression
Having IgA cells present can help make your gut bacteria more robust. It can seek out growing species and slowly break them down, inhibiting their growth. The gut bacteria appreciate these checks and balances. So, they show the same respect for IgA.
Stomach Bacteria Influence on IgA
IgA is derived from plasma cells created by B cells. Gut bacteria can regulate how many of these cells are within the microbiome.
Furthermore, gut bacteria try to prohibit too much inflammation. Their pro-inflammatory stance helps keep IgA levels in check. This trait not only saves gut bacteria but also helps the immune system better manage its resources.
We all have different things that set off our gut health or immune system. Some of might have a penchant for milk but are lactose intolerant. Meanwhile, someone else is who is lactose intolerant might not care for dairy anyway.
How to Improve Gut Bacteria and Immune System
Now, add in other potential issues and tastes like legume lovers with lectin sensitivities. A family grown on pasta can develop gluten problems. The list goes on and on!
Fact is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness. Your immune system and gut bacteria are unique. So, you need a custom approach.
Test your gut bacteria and get insights into your immune system with Thryve. Based on the results, we can recommend a custom probiotic targeted to provide support for the immune system. Furthermore, we can give you insights on which foods are compromising your particular immune system, and which ones will boost it up!
Click Here To View Resources
 Institute of Medicine (US) Food Forum. The Human Microbiome, Diet, and Health: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013. 2, Study of the Human Microbiome. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK154091/.
 BawaganJul, Juanita, et al. “Babies Get Critical Gut Bacteria from Their Mother at Birth, Not from Placenta, Study Suggests.” Science, 31 July 2019, www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/07/bacteria-free-placentas-suggest-babies-pick-microbiome-birth.
 Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and experimental immunology, 153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x.
 Andrews, C., McLean, M. H., & Durum, S. K. (2018). Cytokine Tuning of Intestinal Epithelial Function. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1270. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.01270.
 Pott J, Hornef M. Innate immune signalling at the intestinal epithelium in homeostasis and disease. EMBO Rep. 2012;13(8):684‐698. doi:10.1038/embor.2012.96.
 Ohno H. (2016). Intestinal M cells. Journal of biochemistry, 159(2), 151–160. https://doi.org/10.1093/jb/mvv121.
 Rimoldi M, Chieppa M, Vulcano M, Allavena P, Rescigno M. Intestinal epithelial cells control dendritic cell function. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004;1029:66‐74. doi:10.1196/annals.1309.009.
 McAleer, J. P., & Kolls, J. K. (2011). Mechanisms controlling Th17 cytokine expression and host defense. Journal of leukocyte biology, 90(2), 263–270. https://doi.org/10.1189/jlb.0211099.
 Pabst, O., Slack, E. IgA and the intestinal microbiota: the importance of being specific. Mucosal Immunol 13, 12–21 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41385-019-0227-4.
COVID-19 isn’t going away. So, it’s time to move forward. Here are tips for maintaining good health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research is pointing to COVID-19 staying with us, globally, for the long term. With no medical solutions available, the aim of the game (for now, with what we currently know, May 11, 2020) is to:
• Maximize Nutrition and Correct Deficiencies
• Correct Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
• Assist Weight Loss
• Decrease Baseline Inflammation
• Optimize Antioxidant Status
• Optimize Blood Vessel Endothelium
• Improve General Cardiovascular Health
*Close attention to the gut microbiome balance is needed to achieve all of the above. Gut microbiome analysis and personalized dietary adjustments (among other tests) could help determine individuals’ optimal diets.
COVID-19 and Strengthening the Herd
We must support robust ‘herd resistance’ to severe infection via diet, lifestyle, and basic supplementation . Children and younger healthy folks are often asymptomatic of COVID-19 or are not succumbing to the virus. It’s become apparent that we must get the susceptible ‘high risk’ population to more closely resemble their counterparts, physiologically. Attaining this desired result will not be possible for all, but with effort and guidance, improvements can be made.
Support for gut microbial balance is needed, for it plays a major role in:
• Immunity and Inflammation
• Mental and Emotional Balance
Poor gut microbial balance and gut integrity are commonly observed in the elderly, diabetic, and obese .
A lack of microbial biodiversity is known to cause or at least contribute to systemic inflammation and immune dysfunction (COVID-19 severity predictors).
The COVID-19 Pandemic is Bad, Try To Find Positives
For many, the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a wake-up call to society. It’s forcing billions to reevaluate their wellness and the methods they use to attain it. We need to take back ownership of our bodies and responsibility for maintaining our own health and immune defense.
Members of society must actively work at cultivating physical and mental robustness. If we continue to normalize the sedentary lifestyles we lead, the poor quality foods we live on, as a species, we will become increasingly susceptible to ANY circulating microbes. Yes, viruses are a microbe.
COVID-19 is just one of many. Generation after generation, our microbiome has become less robust. Our guts are losing beneficial microbe species important for maintaining health due to poor diets.
Maybe if we were collectively healthier and more durable, this pandemic would not even be referred to as a pandemic? The population is rife with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other pre-existing conditions. These illnesses are mostly preventable with education, diet changes, and lifestyle support.
COVID-19 Prevention and Future Health Precautions
If you have COVID-19, or suspect you do, please contact your physician immediately. Whether you have the coronavirus or not, there are measures you should take to improve your immune system. They will not only help you fight off severe illness perpetrated by COVID-19, but help you thwart off other potential pathogens, too!
Adequate Protein Intake
Protein is required to produce new immune cells and neurotransmitters. Plus, protein supports lean muscle tissue and proper glucose metabolism. Get enough protein, but remember that more is not better. Don’t go overboard or your microbiome (and your immune system) won’t be happy!
Some of the best protein sources for your gut biome include:
• Free-Range Meat
• Cage-Free Poultry
Choose what works for you. Keep in mind that variety is awesome, as you’ll cover more nutritional bases whilst keeping protein levels optimal.
Slow Carbs and Fiber
Dietary fiber is important as it slows the release of carbs and feeds your immune-supported anti-inflammatory gut microbes. Refined carbohydrates are to be avoided wherever you can. They lack nutrients and will sabotage your metabolism. Ultimately, these are the carbs that contribute to weight gain. Whole food carbs with their fiber and nutrients still present are what your microbiome craves.
Some of the best complex carbohydrates include:
• Seeds (Chia, Pumpkin, Sunflower)
• Nuts (Brazil Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds)
• Ancient Grains (Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet)
• Organic Fruits and Vegetables
• Sweet Potatoes
Although, you may want to limit all carb intake if you’re following a weight loss plan like the ketogenic diet or if your blood sugar control needs work.
Levels of inflammation and the function of our cell membranes can be strongly influenced by our fatty acid balance . We need to avoid the types of fats found in baked goods and fast food menu items. They are prepared with hydrogenated oils that are catastrophic to our healthy bacteria.
Fill your body with high-quality fats, such as:
• Organic Fruit Oils (Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Coconut)
• Nuts (Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds)
• Evening Primrose and Borage Oil
• Oily Fish (Sardines, Mackerel, Tuna)
• Grass-Fed Animal Fats
Fat will not make you fat; the right types of fat can actually help you to lose weight! When you eat too many unhealthy fats, it causes inflammation. Inflammation DOES make you look fat and swollen.
Not to mention, excess weight causes you to feel lethargic and sore. These uncomfortable feelings leave you unable to exercise, and thus, likely to gain fat.
Micronutrients are needed to support our bodies’ antioxidant production, cellular energy metabolism, gut integrity, gut microbiome balance, and immunity. While macronutrients are the primary building blocks and energy providers for our body, all of the crucial yet invisible systems running inside our body require tiny micronutrients as well. Unfortunately, in our modern processed diets, many micronutrients are lacking; thus, many systems break down.
For instance, when your body lacks iron or vitamin B12, red blood cells cannot efficiently carry oxygen around the body. When you’re deficient in things like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, or boron, your bones cannot rebuild and maintain themselves properly. Meanwhile, when zinc is low, many vital enzymes essential for health, healing, and immunity cannot be produced….it goes on.
All of these little elements are precisely why a varied diet, with plenty of seasonal fresh fruits and veggies, is considered optimal.
Remember that everybody is different. What seems to work well for one person may be a terrible diet for the next. Hey, a diet that suits you well now may not be the one that serves you best through all stages of life! Be flexible enough to experiment and change when your body feels like it needs a change.
See a professional if you feel lost. Be present enough to listen to and respect signals from your body. Integrate those mindful messages with what your practitioner suggests. In some instances, you may need a person with nutrition training to help interpret!
With all herbs and supplements, getting a personalized prescription from an experienced naturopath or herbalist is best. There is no singular prescription that will suit everyone! Just know that there are many herbs and supplements to support your health through this period–however long it may last!
With a surge in the interest of natural supplements during COVID-19, doctors are working with or sending patients to naturopaths. If you can’t afford a naturopath, try to find a pharmacy that has one and discuss supplements with them. This conversation is especially important if you are taking medications.
Popular supplements during the COVID-19 crisis include:
• Antiviral Herbs (Andrographis, Cat’s Claw, Elderberry [Preventative Only])
• Immune-Boosting Herbs (Echinacea, Licorice, Astragalus)
• Sleep-Boosting Herbs (Valerian, Hops, Passionflower)
• Adaptogens (Withania, Ginseng, Chaga)
• Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A, Vitamin D (Respiratory Mucous Membrane Defense)
• Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids (Antioxidants)
• Immune-Boosting Nutrients (Resveratrol, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), Quercetin)
• Minerals (Selenium, Copper, Magnesium)
• Leaky Gut Syndrome Supplements (Marshmallow Root, Licorice, Aloe Vera)
• Probiotics and Prebiotics (Thryve Custom Probiotics, Made with Inulin)
COVID-19 Elimination List
The are numerous things you can do to improve your health during the era of social distancing. You need to take the extra time slotted to us during these uncertain times to make some changes for the better. Here are some suggestions.
Don’t Get Hydrated
Make sure you drink enough water. Dehydrated mucous membranes can’t keep viruses at bay. Be sure to drink water, fresh vegetable juices, and herbal teas.
Quit smoking. It will save your money, and your life. Without this sort of pressure on your lungs, you’ll be healthier to fight off the respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.
This tip doesn’t just apply to athletes. It’s also for someone suddenly launching into a program beyond their ability after being mostly sedentary. It’s best to build gradually to gain the benefits of exercise without stressing your body too much, which leaves you wide open to infection!
Cut Out Trigger Foods
There are just some foods that won’t agree with you. That includes healthy foods! You’d be shocked how many healthy foods may trigger gut issues. Cut down on the usual suspects, such as lactoseand gluten. However, you might want to stay clear of lectins, too. That is, if they’re causing you gastrointestinal distress.
No More Drugs and Alcohol
Take your essential medications, but try to cut out the unnecessary meds. Talk to your doctor before any potential changes. Alcohol and recreational drugs can destroy neurotransmitters, stomach bacteria, and healthy immune cells.
Drop Refined Sugars & Carbs
Refined sugars and carbs will encourage the growth of microbes that cause damage to the gut lining, and thus, generate more leaking of reactive substances into the bloodstream. These trigger foods can increase inflammation and create a load on the immune system. That’s why sugar and refined carbs are near the top of the list of foods that cause Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Positive COVID-19 Lifestyle Changes
You don’t want to just dwell on all the things you’re taking out of your routine. Let’s celebrate some stuff you should add.
Here are positive changes you can make to you routine in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic:
• Cold Water Exposure
• Regular Yoga, Mediation, or Deep-Breathing (Wim Hoff Method)
• Push Yourself In Exercise
• Study Something New (Language, Musical Instrument, Webinars)
• Relationship Counseling Work
• Connect with Friends, Family, Co-workers
• Spend Time in Nature (Oceans, Parks, Hiking Trails)
• Cuddle and Play with Pets
• Give Back to the Community
It could happen – in fact, it probably will. Getting COVID-19 could be tomorrow or sometime in the next year. In the same breath, you could also get cancer, a nasty case of influenza, or be hit by a bus.
Every day you are alive, you could literally die tomorrow. So, there’s no point in stressing about a new possible cause! With COVID-19, just be cautious and get prepared! If you get prepared now, you’ll be much less stressed because you’ll face the bug as healthy as you can!
Get your body and mind into the best shape you can. It’s going to make you feel amazing and likely prevent many other illnesses, too!
Click Here To View Resources
 Sanchez, Dr. Eduardo. “COVID-19 Science: Understanding the Basics of ‘Herd Immunity’.” Www.heart.org, 25 Mar. 2020, www.heart.org/en/news/2020/03/25/covid-19-science-understanding-the-basics-of-herd-immunity.
 Aw, W., & Fukuda, S. (2018). Understanding the role of the gut ecosystem in diabetes mellitus. Journal of diabetes investigation, 9(1), 5–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/jdi.12673.
 Zivkovic, A. M., Telis, N., German, J. B., & Hammock, B. D. (2011). Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health. California agriculture, 65(3), 106–111. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.v065n03p106.
Antiviral foods help boost your immune system so you can fight off colds, flu, viruses, and other viral attacks!
Every dietary decision you make can either help or harm your immune system. Each food we consume is enriched with vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins that can either boost or hinder your overall health. The difference in these nutrients is what gives some foods different benefits, including antiviral properties. Here’s a list of ten antiviral foods that will help you fight off viral attacks.
What Are Antiviral Foods?
Antiviral foods are enriched with a litany of organic compounds that help fight off pathogens within the body. Viruses like to infiltrate healthy cells and use their membranes as a host. Here is where viral replication takes place.
Viral replication is when virus DNA disrupts our natural DNA production. In turn, the virus can take over the system.
One analysis about how viruses infect cells explained,
“Once a virus gets inside a cell, it hijacks the cellular processes to produce virally encoded protein that will replicate the virus’s genetic material. Viral mechanisms are capable of translocating proteins and genetic material from the cell and assembling them into new virus particles .”– Biophys J.
So, you want to make sure you are eating foods that not only fight off viruses but also offer support to your healthy cells. The best antiviral foods should nourish and rejuvenate compromised cells and aid in cell proliferation. With these qualities, antiviral foods can help keep your immune system strong during flu season.
The Best Antiviral Foods to Boost Immune System
There are an array of foods that have antioxidant-boosting abilities that will keep your immune system strong. However, even some of these nutritious foods have even more benefits. They’re antiviral foods! That means these food sources can fight off a viral attack. Here are the ten antiviral foods that will give you the balanced diet necessary for optimal wellness.
There’s a reason why garlic keeps vampires away. Things that suck that life out of you aren’t a fan of the potent aromatic compounds found in garlic. Luckily for us, these molecules make garlic one of the most delicious antiviral foods out there .
There are three primary compounds found in garlic that exhibit antiviral capabilities:
• Diallyl Trisulfide
Research shows that these compounds can impede the growth of influenza A and influenza B, as well as herpes and HIV. In the case of HIV, ajoene, in particular, has proven particularly helpful. Early HIV studies suggest ajoene prevents the irregular cellular processes triggered by HIV-infected cells .
There are many garlic supplements out there. However, nothing beats raw garlic. Garlic is easy to incorporate into a healthy diet. It adds flavor to anything and builds a strong immune system. So, stock up on this spice!
Star anise is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of antiviral foods. It’s been used since ancient times as an herbal medicine for improving the immune function.
This licorice-flavored spice is rich in shikimic acid. Shikimic acid has potent antiviral properties. In fact, it’s an active ingredient in Theraflu!This spice has a very powerful flavor. It’s ideal for broths and teas. There are many ways to use star anise, but don’t go overboard. A little can go a long way with this Chinese herb.
Olive Leaf and Olive Oil
There’s a reason why those who follow a Mediterranean Diet have a longer lifespan. They consume an abundance of natural products, whole foods, and healthy fatty acids. One of their greatest sources of these desirable health habits is the olive.
While olives themselves (and olive oil) have many health benefits, don’t sleep on the olive leaf. Olive leaves are one of the most abundant sources of oleuropein. Studies involving this molecule found that it shows significant effects against respiratory syntactical virus and para-influenza type 3 virus .
While olive oil has less oleuropein than olive leaf, it has a considerable amount of healthy fatty acids that repair our gut and keep our immune system strong. Up the antioxidant effects and give free radicals a scare with a delicious garlic oil infusion!
Ginger is a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s also a tasty way to spice up your list of antiviral foods! This tangy root can bring life to any stir-fry or give your water a fizzy flavor. It also has excellent antiviral capabilities that makes this root essential for a healthy daily diet.
One study found that ginger helped improve the cells in both the upper respiratory tract (HEp-2 cells) and lower respiratory tract (A549 cells) . The analysis noted improvements in both HEp-2 cells and A549 cells up to 27% and 12.9% respectively.
Furthermore, analysts noted that ginger caused cells to secrete Interferon-beta (IFN-β). IFN-β is a polypeptide that has antiviral capabilities because it regulates DNA encryption . So, it can help block a viral attack.
An unsung hero in antiviral foods is oregano oil. Oregano plants are one of the most flavorful and effective antiviral herbs in the world. Extracts from this Italian herb are rich in antioxidants and other healing compounds that fight off free radicals.
In particular, oregano oil contains a high concentration of the following antiviral compounds:
Namely, carvacrol can stop nonenveloped murine norovirus (MNV) in its tracks . MNV is a precursor to noroviruses. Carvacarol achieves this by targeting the virus’ RNA. Researchers noted that antiviral effects can happen within an hour of ingesting oregano oil.
Oregano oil is highly abrasive on the skin. Make sure to mix it with a thicker carrier oil if you are using it as a chest rub. Excellent choices for carrier oils include coconut oil and olive oil. Be sure to add in some lemon balm for the scent of citrus fruits and an extra dose of antiviral properties!
The sea-based superfood spirulina is one of the most versatile antiviral foods. You can add spirulina powder to a variety of superfood smoothies. If you never thought about doing so, it might be time to reconsider.
One study looked at the effects of spirulina on three predominant types of influenza . Considerable evidence suggests that after one hour, the blue algae inhibited virus replication.
Researchers saw viral yields of the following types of influenza decrease by the following:
• A/WSN/33(H1N1) – 68%
• A/TW/3446/02(H3N2) – 90%
• B/TW/70555/05 – 94%
Many of the antiviral benefits of spirulina are attributed to its high levels of cyanovirin-N. This protein has shown promise in slowing down the progression of HIV to AIDS . It’s also shown promise in blocking the progression of the herpes virus, Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1).
This plant-based food is also a great source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E not only helps fight off free radicals but it helps convert our food to energy. So, by consuming Vitamin E, we can cut down the inflammatory-causing fat tissues that might cause an adverse immune response. This preventative measure makes our body less susceptible to viral replication.
If you give a shiitake about your health, you should give shiitake mushrooms a try. In fact, shittake mushrooms are so popular that many health food stores sell it in organic teas!
Don’t worry about getting a fungal infection or sick from eating these fungi. Shiitake mushrooms are teeming with beta-glucans. These are sugars that have antiviral capabilities. In fact, hospitals administer beta-glucans via an IV to prevent infection post-surgery .
One study on the antiviral benefits of shiitake mushrooms found that these foods had a positive impact on the immune system. Researchers stated that compounds in shiitake mushrooms increased secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in the body . They noted that this action improved gut motility, which would help with many gastro problems.
sIgA is an antibody. It plays a significant role in protecting the cell membrane. As we mentioned, viruses like to use the cells as hosts so they can carry out their agenda. Eating antiviral foods rich in sIgA can help prevent that attack.
We are big proponents of drinking tea in a healthy gut diet plan. Green tea is one of the many reasons why tea time is always on our agenda. Our tasty brew is enriched with catechins. In particular, green tea has an abundance of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
An analysis about this antiviral brew noted,
“EGCG, the most abundant catechin in green tea, was shown to minimize the infectivity of the influenza A and B virus in Madin–Darby canine kidney cells. Furthermore, EGCG and ECG inhibited the activity of viral RNA (ribonucleic acid), which suppressed virus propagation .”– Molecules.
Furthermore, ECGC fights off the following viral families:
Suffice to say, if you are showing some symptoms of the flu, get the tea flowing. Add some star anise to your green tea. If not, try the next item on our list of top antiviral foods.
Elderberries are finally getting the credit they deserve in the world of flu prevention. These things got more Vitamin C than the ever-popular orange! Compounds in this superfruit bind onto the little spikes found on virus proteins. As a result, these viruses are unable to leech onto healthy cells and overtake the system.
One study administered treatment to 60 influenza patients . Half received elderberry syrup, while the other group had a placebo. Those who consumed elderberry felt better on an average of four days sooner than their counterparts.
It should be noted that elderberries are one of the best foods for flu and preventative measures against viral attacks. In fact, many Vitamin C supplements contain elderberry. However, if you have COVID-19, Dr. Weil suggests to stop using this immune booster. He noted that cases of the coronavirus may experience an adverse immune response from elderberry.
One of the best antiviral foods is probiotics. Probiotics in yogurt help set up our gut to be the first line of defense against viral infection. Filling your gut biome with good bacteria has shown to help fight off the growth of enterovirus (EV) 71 up to 45% .
Many healthy adults start their day off right with a yummy yogurt bowl. For extra gut-healing power, make sure you get yogurt fortified with Vitamin D. May people have low levels of Vitamin D3, which is essential for many metabolic functions that support our immune system.
Speaking of, add in some berries for free radical protection. Lastly, top off with protein-rich sunflower seeds to build healthy cells throughout the GI tract.
One analysis noted common probiotic species helped alleviate symptoms of the flu, such as:
• Lactobacillus plantarum
• Bifidobacterium bifidum
Both of these stomach bacteria are also common recommendations in the Thryve Gut Health Program. That’s why many of our custom probiotics supplements contain these strains. Find out if your gut needs this support against a viral attack. Get your gut tested today!
How to Incorporate Antiviral Foods Into A Diet
So many antiviral foods, so little time? The most challenging aspect of switching up your diet habits is knowing where to begin. That’s where Thryve Inside can help.
Our gut health program offers targeted insights into your dietary choices. By testing your gut biome, we get a snapshot on everything causing your system an immune response. Based on the results, we can determine your risk of developing autoimmunity and how well your metabolism functions.
Get insights on your health like never before!
To better your chances of a passing grade, the Thryve Inside Gut Health Program offers you recommendations on foods you should eat, and which ones to avoid.
Get personalized recommendations, including recipes featuring antiviral foods!
Combine these insights with our recipes full of antiviral foods, and your immune system will be strong enough to take-on flu season head-on!
Click Here To View Resources
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 Bochkov, D. V., Sysolyatin, S. V., Kalashnikov, A. I., & Surmacheva, I. A. (2012). Shikimic acid: review of its analytical, isolation, and purification techniques from plant and microbial sources. Journal of chemical biology, 5(1), 5–17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12154-011-0064-8.
 Omar S. H. (2010). Oleuropein in olive and its pharmacological effects. Scientia pharmaceutica, 78(2), 133–154. https://doi.org/10.3797/scipharm.0912-18.
 Chang, Jung San, et al. “Fresh Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Has Anti-Viral Activity against Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Human Respiratory Tract Cell Lines.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Jan. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23123794.
 Markowitz, Clyde E. “Interferon-Beta: Mechanism of Action and Dosing Issues.” Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 June 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17562848.
 Gilling, D H, et al. “Antiviral Efficacy and Mechanisms of Action of Oregano Essential Oil and Its Primary Component Carvacrol against Murine Norovirus.” Journal of Applied Microbiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779581.
 Chen, Y. H., Chang, G. K., Kuo, S. M., Huang, S. Y., Hu, I. C., Lo, Y. L., & Shih, S. R. (2016). Well-tolerated Spirulina extract inhibits influenza virus replication and reduces virus-induced mortality. Scientific reports, 6, 24253. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep24253.
 Tsai, Che-Chung, et al. “Cyanovirin-N Inhibits AIDS Virus Infections in Vaginal Transmission Models.” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15000694.
 Rahar, S., Swami, G., Nagpal, N., Nagpal, M. A., & Singh, G. S. (2011). Preparation, characterization, and biological properties of β-glucans. Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research, 2(2), 94–103. https://doi.org/10.4103/2231-4040.82953.
 Dai, Xiaoshuang, et al. “Consuming Lentinula Edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25866155.
 Furushima, D., Ide, K., & Yamada, H. (2018). Effect of Tea Catechins on Influenza Infection and the Common Cold with a Focus on Epidemiological/Clinical Studies. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(7), 1795. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071795.
 Zakay-Rones, Z, et al. “Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections.” The Journal of International Medical Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016.
 Choi, Hw-Jung, et al. “Antiviral Activity of Yogurt against Enterovirus 71 in Vero Cells.” Food Science and Biotechnology, The Korean Society of Food Science and Technology, 1 Jan. 1970, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10068-010-0042-x.
Now more than ever, it’s essential to keep your immune system strong. We are forced indoors in cubicles all day, breathing in each other’s stale air. Then, there’s the spread of pandemics these last few years, like Ebola and the COVID-19 coronavirus. Our immune system has a lot to contend with; so, the best way to go about life is with your dukes up. Here are ten ways to boost your immune system.
There’s more to boosting your immune system than popping an Emergen-C or eating an orange. Many factors are at play that impede your immune system. Your body needs you to tend to them all.
Otherwise, you run the risk of something slipping through the cracks. This “something” typically comes in the form of a free radical or bacterial overgrowth. Boosting your immune system is a well-rounded approach to wellness. Here are some tips to boost your immune system that you can easily implement into your day-to-day routine.
Cut Out Allergens
A significant reason why we get sick is that our immune system is already pretty worn out. So many commercial foods are made with potential allergens in them. As the world of food production gets more contaminated with hormones, pesticide, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the more likely these allergic reactions are going to occur. The top two allergens in food are gluten and dairy.
For many of us, gluten causes our body to produce zonulin . Zonulin is an enzyme that allows for nutrients in the small intestine to permeate back into the system. Unfortunately, if we’re still consuming these gluten-laden foods, that means whole food particles are entering the bloodstream.
These undigested particles don’t commute with the receptors on blood cells. So, this awkward interaction causes the immune system cells to spark inflammation. So, if you are sensitive to gluten and eat a lot of it, your immune system will be compromised.
Unfortunately, getting rid of gluten isn’t just cutting out in bread. Gluten is in everything from toothpaste to soup stock. Learn about 10 items you had no idea contained gluten.
We are the only mammals to do two things–drink milk past infancy and consume another mammal’s milk. Adult bodies have not evolved to break down lactose properly. Up to 50% of adults are lactose intolerant .
Furthermore, many of the cows are fed hormones and antibiotics. The hormones are so that the female cows stay in a continuous pregnant state. That way, they always produce milk. They are also given antibiotics as a preventative treatment.
We emphasis “preventative” because the cows don’t even need the antibiotics. However, they eventually will because their udders are going to become damaged from milking machines. Since it’s inevitable, the cows are administered antibiotics to fight off seemingly inevitable infections. We then consume that dairy, higher our risk of antibiotic resistance.
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
The greatest support we can lend our immune system are antioxidants. They fight off the growth of free radicals that can cause the spread of disease. Our most significant sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables.
There are many types of antioxidants. Each helps boost your immune system in their own particular way. So, the most efficient way to boost your immune system with fruits and vegetables is to eat the rainbow.
Adding a variety of colors into your diet will ensure you are getting optimal nutrition. That’s because each fruit and vegetable get their color from a specific group of antioxidants. So, more diverse colors mean a more robust immune system.
Diffuse Essential Oils
For centuries, our ancestors would put herbs, fruits, and vegetables into medicines. Many would heat the item, causing its flesh, leaves, or stems to release aromatic molecules. These molecules are known as terpenes, and they have amazing healing properties.
Essential oils have the ability to bypass networks to get the central nervous system. So, their essence can hijack a lot of conversations in the brain. That’s why many studies confirm that essential oils can help boost your immune system .
Some of the best essential oils to boost your immune system include:
• Tea Tree
You can also add essential oils to a carrier oil and apply to your skin. This practice is an excellent to rejuvenate your skin naturally while simultaneously boosting your immune system.
Get More Sleep
Sometimes our immune system needs a break. That means it requires us to shut off our brains, stop moving around, forget interacting with others, and get some Zs!
During our sleep hours, the immune system can regroup. That way, it can best serve you once again when you’re back awake. However, if you’re up all night tossing and turning, your immune cells are along for the ride.
Not to mention, your immune cells work better when you are sleeping. Researchers found that being awake promotes the production of neurotransmitter norepinephrine .
This hormone interferes with microglial cells. These are immune cells that work on the brain. So, being awake stops immune cells from helping our brain cells repair themselves.
We sit down up to 6.5 hours per day . Living such sedentary lives sets us up for weight gain and cardiovascular disease. You don’t need to be a doctor to realize that these will all hurt your immune system.
Simply put, if you want to boost your immune system, start exercising. Movement causes the heart to work harder. Therefore, oxygenated blood cells will make it to more areas of the body. In turn, debris and other potential immune suppressors get flushed out of the system.
There’s no denying that life can be quite stressful. Whenever we experience stress, we get elevated levels of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine causes the angsty adrenaline we feel when we’re stressed. However, stress also causes cortisol production.
Cortisol is our fight-or-flight mode. So, it creates a constant state of feeling like you have to react. When stress becomes chronic, it makes it harder for other hormones to influence the system. In turn, we might not produce enough melatonin to help us sleep through the night or enough reproductive hormones to be intimate with a loved one. Not meeting these needs will suppress the immune system.
So, try meditation out. Not only will you clear your mind, but you’ll become more in tune with your body’s needs. That way, you might be able to draw energy to areas that need TLC and perhaps thwart off the growth of an illness.
Gardening is an excellent way to boost your immune system on so many levels. For one, it gets your outside.
The outdoors contains the sun, our greatest source of Vitamin D. This essential vitamin is a catalyst for many benefits. For one, it plays a role in how our immune system responds to invaders.
One analysis of Vitamin D and its influence on the immune system noted,
“Researchers found vitamin D caused dendritic cells to produce more of a molecule called CD31 on their surface and that this hindered the activation of T cells .”– University of Edinburgh
Dendritic cells carry toxins into the system. By causing more CD31 to grow, it inhibited the antigen cell from latching onto other cells. Scientists noted that these reactions lessened immune response.
Microbes in Soil
Also, being in a garden exposes you to microbes in the soil. As they say, “some kids need to roll around in the dirt.” So, do adults.
One study found that six weeks of clean bedding was more likely to cause asthma in mice than those who had bedding made of soil . They found that animals who are accustomed to soil produce more of an enzyme called A20.
Furthermore, these microbiomes had higher levels of Bacteroidetes than Firmicutes stomach bacteria in the system. Subsequently, people who have asthma tend to have low levels of those two microbial phyla.
Get More Fruits and Veggies
Not only does the act of gardening boost your immune system, but so does consuming the fruits of your labor…literally. The end result is one of the other hacks on this list. So, you complete multiple tasks in one!
Just as you exchange bacteria with the soil when you garden, you do the same when coming into personal contact with another human.
While swapping spit can get you sick, it can also boost your immune system.
An analysis of the immune-boosting properties associated with sex found,
“112 college students reported the frequency of their sexual encounters and were divided into four categories: none, infrequent (less than once a week), frequent (one to two times per week), and very frequent (three or more times per week). Participants also described their overall sexual satisfaction. Saliva samples were collected and assayed for salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA). Individuals in the frequent group showed significantly higher levels of IgA than the other three groups, which were comparable .”– Psychol Rep.
IgA are antibodies your immune system creates. They help fight off sickness. So, having a sufficient level of them is never a bad thing, especially when you’re heading into cough and cold season.
Change Your Shower Routine
We’re too clean. If you want to boost your immune system, you need to allow it time to build up. Allow a little bit of dirt to get in the system so your immune cells can fight it off.
When you do shower, end it on a cold note. One study found that switching from hot to cold water up to 90 seconds at the end of your shower can lower your chances of getting sick by 29% .
Approximately 70% to 80% of our immune cells are generated in the gut . So, we need to make sure that the first live beings they meet are the beneficial kind. The best way to assure this is through probiotics.
If you allow harmful stomach bacteria to reign supreme, it will cause chronic inflammation.
Therefore, new immune cells don’t even stand a chance. They’re get scorched before they know what hits them.
So, get your gut tested with the Thryve Inside At-Home Gut Test. Based on those results, we will recommend a custom probiotic supplement for your specific gut biome.
Then, we help you find recipes chock full of fruits and veggies that you will surely love.
Click Here To View Resources
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 Peterfalvi, A., Miko, E., Nagy, T., Reger, B., Simon, D., Miseta, A., Czéh, B., & Szereday, L. (2019). Much More Than a Pleasant Scent: A Review on Essential Oils Supporting the Immune System. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(24), 4530. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244530
 Stowell, Rianne D., et al. “Noradrenergic Signaling in the Wakeful State Inhibits Microglial Surveillance and Synaptic Plasticity in the Mouse Visual Cortex.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 21 Oct. 2019, www.nature.com/articles/s41593-019-0514-0.
 Searing, Linda. “The Big Number: The Average U.S. Adult Sits 6.5 Hours a Day. For Teens, It’s Even More.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-big-numberthe-average-us-adult-sits-65-hours-a-day-for-teens-its-even-more/2019/04/26/7c29e4c2-676a-11e9-a1b6-b29b90efa879_story.html.
 University of Edinburgh. “Vitamin D Study Sheds Light on Immune System Effects.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 17 Apr. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190417111440.htm.
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 Buijze, G. A., Sierevelt, I. N., van der Heijden, B. C., Dijkgraaf, M. G., & Frings-Dresen, M. H. (2016). The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PloS one, 11(9), e0161749. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0161749
 Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and experimental immunology, 153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x
Some people will do everything they can to improve their gut health, including adapting a sensible diet. They’re doing nothing health experts would deem as wrong. Yet, these people still experience severe gastrointestinal distress. That’s because even healthy foods can have an adverse impact on the body, such as foods rich in oxalates. Oxalates are anti-nutrients found in nutrient-dense plant-based foods. Let’s take a closer look at this paradox and how it may impact your gut health.
What Are Oxalates?
“Oxalate” is a term to describe the chemical reaction between oxalic acid and other substances in our system. Oxalic acid is highly acidic and is used as natural bleach for clothing materials, such as straw hats .
Our bodies produce oxalic acid on its own. We also convert Vitamin C into this molecule when we metabolize the antioxidant . This transition happens when oxalates come into contact with cadmium found in zinc, lead and copper.
Typically, oxalates bind to other minerals, which then show it out the system. However, we re-introduce oxalates back into the fold by consuming foods with them. That’s where oxalates become a problem.
Why Are Oxalates Bad?
Remember when we said oxalates attached to trace minerals that showed them the door? That may seem like an easy fix to us. However, it’s a bit of a problem for our body.
When oxalates bind to these nutrients, it renders them useless. So, our cells don’t get the much needed nutrition they deserve. That’s why oxalates are called anti-nutrients.
Which Nutrients Do Oxalates Bind To?
Oxalates are known to be overly discriminatory. They can attach themselves to many trace minerals. However, oxalates have a bigger affinity for some of the most crucial nutrients.
Magnesium is a catalyst for over 300 functions throughout the system . Many of these tasks involve our gut health. This essential mineral influences our stomach muscles. Therefore, magnesium is essential for the digestion of food.
In addition, magnesium helps bring balance to our acidic gut biome. That way, more nutrients have a greater chance of surviving and becoming absorbed by the body. Without magnesium, the harsh environment may start to damage the gut lining, resulting in Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Lastly, magnesium also helps push stool through the small intestines. Therefore, a magnesium deficiency can lead to constipation and sharp abdominal pains .
Oxalates also have an affinity for iron. Iron is used to create hemoglobin. This protein allows blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the system. Without iron, we won’t have the energy necessary to heal wounds, promote digestion, or fight off harmful stomach bacteria.
Speaking of which, iron interacts with our intestinal flora. Many depend on this mineral for their own growth, although a slight few have shown independence.
One analysis on the gut biome and iron connection found,
“Iron is critical for the replication and survival of almost all bacteria, with a few exceptions, which acquired alternative metabolic solutions from evolution. Lactobacillus plantarum was the first identified iron-independent microbial strain, which contains just one or two iron atoms—a level that is considered to be too low to provide iron with any conceivable biological function…On the other hand, some gut strains like Bacteroides fragilis are strongly dependent on heme .”– Pharmaceuticals (Basel)
Therefore, iron influences both beneficial and harmful stomach bacteria. Seeing as the majority of iron absorbed by the body happens in the duodenum of the small intestine (about 15%), it’s crucial you have probiotic bacteria in your system.
Calcium is the other major mineral that oxalic acid has a penchant for. In fact, it’s probably the molecule’s favorite. Of the three, calcium is the least influential on our gut health. However, it plays a monumental role in our overall wellness.
This mineral is essential for bone strength. Without enough calcium, we run the risk losing bone density, developing osteoporosis, and weakening our teeth.
Calcium is the most significant eliminator of oxalates. When they bind together, calcium oxalate becomes a waste product. If we don’t have enough calcium left to usher the oxalates out, they end up in our kidneys. While there are many types of kidney stones, the majority are comprised of calcium oxalate .
How Oxalates Harm Gut Health
Our body is an intricate design. Every piece has a purpose. When you start removing Jenga pieces, eventually the structure will fall apart. That’s the long-term damage of too many oxalates.
When something is amiss in our system, our receptors are onto it. They signal for our immune cells to jump into action. The first thing our immune system cells do is start inflammation.
Inflammation is meant to be a quick fix to an attack. Receptors let the system know a virus, fungi, or unwanted intestinal flora is here. Immune cells spark inflammation. Bada-bing, bada-boom! The bad guys are gone and the inflammation ceases.
Unfortunately, when we keep consuming foods that are upsetting the system, it keeps the inflammation going. Chronic inflammation is the precursor for so many illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Crohn’s Disease.
Which Foods Have Oxalates?
Everyone’s system is different. Some of us can tolerate a high level of oxalates. Whereas, others can only handle a small serving. So, the best to do is eliminate all oxalates from your diet and then slowly introduce them. Once painful GI symptoms pop up, you have met your threshold.
Here are some foods rich in oxalates:
• Black Tea
• Sweet Potatoes
• Wheat Bran
If you are starting to have trouble digesting oxalates, eat the food with calcium. Add cheese to your spinach salad. Put raspberries in your yogurt.
Gut Bacteria and Oxalates
The biggest reason we have trouble metabolizing oxalates is that we are lacking the enzymes necessary. However, some stomach bacteria may help us out where we are lacking. Research shows that the aptly named Oxalobacter formigene picks up a lot of the slack.
A study on probiotics and oxalates found,
“Results suggest that colonization with O. formigenes is associated with a 70% reduction in the risk for being a recurrent calcium oxalate stone former .”– J Am Soc Nephrol.
While studies are in their infancy, other probiotics are showing promise in controlling an abundance of oxalates. Research indicates strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium might be useful in providing relief .
Also, pathogenic bacteria won’t help you absorb the nutrients that the oxalates don’t suck from you. So, it’s important to get your gut tested to see which stomach bacteria you do have. That way, we can formulate a custom probiotic that will help you improve your gut health.
Click Here To View Resources
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 Alelign, T., & Petros, B. (2018). Kidney Stone Disease: An Update on Current Concepts. Advances in urology, 2018, 3068365. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/3068365
 Kaufman DW, Kelly JP, Curhan GC, Anderson TE, Dretler SP, Preminger GM, Cave DR. Oxalobacter formigenes may reduce the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Jun;19(6):1197-203. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2007101058. Epub 2008 Mar 5. PMID: 18322162; PMCID: PMC2396938.
 Abratt, Valerie R, and Sharon J Reid. “Oxalate-Degrading Bacteria of the Human Gut as Probiotics in the Management of Kidney Stone Disease.” Advances in Applied Microbiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20602988.
The world of gastrointestinal disorders is a complicated one. We all have unique gut biomes, genetics, and dietary preferences. All of these play a critical role in determining the GI conditions we have. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness. That’s why there are five types of Crohn’s Disease. Which one might you have?
Rise in Crohn’s Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1.3% of people suffer from Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) . There are two diseases classified as IBD, which are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
Unfortunately, new research suggests that there are actually three times the amount of people who have Crohn’s . A new report by Researchers from Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals NHS trust and the University of Birmingham found that these undetected cases of IBD led to a 23% greater chance of developing colorectal cancer.
One of the analysts, Dominic King, told EurekAlert,
“Our study suggests that IBD prevalence is likely to rise substantially over the next decade. As there is currently no known cure for IBD, patients will often need complex and costly treatments throughout their lives. This predicted rise in prevalence may place an even greater strain on already overburdened healthcare systems.”– Dominic King to EurekAlert
With the rise of Crohn’s Disease, it’s important to spread awareness. The first thing is to get educated yourself. Then, figure out which type of Crohn’s Disease you might have. That way, you can have a more knowledgeable conversation with your gastroenterologist.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is an inflammation of the GI tract. The GI tract covers a lot of ground, spanning from your mouth to your anus. Therefore, Crohn’s Disease can spring up anywhere along those areas.
In addition, each area comes with its own set of uncomfortable symptoms, which may include:
• Abdominal Pain
• Mental Health Issues
Seeing as Crohn’s Disease can create issues in various parts of the body, symptoms will vary by case. That’s why there are five distinct types of Crohn’s Disease.
What Causes Crohn’s Disease?
No one is sure exactly what causes it. However, there are several factors at play that experts believe play a role.
Immune system cells are responsible for inflammation in the system. Therefore, when chronic inflammation is the cause of Crohn’s Disease, the immune system is at play. With that said, research notes that none of the types of Crohn’s Disease meet the criteria of being classified as an autoimmune disorder .
Predisposition to illnesses plays a big role in many disorders. After all, it’s our parent’s immune system that creates ours. While scientists discovered that STAT4 is the gene for ulcerative colitis predisposition, the one for Crohn’s hasn’t been found yet .
Diet will always play a role in health-related matters. Eating foods rich in fat and artificial ingredients is only going to clog your insides up. Over time, blood won’t be able to circulate the body, which will cause cells to die off. Poor diet is a recipe for any disease, including all the types of Crohn’s Disease.
Approximately 80% of your immune cells derive from your gut. Therefore, the first beings to greet your newfound immune cells are stomach bacteria. So, if these immune cells are coming out of the wound swinging, of course you will always have chronic inflammation.
The most common stomach bacteria present in cases of Crohn’s Disease are Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Serratia marcescens . In abundance, these bacteria can cause a number of urinary tract and GI problems.
Recent studies show that E.coli does even more harm than cause problems; it may trigger a case of Crohn’s Disease. These pathogenic bacteria release an enzyme known as urease .
When E.coli interact with this urease, it creates ammonia. These stomach bacteria use the ammonia as an energy resource because it is very rich in nitrogen. This nitrogen is then used as amino acids to help the E.coli colony grow stronger. As a result, your gut biome remains inflamed, causing one of the types of Crohn’s Disease.
Five Types of Crohn’s Disease
Now that you have a solid foundation on IBD, let’s figure out which the types of Crohn’s Disease hit a little close to home. Here are the five types of Crohn’s Disease and their unique symptoms.
Crohn’s Colitis or Granulomatous Colitis
This type of Crohn’s Disease only affects the large intestine (or colon). It plays a critical role in our waste management system because it’s the left step of the process. Our large intestine filters any last minute water and electrolytes back into our system. The rest gets expunged.
Symptoms of Crohn’s colitis include:
• Abdominal Pain
• Bloody Stools
• Bowel Ulcers
• Skin Lesions
• Joint Pain
70% of cases of granulomatous colitis are caused by a CYBB gene mutation in an X-chromosome . This finding would suggest genetics plays a significant role in Crohn’s colitis.
As we move closer to the gut on our journey of types of Crohn’s Disease, we land at ileocolitis. This type of Crohn’s Disease affects multiple parts of the intestines. It does have impact on the large intestine. However, the small intestine gets the brunt of it’s anti-benefits.
The lower part of the small intestines has the ileum. Ileum is responsible for helping our bodies absorb Vitamin B12 . Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for cell production. Therefore, malabsorption of Vitamin B12 can cause inflammation that results in Crohn’s Disease.
As the name suggests, ileitis also affects the ileum. Unlike ileocolitis, that’s all it affects. However, that’s enough!
Symptoms of both ileitis and ileocolitis include:
• Weight Loss
When people have ileitis, they may start producing gastrointestinal fistulas . These are passageways that connect the gut biome to other structures in the body, such as the skin.
When this happens, digestive fluids can leak through the fistulas, creating abscesses. They may also lead to autoimmune skin conditions, such as psoriasis.
Moving up the GI tract of types of Crohn’s Disease, and we arrive at jejunoileitis. Jejunoileitis affects the upper half of the small intestine. In particular, it’s the inflammation of our jejunum.
Symptoms of jejunoileitis may include:
• Abdominal Cramping
• Mental Health Issues
The jejunum plays a significant role in how we function. It’s responsible for our absorption of fatty acids. These are what our brain uses as fuel. We also rely on the jejunum to absorb sugars that propel our muscles to crush the day! Our cells also rely on the jejunum for amino acids so they can grow stronger in the face of IBD.
Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease
Of the types of Crohn’s Disease, this is the farthest-reaching. Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease affects the esophagus, mouth, and the duodenum of the small intestine. That’s why symptoms of Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease vary from the regular symptoms other types of Crohn’s Disease display.
Symptoms of Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease include:
• Mouth Sores
• Loss of Appetite
• Weight Loss
We rely on our duodenum to break down chyme. This substance is created by our stomach muscles when it partially digests food. When the highly acidic chyme remains unabsorbed by the duodenum, it creates more damage along the gut barrier.
Which Types of Crohn’s Disease Do You Have?
Did any of these types of Crohn’s Disease resonate with your story? Then you should see your gastroenterologist as soon as possible. All the knowledge in the world doesn’t give you the credentials to diagnose yourself with IBD.
While you work out your GI issues with doc, let us help. Get your gut tested to see which stomach bacteria set you up for Crohn’s Disease. Share this information with your doctor so they can help you tailor a wellness plan.
Click Here To View Resources
 “Data and Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Mar. 2019, www.cdc.gov/ibd/data-statistics.htm.
 EurekAlert. “IBD Prevalence Three Times Higher than Estimates and Expected to Rise, New Study Reveals.” EurekAlert!, 21 Oct. 2019, eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/sh-ipt101419.php.
 Marks, D. J., Rahman, F. Z., Sewell, G. W., & Segal, A. W. (2010). Crohn’s disease: an immune deficiency state. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 38(1), 20–31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-009-8133-2
 Diaz-Gallo, Lina Marcela, et al. “STAT4 Gene Influences Genetic Predisposition to Ulcerative Colitis but Not Crohn’s Disease in the Spanish Population: a Replication Study.” Human Immunology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20153791.
 Blaszczak-Boxe, Agata. “Gut Fungus Suspected in Crohn’s Disease.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 3 Oct. 2016, www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-fungus-suspected-in-crohn-s-disease/.
 “Changing Gut Bacteria in Crohn’s Disease.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Dec. 2017, www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/changing-gut-bacteria-crohns-disease.
 Peixoto, A., Coelho, R., Maia, T., Sarmento, A., Magro, F., & Macedo, G. (2017). Chronic Granulomatous Disease Mimicking Colonic Crohn’s Disease Successfully Treated with Infliximab. ACG case reports journal, 4, e46. https://doi.org/10.14309/crj.2017.46
 Collins JT, Badireddy M. Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Small Intestine. [Updated 2019 Apr 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459366/
 Dilauro, S., & Crum-Cianflone, N. F. (2010). Ileitis: when it is not Crohn’s disease. Current gastroenterology reports, 12(4), 249–258. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11894-010-0112-5
It is never easy dealing with a chronic condition, especially one that is as sneaky as allergies that affect more than 50 million people in the US alone . Learning how to manage your allergies is so complicated because nobody knows why allergies happen. Moreover, there is no cure.
Sufferers can only manage symptoms and try to stay away from substances that cause problems. That can be especially difficult when it comes to pollen, dust, or insects, as those are all around us. Let’s take a look at some effective ways to manage your allergies so you can breathe easier and live healthier.
Potential Problems When You Manage Your Allergies
Allergies are your immune system’s response to something that is basically harmless like grass, eggs, or a bee sting. For those who are lucky, this will mean a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, but for those who will end up in the ER fighting for every breath, the whole situation becomes much more sinister.
Allergies are sneaky. They can often happen suddenly and without any warning. Unfortunately for us, there is a rise in adult-onset allergies all over the world.
Dr. Ruchi Gupta of Northwestern University told Living Allergic,
“We are now able to estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies. When you compare that to the previous estimate of 15 million, the significance of this emerging disease becomes obvious .”– Dr. Ruchi Gupta to Living Allergic
There are many theories out there as to why people in the modern world suffer from allergies, including:
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
• Heavily-Processed Foods
• Too Much Hygiene
Unfortunately, there are triggers everywhere. That’s what makes it so difficult to manage your allergies. Sadly, these road blocks will cause people to rely on quick fixes. It’s easier to pop a pill than try holistic approaches.
How to Manage Your Allergies Naturally
The first line of defense is usually to take medication such as Claritin or Benadryl or to start lengthy and more effective immunotherapy . Still, sufferers can certainly do more instead of taking pills and receiving injections.
Ditch Potential Allergens
As silly as it might sound, especially to those who suffer from food allergies, changing your diet might be one of the first steps you need to take to manage your allergies. Naturally, you have to avoid food that is causing you trouble (no matter how much you might love it). Avoiding potential allergens will help prevent inflammation, essentially making your gut healthy.
Try to steer clear of:
• Nightshade Vegetables
• Artificial Foods
With a healthier gut, you can fight allergies more effectively . Once you manage your allergies, slowly introduce potential allergens back into your diet plan. Start with culpirts that are least likely to cause allergies, such as lectins and nightshades. Sadly, dairy and/or gluten might have to go forever.
Find Alternatives that Work for You
Making small tweaks when it comes to your diet could boost that renegade immune system of yours. Imagine a child having a tantrum, and then suddenly, a plate of yummy cake appears—it really does wonders. Now, replace that chocolate cake with a healthier version such as carrot cake (just as delicious), and you are on the right path to fight your condition on multiple fronts.
Trying to manage your allergies isn’t as easy as swapping out dessert on a child. For many, it’ll be a complete meal haul over. For instance, vegans going lectin-free might hit some road bumps. However, there are plenty suitable plant-based proteins out there, such as avocados, coconuts, and hemp seeds.
For meat-eaters, a significant cause of allergic reactions may be caused by the sources. Try to cut back on omega-6-rich meats, such as beef and lamb. Too many fatty meats can cause inflammation in the system, sparking allergies. Instead, opt for lean protein, such as poultry, fish, and plants.
Lastly, double check to make sure your meat is raised humanely. You want to ensure the livestock aren’t treated with antibiotics and hormones. Otherwise, you will ingest these particles, making it harder to manage your allergies.
Cut Out the Convenience
We live in a fast-paced society. Sadly, we often eat fast food because it is just that—fast and convenient.
Also, we commonly disregard how easy choices affect our health.
We’re naive about how diet can make it challenging to manage your allergies.
A study conducted by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF) found,
“People who regularly ate fast food had significantly higher rates of asthma, hay fever or allergic, itchy skin rashes (eczema). The consumption of hamburgers in particular was associated with severe asthma or acute shortness of breath. Those who ate hamburgers at least three times a week had a significantly higher risk than those who only had them once or twice a week. .”– European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF)
It is not easy to face the fact that most of us let this part of our lives slide because we have so many things to accomplish in a day that we compromise in areas where we should not—our daily diet.
Eat the Rainbow
By hitting the brakes and taking a long, hard look at what we eat, a pattern is likely to emerge. Ask yourself some hard-hitting questions and see how you respond.
• How many fruits and vegetables have we and the members of our family eaten this week?
• What variety of colors and types of foods do you see on your plate?
• How much packaged goods, such as salt products and sweets, do you consume per week?
Instead of just taking that Claritin first thing in the morning because your nose is already running, why not try and eat the rainbow of healthy and delicious food? These dietary choices will give you a wide-range of antioxidants that will boost your immune system.
Take a spoonful of raw honey that can make you less sensitive to pollen. Fresh, organic vegetables such as cabbage, Swiss chard, carrots, and sweet potatoes can help you fight symptoms of hay fever and soothe inflammation. Variety on the plate will make the immune system more robust and make it easier to manage your allergies.
Up the Spice
Learning how to manage your allergies naturally isn’t just about colorful and fresh foods. Spices are your friends too. This sentiment is especially true on those days when you are fighting nasal congestion.
Make a delicious curry dish or chili con carne with fresh bell peppers and red kidney beans. Be sure to add plenty of chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic, as those will help unclog your sinuses. If you add a little bit of ginger to the mix, you will have a whole army of spices to help you finally take a deep breath.
Up to 80% of your immune system cells derive from your gut biome . Therefore, these defenders are in close quarters with your microbes. So, if your stomach is overtaken with harmful stomach bacteria, you have no defense to manage your allergies. Research shows that probiotic bacteria are essential in fighting allergies.
One analysis about probiotics and allergies found,
“Several randomized studies demonstrated that when Lactobacillus GG or placebo was given to pregnant mothers with a strong family history of eczema, allergic rhinitis, or asthma and to their infants for the first 6 months after delivery, the frequency of developing atopic dermatitis in the offspring was reduced in 2 years, 4 years, and 7 years by 50%, 44%, and 36%, respectively .”– Journal of the Chinese Medical Association
The best way to find the right probiotics to fight allergies is to figure out which stomach bacteria is already in your gut. You can performance this analysis by joining the Thryve Gut Health Program.
We will send you everything you need to discreetly and safely collect a sample. Mail it into us with the packaging we provide and we will test your intestinal flora.
Based on those results, we recommend a custom probiotic that will help fight off the harmful bacteria while supporting your immune system.
Manage Your Allergies Today
It is essential to keep in mind that knowledge is power. We live in the age of technology, where the right information is just a click away. By learning as much as possible about allergies, we can make smart choices and implement changes that can work alongside medication to help us battle the symptoms. A healthy diet and a healthy gut should be your priority, not just to better manage your allergies but to improve your quality of life.
Click Here To View Resources
 Rakicevic, Mira. “Learn How to React: 90+ Allergy Statistics (Infographic).” DisturbMeNot!, 2 Oct. 2019, disturbmenot.co/allergy-statistics-infographic/.
 Matti, Mariam. “Study Finds Doubling of Adult Food Allergy: 5 Important Takeaways.” Allergic Living, 9 Oct. 2019, www.allergicliving.com/2019/01/16/study-finds-doubling-of-adult-food-allergy-5-important-takeaways/.
 “Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy): AAAAI.” The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 10 Feb. 2020, www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/allergy-shots-(immunotherapy).
 Fujimura, K. E., & Lynch, S. V. (2015). Microbiota in allergy and asthma and the emerging relationship with the gut microbiome. Cell host & microbe, 17(5), 592–602. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2015.04.007
 Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and experimental immunology, 153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–6. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x
 Tang, Ren-Bin, et al. “Can Probiotics Be Used to Treat Allergic Diseases?” Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, No Longer Published by Elsevier, 6 Jan. 2015, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1726490114003074.
The beauty of science is that you’re always discovering new things. Life is like an onion. Every time you think you’ve peeled the last layer, there’s another. A recent scientific breakthrough uncovered a new immune cell that scientists were previously unaware of. This new immune cell, known as MC.7.G5, targets multiple types of cancers, including prostate, breast, and lung. Let’s take a look at this breakthrough new immune cell and its potential in curing cancer.
New Immune Cell Discovered with CRISPR
Cardiff University scientists were tinkering around with ways to use CRISPR–Cas9 to fight cancer. CRISPR–Cas9 is a form of genome-editing. It uses RNA, which are messengers that carry out instructions from DNA.
RNA is combined with an enzyme, Cas9. The RNA will guide Cas9 through DNA. From there, Cas9 will make an incision in the helix. Naturally, cells will then try to repair the DNA. That’s where scientists intervene and change the genetic code .
Immune Cell and MR1 Detection
While experimenting, Cardiff University scientists noticed something unique about a specific T-cell in the blood . This immune cell has a receptor that detects a gene protein known as major histocompatibility complex, class I-related protein (MR1). MR1 draws attention of the immune system to cells that have abnormal metabolic rate.
The discovery of MC.7.G5 was exciting for scientist Garry Dolton . He was one of the many researchers using CRISPR for other purposes that day. Dolton spoke about the new immune cell discovery to BBC.
Garry Dolton stated,
“We are the first to describe a T-cell that finds MR1 in cancer cells – that hasn’t been done before, this is the first of its kind.”– Garry Dolton to BBC
MR1 is present on all cells. Scientists believe that it can help let the immune system know when a cell becomes cancerous. This detection can prevent natural killer cells (NK cells) from becoming suspicious and attacking healthy immune cells.
Typically, MR1 is detected thanks to stomach bacteria that consume B-Vitamins. Their metabolites are antigens that bind to MR1. Mucosal-associated invariant T-cells (MAIT) of the innate immune system realize this, ultimately unveiling cancer cells. The discovery of this new immune cell performing a similar task can potentially be a game-changer in cancer treatment.
How New Immune Cell Might Be Able to Help Cancer Treatment
T-Cell therapy for cancer isn’t a new discovery. It’s been happening for quite a while. Most notably, chimeric antigen receptor (C-ART) therapy has given hope for using immune cells to cure cancer . This new immune cell discovery gives further hope.
Cardiff University researchers noted that this immune cell detected the MR1 receptors in cancerous cells regardless of beneficial stomach bacteria being present. Therefore, this new immune cell doesn’t just rely on healthy bacteria to discover MR1. It goes into business for itself.
Typically, genetic proteins known as human leukocyte antigen (HLA) will detect cancerous cells. Some HLA cells (class 1) will bind to proteins in cancerous tissues. They’ll then present the potentially dangerous cell to CD8+ T cells.
These helper cells of the immune system kill infected cells . Scientists noted that MC.7.G5 killed cancer cells without the help of HLA.
Benefits of New Immune Cell for Cancer
The knowledge of a new immune cell is still in its early stages. Researchers need to conduct a lot more studies. For instance, they are currently stumped as to how this new immune cell detected MR1. With that being said, scientists are hopeful for a breakthrough in cancer research with the discovery of this new immune cell.
Cardiff University scientists concluded,
“MC.7.G5 killed a range of established (long-term culture) and primary cancer cell lines of different origin. Flow-based killing assay for 48–72h at a T-cell to target cell ratio of 5:1. Data combined from different experiments. Performed in triplicate.”– Nature Immunology
They found that this new immune cell killed around 95% of cancer cells related to:
• Skin (melanomas)
In vivo studies also showed that MC.7.G5 also controlled the spreading of Jurkat leukemia cells. Although the new immune cell didn’t eradicate the disease, this discovery also gives hope for leukemia cancer treatment. It may buy some people extra time while scientists still work towards a cure for cancer.
How New Immune Cell Might Be Used for Cancer Cure
Scientists hope that this new immune cell can be used in many of the same ways that C-ART therapy is. They want to extract healthy T-cells from a person’s body. Then, the T-cells will be genetically modified to have the same receptor as MC.7.G5.
Then, scientists would grow a litany of these cells in a lab to transfer these new immune cells into the patient. Hopefully, the cells will communicate with these special MR1-seeking receptors and eradicate the cancer cells.
Improving Gut Health for Cancer Prevention
70% to 80% of immune cells derive from your gut . Therefore, a robust immune system depends on a healthy microbiome. Furthermore, an unhealthy gut sparks inflammation. Inflammation is caused by our immune cells. So, ruining your gut biome overworks your immune cells, ultimately suppressing your immune system.
When our immune system gets out of whack, we are more prone to bacterial and viral infections. These instances can do a number on healthy cells within our system. We become vulnerable to free radical growth. Ultimately, poor gut health can lead to the development of cancerous cells.
Improving your gut health may also improve your chances of the immune system detecting cancerous growth. As we noted, metabolites of bacteria using B-Vitamins can cause TLR (toll-like receptor) signaling of MR1 . They do this by activating mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells .
Therefore, having a diverse gut biome may improve the communication between cells. You’ll have beneficial stomach bacteria that can create more metabolites that open lines of communication.
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