The following supplements are said to have immune-enhancing benefits (“putative benefits”):
Omega 3 fatty acids.
Arginine amino acid intake is essential for the return to health of severely ill patients although the human body can synthesize arginine. The body breaks arginine down rapidly for the production of NO (nitric oxide) in illness especially after surgery. Research on arginine has used a dose of 2 to 6% of the diet by weight.
Omega-3 fatty acids complement the benefits of arginine. The author states that the diet should contain at least 1,000 mg. of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids combined. Omega-3 oils mainly come from cold water fish. With their intake, the body becomes less proinflammatory. This means that omega-3 oils do not depress the immunity as much as modulate the immunity for a more beneficial outcome from any challenge to the immune system.
Alpha linolenic acid, found in soybeans and flax seed is the precursor of EPA and DHA.
The benefit of l-glutamine to severely ill patients is still being debated. There are studies which show benefit in patients who are recovering from surgery and in patients recovering from burns.
Nucleotides (components of DNA and RNA) have no proven benefit in severely ill patients.
CONCLUSION: Arginine and Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet are of benefit to the immune system. The value of glutamine is being debated.
To read the author’s abstract of the article click on the link to the author’s title of the article above.