• Jasmine Blake Hollywood, MS, HHP

Can Vitamins and Minerals Boost the Immune System?

Updated: Sep 8

It is true, vitamins and minerals can boost the immune system with the right prescription and combination.

What is the Immune Process?


It has been long believed by scientific nutrition researchers, that vitamin and mineral deficits may be the primary cause in cells and tissue changes. These modifications are significant changes that result in dysfunctional immune system processes. The immune process includes the prevention and treatment of inflammation from an injury. [4]. Also, the immune process includes fighting off pathogens, viruses, and diseases. Part of this method is immune system regularity.


Autoimmunity and Prevalence


The dysregulation of the immune system is recognized as either an immune syndrome or an autoimmune disorder. In regards to autoimmune diseases, autoimmunity within the system occurs when the immune system recognizes itself as an intruder. As a result, the body begins to attack its healthy cells. The irregularities described are true for all autoimmune conditions, disorders, and classes.


  • Out of all conditions, disorders, and classes, there are more than 100 different autoimmune diseases are listed. [1].

  • 14.7 to 23.5 million people in the United States suffer from these autoimmune diseases.


These statistics are outrageous. Unfortunately, all autoimmune conditions are linked to having some type of micronutrient deficiency in relation.


Vitamins and Minerals and Immune System Dysregulation


Vitamins and minerals play a considerable role in managing immune system regularity. [4]. Also, studies now show that our immune systems are dysregulated because of these vitamin and mineral deficits. [4]. Micronutrient deficits are more common in autoimmune dysregulation than is genetic inheritance. Meaning genetic susceptibility has a smaller correlation statistic than nutrient deficiencies. When confronted with a shortage of essential vitamins and minerals, the body has difficulty fighting off diseases and healing appropriately. [4].


While some researchers have clinical evidence that vitamins and minerals are the reason for immune dysfunction, others have found autoimmune problems occur because of other reasons. One of these reasons is extreme physical stress caused by free radical formation. [2]. In combination, both are major contributing causes of autoimmune disease prevalence.


Autoimmune Prevalence an overall Nutrition Education


Autoimmune prevalence remains high and increases in number daily. It continues to be a pandemic issue, growing increasingly more significant every day. The growth of these numbers, unfortunately, is the result of long-term nutritional deprivation and being deprived of nutrients decreases our risk of disease and shortens our lifespan.


It is my personal belief that sheer ignorance causes this long-lived nutrient deprivation. The ignorance I speak of can be defined as the decisions we make in choosing which foods we will eat. However, if we tie ignorance to prevalence, then we can assume that incidence will decrease with education. Additionally, if everyone were more educated, then prevalence would fall. In other words, conditions could be remitted or reversed if ignorance turned to knowledge, practice, and motivation.


The Vitamins and Minerals involved in Immune Regulation


As I scanned through studies of autoimmune diseases over recent years, I have come to terms that almost autoimmune diseases have some nutritional deficiency. In most cases, most vitamins and minerals are essential factors. In other cases, one or two vitamins and minerals can cause a chain reaction of deficits in other vitamins and minerals throughout the body.


Because of the vicious cycle of vitamin and mineral shortages, the body eventually tries to balance itself out. Since it's been proven in evidenced-based studies that particular vitamins and minerals can improve or damage the immune system's responsiveness to work effectively, we can conclude the same vitamins and minerals are factors in autoimmune diseases. Knowing that vitamins and minerals are essential factors in the cause of a large percentage of autoimmune conditions, we should know which ones are key players.


Key Players


In researching for the vitamins and minerals that are the key players in the immune system, I found that several micronutrients are connected in improving the immune response.


These vitamins and minerals are:

  • fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E

  • water-soluble vitamins C, B6, and B9

  • zinc and selenium

Minerals such as iron and copper can help improve the immune response. So can methylation. Additionally, the major players of these micronutrients are vitamins A and D. [3]. Just as these enhance immune response, a deficit of these can impair the immune response by various functions.


What do Vitamins actually do to the Immune System?


Functions of the immune system are vital in immune system control. Researchers all around the world are even looking into vitamin and mineral deficits in impaired immunity more frequently now. There is no controversial disbelief that science has not proven these deficiencies cause impaired immunity. Even Mora and colleagues state that vitamin and mineral deficits reduce lymphocyte activation and proliferation. [4].


Impaired lymphocyte activation is when the body requires specific receptors within itself to recognize an antigen. Proliferation when cells multiply or increase in numbers. These micronutrient deficits impair the ability to recycle of lymphocyte cells. [4]. Also, having vitamin and mineral deficits impairs the ability of the body to tell the difference of T-helper cells. T-helper cells are cells that help the activity of other immune cells work correctly by releasing small proteins that aid in cell signaling. Additionally, vitamin and mineral deficits impairs the regularity of the immune system response and it reduces the production of specific antibody classes. [4].


Micronutrient Testing


Micronutrient test should be given regularly to patients that are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. This reason is to scale micronutrient levels for improvement. Without appropriate testing to follow the values of these vitamins, deficiencies could be present and inhibiting the functions of the immune response. These tests can lead practitioners to log sufficient evidence of specific nutrient deficits. These tests are necessary and will help practitioners in the remission and improvement of conditions.


Knowing Prevalence can Impact Immunity


The knowledge of incidence and prevalence alone brings undesirable emotional tension to AI suffers. This sentimental way of living impacts the patient's overall spiritual wellness and ability to nourish the soul properly. Interestingly, along with vitamin deficit, the interference of this sort can affect the physical capability of the body to respond to healing completely. Emotional impacts are just as significant, and one must recognize their awareness level and accept their ability to heal at an individual level to heal effectively.


Global Impacts of Autoimmunity


Autoimmunity affects the world on a global status. It affects families more often, and prevalence increases daily. Although autoimmunity can be genetic, it has a higher probability of being caused by a nutritional deficiency. Ignorance of healthy nourishment and failure to find appropriate health information about oneself can lead to life-long nutrient deprivation. Nutrients not only help regulate immune systems but are a significant part of autoimmune disease treatment.

References:

  1. Autoimmune Disease List. (n.d.). American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. Retrieve from https://www.aarda.org/diseaselist/

  2. Bendich, A. (1993). Physiological role of antioxidants in the immune system. Journal of Dairy Science, 76(9):2789–2794. doi: https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(93)77617-1.

  3. Chandra, R.K. (1997). Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66(2): 460S–463S. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/66.2.460S.

  4. Mora, J. R., Iwata, M. & von Adrian, U. H. (2008). Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre stage. Nature Reviews Immunology, 8: 685–698. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nri2378

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