Plant stanols may boost immunity to COVID-19 in at-risk groups

The โ€˜Science Directโ€™โ€‹ published research, funded byย Raisio Nutrition, the makers of the studied plant stanol drink, found that the immunoglobulin M (IgM) concentrations against the COVID-19 spike protein peaked to their highest point in the two weeks following administered COVID vaccinations.

In addition, inflammatory cytokine concentrations were found to decrease in the plant stanol ester group compared with the control group, suggesting potential benefits to the inflammatory status of those with overweight and obesity.

โ€œConsuming plant stanols (4 g/d) affects immune responses to COVID-19 vaccinations, translating into increased serum anti-COVID-19 IgM concentrations in subjects with overweight/obesity,โ€ the Dutch researchers explained.

โ€œThese results suggest that this high-risk group for COVID-19 complications could benefit from plant stanol consumption.โ€

The report concluded: โ€œWe have shown here, for the first time, that the effects of plant stanols on immune responses occur independently of changes in serum LDL cholesterol concentrations.โ€

Obesity and weakened immunityโ€‹

The obesity epidemic is ever-growing with the increasingly sedentary and convenience-orientated modern world. During the Covid pandemic, it was established that those with impaired immunity as well as those with obesity were at an increased risk of contracting a more severe illness and hospitalisation.ย This has been attributed to potentially impaired T-cell activation or functioning.ย 

‘Antibody titers’ are a measure of blood that determines the presence and level of antibodies in the blood.ย There has been significant interest in how antibody titers to the virus vaccinations can be increased. It has been reported that consumption of a plant stanol-enriched yoghurt found to increase antibody productionโ€‹ย and the response was particularly noteworthy amongst those with overweight or obesity.

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