Is your immune system struggling? Many people suffer from a compromised or weakened immune system due to a variety of influences, including stress, age, sun exposure, air pollution and many other external factors. While most people understand Vitamin C’s role in promoting healthy immune system function, they’re not aware of the immune-boosting benefits of Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, keeping them from damaging or even killing healthy cells throughout the body. In terms of immune system function, Vitamin E assists with T cell production—these are the cells that directly fight infection. Read on to learn more about the important link between Vitamin E and T cells and how it can help you live a healthier life.
What are T Cells and how do they work?
T cells are just one of your body’s weapons that fight against infection. A T cell is a type of white blood cell that plays an integral role in every person’s immune system. They originate in bone marrow and are sent to tissues throughout the body through the blood and lymphatic system, all the while fighting off harmful infections in cells.
T cells signal your immune system to respond to infection throughout the body. When it detects pathogens, including viruses, T cells immediately spring into action by eliminating both the virus and any cells infected with it. For people suffering from cancer, T cells are vitally important. They bind to kill infected cells and cancer cells, organizing and orchestrating to fight against cancer.
The role of Vitamin E in immune response
Your body is exposed to several stressors every day that contribute to free radical production. Your diet, exercise habits and environmental factors like air pollution, UV light, alcohol use, smoking habits and more cause free radicals to multiply in the body. While this process is entirely natural (and even beneficial at moderate levels) an abundance of free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which damages healthy cells. This can lead to cell corruption or premature cell death.
Vitamin E serves as your body’s fighting force against free radicals and the development of oxidative stress. It’s a fat-soluble nutrient stored in tissues in the body, released whenever free radicals are detected. Vitamin E neutralizes these free radicals, reducing the stress they place on the body’s immune cells, including T cells. As a result, Vitamin E plays a significant role in immunity, both in reducing the risk of illness and combatting existing conditions.
While Vitamin E alone can’t fight off infection or serious diseases like cancer, diabetes or certain heart conditions, scientists believe it can play a role in preventing them. It also offers a host of other major benefits, such as improving skin health and slowing down the aging process. It’s an essential nutrient that everyone needs to survive—and feel their best.
How T Cells and Vitamin E cooperate
Vitamin E levels are directly linked to the growth and development of healthy T cells. According to the NIH, “Vitamin E modulates T cell function through directly impacting T cell membrane integrity, signal transduction, and cell division, and also indirectly by affecting inflammatory mediators generated from other immune cells.”
In short, maintaining healthy Vitamin E levels is essential when it comes to promoting T cell production. If you want to fortify your immune system, maintaining adequate Vitamin E levels—15mg per day for healthy adults—is essential. Modulating antioxidant levels enables proper T cell function and an acute immune response when the body becomes threatened.
Boosting immune function by supplementing Vitamin E
If you’re looking to boost your immune system and live a healthier lifestyle, increasing your Vitamin E intake can help. While there are plenty of whole foods rich in Vitamin E, it’s often hard for most adults to incorporate enough of them into their diet, which makes supplementing an ideal solution. In fact, according to the NIH, “The immunomodulatory effects of supplemental Vitamin E have been shown to be beneficial in mitigating several viral, bacteria and allergic diseases.”
Before taking a Vitamin E supplement—or any other supplement—talk to your doctor to determine if it’s right for you. Only a healthcare professional can determine whether a Vitamin E supplement can benefit your immune system and your overall health. If you get approval from your doctor, choose your supplement carefully. Only supplement with all-natural, organic Vitamin E to supply your body with the most effective form of the nutrient and enjoy a better-functioning immune system.