The Health Scientist Podcast

Ep.32 Jenna Macciochi: Immune response, COVID-19 and what's within our power

Jenna completed her BSc in Immunology at the University of Glasgow in 2002 followed by a PhD in the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. She has held positions in infectious disease at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine as well as working in both Biotech specialising in clinical retraining of immunological tolerance using oral immunotherapy and in Pharma looking at management of inflammation using dietary fibre and metabolic endotoxemia. Jenna is currently a lecturer at the University of Sussex where she chairs the Board of Study for various degrees in the biomedical arena.

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Jenna's Book "Immunity: The Science of Staying Well"

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In this episode we cover:

  • The coincidental timing of Jenna's book release with the current COVID-19 situation
  • Jenna's extensive background in immunology
  • What is the immune system, what different parts make it up and how does it work to protect us?
  • What are some of the factors that make COVID-19 so effective at spreading?
  • What are cytokines and how are they involved in the "cytokine storm", characteristic of serious cases of COVID-19?
  • They way our own immune system can be responsible for some of damage caused during an infection
  • Why do some people get more serious cases of COVID-19 than others?
  • How can nutrition affect the way viruses behave in our bodies?
  • The difference between taking supplements to fix a genuine deficiency and taking more than you need. More isn't always better.
  • What's the role of oxidative stress in our immune response?
  • Is "boosting" our immune system possible with diet/supplements or is it even something we would want to do?
  • The massive amount of misinformation, circulating right now about nutrition and immunity and the role the media plays
  • What role do macronutrients and energy metabolism play in the immune response? The importance of eating in energy balance.
  • Metabolic reprogramming, the Warburg Effect and glucose use in immune cells.
  • The research around and potential role of fasting and ketosis in immuno-modulation.
  • How does exercise effect immunity. Can you do too much?
  • The role of resistance exercise and muscle mass in maintaining our thymus gland and immune function
  • Cumulative stress from multiple sources and how it can affect immunity
  • How can the microbiome and gut-health play a part in our immune response
  • Other lifestyle factors that we can manage to help with immunity
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