Does Amla Really Boost Your Immunity? Here Are The Facts
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Is Amla a Superfood Immunity Booster?
Amla, also known as the Indian gooseberry, is one of the most powerful medicinal plants on the planet, with evidence based benefits ranging from supporting healthy levels of blood sugar to improving hair growth.
As it turns out ancient practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine were on the mark when they made amla one of their go-to medicinal plants.
So how does amla function in terms of immunity boosting? Well, while the term “boost” is a misnomer, amla contains more antioxidants per gram than any other naturally occurring plant which helps ensure that your immune system is functioning at full effectiveness.
In this article, we’ll explore the immune system benefits of amla, and discuss how adding this superfood to your diet can help your body be prepared to fight infections.
Table of Contents
Amla's Health Benefits for the Immune System
The immune system has a singular, vitally important function to your health: detect and eliminate foreign antigens, whether bacterial, viral, or chemical. This is primarily carried out by white blood cells, which attack and destroy foreign antigens.
Below, we’ll touch on how amla benefits the many aspects of your immune system, making it a fine recommendation not just from your nutritionist, but your healthcare professional as well.
Rich in Antioxidants
As we mentioned above, amla has the highest ORAC (antioxidant value) of any known naturally occurring substance, making even a small amount a phenomenal addition to your diet to improve your immune health.
During the process of protecting you against foreign antigens, white blood cells produce free radicals. These free radicals cause oxidative stress to cells in circulation and cells in tissues.
Antioxidants, like vitamin A, vitamin C, and carotene intervene by scavenging these free radicals, allowing your immune system to continue doing its job.
These antioxidants even have other benefits, like helping reduce hypertension, which help remove general stress on your body and promote overall health.
Increases White Blood Cells
Amla also has the second highest density of vitamin C of any fruit on the planet (behind the barbados cherry), outstripping most citrus by an order of 10 or more.
This is another area where Ayurveda’s recommendation of amla fruit or amla juice is spot on, as vitamin C is thought to be crucial to increasing your number of white blood cells.
Adding to amla’s benefits, this powerful fruit also has an independent antibacterial effect, meaning that in addition to supporting the function of your immune system, it also directly fights bacterial infections.
Amla is also a potent source of chromium, which is crucial to immune-response signaling. When your body is fighting an infection, chromium helps signal your white blood cells and other defense measures, making it crucial to a strong immune system.
Chromium also has several other benefits, helping lower LDL cholesterol and blood glucose (blood sugar), to promote overall health so that your immune system can quench infections.
Combined with its anti-inflammatory properties, chromium is a powerful nutrient for your immune system, adding to amla’s health benefits.
Facilitates Absorption of Calcium
Yet another benefit of amla is that it helps facilitate the absorption of nutrients like iron and especially calcium, which is vital to immune system function. Like chromium, calcium is an immune system signaler and helps your immune system know when to respond to infection.
Amla and COVID
With the COVID-19 pandemic currently active, there is obviously an increased interest in improving our immunity to help provide the best, evidence-based methods to protect ourselves and our family members.
For this reason, we can definitely recommend amla as much now as we would at any point, but with a caveat: there is still too little research to draw any strong conclusions between adding amla to your diet and prevention of the coronavirus.
However, the most powerful factors for fighting the spread of disease are still handwashing, social distancing, and wearing a mask.
Ways to Add Amla to Your Diet
The evidence is clear about one thing: amla does support your immune system, as well as your overall health, in many ways.
And fortunately, there are many ways to get a daily dose of amla, both during the day and on an empty stomach. Amla powder is particularly versatile, with options like chutneys with coriander and turmeric (two other excellent superfoods), mixes into salad dressings or drinks, or additions to smoothies.
Our personal favorite is Amla Green, a 20x concentrated powder of organic, wild-grown amla. Mixed in with either green tea or hibiscus, it’s a tasty mixer for drinks and teas, and plays well in salads and cooking.
For a full list of ideas on how to add amla to your diet, you can explore some fun ideas here.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
“Antioxidant ORAC Value: Indian Gooseberry (Amla Berries), Dried.” ”https://www.superfoodly.com/orac-value/indian-gooseberry-amla/"
“Calcium Signaling in Immune Cells.” ”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2877033/"
“Effects of Chromium on the Immune System | Pathogens and Disease | Oxford Academic.” ”https://academic.oup.com/femspd/article/34/1/1/498748"
“Grinstein, S., and A. Klip. “Calcium Homeostasis and the Activation of Calcium Channels in Cells of the Immune System.” Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 65, no. 1 (January 1989): 69–79.”
“Jain, Isha, Pankaj Jain, Dakshina Bisht, Alosha Sharma, Binita Srivastava, and Nidhi Gupta. “Comparative Evaluation of Antibacterial Efficacy of Six Indian Plant Extracts against Streptococcus Mutans.” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR 9, no. 2 (February 2015): ZC50–53.” ”https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2015/11526.5599"
“Morales, Andrea. “15 Foods That Boost the Immune System.” ”https://www.commwellhealth.org/blog/15-foods-that-boost-the-immune-system"
“Press, R. I., J. Geller, and G. W. Evans. “The Effect of Chromium Picolinate on Serum Cholesterol and Apolipoprotein Fractions in Human Subjects.” Western Journal of Medicine 152, no. 1 (January 1990): 41–45.”
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta