If you feel like you haven’t gotten rid of the fatigue accumulated lately, you tend to get sick when the seasons change, or my appetite is less than before, you may have a weakened immune system.
Immune strength is an indicator of the activity that immune cells defeat the enemies invading our body.
So if your immune system is strong, you can maintain your health forever.
But immune strength lowers with age.
The immune strength at the age of 70s reduces by half the strength of 20s. That makes you not able to defeat the enemies occurring in the body. As a result, you tend to have cancer or you may have serious pneumonia only by food entering the air tube.
An organ important to strengthen immune system
That is intestines. Half of the immune cells are created in the intestines.
There are the large intestine and the small intestine, but the organ more important for the immune system is the small intestine.
The key of immune strength is small intestinal villi which are small, finger-like projections that extend into the lumen of the small intestine. If you have long and busy intestinal villi, your immune system is strong, but if you have short and scattered intestinal villi, your immune system is weak (Fig. 1) (Fig. 2).
In an experiment, people who were diagnosed as having long and busy intestinal villi by a blood test had more active NK cells than the referenced value, which indicate the activity of immune system. On the other hand, people who were diagnosed as having short and scattered intestinal villi had less active NK cells than the referenced value.
The major role of the small intestine is absorbing nutrition from what you eat, but another important role is the function as immune system.
When you eat something, toxins and germs with food get into the small intestine. The immune system of the small intestine prevents them from invading the body.
Fig. 3 shows immune cells in villi. These immune cells kill the things trying to invade the body such as germs, pathogenic bacteria.
The area of the inside of the small intestine is about 200 square meter (2153 square feet), which is equal to a tennis court. All this area contains immune cells.
In the small intestine, there are about 60 % of immune cells in the body, which are more than a few hundred billion.
How to make intestinal villi long and busy
Intestinal villi are lost or shortened due to aging, but they can be busy by taking a specific nutrition.
The nutrition making intestinal villi busy and immune system strengthened is protein.
Glutamine acid contained in protein is effective to activate the small intestine. Glutamine acid is considered as extending the shortened intestinal villi and increasing the decreased intestinal villi.
A 70 years old woman whose intestinal villi’s condition was 43.9 (Referenced value: 45) and NK activation representing immune strength was 3.3 (Referenced value: 8.9) tried to eat more protein by adding some protein-contained food such as cheese, eggs, fishes, meats, Tofu to her usual meals for 5 days.
After the experiment, her intestinal villi’s condition was improved to 61 (Before: 43.9) and NK activation was improved to 3.6 (Before: 3.3).
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