Improving our Immune Resilience: Role of Phytonutrients
Improving our Immune Resilience: Role of Phytonutrients

Fruits and Vegetables

BY DR. ARIANNA CARUGHI
SAB MEMBER, NUTRITIONAL SCIENTIST

 

A strong, well-functioning immune system is the cornerstone of good health. Continuing on SAB member,
Dr. Diane Clayton’s article Supporting your Immune
System and SAB Director, John Miller’s article Human
Immune Function: Facts and Realities for today,
and always, I wanted to focus on the role of
phytonutrients in improving our immune resilience.
These powerful food components play an important
role in our health, supporting and modulating immune
function to keep us healthy and prevent specific
diseases.
Phytonutrients are natural compounds that can play active
roles in our body. “Phyto” refers to the Greek word for plant,
phytonutrients thus are found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices and plant derived beverages like
tea, coffee and wine. While not considered essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, they play specific roles in
our body and are beneficial to human health.
Phytonutrients are responsible for much of the colour,
aroma and flavour of fruit and vegetables. Each
phytonutrient comes from a variety of different plant
sources, and also have different benefits and effects on our body.

Many work synergistically with one another. Scientists
estimate there are over 10,000 phytonutrients in plant foods
and thousands of them have been identified. They have
been classified according to their chemical structure into
different groups. The most studied are the carotenoids; the
large polyphenol family that includes the flavonoids, and the
sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin in garlic and
sulforaphane in broccoli.
Exactly how they work in our body to protect health and
prevent disease is yet to be understood and is an area of
active research. Some studies point to their antioxidant
and free-radical scavenging activity as possible mechanisms for protecting our cells from damage. Others to
their ability to inhibit DNA and RNA synthesis and to their
antibacterial and antiviral properties. Specifically looking at
the immune system, some phytonutrients can regulate immune responses, increase the number of specific immune
cells and enhance immune activities.
With so many phytonutrients, and different activities it
is impossible to isolate specific compounds to try to
protect our health. Luckily most plant foods each contain
dozens of phytonutrients. We should try to eat a wide
variety in order to consume as many different
phytonutrients as possible. Phytonutrients are often colour specific, where food that have the same color often have
similar types of phytonutrients. For this reason, many
leading health organizations such as the American Institute
for Cancer Research, the American Heart Association and
the World Health Organization recommend “eating a
rainbow” — many kinds of colourful fruits, vegetables,
legumes, nuts, and seeds to ensure we are benefiting from
a broad variety of phytonutrients.

Fruits and Vegetables

This has been the guiding principle for NeoLife’s phytonutrient supplements:
Carotenoid Complex was formulated to bridge the gap in our dietary
intake of these important phytonutrients. From its conception, we recognized
that carotenoids work synergistically and that each carotenoid may have a
specific function in the body. Carotenoid Complex is therefore a broad spectrum supplement delivering the carotenoids that would be present in
an optimal serving of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables.
Carotenoid Complex is among the most researched nutrition supplements in
the market. In a series of clinical trials conducted between 1993 and 2001
by various research institutions, we showed that carotenoids in Carotenoid
Complex are bioavailable they are efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream.
We also showed that supplementation with Carotenoid Complex lowers
markers of oxidative damage and enhances parameters of immune function.
Specifically, these studies showed that Carotenoid Complex dramatically
increased both immune cell levels and overall immune cell responsiveness.
Supplementation with Carotenoid Complex boosted levels of a particular type of
white blood cells, the lymphocytes, which are the body’s first immunologic line of
defence against disease. Supplementation with Carotenoid Complex also
increased the level of another type of immune cell: natural killer cells. These cells
are very important in fighting off virally infected cells.
Flavonoid Complex was NeoLifes’ first polyphenol supplement. Flavonoid
Complex contains flavonoids representative of all flavonoid classes —
flavones, flavanols, flavanones, anthocyanins, and catechins — just as they
naturally occur in whole fruit and vegetables. NeoLife’s exclusive blend of
flavonoid-rich extracts and concentrates is derived from cranberries, kale,
green tea, beetroot, elderberries, red and black grapes, oranges, lemons,
and grapefruit. Each tablet provides the phytonutrient value of an optimal
serving of flavonoid-rich fruit and vegetables.
Cruciferous Plus provides an optimal serving of phytonutrients from
selected cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, radish, kale, black mustard,
brown mustard and watercress. These vegetables are unique in that they are
a rich source of Sulphur-containing compounds that impart their pungent
aroma and bitter taste. In our body these compounds have a number of
activities that promote health and prevent disease.
PhytoDefense with 3 Carotenoid Complex, 2 Flavonoid Complex and 1
Cruciferous Plus delivers a broad range of powerful phytonutrients from
whole-food sources. It is formulated to deliver the different classes of carotenoids, flavonoids and cruciferous vegetable health protective compounds
as you would find in six servings of phytonutrient-rich fruit and vegetables.

 

References:
1. Brindha PP. Role of phytochemicals as immunomodulatory agents: A review. International Journal of Green Pharmacy
(IJGP). 2016;10(1). doi:10.22377/ijgp.v10i1.600
2. Naithani R, Mehta RG, Shukla D, Chandersekera SN, Moriarty RM. Antiviral Activity of Phytochemicals: A Current Perspective. In: Watson RR, Zibadi S, Preedy VR, eds. Dietary Components and Immune Function. Nutrition and Health.
Totowa, NJ: Humana Press; 2010:421-468. doi:10.1007/978-1-60761-061-8_24
3. Gupta C, Prakash D. Phytonutrients as therapeutic agents. J Complement Integr Med. 2014;11(3):151-169.
doi:10.1515/jcim-2013-0021
4. Kramer TR, Burri BJ. Modulated mitogenic proliferative responsiveness of lymphocytes in whole-blood cultures
after a low-carotene diet and mixed-carotenoid supplementation in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65(3):871-875.
doi:10.1093/ajcn/65.3.871

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