By: Aeon Mapa
The burning question many of us have today, especially in the midst of a COVID outbreak is: What can we do to increase our immune response? We do not need to turn to vaccines for this to happen. The truth is that our body is more than capable of naturally defending itself against a relatively mild virus like COVID. However in order for it to be able to do this, we need to reinforce our immune system so that it can provide natural, long-term and effective resistance to disease. In this article we will learn about the antibodies that provide this protection and how eating organic food is an effective way to support them.
Understanding the Immunoglobin Antibodies
The main workers of our immune system are the immunoglobin antibodies. They live in our blood plasma and work by binding themselves to bacteria and viruses then destroying them. There are three types which serve specific purposes such as: defending our body from disease (IgM), protecting our respiratory system (IgA) and providing long-term immunity to pathogens (IgG).1 Without healthy immunoglobin levels, the human body can easily succumb to disease. In the context of a COVID outbreak, these cells are essential for defense, recovery and immunity. IgA antibodies, which specifically protect our mucosal surfaces, are invaluable in dealing with respiratory viruses. 2
How Does Organic Food Boost IG levels?
Research has shown the the level of immunoglobin in our blood is affected by our nutrition. Vitamins A, E and Zinc are some of the nutrients which have been shown to raise immunoglobin levels. 3 Additionally these nutrients are among those which have been found in greater concentration in organic foods 4. Given this information, we can conclude that organic food has a direct effect on your immune system due to the increased presence of immunoglobin-boosting nutrients. A diet that contains more organic food enables your body to defend itself better and also to remain healthy while granting resilience against future infections.
In addition to this, it is free of pesticide residue. Pesticides such as atrazin, organophophorus compounds, carbamates, and pyrethroids have been shown to inhibit your body’s ability to produce these valuable antibodies.5 By switching to organic food, you lose all the risks while gaining all the benefits. Although I have not been able to find a study directly linking immunoglobin levels to organic diets, the facts and studies presented here can be consolidated to point towards such a relationship.
Conclusive Results of Strengthened Immune Response in Animals
While there has yet to be a long-term conclusive study on the relation of organic food on the health of humans, there have been such studies conducted on animals. One study on mice was conducted by providing organic food to one group, and conventionally grown food to the other. The findings were significant in the context of immune response, as mentioned in the quote below:
”In conclusion, the differences in dietary treatments composed of ingredients from different cultivation systems did not lead to significant differences in the measured health biomarkers, except for a significant difference in plasma IgG levels.” 6
Remember, Immunoglobin G antibodies are those that provide us long-term immunity from disease. In another study, an organic diet was shown to increase the number of regulatory T cells in rats. T cells are another inhabitant of our immune system, and together with the B cells they are essential in the creation of immunoglobins in our system. 7
This is an important discovery:
“ The consumption of the .. organic’ ..carrots induced some changes in lymphocyte populations, including an increase in regulatory T cells… This is the first evidence of a regulatory T cell increase induced by organic food consumption.” 8
These experiments have shown beyond a doubt, that organic produce boosts the immune systems of these animals.
Can We Draw Our Own Conclusions?
There is a lot of scientifically sound information available on the different aspects of organic food’s impact on the immune system. Although there has yet to be a study released with results in humans, we can use our logic to connect the dots.
Immunoglobins are on of the most important defenses against viruses and bacteria. IgA is of particular importance for COVID infections as they protect mucosal surfaces.. Specific nutrients that boost IG levels are found in higher concentration in organic produce. Additionally, pesticides on conventional foods are proven to reduce IG production. And finally, direct increase of immunoglobins have already been found in organically-fed animals. Now that you know the facts, you can come to your own conclusions.
- Roselli, M., Finamore, A., Brasili, E., Capuani, G., Kristensen, H.L., Micheloni, C. and Mengheri, E. (2012), Impact of organic and conventional carrots on intestinal and peripheral immunity. J. Sci. Food Agric., 92: 2913-2922. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.5667
Maja M. Jensen, Henry Jørgensen, Ulrich Halekoh, Jørgen E. Olesen, and Charlotte Lauridsen
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2012 60 (25), 6383-6390
DOI: 10.1021/jf3011323 https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf3011323