Now is the time to really start to look at your health and how you can help your body be the best it can be. Health should be our first priority, so we’re going to give you our specialist knowledge with a series of Immune Booster tips. We start with Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is more than just a single nutrient, but a broad group of related nutrients, each providing us with differing health benefits. Below is a brief explanation to vitamin A, and some of the health benefits that it offers.
There are some specific immune, inflammatory, genetic and reproductive-related benefits of vitamin A that can only be obtained from the retinoid (animal source) forms of the vitamin.
These act much in the same way as retinoids in providing us with unique health benefits. They function as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, with some having a special role to play in the protection of our health. The two forms aren’t just chemically different – they also provide us with different types of health benefits. Each offer specific immune, inflammatory and genetic benefits of vitamin A, with some that can only be obtained from the retinoid (animal source) forms of the vitamin.
Retinoids are especially important with respect to pregnancy and childbirth, childhood growth, night vision, red blood cell production and resistance to infectious disease. However, retinoids in high dosages can be cause birth defects and, therefore, it is unwise to supplement retinoid-based supplements when pregnant unless otherwise specified by your physician.
In most instances we will be required to consume both retinoids and carotenoids, with carotenoids converting to retinol in the body. However, conversion of the most important carotenoid, beta-carotene, differs between individuals based on their genetic variances.
Vitamin A is also called the “anti‐infective” vitamin and many of the body’s defences against infection depend on an adequate supply.
The below studies will highlight the importance of vitamin A with regards to maintaining a healthy and strong immune system.
Studies have shown that an impaired immune response is largely due to the deficiency of specific nutrients. Vitamin A deficiency is strongly involved in various diseases such as measles and diarrhoea.
1. Vitamin A and immunity to viral, bacterial and protozoan infections.
“Vitamin A supplementation reduced morbidity and mortality in different infectious diseases, such as measles, diarrheal disease, measles‐related pneumonia, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and malaria”
2. Vitamin A supplements ameliorate the adverse effect of HIV-1, malaria, and diarrheal infections on child growth.
“Vitamin A supplementation improves linear and ponderal growth in infants who are infected with HIV and malaria, respectively, and decreases the risk of stunting associated with persistent diarrhea. Supplementation could constitute a low-cost, effective intervention to decrease the burden of growth retardation in settings where infectious diseases are highly prevalent”
3. Effects of dietary vitamin A content on antibody responses of feedlot calves inoculated intramuscularly with an inactivated bovine coronavirus vaccine.
“Low vitamin A diets might compromise the effectiveness of inactivated bovine coronavirus vaccines and render calves more susceptible to infectious disease. The effect of infection with infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), a kind of coronaviruses, was more pronounced in chickens fed a diet marginally deficient in vitamin A than in those fed a diet adequate in vitamin A”
4. Retinoids inhibit measles virus through a type I IFN-dependent bystander effect.
“These results demonstrate that retinoids inhibit MeV replication by up-regulating elements of the innate immune response in uninfected bystander cells, making them refractory to productive infection during subsequent rounds of viral replication”
Retinoids (vitamin A animal source) forms of the vitamin could be a useful for the treatment of coronavirus and the prevention of lung infection.
In most instances we will be required to consume both retinoids and carotenoids, with carotenoids converting to retinol in the body, however conversion of the most important carotenoid, beta-carotene, differs between individuals based on their genetic variances.
Depending on your genetic variation of gene BCO1 (beta-carotene oxygenase 1), will affect your ability to convert Beta-carotene from plants into retinol effectively.
Retinoids and animal sources contain the active form of vitamin A already, and thus conversion is not needed.
So, if you are following a vegan diet and or have a poor gene variant of BCO1, then you’ll be more than likely to develop certain health concerns.
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