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    Friday, 20 January 2017

    Chew Your Way to a Healthy Immune System

    There are many variables that can affect the strength of your immune system, from nutrition to stress to a lack of sleep. One thing you can be forgiven for not factoring into the equation however, is mastication.

    Well it turns out we may have all been wrong to overlook this factor, as researchers from the University of Manchester (UK) and the National Institutes of Health (US) have found that the act of chewing can stimulate a vital immune cell known as the Th17 cell (catchy, right?).

    The Th17 cell is responsible for protecting against bacterial and fungal infections in the mouth.

    As part of the study, which was published in the journal Immunity, researchers changed the hardness of food given to a group of mice and found that the levels of Th17 cells present correlated directly with the act of mastication; this proved to the team that this was in fact the critical factor.

    Dr Joanne Konkel, a biologist at the University of Manchester and lead researcher for the project, told The Mirror, “The immune system performs a remarkable balancing act at barrier sites such as the skin, mouth and gut by fighting off harmful pathogens while tolerating the presence of normal friendly bacteria.

    “Our research shows that, unlike at other barriers, the mouth has a different way of stimulating Th17 cells - not by bacteria but by mastication.

    “Therefore mastication can induce a protective immune response in our gums.”

    Sam Bonson

    Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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