What Is Immunometabolism? A Functional Medicine Expert Explains

by health and nutrition advice journalist

Immunometabolism is one facet of the larger story unfolding around immunity. I’ve previously written about how immunity is everything, and so much more than a seasonal concern around cold and flu. The new thinking around immunity is about rejuvenation, balance, and resilience. It’s not about a quick boost.

Metabolism is the way we process fuel and produce energy, and it’s connected to immunity. Science is showing us that different immune cells ask for different nutrients.

Some cells activate at the sign of danger—whether from a sprained ankle or a deadly pathogen—and prefer sugar as a fast fuel. This conversion of glucose into fuel is a process called glycolysis. It’s essential in the moment, but it’s not well-suited to your longer-term goal of balance. When this pathway is activated by the wrong immune cells for too long a time, this can mean inflammation, and can lead to a host of problems in your body down the line.

To calm things down, think about fats. Fatty acid oxidation provides fuel to immune cells designed to calm down your immune response and dampen inflammation. You can see where this is headed.

Since immunometabolism tells us different immune cells prefer different nutrients for fuel, which means your diet, through metabolism, can impact your immune response. At Big Bold Health, I’m working with a cod liver oil that maintains its natural stores of vitamin A, vitamin D, and pro-resolving mediators (PRMs) for this very reason.

This content was originally published here.

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