5 Ways to Strengthen Your Cancer- and Virus-Fighting T-Cells

Since 2020, immune health has become front and center in conversations about health, nutrition, and fitness. And for good reason, too — COVID-19 has highlighted just how important immune health is for overall health, and vice versa.

But did you know that in addition to viruses and bacteria, the immune system is also tasked with neutralizing cancer cells before they spread?

As we age, the immune system naturally weakens — making the body more susceptible to illnesses of all kinds as well as cancer. Although there’s no magic bullet that can guarantee you’ll never get sick or develop cancer or another chronic disease, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk by optimizing your immune health.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What T-cells are and the vital role they play in immune health,
  • How the body’s immune system attacks and neutralizes viruses, cancer cells, and other harmful agents,
  • Several ways to naturally support immune health,
  • And now the ingredients in Juvenon’s Immune Wellness can help boost your immune health by strengthening T-cells and helping your body to create more of them.

What Are T-cells?

T-cells are a type of white blood cell, or lymphocyte. They are one of many different types of cells that compose your immune system. These cells originate from stem cells in your bone marrow.

T-cells are highly specialized, and they are custom made by your body to fight one kind of particle or cell. [1]

Additionally, there are two different types of T-cells in your body: killer T-cells and helper T-cells

Helper T-cells play a support role. They promote communication between T-cells and various other types of immune cells to coordinate immune responses.

However, killer T-cells are specifically formed to attack and destroy invaders. They do this in response to antigens released by diseased cells, which provide the information needed for the body to create a highly specialized killer T-cell to fight that particular pathogen. [2]

There are a couple of other immune cell types with similar functions. Macrophages, for example, are like T-cells. However, macrophages can “swallow” any type of cell or disease-causing pathogen. So macrophages have a broader action, but T-cells tend to be more powerful given their more individualized response. [3]

Likewise, natural killer cells have the same function as killer T-cells: they attack foreign pathogens or agents, or diseased cells. However, they can also attack any type, unlike T-cells which are more specialized. [4]

In fact, the specialization of T-cells is what allows these cells to launch more effective attacks against cancer cells in addition to viruses, which can help to prevent cancer from taking hold and spreading in the body if the immune response is strong enough.

All of these various types of cells play a key role in immune health, so it’s important to take steps to optimize your health as much as possible so that your body can create these cells.

Natural ways to support immune health

Fortunately, there are several healthy lifestyle choices that you can make to help strengthen your immune system naturally. These include:

Exercise

Some research suggests that exercise may help to prevent some of the age-related changes to your T cells and T cell function, promoting a more robust immune response to illness. [5]

Exercise also helps to promote better health by regulating the function of helper T-cells to prevent abnormal immune responses. [6]

Aim for 150-300 minutes of exercise per week, plus two resistance training sessions. Even if you can’t do that much yet, do what you’re able to and slowly work up to that amount over time. [7]

There are also numerous other benefits to exercise too, like helping to improve mental health, muscle mass, and bone strength.

Diet

Your diet can actually play a huge role in your immune function, as well. It’s important to eat a balanced, antioxidant-rich diet that’s full of nutritious fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants help your body to regulate its immune system and prevent immune cells from attacking healthy parts of the body or remaining continuously activated, which can lead to health problems. [8]

Antioxidants are found in nearly all natural, whole foods, but fruits and vegetables are a particularly good source. Try to eat a rainbow of colors of fresh produce to get a variety of different antioxidants in your diet.

Additionally, added sugars and highly processed foods may disrupt your immune health. They are also linked to weight gain and the development of other chronic health conditions. It’s important to avoid these foods as much as possible.

Sleep

Sleep is another important consideration. Sleep is a necessary period of rest that helps to regulate the immune system, along with various other functions. Researchers have found that sleep and immunity may play a reciprocal role — they may each affect the other. Getting enough sleep may make the immune system more effective, while a properly functioning immune system may help to reduce sleep disturbances. [9]

Most adults need between 7-9 hours per night, and it’s easiest to consistently get enough sleep if you try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day — even weekends.

Stress management

Reducing stress is also key for promoting proper immune system function.

Many of us lead high-stress lives, but unfortunately that chronic stress can have far-reaching effects on nearly every aspect of your health — including your immune system.

Research shows that high stress levels may make you more susceptible to both diseases and cancer by suppressing the activity of killer T cells and causing other changes to the body’s immune response. [10]

However, managing stress can be more difficult than changing your diet or adding more exercise to your routine. Engaging in hobbies you enjoy, practicing mindfulness meditation, or keeping a gratitude journal may help to reduce your stress levels.

Juvenon Immune Wellness

One more thing to consider is adding a well-formulated, immune-strengthening supplement to your daily routine. Juvenon’s Immune Wellness contains several powerful, evidence-based ingredients to help boost T-cell proliferation and function — all in the convenience of a single product. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s inside.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin found in fruits and vegetables. It has a number of antioxidant and immune-strengthening properties.

Starting with the skin — which is the body’s largest immune organ — vitamin C helps to strengthen the physical barrier by promoting collagen formation and preventing oxidative damage to skin cells.

Additionally, vitamin C helps to promote macrophage activity in more generalized immune responses.

Additionally, vitamin C may help to promote the production and proliferation of T-cells as a result of some of its gene regulating properties. [11]

Vitamin D

Vitamin D — the “sunshine vitamin” — also plays a key role in immune health. However, many people are slightly deficient in vitamin D because there are few foods that contain it or because they don’t spend enough time outdoors to get vitamin D through sun exposure. For this reason, supplementing with Immune Wellness is a great way to get vitamin D. [12]

Some research suggests that vitamin D directly regulates T-cell production. Vitamin D also helps to regulate the immune system and keep it from attacking healthy cells. [13, 14]

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that — like vitamin C and vitamin D — also plays a key role in immune health. Zinc is naturally found in animal foods, nuts, and seeds. Research has shown that zinc deficient people are more susceptible to disease.

In particular, zinc has a number of effects on T-cell regulation. Zinc deficiency may prevent T cells from differentiating and activating. Additionally, researchers have noted in test-tube studies that zinc promotes increased numbers of T cells in response to allergens — showing that zinc may play a role in regulating and preventing allergic reactions. [15, 16]

In aging, t-cell dysfunction is common. However, one study showed that zinc supplementation in aging mice may help prevent this dysfunction and maintain immune health. [17]

Quercetin

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables like apples and onions. It exhibits some unique anti-cancer properties.

In both test-tube and animal studies, researchers have noted that quercetin may help promote “apoptosis” (cell death) of cancerous tumor cells. One way that it does this is through its effect on proliferation and regulation of specialized T-cells. [18, 19]

Beta-glucan

Beta-glucan is a powerful and unique type of fiber found in oats, yeast, and mushrooms. It provides a number of health benefits, including immune-strengthening properties. [20]

Beta-glucan serves as a “bridge” between the innate immune system (including more generalized cells like macrophages and NK cells) and the adaptive immune system (T-cells and other specialized immune cells). It can both promote apoptosis of cancer cells while promoting proliferation of specialized immune cells. [21, 22]

Taken together, these 5 key immune-supportive ingredients found in Immune Wellness may help to promote a healthier and more effective immune response.

Takeaway

Your immune system is composed of many different types of specialized cells, each of which plays an important role in identifying or neutralizing harmful invaders like bacteria or viruses.

T-cells are specialized cells that form in response to antigens to address one particular type of diseased cell or pathogenic invader. They help your body fight off specific bacteria, viruses, or cancer cells.

T-cell function declines as you age but leading a healthy lifestyle can help to promote more robust T-cell function even in older age. Aim to get plenty of exercise, eat a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, get enough sleep, and reduce stress in your life to help optimize your immune function.

Additionally, Juvenon’s Immune Wellness may be a worthy addition to your daily routine thanks to its powerful, immune-supportive ingredients.

References

  1. Dong C. Cytokine Regulation and Function in T Cells. Annu Rev Immunol. 2021;39:51-76. doi:10.1146/annurev-immunol-061020-053702
  2. British Society for Immunology. Helper and Cytotoxic T Cells. 2022. Accessed May 15, 2022.
  3. Lavin Y, Mortha A, Rahman A, Merad M. Regulation of macrophage development and function in peripheral tissues. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015;15(12):731-744. doi:10.1038/nri3920
  4. Zhou Z, Zhang C, Zhang J, Tian Z. Macrophages help NK cells to attack tumor cells by stimulatory NKG2D ligand but protect themselves from NK killing by inhibitory ligand Qa-1. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36928. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036928
  5. Hanson ED, Bates LC, Bartlett DB, Campbell JP. Does exercise attenuate age- and disease-associated dysfunction in unconventional T cells? Shining a light on overlooked cells in exercise immunology. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2021;121(7):1815-1834. doi:10.1007/s00421-021-04679-4
  6. Dorneles GP, Dos Passos AAZ, Romão PRT, Peres A. New Insights about Regulatory T Cells Distribution and Function with Exercise: The Role of Immunometabolism. Curr Pharm Des. 2020;26(9):979-990. doi:10.2174/1381612826666200305125210
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2018. Accessed May 15, 2022.
  8. Amir Aslani B, Ghobadi S. Studies on oxidants and antioxidants with a brief glance at their relevance to the immune system. Life Sci. 2016;146:163-173. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2016.01.014
  9. Irwin MR, Opp MR. Sleep Health: Reciprocal Regulation of Sleep and Innate Immunity. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017;42(1):129-155. doi:10.1038/npp.2016.148
  10. Dhabhar FS. Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Immunol Res. 2014;58(2-3):193-210. doi:10.1007/s12026-014-8517-0
  11. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. Published 2017 Nov 3. doi:10.3390/nu9111211
  12. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Accessed May 15, 2022.
  13. Cantorna MT, Snyder L, Lin YD, Yang L. Vitamin D and 1,25(OH)2D regulation of T cells. Nutrients. 2015;7(4):3011-3021. Published 2015 Apr 22. doi:10.3390/nu7043011
  14. Prietl B, Treiber G, Pieber TR, Amrein K. Vitamin D and immune function. Nutrients. 2013;5(7):2502-2521. Published 2013 Jul 5. doi:10.3390/nu5072502
  15. Shankar AH, Prasad AS. Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68(2 Suppl):447S-463S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/68.2.447S
  16. Rosenkranz E, Hilgers RD, Uciechowski P, Petersen A, Plümäkers B, Rink L. Zinc enhances the number of regulatory T cells in allergen-stimulated cells from atopic subjects. Eur J Nutr. 2017;56(2):557-567. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1100-1
  17. Wong CP, Magnusson KR, Sharpton TJ, Ho E. Effects of zinc status on age-related T cell dysfunction and chronic inflammation. Biometals. 2021;34(2):291-301. doi:10.1007/s10534-020-00279-5
  18. Hashemzaei M, Delarami Far A, Yari A, et al. Anticancer and apoptosis‑inducing effects of quercetin in vitro and in vivo. Oncol Rep. 2017;38(2):819-828. doi:10.3892/or.2017.5766
  19. Qiu D, Yan X, Xiao X, et al. To explore immune synergistic function of Quercetin in inhibiting breast cancer cells. Cancer Cell Int. 2021;21(1):632. Published 2021 Nov 27. doi:10.1186/s12935-021-02345-5
  20. Du B, Meenu M, Liu H, Xu B. A Concise Review on the Molecular Structure and Function Relationship of β-Glucan. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(16):4032. Published 2019 Aug 18. doi:10.3390/ijms20164032
  21. Geller A, Shrestha R, Yan J. Yeast-Derived β-Glucan in Cancer: Novel Uses of a Traditional Therapeutic. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(15):3618. Published 2019 Jul 24. doi:10.3390/ijms20153618
  22. Wani SM, Gani A, Mir SA, Masoodi FA, Khanday FA. β-Glucan: A dual regulator of apoptosis and cell proliferation. Int J Biol Macromol. 2021;182:1229-1237. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.05.065

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