In this video, Sumit Mehrotra from Wellkasa, talks to Donald Abrams, MD, Integrative Oncologist, to learn about the benefits and risks of immune support supplements. See this informative 10-minute video to learn about our immune system and the benefits and risks of immune boosting supplements including the role of these supplements for people with cancer.
What is the immune system and what do we mean by immune health?
The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs to help the body fight infection and disease. It is our line of defense to protect against foreign invaders (viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.) In addition to fending off harmful external microorganisms, our immune system also neutralizes cancer cells. It is normal for our body to produce cancer cells, and a healthy immune system naturally destroys these cancer cells before they turn into tumors. In this complex network that makes up our immune system, lymphocytes are particularly important. Lymphocytes are immune cells produced in the bone marrow and found in the blood and in lymph nodes. There are 2 types of lymphocytes, B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. B lymphocytes make antibodies, and T lymphocytes help kill cells directly, including tumor cells.
How Can You Boost Your Immune System?
The foundation of a good immune system starts with being healthy, which means:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Eating a healthy diet of mostly plants & whole grains that is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
- Getting good sleep 7-8 hours.
- Exercising regularly.
- Reducing stress and
- Keeping up to date on vaccinations.
To complement the above healthy regimen, the following supplements may be considered for immune support (Click each link to learn more):
For people with cancer, modern immunotherapies help the immune system find and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapies require a healthy microbiome to be effective. A healthy microbiome can be achieved with a diet of organic plant-based antioxidant rich anti-inflammatory whole foods.
You may find more information and research on immunotherapy through the following link:
Risks of Immune Boosting Supplements
Dr. Abrams cautions against overuse of even the most benign supplements as overuse may lead to bodily harm. For the supplements discussed in this talk, he points out the following potential risks in case of overuse:
- Vitamin C overuse may lead to kidney stones.
- Excess intake of Vitamin D for long periods may lead to the calcification of the arteries, even the aorta.
- He also recommends that medicinal mushrooms not be taken by people with lymphoma or myeloma or those whose immune systems are already boosted with immunotherapy.
- He advises caution on turmeric mixed with black pepper for people on multiple pharmaceuticals. Black pepper increases absorption of many medications. Therefore, he says that black pepper mixed with turmeric should not be taken by people on oral cancer medication or patients should take their prescription drugs at least 2 hours after taking black pepper mixed turmeric.
- Lastly, he advises against fish oil or omega 3 doses over 4g daily as it may lead to bleeding.
Wellkasa is committed to safe and effective use of supplements. We recommend that patients and caregivers review the supplement research available on Wellkasa and discuss their supplement regimen with their medical provider.
See the entire chat in the video below.