Click Here To Read Part 1: How to Increase Natural Killer Cells With Whole Ingredients
Writing about how to boost natural killer cells has triggered a memory. Some years ago, I met a guru who repeatedly claimed, “I never get sick!”
Even though he was a doctor who’d authored multiple books, I had a hard time believing his boast. I could neither prove him wrong nor verify his claim.
He attributed his exceptional health to diet. But who was to say the credit didn’t belong to his exercise regimen or positive mindset?
Either way, I’ve never been presumptuous enough to claim, “I never get sick!”
But over the past few days, researching how to boost natural killer cells with foods has chipped away at my skepticism concerning his claims.
As has our experience as a family.
My migraines had decreased dramatically after I went entirely plant-based. However, I still came down with a few nasty colds every year.
So last October, when I wrote about kiwi and other cold-preventing foods. My entire family began eating more of them – and, lo and behold- all of us are getting far fewer colds.
To be honest, I’ve wondered if the perceived decrease is just in our heads. Maybe, or maybe it’s the result of wearing our masks and washing our hands so much.
However, discounting one individual’s or family’s experience is easy. Discounting well-done research is harder.
Multiple Studies Show How to Boost Natural Killer Cells With Diet
It’s only logical that a lifestyle change that strengthens our NK cells would reduce illness! Imagine our dietary options if researchers tested 200 foods for their NK-empowering properties?
But until then, we’re still blessed with several already-tested and widely available choices, including:
- black pepper
- black pepper
and broccoli sprouts.
You can add to this whole-foods list these other ingredients proven to impact NK cells positively:
In this nine-week study from the University of Taiwan’s College of Medicine, 52 healthy adults took the probiotic lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 in regular or lactose-free milk.
Their NK cell’s tumor-killing activity increased by 71% and 147%, respectively. And, when they returned for a follow-up after the study, their NK baseline level remained elevated.
How do we know it wasn’t the milk?
Because when the participants drank it without the probiotic during weeks 1 through 3 and 7 through 9, the milk did not affect NK cell activity!
In New Zealand, researchers at Massey University’s Milk and Health Research Center ran a similar three-stage, nine-week study with 30 healthy elderly volunteers.
They tested the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. It also elevated the “tumoricidal activity of natural killer cells.”
In this 12-week, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study, Swedish probiotics manufacturer Probi AB assigned 272 participants to take Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9 or a placebo.
The probiotic group had 18 percent fewer colds – and 28 percent fewer sick days.
Probiotics aren’t quite the cold destroyers that kiwi and other whole foods have proven to be. But they did show that increasing NK cell activity led to a direct reduction in sick days.
Phytates found in beans, seeds, and grains appear to directly fight tumor cells and enhance our natural killer cell activity.
In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 51 participants took 2 teaspoons of chlorella or a placebo daily for eight weeks. The chlorella group experienced a significant increase in natural killer cell activity.
Finally, this laboratory study showed that “priming” NK cells with yeast beta-glucans dramatically increased their lethal effectiveness against breast cancer cells.
It couldn’t be more obvious! Our immune systems know how to protect us.
But we need to consume the right ingredients!