Immune responses are your body’s first line of defense against infection. Without a properly functioning immune system, you’re at risk for a whole host of health concerns. Your body can’t fight off pathogens like viruses as you encounter them.
One component of the immune system, T cells, is particularly important for providing your body with immunity from harmful foreign substances. These white blood cells circulate throughout the body until they encounter something to fight. Read on to learn more about these powerful cells and how the antioxidant properties of Vitamin E directly support the growth and function of these cells—and your immune system as a whole.
The role of T cells in immune response
You can think of T cells as a powerful fighting force within your body, keeping infection at bay by fighting infected cells and activating other immune cells. In other words, they pack a one-two punch that supports your overall immune system.
When any pathogen, including a virus, enters the body, T cells swiftly jump into action. They effectively eliminate viruses by killing any and all infected cells. If significant oxidative stress damages T cells, it effectively deprives your body of the tools you need to repair these important cells so that they spring into action when they need to. That’s why keeping your immune system in excellent shape, as well as reducing the effects of oxidative stress, is so important.
Maintaining healthy levels of T cells isn’t a problem for most healthy people. That said, rising stress-related conditions and the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in society today have shed light on the need to safeguard T cells and support their production.
What causes low T cell count?
A doctor typically calls for a T cell count if you’re showing symptoms of an immunodeficiency disorder. A small sample of your blood is taken in a procedure known as venipuncture—a blood draw. It’s a simple procedure done in the doctor’s office, and you’ll be free to go about your day after the blood draw. Your doctor will determine your T cell count and discuss your results with you, and when this test is required, the results typically show a low T cell count.
The primary cause of a low T cell count is usually a problem with your immune system or lymph nodes. Beyond that, there are a variety of contributing factors that lead to a low T cell count including:
- Viral infections, including influenza
- Immunodeficiency disorders
- Radiation exposure
- Cancers that impact blood or lymph nodes including leukemia and Hodgkin’s Disease
- Congenital T cell deficiency
- The general aging process
If your doctor performs a T cell count and finds that you have a low count, you’ll likely require further tests to diagnose the root cause of the issue. Your doctor can also provide you with appropriate treatment options, which may include medications that increase your T cell count. While no specific foods are directly linked to T cell production, following a healthy diet will boost your overall immune system function.
How does Vitamin E support T cell production?
Vitamin E plays an important role in supporting the growth of T cells. Since Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, it helps T cells fight off the effects of oxidative stress caused by exposure to UV radiation, air pollution, smoking and other generators of harmful free radicals. Studies show that higher doses of Vitamin E can reduce stress on immune cells, including T cells.
While adults should receive a recommended daily value of 15mg of Vitamin E per day, many people don’t achieve that through a healthy diet alone. It’s often the case that an all-natural Vitamin E supplement can be beneficial not only for the body’s immune system, but in other ways like improving skin health and slowing the aging process.
Consult with a physician about T cell counts and supplements
There are many reasons why you may consider taking a Vitamin E supplement. Enhancing your body’s immune system—especially for aging individuals—is just one of the many benefits. If you’re concerned about your immune system function, the best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with your doctor. Whether you’re dealing with a low T cell count or you think your immune system could use an extra boost, your doctor may suggest a range of supplements, including Vitamin E.
Only start taking a supplement as recommended by your doctor, and if one is suggested, go with an all-natural option that works effectively to keep your body healthy.