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05 Jul: Immune boosters – meditation

So far I have been exploring different nutrients that have positive effects on the immune system. I have also heard that meditation can have such effects, and so wanted to find out more and look at some recent research on the topic. I know that meditation does a lot of good for the body and mind, and was excited to see what the research has to say about it when it comes to immunity. The first study I found was a systematic review on all randomized controlled trials between 1966 and 2015 that were studying the effects of mindfulness meditation on immune system markers. The authors reported that mindfulness meditation had at least trend-level positive effects on four immune system related parameters (for example reduced C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation). They concluded that while the data is promising, much more research is needed to confirm these findings. (1) Another…


17 May: Immune boosters – healthy microbiome

It seems that the human microbiome has become a hot topic in recent years. Lots of research has come out that shows us how important the bacteria (and other microbes) that live on our skin, gastrointestinal tract, lining of the respiratory system etc, are for our health. The Human Microbiome Project found 3,500-35,000 species inhabiting our body and there are actually more microbes in the body than there are body cells (9). Both good and bad microbes exist in our bodies, but in a healthy person there exists an appropriate balance between the two (1-3). However it is not exactly known what constitutes as a healthy microbiome, and what’s more, every person has their own unique composition of different microorganisms (9).

07 May: Immune boosters – Echinacea

The first time I became aware of Echinacea, was at a grocery store tea isle. The packaging of Echinacea tea promised improved immunity for the person drinking the tea. I never thought to check the validity of this claim until now with the novel coronavirus pandemic, and I found some interesting information. Echinacea is an extract derived from a perennial flowering plant Echinacea purpurea. It is unclear what the active ingredients of Echinacea are exactly, but it contains many substances with potential medicinal effects. (3) I found a relatively recent article discussing the effects of Echinacea on immunity, and more specifically on the components of physical barrier function (think skin, lining of the lungs), innate immunity (mechanisms that are in place against all invaders) and adaptive immunity (mechanisms that attack specific pathogens). The authors compiled multiple studies, and found mostly promising results. One study saw that Echinacea could help promote the…

26 Apr: Immune boosters – Zinc

Zinc is a mineral and a busy one, too: about a 100 enzymes in the body need zinc to function properly, it’s needed in DNA and protein synthesis, and – you guessed it – in immunity. (1) In the immune system, zinc’s role is to develop and activate various white blood cells, the warriors of our immune system that rush onto the scene of infection and fight the perpetrators. Both T and B-lymphocytes need zinc for this – the role of these cells is to produce antibodies that help destroy foreign invaders. Antibodies can directly kill the pathogen, or flag it for other types of white blood cells to come take care of it. (2, 9) Additionally, zinc deficiency has been seen to reduce natural killer cell activity (a type of lymphocyte that scans cells in our body and kills the ones that are not “self”), inhibit antibody responses and…

20 Apr: Immune Boosters – Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another nutrient that the body needs for proper immune system function. Just like vitamin C, vitamin D plays a role in both the body’s innate and adaptive immune responses, but it’s also needed for bone health (which I won’t talk about in this post). Basics A few things to know about vitamin D in general before I dive into its effects on immunity. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, and it is unique in that your body can make it. This is nice because natural food sources of Vitamin D are not that easy to find. Ultraviolet light triggers the production of vitamin D from a molecule derived from cholesterol, which then has to be converted by your liver to 25 hydroxy vitamin D, the storage form of this vitamin, and then activated by your kidneys to the active form. Similarly, Vitamin D from food has to…

14 Apr: Immunity Boosters – Vitamin C

Not surprisingly, I’ve recently seen a lot of writing about boosting your immunity to avoid getting sick from the Coronavirus (and really from any bug for that matter). There are quite a few things that are said to improve one’s immunity, including many nutrients and lifestyle choices. Vitamin C – a water soluble vitamin and a potent antioxidant is one of those nutrients. But, will taking a vitamin C supplement prevent me from getting sick? Vitamin C does play a great role in the functioning of the immune system, supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. It enhances epithelial barrier functions (think skin, the lining of your mouth, lungs, etc.), and is needed in the functioning of various white blood cells. Deficiency in this vitamin predisposes us to getting sick, and being sick causes us to use more vitamin C than usual. One article summarizing…

13 Dec: The power of Yoga

From experience I know how good it feels to practice yoga (postures, in this case – yoga includes many other things also, such as meditation). Doing yoga invigorates me, calms me, and makes my body stronger. The feeling of well-being after practicing yoga is often quite extraordinary. What’s more, and what I didn’t fully realize, is that there is also lots of scientific research done on the benefits of yoga. Yoga is actually being considered as alternative medicine(!). The list is long! Here are some examples: It releases stress Reduces depression, anxiety, insomnia Promotes cardiovascular health through lower resting heart rate, increased blood flow to tissues, lower blood pressure, increased hemoglobin levels, blood thinning effect to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, improved blood oxygenation etc… Reduces chronic pain Strengthens muscles, improves flexibility Has antioxidant effects (increases glutathione, vitamin C and vitamin E blood levels) Some studies suggest…

12 Dec: Welcome!

I’m very excited to publish the first post of my new website! Here I will talk about nutrition and wellness – I would love to receive any suggestions for topics you might be interested in learning more about! I actually started writing blog posts already some years ago, and all the prior posts can be found in my old blog site at There are quite a few posts there, check them out! You can subscribe to the blog using the form in the lower left corner – please do! I hope this blog will be helpful to you. Love, Anna-Kaisa