How NK Cells Protect us
NK cells (Natural Killer Cells) are a type of white blood cell created in the bone marrow of your lymphatic system. You have virtually thousands of white blood cells in your body, but what separates NK cells from the rest, is the fact that they don’t require prior exposure to an antigen in order to function. This allows NK cells to patrol the body looking for potentially harmful cells (ie. infected or mutated cells), which means that these cells are your own personal ‘first responder’ to any incoming threat.
What do NK Cells Do?
They kill harmful or infected cells. NK cells are equipped with lethal membrane-toxic proteins that will induce lysis (death by cellular breakdown) of the targeted cell. When a potentially threatening cell is located, the NK cells release these proteins, perforating the skin of the targeted cell, and within minutes the harmful cell is destroyed.
Importance of Optimizing NK Cell Activity
What we know from study and research, is that most of the ailments associated with the process of aging begin with a decline in immune system function, which begins to happen as early as puberty. Fortunately we also know that there are habits and lifestyle choices that can work to support your immune system, even as you age. Focusing on NK cell function is one of the most effective ways to contribute to this objective.
NK cells provide your body with it’s first line of defense, optimizing these cells gives you the greatest chance of protection from the daily onslaught of various threats and hazards that you encounter.
Brolico increases NK cell activity
Twenty healthy individuals (8 men and 12 women, with an average age of 57.5) consumed 20 mL of a broccoli extract (brolico) every day for 4 weeks. Samples of their blood were collected before and after consumption of the extract, and the activity of NK cells and other cells involved in immunity was measured.”
“NK cell activity, which was the main focus of our study, showed a tendency to increase upon continued consumption of the test food (p < 0.1), suggesting that the extracted broccoli constituent [brolico] enhances innate immunity.” (494)
Twenty healthy individuals (8 men and 12 an average age of 57.5 ± 11.6)
Twenty healthy individuals (8 men and 12 womenwith an average age of 57.5 ± 11.6) consumed 20 mL of a broccoli extract (brolico)every day for 4 weeks. Samples of their blood were collected before and afterconsumption of the extract, and the activity of NK cells and other cells involved inimmunity was measured.