TBHQ is a perfect example of how the food industry manages to incorporate what is literally considered to be poison into our food. Sure they only use miniscule amounts, but its presence is definitely not heartwarming. Watch out five grams of TBHQ can kill, it tends to turn up where you’d least expect it.
Covid-19 decreases immune system T cells, making patients more vulnerable
A common food additive called tert-butylhydroquinone (E319) suppresses the immune response the body mounts when fighting the flu; it also reduces the effectiveness of the flu vaccine through its effects on T cells, according to new research in mice by Michigan State University scientists.
“Considering T cells’ central role of response against viral infections, especially in the early stage when antibodies are not boosted yet, we took the T cells as our focal point, ” he says.
Since the memory response is central to how vaccines work, impairment of this function could potentially reduce the efficacy of the flu vaccine.
“If you get a vaccine, but part of the immune system doesn’t learn to recognise and fight off virus-infected cells, then this can cause the vaccine to be less effective,” said Robert Freeborn, a PhD student at Michigan State University.
“Our studies showed that mice on a TBHQ diet had a weakened immune response to influenza infection. In our mouse model, TBHQ suppressed the function of two types of T cells, helper and killer T cells. Ultimately, this led to more severe symptoms during a subsequent influenza infection.”
T cells are involved in the immune response to a variety of diseases, so TBHQ could also play a role in other infectious diseases, Mr Freeborn added.
No hype, just the advice and analysis you need
It is more commonly found in food in the US, where it can be in frozen fish, ice cream, microwave popcorn and chicken nuggets.
Therefore easiest way to support our immune system is to avoid foods with additives during this pandemic period and help our immune system better equipped with T cells to fight the virus. Go for cold pressed oils in food.