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CTF is preparing for the Fall and Winter holidays by discussing how sugar and carbohydrate intake affect immunity and how you can help keep you and your children well through the festivities. We will offer daily recipes at the bottom of each post. We will return to the Bone Broth Marathon at the completion of this series.
These posts are longer than my usual, to-the-point-here’s-the-recipe posts. If you’re just here for the recipes, scroll down. It’s at the end of the post.
Insulin’s Effect On The Immune System
In the last post, we showed that when you consume carbohydrates or sugar, you blood glucose rises. When glucose rises, a hormone called insulin goes up. Insulin is the hormone that allows the glucose to be taken up by the cells of the body so the blood level of glucose can decrease. Elevated levels of insulin discourages Vitamin C uptake by the cells, encourages the storage of fat and suppress the release of growth hormones, all of which leads to a depressed immune system. It can also cause an exaggerated drop in blood sugar, called hypoglycemia.
Insulin in the blood suppresses the release of growth hormone by the pituitary gland. Growth hormones stimulate the production of T and B cells, two types of white blood cells. A reduced immune system is a known complication of diseases that suppress growth hormone production.
A connection between Vitamin C uptake of the cells and the rate at which white blood cells kill viruses and bacteria was discovered by Linus Pauling in the 1970s. Around the same time, Dr. John Ely also discovered that a high glucose level in the blood suppresses vitamin C uptake and discovered the relationship between insulin and Vitamin C absorption. Pauling and Ely worked together to discover that glucose and Vitamin C compete for the same receptors on the surface of a cell due to a similar molecular structure. It is believed that the active competition is what depresses Vitamin C levels in the cell.
Low Vitamin C prevents white blood cells from being able to function as quickly or effectively in removing potential pathogens from the body. White blood cells are responsible for destroying viruses, bacteria and cancer. White blood cells need Vitamin C to function optimally, and they can not do so when they are being bombarded with competing glucose to get into their cells.
Hypoglycemia is where the blood sugar drops too low, leading to a release of cortisol as a means to push the level back up again. Cortisol suppresses the immune system. A constant roller-coaster of cortisol can cause adrenal issues.
Refined sugars further strain the body and immune system because they are stripped of their trace minerals, a vital need for cells to function optimally. The body must then pull from its reserves to metabolize the nutrient-depleted food you have eaten. Reduced nutrient stores are further strained by stress or illness, making it more likely for signs of deficiency to show.
Aging and Free Radicals
A number of studies have also connected the presence of glucose or fructose in the body with an increase in oxidation and thus free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage, inflammation, heart disease and aging. Free radicals are also connected with cancer formation.
Next time, we’ll look at the specific studies that discuss how many carbs cause the suppression and for how long, with some practical guidelines to stay under that threshold when you could be exposed to a virus.
From the Menu Mailer
3/4 cup rapadura
2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbs tapioca flour or cornstarch
1/4 cup coconut milk or dairy milk
Your favorite pie crust, optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk eggs and rapadura together and allow to sit until the rapadura is dissolved. Whisk in pumpkin, salt, spices, starch and milk. Pour into pie crust or just pour into a well-greased pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 50-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and refrigerate.
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