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Natural Killer Cell Content

Natural killer cells can have their population increased by nutritional supplements, which usually (but not always) results in an increase in activity.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Jul 5, 2013
Last Updated:

Things To Know & Note

Also Known As

NK cell, natural killer cell

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect natural killer cell content
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b - High See all 3 studies
Although one increase in NK cell content has been noted after exercise, the two studies using similar doses at rest have failed to find a significant influence on NK cell content
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase has been noted, but there is insufficient evidence to assess the magnitude of increase or the reliability
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
There is an increase in NK cell levels seen in both healthy controls as well as cancer patients, and this is thought to be due in part to both immunostimulatory and anti-immunosuppressive effects.
grade-c Minor - See study
An increased level of NK cell count has been noted following ingestion of Tulsi leaves
grade-c - Moderate See 2 studies
There does not appear to be a sustained influence on NK cell content relative to controls, although one study noted very transient decreases (which were shortly normalized).
grade-c - - See study
The overall cell population of Natural Killer (NK) cells does not appear to be influenced with supplementation of Hesperidin
grade-c - - See study
Although it cannot yet be ruled out, the best evidence currently suggests that the increase in NK cell activation seen with this herb does not apply after oral supplementation.
grade-c - - See study
The overall amount of NK cells do not appear to be altered with supplementation of vitamin E.
grade-d Notable - See study
The increases in mRNA content of natural killer cell content increased 37-55% (NKG2D) and 75% (perforin) which appeared to be dose-dependent, a possibly potent immunostimulatory effect.
grade-d Minor - See study
An increase in natural killer cells has been noted in the range of 76-122% following physical exercise.
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence on NK cell count
grade-d - - See study
1.5 g/d didn't lead to a significant difference compared with placebo in response to ultramarathon running.