Using adaptogens, bioactives and natural ingredients to reinforce immunity

2021-04-29 10:12:41 Read

Using adaptogens, bioactives and natural ingredients to reinforce immunity.jpg

We cannot boost our immune systems, only support a healthy one.

A healthy immune system means that our bodies have a stronger chance of fighting off viruses and infections. While viruses such as the Coronavirus will not be able to be stopped merely by healthy immune systems, we can see that weaker immune systems have a part to play in that the people who are most affected like the elderly and those with underlying or existing medical conditions. Their immune systems are generally weaker because of their condition or age and are not as effective at fighting off a virus or infection.


There are two main types of immune system response: innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity refers to our body’s first line of defence against pathogens whose main purpose is to immediately prevent the spread of said pathogens across the body. Adaptive immunity would be the second line of defence in the fight against non-self pathogens.


A common myth is that we can ‘boost’ our immune systems. As scientists, we know that is not technically true but what we can do is support and reinforce a good, healthy immune function through the intake of the right amount of vitamins and minerals. For example, a Vitamin C deficiency may make us more susceptible to respiratory infections so while we should ensure not to become deficient, taking in extra Vitamin C will not necessarily “boost” our immune system as the body will get rid of excess anyway.

The table below illustrates an overview of the key vitamins and minerals which contribute to an overall healthy immune system.


Functionality finds food

Given the current demand for alternative sources of foods with suitable functional characteristics, the adaptogen effect could be an interesting attribute to consider in determining the use of certain plants in the formulation of foods and beverages.

I believe there is a strong demand for functional foods and drinks in our modern food and beverage industry, mainly thanks to popular convenience and on-the-go trends which force consumers to  search for suitable, functional foods to fight deficiencies and maintain a healthy and nutritious diet.