Can vitamin A help regulate our immune system?
It’s the time of year we all want our immune system working well, and what better way to help than by eating some real food. Carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato and cantaloupe melon are good examples, with this group having something in common: they are all good sources of beta carotene that our bodies convert into vitamin A. New research suggests vitamin A may be particularly important in regulating our immune system.
Researchers have found that moderate levels of vitamin A in the intestine prevent the immune system from becoming overactive, a finding that could help with developing new therapies for autoimmune disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Once again, such research highlights our still relatively limited understanding of the complexity of the interaction of real food and its health benefits on our bodies, but clearly emphasises the role of diet and gut bacteria for keeping our immune system healthy. Both our diet and the bacteria in our gut are linked in regulating how our immune cells behave, confirming how our health depends so much on what we eat, often in ways we don’t begin to appreciate. Note: Vitamin A should be sourced from the food you eat, as the body only converts as much as it needs. Excess vitamin A is toxic, and toxic vitamin A levels can occur if you take too many supplements. Before you consider supplements speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
Make eating real food Just Routine