The director of Europe’s first Centre for Nutraceuticals, Professor M Gulrez Zariwala, explains the science behind the U ULTRA Immunity supplement
The U ULTRA supplements range has been developed by Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Ozil in collaboration with scientists from the University of Westminster. Lead researcher, Professor M Gulrez Zariwala, is Director of Europe’s first Centre for Nutraceuticals and one of the world’s most respected experts in the field of nutritional supplements.
The U ULTRA Immunity supplement supports the natural function of the immune system. To understand how it does this, you need to have a basic understanding of the biological processes of the immune system, and what it needs to function best.
How does the immune system work?
Your first line of defense against illness and disease, your immune system protects your body from invading pathogens. It heals wounds and repairs injuries, detects and destroys aged cells and even transforms tumor cells. It can also reject transplanted tissues, while tolerating our foreign symbionts (organisms that live in our bodies). In short, there’s a lot going on, and a constant balancing act in play.
These functions of the immune system – though extremely complex – can be reduced to a common process: in one way or another, all the effects of immune activity involve the management of inflammation. Where clearly visible, inflammation is marked by redness and swelling due to changes in tissue blood flow and edema. On a microscopic level, inflammation is marked by accumulation of immune system cells; by the death and growth of many types of cells; by the proliferation of scar-forming connective tissues; and the regeneration of blood vessels and damaged tissue cells.
The inflammation process usually ends when an injury heals, but sometimes an inflammatory process persists chronically or may develop unnecessarily in otherwise healthy tissue. In these instances, the inflammatory process itself can be the cause of disease. Autoimmune diseases result from these confused inflammatory processes.
What essential nutrients support the immune system?
Ever since citrus fruits were used to combat scurvy on long sea voyages, vitamin C has been most commonly associated with immune system function. It has since been established, however, that the immune system actually relies on a vast array of micronutrients.
What is the connection between probiotics, prebiotics and immunity?
Gut health is a fascinating and still largely mysterious area of health and wellness. The human gastrointestinal tract is home to a complex ecosystem of microorganisms called microbiota living in a mutually-beneficial relationship with each other. We think this could affect everything from mood to digestion, and we know it has a huge impact on immune system function.
That’s where probiotics and prebiotics come in. Studies show that probiotics and prebiotics can be good for the intestinal microbiota (1) while recent findings suggest they may be particularly beneficial for athletes thanks to the unique benefits of specific fibres, such as inulin, which are help protect against infections that can arise from the oxidative damage caused by exercise (2).
Are athletes at greater risk of illness and infection?
Numerous studies over the last 35 years report an increase in upper respiratory infection symptoms in athletes during periods of heavy training and competition (3). Both innate and acquired immunity are often shown to decrease in the hours after heavy exertion. Prolonged, heavy training sessions particularly decreases immune function, potentially providing an 'open window' for opportunistic infections.
Recent studies have identified prominent risk factors, including: intensified training in the winter; long-haul travel; low energy availability; high levels of psychological stress and anxiety; and depression. Even more recently, in a study attempting to find out the effect COVID-19 has on elite sportsmen and women, concluded that the risk may well be slightly higher (4).
How does U ULTRA Immunity support normal immune system function?
The active ingredients in the U ULTRA Immunity supplement were chosen based on nutrients that peer-reviewed research show to be the most effective at supporting normal immune system function.[x-head]
Curcumin | HydroCurc®
A nutrient found in the spice turmeric, curcumin is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and powerful antioxidant. When consumed in its standard form, however, it’s poorly absorbed by the body.
'U ULTRA Immunity solves the problem of poor absorption by using HydroCurc®, which delivers a vast amount of active curcuminoids that easily disperse into aqueous environments such as the stomach and are then highly absorbed by the body,' says Professor Zariwala.
Beta glucans | Wellmune®
Derived from the cell walls of certain pathogenic bacteria and fungi, beta glucans improves general immune health as well as maintaining overall physical health and protecting against the harmful effects of stress.
Professor Zariwala says: 'U ULTRA Immunity uses Wellmune®. The ‘hero ingredient’ of natural yeast and a highly purified, gluten-free, non-allergenic beta glucan, Wellmune® has a raft of peer-reviewed, clinical research demonstrating its efficacy for everyday immune support and upper respiratory health (5).'
'Vitamin C contributes to many functions of the immune system and is particularly effective during and after intense physical exercise,' says Professor Zariwala. 'It helps regulate metabolism and supports the normal function of the nervous system, the protection of cells from oxidative stress, and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It also increases iron absorption, which supports numerous other vital bodily functions, making it an all-round super nutrient.
Zinc | L-OptiZinc®
Necessary for immune cell function and cell signaling, a zinc deficiency can lead to a weakened immune response. Zinc lozenges, for example, have been shown to reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33% (6). Zinc supplements have also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of infections in older adults (7). It is also known to aid the body’s natural healing processes, as demonstrated by the fact it’s commonly used in hospitals as a treatment for burns and other skin injuries.
'U ULTRA Immunity uses L-OptiZinc®, a unique mineral compound that pairs zinc with the amino acid L-methionine to increase its bioavailability,' says Professor Zariwala. 'Studies show that L-OptiZinc® is better absorbed than other forms of zinc and that plasma levels remain higher compared to other zinc forms. This means the zinc in OptiZinc® is absorbed 24% better than zinc sulphate and has 21% better retention than zinc oxide, both of which are widely used in other supplements.'
Chicory inulin | Orafti®
'Chicory inulin is a healthful ‘prebiotic’, meaning it feeds the good bacteria in the gut that contributes to normal function of the immune system. It supports digestive health (and by extension, the immune system) by helping inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria (8),' says Professor Zariwala.
Nutrients 2017, 9(9), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9091021
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