In episode 127 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:

Do you think that the foods that you choose can influence whether you get the flu or not? There was an interesting study recently released out of Yale University in the journal Science Immunology. The researchers in the study looked to see if the foods we choose to eat can affect our immune system. They wanted to know if food choice can really decrease the chance of a person getting the flu.

The study was done on two sets of animal subjects. One group of animals ate a high carb normal diet, and the other ate a low carb diet. After maintaining the diet for a while, the animals were then infected with the influenza A virus. Influenza A is not the normal cold virus; it is the one that is more serious and can lead to potential health consequences. The researchers then tracked the animals in both groups to record morbidity and mortality rates.


What they found was that the ones who were fed the low carb diet had a significant decrease in both morbidity and mortality when compared to those in the normal default, or high carb diet. So, what happened? What was it about the diet that influenced the immune system? Both groups of animals were injected with the same virus, so why did one group develop symptoms, while the other didn’t?



The researchers evaluated what parts of the immune systems were activated. They specifically looked at Gamma Delta T cells. And what they found was that the Gamma Delta T cells were uploaded in the low carb diet. So the animals who ate the low carb diet had an increase in Gamma Delta T cells, and therefore, had more protection in the upper respiratory section. When Gamma Delta T cells are uploaded, we have an increase in our anti-viral protection. The animals with more Gamma Delta T cells had more protection than those without.

Researchers had a third group of animals that were genetically bred to be missing the gene that codes for the Gamma to prove that it was the Gamma Delta specifically. The third group missing the gene code was also injected with the Influenza A virus. The third group did not have the same protection as those in the low carb group. Therefore, they were able to single out the Gamma Delta T cells as the main source of immune protection.

So, yes, the foods that you choose do influence the way that your body fights viruses. We want to adopt enough anti-viral practices like washing hands, staying away from people who are sick, and making good food choices, or low-carb food choices, to allow our immune systems to do its thing. And it is also important to take away high carb foods because they inhibit Gamma Delta T cells from doing what they are supposed to. The goal is to implement the information that you learn early on this year, so it can help you stay healthier not only throughout the cold and flu season, but also all year long. Until next time…Keep It Real!

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