Vitamin E is the tweed jacket of the supplement world: not the newest idea out there, but a classic that always works—and stands the test of time and the threat of trends.
This powerful antioxidant has a long list of benefits for everything from the heart to the eyes, and helps prevent Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.
Now, new research has revealed another potential benefit: It can help ward off pneumonia.
In the study, two groups of mice were given either a diet with “normal” amounts of vitamin E or with extra, supplemental vitamin E (the equivalent of about 200 IU) for four weeks before being infected with pneumonia. The goal was to determine vitamin E’s ability to improve resistance in older animals by modulating neutrophil responses.
Neutrophils are the most common type of white blood cell. And when it comes to pneumonia, your body needs just the right amount. Too few, and you can’t fight off the infection. Too many, and you wind up with potentially deadly levels of inflammation.
Two days following infection, animals in the control group had 1,000 times greater bacterial burden, 2.2-fold higher levels of neutrophils in the lungs, and a 2.25-fold increased rate of lethal septicemia. The vitamin E-supplemented older mice, on the other hand, had levels of neutrophils in their lungs that were comparable to younger controls.
In other words, vitamin E actually made the animals’ immune systems younger—and better able to fend off dangerous bacteria.
The benefits of this finding aren’t just limited to pneumonia, either. Last April, I told you about a frightening epidemic, called immunosenescence (or, as I call it, immunity rot), sweeping through American retirees. Immunity rot is the gradual breakdown of your immune system over time. The beginning stages usually begin to appear in your 50s. And the toll it can take is downright devastating.
Which is one of the reasons this new research on vitamin E is so promising (even if it is an animal study). One of the lead researchers even commented “vitamin E could make up for the loss of immune response caused by aging.”
In other words, it could help reverse immunity rot.
But vitamin E isn’t the only weapon against immunity rot. In fact, there are at least five other natural weapons you can add to your arsenal:
- Dimethylgycine HCl. This is a naturally occurring amino acid and antioxidant that can help optimize your immune responses.
- Larch tree extract. Larch tree extract contains arabinogalactins—polysaccharides that pack serious immune support.
- Maitake D-fraction.® This powerful mushroom extract may help support all of your immune system’s key players.
- Beta 1,3 glucan. These are sugars extracted from the cell walls of baker’s yeast. And clinical studies show that supplementing with beta 1,3 glucans offers crucial immune support.
- Olive leaf extract. Extracts from olive leaf deliver a long list of phytochemicals that may help keep your immune system primed.
And of course, it’s important to remember more than 80 percent of the body’s immune cells reside in the gut. So I always recommend adding a good, quality, multi-strain probiotic to your supplement regimen.
You can read more about immunity rot and the natural immune-supporting supplements to combat it in the May 2014 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. Subscribers can view this issue for free on my website (and if you’re not already a subscriber, the website also has all the information you need to become one today).
“The alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E reverses age-associated susceptibility to Streptococcus pneumoniaelung infection by modulating pulmonary neutrophil recruitment.” The Journal of Immunology2015; 194(3): 1,090-1,099