Flu ALERT: Excess sugar depresses immunity and fuels viral replication
(NaturalHealth365) Did you know that eating certain kinds of sugar can raise your risk of catching the influenza virus? Chances are, you’ll never hear this information from a conventionally-trained physician. (But, it’s true)
Most people are aware of the health risks of sugar and simple carbohydrates. The rise in glucose levels can lead to diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, and a range of other health problems related to inflammation – including a higher risk of cancer.
High glucose levels also cause an increase in LDL cholesterol, while decreasing your levels of HDL cholesterol. However, excess sugar has another harmful effect that isn’t as widely known: it suppresses immunity. (keep reading to find out how)
Yikes! Sugar found to damage the healthy behavior of white blood cells
Research dating as far back as the 1970s has confirmed this. A study from Loma Linda University from 1973 looked at the effects of sugar on white blood cells – the powerhouses of the immune system. After fasting overnight, subjects received 100 grams of either fructose, glucose, sucrose, orange juice or honey. Blood was drawn before and after ingestion of the different forms of sugar and then exposed to the staphylococcus bacteria strain.
The presence of any of these types of sugar in the bloodstream reduced the immune response significantly. In all cases, there was about a 50 percent drop in the white blood cells’ ability to surround and fight off the bacteria.
Immunity suppressing effects of sugar can last up to 5 hours
Research has found that viral replication in bugs like the influenza virus are dependent upon the amount of glucose available in the bloodstream. In short, sugar is food for bacteria and viruses. The more sugar that’s present in the bloodstream, the better the chances of survival for these invaders.
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Consuming the amount of sugar found in two cans of soda has an almost immediate negative impact on immunity. These effects against the immune system begin 30 minutes or less after ingestion and can continue suppressing immunity for five hours or more.
Other factors may exacerbate the negative effects of elevated glucose in the body on the immune system, such as current health status, stress levels and the amount of sleep an individual has been getting.
Cancer cells also use sugar as food
In addition to all of the other reasons to maintain a healthy blood glucose level, supporting a healthy, effective immune system is high on the list. Coming down with the influenza virus and other illnesses is only exacerbated by blood glucose levels that are higher than normal.
High blood glucose raises cancer risk for similar reasons. Cancer cells use glucose as food, and the increased inflammation triggered by a high intake of ‘sweet’ foods and elevated blood glucose levels creates an environment that’s more conducive to cancerous tumor growth.
So, while you might think drinking that sugary drink is giving you a boost when you’re feeling under the weather, you could actually be supporting the bug or condition that’s dragging you down.
Sources for this article include: