Improve your immunity

       With the continued presence of the Covid-19 virus and the flu season rapidly approaching, it is critical that we do all we can to create and maintain a strong immune system. Our body has both an innate and acquired (aka adaptive) immune system. The innate immune system consists of an array of defenders such as acids produced by the skin and intestinal tract and friendly bacteria such as acidophilus and bifidus. This system includes white blood cells such as neutrophils, macrophages and lymphocytes. One class of lymphocytes, called natural killer cells (NK cells), are best known for their attack against viruses and cancer cells.

       All the above mentioned agents are our first line of defense against pathogenic organisms. Pathogen is the general term applied to bacterial, viral, fungal and other organisms that can cause harm to the body. The innate immune system reacts swiftly to such organisms in an attempt to destroy them.     

       Our second line of defense is the acquired or adaptive immune system.  When pathogens such as bacterium or viruses survive the attack of our innate immune system, the adaptive immune system gets involved by responding to antigens. Antigens are any substance that is recognized as foreign to the body and can evoke an immune response. Antigens can be pathogenic organisms, chemicals in the environment or any number of other irritants.

       With pathogenic organisms, such organisms have molecules on their surface that the body recognizes as antigens. The body responds to these antigens by producing T cells (a type of lymphocyte made in the bone marrow and matured in the thymus gland) and B cells (antibodies). What is interesting about antibodies is that they are specifically matched to an individual pathogen and will be retained by B memory cells so that if you are exposed to the same pathogen again in the future, your body will rapidly respond with the appropriate antibody.  For an extended discussion of how the immune system works, go to

       While we have an extraordinary defense system to protect us from organisms that would do us harm, this system requires consistent care and maintenance in order to do what it is designed to do.  The various elements that make up our immune system require a daily intake of a variety of nutrients in order to be effective.

       For example, vitamin C has been shown to stimulate the movement of neutrophils and macrophages, as well as enhance T cell formation. The trace mineral zinc is important to T-cells and natural killer cell formation.  Zinc has been shown to increase the ability of macrophages to digest invaders and to raise the level of interleukin-2 which in turn stimulates cytotoxic T-cells to attack invaders. This mineral is also necessary for the production and function of NK cells and antibodies.

       The trace mineral selenium is important to the production of antibodies and like zinc it is necessary for the production of interleukin-2. Selenium must be present in order for the body to produce an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme works in the body as a very powerful antioxidant.  Co-enzyme (CoQ10) has been found to dramatically increase the production of the antibody IgG.  This is the most abundant antibody in the body and plays a major role in the destruction of bacterial and viral organisms.

       Vitamin E, while known for its cardiovascular benefits, is also known to activate macrophages, and regulate dendrite cells which act as messengers between the innate and adaptive immune systems. The main function of dendrite cells is to facilitate the ability of antigens to identify viruses and other pathogens to T cells.  The T cells then vigorously attack the pathogen.

       Vitamin A is important to the activity of macrophages and NK cells.  Vitamin D has been shown to increase production of broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptides.  Peptides are linked amino acids that perform specific functions in the body.  There are 200 known antimicrobial peptides which act in the body to destroy the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the influenza virus.  

       Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that appears in two forms.  It is available from plants as vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and from animal sources as vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Both these forms obtained from dietary sources are converted by the liver into calciferol. Vitamin D3 is the more biologically active form of this nutrient and has been shown to be twice as effective in producing calciferol as is true of D2.

       As you can see, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are critical to the production and activity of both the innate and adaptive immune system. I encourage you to ensure that you are getting a daily supply of these nutrients so that your immune system can be effective in attacking and destroying pathogens that would do us harm. 

       At Milk ‘N Honey we recently introduced a new immune enhancing product called “Clinical Essentials Immune” from the company Terry Naturally. This product contains all the nutrients discussed in this Newsletter with the exception of CoQ10. This product provides the nutrients clinically proven to be necessary for proper function of our immune system.