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Home > Articles on Health > The Immune System

The Immune System

With a strong immune system, colds don't affect us, or they last for only a few days. With a weak immune system, you end up with more colds, and colds that drag on for weeks. According to Darshan Kelley and Adrianne Bendich, writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (June 1996. 63:6), "...chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis also have their roots in disorders of the immune system; the course of several of these can be altered by nutritional interventions."

Nutritional Intervention?

Yes. Although to some this sounds odd, especially in a society that holds up surgery as the solution to health questions, nutrition does play a role in disease. As Ranjit Kumar Chandra, one of the leading experts in immunology and nutrition, notes, "It is now generally accepted that nutrition is an important determinant of immune responses." What Chandra believes is simple: What a person eats affects his or her ability to resist disease.

How exactly does diet affect immunity? It is acknowledged that a variety of nutrients will beef up individual components of the immune system. Let's take a look.

Nutrients and the Immune System

Beta carotene/Vitamin A: Beta carotene has been shown to increase natural killer cells in the elderly and to play a role in directing the immune system to kill cancerous cells. Vitamin A aids in the efficient production of T cells and aids the kidney in filtering and removing immunological debris from the blood; is necessary for the production of bacteria-fighting chemicals in ears, saliva, and sweat; and stimulates the activity of T and B cells in fighting infection. Your body turns beta carotene into vitamin A.

Vitamin B complex: Affects all aspects of the immune system, increases antibody response, keeps the thymus active, maintains the body's ability to destroy bacteria, and keeps cellular immune responses efficient.

Vitamin C: Helps the thymus make T cells and stimulates other white blood cells to kill bacteria. It is important for the production of interferon, a substance that battles viruses. A vitamin C deficiency can show up in decreased activity of bacteria-eating cells and slowed wound-healing.

Vitamin E: Stimulates antibody production and speeds up T cell reactions.

Potassium and copper: provide energy to drive biochemical reaction in lymphoid cells.

Iron: Affects lymph nodes, energizes T cells, and is essential in the process by which white blood cells kill bacteria.

Zinc: Affects helper and suppressor T cell regulation.

The AIM Products and the Immune System

AIM has a number of products that can help maintain a healthy immune system, and thus help you take responsibility for your health maintenance.

The Garden Trio, which combines BarleyLife, Just Carrots, and RediBeets, is the premier product for health maintenance.

BarleyLife provides a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals, including those important to the immune system. Although these are not found in the Food and Drug Administration's Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) quantities, they work together to help the body help itself.

According to Eugene Wagner, Ph.D., at the Center for Medical Education, Ball State University, subjects taking Barleygreen in a small trial "exhibited statistically significant increases in the percentage of their circulating leukocytes that were neutrophils and in total complement levels . . ." The author goes on to say that, "It would be premature to draw any definite conclusions from this pilot study. However, one could hypothesize that the statistically significant increases in the percent neutrophils and circulating complement levels, both components of non-specific immune defense in the nutritionally supplement group could reflect a more efficient first line of defense."

A serving of JustCarrots provides up to 360 percent of the RDA for vitamin A as beta carotene, and beta carotene is a proven immune booster. According to Richard Passwater, Ph.D., in his book, Beta Carotene and Other Carotenoids, beta carotene supplementation has been shown to enhance some, but not all, aspects of cell-mediated immunity in healthy older men, and taking beta carotene daily could improve the ratio of T cells in healthy nonsmoking men. A recent study has shown that beta carotene may increase natural killer cells in older men.

RediBeets provides traces of folic acid, another important maintenance vitamin. Folic acid is considered essential for pregnant women because of evidence that the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defect in newborn infants drops if mothers take more folic acid before and during pregnancy. However, the benefit of folic acid to decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease may be even greater. This is because folic acid works to convert the amino acid homocysteine to a harmless form. Homocysteine is linked to heart problems.

Garlic is also a proven immune booster, and Bear Paw Garlic brings you some of these properties. According to Dallas Clouatre, Ph.D., A. ursinum, which is used for Bear Paw Garlic, fights free radicals and activates macrophages, important constituents of the immune system.

And of course, antioxidants are very important in maintaining health. Antioxidants combat free radicals. which are renegade molecules that many health practitioners say are linked to disease.


AIM Product Suggestions:

BarleyLife AIM BarleyLife Powder
Powder: AIM BarleyLife is a superior green barley powder. Highly nutritious and packed with chlorophyll.
Retail:
$62.50
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JustCarrots AIM JustCarrots
Provides a convenient and effective way to add beta carotenoids, alpha carotenids, and vitamin C to your diet.
Retail:
$48.00
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AIM Garden Trio for the ideal whole food juicing program
Powder: These barley, beet and carrot juicing concentrates are perfect for any juicing program.
Retail:
$143.00
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AIM Redi Beets for beet juice supplementation
Provides one of the most convenient ways to achieve an improved diet with iron supplementation.
Retail:
$40.50
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