We are currently at the dawn of a new era: in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and at the beginning of the flu season. Interesting enough, a recent research has shown a potential immune-boosting role of omega 3 fatty acids and various vitamins with regards to COVID-19 (1) (2). Further research is required, but it stimulated us to write a blog in which we explain how our immune system works.
Let us begin and ask the important question. How can our immune system protect us? And just as important: how can we protect our immune system?
In order to answer this, we must answer the following questions:
- How do we define the immune system?
- Which role does the immune system have?
- Which role does Marine Phytoplankton has?
- Which role do you have?
The Immune System
Your immune system is a complex network comprised of organs and cells that work together in order to prevent you becoming sick from various bacteria, viruses, yeasts and other foreign substances we are faced with each day. Even when we are not sick, our immune system is working overhours to keep it that way (3).
The immune system is comprised of three parts that constantly interact with each other to deal with foreign substances (called antigens):
- Organs: skin, bowel, lungs, blood and lymphatic system.
- Immune cells
- Tiny molecules that act as a signaling substance or an antibody that can bind with a foreign antigen.
The skin embodies the first line of defense. For example, our hands come in contact with hundreds to thousands of bacteria on a daily basis. Also, our whole digestive- and respiratory tract has to filter out foreign threats that enter the body through our food and the air we breathe. Together they try to prevent that these threats enter the body. Unfortunately, some of these foreign substances enter the body. How does our body react?
Our immune system is very reactive towards foreign intruders. Different types of cells immediately start to communicate with signaling substances (cytokines) in order to detect, reach, attack, and clean up the intruder (4):
- Raising the body temperature (fever) to hamper bacterial growth
- Raising the blood pressure to increase circulation of immune cells
Marine Phytoplankton: A unique source of omega 3 fatty acids and pigments (carotenoids)
Omega 3 fatty acids as well as pigments found in Marine Phytoplankton stimulate the release of these cytokines in the case of a foreign intruder. As a result, the immune system is more rapidly deploying its immune cells (5) (6) (7) (8). Especially omega 3 fatty acids stimulate immune cell activation and the capturing of a foreign antigen in a vesicle, which ensures safe clearance of the pathogen (9).
The antioxidants found in Marine Phytoplankton – especially the pigments – stimulate adequate communication between the immune cells, ensuring a faster immune response (10). Unfortunately, our own body cannot synthesize the pigments, which makes our intake totally dependent on our nutrition.
Besides this general reaction to foreign intruders, our body also has an adaptive immune reaction. This is called adaptive because it is capable of recognizing specific proteins on the surface of the foreign substances. When the body is faced with the same substance, it has developed a certain type of memory, in which certain receptors on their surface can react with the surface-proteins of pathogens. This recognition makes it possible to recruit immune cells faster and more adequately than before. The ability of immune cells to form a memory forms the foundation of vaccination.
When immune cells recognize foreign pathogens by their surface-proteins, other immune cells can produce antibodies: proteins that can bind to bacteria and viruses, thereby removing their harmful capacity. The antibodies reach their desired destination by circulating through the blood and lymphatic system.
What makes Marine Phytoplankton even more unique?
In addition, Marine Phytoplankton is also rich of essential vitamins and minerals that support the immune system by separately stimulating the development of immune cells.
My plnktn. is arriving tomorrow... is there something I can start doing today?
Besides the help of our supplement, it is vital you:
- get a sufficient amount of sleep
- get a sufficient amount of physical exercise
- Add adequate variety to your diet
Research has shown that when you do not get enough sleep, your immune system needs more time to activate immune cells and to produce antibodies. The result could be more exposure to a foreign pathogen and a possible worse outcome (13). On top of that, it is becoming clear that physical exercise enhances the immune response (14): it stimulated to the recruitment of immune cells, the production of antibodies, and increased the blood pressure. As a result, immune cells and antibodies are more rapidly available and on the place they need to be due to a faster circulation. Also, physical efforts imitate fever in that it temporarily increases body temperature, which decreases bacterial growth. We advice you to enjoy a nice 45-minute walk... preferably outside. Besides this exercise, this will ensure adequate sun exposure. When our body is exposed to sunlight it enhances functioning of immune cells, which stimulates a better immune reaction (15).
Combining a varied diet with Marine Phytoplankton ensures adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals, which are needed to support a high-functioning immune system (16).
A very recent research is showing potential immune-boosting effects of omega 3 fatty acids and various vitamins in with regards to COVID-19. Lucky for us, Marine Phytoplankton is rich in both omega 3 fatty acids as well as a great variety of vitamins (17).
The foreign threat has been dealt with, now what?
When the immune system adequately deals with a pathogen, it is vital that the inflammation (fever, etc) ceases, so the body can restore to its normal state. When an inflammation ensues of continues without control, it can cause serious damage and might lead to auto-immune diseases.
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Thank you for reading!