The body’s immune system is an important part of the body that plays an essential role in the protection against different pathogens. To date, individuals start to maintain their immune system for healthy body functioning. Furthermore, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the immune system gets more attention due to the coronavirus that causes inflammation and severe immune response in the body.

Studies indicated that the immune system does not show great potential to cope with different microbes. Modern medicine has made significant contributions to sanitation and public health programs, as well as advances such as antibiotics and vaccination, over the previous century. These effectively slowed the spread of infectious diseases in the population. In this case, natural supplements and immunomodulators become helpful and fight off against infections. These immunomodulators boost the body’s immune response and help in the treatment of different diseases.

Why are immunomodulators so important?

Studies indicated that immunomodulators do not always boost the body’s immunity. For example, if someone is taking an immunomodulator with low immunity, then this immunomodulator increases the immunity; on the other hand, if you are taking an immunomodulator with an overactive immunity, it may inhibit or reduce the immune response. Thus, give an immunomodulator to that person who has an infection that may develop compromised immunity so that immunomodulators bring out the tolerance effect; that’s why immunomodulators are so significant.

Immuno-m® is a supplement developed in Germany via unique technologies. This supplement is safe and effective and is considered a natural immunomodulatory. It is famous for its anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidant effects. It can be used to prevent and treat multiple diseases. In vitro and in vivo studies confirmed its practical use for the treatment of patients.

Immuno-m® as a natural immunomodulator

Current evidence reported that natural immunomodulators are safer and more effective as compared to chemical ones. These immunomodulators have become the area of scientific research due to their eco-friendly and less toxic nature. Natural supplements such as Immuno-m® that can affect the body’s immune system include active substances from different herbs, vegetables, fruits, bacterial products, minerals, vitamins, and animal products. Immuno-m® can boost or suppress the “host defense response” and can be effectively used as “prophylaxis”, or it can be used as a supplement in treatment alone or in combination with other therapeutic approaches.

Immuno-m® natural food supplement contains polypeptide milk ferment for immune system modulation, and it is developed in Germany. It is considered a natural and novel therapeutic approach to regulate and boost the inflammatory processes. Immuno-m® contains furthermore the following ingredients: “Different lactobacilli composition (L. animalis, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. lactis, B. bifidum, B. longum, B. lactis), polypeptides from yeast-fermented milk, colostrum, chondroitin sulfate, cholecalciferol and oleic acid from palm oil”.

Polypeptides in Immuno-m®

Polypeptides act as a defense of the body against harmful effects-probiotics are effective against inflammation, protect the microbiome, toxicity, and so on. These polypeptides are essential in lowering the glycemic index, to reduce lipogenesis and synthesis of cholesterol. Also, they have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and boost immunity properties.

Colostrum in Immuno-m®

The Colostrum in Immuno-m® consists of different oligopeptides and polypeptides, lactoferrin, and other bioactive compounds. The most vital function of lactoferrin performs – it directs the antimicrobial effects and is involved in the different signaling interactions in the body. Lactoferrin also possesses immunomodulatory properties and activates immune cells. It is also involved in the T and B cell and DC maturation and increases the antibody level. Moreover, lactoferrin plays a crucial role in the development of healthy microbiota and promotes the growth of lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. Also, lactoferrin has been found to directly stimulate intestinal growth and proliferation.

Cholecalciferol and Chondroitin Sulfate, Oleic acid

Studies showed that cholecalciferol, chondroitin sulfate, and oleic acid from palm oil could effectively regulate the body’s immune system. These three components of Immuno-m® activate the macrophages, and these cells are responsible for fighting against the diseases, help in tissue repair, and trigger the immune response against inflammation. Furthermore, studies also indicated that Immuno-m® decreases the concentration of nagalase (enzyme), which facilities viral infections and suppresses the activity of macrophages from attacking infected cells.

Health benefits of Immune modulating supplements

Protection against various pathological infections is the primary function of the immune system. It also performs a function to clear damaged cells and protection against malignant cells.

Genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, environment, and interactions of these factors decide the heterogeneity among individuals concerning their immunological functions. Nutrition has been studied for several years as the modifiable factor which offers a deep impact on the normal functioning of the immune system. Like other systems of the body, the immune system also depends upon the supply of adequate nutrient supplements for proper functioning. 

Nutritional deficiencies are one of the major contributors to morbidity and mortality in people affected by infectious diseases. Even in well-developed countries, nutritional issues like less ideal diet composition, specific nutrient deficiency, and excess calorie consumption are common.

All the scientific community agrees that for immune functions to work properly, nutritional deficiency needs to be solved. Similarly, there is evidence that uptake of certain nutrient supplements above the normal value helps to improve immune function and helps to fight against infections.    

People typically take up particular meals or vitamin supplements that are supposed to increase immunity during flu season or other times of illness. Citrus fruits, chicken soup, and honey-infused tea are all good sources of vitamin C. Our immune system, on the other hand, is influenced by a perfect balance of many elements, not simply diet, and especially not by any single food or vitamin. A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, combined with healthy lifestyle variables such as exercise, appropriate sleep, and low stress, prepares the body to fight efficiently against infection and diseases.

A single nutrient deficiency might cause an immune system failure. Zinc, iron, selenium, copper, folic acid, and vitamin deficits have been reported to be the major nutritional deficiencies in animal studies. These nutrients aid the immune system in a variety of ways, like promoting immune cell growth and activity, as an antioxidant to protect healthy cells, and help in creating antibodies. According to epidemiological studies, persons who are malnourished are more susceptible to bacterial, viral, and other diseases. Deficits in these nutrients can be avoided by eating a high-quality diet, but there are some cultures and settings where eating a range of nutritious foods is not always possible or where nutritional needs are higher. A vitamin and mineral supplement may be useful in these situations to help replace dietary gaps. Vitamin supplementation has been demonstrated to improve immunological responses. Groups at risk of developing nutritional deficiency include low-income households, pregnant and lactating women, infants and toddlers, and critically ill patients. The elderly are an especially vulnerable demographic. As the quantity and quality of immune cells decrease with age, the immune response generally deteriorates. If the elderly suffer a chronic or acute illness, this increases the chance of poor immune function. Furthermore, one-third of the elderly in developed countries suffer from vitamin deficiencies. Multiple drugs that can interfere with nutrient absorption and appetite; malabsorption due to intestinal difficulties; and a loss of appetite owing to chronic illness, sadness, or loneliness are just a few of the reasons. If the elderly suffer a chronic or acute illness, this increases the chance of bad outcomes. Furthermore, one-third of the elderly in developed countries suffers from vitamin inadequacies. Unless prescribed by a physician, a variety of multivitamin/mineral supplements that provides the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) may be used in certain instances. Megadose supplements do not seem to be justified, and they can be detrimental or even negatively affect the immune system in some cases (e.g., as with zinc). Vitamin supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet because none of the supplements is the replacement for a healthy diet.

Immune modulating treatment for Covid-19

Coronaviruses are a wide family of single-stranded RNA viruses found in mammals and birds. Coronaviruses are responsible for respiratory and, less commonly, gastrointestinal illnesses.

Coronaviruses can produce a variety of respiratory symptoms, ranging from a common cold to mild influenza-like symptoms to severe pneumonia. In December 2019, a new type of coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China, that causes pneumonia and mortality. The new coronavirus is known as SARS-CoV-2 because it is genetically related to the SARS-CoV that caused the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

In fact, SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus to have been discovered in humans. However, because SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus to the human immune system, there was no underlying natural immunity to it. This is most likely the reason SARS-CoV-2 has spread so quickly. SARS-CoV-2 attacks respiratory epithelial cells, causing the symptoms listed above and necessitating ventilatory assistance in severe instances. Individuals with weakened immune systems, as well as older adults with existing morbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and hypertension, are particularly vulnerable to severe symptoms and mortality. There is presently no treatment for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 infection. Current measures try to keep the virus from spreading by stopping people from coming into touch with one other. The hunt for vaccinations that can provide immunological protection against SARS-CoV-2 as well as pharmaceutical treatments that will stop the virus from multiplying is now underway. Also, steps should be taken to ensure that people’s immune systems are effectively supported. The importance of nutrition and supplements should be at the forefront of these strategies.

Phase 1 is critical in terms of prevention since people in this stage are carriers and can unknowingly spread the infection. To prevent the virus from entering, replicating, and progressing to phase 2, it is necessary to manage persons in phase 1, as well as create a specialized adaptive immune response and use antivirals. As a result, global tactics may involve the use of antiviral medications and/or immune-boosting dietary supplements. During the second phase of the illness, in addition to maintaining the infected individual’s overall health, treatment may focus on adjusting measures, such as the use of nutritional supplements.

Most countries throughout the world are now working on corona vaccines; a few have begun human trials, while the majority are still in various phases of research and development. Furthermore, there is no specific medicine for the treatment of COVID-19, and there is no data on the impact of dietary supplements on COVID-19 risk or severity at the national or worldwide level. The development of novel antivirals for COVID-19 is a significant challenge that will take a considerable amount of time and effort to design and verify. Several points of evidence suggest that many nutritional supplements derived from various spices, herbs, fruits, roots, and vegetables can stimulate the immune response and lessen the risk or severity of a wide spectrum of viral illnesses. Its anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging properties can be beneficial to persons with insufficient dietary sources. These nutrients could be used to combat the degenerative effects of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. As a result, natural substances may be used in addition to COVID-19 therapy to provide alternate prophylactic and therapeutic treatment.

Since Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses that can cause serious lung damage, immune cells penetrate the lungs in an attempt to repair the damage, causing a substantial inflammatory response. This can cause small blood vessels in the lungs to leak fluid and flood the alveoli, making it harder for oxygen to reach the body’s organs through the bloodstream.

A patient will require the support of ventilation at this point. Excessive activation of the inflammatory response can occur during the fight between the host immune system and coronaviruses. Reactive oxygen species, inflammatory eicosanoids, and inflammatory chemokines and cytokines such as TNF-, IL-1β, and IL-6 are all produced in large amounts.

This pro-oxidative, pro-inflammatory state is referred to as a ‘cytokine storm’ since the innate immune system’s response is harmful to host tissue, contributing to lung injury and respiratory failure, and ARDS is the name for this condition.

ARDS is associated with a high rate of mortality. Inflammatory markers were much greater in non-survivors than survivors in patients with advanced COVID-19, according to data from Wuhan, China, and also Ferritin, C reactive protein, and IL-6 levels were significantly higher in non-survivors than survivors.

Along with direct damage to host tissues, an excessive inflammatory response (i.e., the cytokine storm) reduces the acquired immune response. For example, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocyte counts are lowered, and CD4+ T cells’ ability to produce IFN-gamma is limited. The individual’s ability to deal with the infection is severely hampered by this reduction of acquired immunity.

ARDS may be treatable with nutrients that target oxidative stress and inflammation because of its pro-oxidant, pro-inflammatory state. Classic antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as trace elements to enhance the function of antioxidant enzymes, would be included in the former.

Immune boosting vs Immune Modulating

Many of the products are available in the market, which are designed to work as an immune booster. But the idea of boosting immunity is not much appreciated by the scientific community. Many researchers believe that the concept of boosting the immune cells of the body is not a good option. For some individuals, boosting immune cells can lead to various other health problems. Like some athletes undergo the process of blood doping, which involves pumping blood into their systems in order to boost their number of blood cells. This process aims at enhancing their performance, but it also offers the potential risk of stroke in those athletes.

Boosting of immune cells is also a complicated approach as there is a variety of immune cells in the body and all of these react in many different ways against microbes. So, there comes the question of which specific immune cell should be boosted and to what number? To date, the scientist doesn’t know the answer to this question. They do not provide information about how many cells need to boost and what will be the best mix of cells of the immune system to function at its best optimum level.

While on the other side, immune modulators help to activate or restore a normal immune function of the body. This targets the different components of the immune system. For example, cytokines, inflammatory cells, and receptors to combat infection. They can be consumed via diet and help the body to fight against pathogens by optimizing normal immune response more efficiently whenever a pathogen is detected.

Why it is necessary to undergo immuno-modulating treatment

Immune modulatory treatment therapies treat those diseases which plague the immune system of humans. The use of this therapy by utilizing monoclonal antibodies and other biological response modifiers has been proved to be beneficial in the management of various autoimmune and other diseases. Many of such immune pathways have been employed for better and targeted drug delivery. Such therapies have been reported to be beneficial for treating Crohn’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, cancer, influenza virus, and in the development of vaccines too. So, undergoing this treatment therapy can protect you against the negative impacts of various pathogenic infections.

Nabiha Khalid,

M.Phil Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


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