Early in life, naïve T cells are being created. These cells are able to fight any pathogen that attacks the body. Once these naïve T cells had fought the pathogen, they turn to memory T cells able to fight only the specific pathogen they ahd already fought.
This is how the number of naïve T cells goes down and impairs our immune system.
Scientists have found a way to keep out immune systems young and healthy by putting us on the restriction diet. Introducing the diet could extend life by about 30%.
The tests have only been done on rodents and monkeys and it is still not certain that humans would tolerate such dieting restrictions. It involves taking about a third fewer calories, about 30 % of calories we would normally be eating.
Studies done on animals showed that they did not only live longer but that they were much healthier and showed less diseases characteristic of old age.
Monkeys put on caloric restriction diet were found to have more of naïve T cells and that these cells functioned better. The researchers introduced certain antibodies to the T cells in the laboratory (not in the animals themselves) and the T cells from the caloric restriction group proliferated and reacted much more vigorously.
There is still a concern about humans’ reaction to the restriction diets. It is believed that they could be too extreme or maybe even unsafe. It may even represent a mild stress.
The research will investigate how the caloric restriction diet works at the molecular levels in order to create treatments that would not necessarily require people to start dieting but trick their bodies into believing they are on the diet.
I'd suggest that elderly people, and their caregivers if they rely on any, do their very best to get an immune system boost. That can be done in various different ways. Things like exercising regularly, making sure to wash your hands before eating and after the restroom, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can all help maintain a well-functioning immune system.
More specific steps can be taken in the form of using herbs. Peppermint, chamomile, echinacea, thyme, and sage are all examples of herbs that can boost the immune system. They are especially important to people who might be at risk of infection, such as those who live in a retirement community, those who are out and about in crowds a lot, and especially those who are in hospital.