It’s very easy to think sugar hurts your overall health. Therefore, you would think sugar hurts your immune system. I thought the same thing as I did my research. What I found surprised me. We’ll try to answer the question ‘does sugar lower your immune system?’ in this article. We’ll also try to explain how does sugar affect your immune system.
The two main studies that popped up over and over again were from 1973 and 1984. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of studies since then for whatever reason. Now I was pretty young during both of those years and my memory may not be the best. But that sure didn’t seem like the time when everyone was worried about eating healthy. Nobody was asking does sugar lower your immune system.
Most of the results from the studies found that sugar hurts your immune system by having a ‘sugar crash’ for a couple of hours after consuming it. The immune cells in the experiments became a lot more sluggish in a petri dish. They slowed down their attacks on bacteria and viruses more than before sugar consumption. The thinking goes that if you are having sugar after every meal (or during) (or before), then you might put your immune cells into a perpetual food coma.
A Theory About How Does Sugar Lower Your Immune System
There is also the theory, espoused by a PhD in Biological Engineering that:
“You know, when you eat a lot of high-sugar foods, your body produces, you know, things like candida, which create glio-toxins, which knock out your macrophages and knock out your T-cells”
Whoa! Let’s dissect that a little to show how does sugar affect your immune system. First is Candida. Candida is a fungus that lives in your gut (and in lots of other places). Normally it is kept in check by all the other bacteria and organisms in your gut. If the Candida has a chance to grow beyond your ability to contain it, Candida can lead to some serious infections. Candida really grows when it can munch on sugar.
When the Candida grows it produces Gliotoxins. Gliotoxins are, you guessed it, toxic substances. These substances can be very detrimental to certain immune cells and suppress the immune system. They can even cause the death of certain immune cells.
How Does Sugar Affect Your Immune System? By Killing Immune System Cells
Macrophages and T-Cells are cells in your immune system. Macrophages arise when proteins call Cytokines that activate them. They play roles in everything from wound healing to fighting viruses to promoting homeostasis.
T-Cells are specialized immune cells that attack a certain kind of invader.
When the immune system is out of balance, as in Macrophages and T-cells being ‘knocked out’, the Cytokines start to go out of control and start attacking the regular cells in the body. This is what medical people are finding out about the Coronavirus.
Given how much people eat sugar in the US, you would think there would be more research on how does sugar lower your immune system. It sure seems like staying away from sugar, particularly for the elderly, can only help. Sugar also contributes to conditions like diabetes. Diabetes makes you more vulnerable to other diseases.
Sorry for the bad news. I love sugar as well. I don’t mean to sound like your dentist. Just want to arm you with some research. We have some tips for kicking the sugar addiction in one of our other blog posts.