Supporting the Immune System through Diet

Here’s the link for my blog post on the Physio & Therapies website. It focuses on the changes you can make to your diet to help support your health through the COVID pandemic and beyond.

Healthy plant foods are colourful. These colours are created by polyphenols – important inflammation-fighting compounds that are part of the immune system’s toolbox.

Microbial Diversity and The Sun

We all know the benefits of being out in the sun. It gives us a high dose of (crucial-to-our-health) vitamin D, which is important for our mood, energy, sleep, bone health, immunity, etc, etc. It’s such a vital vitamin that if we don’t get enough of it, we really feel the consequences. Sadly, these days, it’s known that just about everyone in the UK is vitamin D deficient (or has suboptimal levels), probably a consequence of the amount of time we spend indoors, but also our diet and lifetstyles.

What I didn’t know is, vitamin D status is also related to the balance of the microbiome. Three exposures to outdoor light per week significantly increased serum vitamin D levels, but additionally, microbiome diversity. And in the winter, vitamin D supplementation worked as a good alternative to outdoor exposure.

This is great news, because microbiome diversity, like good vitamin D status, is connected with better health outcomes.

You can learn more about the study here:

It’s important, however, to check your vitamin D status before supplementing. Vitamin D at too high levels can be toxic.

Get in touch with your GP, or a health practitioner qualified in nutrition, who will be able to help advise you on testing and correct dosing.

More Microbiome Amazingness!

The human gut, or digestive tract, is home to trillions of microorganisms, including more than 1,000 species of bacteria. These microbes play crucial roles in health and disease.

Medical News Today

Although, as you can probably tell by the title, I never cease to be amazed by the role of the microbiome on our health and wellbeing, I was particularly excited to read that new research has shown there may be a way to temper immune reactions in those with food allergies by replenishing specific missing bacteria in the gut.

Although currently only tested in mice, this study follows on from other similar studies, and shows there may be a way forward for those suffering with food allergies. As the microbiome and the immune system work together in a close partnership, when these these particular microbes are missing, the immune system lacks a specific component required in order to work effectively. When these microbes are introduced, it has been found to lead to a rewiring of the immune system, which then has a protective effect on the host.

Rather than targeting any particular food allergen, this method could potentially treat all food allergies in one go.


Although science isn’t fully there yet in treating people with food allergies, it does give hope to those who suffer with serious food reactions. It also gives us more reason to look at what we eat, as the delicate balance of the microbiome is so easily disturbed and can have far reaching consequences.

To read the whole article about the reasoning behind the study and results, please click the link here: