Plant Micronutrients Boost Immunity
So you think that nutrients are boring? Eating more foods with micronutrients or even supplementing them can seriously boost our immunity say scientists.
Immunity studied in hospital setting
Hospital nutritional researchers have discovered that micronutrient supplementation significantly increases immunity and decreases infections among people with type-2 diabetes.
The research, carried out by the Department of Nutrition of Beijing’s PLA General Hospital, studied 196 type 2 diabetic outpatients, who were randomly divided into two groups of 97 and 99 persons. One group was given micronutrient supplements in tablets for six months, while the other group was given a placebo.
Before the study began, the researchers recorded blood and other health measurements, as well as infection incidence among the patients. They documented their diet, exercise and incidence of infections – including respiratory, skin, urinary and genital infections along with others – for a month before the study began, and throughout the study.
In every type of infection area, the micronutrient group had fewer infections; and when there was infection, the duration of fevers were significantly lower in the micronutrient group than among the placebo group.
More nutrients in the blood
The micronutrient supplementation group also had increased levels of protein, iron (Fe), folic acid and hemoglobin in their bloodstream.
Meanwhile, various blood parameters associated with increased inflammation also decreased in the micronutrient group. Immunity parameters such as blood levels of CD4+ and CD4+/CD8+ levels, white blood cell counts, and lymphocyte and basophil counts all illustrated that the micronutrient supplementation stimulated the immune system of the micronutrient group.
The researchers concluded that:
“These data indicated that supplementation of micronutrients might increase immune function and reduce the incidence of common infections in type 2 diabetic outpatients.”
What are micronutrients?
Micronutrients are basically nutrients that are often ignored by people because they are consumed in smaller amounts.Yes, micronutrients do include vitamins. But they also include minerals and trace minerals that are often overlooked in the diet. These trace minerals include iodine, manganese, boron, zinc, copper and selenium.
Meanwhile, other research has shown that over-supplementation with some of these, such as copper, can provoke negative health benefits. And too much calcium can increase the risk of heart disease according to some research. Some supplements, such as vitamin D, don’t produce the same health benefits as their natural versions produce.
The logical conclusion is to obtain micronutrients at levels available in their natural combinations.
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Liu Y, Jing H, Wang J, Zhang R, Zhang Y, Zhang Y, Xu Q, Yu X, Xue C. Micronutrients decrease incidence of common infections in type 2 diabetic outpatients. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(3):375-82.