Tag Archives: immunity

Reversing Age-Related Impairment and Immunity

While the average life-expectancy for humans continues to increase, a longer life span has been tied to an uptick in age-related disease and impairment across the globe. As a result of a declining immune system, the growing elderly population is more prone to infectious diseases – including influenza and COVID-19. Additionally, this group is commonly affected by age-related frailty, which has a significant negative impact on quality of life. The high level of care and involvement required to maintain the health of these patients has the potential to bear a growing burden on the healthcare system which is part of the reason underlying research efforts in the field of human longevity.

The current body of knowledge suggests the role of chronic low-grade inflammation in the biological aging process and development of age-related diseases; scientific evidence implicates that the presence of inflammation in the body accelerates aging. Hoping to uncover more information about additional factors that may contribute to an accelerated process and potential methods of reversing them, a team of researchers from the Department for BioMedical Research at the University of Bern conducted a study with findings published in Nature Metabolism.

Age-Related Frailty and Immunity

Under Bernese guidance, Dr. Mario Noti and Dr. Alexander Eggel aimed to identify new approaches to improving health-span in an ever-increasing aging population by focusing on adipose tissue eosinophils (ATEs) present in humans and mice. These immune cells found in visceral adipose tissue, otherwise known as belly fat, play an essential role in regulating inflammation and could be used to reverse aging processes; these cells are important in the control of obesity-related inflammation and metabolic disease as they are responsible for maintaining local immune homeostasis. Increasing age is tied to a decrease in eosinophils in adipose tissue and an increase in pro-inflammatory macrophages – turning belly fat into a source of pro-inflammatory activity.

Role of Eosinophils in Chronic Inflammation

The study’s authors demonstrated that visceral adipose tissue contributed to the development of chronic low-grade inflammation. They found that ATEs undergo major age-related changes in distribution and function associated with impaired adipose tissue homeostasis and systemic low-grade inflammation in human subjects as well as mice. However, exposure to a young systemic environment  was able to partially restore ATE distribution in aged subjects by reducing adipose tissue inflammation.

“In different experimental approaches, we were able to show that transfers of eosinophils from young mice into aged recipients resolved not only local but also systemic low-grade inflammation,” the researchers told ScienceDaily. ”In these experiments, we observed that transferred eosinophils were selectively homing into adipose tissue.”

Using an adoptive transfer or eosinophils from young mice to aged subjects, researchers were able to restore ATE distribution and sufficiently mitigate age-related local and systemic low-grade inflammation. As a result of the transfer, youthful systemic environments were restored and systemic rejuvenation took place in aged mice. Changes were both physical – assessed by endurance and grip strength tests – and immune-related – manifested in improved vaccination responses.

Dr. Noti and Dr. Eggel’s findings support the critical function of adipose tissue as a source contributing to accelerated aging and uncover the new role of eosinophils in sustaining adipose tissue homeostasis and thus, promoting healthy aging.

Because the age-related changes in adipose immune cell distribution were confirmed in human subjects, the latest study may have significant positive implications for the anti-aging medicine field when translated into clinical practice. Age-related frailty and immune decline may be halted and potentially even reversed as a result of this novel cell-based therapeutic approach.

“Our results indicate that the biological processes of aging and the associated functional impairments are more plastic than previously assumed,” Dr. Noti stated. “A future direction of our research will be to now leverage the gained knowledge for the establishment of targeted therapeutic approaches to promote and sustain healthy aging in humans,” his research partner Dr. Eggel concluded.

 

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How to Boost the Immune System in Times of Global Epidemic

There have now been over 290 cases of confirmed novel coronavirus in the United States and a total of 14 deaths related to the disease. The number of infected individuals outside of mainland China – the epicenter of the virus – is quickly rising and increasingly becoming a cause of global public health concern. As the epidemic continues to spread worldwide with no current solution, worries of a pandemic are profound; hand sanitizer and facial mask supplies are being depleted by anxious individuals hoping to protect themselves from exposure in this still uncontrolled situation.

External protection including virus protection masks may have the opposite of their intended effect, increasing the risk of infection instead. Frequent and proper hand-washing is consistently proving to be the most effective method of preventing the disease, while reducing exposure to COVID-19 is imperative – as is fortifying the body’s natural defense system.

Protecting the Immune System

With the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases escalating, now is the time to focus on boosting the immune system to naturally protect the body from the evolving epidemic and effectively fight off the infection.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle – by following good-health guidelines – is vital to naturally keep the immune system strong and functioning at its optimal capacity. Individuals hoping to protect their immune system or boost its strength should employ healthy living strategies such as: regular exercise, weight management, conscious nutritional choices, limited alcohol consumption, and adequate sleep patterns. Further, it is important to minimize stress levels as cortisol overproduction can impair immune functioning; ensuring a healthy work-life balance, taking breaks when necessary, and incorporating meditation along with other stress-reduction techniques can help support both physical and emotional wellbeing.

Boosting Immunity

While there are no quick tips to immediately boost the health of the immune system, there are several practices that can help promote optimal immune functioning over time. For example, eating foods rich in antioxidants – such as berries, garlic, and onions – can reduce the risk of virus infection as well as consuming anti-inflammatory foods on a daily basis – such as fresh vegetables and fruits – which lower body-wide inflammation, supporting systemic functions, and combating age-related chronic diseases.

Ensuring quality sleeping patterns is essential to rebuilding a struggling immune system as is the avoidance of toxins. Minimizing exposure to chlorinated drinking water, pesticides, aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pollution, and food additives can help protect against the negative effects of common toxins on the body’s immunity.

Due to its systemic nature, the immune system is challenging to boost with a singular solution. Therefore, following a holistic, healthy lifestyle, avoiding noxious elements, and reducing stress levels can have a profound impact on immune functioning. Although none of these solutions are “quick-fixes” to staying healthy in the face of a global epidemic, improving current lifestyle habits can greatly boost both physical and mental long-term health, making the body less susceptible to viruses and diseases while minimizing their severity if they do occur.

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