By Anthony Almada
In addition to coding our genetic makeup—no small order—ribonucleic acid (RNA) from food sources may also be a power-packed nutrient, said to enhance immune function.
RNA is abundant in cow (bovine) colostrum and yeast, along with organ meats. Recent research has shown that when the body is under stress—recovering from infection, trauma or surgery—the rapidly dividing cells of the immune system and intestines have a greater need for nucleotides, like those contained in RNA.
Although numerous products incorporate RNA, usually from yeast, to date there have been no clinical studies on adults that show improved immune function or reduction of inflammation following RNA administration alone.
Yeast RNA is a component of a medical food (Impact®) designed to boost the immune system in patients before or after surgery, but it also contains omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil and the amino acid L-arginine. A recent study with patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery and at high risk for infection showed that ingestion of this product improved immune function and reduced a blood marker of inflammation following surgery.
Nutrition and exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, MS, has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies, is cofounder of Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS), and founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition (www.imaginutrition.com).